TRUST, UNCONDITIONAL GRATITUDE AND LETTING LOVE IN
April 9, 2011. "If I knew that everything I believed and more was true-I'd wake up and let life take me as its own." 9:30am and 12pm at hauteyoga Queen Anne focused on Trust, Unconditional Gratitude and Letting Love in. Danna Faulds goes on to write, "I'd welcome whatever came next and know that love could change me forever if I let it." I have a confession to make, I have trust issues. One example started when I was run over by a car as a pedestrian over 10 years ago. Since that point whenever I'm walking I still feel my breath tighten and my skin constrict as I get ready to walk across the street. The fact of the matter is that when I was involved in this hit and run accident (as the one that was hit) I was a step away from the curb on the other side of the street. I saw the car coming on a sunny Sunday morning. And I didn't feel afraid because there was no way they would drive on the WRONG side of the street and hit me. I was so close.
Anyhow, the reality of the matter is that the car did cross over. And ever since I work on trusting that even if I have the right away as a pedestrian that the car will stop for me. Living in Seattle has brought me great healing towards rebuilding my trust because the law and the culture here are pedestrian, cyclist friendly. Even if a car has been stopped at a stop sign and you start walking they still give you the right to walk safely. And everyday I heal this trust issue I have between cars and people a little bit more. But its not easy and I still have to remember to keep breathing through the mental inconvenience of changing my thought patterns and old belief. In any spiritual practice we all have to make the choice to trust in what is important to us and believing in something doesn't make it easy.
Pema Chodran writes, “when you hear some teachings that ring true to you and feel some trust in its being a worthwhile way to live then you’re in for a lot inconvenience. From an everyday perspective it seems good to do things that are kind of convenient; there is no problem with that. It’s just that when you really start to take the warrior’s journey – which is to say, when you start to want to live your LIFE FULLY, when you begin to feel this passion for life and for growth – then basically, it you follow your heart, you’re going to find that it’s often extremely inconvenient.”
"If I knew that everything I believed and more was true...." So what it is that you trust as true? If you've had your heart broken will you take the steps to try again even though putting yourself out there is inconvenient? If you've attempted an arm balance and it didn't work the way you thought it would can you reestablish trust in the Earth to hold you up? Today find something you trust, even if it as fundamental as air and earth and from there keep expanding your circle of trust. "Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back-- Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too." - GOETHE
When trust is difficult I practice Unconditional Gratitude inspired by the book BE HAPPY by William Holden who defines Unconditional Gratitude as follows:
- "Gratitude based on a faith that everything that happens or doesn’t happen in your life is for your own best interests. That we live in a purposeful universe. Life is always for you; it is never against you. It is a fact that blessings sometimes come wrapped in fear, pain, and tears. In choosing to practice unconditional gratitude you are choosing to trust the process, to honor your feelings and to place your faith in an outcome of inevitable grace."
And why bother healing the trust issues we develop in life? Because if keep constricting through mistrust then love can't come in. Either we trust everyone and everything that happens to us whether difficult or easy or we don't trust anything. We either trust the process and believe the universe knows what it's doing or we trust nothing. Learning to trust and when necessary rebuilding trust opens our hearts and allows love in. Love yourself, love your day, love your life! Silvia
BREATH ACCEPTS YOUR IMPERFECTION
OCTOBER 14, 2010. The breath accepts us unconditionally. It is always all forgiving and accepting. Think about it, we ignore our breath, treat it with total disregard, prevent it from entering our body by holding our breath out when stressed, we behave casually towards it making little to no commitment. If we were a lover and the breath was our boyfriend, he'd leave us!
But not our breath. It lovingly accepts our human imperfection and gives us another chance, and another, and a million and more. There is a lesson here: when we breath we have another chance to try our best, We are not practicing to be perfect. We are practicing to make real, to realize the beauty of our humanness. Yoga philosophy helps us to see that we are perfectly imperfect. Eventually the more you practice becoming enamored with your breath you allow it to become your best teacher. And a shift happens.
As the breath accepts you, you start to accept yourself. Then as you practice this advanced yoga of self-acceptance you become more compassionate and forgiving of others, just as you are towards yourself. If you love yourself, you know how to love others unconditionally. And even when other people in your life make mistakes, you appreciate their imperfections and give them a second, third, millionth chance.
"You see the wider practice of yoga is not about arranging our life so that it is perfect and easy and non-challenging. Rather it is about using the discipline we find in asana practice (and in the other practices of yoga as well) to be able to remain “easy” in the midst of difficulty. That is the true measure of freedom. When we learn this then everything we do and everything we say becomes an “asana”, a position of body, mind and soul which requires the attention that brings us into the present." And in that present moment there is perfect presence.
