If you didn’t wake up this morning and fall completely in love with life, then consider this.
To explain this concept, I'll go into my own story a little ….
I get to work with people in an environment that is powerful. It’s powerful because the clients that come to me are amazing individuals. Mutually as a team we set up an environment that allows truth to surface and allows us all to be completely ourselves. When this environment is created and bonded between people it allows an exploration and investigation to take place.
Through the energy process we get to access parts of the client that have not surfaced consciously before and the results and patterns can be surprising. Through this process I have seen many clients dismantle diverse and broad issues but one thing that comes up so often regardless of the focus is the "should" and "shouldn’t" we all have and the limits they inflict .
Should and shouldn't seem to be a bigger issue in this world than heart disease or cancer. Not because heart disease or cancer aren’t difficult and upsetting illnesses, but because we are ALL taught should and shouldn't from early child hood. Although should and shouldn't have a purpose and are required for basic social interactions, we often have them interfering with us far more than they benefit us.
If life isn’t feeling amazing and you don’t feel your fulfilling your own destiny, life purpose or who you are then this concept may help with the process.
Most of the people who feel unsatisfied in one area or another in life are still limited by the should and shouldn’t they were taught along the way.
After working with clients who are living from this space and feeling limited by it, I looked at my own limitations—my should and shouldn’t and my dissatisfaction.
Once a limitation was that I SHOULD live a certain way and I SHOULD do so perfectly. WOW, this is a hard one because it doesn’t limit or control one area of my life, but is a general underlying issue with many things feeding from it. I am not perfect and with a ‘should’ like this hanging over me I made A LOT of decisions based on how they looked, how people perceived them, and how people reacted when I told them. That was not authentic to me or my vision of life. The result was complete lack of contentment and enthusiasm for life and disappointment.
If this sounds like one area of your life, don’t complain, moan and say "It’s just life." Look at what you are doing that is authentic. Look at what isn’t.
Once you see what isn’t authentic, I believe it’s important to know why you are carrying that belief. Understanding is empowerment and once we are equipped with the underlying issue that is causing the less authentic decision we're making, we can then make other more productive decisions to enhance our experience.
Each authentic decision we make actually makes us fall in love with life a little bit each time. It’s like we can feel the flow and are suddenly engaged with our life’s purpose.
Living life in an authentic way feels like nothing less than falling in love.
Sile began her training in India before she turned 21 and hasn't finished yet, or will she any time soon. Working with the SQ Wellness Foundation and through her holistic site www. silewalsh.com, she has helped many people find their way through their dilemmas, twists and turns. In this ever changing world Sile’s never ending quest for knowledge, is a truly inspiring outlook on life. Helping those along the way, and knowing everyone has something she can learn and grow from, this young lady has her sights set on great things. To find out more simply visit her website at www.silewalsh.com or email her Info@silewalsh.com
"The first fall of snow is not an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?" ~ J. B. Priestley
One who lives an enchanted life finds themselves transfixed by sudden, unexpected beauty and sensations. Their heart swells, filling up with the present moment. The world is infused with it; it is there, waiting for the taking. But if you don't seek it, you will miss it. All it asks of you is that you acknowledge it. The enchanted soul craves mystery, not just explanations, but the experience. We’re still rational, and probably have a keen interest in science and nature, but we have a need to touch the sacred as well, and the sacred is that wonderful dance of mystery, of being surprised.
Enchantment feeds the needs of my secular soul, leaving no void left to be filled by the endless pursuit of material things; thus, enchantment aids me in living more simply, with joy and quality. There is so much wonderment just in my backyard that there is little need to hop in the car and go to the mall.
The world is desperately seeking enchanted souls.
Bringing More Enchantment into Our Lives:
Stories enrich our lives. I was not brought up in a religious home and I always say that my morals and beliefs were shaped by literature. The books I read informed me on the complex relationships people have with each other and the world; I was rarely exposed to black and white thinking. Imagined worlds teach empathy and new points of view. You examine yourself through the lives of other characters’ philosophies, opinions, beliefs, and ethics. Self-knowledge is the gift of well-written literature.
Rhythms: There is more to life than the rhythm of the hustle and bustle of getting things done. There is the subtler, cyclical, and always present rhythm of nature. It is there even in the cities. I urge you to pay attention. What birds visit you in the month of May? October? Learn their names. When do certain flowers bloom? Get out in nature on a regular basis, visiting the same spots and noting the changes throughout the year. Learn about some of the plants in your area.
