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Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Things I Learned in 2011

"To the people who love you, you are beautiful already.
This is not because they’re blind to your shortcomings,
but because they so clearly see your soul."
By: Violet Vibrations

Wow. What. A. Year.
As this year is gently dissolving I find myself in a rather reflective mood. Looking back on 2011 is like watching the longest roller coaster ride ever!
To say this has been a year of Lessons is an understatement. Not only did I have my mind blown, multiple times, in ways I never imagined possible, but I experienced a whole new level of learning. This year, I'm certain, will go down in history as the year that everything changed for me.... The year that my eyes got opened wide and I started to see things clearly; for the very first time it seems. It's been "Interesting", that's for sure. Absolutely fascinating actually.

To all of you who've been a part of this year - thank you. And, yes, even the crazy angry spammers and those of you that follow, read and share "anonymously". LOL. Thank you. You've all contributed to making this year rather remarkable. Each and every one of you has been so important to me. For that, I'm truly very grateful. Here's a little bit of what I've learned from, and with, all of you:

-Everything that happens to you, even when it seems "bad" or negative, is leading you to a greater capacity for love. If you let it.

-Children are the spark of Life. They are pure, unadulterated Joy. And their presence has the capacity to heal, encourage and cleanse our hearts and souls.

-It's absolutely amazing how resilient we are and how much we are all capable of enduring.

-If something doesn't "feel right" it probably isn't.

-Positive, inspiring things are happening all the time, every day, everywhere. If you're not tuned in to them - you will miss them.

-Absolutely everything is energy. Everything. What you allow into your sphere of experience - everyone and everything you choose to associate with, is impacting your life in tremendous ways. Choose wisely.

-Never believe a guy when he tells you he "loves you" and that you're his "best friend" in the first month or two of dating. Ha! Chances are he says that to everyone and will keep saying it until he finds a girl who is equally as needy and desperate as he is.

-Most of the time, there really is no need to rush. So just slow down, turbo!

-Forgiveness is essential to true health and healing.

-Everything is constantly changing. So to ruminate about something that happened in the past is pretty much a waste of energy. It's done. And - it's already changed. Learn the lesson, and keep walking forward.

-What doesn`t kill you, definitely makes you stronger.

-When someone loves you, they really want you to be happy. Genuinely. When someone is repeatedly angry, rude and degrading - that is not love. It's a sickness and that person is responsible for their own healing. Not you.

-Sometimes you can send all the light and love in the world to someone, and meditate on Forgiveness until the cows come home. But if you are being harassed, abused or bullied - sometimes taking action is also required. Putting up with that serves no one. Sometimes you actually need to call the police, protect yourself, and hand the matter over to those who are better equipped to deal with it. There are laws that protect you against other people's b.s. Use them.
...Then continue to send love and light. :)

-When you fall asleep on the couch and wake up in the middle of the night - you don't actually have to go to bed. Sometimes just sleeping on the couch is really fun.

-There's absolutely nothing wrong with taking a "personal day" if you need one. You don't serve anyone when you're feeling awful. There's nothing more important than keeping yourself in a good space so you can be most effective - whether it's at work, at home or in your relationships. Sometimes an unscheduled day off is essential.

-When someone repeatedly uses the word `uber`in their sentences (eg: `that was uber fun!` or`this is uber cool`)that person lacks creativity and is trying to appear more interesting than they actually are.

-You are what you eat,(and drink). Hydrate, sweat, hydrate, sweat more, rinse and repeat.

-When a friend is angry or upset, it's ok not to know what to say/do for them. Sometimes just quietly listening is exactly what they need, and the most important thing you can do for them.

-Turns out being single is actually fun (and relaxing). Turns out I really enjoy my own company. Taking a break,by choice, from dating for an entire year (maybe more!)is also fun(and relaxing)and was probably the smartest thing I did this year. Who knew?!

-Revenge is futile. The only person it actually hurts is you. So - drop it like it`s hot. The Universe always maintains balance.

-Friends are definitely more important than money. But money is really wonderful to have too! It's ok to love money and desire more of it. Being abundant is just as spiritual as living in poverty by choice.

