Santosha 💜

SANTOSHA, the Sanskrit word for contentment, requires our willingness to enjoy exactly what each day brings and to be happy with whatever we have. We can easily practice santosha in the beautiful moments and joyous experiences of our lives. But true contentment means being equally willing to embrace difficult moments. Only when we can be content in the midst of difficulty can we be truly free. Only when we can remain open in the midst of pain do we understand what true openness is. In our relationships, when we accept those around us as they truly are, not as we want them to be, we are practicing santosha. ~ Adapted from Cultivate Your Connections by Judith Lasater

Enjoy a portion of a poem written for me by my husband.

She has santosha with the One True God
In full body worship
In constant course correction
All the way to shava

I love her for exactly who she is
For who she was and who she’s gonna be
Every new thing I come to learn about her
Is further proof she’s the only girl for me

Contentment is a mental decision, a moral choice, a practiced observance. Are you truly content today my friend? Let’s draw inward, explore, and seek true SANTOSHA. 💜

One of the most difficult aspects of SANTOSHA is being content in this present moment. Oftentimes when we experience boredom or loneliness we seek distractions from the emotional discomfort instead of exploring root causes. We crave something to occupy the mind or somebody to engage our personalities. As we grow in our yoga and spiritual practices, we are able to draw inward sooner, see our true self in the moment, connect to our spirit and Divine Source, and through acceptance and love we gently smooth out the rough edges and become our best self.

“Yoga is not a work-out, it is a work-in. And this is the point of spiritual practice; to make us teachable; to open up our heart and focus our awareness so that we can know what we already know and be who we already are.” ~ Rolf Gates

“Change is not only inevitable, but is always happening. When you truly embrace this concept of change being constant, the only thing left to do is grow, detach, venture inwards, touch the spirit and find your Source — the one responsible for keeping you grounded through the ever-changing seasons of life.” ~ Julie Weiland


Soft Belly Breath Exercise

Breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth a few times. Place one hand on your heart, and one hand on your belly. Then as you begin to breathe slowly and steadily through the nose, visualize inhaling into your belly receiving acceptance, contentment, love — and exhaling out through your heart giving it all away. Continue for a few minutes. The breath is the most important tool in yoga — it is the bridge between the body and the mind — it draws us inward and into the present moment.


The Soul of Yoga by Danna Faulds

What is the soul of yoga?
Follow your heart into the
center of the pose and find
in the midst of detail and
precision, in breath, alignment,
balance, bliss, fear and sadness —
at the very core of all of this
is love. Touch upon your
truest nature even once and
the experience of what you
really are sears the psyche
like the surface of the sun.
The soul of yoga, the gift
within the pose is the
moment of communion,
resting in pure essence,
the awakening as if from
sleep to the face of
unmistakable divinity;
the ineffable wonder and
living reality of spirit — oh,
yes — the soul of yoga is love.


May you experience SANTOSHA, true contentment, no matter your circumstance or season of life. Rest and trust in the Divinity deep within.

OM Shanti, Shanti, Shanti-hi — Peace, Peace, Peace 💜

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Be Still.

Be still and know that I AM God. ~ Psalm 46:10
Be still and know I AM.
Be still and know.
Be still.
Be.

Our intention this week is to explore MEDITATION. In the classical yoga tradition, asana yoga is practiced as a preparation for seated meditation. Yoga Nidra, Restorative, and Yin Yoga are also wonderful meditative practices. What exactly is meditation? The definition is “to think deeply or focus for a time for spiritual purposes or to relax. To think deeply or carefully about something.” Whatever we think deeply or carefully about becomes what we meditate on. What fills your mind, my friend? The Hebrew word for meditate is DOMAH, and is literally translated as “to liken, compare, to make oneself like.” Whatever we meditate on, think deeply about, is what we become like. The more we sit with our thoughts, the more likely we are to act on them. Are we carefully and deliberately choosing what we meditate on? I choose to meditate on pure, positive, present thoughts, connecting with the Peace within me. What’s the best that can, and will happen? ❤️


Meditation 101
By: Claudia Cummins

To give meditation a try, sit comfortably, set a timer for 10 minutes, and explore one of the following strategies. And consider yourself forewarned: Meditation is a delightfully simple practice, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy!

