Apply Gentleness To Everything


Struggle can find no foothold when confronted with gentleness, because conflict can only exist when fed by two opposing forces.

Throughout life we must cope with blockages that impede our forward momentum. Whether these obstacles are of a personal, professional, or societal nature, our first instinct may be to push against the obstruction. But the simplest way to alleviate resistance is to approach it gently, with a soft manner and kind intentions. Struggle and strife can find no foothold when confronted with gentleness because conflict can only exist when fed by two opposing forces. So the question I ask myself over and over is, "Do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy?" Every area of our lives can benefit from the application of gentleness. The beauty of gentleness lies in its multifaceted nature. It is part love, part compassion, part patience, part understanding, and part respect for others. When we move through life gently as a matter of course, we naturally attract these wonderful elements into our lives.  We turn pain into healing, replace guilt with acceptance, exchange fear for love and release what isn't in alignment with our higher self.

This does not mean that gentle people are by nature passive or meek. Rather, their copious inner power is manifested in their gentleness and their choice to move with the flow of the universe instead of against it. You can make use of gentleness in your own life by applying it in situations where you feel challenged by your circumstances or by people in your environment. As you move forward gently, the energy pervading your life will likely shift and, consequently, the blockages before you will vanish. Cooperation progresses smoothly when approached gently because all parties involved feel confident that their needs will be met. And quarrels are easily quelled with gentleness because the dualistic concepts of losing and winning are made moot by our willingness to exercise infinite patience with those whose values differ from our own.

Gentleness must be practiced, as we are inadvertently encouraged to act competitive in certain phases of our lives. At first, your established habits may make being truly gentle challenging. Yet after a time, if you commit to consciously applying gentleness to all areas of your life, whether by collaborating rather than competing or yielding graciously to the impassable roadblocks in your path in order to seek a new road, you will find that you begin to act gently habitually. Your patterns of thought and behavior become ever more peaceful, and you will discover that you encounter far less impassable resistance on your individual journey.

           by Madisyn Taylor

“Everything in the Universe is within you.” ~Rumi.

The Power of Thought:
All You Need Really Is Within

 

Our human reality operates entirely through thought in the moment. Everything we feel is a result of our thinking. If we feel anxious, it’s because we are experiencing anxious thinking. If we feel happy, it’s because we are experiencing happy thinking. Our entire reality, therefore, really does come from within! It is an inside-out world. 

 When we were born, we were perfect and whole, and not anxious. Then, when we gained the beautiful power of thought, we learned that the external comfort blanket was super comforting, because “it made us feel better,” right? Wrong. The blanket is an object, with no capacity to make us feel anything. One hundred percent of the comforted feeling came from our own thinking about the blanket. It’s the same with all of life. I believe it’s the same with addiction.  We reach for something to soothe and fix us and in that moment of relief, our thinking is altered and numbed so we have a distorted reality.  We believe it is the answer to our problems, but it’s actually just thinking with an altered brain.  Only when we put time and space between the outside source and our own reality, do we find the truth of our feelings. 

 We spend hours of our lives analyzing how to be happy, how to stop being negative, how to meditate, how to be less attached, how to be more empowered, how to be more creative, how to be more whole. Don’t get me wrong, this can be interesting, if (like me) you have your own small self-help library! But it’s more important to drop out of our head and into our heart. 

 Under our thinking is an innate wholeness that is always accessible to us in any moment, if we just see that our reality is entirely experienced through thought in each moment. All we really need to do is allow the feelings that arise from our thinking, conscious of the fact that our reality is constructed through thought. We can observe what comes up, embracing pleasant feelings and allowing the darkness without paying it much attention. Like an uninvited guest, it will eventually pass through, without you needing to do anything to get rid of it. 

 When we allow our thoughts to just flow through us, dancing with them through life, we create space where we would once have analyzed how to solve them; and it's in this space where clarity can arise and we can see the truth. 

 We humans are a vessel of energy, and, I believe, part of something greater that has a plan for us—and through this human life, we are blessed with the amazingly abundant, creative power of thought. All we really need to do is let go and flow. 

With excerpts from The Tiny Buddha

A Different Way To Take Inventory

Naikan- a Japanese practice of taking inventory

What have I received? What have I given? What difficulties have I caused?

In Naikan practice, we train the mind in balance. Our mind develops “a wide-angle lens.” 10 Starting an evening inventory with the first Naikan question shifts our attention away from the pain of our difficulties to the joys of what we have received. We move from the natural human tendency to zero in on what bothers and agitates us to seeing a more complete view. This is not to say that we revert to denial about things that are distressing and difficult. Rather, we learn to keep our troubles in perspective. We practice looking at the whole picture, both the good and the bad.

Guidelines to Life...The Yamas and The Niyamas

Satya

Truthfulness of speech, thoughts, deeds… Honesty, ownership of feelings, loving communication, assertiveness, giving constructive feedback, forgiveness, non-judging. Letting go of the masks.

