Quickeners May 20, 2020
Episode 11: Appreciation & Gratitude - What they are, why & how to do it
Appreciation & Gratitude
There's a whole lot being said (at least that we should...) about gratitude. When a social worker told me, without a why or what - that science said I should keep a gratitude journal, I wanted to punch her. I wasn't feeling it.
But, in other ways and from different parts of life - some surprising - I've heard an echo - yes, it's all about gratitude.
So, here it is - what these 2 words mean, how they differ, how one informs the other and how to begin your practice.
If you'd like more detail - like the links to the studies, and a link to a self-test, check out my blog post.
All the very best to you,
Episode 10: The Gift of Stress - Change from the Inside Out
In this episode, I talk about stress - how high the stakes are (they are so high!). I'll tell you about the HEROS I serve, describe what stress can do and is doing to so many of us, and share the good news of the number of ways (beginning with rest and exploring your mindset) of beginning to deal with stress.
We all have stress. We all get physical symptoms of stress. We tell ourselves things that can keep the stress cycle going OR begin to help us respond differently so that stress impacts us a little (or a lot) less. It's about the mindset we adopt (I wrote about a healthy mindset recently - check it out).
Once you understand stress as an invitation to practice, there're a great number of tools that can help you manage it by becoming more of who you are. You can learn about your healthful boundaries, you can practice shifting your mindset, using your breath (that great vehicle between mind and body) and you can get clear about what fuels your life force - how do you express who you are in the world and what makes you feel fantastic, that is also reasonably healthful.
If you are a seeker - someone who's experiencing a surprising and concerning health problem, or you're a health pro seeking more soul in medicine, then this tribe is for you. The work I guide seekers on just might be for you.
Episode 9: Create Safety & Sacred Space
If we aren't safe, we can't relax. If we can't relax, it unlikely we can be and act consciously.
Everyone needs a little bit of safety (hopefully lots more) in life - if you don't have it, over time it erodes your nervous system and you can become over-stimulated and ever-triggered. In Episode 9, Annie talks about how we can create safety for ourselves and others. It's a practice.
She'll also share 9 steps to creating sacred rituals of self-care. These are Annie's adaptations of the work of Renee Beck & Sydney Barbara Metrick's book, The Art of Ritual.
How do you create meaning, ease, and fun in your self-care? Care to share your story, or have a question for Annie about this topic?
Send a message about this episode here.
As always, thanks for listening.
Episode 8: Anchor in the Absolute
Life is constantly changing, and the nature of change is to accelerate. How can we care for ourselves and others in the midst of constant and accelerating change?
Yoga has a couple frameworks that can be helpful. In this episode, Annie shares two frameworks of yoga that bring the absolute into your daily life. You can get to know your own bliss body as a strategy to help you navigate this ever-changing world.
Episode 7: Let It Go!
...It's An Exhale
If you let go a little, you will have a little peace.
If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace.
- Ajahn Chah (Thai Buddhist Monk of the Thai Forest Tradition)
Sounds good, but how does it really happen? Letting go is a practice, and we can study our own exhale (23,000 opportunities daily!) to learn how to do it. This episode contains personal stories (letting go is a challenge!) a meditation on exhaling with the aim of letting go, and a 3-step practice to dive deeper into letting a particular something you've been hanging on to go while learning and evolving.
Horrible things happen in this life - often, life is unbearably cruel and unfair. Holding on - to pain, to injustice - gives us a compelling sense of identity. So, letting go is about releasing that part of our identity and re-imagining who we are. It's a great process but can be challenging.
Letting go and exhaling creates space; in your body and in your mind. Once you release, you can fill that space with things that serve you well now.
The mantra I mention in this segment is: Om Nama Shivaya.
Learn more about Annie at www.anniebkay.com
Episode 6: It's All About Intention - Get Clear on What & Why
Intention (said coach & Kripalu teacher Marcia Goldberg) is the thread upon which the pearls of life experience are strung.
If we go through life without intention, we increase the likelihood of getting haphazard results. Knowing what we want, knowing what we'd like to bring into our lives just makes it more likely that we will. To me, intention is a thread that connects dharma (your sacred mission or truth - why you are here) with your core governing values (what's most important to you). Yes they are all connected - together I think of them as a base that drives daily actions and decisions.
So, taking time to think about (and to write down) dharma, core values and intention is time well spent.
I'll explain how to do it, and describe how for me it felt when my intention was not fully in alignment.
If you are a healer in your life (most are, I'd say), or if you are looking to live a considered life, working with intention is essential to your creating the healing in the world that you hope to.
