Tag Archives: yoga

What if?

What if?

I am beginning with the premise of “what if?” today.  The idea came to visit me in a dream last night and I woke up with it floating around in my head, forming words that had to come out.  What if I come from a place of love when relating to all of the people in my life?  Of course there are many people in my life that I genuinely feel love for, my husband, my daughters, family members and dear friends, but what if that love could extend out like highways stretching across the map of my world?

I have been reading bits and pieces of a website/newsletter called Love and Logic and besides enjoying the title, I am interested in the premise: raising responsible children and having fun while doing it.  We spend a lot of time setting up behavior plans and consequences, structuring our children’s lives for success and focusing on preventing negative behaviors. What if, instead, we came from a place of pure love and helped children become positive, independent thinkers whose actions rise up from a thoughtful beginning?  What if we stop solving all of our children’s problems and throw the ball back to them?  What will happen?  According to Jim Fay and Foster W. Cline M.D. expectations are high.  I am willing to give it a try.

Over the past 32 years of teaching I have noticed a shift in the behavior of my students.  What is the cause?  Influence from the media?  Lack of concern from parents, or adults raising the children?  A collapse of our social structure and the standards we hold kids to?  A lack of real consequences for the actions kids choose to take?  It doesn’t really matter.  Using a method such as Love and Logic, offers a plan, hope, a solution.  I am willing to add this to my repertoire of love-based approaches to guide my students.  I have had  good success with One-Moment Meditations, Yoga, and Council, all based on coming from one’s heart, from love and from pure thought.  Teaching kids to calm their active bodies and minds allows the truth to enter.

I always think it is such a happy coincidence when the universe is able to line things up for a good idea.  During my class’ visit to the school library I came across Jon J. Muth’s books:  Zen Shorts and Zen Ties.  The title interested me so I checked them out.  What a nice surprise!  Books written to enlighten children through a wise Panda named Stillwater.  It was another nice coincidence when he was on NPR yesterday being interviewed about his new book, Zen Ghosts, and his creation of the character Stillwater.  Zen is infusing my life.

What if I come from a place of love?  Not just for those around me, for those I teach, for my family and friends that I love so dearly, but for myself?  What if I continue to nurture myself through yoga, meditation, walking, mindful eating and lots of writing?  Maybe love is contagious and everyone around me will catch it too.

John Lennon would have been 70 years old yesterday.  Listening to “Imagine,” the soothing chords, the true words and the vision revealed, reminded me that “all you need is love” is not just a wistful dream from the 1960’s, but a cry for change in 2010.  Beyond test scores, API, value-added, and seniority lies the love we are responsible to share with the people in our lives.  What if?

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Filed under change, Education, Family, Life thoughts

Pray

Finding a way to pray by looking within.

Where have I been?  It has been almost 3 weeks since I have taken this time for myself to write!  My days have become filled with reading the writing of others, so my praying, for today’s word that hopefully will not fail me, is once again to find the balance in my life.  My balance scale constantly fluctuates between reading and writing, learning and reflecting and of course, walking and reading somehow squeezes in there too.

I live through my cravings and use that as a determiner for how to spend my time.  There are days when I just crave rushing home to grab my latest book and sit on my favorite couch to languish in  words.  Then other days I must move, walk or practice yoga.  Today is a day when I am finding the balance having rushed home to read, settled in a comfy chair in my lovely spring yard, an hour later heading off to the gym for a treadmill walk followed by a great yoga class, returning home for a quick check of the email and here I am!  Writing!  If only that was the beginning of my day instead of the end of it, darn that work!

Praying is a practice that can take many forms.  I am far removed from the traditional religious connotation of praying and am finding a lot of satisfaction in meditation, when looking for answers.  I do, however, find myself talking to my mother (who passed away a year and a half ago) a lot lately and hoping she will visit my dreams to give me some much-needed advice. I do pray for that connection-to that other place that my mother now inhabits.  I do pray for messages of wisdom to reach me, and for the ability to recognize the answers to my questions, when they are given to me.  We pray as a way of connecting to our inner wisdom because when we are able to reach that place, we realize that the answer has been there all along.

This is today’s challenge:  to find a way to reach your own “gut feeling” by balancing the chatter and the quiet, the looking out and the looking in.  The reward is a sense of knowing, a sense of peace and hopefully a few answers.


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Change

Change can be empowering, frightening, enlightening, depressing, difficult or exciting.  Often change is all of these emotions at the same time, which is possibly why so many of us are hesitant to voluntarily take change on.  Usually change happens “to” us, or we are forced to change against our will.

I have always been emotional during life-stage changes such as children growing up and entering new phases of their lives, weddings, births, deaths, and moving on, either to a new home, new job, new place in my life.  Change does not come easily because it places us in an uncomfortable unknown place and we crave the familiar.

