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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!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Seeking Out the Best: Working in Partnership


Photograph: 'Pond Partners' by P. Grodecki


In our workplaces and even at home, we often find ourselves among individuals with whom we may not get along. Many of us know at least one person who ‘rubs us the wrong way.’ How often do we stop and think about why a certain person seems to be a less than perfect match for us? And even more so, how often do we find ourselves working in close proximity with that person? When we find ourselves in such situations, what thoughts run through our minds?



In my personal experience, when I find myself frequently working with a certain person on a project, it is because there is a lesson hidden somewhere within the experience, meant for me to seek out, find, and contemplate. I like to think of it as a scavenger hunt. Thinking of the experience from this perspective helps me to make the best of a seemingly annoying situation. Instead of repeating to myself that I do not enjoy working with the certain person and that I wish to be paired with someone else, I like to try to seek out the best qualities of my partner, and reflect those qualities back to him or her.



Those who are familiar with the Law of Attraction understand the principle that the qualities we exhibit are often the qualities that will be reflected back to us by others who surround us. When we project certain negative expectations toward a person with whom we are asked to work, we may often find that those expectations manifest in less-than-pleasant behaviour and attitudes exhibited by our partners. You may have heard psychologists refer to this as a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy.’ We may also put a positive spin on the same idea. When we expect the best from the person with whom we work, and when we seek out that person’s best qualities, we may often find that these qualities will shine through and the negative personality traits that used to annoy us about the person seem to fade into the background. Overtime, we may even find that the person with whom we work seems to have actually changed for the better by allowing his or her best qualities to shine brightly. This may be due to the encouragement that the person has received from others.



It is also very possible that, even with our most positive expectations, we may find that our partner does not reciprocate the respect and positive expectations that we project onto him or her. Such experiences may often have additional lessons that await us in the creases of the fabric, and to find those lessons, we may need to smooth out the creases of the fabric to uncover hidden gems. It may very well be that working with someone who is not a good match for us is meant to teach us patience, respect for the opinions of others, or to speak out for ourselves instead of allowing ourselves to be bullied by someone who wants to do things his or her way and does not wish to consider the opinions of others. Sometimes, it may be difficult to acknowledge, but working with a less-than-pleasant individual may provide us with a mirror to examine our own personalities and the different traits that we may possess. Often, what ‘rubs us the wrong way’ about someone’s attitude is precisely what we do which may also annoy someone else.



So, if you are currently working with someone whose attitude may annoy you, you may choose to take some time to consider what it is, exactly, about that person, that makes you upset. You may ask this question during a meditative exercise. Simply ask the question of Spirit and look for an answer in the form of a sign, idea, or even something that someone may say to us. Perhaps it’s our own attitudes that play a major role in the creation of the conflict that we may experience. Ask yourself about the lesson that may be a part of the experience. And remember to seek out the gems that may hide in the creases of the fabric with which we work. Take time to smooth out the creases and uncover what lies beneath. We may find that the fabric itself is, actually, beautiful.



Affirmation: ‘I seek out the best in everyone I meet today.’



Wishing you a wonderful week, and may the fabric of your day be easily smoothed to reveal many beautiful hidden gems.



Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Starting in the Middle


Photograph: 'Ambitious Perspectives' by P. Grodecki


Is there a project that has been hanging over your shoulders like a dark cloud? Has it been nagging you, and you feel you wish to escape from it? I find I tend to procrastinate about certain things and tackle other projects with great enthusiasm. While I often wish to escape from those nagging projects that seem to hang over me like thunderous clouds, I find I do force myself to sit down and attempt to work on them. And yet, standing outside under a thunderous cloud is only bound to inevitably leave us soaked from head-to-toe. Opening a giant umbrella also will not save us from the cold drafts that come along with the rain, and though we may remain dry under this temporary shelter, we would rather be in a warm and cozy place, in our comfort zone. We do not allow ourselves to seek that comfortable place until we have dealt with the issue at hand, and yet, we also don’t hurry to address the issue.


At times like that, it is often best to start in the middle. Instead of attempting to figure out a stratagem to deal with procrastination, and wonder why we just can’t ‘get going,’ sometimes it’s best to just do it. Start somewhere – anywhere. Once we are able to let go of the idea that we do not wish to tackle the project, for one reason or another, and are able to focus on the task at hand by addressing one aspect of the task, all the other pieces of the puzzle begin to fit together as if by magic. I am not referring here only to work-related projects, but also to personal projects in our daily lives. With the tax season upon us, have you been struggling to file your taxes? Perhaps you have been ‘trying’ to clean your home or organize your desk. There are myriad reasons why we find certain projects or tasks cumbersome. Perhaps we do not enjoy our work, or we may enjoy it but would rather be somewhere else, doing something else. And let’s face it: very few people enjoy filing taxes. Yet, while we contemplate the reasons why we do not enjoy certain tasks, those tasks are not going to simply disappear unless we make them disappear.


