Balance in Grilled Cheese
By Laura Mills
I try to eat as healthfully as possible, and in an ideal world I would feed my daughter only good-for-you foods like fresh veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins. But since most children’s menus I’ve so far seen haven’t offered much besides chicken fingers, burgers, or corn dogs, when we’ve gone out I’ve usually just given her some of my own entrée. The last time we went out, I settled for grilled cheese off the children’s menu—with carrots instead of fries, in my mind redeeming her dinner at least a little. When the meal arrived my daughter ate a few nibbles…and I wound up devouring the greasy, gooey, oh-so-delicious remainder.
So often I’ve found myself at one extreme of an all-or-nothing spectrum, such as thinking foods are either “good-for-you” or “bad-for-you.” I either want to finish a task or I don’t want to start. I either eagerly anticipate an event or despairingly dread it. But since becoming a parent I’ve noticed the need to consciously search out more middle destinations…. It’s a concept I learned at the beginning of my yoga practice: the finding of a comfortable, peaceful rhythm during a dance of up and down, inhale and exhale, hold and release, strength and softness. I’ve practiced it in my body for years but only recently have begun to adapt it to my life.
While preparing for my daughter ‘s adoption, I knew becoming the parent of a toddler literally overnight would be tricky. And since her arrival I’ve had to redefine pretty much every expectation I had of myself, as I’ve learned no way exists to maintain each and every ideal one-hundred percent of the time. Instead, life has a new and much more dynamic rhythm…. I put as much time into my classes as I can; I write my blogs and articles when—if—my daughter naps; my house is reasonably clean and inarguably could be cleaner; another load of laundry will always be waiting; I try to eat as healthfully as possible, but yes, good old-fashioned grilled cheese IS delicious. It’s almost as if each day is a separate yoga practice, really. And with balance and a little self-love, I find peace.
Don't Expect Anything
Don't Expect Anything
By Laura Mills
One of the first things my husband and I wanted to do upon arriving at our vacation destination was a sight-seeing river cruise. We found the correct pier, bought tickets, and boarded the boat for a 1-hour river tour. We were supposed to return to the same pier at the tour's end, but we noticed at that time that the bodn't stop. A few moments later, one of the guides told us over the intercom that our pier and others nearby had been closed in the last hour due to a rowing race, the participants of which would pass that way along their route. In the meantime, our boat had to wait on the opposite side of the river for however long it took all the race participants to row past.
This occurred at 4pm on the first day of our trip. My husband and I had landed in the city at 7:30 that morning and hadn't had a significant sleep or meal since early the day before. By then, all we wanted to do was disembark, freshen up, and find a restaurant. Then the boats started passing. I had never seen a rowing race before; suddenly, there we were on a boat near the south bank of a river in the middle of a beautiful city watching this race. And better than even front-row seats, we were watching the action from the level of the race itself.
It wound up being very, very, very cool, not a bad way to start a vacation after all, and another reminder that sometimes we just literally have to go with the flow
SURRENDER YOUR EXPECTATIONS
April 2, 2011. Count how many times you’ve set an expectation in the last 24 hours? About the weather, your job, your partner, your children, your family? And then compare that to how many times the reality matched your expectation.
How did that make you feel?
When we have decided in advance how someone else is going to act or how a situation is going to be we open ourselves up to suffering when the reality doesn’t match our expectation. In yogic philosophy this attachment to expectation is a root cause of human suffering.
Focused inward another name for expectation is Self-Judgment. This critical prism of judging ourselves in advance of the outcome and again with the result only brings more disappointment.
We would do well to heed the advice of Eckhart Tolle in the Power of Now who writes, “When you surrender to what is and so become fully present, the past ceases to have any power. The realm of Being, which has been obscured by the mind, then opens up. Suddenly, a great stillness arises within you, and an unfathomable sense of peace. And within that peace, there is great joy. And within that joy, there is love.” This practice on and off the mat helps us to see clearly without making happiness dependent upon our expectations. This acceptance for sure brings about inner peace, joy and love.