Practice breathing on purpose today. But pranayama is not about belittling the breath or forcing or making it perfect. The literal translation is below. And it doesn't say anything about perfect. It says conscious, deliberate. So we try.
Tasmin sati svasa prasvasaho gati-viccheda pranayama
Pranayama is the conscious, deliberate regulation of the incoming and outgoing flow of breath replacing unconscious patterns of breathing. It is possible only after a reasonable mastery of asana practice.
- Patanjali Yoga Sutra 2.49
Our key breath learning in this practice was about chest breathing. I have included a quick summary for you below. The greater take away is how the breath accepts your imperfections, it knows you will forget and will welcome you back to try and in that trying may you be PRESENT. Love yourself, Love your day, Love your life! Silvia
This is probably the most common breathing pattern in today's stress-filled society. Also known as paradoxical breathing, it is a natural reflex when we are suddenly startled or frightened. We gasp, pull the abdomen in and breathe high into the chest. The lift of the abdomen and pelvic floor prevents the diaphragm from descending completely as we inhale. Chest breathers restrict breath movement in the abdomen, forcing it higher up into the chest, while shoulders move up and down.
Effect on mind/body
Chest breathers rely on weak upper body muscles. Thereby developing chronic tension in thoracic spine, shoulders and neck. Moreover, this tension is resistant to massage or any other relaxation therapy as it recapitulates the moment the person resumes chest breathing, which is an incredible 22,000 times a day! Since we can't breathe in fully, we can't breathe out fully also. So we resort to breathing more quickly to make up for lack of oxygen. Scarier still is the fact that it sets the stage for an even more serious breathing problem: hyperventilation. Chest breathers normally sit on the edge of their seats and exude anticipation in their entire bearing. They never seem to have enough time to do all the tasks they set out on and often experience a chronic, free-floating state of anxiety. Scientific evidence now points to the connection between chest breathing, heart disease and high blood pressure.
Place one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest. Observe the movement of both. If both your shoulders and chest are rising, you are probably not a chest breather. A chest breather suppresses breath in the lower abdomen, forcing it to move higher up into the body.
How to let go
Relax your shoulders and upper back. Consciously follow normal breathing pattern. Mentally assess yourself without judgement. Ground yourself in the present.
(If you want to explore deeper learnings join me on retreat, yoga vacation www.silviamordini.com or www.alchemytours.com)
May 3, 2010: At all times you have the potential for great joy in your life. You just need to find it within yourself and bring it into consciousness. This understanding is the first step. If you don't buy into this then what happens for many of us is that we convince ourselves we have to EARN our happiness. And we place all sorts of conditions and prerequisites on ourselves before we can be happy.
I know about living with conditional happiness.
I was really good at this from childhood. I would demand that I earned certain grades before I could be happy, or went to a particular college or in college got pinned, engaged, bought a small house, bought a big house, got a great job got promoted to a better job...it never stops. In the meantime life is just going by.
Happiness is not a paycheck you have to earn. There are no prerequisites to happiness just like going to yoga class requires nothing more than showing up.
Once you let this reality set in everything in your life gets easier. Happiness is the goal of all other goals. It is our birthright and here right now. Happiness is the purpose of my life! The universe wants this for us unconditionally. So go on, be as happy as you want to be...Love in all ways, Silvia
REAL GRATITUDE, PROACTIVE GRATITUDE, UNCONDITIONAL GRATITUDE
Favorite passage about gratitude in book, Be Happy by William Holden. May this inspire your life as it has mine! Love and light, Silvia
- Proactive gratitude – Gratitude is conscious reaction to things, people, situations, and outcomes that you deem to be good or positive. This attitude of gratitude is mostly reactive. That is it exists because something happens first. But PROactive gratitude is based on a decision to enjoy something BEFORE it happens. Mantra: I intend to appreciate and give thanks for today, no matter what happens.
- Unconditional gratitude – Gratitude based on a faith that everything that happens or doesn’t happen in your life is for your own best interests. That we live in a purposeful universe. Life is always for you; it is never against you. It is a fact that blessings sometimes come wrapped in fear, pain, and tears. In choosing to practice unconditional gratitude you are choosing to trust the process, to honor your feelings and to place your faith in an outcome of inevitable grace.
- Gratitude as spiritual realization – Gratitude stems from revelation that you are what you seek. This type of gratitude is based on deep spiritual realization that you are created perfectly, and that everything you have chased after and longed for – love, happiness, peace, is already yours. It is therefore a homecoming and a chance to finally rest. This real gratitude is based on a thanksgiving for your true identity. It teaches you that happiness does not leave its source. In other words, happiness does NOT COME AND GO; what comes and goes is your awareness of happiness. It also teaches you that what is truly valuable already belongs to you.
