November 2012 archive

Finding Our Natural Bliss

It’s dark! I’m writing this in New England and it feels like the middle of the night. It’s 9pm.

The shortest day has come and gone and now we can look forward to more light. Each day we get a few more minutes and just when we think we can’t take the cold and the dark anymore, it will be Spring. Of course we know this – it happens every year – but it still feels like winter is a permanent state. And every year during this time, I can’t really remember what summer is like.

Our weight loss process is a bit like this. Every day we move around – plan meals – try to eat more whole foods – meditate – step on the scale – quit – re-up our commitment – go to yoga class – weigh ourselves again – wonder why we did that – eat a healthy breakfast. And in any given small time frame – a day, a week, a month even – it can seem pointless. We aren’t where we want to be. It’s cold and dark and frustrating.

Then, of course, we have the option of taking the larger view. In the shorter days of winter I try to take a walk even if its brief while the sun is up. I get up earlier and go to bed earlier. I enjoy the day and in exchange my body and mind are happier and healthier. I accept the present and things feel better.

As we plan and enjoy our meals, do our yoga practice and find the present, we notice that eating well and breathing are really fantastic experiences that feel great. And if we keep our awareness here we find it easier to sustain. Then we wake up and it’s spring again. There is so much less effort to do what is good for us because it’s coming naturally.

Yoga is the noticing of our natural bliss.

May you find your bliss this holiday season.

With deep love and respect for you and yours,

Brandt

Every year I recommend a charity. This year I’ve picked The Northampton Survival Center, an emergency food pantry and referral service for Hampshire County that strives to improve the quality of life for low-income individuals and families by providing food and other resources with dignity and respect.

Taking Care of Ourselves is a Practice

It’s often really challenging to take care of ourselves. It can seem like the world is set up to keep our attention on everything but self care. Our daily struggles with work, family, money, relationships, commuting, responsibilities, and schedule just don’t seem to help us be on the path towards health and well-being.

There’s a piece of yogic philosophy that has helped me take care of me. It basically says that we create the world around us. This of course does not mean that you personally put Obama back in office, or that it’s your fault that your boss is an @$$%*#&. What it does mean is that every moment we have an opportunity to return to the present; take a breath and see things for what they are. When we do this, something really interesting happens – we see more possibilities. The commute becomes free time to listen to music – the boss becomes almost comical in their insistence on powerpoint – the family can wait 10 minutes while we practice in the morning, and amazingly they all survive.

To find well-being and health we need to practice. And this practice starts with a basic belief that there is always the possibility of being in the present. We can take care of ourselves while life continues to happen. Our stresses and constraints that the world has for us can exist at the same time as we find a moment, breathe, practice, and nurture ourselves.

Once we can do this for ourselves, maybe the congress will too. smile

May we all find time for ourselves.

With respect and gratitude,

Brandt