Creating peace, one breath at a time…

I guess it only makes sense that this is the ONLY way to actually create peace.  With this breath, and this breath. On a recent yoga and meditation retreat, many of us spent time contemplating, discussing, and reflecting upon the idea of peace. What does it look like in real life? How will we know when we have experienced peace? And finally, what are the obstacles in the way of having peace? I’m not talking about some pie in the sky WORLD peace, simply peace of mind. Now.

For me, peace is evident on a quiet day without too many things on my ‘to do’ list or in the view of Pawtuckaway Lake crusted with ice and completely still. There is peace in nature, peace in the woods, and peace in the early morning hours before the sun rise. Peace is seeing joy and ease in the faces of those I love.

When I try to honestly consider what peace feels like, I’m immediately reminded of what it is NOT; the chaos and unrest between my ears. Peace in the outdoors is one thing… peace in my mind… a whole different thing. I have been especially curious as to why it feels so elusive. Basically, my inner quiet gets disrupted when I want things to be different; when I lose sight of contentment (Santosha). For example, sitting in a 3-hour faculty meeting when I have a long list of other ways I “should” be spending my time robs my peace. When my inner critic tells me that someone or something isn’t quite right, or when the habitual stories (real or imagined) begin to dominate my thoughts, peace feels like a lofty wish, just out of reach.

For what it’s worth, going through this exercise did help me make peace with myself. Even if it only lasts for this breath. And this one. Sooner or later, I start stringing more of those breaths together and SHAZAM!

My sincere wish for you is that you get curious about what robs you from the peaceful moments that are possible. Consider those obstacles with wonder instead of judgment and take a breath. Make peace with yourself. Merry Christmas.

“Peace – It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”

Mixed Messages

Hold on or let go? The mixed messages are not easy to discern. And so, the most prudent course is: Letting go… AGAIN! 
The plans for our yoga and wellness center have not come to fruition as hoped. We will keep the vision alive, trusting all the pieces to come together when and where it is meant to be.

 Hold on, hold on, hold on” they said,
“You’re a dandelion in the breeze,
Look what the winds of change have done
to all these autumn leaves.”

“Hold on, hold on, hold on” 
This big wide world is not for you,
Hold on for long enough
for the last gust to dance on through.”

So I “held on, held on, held on
They said that’s how you know you’re strong,
But not until I wilted,
Did I notice something wrong.

I thought holding on was bravery,
But when the winds of change do blow,
Sometimes it’s even braver still,
to let go, let go, let go.

                                                                                   by e.h. (Erin Hanson)

And what about other mixed messages? Often in relationships we encounter mixed messages. When our communication is incongruent with what our heart desires or when our body language doesn’t match what we say, there are huge gaps created. We’re up, we’re down; we’re in, we’re out; we’re moving forward, we’re standing still. I have danced with the holding on and letting go of purchasing a place for our yoga home. Each time I pushed, there was another obstacle; each time I stepped back, there was doubt. The mixed messages were paralyzing some days.

No trash for the dumpster?

This site caught my attention on a recent run. Talk about mixed messages! Did I just assume that the dumpster was for trash? Do things (and words, and actions) always have mixed meanings? I’m certainly no expert or guru on these issues, but I have found it interesting to wrestle with in my head.

Ahh. Right. What the mind can’t understand, it tries to label or organize or analyze or worse. Perhaps we look to nature for clarity when we can’t “think” the answers. Just as the trees generously “let go” and shed their leaves, we can do the same with enough practice.  Let go again. When in doubt, ALWAYS let go. “Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another.”  – Juvenal

So for now, you can join me on the path of letting go. Practice releasing, freeing, and allowing more space. Just like working on a posture, the more we practice, the more it becomes our new normal. The more we open, the more we create space in the body. And low and behold, when we let go, we make room for something new.

Love & peace to all, Molly