Sunday, November 30, 2008

We Are All Students, We Are All Teachers

Knowledge is available on an ongoing basis, the only requirement is to be open and receptive. While it is obvious that we are taught by our parents, classroom teachers and supervisors, learning goes beyond these places. There are lessons for growth and knowledge all around us; from everyone we meet, in nature, by observing animals and in the act of living itself. One lesson that nature teaches time and again is resilience and adaptability. The trees during tropical storms that bend and give to the force of the wind and as the storm passes return to their natural position, reaching for the sun. The pine tree growing out of a fence post and each time I pass by it says, "see, anything is possible". There is much to be obtained by observing animals. Besides the many lessons on living they teach, they are also wonderful mirrors of the energy we project. We are not only students in life, we are also teachers. Just as we have learned from others they are learning from us, from our every action or inaction. What are you teaching today?

There is no better teacher than a child, from the joy of simple things to bringing awareness to our need for unconditional love. By teaching a child mindfulness they will maintain that wide eyed wonder of the world and grow to be a part of it, rather than building walls around themselves.

Friday, November 28, 2008

It Depends On How You Look At It

Can there be a better holiday than one for celebrating what we are thankful for. A time for family and friends and acknowledging what we have, not dwelling on what we do not. Like the Rolling Stones songs says, "You can't always get what you want but if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need". The quality of life often depends on how you look at it. Here is a portion of an e-mail from a friend that reminded me of just that point.
I am thankful
For a lawn that needs mowing
windows that need cleaning
and gutters that need fixing
because it means I have a home
For the taxes I pay
because it means I am employed
For the pile of laundry and ironing
because it means I have clothes to wear
For the mess to clean after a party
because it means I have been surrounded by friends
For the alarm that goes off in the early morning hours
because it means I am alive

The e-mail ended with Live well, Laugh often and Love with all your heart, what better to wish for than that.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Take a Chill Pill

I could become high strung quite easily when I was younger, not to say I can't get that way still, and my brother would always tell me, "take a chill pill". Well I now have a recipe for a chill pill and here it is. The first and primary ingredient is to breathe. Place all your focus on your breath, breathe in slowly through your nose, let your stomach expand as your diaphragm drops then breathe out slowly through you mouth, completely exhaling, pulling your navel toward your spine and repeat. The second ingredient is my favorite visualization for grounding, the tree meditation. As you are breathing, visualize your feet growing roots like a tree, going deeper and deeper into the ground, your legs become like the trunk of an old oak tree, large, heavy and solid. As you are breathing in, you are breathing in light, freshness, life, like the leaves of the tree basking in the sun and fresh air, and as you breathe out you release all toxins, stress and worry. As you come back to earth you can feel your heartbeat get slower and steady and your vision of the situation becomes clearer. Now, look again at whatever had you so wound up, if there was a problem take care of it, one item at a time, or you may see there is no issue there after all.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Letting Go or Not

The other morning I awoke to a lizard on my bedside table. Now, I love lizards, but they are not meant to live in the house. When I reached over carefully to catch him he clamped down as hard as he could on my finger. My first thought was, "you go dude, never give up", but once we got outside he still held tight. He was so set in his mind that he couldn't see that now it was better to let go. This is a dilemma we all face from time to time, when to hold on, when to let go. These are decisions we have to make ourselves and for the situation at hand. Sometimes it's hard to see the best solution and harder still when our minds are noisy. Mindfulness helps to quiet the mind and clear the vision, it's the difference between looking into a cloudy pond churned up from the bottom or one that is still and clear.

Mindfulness and meditation is a way to look within ourselves and by teaching this to kids, they will have the tools necessary for clearer vision of themselves and the world around them.

(This might not be a tough decision on whether to hold on or let go.)