Make an appointment with yourself and write it down in your calendar. Allot two hours for the task, and vow to start somewhere. Take a deep breath, and as you exhale, release any worries or tension that you may feel in connection with the task. You may visualize these worries or tension easily floating out of your body and mind and dissolving into thin air. Continue this exercise until you feel completely relaxed. Next, take a few additional deep breaths and as you inhale, feel your body and mind filling with energy that recharges every cell of your being. When you feel ready, say the following affirmation: ‘I enjoy being highly focused as I complete the project before me.’ And finally, begin to work on the task. Before we know it, the two hours we had set aside for the project will have flown by and we will find ourselves so deeply engrossed in the task at hand that suddenly, the prospect of completing that project will not seem as big a nuisance as it may have seemed to us at first.


I wish you a happy and productive week!


Affirmation: ‘I enjoy being highly focused as I complete the projects before me.’



Monday, April 13, 2009

Kaleidoscopic Views: Staying True to Ourselves

Photograph: 'An Endearing Selection' by K. Grodecki


Are you the type of person who tries to keep up-to-speed with the latest goals that you have set for yourself? I once used to be such a person, and the constant rushing of ideas through my mind and the race to live up to my own expectations of myself left me feeling flabbergasted. And what about the idea that extroverts are more successful than introverts, because it’s easier for them to make connections and network? It often seems as though extroverts and Type A personalities are the ones who thrive in today’s world, while everyone else falls behind and appears not as successful as our more ambitious counterparts. At least, that’s what many of us are led to believe. And such beliefs can often leave those of us who prefer to work in solitude, without ‘putting ourselves out there,’ feeling inadequate.

I have always been a shy introvert and even as a child, enjoyed spending much of my time on my own. While other children were running outside playing hide and seek, I had developed a passion for crafts after my grandmother taught me to knit, and would work on perfecting this skill. Later on, I lived in a country where introverted attitudes were not easily understood and my peers as well as adults dreaded the idea of someone spending time alone. They wondered why I didn’t have as many friends as many other children my age, and had assumed that I must be miserable. After a session with a psychologist, it was determined that there was nothing wrong with me and that being an introvert is, actually, as natural for some children as it is for others to have a wide circle of friends. However, the outside pressure from teachers and other children my age had left a mark on me that it took me a while to heal. Such pressures truly make us second-guess ourselves with each step of the way, making us wonder whether we are performing in accordance to the standards that our society sets.


Many years later, I can honestly say that I feel proud to describe myself as shy and an introvert. I have come to love this major aspect of my personality. Although my attitude varies, depending on social context and how I feel on any one day – which is, of course, also true for other people – no matter how hard I might try, I will always remain shy, calm and quiet. Similarly, I am certain that many extroverts have also faced pressures from other people while growing up, being asked to not socialize as much and listen more, learn to work independently, etc. It’s incredibly unfair to people of any age to be asked to change our essence.

So, how would you introduce yourself to someone who wishes to know more about your personality? Would you say you are outgoing and love to network, or are you shy and prefer to spend time on your own? What does your personality say about your lifestyle? Are there particular hobbies or interests that are dear to your heart and about which you may, perhaps, have been afraid to speak to others? Just as animals have their own unique personalities, which we may find endearing and quite adorable, it is more than okay for us to be ourselves. Just as we wouldn’t chastise a cat for chasing its tail, why should we be critical of someone whose personality differs from our own, just because we may not understand it as well as we understand others whose personalities are close to our own?


This week, I invite you to journal about your personality and what it means to be you. At the same time, try to remain mindful of the personalities of others around you and without necessarily trying to understand why someone may be a little more shy than usual, try to accept that person as he or she presents him or herself. It’s a beautiful kaleidoscope, if we choose to see it as such. And really, it would be quite drab of us to look through the lens of a kaleidoscope and instead of admiring what we see, begin to scrutinize the pattern and, ultimately, each colour, saying that it would look better if only the purple shapes had additional edges.


Have a wonderful week!

Affirmation: ‘I enjoy the kaleidoscopic views and admire all their colours and shapes.’