-Everything is Choice.

-Actions speak so much louder than words. Don't listen to what people say. If you want to truly know where a person's coming from - watch what they DO.

-...that being said...People are not their behaviors. Behaviors can be changed. People can not. Just sayin'.

-Sometimes the person who appears the meekest, and most insecure, is the one who is manipulating the most. Occasionally people learn how to get what they want by playing the victim. Victims sometimes want to stay victims. If someone doesn't want to be empowered, no matter what you do or say to assist them, will fail. You have to be willing to be ok with that. It isn't really personal. Let people be who they are.

-Nothing is really personal.

-I can love you, or anyone, fully and purely without needing you to love me back. How you feel,and what you do is up to you. Not me.

-I go out of my way for others and I'm now willing to accept the same because I deserve the same.

-I'm really good at what I do. Not in an egotistical way. But I've spent over a decade perfecting and working on my craft. I love what I do. I'm excellent at my job. I'm worthy of my own appreciation.

-We absolutely, unquestionably, create our own life experience, our own reality - every single day, every moment. What you think about, and talk about the most, is what you will literally create in your life.

Focus on What You Want.
Be grateful for what you have.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

What If?

"What if your job was to uplift those around you?"
This is a question that was recently posted online by a Semperviva Yoga Teacher.

It made me smile.

I attempt, as consciously as I can, to do that as often as I can. With every class I teach, every client that walks through my door, and with the every day goings-on in my tiny lil' world. It's not always easy. BELIEVE ME. I mean, there are moments (a lot more lately) when it's effortless. I do the best I can. But I'm human. Human...and capable of having bad days, big expectations and some fairly funky dark moods on occasion. Human...and always learning. Sometimes "my best" is better than others. And those "other" times? Well...let's just leave that for another day.

This holiday season has been an interesting one. I'm filled with a desire to celebrate getting through to the end of this year! But also a feeling of utter humility at the amazing lessons that have been learned.

As a community, a few dozen of us recently got together for a couple of very special yoga classes. Classes that collectively warmed us up, got us moving, and soothed our weary souls with the awesome energy of live drum and kirtan beats. The plan was to donate proceeds to a couple of local charities to help uplift others who may be in need this holiday season.

To be honest, I think we're all in need in some way. Regardless of our life situation we're all so very similar. Each of us searching and longing for basically the exact same things.

We talked at the classes about the interconnectedness of everything, about Yoga as a practice of cultivating Union. We reminded each other that all that we do, say and intend ultimately comes back to us and affects all those around us. And that part of our yoga practice was to be conscious of that fact and do what we can, however small, to honor the connection we have to each other by occasionally, whenever possible, giving back to the community without attachment or need for anything in return. Just giving, freely, for the sheer joy that that brings.

So - I wanted the money that was raised at the classes to make an impact and be donated to where it was needed most. After speaking with 3 different employees at the Port Colborne Community Outreach Center at Port Cares it became evident that what was needed was food. Simple as that. Specifically - fresh produce, milk, eggs and meat. So a generous donation was made in the form of a grocery store gift card that the good folks at the food bank will use to purchase much needed items.

After doing a bit more research I discovered that Community Cares here in the St Catharines area was in need of donations. So I went shopping! I purchased toiletries, soaps, deodorant, gift packs, candles and other luxuries that may not be affordable for some people at this time. Little things that you or I may take for granted every day.

So - for those of you who came out and participated in these special holiday yoga classes - Thank You. Your time and energy went to a very good cause and you contributed to making Christmas a little brighter for a whole lot of people!

Happy Holidays. Enjoy each other. Be safe. Be happy.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.

~ Rumi ~

(The Essential Rumi, versions by Coleman Barks)

Monday, 12 December 2011

Best Holiday Gift EVER.

One of the best gift I've ever received (and hope to one day receive again!), was the gift of Private Yoga Sessions. It's wonderful. Private yoga is like learning, from the beginning, how to ride a bike! With a little assistance you're off and riding - into untold adventures and hours spent getting lost in the amazing-ness of what yoga has to offer. Through private sessions you work one-on-one with an instructor to strengthen, release or re-build those areas that need it most. The experience can be far more challenging, more engaging and so much more 'you' than any group yoga class.