So that no matter what the world presents we know we can manage remaining quiet and centered at our center. "Accepting means you allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling at that moment. It is part of the isness of the Now. You can't argue with what is. Well, you can, but if you do, you suffer." (Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth)
Who goes on to write “To offer no resistance to life is to be in a state of grace, ease, and lightness. This state is then no longer dependent upon things being in a certain way, good or bad. It seems almost paradoxical, yet when your inner dependency on form is gone, the general conditions of your life, the outer forms, tend to improve greatly.” Try it for a week or even a day where you surrender your heavy expectations of yourself and others and live with less resistance to this isness of now and then decide if its worth going back to again living with the burden of expectation for even a day longer. Love yourself, love your day, love your ilfe, Silvia
TODAY’S SWEET PLAYLIST
Gobinday Mukunday, Spirit Voyage Artists
In Another Time, Sade
Miss Teardrops, Felix Laband
Allah Hoo, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Yara Seeli Seeli, Lata Mangeshkar
Express Yourself, Mocean Worker, Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street
Mr Big Stuff, Jean Knight
In The Colors, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals
Blind to You, Collie Buddz
Jet Lag, Joss Stone
Butterflyz, Alicia Keys
In A Sentimental Mood, Nancy Wilson with Hank Jones
Shavasana/Deep Relaxation, Shiva Rea
YOUR LOVE MUSCLE
February 19, 2011. I make the time for important stuff like googling LOVE MUSCLE. Interestingly enough here is the best advice I found in looking after your Love Muscle:
1. Locate the love muscle
2. Remember to breath
3. Don't overdo it
4. Results should show in 8-12 weeks
That's pretty good advice that could easily apply to yoga as well. In yoga we always work our Love Muscle. The love muscle is our mind. We work our mind muscle by focusing our thoughts on positive expectations. Shakti Gawain says it like this, “When we create something, we always create it first in a thought form. If we are basically positive in attitude, expecting satisfaction and happiness, we will attract and create people, situations, and events which conform to our positive expectations.” The more we practice using our muscles the stronger we get. In yoga class we move and breath practicing making our minds stronger. Brian Tracy says, "Winners make a habit of manufacturing their own positive expectations in advance of the event.
I understand maintaining a positive expectation is not easy. Yoga stretches our mind muscle, it teaches us how to connect with ourselves and accept the sense things make or make sense of things as they are.To me this is the ultimate definition of yoga: anything that wakes you up to who you really are, that makes you more aware of your life, that which works our love muscle. Love yourself, Love your day, Love your life! Silvia
PS Here is the salutation we practiced to stretch our mind through our body.
7th Chakra Namaskar
*Start standing in Mountain with HASTA VINYASA – “Conductor arms”
INHALE – Reach arms down and out lift left knee Crane
EXHALE – Arms to sides and reach forward Flying Lunge
INHALE – Low Lunge circle arms out and up
EXHALE – Half Splits circle arms down and out
INHALE – High Lunge circle arms forward and up
EXHALE – Prepare
INHALE – Warrior 3 circle arms down and out
EXHALE – Crane circle arms forward and up, lower foot to Mountain
Side 2 begins
PATIENCE MAKES US FUNKY
NOVEMBER 19, 2010. Yoga has without a doubt made me more patient. Don't get me wrong sometimes it's still hard but for sure I'm better at it. What's changed? Well I don't want to feel that TUG-O-WAR with myself or with anyone else. Impatience doesn't feel good and yoga teaches the antidote to impatience is, yes you can guess, patience. Patience feels good. It feels like a return to center no matter the chaos or what other people do or don't do. It feels like compassion, peacefulness and a constant return to balance. When I am patient I feel like I can attempt anything and be my most funky self without attachment to the result. Yoga always teaches that detaching from the outcome through patience will bring peace of mind.
So rather than procrastinating what we really want to try we just do it accepting that the trying is the yummy fun part. Patience feels like unconditional love and acceptance. There are no ego issues when we are patient. You know what I mean, that feeling that if something doesn't happen right now in just the way we want it then it's not good enough. When Patient our minds stop playing the old games of pushing, pulling, creating anxiety, distrust, stress or simple heavy expectations.
Gosh if we could just take a lesson from the Moon. Do you know that that moon's trajectory follows the Sun's trajectory, only 6 months later; the full moon in winter comes as high as the Sun in the Summer. And it takes the Moon 18.6 YEARS TO FULFILL ONE COMPLETE ORBIT! I love this! If it takes the moon 18.6 years to complete 1 cycle well then in downward facing dog we really have 18.6 years to attempt it completely for one full time don't you think? If the moon requires 18.6 years to process its orbit then we can try anything new we want to and give ourselves 18.6 years to really refine it.
