Going with the Flow

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am not the kind of person who takes a passive approach to life.  I’m someone who creates a vision, sets goals, and focuses on pressing toward them.  I believe in sitting in the driver’s seat of life.  I believe in never taking “no” from someone who doesn’t have the power to tell you “yes”.  I am one of those people who will keep pressing on and on and, oftentimes, continue holding on during times I know I just need to quit.  I don’t mean quitting on my goals, but knowing when a situation has changed enough and perhaps leading me toward another path.   

Letting go, is one of the kriyas that I have long struggled with.  I’m sure there are many of you, like me, who feel the need to control everything in your life.  In fact, many of us try to manage the outcomes of our lives so much that we actually get in the way and sabotage the good that is flowing toward us.  Sometimes, our peripheral vision has more to show us if we just take our blinders off.  It opens us up to a bigger picture and opportunities that lie in the background. 

So, yes we need to continue to set goals or resolutions in the new year, but remember we always have the choice to re-evaluate and determine what is working for us.  When we know we’ve reached a dead-end, it’s best to back up and take a U-turn.  And an even better strategy other times?  Let go, take the passenger seat, and allow a greater force to guide us toward another destination.  I continue to learn this.

Have a Great Weekend!  

The Excitement of Change

As I enter this new year, I am full of hope and excitement. Like I mentioned in Monday’s post, I’ve learned that leaning into the many curve balls in life, prepares you for success. It is often these unexpected changes that are, in fact, the serendipitous moments that stretch you and allow you to grow. So, why do we always seem to resist change? Partly, because it is painful. It’s painful to shed an old layer of skin. It’s like a sunburn, as we wait for a new, stronger layer to emerge. But it’s a necessary part of life. It’s the only way we can become the best version of ourselves.

I wanted to include an exerpt of one of my posts from last year. The inspiration came from an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. I caught myself rewinding the last 2 minutes over and over again to hear Dr. Meredith Grey’s voiceover talk about the concept of change. I’ve included it below:

“When we say things like, ‘people don’t change’, it drives scientists crazy. Because change is literally the only constant in all of science. Energy, matter – it’s always changing……morphing……merging…….growing……dying. It’s the way people try NOT to change that is unnatural – the way we cling to what things were instead of letting them be what they are; the way we cling to old memories instead of forming new ones; the way we insist on believing, despite every scientific indication, that anything in this lifetime is permanent. Change IS constant. How we experience change……..that’s up to us. It can feel like death, or it can feel like a second chance at life. If we open our fingers, loosen our grips, go with it, it can feel like pure adrenaline. Like at any moment, we can have another chance at life…….like at any moment, we can be born all over again”.

Remember, that when we can embrace change, we have a choice to reinvent ourselves. Like, Dr. Grey says, it can feel like pure adrenaline that becomes the fuel to push us forward. When we can expect that change WILL happen, we can begin to brew some excitement at the possibilities that lie before us. We get to choose whether we resist and stay wrapped up in our comfort zone, or we can choose to fly. This year, I’m choosing to see the world from all angles and embrace the unexpected. I hope you will, too!

A Serendipitous New Year

Happy New Year, Everyone!

I am positive I’m not alone when I say, “I can’t believe 2 weeks have already gone by in the new year!” It’s true, time waits for no one. The days, months, and years continue to move on whether we, ourselves, are ready or not. I know for me, I was more than ready to turn the page to 2012.

The past year was one full of change, challenge, and unpredictability for me. It was a year filled with many tough decisions. I had to take risks in order to move forward, even when I wasn’t always sure of the outcome. Though I didn’t choose nor love all the circumstances that arose during the year, I definitely felt that they opened up deeper parts of myself. I realized that unless we have challenges brought to the surface in our lives, we never really get to tap into our entire potential. We don’t know what we are capable of unless we are stretched beyond what we think is possible. But possibilities and boundaries are limitless. When we can recognize that only our perceptions create limits, we can finally appreciate the depth of the sky.

