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On Sunday, May 2nd, I will be a part of a Holistic Seminar, hosted by SOL Pilates FIT. Please join me for a chakra clearing meditation. The event will be held at the Extraordinary Beginnings unit at 5261 Hwy 7 in Markham, from 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. To register call 416.948.SOUL (7685) or email lynne.stewart@solpilatesyoga.com

Do you live in the Greater Toronto Area? Please join me for a
meditation class at SOL Pilates and Yoga Studio in Markham. The class will be held at 7 p.m. on alternate Fridays. Please contact me for additional details.

Do you long for a relaxing treatment for your mind, body and spirit? I'm now accepting clients for Reiki treatments. To register for a class or to book a treatment, please contact me. I look forward to seeing you!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lessons from the World Outside the City

Photograph: "Whispers of Wisdom" by P. Grodecki


There are many lessons to be learned from Mother Nature and her children, her creations. By observing animals and birds in their natural environments, following their movements and noticing their behaviours, we may begin to see patterns, similarities, and differences between the lives we live and those of the fauna. We may also begin to understand the importance of moving and growing organically along with Nature.

I truly enjoy camping and view the activity as an adventure, an opportunity to escape the busy city and live a simpler life, if even for only a few days. When I leave the city, I also leave my watch at home, to forget about time as defined by the 12-hour clock. In the morning, the sound that wakes me from a deep sleep is the singing of the birds, and it’s a pleasure to step outside the tent and breathe deeply, inhaling the freshness and beauty that surrounds me. The forest is alive and the trees move their branches softly, whispering, “Good morning.” The agenda for the day is to relax and marvel at all the magnificence with which I have been blessed. Even dinner preparation above the open fire is a challenge and a real pleasure. At night, after dinner, to warm up in the darkness of the woods, we can sit by the crackling fire while listening to the stillness all around and the sound of the hooting of an owl somewhere nearby. Shortly after the sun sets, after looking at the stars, it is only natural to retire back to the tent and rest until the morning. After all, what more is there to do at that time?

Think, for a minute, about how different that pace is from that of the Monday to Friday nine-to-five lifestyle. We often stay awake until late into the night, ignoring our tiredness just to watch television or read. While camping, we come a little closer to experiencing the everyday life of animals, many of whom – save for the nocturnal animals – wake up with the sun as it rises, work diligently during the day at what they truly care about, taking care to ensure their personal wellbeing and that of their loved ones. And after a busy day, they go to sleep before nightfall. This pace of life feels natural as it flows in harmony.

If you have a chance in the near future, try to get away from the city, if even for just a day – regardless of the weather! However, even if it is not possible for you to drive away from the city, even a day at a park is enough to get close to Nature. If you live outside the city, you may already be very closely familiar with the wonderful lessons that Nature presents to us each day. All we need to do is be open to receiving its messages.

Next time you are on a camping trip or enjoying a day at a park, take some time to relax, breathe deeply, and simply be aware of the glory of Nature all around you. Allow yourself to bask in its beauty and take this gift back with you when you return home. Enjoy!

Affirmation: I bask in the beauty of Nature and remain open to its messages and blessings.



Friday, July 18, 2008

What inspires you?


Photograph: "Inspiration Out of a Hat" by P. Grodecki


To allow ourselves to fully experience the innate creative force that flows through us, we need to allow ourselves to feel inspired. Inspiration and creativity can never be separated from us, because they are the very elements that contribute to our overall makeup, as spiritual beings living a human existence in a physical body. However, we often hear people claim that they don’t have a single creative bone in their body. Of course, nothing could be farther from the truth.


We apply creativity in everything we do and everywhere we go. Nevertheless, we can become more aware of this truth when we make the decision to become and remain inspired, allowing ourselves to feel inspiration and creativity at our very core, infusing every breath, every movement, every action. Sources of inspiration are everywhere around us, and within us. It is up to us to allow ourselves to open our senses and align ourselves with their vibrational energy in order to step back into and move with the creative flow.



We can take steps to move into alignment with the inspirational flow by identifying what inspires us in our individual lives. Start by asking yourself what it is that you most enjoy doing. This could be something that you had not done in a long time, or something that you do every day. What makes you truly, perfectly happy? For some, this could be a refreshing walk in the rain, waking up early to watch the sunrise, listening to beautiful music, playing an instrument, or even simply laughing with a good friend.


In your journal, or on a sheet of paper, make a list of what makes you happy, and call it your List of Inspirations. I could bet that simply reading the list will bring wonderful warmth into your heart and a wide smile will form on your face. You can take this exercise to the next step by creating a second list by writing down how each of the inspirations that you had identified in the first list makes you feel. Think about whether the people who or things that inspire you also lead you to think and/or act in creative ways. Write freely, without questioning your feelings or thoughts. Simply go with the flow. You may find that simply by performing this exercise, you will experience a beautiful flow of creativity rushing through you, pouring out through your pen, and forming words on the paper.


This exercise is the embodiment of our inspired and inspiring selves. Please remember that when we live an inspired existence, we also – naturally – inspire others. Review these two lists as often as you like, to remind yourself of your inspired and inspiring creative essence. You are a beautiful being, so shine your light and go with the creative flow!

I would also appreciate and enjoy reading your List of Inspirations, if you would like to share it with me. Please feel free to include your list by leaving a comment after this post, or send me an e-mail, if you do not wish for your list to be published for other readers to see. In exchange, I will share a small portion of my personal List of Inspirations with you:

dancing, barefoot, on dew-covered grass early in the morning

walking in the rain

singing

dancing

sitting on the grss while listening to the singing of the birds and the rustling of the leaves on trees around me

drinking tea with my loved ones

relaxing by the fireplace on a cold winter evening

journalling

playing with crafts – cross stitching, knitting, scrapbooking

storytelling

reading good, inspirational literature

travelling to beautiful places

spending time with animals, and especially with my two cats

meditating

feeling Love everywhere around me and within everyone I meet

blessing everyone I meet

driving through the countryside

fairy tales

rainbows

butterflies

animals

children

sunshine

autumn

daydreaming

Affirmation: I am a creative, inspired and inspiring being.


Have a relaxing weekend and another wonder-filled week! Many blessings!



Saturday, July 12, 2008

Quiet Times


Photograph: "Enjoying a Peaceful Moment" by P. Grodecki

Sometimes as we travel along our personal journey of learning and growing, we may feel as though we have reached a plateau. Life may seem to have become uneventful and even boring. At such times, it's not unusual for us to start searching for reasons behind the plateau that we experience. We start to feel as though something is not right in our lives because everything suddenly seems to have come to a standstill. We search for a scapegoat, for something – or someone – to blame. Many times, we end up blaming ourselves. However, these quiet times are often a blessing, and if we take some time to acknowledge it as such and allow ourselves to sit with the experience, we may discover that the quiet time has been granted to us as a gift that may even lead to a major breakthrough in our personal growth and development. Thus, as the co-creators of our future, we can also take this opportunity to play an active role in co-creating our future in order to reap the greatest rewards.


Life is never truly uneventful, and time never comes to a standstill. We are constantly learning and growing, whether on a conscious or subconscious level. Much of our growth is deeper than we can comprehend at this time. An intricate 'net' is being built at this very moment, comprised of our knowledge, experiences, beliefs, and expectations. This net will become more and more prominent in the future, after a large enough portion has been weaved and we have reached a certain level at which the net may make its existence known to us. Certainly, it can also become a 'safety net' for us, providing support for us in the future. It is up to us whether we wish to allow it to become a support mechanism of sorts.


Among the things in our lives that remain constant is deep peace, and it is up to us to find and get to know this peace, making the most of it. The quiet periods in our lives provide us with an opportunity to delve deeper into our being and discover peace. Through such contemplation, we may even be able to uncover an astounding amount of information about ourselves and our very being.


So, an experience that may feel as a plateau is never truly a plateau. Instead, we may wish to make an effort to enjoy the quiet times in our lives and remember that during those times, we continue to experience the organic growing process that accompanies our personal development. During the quiet times, it is best to let go of the attempt to have control over each and every experience in our lives and to simply relax and let ourselves to go with the flow while allowing the deeper forces within us to continue building a net weaved of positive reinforcement and only the strongest materials. In the future, this net will assist us as we witness the outcome of this quiet period, and we will be grateful for having allowed ourselves to let go and move along with the dynamic flow.


Affirmation: I let go and move with the flow, allowing it to carry me forward into wonderful new experiences. I know that my life is ever-changing and I assist the Universe in the co-creation of my life while enjoying constant peace.



Sunday, July 6, 2008

Looking Within


Photograph: 'The Light Within' by P. Grodecki


Since we are infinitely connected to All There Is, is it a truly surprising idea that we already have within us that which connects us to the rest of the Universe?


When facing a situation about which we feel the need to make an important decision, we may choose to ask other people about their opinions on the matter, in order to weigh those responses and then reach a decision that suits us. However, we may also notice that often, we discover while talking to others that we already have the answer to the question that we ask, and that we wish to hear the same answer from someone close to us. Although communication with others, especially in challenging situations, is important, we may often underestimate our own ability to answer the questions that are in our hearts, thus seeking approval from others around us when the answer is already there.


It is certainly healthy to speak with others and hear various opinions; nevertheless, it is important to never underestimate our own ability to find answers through introspection. Instead of looking for approval or confirmation from external sources, we may try to look within ourselves. When faced with a question or when feeling the need to make an important decision, we may pause and spend time in quiet contemplation, paying attention to how we feel about the situation at this particular moment. We may pay attention to our physical and emotional responses to the question, noticing whether we feel tense or relaxed, nervous or excited, and whether, ultimately, we receive a positive response from ourselves regarding that about which we ask. If you wish, you may wish to try this exercise at this time, if you are trying to make a decision or are seeking an answer to a particular question.


Sit quietly in a comfortable position, with your eyes closed. Take a few deep breaths and try to clear your mind of any thoughts or expectations. Ask the question that is in your heart. Next, simply pay attention to your breathing as you inhale and exhale deeply. Notice the sensations in your entire body. As thoughts drift in and out of your mind, try to pay attention to how each thought makes you feel, but do not let the thought linger. Simply let them drift and notice how you respond each time. Continue to do this until you feel ready to open your eyes and complete the meditation. Gently, open your eyes and spend a few quiet moments in the same position. You may then wish to think about the thoughts that floated in and out of your mind throughout this meditation, and you may wish to note them in your journal.


By practising this meditation exercise regularly, our ability to answer our own questions becomes better developed and, therefore, stronger, as we build intricate holistic bonds within ourselves.


Affirmation: I explore and trust my ability to find within me the answers to the questions in my heart.


Have a wonderful week!


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Busy Relaxing


Photograph: Guilt-Free Pleasures by P. Grodecki


I apologize to the readers who live in the southern hemisphere, as this post centres on the summer season and, living in Canada, it's natural for me to focus on the topic of summer at this time of the year.


Summer is certainly here to stay for a while, resting comfortably, beckoning us to fully welcome the radiant warmth of the sun, allowing it to warm our hearts. As the days linger on, we start to allow ourselves more time to rest. We go about our day at a slower pace, pondering the details that we otherwise tend to dismiss in the colder months, speed-walking to escape the chill, all the while longing for indoor warmth. With the warmer days and glorious sunshine, we shift our daily patterns, listening to the call of our intuition to stay outside and enjoy this time, cherishing every moment. Nature communicates with our spirit in the most poignant, yet intricate ways, and in the summer, we are all compelled to listen to this call particularly closely, as our souls long to be enriched with the wisdom of Nature.


This is also the perfect time to allow ourselves to spend a portion of our day doing what we wish to do, instead of what we feel we have to do. After all, this is the time of vacations and getaways – a romantic time that makes everything seem almost euphoric, enchanted. I recently finished reading the book Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert (I highly recommend this book if you are searching for the perfect summer literature, for some laidback reading that stimulates the mind and spirit), in which the author uses a wonderful phrase to describe Italians as the masters of ‘il bel far niente’ – the beauty of doing nothing.


Indeed, the European lifestyle does tend to encourage extra time spent with family, over excellent food and wine; a wonderful shift occurs elsewhere in the world when the weather becomes warmer and we begin to align ourselves with these values. Instead of feeling guilty, we allow ourselves that extra bit of time to lounge on the patio with a glass of wine and a good book. Indeed, some of my favourite memories relate to sitting outside on warm evenings, with my family members or close friends, talking about nothing and simply connecting, allowing our spirits to speak their own language.


So, this week, and indeed for the next two months, allow yourself to spend more time doing what you love to do, instead of what you feel you should do. Let go of thoughts about the future or the past, and focus on the present moment. Make time to spend with your favourite people, as well as to lazy around by yourself on the patio, soaking up the sun (while wearing sunblock, of course) and enjoying the present moment. If you find it difficult to meditate formally, try to simply sit outside in the shade of a tree, and pay attention to the songs of the birds as they chirrup around you, and enjoy the rustle of the trees and the long grass. My personal favourite summer indulgence is to wake up early in the morning and walk, barefoot, on the dew-covered lawn, welcoming the new day and enjoying the whispers of Nature. Most importantly, do not feel guilty about doing something that you wish to do. Now is the perfect time to indulge. Pay attention to Nature’s communication with you. This truly is an enchanting time, and there are no limits to what we can learn, on the most profound level. Enjoy it to the maximum!

Affirmation: I bask in the warm sunlight and make time to relax and recharge. I allow Nature to enrich my soul and spirit with its infinite wisdom and I communicate with the Universe in an infinite number of ways by being one with Nature.