Refilling your patience carafe

wine carafe

At some point, we all struggle with patience. It’s definitely not one of my strong suits. In fact, I was recently joking to a friend about those days when it feels as if you have a finite amount of patience, and when it’s gone it’s gone — like a carafe of wine. This, of course, let to a hilarious philosophical discussion about how our carafe’s depth varies from day to day and that we have a seemingly infinite supply of patience in our carafes when it comes to animals, children, and students.

Some days, the carafe is overflowing and all seems right with the world, while others it seems to have a crack and a slow leak. Some days, my carafe is quite plentiful in the morning, but by evening rush hour, it’s dry as a bone, and I watch the last drop dry up from the seat of my inner witness. Sometimes, merely bringing attention to the fact that our patience is challenged, releases the ego’s grasp on our need ‘rightness’ or vindication.

So, how do we keep ourselves from draining our carafe of patience Bordeaux dry? By doing things that replenish your spirit. Taking some time for yourself — even five minutes — to do what brings you peace and rejuvenation can keep you from feeling depleted and drained of loving energy. For some people, it’s a bubble bath alone with a book, and for others it’s prayer.

For me, it’s writing, meditation, spending time with my dogs, and of course, yoga.  I need the time on the mat to ground and center myself, and reconnect with my true nature so that my thoughts, words, and actions come from a place of compassion.

Take time each day to practice the same loving kindness towards yourself that you want to extend outward. Refill your carafe everyday, so it’s available when you need to pour a big glass of patience to someone else. And practice non-judgement and non-violence toward yourself during those times when you can’t seem to harness the patience you think you should have.

What refills your carafe of patience?

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

(Photo: Design Rulz)

Related posts:

Be nice to the scary clown

cant sleep clown will eat me bart simpson

When I was little, I was horrified of clowns. Truthfully they still unsettle me a little bit.

I don’t know how or when it started, but when I think about it anything that falls into the “adult dressed as giant cartoon character” genre put me off.

The funny thing was I had this belief that if I had a clown, and took very good care of it, somehow I would be protected by the evil of all clowns.

So, I would go above and beyond the call of niceness to my clown doll even over other stuffed animals even though I was horrified by its unsettling smile. I would overcome my fear, by embracing it and trying to love it as a part of me.

As an adult I look back and laugh at the rationale of my five-year-old mind. And at the same time, I can find a thread of yogic wisdom in my childhood mentality.

As adults, we become conditioned by life to repel situations that make us uncomfortable or create anxiety. As a child I not only embraced the notion of letting go of aversion, I surmounted it by holding my single largest fear closest to me; looking it squarely in the creepy face each night.

And while my motivation was more self-serving at first, (to avoid the wrath of all clowns by befriending one) I had eventually desensitized myself to the physical sensation and reactions of my clown-based fear. And Clarabelle became nothing more than another doll.

We can do this as adults too.  We can look our fears right in the eye,  realize that it’s our mind telling us to be afraid, accept the object for what it is, and create space around that fear.  Not space like a buffer to protect us, but the space that allows us to realize our fear is separate from ourselves.

Replace your fear with curiosity.

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

(Photo: Pinterest)

Related posts:

Don’t get a grip, lose it

loosen your grip, let go

Buddhists believe that life means suffering, a suffering of our own doing as human beings. They also believe that attachment or desire is the source of our suffering, and we can put an end to it. In yoga, non-attachment is one of the Yoga Sutras on the path to Samadhi or pure consciousness. In Christianity it’s called faith.  Trust in God and you can let go.  And we know this.  Innately, we all know this, but it’s hard to let go isn’t it?

Attachment is desire, desire is expectation, expectation is non-presence, and living in non-presence creates suffering. Attachment doesn’t just mean physical holding, but the expectation of anything, which inevitably leads to either disappointment (suffering) or transient happiness (not joy).

The next time you find yourself anxious, angry or even amorous, see if you can find the attachment. Where is the ego driving the bus?  Can you   allow yourself to let go, just a little?  Make space for the next time you need to let go.

“Loosen your grasp a little, and remember: whatever you hold onto is already dead, because it is past. Die to every moment and you will discover the gate to unending life.” ~Deepak Chopra

Holding onto what ISN’T is like trying to bottle lightning. Lose your death grip on the reality your mind has created, and fall into the abliss.

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

(Photo: Shiny  Starlight)

Related posts:

Use what you have

use what you have

Every few months I take inventory of my ‘stuff’. I peruse my closet for clothes and shoes that are better served as donations;  I take a trip down ‘expiration date’ lane and go through vitamins, prescriptions, lotions, makeup, etc.; and, I take inventory of my physicality. That is, what am I not using very much that I SHOULD, what am I afraid to let go of, and what should change?

Let’s face it, when you hit 40, your body changes.  The exercises that used to come easy, may be the ones that could now cause injury.  And the workouts we shy away from, might just be what cures an ache or pain.