Saturday, February 21, 2009

Opening Our Senses to Beauty


Photograph: “Just a Glimpse” by P. Grodecki


In the past week, I received a very inspiring e-mail from a person who is very dear to me. I always enjoy reading e-mail from my friends and loved ones and messages such as this one bring a smile to my face and send me on a philosophical journey.

I have written before on the topic of noticing beauty, but feel that we can never tire of inspiring stories that exemplify the importance of staying in the moment and truly opening all our senses to the magnificence of the world around us. What is beauty? I suppose the answer to this question is unique for each of us. However, I think many of you may agree with me that in the midst of our busy lifestyles, it is often easy for us to miss the experience of something magical unless it is specifically pointed out to us. The following story emphasizes this point. In the busy rush hour commuter traffic, children were the only ones who were in awe of the musician. And as I have written before, on the topic of seeing our world through the eyes of children, the observation about children stopping to listen to the music and watch the musician can remind us of just what we could be missing when we allow our minds to be occupied by daily worries. While it may certainly be more important to us to be at work on time, by allowing ourselves to be present in the moment, we open our senses to inspiration and allow ourselves to become inspired. And one moment of inspiration can create magic that trails us throughout the entire day, everywhere we go, and in everything we do.

So, let’s remember to take a deep breath, open our eyes, our ears, our minds, and simply go with the flow of the moment, allowing ourselves to be inspired and, in turn, inspire others. And when we arrive at our morning appointments, we can continue to be present in the moment while allowing the beauty of the moment that has passed to infuse the ‘now’ with its magic, thus creating a domino effect. Live for the day and enjoy each moment, consciously appreciating all that surrounds us, allowing it to become us.

Affirmation: “I am open to seeing, hearing, feeling, and being beauty.”

Without further ado, here is the e-mail I received, which I would like to share with you.




Violinist in the Metro

From The Effective Club


A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.


A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk.


A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.


No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.
Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats averaged $100.


Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of an social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

Life's Detours




Photograph: 'Exploring a New Road'



I would like to apologize for my prolonged absence. I have been silent for too long. With this month’s newsletter, I will explain my silence and turn a new leaf in my communication with you, the loyal readers of the Nature’s Secret Whispers newsletter.



Currently, I am undergoing a very positive transition in my life. This transition has influenced me in more ways than I could ever begin to describe. As I prepare to expand my role in this life and begin a new journey, I feel the effects of this transition physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. As with every journey, however positive, along the road, we face various challenges. And as the road rises up to meet us thanks to our positive outlook, we are also met with exciting opportunities that continue to present themselves. With the many thoughts and emotions that we experience with each step we take, we do not always remain completely focused on our major goal. It is easy to stray off the path. And sometimes, we simply need to take a break in order to re-evaluate the choices that we have made that run parallel to our one major goal. After all, as we work with a life-changing experience, it is important to continue working in harmony and introducing and matching our new goal to our original goals and ideas, provided that they continue to serve us with purpose. Such reflection and evaluation can only take place when we allow ourselves the time and space to sit quietly with the situation.



So, I took a detour. I confess I felt guilty for taking time off from my usual schedule, feeling that I had failed myself and many other people who had certain expectations of me. Moreover, I decided against calling this detour precisely what it was. I kept promising myself that I will return to my normal routine in a day, which turned into another day and then another day, followed by many more. As time went by, however, I realized that I was attempting to control my schedule while taking a break. Instead of allowing the new road to unfold before me and show me the path that I am meant to take, I was attempting to control the road and make it curve a certain way, against Nature. And then, I allowed myself to be carried along with the flow – a state at which I consider myself to be quite good but which somehow managed to slip through my fingers for a short while. Slowly, I remembered to trust in Nature and let go of fears and doubts to which I was holding on. I was in the moment, being carried along with the wave, not fighting Nature’s course. And the result is wonderfully regenerating and inspiring.



Here is what I learned from my experience of taking a detour to learn more about the path that I choose to walk, or the path that continues to choose me:



- Often, detours choose us. When our souls call for us to take some time out of our normal routines, it’s important to go with the flow. If we fight it, we only make the experience more challenging for us.



- Although in today’s world it may be difficult to take a break without imposing time restrictions on ourselves, we cannot tell Nature when to begin working Its magic and send some Divine inspiration our way. We need to ‘sit with it’ and truly let go, allowing the magic to become us, instead of attempting to control it.



