~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Create a crack so the Light can get in.
If you were interested enough to pick up this book, it means we have something in common. You too have experienced stress, challenge and exhaustion in your body, mind and life. Perhaps you are at the point where you are ready to do something about it once and for all. Doesn’t it feel like there has to be more to life than constant worry-hurry stress about a to-do list or feeling overwhelmed by daily life? (Can I get an Amen?) For many years I have been on my own little “fantastic journey” to figuring out how I can live my life on my own terms. I’ve tried many things to figure out how I can create sustainable happiness, peace, vitality, health and joy despite the challenges that life throws my way.
Let me start by saying that the content to follow comes from many sources: from my experiences as a wife, mother and entrepreneur, seeker, and from my formal education. A great deal also comes from being blessed with incredible teachers whose wisdom and experience engendered the ripening of my practice and study of Yoga and meditation, Ayurveda, psychology and philosophy. I also give due credit to the Teacher within: the one always encouraging me to create a path that leads me back to self-honor, peace, healing and enlightenment.
What you read may seem new to you. Hopefully, at least some of what you read may sound familiar. It’s been my experience that we need to hear things many times, in many ways, before their true meaning can become a real working part of who we are.
I have come to realize that a large portion of elevating your thoughts and habits comes from learning to make small, consistent, self-honoring choices. It is a way in: an access road to come back to yourself and to the great and infinite resources of the body you live in. Self-honoring choices go beyond thinking and are about taking the most honorable action in a moment in time. We may feel some skepticism around their actionable power, yet they have the power to give us true freedom in our lives by reconnecting and aligning us with the most powerful part of who we are. They propel us within so we can live into our fullness; our own unique sense of authenticity and flow. This is where peace, energy and fulfillment are found.
Albert Einstein once said, “Nothing happens until something moves.” Let’s agree that as long as we are alive, something is moving. Life “happens” in the flow of movement. Whether it is gross movement of the whole body, or subtle movement of breath or our pulse, we are moving, because movement is life. What often gets stuck are our thoughts, through fearful or doubtful beliefs and routine thinking patterns. When our minds get stuck, we go against the current of life, trying to slow it down in an effort to stop something from going forward. Whether it is anxiety about learning a new skill, not wanting to grow older, or not wanting a relationship or situation to end, when we fight change we usually end up frustrated. We rarely win.
If we can begin to see that change, like life, is also movement, then we can begin to resist life. Life and change cannot be separated. They are synonymous. It is up to us whether we use this change for our own betterment or decline. If we cannot find the willingness to surrender to this truth, we will continue to feel that life is not on our side and remain buried in the “stuckness” of our minds. We think and think about many things, but until we muster the courage to act, there can be no hope of progress. Being able to fully experience your own resource-full body, the one borne out of the actions of self-honoring choices, is ultimately what this book is about. My goal is to help freshen your perspective and embolden your willingness to act so you too can reframe frustration and exhaustion once and for all, and actually live each day with confidence, peace and sustainable energy.
We all struggle from time to time with our bodies, their needs and idiosyncrasies, and perhaps feel frustrated when they are not keeping up. We feel betrayed or let down. To all of you who get what I’m saying here, I offer you a way of engaging in relationship with your body, empowering you to be able to partner with it in the ways that matter most. The ways that will help you feel fortunate and excited about the time you get to live in it.
My ultimate goal is simply to share with you my own experiences and “light bulb” moments, and perhaps offer some fresh ways of seeing and choosing for your life, to help you thoroughly understand how to create your own unique and indestructible foundation by consciously choosing with self-honor. My intention is to guide you in building your skillset deeply enough to become independent on this journey to loving yourself and your life. You will eventually cultivate the skill to chart a course to the vision of what you long for in your life, filling it with what makes you feel you are living into your truest, fullest, most peaceful, energetic self. I have been on this journey for many years, and it continues to unfold for me in amazing ways.
To be truly successful, you must accept this process cannot be rushed and is built a moment at a time. Yet, I have come to realize this is one of the exact reasons my journey has been so incredible. I have been able to enjoy each step on my path to becoming. I can look back 5 minutes ago, to a month, a year or a decade ago, and see progress I have made through my own set of self-honoring choices. I have watched myself evolve, noticing how I have systematically developed my ability to ask myself new and better quality questions that yield new and better quality answers. We can learn to ask questions like, “What would happen if today I chose differently?” Or, “What do I really need right now?” By doing so, we interrupt the feedback loop of old stressful thoughts and routines and open the door to the capacity to make positive self-honoring choices.
We only grow when we create the ability to ask better questions, and take just a few more steps up our mountains to see a new view. From here, more powerful choices and eventually, habits arise naturally. All those hundreds of little glass ceilings still above your head are not long for this world when you take a committed step into investing in yourself, and choose to lovingly walk forward, hand in hand with honor-consciousness.