Not too long ago, I was a die-hard Surya Namaskar (sun salutation) junkie.  My mornings consisted of an asana practice that featured a lot of sun salutations with standing, balancing, twisting and inversion poses mixed in, but I noticed that injuries were creeping in.  “Is yoga bad for me?” I wondered?  No, my practice had become, in itself, a samskara — a pattern that wasn’t serving me anymore.

After some assessment, I found that I was gravitating to poses that were easy much to the demise of other parts of my body.  I also noticed that I was avoiding poses that caused pain — and rightly so. But, I decided to investigate the root cause rather than give up altogether.  I’ve since made adjustments to my practice that are specific to my body’s needs, and try to mix it up regularly.

While yoga IS very beneficial for everyone, it’s not once size fits all.  We all can’t be Kathryn Budig (God love her), but like she says, we can “aim true.”

Take stock of your life — physcially, spiritually, emotionally, and posessions-ally. Get rid of what no longer serves you, and use what you have to your fullest (safest) potential.

Namaste,

– Your Charmed Yogi

(Photo: A Lifetime of Wisdom)

Related posts:

Yoga when you can’t do yoga

sick teddy bear yoga when you're sick

Time and time again, a yoga practice of asana and meditation have proven to help people get healthier in mind and body. But having and keeping a healthy body sometimes means recognizing when it’s time to modify our yoga practice. If you’ve ever had a migraine, the flu, an injury or something else, you know that it can be hard to keep up with a yoga practice and that’s an important message to receive from your body.

As the song goes, you gotta know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em.  When we get a nice momentum or groove going it can be frustrating to take a step back for rest, but rest is important — especially when you’re sick. And then comes the dreaded ego sneaking in with messages like, “You can do it, it’s all in your head” or “If you take a break now, you’ll never get back into it” or even “If I want to look like Jennifer Aniston, I have to push myself.” None of which are factual or helpful.

I like this post from Mary Catherine Starr, yoga instructor &  studio director in Arlington, VA.  She writes about her own struggle with maintaining a yoga practice during a sinus infection, and has some great tips on how to practice when you can’t practice.

This inability to do exactly what I love when it comes to asana and the abundance of sick or sniffly people around me got me thinking, how do you still “practice” yoga when your’re under the weather? I have a few ideas, pulling from what I’ve actually done over the past week, and thought I would share them with you today. But let me also say that these tips are for people who are struggling with seasonal allergies or sinus infections–for people who, like me, can still go about their day, albiet uncomfortably, but are just under the weather enough to be unable to practice–not those who are so weak that they’re stuck in bed or unable to do much of anything.

Read the full post ‘Yoga for when you can’t do yoga‘ on her blog, Starr Struck.  And, here are some great yoga poses for when you have a cold from Yoga Journal. When all else fails, approach your practice like a beginner.  Once your’e feeling better, take it back to square one. Allow your body to re-experience the newness of yoga and get reacquainted with the poses.

The most important thing to remember is that yoga ISN’T just about physical poses.  When you’re sick or rundown, expand your meditation and pranayama practice (if it’s accessible).  Perhaps it’s the universe’s way of reminding you that there’s more to your practice than asana. Try some guided meditations or transcendental meditation in place of asana (or shorten your asana practice and opt for a longer meditation.)

It is better to perform one’s own duties imperfectly than to master the duties of another. By fulfilling the obligations he is born with, a person never comes to grief. ~ Krishna from The Bhagavad Gita

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

(Photo: Suddenly Susan)

Related posts:

Don’t look for thoughts where there are none

let it go balloon

Have you ever been merrily going about your business, perhaps living purely in the moment, when your unconsciousness interjects with some type of made up problem? Perhaps you thought you’d moved on from an earlier problem, only for your mind to bring it back up to the surface, like a jealous childhood friend who gets jealous over your contentedness, and looks for ways to hijack your happiness. Sometimes it’s hard for us to ‘just be.’  I mean to say, that we spend so much time focusing on what’s wrong and how to fix it, we don’t know what to do when our mind takes a break. And, we even go looking for problems sometimes.

If you don’t know what I mean, maybe you’ve observed this in a co-worker, family member or friend who only seems to be happy when there’s something to be unhappy about. Once upon a time, I worked with a few of these people. It’s as if they truly don’t know how to enjoy the peace of stillness. Like their brain is telling them, “Wait there’s nothing wrong right now, what’s wrong?  There must be something I’m supposed to be upset about right now.  No? Well, let’s find something.” This isn’t a judgement of their character, but of our upbringing in general. Let’s face it, we’re a society of scab-pickers who can’t leave well enough alone.

For the over-analytical population (myself included) we have a tendency to exhaust ourselves looking for the thoughts that feed our emotions, when truly we are neither thought or emotion.  And, by simply bringing awareness to an emotion or a feeling that arises enables us to come into the present. Being with the feelings IS presence, aversion is not.

This happened to me the other morning, I was getting ready for work after my morning practice, and noticed that I was feeling anxious. So rather than going on a thought-spelunking mission which would inevitably take me out of the moment and likely cause more pain, I decided just to sit with the feeling for what it was.  Eventually, it went away.  As I became the watcher of all that’s happening with this body and mind, I’m able to witness be-ing. This doesn’t mean that we’ll never feel pain, rather with observance and the practice of letting go of attachment AND aversion, we become the self beyond thought. And that is bliss.

