Sunday, May 1, 2016

Yes, You May!


We've come to a new beginning once again. I love any excuse for a new beginning. The first day of the month. The first day of the week. Beltane or May Day. Summer is approaching and spring is fully here.

New life blooms all around me as daybreak filters through the trees. Puffs of air cloud around neighboring cows' nostrils in the crisp morning sunlight. Birds trill their signature song. "Dee-dee-dee...Dooo-doo!"

I awake to these calls- the sun, the air, the birds, the trees. They invite me to open my eyes, take a deep breath, and try something new. Grow a bit. Reach and unfurl the wings that have been sheltering me from the cold all winter. Time to branch out and sing. Time to breathe in that fresh air and leaf out. Time to flower and bloom.

There's something special about spring that gives one hope. Hope for new life. A new way of being in the world. A fresh start. Ideas that seemed impossible in February look inspiring in May. May gives us permission to take a chance. "May I?" "Oh, yes! You may!"

Which ideas have been wintering in your heart? Are they ready to awaken, unfurl, and branch out? Are you ready to allow yourself to bloom? Let us nurture these heart wandering whispers with hope and permission. "Yes, you may!"

Springtime blessings,
Santosha


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Game of Overwhelmed vs What Delights You

I haven't written in a few days and I'm feeling a tad resistant to do so...which means I should. Usually when I feel this way, I've been going too fast, I've been trying to do too much, and I feel overwhelmed. This morning finds me in a familiar state.

I'm worried about getting our sheds and fencing up before the chicks are ready to move in and our baby goats arrive. I'm concerned there is so much brush and fallen branches to pick up on the spot where we did a prescribed burn a week ago. The beginnings of poison ivy are poking up everywhere and I want to remove it asap. Moving onto 30 acres in the country with large gardens, chickens, and goats, I'm finding there's enough for me to focus on that all day every day...never mind homeschooling, teaching yoga, my own physical yoga practice, running, playing my guitar and ukulele, office assistant work a few hours a week, working on my poetry book that is in progress, crocheting, reading... The list goes on. The curse of the creative, aspiring hobbyist.

How does one manage all that they want to do if they have a variety of interests? By finding that place of stillness within and using it as an anchor point. The pauses in between intentional breaths. Letting go of anything that wastes or drains energy. Waking up to the truth that we have the power to manifest our own life and our reactions to our life circumstances.

I see this overwhelm many of us feel (regardless if you have poison ivy invading or goats on the way) as a game or puzzle. It's either a game I choose to play or not. Or it's a puzzle to be solved. How can I fit what I want in my life so that the pieces all work in harmony?

The danger of the puzzle analogy is it eludes to having full "control" or the notion that by thinking everything through all will go off exactly as planned. (Red alert if we hold onto that idea too tightly!) Sometimes that works, yet sometimes we need to be willing to let go of a piece for awhile. Or put one piece here when it traditionally has been put there. There might be a hole in the puzzle at times which we can be okay with. Sometimes you need to just trust that the pieces will eventually fit without forcing them. By forcing we risk breaking off the edges. We might need to step away from trying to solve it and breathe in faith.

The game called Overwhelmed is played when one identifies with their thoughts and emotions concerning all there is to do. Once we've taken in those anxieties, worries, and concerns and adopted them as our 'story', the game is on! Perhaps that's where the strategy of trying to solve the puzzle comes in. How does one win? All of the pieces are in order, all the balls are juggling in the air beautifully, the To Do List is managed, and we have inner piece. In short...it's impossible to win when playing the game Overwhelmed.

It's better to choose not to play. It's healthier to not adopt the "I'm so busy" story line and just go with what delights you as much as possible. What delights me? My chickens. Ukulele. Working and playing outside. Actually, all of the things on the list of what has caused the overwhelmed feeling delights me! Now there's a conundrum!

What if I do a little of what delights me each day without the expectation that I do all of what delights me every day? Delightful! Can we shift the game we've been playing from Overwhelmed to What Delights Me? Can we be curious about each moment, inviting in more joy and aliveness into pursuing our passions?

I love to write and crochet. Garden. Read. Do homeschool activities with my children. I enjoy a clean-ish house. You will have your own list of what delights you. What I don't love is feeling like I have to do all of these things all of the time 100% accurately and completely. Perhaps by focusing on one delight at a time, we can be more present and play a game that fills us up, rather than tears us down. That's a game I'm excited to play!

All Love,
Santosha

How about you? What delights you? What are your passions? How do you pursue them without playing the Overwhelmed game? 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Beyond the Storm


Can you look beyond the dark clouds on your emotional landscape and see the calm sky there for you? It's steadily waiting for the storm to pass so that the sun can be seen once more. Can you ride out your inner winds, lightning, and even hail knowing they will pass as quickly as on a Midwest spring day, revealing beauty more grand in the wake of its path?