We have to let go of heaviness and seriousness, the energy that often looms over us when we desire change, and adopt instead the energy of honor, joyful curiosity and experimentation. These bring new qualities to life, like expansiveness, elegance and being fully present in your life so you can deeply receive and enjoy it all. When we learn what our bodies love from a place of honor, and how to partner with them in loving, conscious ways, we systematically access the best gift we can ever give ourselves: mind and body working together as an honorable, resource-full team.
For your benefit, I have created a contemplation statement that begins and ends each chapter. Essentially, these statements offer a focal point on the material and may offer another level of absorption and understanding. Some of the statements may nudge you into a deeper, more meditative mindset, or even speak to your heart. This is one more way to create an access point for this information to land in a meaningful way, and may even offer a “stretch” to your normal way of thinking. You may also find them helpful after you have read the book, as a place to go for direction or inspiration.
I encourage you as you read each chapter, to pause on the contemplation statements before going on to the next chapter. A minute or two will help you draw in the full meaning of the content as well as what it means to you. In these moments, you may awaken something new. This is the path to reclaiming hope and faith, determination, optimism and support. Even if it feels awkward or uncomfortable, this is the path of evolution.
Go with it.
Create a crack so the Light can get in.
Living in conflict
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ In every moment, begin again.
For a moment just imagine how great it would be to wake up feeling fully confident that you could handle whatever was coming your way. You would feel so calm and confident in your body and life that you would not experience the urge to hide, protect yourself from the unknown, fear the clock or anything else. You could willingly embrace the necessity to be vulnerable (the request that each day asks of us in order to grow), knowing that when you do, amazing things can happen! Imagine how it would feel to know you have control over the release of resources in your own body, that your self-honoring choices would unlock those resources that continue to provide you with energy and peace. Imagine as well how it would feel to get up each morning and have the prevailing feeling of energy, lightness, positivity and peace, knowing you can move forward with a powerful sense of fullness and joy. This would become your resource of sustainable positive energy for the day, which you could gratefully plan to use well.
Yet, that is not the way most of us feel each morning. It may feel more like time is in charge of our lives, rather than us feeling in charge of our lives. To describe our world in one word, it is fast. Just as the world is moving faster and faster, we feel we must also move faster and faster. There seems to be no reprieve and the only thing that we can count on is that we have to find a way to keep up because there is only, well, more. More to know and more to do. And let’s not forget the constant media and news driving us to distraction and hijacking our peace. Everyday it seems there is much to be anxious about, and, in ever greater ways, our list of responsibilities continues to grow.
The fact is we are not, as humans, evolving as fast as our technology and it is getting harder to keep up. Sometimes we feel like giving up. Much of this perpetual motion causes anxiety in our minds and our bodies. We fight the clock everyday and rarely win. I love the way Deepak Chopra characterizes this feeling. He calls it “time sickness.” We get caught up in the externals of life. Haunted by the past and fearful or doubtful of the future, our minds are directed away from this moment, now, and by ruminating we spin our wheels, missing our chance to take action.
We are experiencing body-related health crises through physical diseases and mind-related difficulties through many levels of depression and mental illness. Our bodies are talking to us all the time. Yet our will to “keep up” is squelching that wiser inner voice from being heard. The conflict we experience incarnates as an inability to keep up in our lives and make sense of it all. At some point what we may find shrinking is our peace, energy, deeper meaning and joy. Meanwhile, fear and doubt continue to bloom.
What is often a bitter pill to swallow is the truth: all situations are technically neutral; i.e., it is only through the projection of our beliefs and emotions that they are given unique meaning. Essentially, we create the conflict within ourselves. We each see things so uniquely. This can often present problems in people coming to agreement, though in some cases, it can be used to a purposeful advantage. An example of this is law enforcement asking for many witnesses to give accounts of crimes because we all see things a little bit differently. We can learn a great deal about ourselves as we begin to explore our current belief systems. That is why it is indeed our life’s task to develop the skill to choose honorably to self, and with such consistency, that we cultivate our ability to take life in, fully, no matter what it gives us.
Our happiness depends on it.
It is through this noble alignment and refinement that we awaken the vision to recognize, receive and respond to the gifts embedded in all the moments of our lives. Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD., has authored many books on spirituality and is the Spiritual Head of the Himalayan Institute. In his book, The Practice of the Yoga Sutra Sadhana Pada, he shares, “There is no higher achievement than discovering our pure self and no greater loss than dying without knowing who we are. When we discover our pure self we become aware of life’s purpose…this fills us with newfound vigor, vitality, enthusiasm.” Knowing this, it becomes our joy, not our burden, to walk the path of unraveling the misapprehensions we all carry that block our ability to know and access that excellence within.
What a true regret it would be to live life without ever knowing the greatness or capacity that lives within you. Your greatness is not hidden in some far away place, nor do you have to search for it outside of yourself. Self-honoring choices create a path to upgrading your life as a whole, and reconnecting you to that excellence, help you reveal, know and enjoy the buried treasure within.
In every moment, begin again.