Rituals and Practices: It’s difficult for me to write about rituals and practices because for me they are interwoven throughout daily life, so the spirit of ritual is present in everything when done in mindfulness. Think of observing the seasons or preparing a comforting meal for loved ones. These two rituals are interwoven if you plant a garden and eat in season—every aspect of everyday enchantment is part of a whole.
Senses: You engage enchantment through the senses. It is important to find a balance between self-denial and self-indulgence. You may find that what you do indulge in, you experience more fully, and the simplest things give you the greatest joy. That is the beauty of discipline. Meditation, for example, is not meant to remove yourself from experience; it is met to bring you closer to the present experience by eradicating your outdated attachments to your ideas or past.
Sacred Space: Your sacred space may be where the bread rises. Your sacred space may be a grove of trees. Your sacred space may be that apartment you dream about in Paris. Your sacred space may be wherever your loved ones are.
I suffer from wanderlust, but the more dominate part of me is a homebody. These seemingly opposite desires are not negative. It is one thing to be content, and another to be stagnating. This dynamic keeps things interesting! But as I sometimes say, my apron is central to the kind of magic I work; therefore, I need a place to hang it. Your sacred space is a source of comfort, refuge, renewal, creativity, and nourishment.
It’s important to find your sacred spaces and return to them regularly, if that’s not physically possible, then in the mind; after all, daydreaming is an important part the enchanted life!
Beauty: Beauty sometimes gets a bad rep in spiritual circles. There’s advice against adornment, dancing, and sensual engagement. You may get looked down upon if you read Vogue during your next yoga retreat. But to deny the importance of beauty is to deny life its fullness.
For the sake of efficiency and the bottom-line we endure a lot of ugliness in our lives and in the world. We want stuff, we want it now, and we want it cheap! We endure poorly written TV shows, fickle fashions and beauty ideals, quick-fix self-help programs. We are starved for deep and meaningful experiences of beauty.
When we neglect beauty, we disinherit the soul. We suffer when we adapt to a life without beauty. Why else would so many North American women be attracted to the French, the French woman in particular, with their joie de vire and je ne sa quos. In our minds they have something we lack. And that something is knowing how to live with beauty—it is a top priority. Now, this may just be stereotyping French culture—but the fact that it persists says something about us.
Learn to linger over that which seizes your soul with its beauty. Beauty is a form of nourishment. Enjoying beauty is a contemplative action. Cultivate inner beauty, beauty of the heart, and kindness.
Beauty touches, or should touch, every facet of our lives: in how we relate to each other and the environment (natural and man-made), how we take care of ourselves, how we work and play, our stories, our spiritual practices, the objects we surround ourselves with, and our dreams and imaginations.
Creativity: Creativity is everywhere in an enchanted life and very closely tied to Beauty and the Senses. I entwine creativity in my life through cooking, gardening, yoga, dance, dress, and writing. I also like to be around creative people and creative work. Of course the greatest masterpiece of all is nature and human love.
Final Word – On Being Human: None of the practices of everyday enchantment mean anything if you can’t accept yourself or everyone else. We live in a culture where we are constantly judging and comparing ourselves to others, trying to measure up to a manufactured human ideal.
No one’s life is perfect. We all hide the “bad stuff” and share the good stuff on Facebook. We’re always hungry for more, for better, for improvement, never just satisfied with things as they are. Indeed, some think “satisfied” is a lower rung on the ladder and instead strive for extraordinary, because the simple pleasures in life are just too boring or don’t provide an adrenaline rush for we are already moving too fast: moving too fast to get any real pleasure out of living. We pass the time by getting a momentary rush out our latest acquisition, self-improvement project, home redesign, or action-packed adventure.
The world is desperately seeking enchanted souls. Will you answer the call?
To read more December articles, click the orange arrow below that says, "Previous."
Grace Bezanson lives and creates nourishment in her handmade home in beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada. She blogs about yoga, nature, and finding enchantment in everyday life at http://gracefulsimplicity.blogspot.ca/
Last Thursday, I gave myself permission to take a hot bath. In the middle of the day. With piles of laundry yet to be washed, a dog that desperately wanted a walk, and a dinner plan yet to be determined. I ran a deep, hot bath, added a few drops of lavender essential oil, lit a candle, and stepped in.
The tub is set in the corner of the room with large windows framing two sides, frosted below for privacy, and open to the sky on top. Lying back, I could see a triangle of roof with the downspout attached, a few bare tree branches, and grey sky. We have enjoyed a lot of sunshine in the last week and temperatures in the upper 50s, but today was grey with spitting rain and that soft light that makes it impossible to tell what time of day it is without consulting a clock.