Yoga is NOT a quick fix. Yoga is like the cycle of the moon. It takes a long time, consistent practice and a whole lot of patience is developed while trying. So today through infinite patience may we all demonstrate unconditional love and excitement for life! Be your FUNKY Self! No need to pressure ourselves, give yourself at least 18.6 years on attempting any one thing. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
PS would love to work with you while on retreat through active life coaching and inspiration. Join me with Alchemy Tours visit my website at www.silviamordini.com
I CAN DO ANYTHING GOOD, THE POWER OF POSITIVE AFFIRMATION AND INTENTION
May 24, 2010. I started class by showing this youtube clip of advanced Yogini Jessica starting out her morning with her own affirmation ritual. She explempifies the power of intention! She clearly is setting a high expectation for her day, herself, and her life. You can’t help but be inspired by her. The Yoga practice teaches us that YOU ARE ASKING FOR WHAT YOU WANT THROUGH YOUR DOING. This life we are living right now is NOT as mere participants. This is not a passive endeavor where life is being done to us. Instead it requires active living where life is being done FOR US. If you start the day and intend for it to be amazing, you offer gratitude for everyone in your life and say to yourself I CAN DO ANYTHING GOOD, well that is you telling the universe what you want and because your message is so clear the universe will deliver. Here is what Jessica had to say:
I CAN DO ANYTHING!
I LIKE MY HOUSE!
I LIKE MY MOM!
I LIKE MY DAD!
I LIKE MY COUSINS!
I LIKE MY SISTERS!
I LIKE MY HAIR!
I LIKE MY HAIRCUTS!
I LIKE MY PAJAMAS!
I LIKE MY ROOM!
I LIKE MY HOUSE!
MY WHOLE HOUSE IS GREAT!
I CAN DO ANYTHING GOOD, YEAH YEAH YEAH
I CAN DO ANYTHING GOOD!!!
Dr Wane Dyer says, “Change your expectations for yourself: Expect the best, expect your fortunes to change, expect a miracle. Reacquaint yourself with that vision." So today how did your thoughts and actions and THIS YOGA CLASS INSPIRE YOU TO BE MOVING TOWARDS MEETING YOUR EXPECTATIONS?
This is behind the idea in yoga of Tapas. Tapas helps us to take action to fully participate and be awake to our lives. To be active means we must articulate our intentions and practice with a solid determination to hold true to our dreams and visions for ourselves. Through yoga which is a system for mental, physical, and spiritual health we have full, democratic participation. On the mat we don’t even have to push ourselves to excel, all we have to do is show up and do the practice as best we can with full hearted effort. Just take part in your life make it active, keep it active and forget about over perfecting it. Remember YOU CAN DO ANYTHING GOOD! Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
PARADOX OF YOGA 4/13/10
April 13, 2010: Yoga is funny in that it is a great paradox. We feel this in the physical sense in the juncture point of the waistline where pelvic loop and kidney loops originate. Both draw back the side bodies but the the energy splits up. The pelvic loop draws waist back and DOWN and kidney loop draws the waist back and UP. Yoga helps us to explore how to live with what the world is offering us and receive it gracefully while at the same time figuring out how to turn what is being offered into an empowered experience. But this isn't the cliché of lemons into lemonade which is just plain annoying isn't it?
Nope this is about staying centered within ourselves to a place of great depth and tranquility and remain steady no matter what life has served you today - when you most want to shut down, to remain open hearted by holding onto to that calm center. And at the same time this is in no way apathetic. We are meant to action our lives and keep evolving towards greater and greater happiness.
So we have to create an alignment between our desires and aspirations and what's really possible for us today, in this moment. If what we want and what we do and what we think are out of alignment then suffering ensues. This life of ours is asking that we learn how to hold and release and reach and expand all at the same time.
Today, how are you doing? Can you live with what the world is offering you? Peace in all ways, Silvia
INTENTION SANKALPA GROWTH AND EVOLUTION
MARCH 10, 2010: As you know I just put my house on the market. As part of this process the experts encourage you to simply, streamline, neutralize and otherwise declutter your living space. So I had this big indoor plant that got moved into the garage, then a week later I felt bad so moved it into the basement from the garage (mostly because you know plants do like light) well then I forgot to water it because it was now in the basement. This all went on for a month, just last night with the help a dear friend finally moved it outside in our 60 degree temperatures today. It finally got light, water and is not forgotten.
This plant had a strong intention and desire to LIVE! After all I put it through and changed about its surroundings it kept steadfast to the intention of surviving and thriving. I have to believe that if a plant can stay single minded in its intention we can too. So today ask yourself: HOW DOES THIS CLASS INSPIRE YOU TO BE MOVING TOWARDS MEETING YOUR EXPECTATIONS?
When we begin class and take our hands together at our hearts we create SANKALPA MUDRA a Mudra of internal commitment, a gesture of commitment in outer form and everything that goes into it is our intention. Intention is defined as setting an expectation for yourself, an expectation to your OWN GROWTH AND EVOLUTION.