DOOR OF HAPPINESS
The door of happiness does not open away from us:
We cannot rush at it to push it open.
It opens toward us and,
Therefore, nothing is required of us.
Soren Kierkegaard (1813-55)
I found yoga intriguing because it was like this. It was unconditional love. None of us have to meet any pre-requisites to practice. We just show up ready to expand. We open to grace and see that the door of happiness is constantly opening toward us. I shared in class a story of a student I had with a frozen shoulder as they lacked trust in others, in life, they find themselves in a state of contraction choosing not to open to healing from others. This only worsened a condition that if they had allowed the door of happiness to open towards them they would have seen many were standing there to help them. I want us to learn from that so we can make a better choice.
Fully Alive By Dawna Markova
I will not die an unlived life
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid, more accessible,
to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance;
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom
and that which came to be as blossom goes on as fruit.
Are you choosing to see the open doors available to you? Or do you look around your life and see yourself as a victim of the universe attracting further drama? Do you have an addiction to the closed doors which represents itself in life as inability to re-regulate? Let go of dramas of your life of the hurt feelings. Forgive and begin again to see the doors opening towards you! You see the thing is this is nothing we have to seek out. The door of life and love is always opening towards us. Love you all, Silvia
PATIENCE: DETACHING FROM THE OUTCOME
JUNE 25, 2009: TODAY'S MANTRA: DROP INTO THE MOMENT.
We often don't realize that the obstacles we place before us are not cement barriers, they aren't at all physical, what they are - are our thoughts and ideas. I read in Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert about her divorce that no one has died of splitting up the living room furniture. Yet, in our minds we can get so attached to having just one set outcome be the right way that we can become delusional and actually convince ourselves that will be the case. Can you imagine? I can.
Yoga teaches that detaching from the outcome through patience will bring peace of mind.
This to me is about unconditional love. This is the universal intelligence that embraces us on all sides. This intelligence is working with us. We simply have to allow it. Yoga helps us do this by unwinding our mind that can get all jammed up because of ego.
Love doesn't get overwhelmed by ego. Its the ego that says if this doesn't happen right now in just this one way then bad things will happen. We start to play mind games pushing, pulling, creating anxiety, distrust, stress. All of this is based in fear. Fear is the enemy of peace. Peace is LOVE.
Today through infinite patience may we demonstrate unconditional love for what the world is offering us right now and find peace! DROP INTO THE MOMENT. Love your life! Silvia
LOVINGKINDESS: CLEARING THE HEART TO QUIET THE MIND
JANUARY 10TH, 2009: The way that yoga has changed my life the most is that I’ve found that practicing each pose with lovingkindness (the Pali word for this is Metta) my whole life got a lot better. The more I could purposely practice unconditional love on the mat the greater access I had to it throughout my life (even when I found myself in situations I wish were different). It really for me came about as I allowed myself to be more AUTHENTIC (and we get opportunities every day all day long). There was a shift, I relaxed more, I opened up more. It helped me shift my focus from getting love to creating it. I no longer wanted to do battle with life but I embraced it lovingly, like a hug. And as a result my relationships became more real, my connections with others more intense in a good way.
A great teacher I’ve studied with, Sianna Sherman put it like this: “Through yoga, I learned to step into a world of love and energy,” she says. “It gave me hope of being connected to another person in a meaningful way, and it gave me the courage to try.”
In the Yoga Sutra’s Pantanjali gives us a four part process to help us clear our hearts of any negative energies as a means for quieting our minds and reconnecting to the deepest reservoirs of unconditional love. The sutras advise we:
1. cultivate maitri (friendliness) toward pleasure and friends;
2. Karma (compassion) for those who are in pain or suffering, including yourself; 3. Mudita (joy) for those who are happy and whom we admire; 4. Upeksanam (equanimity) towards those who hurt us.
2. Karma (compassion) for those who are in pain or suffering, including yourself;
3. Mudita (joy) for those who are happy and whom we admire;
4. Upeksanam (equanimity) towards those who hurt us.
So simple. The practice however requires a great deal of inner strength so we included today the Lotus Flower Meditation from my teacher Shiva Rea and my own version of the Metta Lovingkindness Meditation too. So this year risk it all to dive into the treasure chest of your heart which is always the source of unconditional love! And be open to receiving the unconditional love offered by your children, your friends, your parents and from grace herself. The world sees the best in you, let you see this too. I wish you love in abundance! Silvia
*May we be happy. May we be healthy. May we be joyful. May we be loved.