When I thought of the year in that way, my perception of it shifted. Instead of saying “good riddence”, I thought “thank God” for some of the moments. Maybe the year ahead will be that much smoother, because I am better equipped to handle the curve balls – not to resist and dodge them all the time, but to actually lean into them, even if I don’t catch each one.

At the end of each year, I do a re-cap in my journal of my life in that particular year – the ups, the downs, experiences embarked upon, opportunities yet to be explored, and the resulting serendipitous events that occured in that year. Serendipity is defined as, “making fortunate discoveries by accident or while searching for other things”. If we believe that life is a series of experiences that we are always learning and growing from, then each event in our life can be viewed as serendipitous, can’t it? Perhaps, we don’t see the fortuitousness in it until later, but maybe every cloud does, in fact, have a silver lining.

Like the rest of you, I am excited for a fresh, new start in 2012. I’m not one to set resolutions, but I do try to create some vision in my mind for what I want to do, be, and have by the end of the year. If it’s love I’m trying to draw into my life, how can I give it? If it’s a marathon I want to complete, what steps can I take to feel healthy and prepared for it? If I know for sure what I don’t want in my life, how can I seek out opportunities for what I do want? If we all keep our hearts and eyes open, and not fear the curve balls, we will know that serendipitous events occur all the time throughout the year.

Deepali’s Piece of Wellness: Think about how the past year has prepared you for an even better year ahead. What tools do you have today, that you could only have obtained by your experiences from the past year? Where do you envision yourself at the end of 2012?

Warm Holiday Wishes

I wanted to take this moment to extend my warmest wishes to all my readers and their families for a happy holiday season.  I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to create this site in 2011.  You have all given me so much inspiration with your visits, comments and support to keep the Wellness Kriya site alive!  My hope is that it has been a little sanctuary to visit – a place to be inspired, motivated, and empowered to live your life with the highest wellness quotient.  We each have tremendous strength within us to navigate through all of life’s challenges and enough grace to relish in the goodness of it.  

For 2012, I challenge YOU to take risks in your life that expand you further than you thought possible, fuel your soul by exercising your mind and body, live authentically in the present moment, know that change is inevitable, and learn to embrace it by letting go of all that does not serve you, believe in spirit and be encouraged that something larger is working on you, through you and for you, be grateful for all that flows into your life.  May your lives continue to flourish in unimaginable ways!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You! 

Broadening Your Perspective

I recently watched an interview with Oprah and Mark Nepo, author of the best-seller, “The Book of Awakening“.  For anyone looking for a book full of small vignettes of inspiration, this is your book. 

As we finish our discussion on navigating through the pain and struggles of life, I wanted to share an excerpt from Nepo’s book, as he puts the concept of pain in perspective.

How Does it Taste?

An aging Hindu master grew tired of his apprentice complaining, and so, one morning, sent him for some salt.  When the apprentice returned, the master instructed the unhappy young man to put a handful of salt in a glass of water and then to drink it. 

“How does it taste?” the master asked.

“Bitter,” said the young man.

Peyto Lake

The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake.  The two walked in silence to the nearby lake, and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, “Now drink from the lake”. 

As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked, “How does it taste?” 

“Fresh”, remarked the apprentice. 

“Do you taste the salt?” asked the master. 

“No”, said the young man. 

At this, the master sat beside this serious young man who so reminded him of himself and took his hands, offering, “The pain of life is pure salt;  no more, no less.  The amount of pain in life remains the same, exactly the same.  But the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in.  So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things….Stop being a glass.  Become a lake”.

Each of us, at different times in our lives, will experience some pain and struggles.  As raw and real as the experiences are, Nepo teaches us that when we broaden the space in our minds to house the pain, we start to taste the sweetness of life that still exists.

Living In Between the Answers

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. 

Do not now seek the answers which cannot be given to you, because you would not be able to live them.  And the point is to live everything. 

Live the questions now.  Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”   -Ranier Maria Rilke

I first heard this quote read by my yoga instructor at the end of one of our sessions.  It got me thinking about how much we try to make sense of things that happen around us – especially, when they involve pain and suffering. 