Just Sit: Commit to doing nothing more than sitting quietly and watching what happens. Don’t pick up the phone, don’t answer the doorbell, don’t add another item to your to-do list. Just sit and observe the thoughts that arise and pass through your mind. You will likely be surprised by how difficult it is to sit quietly for 10 minutes. In the process, though, you may learn something important about the qualities of the restless mind and the ever-changing nature of life.

Listen to the Sounds of Life: Close your eyes and tune in to the sounds percolating both within and around you. Open your ears and adopt a receptive attitude. At first, you’ll likely hear only the most obvious noises, but over time, you’ll discover new layers of sounds that you had previously tuned out. Challenge yourself to observe what you hear without clinging to it or resisting it. Notice how the world feels more alive as your awareness of the present deepens.

Practice Bare Attention: Notice the raw sensations of the present moment—feelings of warmth and coolness, hardness and softness, pressure and ease. Which parts of your body are in contact with the earth? How does the shape of the body shift with each inhalation and exhalation? How does your experience change over time? Cultivating an awareness of the present moment will foster a more serene and attentive mind, one that is able to settle into the here and now.

Follow the Breath: Attach your mind to the breath. While you’re breathing in, note that you’re breathing in, and while you’re breathing out, focus on the exhalation. Don’t manipulate the breath in any way; simply watch it with your mind’s eye, just as you would follow a tennis ball bouncing from one side of the court to the other during a particularly engrossing match. When you find that your mind has strayed, as it inevitably will, gently refocus it on the breath and begin again.

Use a Mantra: Choose a favorite word, phrase, prayer, or fragment of a poem, and repeat it slowly and softly. Let its rhythm and meaning lull you into a quiet, contemplative state of ease. When you notice that your mind has wandered off to other thoughts, simply redirect it back toward the words you’ve chosen as your touchstone and rededicate your awareness to them.

Practice Kindness: As you sit quietly, focus your inner attention on someone you know who might benefit from an extra dose of kindness and care. In your mind’s eye, send this person love, happiness, and well-being. Soften your skin, open the floodgates of your heart, and let gentle goodwill pour forth.


The Weaver and the Loom, by Danna Faulds

Sit here for a bit. Place yourself
outside the frenzied pace of life.
Slow down long enough to
appreciate birds in flight, water
drops like prisms in the grass and
countless shades of green. Step
off the fast track and listen to the
sound of breath and birdsong. Take
a moment to just be, and in the being,
know the whole of this creation,
mystery and madness, passion and
profanity, know it all as one, stunning
tapestry. Sit still and the thin line
between sacred and profane simply
fades away. There is nothing then
to reconcile. All the disparate threads
are woven on the loom of life. Sit here
for a bit and your unique place in the
pattern becomes clear. Take the still
point with you when it’s time to walk
away. Make the choice to see affinity,
to watch the picture taking shape as
thread joins thread. Dare to be the
weaver and the loom, creator and
creation, the sower and the sown.
In a moment of stillness, all that
came before is seen as one.


“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious — the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” ~ Philippians 4:8-9, The Message


May you incorporate some new meditative practices into your busy life this week. Begin to crave the calm connection — just be. “Show up for what’s up, so it won’t keep showing up! When you think you’ve surrendered, surrender some more. Be the humble witness of what will unfold.” ~ Gabby Bernstein

What’s the best that can, and will happen? ❤️

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“May my meditation be sweet to Him.” ~ Pslam 104:34 NKJV

 

Allow ❦

This week’s theme is simply the word ALLOW — very open-ended, very individual. What am I allowing in? Who am I allowing into my life? What am I allowing for? Am I allowing myself to be inspired? To embrace change and grow? What do you want to show up in your life? Allow for that. What you allow is what will continue. Pick something today, make it positive and encouraging. Today I’m allowing myself to be fully present. Today I am allowing myself to create and explore. Today I am allowing for a healthy change. Today I am allowing myself to just be and relax. Today I allow love in, and let fear go. Whatever it is, ALLOW it in. As Oprah Winfrey states, “Even the wildest dreams have to start somewhere. Allow yourself the time and space to let your mind wander, and your imagination fly.” So what will it be? What are you allowing for? Allow for what seems impossible. Allow for miracles. BE OPEN TO WHATEVER COMES NEXT! ❦

Oftentimes, to allow something new in, we need to let something go. What do you need to let go of? Inhale, inviting something new in…exhale, letting something go, creating space.

“Behind every fear, there is a miracle waiting to happen.” ~ Marianne Williamson

I let go in order to move forward.