“All problems are illusions of the mind.” ― Eckhart Tolle

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

Related posts:

(Photo: Pinterest)

Love the weeds in your life


eyore ahimsa

In yoga, ahimsa or non-judgement, refers to the state of living in loving kindness toward all beings including ourselves.   And yet, sometimes it’s the hardest thing to do.  Let’s face it extending compassion in every situation — particularly conflict — can be hard. Why dispense love to the guy who cut you off in line when you don’t owe him anything?  Because you owe it to yourself to find the love and beauty everywhere.

As A.A. Milne — Winnie the Pooh author — once said, weeds are flowers too once you get to know them. You never know who’s going to come into your life and present you the opportunity to find love.  In fact, sometimes the universe sends us challenging people and situations for just that reason.

The next time someone really gets under your skin, rather than building up toxic emotion asking “why me”, ask yourself, “How can I extend compassion here? What am I supposed to offer? What am I supposed to learn?”

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

(Photo: Pinterest)

Related posts:

Give it up for happiness

Happiness-Hands

‘Happiness is like a butterfly. The more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things,  it will come and sit softly on your shoulder ~ Thoreau’

We all want happiness, but what would you give up to have it? There’s a story of a man who, unfulfilled by life, once told the Buddha, “I want happiness.”  Here’s what Buddha said…

i want happiness

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

(Photo is courtesy of the talented Gavin at Zen Pencils)

Related posts:

You are where your attention goes

dog from up

I absolutely love the movie Up. The story and animation are beautifully done, and I cry every time I watch.  But my favorite part of the movie – and one I find poignant as a yoga teacher – is the scene when Carl and Russell meet Dug the dog and his talking collar.  The irony was not lost on me when I began a search for an image of the “up dog”.    The scene hilariously captures the dog’s short attention span when he’s distracted by a squirrel.It always gets me thinking about our own distracted minds, and how we spend so much of our time ‘outside of ourselves.’

Have you ever found yourself so wrapped up in a movie that you feel as if you’re actually a character in it?  Or maybe you tend to get caught up in a project at work for hours only to find that you haven’t stopped to look around, breathe, or even get up and move. We have an amazing ability to send our energy wherever we want.  When we pray or send thoughts of love and healing to someone in need, we’re sending that intentional energy out into the universe.  It is truly remarkable.  However, so much of the time, we’re unconsciously leaching energy in unproductive or even destructive ways.

Here’s a personal example. One day, I was gardening in my backyard truly enjoying the moment.  The sun was shining, the dirt smelled wonderful, and I was focused on nothing but the task at hand without wandering thoughts and distractions. Then I got a phone call about a problem with a medical bill and something the insurance company wouldn’t pay.  I was instantly projected into a place of anxiety and worry.  There was no teleportation device, and yet I was no longer in the space that surrounded me.  I no longer felt the pleasing warmth of the sun, and I allowed a single phone call to yank me out of the present and into my head.

Over the years, with much help from yoga and meditation, I’ve learned to spot those times when I allow my thoughts to beam me up into my noggin’.  At first, I used a common psychotherapy technique to bring my awareness back to the present.  I’d stop and deliberately look around at items in the room (or wherever I was), to bring my attention back to the space.   Now, I’ve become more perceptive about when I’ve allowed my attention and thus myself to wander, and I bring awareness to the wandering itself.  I become the watcher; watching the thinker.

Sometimes we try to escape the present moment on purpose because it’s too uncomfortable, but sitting with the emotion and the experience is transformative, and will allow you to move beyond it more quickly.

Whatever your habit for distraction, try to start becoming aware of when you’re NOT in the moment. That in and of itself, is presence.

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

Related Posts:

Bonus video:

Wander around yourself like a Hobbit

JRR Tolkien Quote

One of the things I love most about J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit series is the message under the message. Aside from the movie being visually stunning (I’m currently in the market for an earth shelter home in Scotland, if you know a good real estate agent), the poignant simplicity of Tolkien’s messages are beautiful reminders of what we already know to be true.

My favorite Tolkien quote is, “All who wander are not lost.”  I love this sort of “get out of jail free” card that emphasizes the value of soul-searching while comforting those who may feel they’ve never been able to fit in.

A lot of us feel we have our shit together by a certain point in our lives, and if we don’t fit a certain social norm by an invisible time-clock, we’re somehow lacking and not valuable.   And even if we DO fit the mold — Married, two+ kids, house, car and dog — we still beat ourselves up if we don’t have our personal shit together all of the time.

I don’t think we have to cast our worldly stuff aside and all become Sherpas or whirling dervishes, but why not wander around yourself for a while?  Take a look at the patterns and habits in your life that confine you.  Is there a place you’re terrified to visit?  Do you prefer the comfort of a sheltered life or perhaps you thrive in chaos?  Dive into your patterns and see what evolution may happen when you face your nooks and crannies head on.

Namaste.

– Your Charmed Yogi

Related posts:

 

(Photo: Pinterest)