At some point though, we begin to crave change.  We look in the mirror and say “enough!” Or we see an opportunity to grow intellectually, spiritually or to improve our health or our surroundings and we say “yes.”  We initiate the change, and that is a huge step to insuring its success.  Change embraced is change most likely to be effective.

I am embracing changeI have three areas that I will focus on:  health, spirituality, and responsibility.  I will change my health habits to protect my body and to assure my health by exercising daily walking, with yoga, strength training, pilates and Qigong (my new-found exercise area of interest.

I will focus on spirituality through meditation (One Moment Meditation), connecting with people I care about, and those I want to help and self-reflection.

I will focus on responsibility by taking responsibility to educate myself about the things I need to take care of myself and live the life I want to live.  Those include financial responsibility, staying connected to those I care about, performing my best at my job, challenging my intellect and being there, emotionally and physically, for my friends and family.

Change is not something that comes easily to me, it is an area that I chose to work on.  My life is not stagnant and my self-initiated changes are more likely to have a positive impact on my life.

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Filed under change, Family, Life thoughts, Power Words, Walking

Slowing Down-Six Weeks in a Cast

There is a saying that things often happen for a reason and while I usually believe it, I don’t always need such a blatant reminder to slow down and appreciate the more mellow side of life.  Yet, that is what I know must do, thanks to DWP and a faulty, sunken water meter.

As I walked my dog Charlie, a slow walking dog of 10 years, around my neighborhood, quasi-training for the Avon Breast Cancer Walk I will be completing in September, My foot twisted painfully as I stepped on what I thought was level sidewalk, but was instead a 3″ drop.

The Evil Water Meter

So, as I lay on the ground, Charlie staring at me quizzically, I pondered my choices and decided I had none but to limp the 30 minutes home.  My, that tennis shoe was tight by the time I got home!  I was sure it was just a sprain, so I wrapped it tightly and continues with my usual active life.

Finally, Tuesday, my husband suggested quietly that I might want to see a doctor-since my foot was quite purple.  The doctor thought it was most likely a spain, but she would call the next day if the x-rays showed more.  At noon the next day, while eating lunch in the staff lunchroom, my phone rang and I was requested to show up at the orthopedic doctor the next morning.  After 2 hours I left with a lovely bright pink cast.

The lovely cast covered by a "sock" because my toes are freezing! I have a walking boot too!

I can no longer hop up and down multitasking, turn on a dime, maneuver effortlessly through my kindergarten classroom or sadly, walk Charlie.  My training for the Avon Walk is on hold, as is yoga class.  What is left?  I can plow through that ominous stack of books, write, balance my budget and take control of my finances, sit sipping green tea and work on my Happiness Project. It actually is possible to slow down.

When they say that everything happens for a reason, I guess my reason is to take the time to stop and appreciate things because after all, it is hard to focus on things when you move so quickly that life is a blur.

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Filed under Life thoughts, reading, Walking

My Life on a Diet

Diet: figurative:  a regular occupation or series of activities in which one participates : a healthy diet of classical music.

It is the beginning of the new year and my life is on a diet that represents my aspirations for positive change, moving forward, visualizations of goals and dreams and a healthy outlook on life.  This is very ambitious, I know, to tackle an assortment of life habits at one time, but I like to look at it as a life makeover and by doing so, I am developing regular activities.

The first part of my life diet is an actual diet to increase my health.  This involves eating differently and developing habits that will become part of my lifestyle.  I have help from Jenny Craig and am enjoying the structured manner the program uses.  I like having someone tell me what to eat, provide the food and encourage me by telling me how wonderful I am progressing.  I like not thinking about the food I am going to eat, not cooking and not having to make too many choices.  I like the results!

Jenny Craig encourages a food, mind, body approach to weight loss and there is a lot of encouragement to have a regular physical exercise plan.  That is another part of my diet:  developing the habit to exercise daily and make it a regular part of my day.  I have started by walking each day for one hour and increased the yoga (good for the mind) classes I am taking.

The third part of my diet is a positive self direction.  I am willing to seriously consider the possibility that Thoughts Become Things and am actively practicing visualizing my personal goals.  I am opening my self up to happiness by creating my own Happiness Project (www.thehappinessproject.com) and taking the time to read the writing of others on a similar quest.

The fourth part of my diet is to develop financial intelligence.  I am determined to understand investing, budgets and how to simplify my life.  I am dedicated to this path and am happy for the expertise of others who have started exploring before me.  I have found the following people/websites useful:

http://www.simpledollar.com, http://www.suzeorman.com,www.mint.com, http://www.creativecatalyst.com, http://www.jennycraig.com, http://www.thoughtsbecomethings.com

So, you may ask, what is the motivation for this diet?  Well this quote was delivered to my email box and I felt inspired:

“You have to find something that you love enough to be able to take risks, jump over the hurdles and break through the brick walls that are always going to be place in front of you. If you don’t have that kind of feeling for what it is you are doing, you’ll stop at the first giant hurdle.”

~George Lucas, Film Director and Producer

It makes you think.

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