As I let my thoughts drift away a smile appeared on the right side of my lips. My nostrils flared slightly and the left side of my mouth followed until I was positively grinning. For no reason. I hadn’t just remembered something funny or sweet or thought about something exciting in the near future. I just smiled.
As I pondered this strange, unprompted grin, I recalled something my nine-year-old said to me once. And I finally understood what she meant.
When she said it, we were leaving the hospital after having just paid a visit to her favorite teacher. Mrs. H had suffered a severe bout of pain and dizziness the night before and was rushed to the ER and evaluated for a stroke. She was disoriented and confused and, at the time of our visit, still in some measure of discomfort. And the doctors had no real answers. Despite that, she was delighted to see Lola and I walk in to her room and she immediately squeezed us both tightly and began talking in her rushed, irreverent way. The three of us were laughing within minutes and Lola perched on the side of the hospital bed with Mrs. H’s arm draped over her. We bounced from topic to topic, dipping our toes in the waters of concern, but mostly skipping lightly around school, pets, and things we were looking forward to. When Mrs. H began to get tired, Lola and I left, promising to check back later in the day.
As we walked down the hospital corridor, I began to feel a bit melancholy. I caught glimpses of other patients, lying in bed asleep with mouths agape, struggling to get out of bed, pushing IV poles down the hallway as they steadied themselves against a nurse or a loved-one. I thought about Mrs. H and all she has meant to us and our family over the years and found myself sending an urgent wish out to the Universe that she heal quickly and completely. I was lost in my own thoughts until I felt Lola’s bouncing gait next to me and looked at her.
She was half-walking, half-skipping down the hall, bopping her head from shoulder to shoulder and singing a little song under her breath. Her eyes twinkled with mischief and she wore a huge grin.
“What are you so happy about, little one?” I asked, relieved. I had originally resisted bringing her, worried that it might upset her to see her beloved teacher sick or in pain.
Lola stopped mid-stride, cocked her head up at me in confusion and let out a laugh.
“Mom. You don’t need any reason at all to be happy. You need a reason to be sad or upset or angry, but you can be happy just because you’re happy.”
I laughed, too, thinking that it was such a “Lola” thing to say. She truly believes it. She lives it.
It wasn’t until today in the bathtub that it sank in for me. As the smile crept across my face, the first thought I had was, ‘what are you smiling about?’ The answer that came to me first was, ‘Nothing.
Life is the consummate lover - ready, willing, giving and calling you to see, to hear, to enjoy, to love and to be loved. Are you a lover of life in return - aware, seeing, hearing, savoring, living, loving and sharing?
Maybe the strain and pull of day-to-day life and its countless demands has rendered you lukewarm towards the essence of life and all that it whispers, shouts and offers. If this is your attitude and relationship with life, use the following suggestions to get fall in love with life. .
1. Acquaint yourself with the essence of life. Much of what life wants to show and tell you, you already know. You have already experienced many of her joys, blessings, gifts. It is just that in your mad rush to keep pace with your world and the world at large (family, friends, peers, innovators, experts, professionals, technology...), you have not taken the time to name, count, be grateful for, savour and share the joys, blessing and gifts of life. Begin with what comes immediately to mind - the day-to-day moments, tasks, responsibilities, activities that lay claim to your attention, time and energy. They will give you a hint of how life treats you lovingly, tenderly.
2. Engage with life every day. Love cannot thrive and flourish in the absence of attention and nurturing. Life degenerates into “just life” when you fail to dance, swim, live and love in its beauty and wonder. To dance, swim, live and love with life again, be grateful every day.
3. Schedule special times for special activities. Love grows and strengthens by leaps and bounds, when you spend quality time together. Set a regular time and place to enjoy life’s greatest blessing to you. Make an appointment to explore the other blessings, joys, wonders, and promises that life holds before you. Elizabeth Gilbert wrote, “Eat, Pray, Love”. Choose your own title for your relationship with love. For example: Wake, Give thanks, Share.
4. Keep a record; leave a legacy. Even if you are not a writer or an avid journal writer, you can still keep a record of your relationship with life. Consider what a legacy you will leave for your loved ones to read, relish and share. You don’t necessarily have to write detailed, daily entries. Write only what your heart leads you to record and write with passion.
5. Share your love of life with someone else. Do you have a family member or friend who is also passionate about life? Then love life together. Share activities, discoveries, experiences and blessings. You’ll share two benefits:
• When you share the heartaches that no doubt come with all relationships, you not only have a ready shoulder to cry on and a sympathetic ear to listen to your woes. You also divide the sorrows. Your partner in loving life (spouse, sister, mother, friend), understands and carries a portion of the pain, allowing you time to heal at a more comfortable pace.