As we continue on the path of discovery, we let go of the clutter in our minds and our bodies so we can get to the core...the truth...of our being. If we want transformation, we come to the realization that a lot of what we've accumulated over the years in the way of beliefs and judgements keep us from our truth. When I think about Satya in light of recovery and yoga, I think about "clearing out" to create space for something new. In doing so, truth or Satya, one of the Yamas on the Eight fold path of yoga, is revealed.

Leading a life of truthfulness is a journey. It is practice, not perfection. When our ego self rises up…up goes the mask…a “made-up” truth. Untrue words can be derived from defensiveness and the need to appear different than who we really are. There is the huge universal desire to look good at the cost of letting those around you experience your authentic self. We learn to lie at an early age to avoid punishment, disapproval, and hurting people’s feelings.

In addiction, the truth is clouded with denial and our actions are motivated by fear and illusion. We don’t want anyone to see the real us.  We struggle to appear together, when inside we are falling apart.

The steps discuss humility in such a way that we realize our ego keeps us from being present and accepting what is. With  truthfulness as our goal, we become more aware of the moments when we shade true meaning. It becomes no longer comfortable to live in the shadow of made up reality. Being “fake” clouds the heart and keeps us from truly connecting with others.

In recovery we have the opportunity to see through the clouds, open to the light (truth) and make choices from the present moment of now. We can clean the dirty windows for clarity. We can look at the naked reality and stop creating drama with our "stories"...allowing our personal power to flow.

Mantra for Satya
I  live in truth, I speak truth to myself and to others.  When offering my truth in the form of feedback, I am sensitive to the feelings of others.  I speak in the spirit of love.  I take responsibility for my actions.  I do not blame anyone for my experience.  I honestly see my own part in every situation.

We can be down, we can even be broken, but there's always a way to mend!

On this journey, we continue to peel away the layers to reveal the pearl in the dust bin


Step 8:  Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all (including ourselves!)

Heart rocks.jpeg

This step is about inquiry and willingness.  It's the beginning of the best possible relationships with every human being we know...including ourselves.  Thoroughly looking at our relationships brings a spirit of openness and truth. Which relationships have unfinished business and which relationships we have the illusion of control? With whom do resentments and jealousy pop-up? Sometimes making things right may mean letting go.  Were we passive, emotionally distant, dishonest or enabling?

Step 8 is where we become fully present to our impact on others.  It is an opportunity to take responsibility for our actions and align with the yogic principle of Ahimsa..non-harming to ourselves and others. The Golden Rule of karma reminds us to be kind and thoughtful. We can set an intention to approach our relationships differently in the present , so that we can let go of the past. We can willingly, with wisdom, show up with integrity, make amends, and move forward.  Yoga and meditation allow us to pause and be still...come from a place of responding instead of reacting. It's the work of going within and getting clear...releasing the "junk" and allowing our truly magnificent light to shine!!

Journey Through The Steps...

The 3rd Step...Taking Refuge

Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him 

This step is a call to surrender and trust. It means leaving behind the part of the ego that would have us continue to live a life of disconnection based upon our own self-will. It asks us to go within, deep within, and be willing to wake up to truth, understanding that we have a part in the dance of all things. It asks us to be willing to give up the delusion of control, to awaken to our true nature and the path of light and beauty in the world.  If we can let go of delusion, we merge with the divine within us.  

When we claim our true power by leaving behind willfulness and entering into willingness, we commit ourselves to spiritual growth. 

We discover our inner wisdom to know the difference between what we can control and what we cannot. 

 We discover the joy of being and not always doing, when we make a commitment to go within and seek the support of our Higher Power. 
 
Guidance is found in times of quiet solitude as, little by little, we come to know and love ourselves more. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable and open to the support of divine wisdom, we find lasting joy deep within instead of depending on outward success, other people's approval, or mood altering drugs. 
 
Deciding to leave our will at the door, even for a few moments, takes courage; we may fear the unknown, certain that if we really get to know ourselves, we'll discover we're unlovable. Fear of the unknown is natural, but it lessens as we mature in our spiritual life. We are meant to know and love ourselves as we're known and loved by all that is divine.

We are called to take refuge in the path of mindfulness, understanding and love.

Recovery Yoga at Namaspa and in The Yoga Loft

Visit the schedule for times offered

Came to Believe...

Step 2 

Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity 

Step 2  embraces faith and hope.  Life can be more difficult and empty without someone or something to trust and believe in.  “Coming to believe” means setting aside our illusion of control so that other things can become possible.   We don’t have to have all the answers or information needed yet. When we begin to trust, we feel lighter…more at ease.  Our willingness to see life as purposeful…as more than just a coincidence…can be the key to lasting recovery and an appreciation of the way life seems to work.  

