Life’s Lessons

I had a birthday a few days ago and it got me thinking about the many things I’ve learned in my 50 + years of living. Here are some of my thoughts;

  • I’ve learned that my kids have as much to teach me as I do them
  • I’ve learned that even the person serving me coffee can inspire me(I have never seen her without a genuine smile)
  • I’ve learned that love lasts! ….even after the relationship ends
  • I’ve learned that no matter how difficult things can get…life is still really good and so beautiful
  • I’ve learned that it’s okay to show your true colors…your real friends will love you anyway
  • I’ve learned that people (and pets) can speak volumes without saying a word
  • I’ve learned to really notice the many wonderful things in my life
  • I’ve learned to find more wide awake moments
  • I’ve learned not to take anything for granted…life can change in a heartbeat.
  • I’ve learned that it’s never too late to say you’re sorry.
  • I’ve learned that if I stay close to my practice, everything in my life is better.

Star Gazing

Have you ever sat outside on a clear night and looked at the stars? It’s amazing that as you stare out into the vastness, the stars become brighter and you see more the more you look!
It dawned on me that our practice is just like that. When we embark on the journey of yoga or meditation, we are quite often overwhelmed with all there is to focus on. Our awareness of all that we’re feeling is foggy. But as our practice grows, and our focus becomes stronger, we notice more, we feel more!
It’s wonderful to understand this! So much of our practice is repetitive, but it can feel brand new if we come to our mats with the intention of noticing and listening to what we feel.
“The more you look…the more you’ll see”.

Love the Life You Live

 As I’ve grown and become more aware and awake in my life through Yoga and Meditation, I have learned to turn inward and observe myself. Not just how I’m being or moving in a yoga posture, but how I’m moving and being in life. For many years I was not happy. I was waiting. Waiting for the right partner, the right amount of money, the perfect job. I was waiting for someone or something to come along and make me whole. But with inward reflection(Pratyahara) I realized that I was the one I’d been waiting for. I needed to take responsibility for my life and learn to “Love the life I am living”. Now. In the midst of all life’s struggles, I strive to love the life I live every day. I find joy in my life and look for the good in each day.  The more I look, the more I see. I am happy.

Have you loved well?

I was listening to some tunes on my Ipod today and a song by Sheryl Crow came on called Detours.  There is a line in the song that says…”Lord teach me to love, with a paper thin heart…”. It got me to thinking about what that meant and how sometimes it can be difficult to keep your heart open, not blocked, vulnerable (“paper thin”).I recalled a passage by Jack Kornfield where he reflects on what is really important in our life. He wrote “when you look back at the end of your life one of the questions you will want to ask yourself   is have I loved well?”.  I sat with that thought and asked myself , “ Have I?”  Have I remained open to love…all kinds of love, even through the heartaches I’ve experienced? There was a time when I would have had to say no. But yoga has taught me to open my heart again. To forgive and let go of hurt. I now feel more deeply and passionately than I ever have. I move through my life with a “paper thin’ heart that is full, vibrant and extremely grateful.

The Posture Never Ends

 Since my last post, (wow..was it really April) we have opened our second studio in Worcester.  While exciting and fun, it has also been very challenging. Before opening the new studio,  there was a level of comfort that I found in running the Westboro studio. Things were running smoothly without too much effort.  I found it easy to be joyful and peaceful.

As I’ve often said in class, it’s pretty easy to find peace or grace when sitting in a quiet room with soft lighting, gentle music, etc. But what happens when we are hit with struggle? “Where do we go when it gets hard?”.   That is where the real practice begins. 

I have to admit that I have found the last few months very humbling. It has been extremely busy and very difficult to find time to practice, but I have.   I find it really hard to sit in meditation and be still, but I have.  The amount of time I can spend is less, but I have learned over the years that I cannot give it up during the difficult times, on the contrary. My practice is my sanctuary. 

Quite often when life hits us hard and we are thrown off balance we question everything, our faith, our practice, our relationships. I’ve found that my practice has had to shift some lately. But it’s important to remember that our practice and our lives are not always linear. It sometimes feels like we’re slipping back, when really we are being given new opportunities to deepen our practice. My practice of late has been about keeping the faith and not looking too far ahead. It has been about staying present and positive even when the obstacles are huge. It has been about “rearranging” my thoughts to focus on what’s going right, rather than what’s not. 

I’m reminded again that our practice continues to evolve with our lives. 

The Posture Never Ends!

Let go of worry

As I was flipping through a magazine waiting for my PT the other day, I came across an article from Edie Falco.(actress). She was asked, “if you could tell your children just one thing, what would it be”?  She replied, “I would tell them to let go of worrying”.  It got me thinking about how much of my life, especially the younger years were spent worrying. With age(and practice of course) comes the wisdom and the awareness that most things you worry about, never happen. So you learn to work on “letting go of worry”.  It’s something I practice doing, like non-judging, finding grace, being in the moment, not letting my ego get in the way, etc. I have learned to catch myself getting bogged down in worry and I work on letting it go. What I’ve learned is that this kind of thinking gets in the way. It blocks any kind of positive energy from coming in. It also takes us away from the moment we’re in. So we lose precious moments.  Try noticing for the next few weeks how often you worry. “Will there be traffic and make me late”, “what if I get sick and can’t….”, “what happens if the economy gets worse and I can’t keep my job”, “if anything happens to my child…”.

The first step in making a change, a “shift” is to become aware of the thinking or behavior that gets in the way of peace, love, joy, fun!

Awareness is the key.

Celebrate Impermanence

This past weekend two of my close friends lost family members. As I spoke with them and they shared their thoughts and fond memories of the people they loved, it reminded me of how fleeting this existence is for each of us. Death serves as a reminder to each of us to not take any one moment for granted. 

All things must pass. Death makes way for birth. It’s why we see the Spring bloom and feel such awe. We get excited and joyful about seeing the new growth all around us. We realize that the impermanence of all things makes us cherish them all the more.

Welcome to March!

Have you ever considered the saying “In like a lion, out like a lamb”?
Of course most people understand it to refer to March weather especially here in New England, cold harsh weather in the beginning of the month giving way to the warmer temperatures of Spring at the month’s end.  But it seems as though we might use that same saying to refer to our  yoga practice. How many times have you rushed into Metrowest seconds to spare before class begins, frantic and stressed out from your work day or family craziness, like a “nor-easter” blowing into the studio?  And then after an hour and a half of yoga you crawl off your mat from svasana, storm’s gone and a lamb has taken its place!
In like a lion, out like a lamb!

Namaste,

Shawn