• Even more important, you will multiply joys. Can you imagine the abundance, the overflow, when joys multiply as you share them with another lover of life?
6. Encourage others to love life. A good thing can’t remain a secret for too long or it will lose its appeal and vibrancy. Tell someone, anyone about your love for life. Share how you live that love every day and encourage that person to develop his or her own relationship with life. Often, you will discover that the people who accept your invitation to love life becomes a friends, a confidants, a brothers or sisters, kindred spirits in your life journey and you in theirs.
Cheryl is a freelance writer, whose essays, feature articles and columns have been published online and in print since 1998. Cheryl's weekly column, Wright Words of Wisdom, debuted in September 2006 in the WomanWise magazine - a Sunday pullout in the Trinidad Guardian Newspaper. You can catch up on the column here : http://www.guardian.co.tt/category/byline-authors/cheryl-wright Website: Cheryl Wright - Perspectives Cheryl's column here focuses on "Womanly Wisdom."
Seven Essentials for the Journey to Our Dreams By Cheryl Wright
A dream stirred, awakened and called us to pursue it. Are we game for the journey?
Here are seven essentials for the journey.
Faith – We are not going to get anywhere without faith. It will keep us hopeful in the dark hours, when we are knee-deep in doomsday scenarios. We need faith that God will go before us, walk beside us, carry us when the going gets rough and whisper sweet encouragements to our hearts.
Facts – No man considers a journey without the necessary information to make it worthwhile and successful. We have the world at our fingertips. Let us milk it for what we need to know, to ensure that we are creative, efficient and productive every step of the way.
Fear – Irrational fear does not count; let us forget those. We should dismantle the fear that paralyzes us and keeps us from enjoying the thrill of discovery and accomplishments. However, we need the healthy fear - the one that keeps us on your toes, always looking for ways to improve, challenge and motivate ourselves in the face of negativity. Freedom – We need some freedom to pursue the dreams that call us. However, home and family responsibilities, work commitments, community obligations and miscellaneous demands that crop up from time to time can eat away at our freedom. One way to claim or reclaim that freedom is to put our dreams on par with other items on our to-do lists. Just as we schedule time for other commitments, we must schedule time for our dreams. Just as we conserve energy for our responsibilities, we must save energy to work at our dreams.
Form – Any venture calls for stamina and if our form, our physical form is weak, we will fall short of the dream we want to achieve. A healthy lifestyle, which incorporates balanced meals and regular exercise, ensures that we are in top form for the rigors of the journey to our dreams.
Friends – It does not matter if we have one, two, or a handful. We need the love, support and encouragement of friends, who understand what we want and what we are willing to do and endure to achieve it. We can’t allow the skeptical friends to throw us off course. We could comfort ourselves with the thought that they don’t quite get it, at least not yet. We could keep them apprised of our plans and progress, appreciate their guarded support and hope they will come around eventually.
Fuel –Inevitably, we’ll grow weary from the planning, the striving and the time it takes to achieve the small successes. It makes sense therefore, to stop at regular intervals to refill our tanks with the appropriate fuel to nourish, re-vitalize and re-energize us on all levels
It takes determination and courage to leave the comfort of our predictable lives to pursue a dream. However, if we have what we need, we might be more inclined to venture out, despite the mental, physical and emotional hindrances.
I have given you seven essentials. Are you game to pursue your dream?
A Guest Author and Book Giveaway: Sara Avant Stover
The Way of the Happy Women: Living the Best Year of Your Life
I'm always on the lookout for books and authors that help women connect with their truest selves in practical ways. Enough theory and airy fairy stuff! We want to know what works—especially to be happy because we all want that, right? A shining example of "sidewalk spirituality" as I call it is The Way of the Happy Woman and its author, yoga teacher, Sara Avant Stover. This book is a genuine treat if you are a practical Chick like me and you're open to helpful "applications" sourced in a variety of spiritual traditions.
So what is "the way of the happy woman," according to its author? Ms. Stover, says this:
"It is an ancient way of living in harmony with oneself and one’s surrounding as a feminine being in the modern world. This requires simplifying, slowing down, aligning with the rhythms and cycles of nature, and living from the inside out through the self-care practices of seasonal yoga, meditation, lifestyle, and nutrition. The Way negates the need to fix or perfect oneself and instead embraces radical acceptance and self-love. It leads women home to their essential natures—radiant, indestructible happiness."