“So here’s what I’ve learned through it all: Leave all your cares and anxieties at the feet of the Lord, and measureless grace with strengthen you.” ~ Psalm 55:22 TPT

“You’re free now, free to take the journey of a lifetime. Free to experience life, in its newness, its freshness, its magic — in a way you never have before. The only limitations on you are the ones you’ve placed on yourself.” ~ Melody Beattie

When I let go of all control and expectation, the experience becomes ALIVE!


A Life Map (Vision Board) helps you discover what you want for yourself and your life. Follow the steps below to create your own Life Map.

Step One:
Gather magazines and catalogues.
Step Two:
Go through the magazines and catalogues and pull out images, words and phrases that speak to you or evoke feelings.
Step Three:
Cut out these images and words.
Step Four:
Place your words and images on a large board in an way that feels right to you.
Step Five:
Paste the images on the board.
Step Six:
Review your Life Map and ask yourself the following questions:
What have I learned about myself from looking at my Life Map?
Do I see any patterns?
Does anything on my Life Map surprise me?
If I knew that all of the images and this Life Map would come in to my life, would I be OK with that?
Who do I need to become in order to fulfill the intentions on my Life Map?
Based on my Life Map, what quality will I commit to developing this year?
Step Seven:
Find support for changing your life. Share your findings with a friend. You can even create Life Maps together.


One Embrace by Danna Faulds

I breathe in blessings,
bird song, the light of
stars dimming in the
dawn. I breathe in
mystery and mountain
streams, equanimity
and the audacity to live
boldly, freely, willingly
in service to the whole.
My open hands rest lightly on my knees.
They vibrate with energy,
fill with possibility and
grace. I breathe out
judgment, expectations,
doubt, and everything
that handcuffs me
and holds me back.
Breath completes the
circle of ebb and flow,
highs and lows, form
and formless joined
in one embrace.


I am open to whatever comes next. ❦

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Focus Your Energy✨

I decided a few years ago to ditch the Post-it® notes and reduce the reminders. For decades, I thrived on structuring my days and completing tasks deemed important. My practice of yoga kept encouraging me to let go of control, to let life flow naturally — just like with the breath. So, I gave up the lists. I began to really see and sense what mattered most in the moment. I became more present and alive. Situations seemed to unfold better, and I actually accomplished some extra projects along the way! Yes, I also completely spaced an important appointment — that ended up rescheduled for the perfect time! 😊 I am learning to trust Divine nudges and timing, and to focus my energy.

“There is a time to be open, almost unfocused, as we take in what the world, the universe, is showing us. There is a time to get out of our heads and quietly take the journey our hearts lead us into — following with the openness and wonder of a child. But there also comes a time to aim our attention and focus our energy on what we want to accomplish. Instead of floundering with scattered thoughts and possibilities, we choose one, then act on it. We stay in step with the natural rhythm, but we’re pulling our scattered attention together and focusing it as part of that rhythm. To do that, we may have to work through or push away inner distractions. Moving through our inner obstacles enables us to accomplish our goal — whether that’s a task, a particular piece of work, or learning a new hobby. Is there something you want to do? Is your heart urging you to learn something, accomplish something, go somewhere, do something? Make it a goal. Focus your energy.” ~ Melody Beattie

What is the fire in your heart that has become dim, because you’ve been consumed with day to day life? Let go of the minors, and focus on the majors. Intend to make a difference in this moment. As we say in yoga, the energy flows where the attention goes! ✨

“When we focus our energy towards constructing a passionate, meaningful life, we are tossing a pebble into the world, creating a beautiful ripple effect of inspiration. When one person follows a dream, tries something new or takes a daring leap, everyone nearby feels that energy; and before too long they are making their own daring leaps and inspiring yet another circle.” ~ Christine Mason Miller


✭ How did I elevate instead of escalate today?

✭ How did I treat someone better than they deserved to be treated today?

✭ What did I do today to make a difficult situation better?

Adapted from This Is Day One by Drew Dudley


You must learn poise, soul-balance and poise, in a vacilating, changing world. Claim My power. Use it ceaselessly. You cannot ask too much. As long as you get back to Me and replenish after each task, no work can be too much. My Joy I give you. Live in it. Bathe your Spirit in it. Reflect it.” ~ God Calling: Relax, January 15

May you go with the natural flow, yet focus your energy. Pursue your heart’s passion. Make a difference in this world. You are strong & capable of ANYTHING! ❤️


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