The Little Things

When I put my house on the market a few months ago, I mentally gave myself a year for the full transition to happen because I knew people in my neighborhood that had their houses on the market for six months or more. One week after listing, I accepted an offer and three weeks later I was meeting the moving van at my apartment in another state. A lot of work but it all came together and here I am.

Yep, here I am, without a doubt or second thought about my decision or my choices.

So, why can’t I make up my mind about when to make an appointment to have work done on my car?! I am retired and new in town so there are no commitments keeping me from going to the dealership. I made the decision to have the work done four or five days ago and haven’t called. Why? Because I am hung up on when to get it done!

As I write this, I am laughing at myself. My intention is to make the call today and I will be happy to have it done. That was my intention yesterday as well…and the day before. Is this typical of me? Sort of but not really. For the most part, I am well-organized by nature. I just get things done so I can move on to something more interesting or fun. Now and then this does happen, however. I just get stuck. My answer is to be patient with myself. In this case, nothing is seriously wrong with the car so I have some leeway. I have the money budgeted and, obviously free time is not an issue. So, I will have a laugh and give myself the freedom to pick up the phone when the fancy strikes. Later, I will be very happy it is done.

There was a time when I would have denigrated myself and had a time of it rather than laughing and knowing it will get done. Today I love myself more and allow myself to be where I am in the moment. Being human is a journey of imperfection and wonder and the opportunity to love myself as I am. The Divine loves me as I am so who I am to say that is an inappropriate choice?

Aum shanti.

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Gratitude

Most of us have heard of and/or made gratitude lists. The speaker at a weekend retreat I attended said, “Gratitude opens the heart for further blessings.” When we are overwhelmed by life, the body pulls into its center. It is a survival mechanism that shunts blood to the most vital internal organs. The body often literally curls in toward the base of the rib cage and navel. The circumstances that overwhelm can be physical, mental, emotional, or all three. The physical is most obvious, of course. Mental and emotional demands can create the same body responses but it is a bit more difficult to recognize the source. Picture where your physical heart is. Now, curl slightly forward and roll your shoulders down as you tip your head toward your waist. You are creating a physical haven for the heart.

This can be helpful in the face of immediate trauma; shut down, turn inward, protect yourself. Staying there longer that necessary for survival is counter-productive and can be harmful for body, mind and heart.

In yoga therapy, we seek to safely and gently open the physical body to free the heart to beat more fully. This starts the process of restoring chemical balance, allowing adrenalin and other hormones to level out and return to normal levels. We comfort the body so it will emerge from survival mode. Until we relax and breathe deeply and easily, all levels of our being will remain tight and shut down.

Postures like child pose, which opens the back of the heart chakra, and triangle, which opens all the major joints as well as the torso, prepare us to open up to life once again. What affects the body, affects the mind and emotions. Compassionate consistency is the key to returning to a place of embracing the flow of life. Gratitude can begin with that first full breath that expands the ribs and softens the belly. My mental response is often “Oh my gosh that felt good. I can breathe again!” I am already moving into gratitude. Ten breaths later I see the clear blue sky, really see it, for the first time in a while. I smile and notice flowers blooming or squirrels playing. When was the last time I noticed? ¬†Doesn’t matter. I am on my way back to mySelf. Wahoo!! Before I know it, a list takes shape and I remember the gift of gratitude.

My practice includes meditation as well. My intention every day is to meditate for 30 minutes twice a day, before breakfast and again before dinner. On the practical side, digestive fire can make it difficult to settle in and experience the silence that I seek. More on this in other blog entries.

My evening practice includes writing down some of the blessings I have experienced during the day. I’m upright and breathing. A dove sits on my bird bath. Little things. Nothing new or dramatic. A beginning. An opportunity to nourish my heart and mind. My heart begins to open and the blessings that have been waiting begin coming my way – often in the little things.

Gratitude opens the heart. Namaste