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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!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Embracing the Mundane


This Week’s Photograph: ‘Afternoon Rest’ by P. Grodecki


This Week’s Quote: ‘All of us are apprenticed to the same teacher that the religious institutions originally worked with: reality. Reality-insight says . . . master the twenty-four hours. Do it well, without self-pity. It is as hard to get the children herded into the car pool and down the road to the bus as it is to chant sutras in the Buddha-hall on a cold morning. One move is not better than the other, each can be quite boring, and they both have the virtuous quality of repetition. Repetition and ritual and their good results come in many forms. Changing the filter, wiping noses, going to meetings, picking up around the house, washing dishes, checking the dipstick – don’t let yourself think these are distracting you from your more serious pursuits. Such a round of chores is not a set of difficulties we hope to escape from so that we may do our “practice” which will put us on a “path” – it is our path.’ ~ Gary Snyder, The Practice of the Wild, as quoted in Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life


I’m certain that by someone’s definition, my current lifestyle would not sound very appealing to many who enjoy frequent outings whenever one pleases, the ability to spend an entire Sunday in bed, or being able to count on getting a full eight hours of sleep every night. To me, washing diapers, preparing baby food, rocking my son to sleep while singing to him, and going for walks to the park are the elements of a perfect day. Mind you, this wasn’t always the case. It took a bit of time for me to get used to and embrace the lifestyle of a mother.


Rather than dreaming of ways to escape reality, or at least to get a break from it, we can embrace it by remembering that there is much that can be learned when we stop daydreaming of and wishing for a different life. Instead, we can marvel at all the seemingly ordinary aspects of our day, and approach them with an attitude of mindfulness. When washing dishes, do you let you mind drift into a sweet daydream, or do you focus on the feel of the warm water on your hands and the scent of the dish soap? When going for a walk in the park, do you embrace the feel of the cool breeze on your face, the sounds of the birds singing and children playing nearby, or do you allow your mind to process the details of the day that has just passed?


When we consciously focus on each task that we undertake, we engage in an active form of mindfulness meditation and, therefore, allow our minds to rest, shutting off the constant chatter that otherwise takes place. It takes practice, but after a while, you may find it enjoyable to full focus on each task – no matter how mundane it may seem at first. You may also discover that such practice improves your concentration and focus in other areas, such as in conversations with friends and loved ones, at work, and during physical exercise. This week, I invite you to approach with mindfulness all tasks in which you engage. Try to make the most of all that you do today. It’s never a waste of time; every task can be made into a meditative exercise.



Affirmation
: “Mindfulness is my lifestyle. I approach all that I do with an attitude of mindfulness.”



Wishing you an enjoyable week!

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Laid Back Attitude


Photograph: 'Breaking Free' by P. Grodecki



This Week’s Quote: "Pick the day. Enjoy it - to the hilt. The day as it comes. People as they come... The past, I think, has helped me appreciate the present, and I don't want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future." ~ Audrey Hepburn


I believe that we never stop growing and re-defining who we are, according to our life experiences. Nothing and no one is static, but at times it surprises me to what degree we often fight and resist change. We may as well put ourselves and the world around us inside a glass case to try to preserve this moment! Although this fantasy is an appealing one at times, life becomes so much more enjoyable when we let go of similar idealistic ideas and simply flow with the times, allowing life to happen around us and to us, accepting change as it comes.


Now that April has arrived, I find myself just a couple of months away from returning to my full-time job and saying au revoir to my oh-so-peaceful maternity leave lifestyle. Walking down the street with my friend, each of us pushing our babies in strollers in front of us, I suddenly uttered, “Oh, how I’m going to miss these days when I return to work!” The warm afternoon sunshine and cool spring breeze on my face were a definite treat, especially in early April. Add to that feeling warm while wearing short sleeves and it’s no wonder I capriciously, and without much thought, wished to capture and preserve this moment.



If we were to put this moment inside a glass case, we are bound to stop and admire what’s behind the glass for only a short time. After a while, we would only stop to glance at it briefly when passing by, and finally, we would cease to notice it altogether as it would become just another useless decoration. Instead of feeling sad or sorry for myself about the prospect of leaving behind entire days spent with my son, I just as quickly decide to enjoy every moment with as much intensity as I can muster. And truly, why do we mourn the happy times in our lives, thinking that things will never be the same again? Life happens, so I’m going to simply let it continue to happen and enjoy the ride.


This week, I invite you to take some time to reflect on how you perceive change in your life. Do you tend to focus on the ending of time, or the beginning of a new time? What helps you to transition from one chapter in your life into another?


Perhaps you are also currently facing an inevitable ending and anticipating – or maybe the sentiment is antonymous with anticipation – the beginning of a new chapter in your life. I would enjoy reading about it, if you’d like to share your story.


Affirmation: I welcome change into my life, in its myriad forms.


Wishing you a peaceful week!