We spoke Monday about learning how to ride the wave of our lives.  How do we navigate through the inevitable turmoil, stress, and pain that are part of the natural wave?  What can we do to nurture ourselves as we move through the challenges?  I came up with a few strategies.

1.  Take a moment.  Give yourself permission to feel what you’re feeling.  If emotions arise, let them come to the surface, instead of pushing them down.  Take time out of your day to be still – even if it’s only for a few minutes.  Too often, we try to fill our days so we don’t have to feel, when in reality, giving our emotions the space they need, will help cleanse the mind. 

2.  Move your Body.  We all know how closely linked our minds and bodies are.  During times of high stress, exercising is a great remedy.  Maybe you take a walk outdoors and breathe in some fresh air.  Perhaps, you sign up for a yoga class.  Maybe you recruit a good friend to be a running buddy.  Make some form of exercise a priority.

3.  Find Support.  Remember, we can’t go through life alone.  Lean on the people in your life that you trust and who have your best interest at heart.  Share your feelings, and allow them to be your safety net.  Often, we will find that those closest to us have gone through similar circumstances and give us solace that we are not alone.  Sometimes, that’s enough.

4.  Focus on Gratitude.  This is such a powerful tool to help us through any tough time.  Remind yourself of the things that are going right in your life (and, I guarantee, there are MANY).  I have a gratitude journal that I keep.  You may want to start by writing 5 things you are grateful for when you first start your day or before you go to bed.  There will soon be a shift in your perception.

5.  Feed your Soul.  There are many different ways to do this.  Give your soul the love it needs.  What are the simple things that give you pleasure?  Maybe it’s taking a warm bath or booking a massage for yourself.  Maybe you relish reading a good book on your couch.  Perhaps, you spend some quality time with your spouse or kids cooking a meal together.  How about that painting class you’ve been meaning to sign up for?  Whatever it is that brings you some small level of joy, provide it to yourself. 

6.  Accept Where You Are.  This is challenging for many of us.  We want so badly to be out of our circumstance.  But when we can fully embrace this time as just part of our journey, we realize that the wave never stands still.  It is always moving forward, as we will, too.    

Can you create some space to live between the answers?  Can you live and love the questions that arise? 

Searching for the Wave

In life, there are always ebbs and flows.  Just as the ocean waves have peaks and troughs, so do our life circumstances.  We all have stressors in our lives and situations that can bring about pain.  They could be physical discomforts, such as stubbing your toe or living with chronic back pain.  They could involve emotional upheavals, such as the end of a relationship or a painful past that you have yet to face.  There could be financial turmoil or the death of a loved one that prompts you to question your spiritual beliefs.  

Many people in my life have recently gone through life-changing circumstances, including myself.  The questions are always so similar.  How do I get through this?  What is this supposed to mean?  Which way do I go?  I was counseling someone the other day on moving through the pain.  I’ve learned that the only way out is through.  That literally means being present in full form, taking one day at a time, one step at a time, one breath at a time.  It doesn’t mean that you have the answers, and most likely you won’t for some time.  It means that you just take the next step in the right direction.  That might mean that you commit to getting out of bed every morning, and that’s it.

They say that out of pain comes growth and transformation.  It’s difficult to believe when you’re in the midst of it all.  However, for many, it is a pivotal time in their lives.  It may be the first time that they reflect or ask questions of themselves that they couldn’t have imagined asking.  It involves exercising the mind in a completely different way.  It may feel sometimes like you’re walking directly into the fire.  Elizabeth Lessor, author of the best-seller, “Broken Open”, speaks about this beautifully in her book.  When we begin to take the next step in the right direction through our pain, we will eventually begin to feel subtle rises in our soul and in the wave of our lives.  **Check in Wednesday for some tips on navigating through stressors and painful times.

Deepali’s Piece of Wellness:  Think back to a time in your life that you were in pain – physically, emotionally, or mentally.  How did that shape who you’ve become today?  Was there anything you learned from it?  If you’re in the midst of pain, can you tune into your breath, if only for a few moments?