Can you feel beneath the highs and lows and touch the center of what always is and always will be?

Clear. Blue. Calm. Vast.

You are not your successes. You are not your failures. You are not your challenges or your frustrations.

You are beyond all of that. You are ever here. You are ever well. You are pure presence.

**************************************************************************************

For the past week, my soul sister and I have been practicing coming back to the present moment and assessing our inner state five times a day with these questions:

Are there any gaps between your presence and the moment?
Are you here?
Are you well?

At first, I was frustrated with the question "Are you well?" I equated it with "You're okay" when I really wasn't. What if I didn't feel well? Did that make me less present? What then? I found it was helpful to add on the question, "Are you nourished?" This provided me with a way to embrace self-care in those moments that I did not feel well without judgment. 

Over the course of the week, I found myself using these questions five times a day (or more) to check within and go beyond whatever frustrations were happening at the moment. I was tired and crabby, the kids were fighting and the dog was barking at me. No gaps...I was right there in the middle of it. Yet, I paused to notice my breath. I found the center of myself and knew that this moment would pass. I anchored myself with these questions and acknowledged "The moment is what it is." Even if I was tired and the little beings in my charge were testing my patience at that moment, I was well. Deeply and truly, I was. And just like that, the energy shifted and peace came back again. 

It is so easy to get caught up in the emotional highs and lows of life. Yet, by remembering our presence and our innate wholeness while checking in to what we are feeling in the moment, we can find our center and ride out the storm. 

I invite you to try the practice my friend and I have experienced. With an accountability partner, text each other the three questions five times a day. No need to answer them to one another. Just notice your feelings, thoughts, and emotions while asking yourself the questions without judgment. Let go of the answers and focus on your breath. 

I'd love to hear about the experience! 

All love,
Santosha

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Peace Be Still


I awoke this morning with a feeling of busy-ness. Anxiousness. Forward thinking. Planning. Worrying. Trying to decide what I'm supposed to do using solely my mind and logic.

My intuition and my heart said, "Peace be still." Feel your breath. Listen for the silence. Live in the mystery for a little while.

Not everything has to be decided using pure brain muscle today. All ducks do not have to be in a row. You can not be sure and still be doing wonderfully. There's not a prize for having it all figured out.

Notice the sun streaming through the trees. Feel the morning's crisp, cool air on your cheeks. "Peace be still." Live in the mystery for a little while.

There's enough beauty and wonder surrounding you moment by moment to not have to get caught up in what's to happen a month or six months from now. "What is to be will be." Can you be fully present right now for this moment's unfolding?

My heart rate slows and my breath deepens. The tingling in my hands subsides and I smile. "Peace be still." Into the mystery... I am calm. I am here. I am witness to the aliveness of this moment.

All love,
Santosha

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Heart Whispers







My heart whispers to me in the stillness
in the dark of night
the holy hours
the predawn sleeplessness
it sings to me love songs of hope.
It caresses me with longings of peace.
It fills me with wisdom beyond my waking ears ability to hear.
My heart’s calling says what I’ve known for so long,
but have been too busy sleepwalking to notice.
WAKE UP!
No longer dull the senses and pacify the mind with meaningless fodder.
SILENCE and STILLNESS
are necessary to set your soul free.
LET GO!
Release the ties that bind you and they will fall away.
You’ll realize that you were the one holding the knots all along.
LISTEN!
Can you hear with not only your ears, but with your heart?
Can you listen more than you speak – both externally and internally?
Quiet and the Divine will whisper profound wisdom and deep, deep love.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Into the Mystery























Strip away the noise
and listen to the silence.
Pull back the layers
and behold a glimpse of truth.
Uncork the bottle
and let wisdom flow freely.
Unleash what's tethered
and set your soul free.

My prayer for us all.
Santosha

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Return to Wholeness


















Return to wholeness.
It's never left you
like a lost lover
waiting for the phone call
after all of these years
to welcome you home,
she will be there.

Return to wholeness.
Nudge the bits back together
like a jigsaw puzzle
carefully arranged as the picture emerges.
All the pieces fit just right
and not a one was lost under the table.

Return to wholeness.
Release the image of being broken.
Release the words that damaged.
Release the notion that you're not enough.
Release it all
and come back home.

Home is your heart in it's fullness.
Home is where the knots in your stomach unwind.
Home is wearing a smile effortlessly like a crown and joy as jeweled rings on each finger.
Home is knowing you are Love.
You are Free.
You are Whole.
You always were and you always will be.

All Love,
Santosha