There's lots of different reasons why people choose private yoga. Some are new to the practice and just getting started, others are at a plateau and not sure what/where to go next as they search for new challenges, and others are working with specific injuries and looking for safe effective ways to rehabilitate.

Whatever your reasons for starting yoga, or wanting to go deeper into your own practice, one thing is certain: there are untold riches, releases, and wonderful discoveries that await you!

All my private sessions are taught in the coziness of my office, in downtown St Catharines, and are always tailored to your specific needs.

Check out my Holiday Yoga Package - only $90. Includes 2 Private Yoga Sessions and a 5 class punch card to the St Catharines classes.....

The Holiday Yoga Package.

Let the Holiday Bliss begin! :)

Monday, 5 December 2011

Keep It Simple.

Becoming more spiritually advanced does not mean becoming more spiritually complicated. It means we become simpler, as we learn to universally apply some very basic principles to all our circumstances: l) Only love is real; 2) What is not love is a call for love, and 3)Forgiveness heals all things. "How can I serve here?" replaces "What can I get here?," and "How can I open my heart more?" replaces "How can I get that person to do what I want?"

- Marianne Williamson

The days you remember the most are usually the days that changed you, and impacted your life the most. Recently I've noticed a trend with some of my clients - all from different backgrounds and walks of life, probably triggered by the upcoming holiday season. I've noticed a lot of people telling me the same story, with different details of course. Stories of deeply held grudges, hurts and resentments still replaying in the mind from the past, almost daily. Stories of dread, anxiety or downright denial having to do with the holidays. Stories of how this person and that person did this thing and that thing and how, because of that, happiness and true fulfillment just can't be found. Let's face it - Families are complex units. So are relationships. We are deeply connected to these people on intimate and very multi-faceted levels. It's inevitable that these connections will bring up things to help us evolve and teach us some of the most valuable lessons in life. It's also inevitable that some of these "lessons" will hurt and be really uncomfortable. If it was easy - would we really learn anything? Would it really impact us enough to illicit change?

In life, in our thinking, in our emotions, sometimes we require maintenance. Important maintenance just like we maintain our vehicles, our bodies, our homes. Maintenance that helps us heal ourselves so that we contribute to instead of contaminate situations that have, in the past, hurt, discouraged or disappointed us. One thing is certain to me...Forgiveness has profound healing potential. Holding on to anger, or stories of betrayal, or the desire for revenge does nothing more than keep you locked in a loop. A loop that you will find drains and depletes you and only keeps you from living, fully, in the present moment.

What does that even mean?? "Living in the Present Moment"?? And why should you strive for that? Because when you are stuck in a loop, one that's replaying over and over based on your hurt from the past, everything is clouded by that story. This moment, right now, contains the option of breathing deeply, relaxing fully, and smiling to yourself as you honor all the abundance and blessings in your life. Do you have a roof over your head? At least one person who loves you, no matter what? Do you have something to eat? When you look around your environment can you see at least one thing of beauty? Is there a song you love, a song that warms your heart and floods your mind with amazing memories/feelings/thoughts? Do you have dreams, wishes, hopes for your future? Then you, my friend, have a life rich with abundance and many blessings.

Some of the best gifts we can give people are the ones that can't be wrapped, or even seen. But thoughts are things. And spending time seeing your same-ness and similarity with those who have hurt you, allowing yourself to drop all the stories and open yourself to something new, something fresh and healthy and better for your future, is one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself (and the world). You may not be able to rationalize or analyze the benefit in this kind of practice. But if you try it - I'm certain you'll find yourself softening. I'm certain you'll realize that letting yourself be free of the stories that perpetuate the illusion of separateness, victimization, and the whole drama of he said/she said - is really the best holiday gift ever.

Here's a little something that might help get you started...
Learn to relax, go inward, stop the cycle of re-activity....

Get one of your own.