Take a moment to think about deepening your breath into the commitment you've made to grow. The breath expands our connection to this promise we have made ourselves. And what I wish someone had told me a long time ago was to expect that there will be times that will be a little challenging – this is part of the growth process. Spiritual maturity comes as a result of using our expectations as little markers demonstrating our progress. And we have all COME A LONG WAY ALREADY. So on the mat we keep breathing to deepen our commitment and our intention whether the poses are easy or hard or whether we hold them a breath or a long time. We stay focused on experiencing ourselves.
The power of our intention is that focus on one clear thing. Not 50 things at the same time. It is like the Buddhist parable of how to dig for water: it is not fruitful to dig 100 holes when instead we should focus and dig 100 times in the same place and then for sure we'll strike water. So we took time to think about one pose from this practice that we woudl want to develop mastery of and promised to do it for 1-2 minutes per day for 28 days, a minimum of 28 minutes total to see if we could develop mastery in this pose and stay with one intention for this period of time.
So today, refocus your promise to yourself and the kind of life you want for yourself. And with Spring approaching let's really grow in our lives what is most important to us, to our health, to our hearts, to our peace of mind. Love the day! Silvia
PS - My plant is doing great!
THE EXPECTATIONS TRAP
JANUARY 6, 2010: It is easy to fall into the Expectations Trap this time of year. You know what I mean? That conversation we have with ourselves where we set up totally unrealistic expectations (resolutions) that would be impossible to keep. This leading us to disappointment. So right now begin to drop the heavy expectations and ask yourself what is most meaningful to you?
Allow what you care about most to shape and influence your intentions more gently. And take the time on the mat to soften the hard edges or extremes of expectations you have of yourself pose to pose. Let your heart feel the lightness and freedom of letting go of the weight of heavy expectations. This freedom is about soft expectations so we find:
- Freedom to be happier than ever before
- Freedom to try new things
- Freedom to not play it all so safe
- Freedom to do the unexpected
- Freedom to just see what happens!
This is the decade we hold ourselves more gently and live more fully! Peaceful blessings to you, Silvia
EXPECTATIONS SPACE TO RECEIVE WHAT’S BEST
OCTOBER 20, 2009: “You can’t run after contentment it has to find you, all you can do is try to create the space for it. Pay attention to what you can let go of” to create that space. What I think Judith Lasater is talking about as is interpreted by the Yoga Sutras is to drop our heavy expectations. You know those expectations that weigh us down because they are so unrealistic and not even about what we personally want. What is our own truth.
So you guys we can begin right now paying attention to our own enjoyment or CAPACITY to enjoy life: The Yoga Sutras say “enjoyment is the sweetness of noticing your life right now – smell, taste, feeling, sensation” What do you want that is meaningful to you? Well ok then can you simply put that out there as a gentle intention allowing it to come to you instead of pulling at it. Also can you receive it if when it does find you it doesn’t exactly look like what you expected?
I put out to the universe what I wanted in my life a little over a year ago. I thought I was ready to receive it no matter what especially since I consider myself pretty open-hearted and open-minded. But then when what I dreamed was finally offered to me I had that initial moment of “hey that’s not exactly as I wanted it because there is too much distance and some aura of complexity involved.” Come on! But the thing is I’ve learned it is exactly in the way I needed to receive it. The universe totally knew what was best for me and delivered to me the situation that was the healthiest. And I’ve never been happier. If I had turned my back on what was right in front of me because it didn’t totally match my strict expectations I would have missed out on maybe the best experience of my life. How sad would that have been? And how often have you done that?
Equally we learn what letting go of expectations is not: which Sean Corne says so well, “Well what it isn’t is trying to rewrite the past, we can learn something (even from those that have hurt you or things that didn’t go the way you wanted them to) and move on.” So today really use the practice to quiet your mind by paying attention to what extremes of your expectations you can let go of. And most importantly can you try to release your mind from constantly wanting your situation to be different. There is no reason to make war with what you feel, see or experience. You have the freedom to open your heart to what you might be missing by relaxing some of the armor like expectations that can form around you
In closing here is one of my favorites quotes from the book Immunity to Change is “Happiness is really freedom from unhappiness.” So join me in softening our expectations so we can find the:
· Freedom to be happier than ever before
· Freedom to try new things
· Freedom to meet new people
· Freedom to make happy failures
· Freedom to not play it all so safe
· Freedom to do the unexpected
· Freedom to just see what happens
Love to you all, Silvia
ALLOWING THROUGH POSITIVE EXPECTATIONS
This philosophy of positive expectation is fundamental to yogic and spiritual teachings. Our attitude has the power to heal. And what attitude we have about life says a lot about whether we are expecting the worst or the best from life. Are you focused on your dreams or on your limitations? This means that we take some level of responsibility to co-create with the universe the best life. There are elements than of:
- Positive Expectation
- Allowing Life to Happen
Today say to yourself:
“I can be the creator of my life, I give myself permission to be happy, I will engage in fun, I will be playful, I will listen with total attention to my experience, I will relish each sensation, I will love every minute of being with myself today! When we set this tone for our day for our life we no longer see life as something being done to us but rather life is being done FOR US. This belief is based in self-love that attracts love from the universe. It’s about loving life! If you are in love with life then you expect the best. In the Alchemist its written “When you are in love, things make even more sense, When you are loved, there’s no need at all to understand what’s happening, because everything happens within you.” THAT’S THE ALLOWING.