  In yoga practice we have the opportunity to open our eyes and hearts. 

We Go inside and surrender. We learn to focus on our inner drishti, our “in-sight”, along with humility by which we acknowledge that there is more to a situation than our own perspective. It involves asking to be part of the bigger plan. We perceive that such a plan exists, begin with a willingness to see more than we presently see. Acceptance marks that willingness. 

We can accept things as they are and as they are not…we listen without attachment, love without expectation, and give, simply to give. 

Faith and hope involves the realization that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to mental, physical and spiritual health.

Recovery Yoga at Namaspa Thursdays, 7pm

For Valentine's Day...Healthy and Delicious Treat...yum!

Coconut Peppermint Chocolates

peppermint Chocolates.JPG

Recipe

Makes about 40-48

1 1/2 c. Coconut oil

1 1/4 c. Agave Nectar, honey or maple syrup

1 c. Unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp. Vanilla

3-5 drops Peppermint oil

Warm coconut oil until melted, blend all ingredients in a blender, pour into a heart shaped candy mold, or paper cups and refrigerate. (Option: Sprinkle unsweetened coconut flakes in each cup before refigerating.) Keep refrigerated until served.

Celebrate a New Year

Imagine a life where you can just sit with yourself in acceptance!

 Little did I know, all those days, all those nights,were life itself!” Anonymous grandmother 

 This journey of life is precious and full of surprises! I am humbled by the strength and courage of those around me as I continue on the path of recovery.  I love the ceremony of starting a new year.  It gives us a chance to reflect on what we're grateful for, and invites us to cultivate new levels of awareness in how we respond to daily challenges, interact with the people in our lives, and what thoughts, desires and actions we choose. It is an opportunity, as is each and every day, to set an intention for what we would like to manifest in our livesof surrendering  in acceptance of what we can’t control and taking action to move from fear into new possibilities..   

It begins by getting clear about how you want your life to unfold. What is holding you back from living life from a place of peace and love? What can you surrender or give up? What rock can you drop to change your relationship with fear?  In our spiritual practice, whether it's prayer, meditation, yoga or connecting to nature, we have the opportunity to pause and breathe and listen.Make a commitment to embrace these simple practices. When the stuff comes up…the yucky feelings, anger, fear, resentment..a moment to moment practice of letting go…letting the stuff just move through us, instead of clinging on...uncovers inner wisdom that resides within us.  Having a connection to our deepest desires and goals will help illuminate when we are in or out of alignment with our higher self.  Every day is different.  Some days may seem easy, some may challenge us to step out of our comfort zone. The joy in recovery is when we align with our best self, we release the hypnotic pull of habits and distracted living to awaken to the underlying gem of joy within.  When we bring awareness into our thoughts, words and deeds we recognize that we have the power of choice. We wake up to the beauty that lies in everyday actions and connections. Living life with intention allows us to develop a deeper understanding of who we are, how our mind works and why we are where we are. 

 

Recovery Yoga

Namaspa on Thursdays, 7 pm 

 In gratitude,  Julie

In Celebration Of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for reflection to honor all that we are thankful for.  It's time for us to come together in the name of love for family, community, and our divine spirit. Our gratitude can inspire us to be generous with our hearts, our forgiveness, and our respect for each other. 
 
The miracle is this - the more we share, the more we have. 
--Leonard Nimoy 
 
Most of us in recovery have felt a sense of loss, lost youth, lost relationships and lost opportunities. Even though a lot of stuff happened to us, something inside us has to shift and we need to fully let go.  Otherwise we are still chained to the past. In moving forward we can let go of expectations.  They can be like dragging around a big bag of rocks. Things happen in our lives that are good, bad or otherwise. Our challenges arise when we give them meaning.  We create all kinds of stories around the stuff that happens- what it means about us, others, our relationships, our status and so on.  These stories weigh us down and create stress and discomfort and eventually dis-ease.  If we let go of thefeeling of “ this should not be happening this way”,  we can become more balanced and light in place of living in a constant state of frustration. 
 
There are many gifts that can come from disappointments if we are open to them. 
 
One such gift is the ability to help others. Having felt anger, guilt, and sorrow, we are better able to identify the same feelings in others. We can be more tolerant of others and have compassion for those with similar hurts. And, if we overcome the pain of our own disappointments, we can share the attitudes and actions that helped us grow from those hurts. 
 
Another gift is forgiveness. When we do not deny our pain - and make a concerted effort to work through our feelings of anger, rejection, and guilt - we gain a better perspective of ourselves and a better understanding of others. We become aware of our deepest desires and needs, our deepest insecurities and fears, our weaknesses and our strengths. When we can accept and understand our imperfect natures, we can accept the imperfections and growing pains of others. 
 
 We can ask ourselves the question: what do I need to take my attention off of and what do I need to put my attention on?  
 