Episode 5: Experiments in Simple
You have infinite possibilities when it comes to how to live your life. You can lead a good life, even a great life, in a number of ways. You can go with the flow, do what's expected, and all can be well. That's great to many people and it works out well. Or not.
If you choose to live an examined life, the idea of renunciation (or Tapas - simplicity or austerities in yoga philosophy) is something you'll probably need to deal with. It's natural to grow beyond or in a different direction than a group, organization, or practice. Things change. We humans can also get compulsive about almost anything. That's where the sabbatical comes in.
Classical Yoga Therapy (Yoga Chikitsa in Sanskrit), is a three step process of 1. Tapas (simplicity or sabbatical), 2. Svadhyaya (self-study or learning what happens when you do the experiment), and 3. Ishvara Pranidhana (surrender - to the Universe, to God, or to what you learned. Acceptance).
In this episode I talk about Tapas - simplifying, and how that can set the stage for positive change. I end with a simple 3-step practice for Tapas.
Episode 4: Not Your Fault - Now What?
In psychology there the idea that "it's not your fault that you...". We did not personally create many of the dysfunctional parts of our life. Many of our struggles are rooted in early events and our of our control.
But that's not the end of the conversation of change. In yoga philosophy, not your fault is only part of (half of?) the conversation. The other part is - now what? Once you realize that you didn't create these situations, one option is to take responsibility to clean it up anyway because it will likely make your life better to do so.
This dichotomy and the tension in the dichotomy is an aspect of life - it's the dance of action & embodiment, of being & doing, of masculine & feminine, Shakti & Shiva. In yoga philosophy we need both - we need to accept that it's not our fault, yet we have the capacity to shift, renew, embody our own experience.
In this episode I'll tell stories and give examples, and then a 3-step process to navigate from doing to being.
Special Episode: Moving Grief with Courage Practice
This is a special episode of Quickeners - first viewing for the beloveds on my mailing list.
It's a special episode made during week 3 or 4 (who can keep track!?) of stay-at-home.
Each of us is carrying our own unique collection of losses as this quarantine moves on - we've lost jobs and great projects. Well, for me, it's time to get moving in that perfect COVID start-stop way. In the world of yoga, the warrior postures - taken slowly, gently and purposefully - a terrific tools to integrate challenging emotions and move grief. The warriors cultivate courage, calm-abiding and transcendence of fear.
So, here is a short gentle practice to work warrior 1 and 2 - it's an easy practice that I hope helps you move a bit, breath a bit, and make some space to integrate your particular set of losses. This could be the beginning of a bit of flow for you, then you might listen. to the Metta Meditation episode as a meditation.
There is a pdf that goes with this episode, that give you a picture of the postures and steps to practice.
Be well, move on, bless you and yours,
Episode 3: Mindset Shift: Maitri (Metta) Meditation
Mindset is everything. Yet, for most of us, a protective mindset dominates and keeps us from becoming the fullest expression of who we are. While that protective mindset has value - it can help keep us safe and help us learn how to create our own safety - it can also undermine happiness and interfere with our ability to manifest.
A simple practice to quickly shift away from an over-protective mindset is Maitri or loving-kindness Meditation.
Maitri is a Sanskrit word that means benevolence, loving-kindness, goodwill, an active interest in the well-being of others. Maitri (Metta) meditation is the 1st of the 4 sublime states of being in Tibetian tantric yoga.
In this episode we do this Metta meditation together:
May I be happy;
May I be healthy;
May my heart be open;
and may I stand in the light of my own true self.
This is a modification of a Metta meditation that I learned from my beloved mentor and friend, Stephen Cope (Kavi). May it help you open your heart, find happy well-being, and anchor yourself within.
Episode 2: How Transformation Works
Transformation is a big word, but how does it happen?
There is a science to change, and things we can do to support ourselves along the way. In this episode, I'll talk about an aha I had when my science-packed brain ran into a spiritual transformation teacher.
I'll tell you a (hopefully not) secret to transformation, and little things you can do to sustain the practice that will support your transformation - be it eating more healthfully, meditating or practicing self-care with love.
Thanks for listening.
Episode 1: Finding Inspiration
Life is tough - and it's moving fast. For me, it's the quick and easy little changes that add up to self-care.
Inspiration for that change is everywhere. You just need to look - with an open mind and heart - at everyday people doing extraordinary things.
I've been filled with inspiration lately. I'm inspired by the people I've been encountering as an integrative lifestyle teacher and counselor. People that, despite the odds, despite the hard work involved, have made a change in their lives.
I'd like to tell you a couple stories of inspiration to shift toward - better.
Thanks for listening.
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