I am truly enjoying this book because it blends the ancient tools of yoga, meditation, cooking, and balanced living for today's woman. It offers a cohesive "program" for staying on the path of your best life by connecting organically with the the seasons, for one. I've always believed that women's lives are best served when we can flow with the rhythms of spring, summer, fall and winter and align ourselves with their wisdom.
I'm delighted to be featuring Sara's thoughts here on "The Power of Silence." Read, leave a comment, and you'll be entered into a drawing to WIN a copy of her book! Enjoy and be blessed!Shhhhhh .....
The Power of Silence
Silence is the container out of which your intuition can reveal herself. When your mind’s racing, when the music is blaring, or when a garbage truck is barreling down the street, it’s very hard to hear the subtle promptings of your inner wisdom. In a world where each moment can easily be filled with making phone calls, checking email, or sending text messages, short periods and, eventually, longer stretches of silence are imperative for cultivating a rich inner world.
Each winter during my annual women’s retreat I inform students during our opening circle that we will observe silence every day from 9:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m. and that for the duration of the retreat they are requested to relinquish their reading materials, stay off their computers and cell phones, and keep the TV and DVD players off. Although they’ve been told about this beforehand, I can still see the color drain from their faces when I share the morbid news! I know, I know: it can be terrifying to strip away the things that keep us busy and to face what’s inside us. Open space is scary, and we want to fill it to find comfort. But once people actually do clear away distractions, they learn to fall in love with silence and spaciousness.
Silence recharges your batteries by stripping away the excess sensory stimulation from the outside world. It provides a container in which you can hear the voice of your soul. It’s the medicine that most of the world needs right now — and fears.
Here are some ways to bring more sacred silence into your life:
∞ Spend the early-morning hours — until after breakfast — in silence. Don’t check email, and turn off the ringer on your phone (and/or turn off your cell phone). If you live with others, get them on board, and practice relating to one another in a different way — through loving touch, notes, and glances.
∞ Eat one meal a day alone — without reading, listening to music, surfing the Web, or watching TV. If you have children, do it once a week or every other day. Alternatively, have a solo breakfast or lunch when the kids are at school or napping.
∞ Go on a technology fast one day a week. Stay away from your phone, computer, TV, iPod, even any sort of reading materials. Spend time outside, get out your art supplies, take a yoga class. Go for a bike ride, or have a picnic with your family. Sit outside and do absolutely nothing.
∞ Go on a silent retreat at least once a year.
∞ Have a silent retreat at home for one hour, half a day, a full day, or a weekend (I’ll give you instructions on how to do this in parts 2 to 5).
∞ Set your phone so that calls automatically go to voice mail. Then choose when you want to call people back.
Ultimately silence becomes a serene stillness that you carry inside you — even as you cross the street in Times Square.
Sara Avant Stover is the author of The Way of the Happy Women: Living the Best Year of Your Life (New World Library) and a teacher and mentor to women around the world on wellness, spirituality and lifestyle. Steward of her own bliss, she’s truly happy some days and fakes it ‘til she makes it on others. Visit her online at www.TheWayoftheHappyWoman.com
If you're a personal/spiritual growth aficionado, you'll recognize her books in a nanosecond. They boast colorful, handwritten prose that leaps off the page with a zest for life.
SARK—Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy—has become one of today's most beloved writers and teachers. She is a best-selling author and artist, with sixteen titles in print and well over two million books sold, including the national bestsellers Succulent Wild Woman, Bodacious Book of Succulence, Eat Mangoes Naked, Prosperity Pie, and Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper. Her newest book is Glad No Matter What.
I'm delighted to say that I had the most wonderful conversation with SARK a few months ago in celebration of this new book, which is suitably and simply nicknamed, "Glad..."
For it is just that. A ripe invitation for us to be glad—in touch with all the good parts of our feelings, even the hard ones—when times are tough. Especially when times are tough!
And in trademark SARK fashion, she shows us how to do all of this with creativity and verve through journaling, artistic expression, list making, ritual enacting, and reflection. She invites us to "say what is," not hide from ourselves and our feelings, and allow our "wise self" to rise up and pave the way for healing.
So how DO we get glad—no matter what?
As a Guest Mentor for "Buddha Chick Life," SARK offers us 2 recorded teachings. In this Issue's podcast (9 min.), she guides us into an early exploration of:
• the "Gifts of Loss" • living in "the messy middle" of emotions • "responding" not "reacting" to life so we don't live in the extremes
To listen, you will have to paste this URL into your browser: