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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!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Reviewing the Past Year

Photograph: 'Intricate Journeys' by P. Grodecki


With only a few more days before we welcome the new calendar year, many of us are already starting to think of resolutions for 2009, setting goals and making decisions about what we wish to accomplish in the new year. It seems that many people are eager to forget 2008 or, rather, are hoping that 2009 will be better in some ways. I feel it is unfair, however, to forget an entire 12-month period in our lives, or to dismiss it as unsatisfactory to our goals. Every past and present experience in our lives contributes to future events while making us stronger and better able to face these events.





Before starting to set positive aspirations for the exciting months ahead, consider taking some time to review the year to which we are about to say ‘goodbye.’ After all, it seems rushed to welcome in the new year before bidding farewell to the equally important year that is about to escape out the door quietly while everyone happily awaits the time when the clock strikes midnight.




Sit down comfortably, and take a few deep breaths to centre yourself. In your journal, or on a sheet (or a few sheets) of paper, write down your memories from the past year. You may choose to reminisce of the happy experiences that you enjoyed and write them down first, later thinking of the experiences that may have brought some sadness into your life. As you think of each memory and record it, visualize the memory being filed on a shelf in your mind, where you know that it will remain carefully labelled, to allow you to access it at any time, if you wish.





Next, think back to this time last year, when you were celebrating New Year’s Eve 2008. Did you set any resolutions? Perhaps they are recorded in your diary. You may choose to return and read them to yourself to recall these details. Have you followed through with your goals? If you have accomplished all that you wished to accomplish, give yourself a pat on the back and record this in your notes. This is a time to celebrate your accomplishments, to which you may not have paid great attention until this time.





If you did not accomplish all that you had set to accomplish, please remember that this is normal. Instead of becoming upset over this fact, analyze why you did not meet your goals. It may very well be that the goals that you had set in January lost their importance as the year progressed. You may have grown and evolved into a different person, developing new, different interests and letting go of old patterns. Again, celebrate this growth and embrace it!



Perhaps 2008 was not the time to accomplish some of your goals. If they are still important to you in 2009, however, perhaps this is a time to rephrase your goals and start to think ahead about a different approach that you may wish to take in 2009 as you work to meet your aspirations. I will discuss this aspect in my next post.





Finally, summarize the year 2008 in one sentence. Think of this part of the exercise as writing a goodbye note to a good friend who is moving to another country and whom you will not see for a long time. Describe the year 2008 in terms that you would like to use to describe your friend. Please remember, 2008 will never return, as it has served its purpose in all our lives. It is giving way to fresh new experiences, having prepared us for whatever is to come. Take a minute to acknowledge this as you say goodbye to another wonderful year and prepare to welcome a new friend who has waited a long time to travel from afar.




Wishing you a wonderful New Year’s Eve celebration!




Affirmation: 'I bless my past as I prepare to open the door to an exciting future.'



Sunday, December 14, 2008

New Gifts for the Holidays

Photograph: 'Simple Gifts' by P. Grodecki


Last week, my husband brought to my attention an interesting ad, which he came across while browsing postings on a buy-and-sell website. The poster was advertising that she would like to give a free Christmas dinner to a family in need. She outlined ingredients for a basic traditional Christmas dinner that she would provide to the family that would be the first to respond, and mentioned that she would normally prepare a festive dinner using those ingredients, but has no need to cook for anyone this year.

This ad inspired me. The poster is offering a free meal to a family that would probably otherwise struggle to put nutritious festive food on the table. The latest headlines have certainly been keeping many consumers away from the mall and have encouraged people to mind their budgets. The essence of Christmas – and indeed many other holidays – can easily be lost among the bustling malls with ubiquitous ads that urge us to buy expensive gifts for those about whom we care. All the while, the most beautiful memories of the holidays are not of shopping to satisfy our family members for a day but of sharing the holiday spirit with our loved ones and providing them with memories for many holidays to come.

Think, for a moment, of how beautiful it would be to extend this love and the spirit of sharing toward people outside our families and even our circles of friends. When we extend a hand to others and give of our own abundance, we open our hearts and celebrate the true essence of the holidays, bringing our joy to others and, in return, bringing joy to ourselves as we bask in the natural high of gifting. This holiday season, I invite you to share your joy with others by buying and donating toys, clothing, or food items to people in need. This is a great opportunity to involve your family members, and especially children, in this project. I have a feeling that for them, this experience would be most memorable and truly valuable, perhaps inspiring them, for many holiday seasons to come, to continue to extend a hand to people in need.

If you can think of other creative ideas of gift giving this year, such as in the case of the generous poster of the ad, who wishes to provide a free meal to a family, I would appreciate it if you would share it with the readers of this newsletter. Please e-mail me or leave a comment with your ideas or stories of what you may already have done to give a special gift for the holidays. Let us share our inspiration with others and continue to widen our circle of giving. After all, a creative idea is also a beautiful gift.


Affirmation: ‘I give freely and share my abundance widely with those who need it. My heart is open to giving, and by giving, I receive an ocean of joy in return.’