I understand maintaining a positive expectation is not easy. I have like yourself given in to the pain, self-doubt and hopelessness. I learned the hard way that didn’t help. But I won’t kid you, to remain upbeat in the face of life’s challenges requires enormous strength of character. Good news is that we all have it. From there, all we have to do is work harder than our pain.
How? Well Shakti Gawain says it like this, “When we create something, we always create it first in a thought form. If we are basically positive in attitude, expecting and envisioning pleasure, satisfaction and happiness, we will attract and create people, situations, and events which conform to our positive expectations.” Keep your attitude focused on positive expectations and what you tell yourself will change how others see you and how the world responds to you. This allowing brings you the calm that comes with knowing all we have to do is have positive intention, the universe will take care of all the details. Love you all! Silvia
Love after Love
The time will come when, with elation you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror and each will smile at the others welcome, and say, sit here. Eat. You will love again the stranger who was your self. Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart. Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror. Sit. Feast on your life. ~Derek Walcott
EXPECTATIONS AND NO REGRETS
JULY 3, 2009: At the beginning of July I’ve always had this feeling of making a fresh start or new beginning - like we are on the threshold of something greater. Maybe I feel like this because it is my birth month and our birthday’s are like our own new year’s eve or maybe because we’re exactly halfway through the year. I’m not sure really. I just know that I intuitively want to think about the choices I’m making. I use this time to face my fears and celebrate my accomplishments. In the Alchemist it says “It was my fear of failure that first kept me from attempting the master work. Now, I'm beginning what I could have started ten years ago. But I'm happy at least that I didn't wait twenty years.” The important part is to begin again, just get started and take a small step. None of us are being asked to jump off a cliff, this is a practice of millimeters that eventually builds quiet momentum.
As you breath and enjoy this holiday weekend make time to set an expectation for your life this next half of the year. Are you on the right path so far? And whatever you decide just know we are all evolving in the direction of happiness. It is our right. Freedom and the pursuit of happiness is your destiny! It is like what’s written in the Alchemist, “Making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.” And when you need time to reflect on where you’ve been and where you want to go join me on the mat where you’ll always discover you have the power, the heart and the energy to achieve anything you want! Love the day, love your life! Silvia
POSITIVE EXPECTATIONS YIELDS POSITIVE OUTCOME
May 31, 2009:
It is a Fundamental spiritual belief yogic or otherwise that we are meant to enjoy ourselves in this lifetime, right now. Our natural state is to love and be loved.
So ask yourself what attitude do you have about your life? What does this attitude say about you? I think we all understand that without stop we have a running commentary in our head. This mindstuff reveals what beliefs we have about who we are, our attitudes about life. My friend Sadie Nardinin says “The biggest mistake we make as humans is to look at our destructive thought patterns and think we cannot choose again.” I’ve known that feeling of being stuck. The thing is you guys YOU are not stuck. Choose again. Take back your attitude. Give yourself permission to get back to your natural state.
We do this by having POSITIVE EXPECTATIONS for a POSITIVE OUTCOME.
We can check in with our attitude all day long: Are you focused on your limitations right now or on your dreams? Are you expecting the worst of best from life? Simply put, are your expectations positive or negative?
Through yoga learn how to live like life is not being done to you but for you. This is a gift with a limited shelf life so enjoy it! Transform your life by expecting the best. If you are in a downward spiral or just feeling “ok” there is no need for you accept a flat lined life. Your attitude is your POWER TO HEAL yourself. Our best feature as human beings is our super hero power of positive expectation: determination, living with integrity, strength of character, compassion in the face of suffering, creativity, growth, renewal. You create your life and no one else does it for you. Start today, start now. Life is fleeting don’t miss the pretty colors. Love your day, Silvia
“When we create something, we always create it first in a thought form. If we are basically positive in attitude, expecting and envisioning pleasure, satisfaction and happiness, we will attract and create people, situations, and events which conform to our positive expectations.” Shakti Gawain