A kind word is like a fire in winter, it warms the soul.
So often we travel through life existing on the surface of everything, rushing here and there, always busy. It appears the aid of technology, which has been heralded as an advantage to save us time, has made this situation even worse. We are harried, worried, and stressed humans living in this 21st Century. What if we pause for just one moment in our day, and remember to say something nice to someone? Ask the checker at the grocery store how their day is going, and be prepared to listen to their response. Compliment a total stranger. Say hello, hold a door open; the options are endless when it comes to kindness. When we practice kindness and generosity, it also helps us to become more resilient. When we cultivate generosity, it allows us to see things more easily, to accept change, and to accept the truth of the present moment. Look what one woman was able to do when she opened her heart; she was able to warm many souls.
Standing Tree Yoga ©
Life is easier on those days when everything seems to run smoothly, from that perfect cup of tea or coffee in the morning to the hum of everything falling into place with ease as the day evolves. Yes, on those days it is easier to smile, keep a positive outlook and to fully bask in the light. We see only the good in most everything. What happens on the other days? What happens when we have to go without, without the comforts of our home, or any home for that matter? When we have less money to purchase food, when someone we love leaves this earthly realm. Where do we go when things get dark? Are we able to sit comfortably in the darkness allowing it to wash over us? Or, do we resist kicking and screaming? It is important to have some things in place to assist one when darkness settles in, be it a physical outlet, meditation, friendships, faith and so on. Any one of these actions can help settle the mind and the soul, guiding us forward into the light once again. For some, it is almost impossible to get there without the aid of medication, and that can also be the way. What is important is that we each figure out how to arrive back into the light and be able to adjust to the darkness when it materializes. Where do you stand in moments of challenge and controversy? I am attempting to be a healthier human being each time that I encounter challenges, sometimes I fail, and sometimes I do a better job of not being completely overwhelmed. Find your balance and you will find greater contentment wherever you might be standing. In yoga, we learn some powerful grounding postures in our practice; perhaps you might enlist one of those to help ground you back to your center. Standing Tree, the name of my yoga business, is one of my favorite postures! I have used it many times to calm my body and mind. I invite you to try it today and find some balance.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
Looking back over 2018 I can see, as I am sure we all can, things I have done mightily wrong. I can also appreciate the fear I hold for this coming year stemming from many things, not the least of which is the leader of our country and what he is creating in the world. One could write forever on the wrongs this man has done, but I simply cannot live in fear of the future. Rather, I am holding onto the simple prospect of becoming more aware. I will endeavor to be more mindful, to look and see things from a point of awareness. My greatest wish is that collectively we as a world will also unite in a more mindful way, and yes that wish extends to our president as well. I am not misguided in understanding that for him, as well as many people, this concept most likely won’t be attained. It isn’t that all cannot reach the goal, just that some simply will choose not to move in this manner. I, however, will hold onto my hopes and dreams and wish that the coming year be filled with magic, dreams, and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you are wonderful. Create some art, write or draw, build or sing. Live as only you can! I hope somewhere in this next year that you surprise yourself.
And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been. ~ Rilke
On this day of the winter solstice, one where we have the shortest amount of daylight in the northern hemisphere, take a moment to sit in this space and breathe. It is especially important during this harried time of the holidays when our attention and patience are perhaps stretched thin. This day gives us the perfect opportunity to reset, press the button if you will, and sit for just a moment honoring yourself, your interconnectedness with the universe, and to see the stars. Allow the fullness of the space to bring you back to love, for love is all that we have and all that matters right here, right now. Peace and love to all during this time and the holiday season. Perhaps if you can get quiet you too will hear a bell ring!
It is in the quiet that I seem to remember more of the feelings. When it is quiet, and my mind is still it all comes flooding back like water cascading down a mountain. There is a crack in my soul. As I sit here with the sun streaming in over my shoulders, feeling its magnificent warmth on this chilly November day, I am reminded that it is the anniversary of your memorial service here in the city where we lived, and I still call home. I always thought it was odd on the day of your service that your body was on a jet bound for New York for yet another service and burial in your hometown. You were already missing.
The days of November are usually sad ones for both our son, and myself and we hold onto a deep grief, a bond that forever holds us hostage to the pain, the cost of loving. You ceased to take another breath on the morning of November 5. We held a service for you here on November 9, and on November 12 we buried you next to your mother and father. My son and I returned home to an eerily empty house, and on November 20 he turned 13. Then the holiday season kicked off in full gear, but I could barely hold my head up to acknowledge any of the joy.
Today my body aches with some of that familiar grief, and I know that our son’s does as well. I wish I could turn back the hands of the clock, just as I did moments ago when I adjusted a missed clock in accommodating the switch to daylight savings time. I wish I could turn back the hands of time in order that my son would not have to carry this heavy grief mantle for his life. He struggles to know his father loved him. He struggles so, and he has every reason. You had a chance to make things right, and you failed him and you failed me. I don’t know if either of us can ever truly forgive you. What I do know is that for both of us our grief is a mixed bag. One moment we cannot recall the sound of your voice and want to see you and miss your laugh terribly, and the next moment we are angry over what you did to our family. He carries this burden more than anyone. How could you do such a thing to a boy on the verge of manhood? It wasn’t enough that he had to make the journey without a father, but to be pinned under the weight of not being acknowledged. I have tried in a thousand different ways over thousands of days (more than 5,000 to be precise) to make it right, to make it up to him, but I can never give him your blessing. He is always looking to have his heart healed, but there is a crack. . . and that is how the light gets in… there is a crack in everything, and that gives me hope.
Only in the darkness can you see the stars.
Balance, defined as a state of equilibrium. . . mental steadiness or emotional stability. And yet, it seems to be the one thing many of us lack, especially in these times. Of course, one could pose the question that perhaps we humans have always had an issue with balance, and that is why we historically have sought things like religion and more to feel like we have achieved balance. Balance is something we all have access to inside our selves. It is our choice how we react to a situation, to another’s words, etc. This is not always easy to achieve or maintain, and that is why we practice each and every day to be in balance, to live in harmony with nature and other human beings. This quote is an excellent place to begin this practice. I invite you to hold this thought as you move throughout your day. Namaste.
Wisdom is knowing I am nothing,
Love is knowing I am everything,
And between the two my life moves.