- Let go of fears, guilt, and worries of ‘what if.’ In consciously deciding to take a break to re-evaluate our paths, it’s important to remain completely open to whatever may unfold before us. If we hold on to certain ideas about the next steps we wish to take, ignoring any other ideas that may surface before us, we impose limits on ourselves and, therefore, do not allow ourselves to truly explore and for our potential to ripen.



- Detours are a blessing. Each of us needs a chance to escape ‘reality’ as we know it and be one with our true selves. Embrace this time and remember that it’s okay to take a break, to try something different, and to then get back on the main highway, or take a smaller road less travelled. There is no right or wrong answer if we follow our intuition and let Nature guide us.



After my much-needed detour, I am back on the main highway, with a few changes that I felt guided to make in several areas of my life as I continue to work toward adapting to my new role and the wonderful responsibilities that go along with my new goal. Perhaps you have also recently (or not-so-recently) taken a detour to engage in re-evaluation and reflection. I would appreciate it if you would like to share the lessons that you have learned throughout your experience. Please feel free to leave a comment here, or send me an e-mail to katia@naturessecretwhispers.ca I look forward to hearing from you. If you are currently taking a detour from your usual routine, I hope you will allow the road to open before you and take time to observe the new scenery, embracing all that it has to offer. Enjoy the journey!




Affirmation: “I am open to new experiences and, with Love, embrace all that unfolds before me.”


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Dream Board Meditation Workshop

Greetings everyone!

If you live in the Greater Toronto Area, I invite you to attend a Dream Board Meditation Workshop, to be held in Markham on Saturday, February 7th, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

For details, please visit the Nature's Secret Whispers website, under 'Workshops.'

To reserve your spot, please send an e-mail to katia@naturessecretwhispers.ca or call 647.278.3142.

Many blessings and best wishes,

Katia

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Three Goals for 2009


Photograph: 'Looking Forward to a Great Year' by P. Grodecki



I hope that you have enjoyed the holidays and New Year’s celebrations. For me, the first few days of the year have been refreshing and I have felt inspired to make a new start but also resume working on major projects that I started in 2008. Many of us may have set goals – or resolutions – for 2009, and I wish you success as you begin your path toward meeting your goals and making improvements in various areas of your life. Many others may have abandoned the idea of setting goals for the coming year, perhaps feeling that it is difficult to live up to the enthusiastic and inspired expectations set at the start of the new year.



Regardless of whether you’re the type of person who sets goals on or around January 1st each year, or a person who believes that there need not be a defined time when one should set goals, I invite you to consider a few basic goals that I feel we can at least consider and to which I believe we all can stay true, with consistent encouragement.



1) Becoming your own best friend

If you have spent some time reviewing the past year (see my previous post), perhaps you may have felt disappointed about not keeping up with the goals you set a year ago for 2008. Being your own best friend is about letting go of any feeling of guilt you may feel regarding keeping goals. Let go of the past, and if the goals you set a year ago are still important to you today, perhaps you may wish to evaluate them and set realistic expectations of yourself. Once you meet those expectations, you can continue to build upon your goals. Go easy on yourself this year; try to live each day with no regrets, while staying true to yourself.



2) Taking time to do what we enjoy most, with people with whom we enjoy spending time

After the holidays, as we return to work, it is easy to become caught up in work. It always amazes me how quickly we begin to shift our priorities and commitments, as they begin to take a backseat to our full-time jobs. This year, whenever possible, try to find time for yourself and those who matter most to you. You may wish to dedicate one day a week to enjoying the activities that you love but which you may have involuntarily neglected due to other commitments. These activities are just as, if not more important, than the other commitments on which we tend to focus. If we neglect what we enjoy doing, we ignore our passions and the intuitive voice within that speaks to us every day, reminding us to spend more time doing what we love to do.



3) Speaking our truth

How frequently do we voice our thoughts and feelings regarding something important to us? How often do we decline an invitation to a loud social event when we long to simply stay at home and enjoy a quiet evening on the couch, watching a movie with a bowl of popcorn in our hands? When we speak our truth, we honour ourselves, reminding ourselves that it’s okay to care, first and foremost, for our feelings. After all, when we put the interests of others first, we may neglect our own interests and risk hurting ourselves in the process.



If there are only a few goals that you would like to set for the coming 12 months, you may wish to consider the above three points and add to them as you feel necessary. Most importantly, I hope you will enjoy each and every single moment of each day of 2009. May it be a wonderfully happy year for each and every one of you!



Affirmation: ‘I make the most of each and every moment of each day of 2009.’