We can cultivate a generous spirit by reminding ourselves that we have enough. We have enough to live well, we are surrounded by love, we have been forgiven for many wrongs that we committed, and we have a chance to start over.  True forgiveness of ourselves involves rising above the past and leaving it behind.. When we share from this sense of abundance, our feeling of well-being only grows. From this wisdom, we can set these intentions:  

Today I will use my disappointments as gifts to better understand myself as well as others. I will try to help others overcome their hurts by sharing my struggles and victories with them. 

Today I will be generous and sharing toward the other people I come into contact with and forgive as I move forward. I will take ownership of my life as it is right now, not tomorrow, not next week, but today.  

Can we be calm in the midst of the storm? We don't have to accept all of the chaos that is happening in our world right now, but our inner wisdom in the present moment will guide us in knowing what we have control over and what we don't.  We can experience peace by being grateful for all that we have today. 

Join us for a peaceful practice of gratitude Thursday, Nov. 17, at Namaspa, 7pm

Grateful,  Julie

 

From Worry To Trust

That the birds of worry and care

fly about your head

This you cannot change

But that they build nests in your hair

This you can prevent.

-- Chinese Proverb

How much do each of us worry each day? Worry can light on our shoulders or sink its teeth into our flesh. I’ve heard it said that 90% of what we worry about never happens. Worry can become a habit, a full-time job and our companion by taking over most of our waking and dreaming hours. It breaks down our immune system and weakens our natural ability to fight illness. It keeps us from living with gratitude for the present moment. Accepting things we cannot change frees us. With an open mind and willing heart we have the power to change our habit of worry into one of trust. We know as we make this change that our Higher Power is truly at work in our lives

t’s deep acceptance and surrender that let us experience the inevitable hardships and disappointments of life without resistance and constantly wishing that things were different. Surrendering gives us back the energy we have been wasting in resisting our lives, feeling victimized, frustrated and unhappy. In the 12 Steps we “turn it over” by understanding we can't control things outside of ourselves. In yoga we soften, relax and peel away the layers to touch the pure presence of the egoless heart we are unbreakable. With that connection we are in alignment and open to love…all things are possible and we can deal with just about anything.

A Mantra: Today let me replace my worry with trust and faith in my ability to use my resources to face whatever life brings me.

Slowing It Down!

 Lately, I have been feeling a sense of being pulled in many directions to the point of depletion...and right around the corner are the holidays.  Typically a time of overcommitting, overdoing, over spending and not enough sleeping! 

I'm incredibly grateful for the life I have, but I've come to the realization that I need to make the intention of taking time to slow down. So, I made myself sit down and meditate with Deepak and Oprah today!  I must say, I do feel better!  

When we are running around like chickens with our heads cut off, we lose our connection with ourselves.  We get out of whack, out of balance and the mind spins like crazy trying to keep it all going. Then it becomes a case of disconnection. Too much to do, too many thoughts.  When we lose connection with ourselves, we lose connection with peace in our lives and our relationships with others. Life is made of relationships with people we are connected to.  If we want to master the art of relationship we must learn to recognize when we are connecting and when we are disconnecting. To create heart-to-heart connections, we must begin by connecting to our own true self. If we're tapped out from rushing around without much rest, it becomes a challenge to show up with enthusiasm.  Resentment sets in when we feel like we are constantly obligated, even when we're the ones saying yes! How we relate to ourselves makes a huge difference in how we relate to the whole world and the people around us. 

I've heard it said in recovery, that our life is an inside job.  How often do we slow down to check in with ourselves?  If we're not diligent in taking the time for self care, we lose sight of our purpose in life. We suffer in our own recovery. Daily reflection is a practice.  If we think we don't have time for it, we need it even more. We owe it to ourselves to develop awareness of knowing when to say no without feeling guilty. Then, we have more of our lovely authentic self and the energy to say yes to the things that really matter.  

This week in Recovery Yoga we'll take time to slow down, meditate and nurture the longest relationship we'll ever have...the one with ourselves. 

Every Thursday at Namaspa, 7 pm 

Much Love,  Julie

The Crown Chakra, Our Spiritual Powerhouse

The 7th chakra is our spiritual connecter and our spiritual “bank account.” The crown chakra contains the energy of kind thoughts and action through internal awareness and devotion to our divine spirit. It is the center for trust, devotion, inspiration, happiness, and positivity. It's also the center for deeper connection with ourselves and deeper connection with a force of life that is greater than ourselves.

Most of us have at some time in our lives suffered with a spiritual crisis. In addiction there is a loss of connection to our spirit, our heart and a higher power. We fear abandonment and losing touch with our identity. We are no longer sure of who we are and of what we want in life. We feel as if something is trying to wake up inside of us but we don't know what that is.

In recovery, practicing Step 2, “Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity” fills us with the energy of the crown chakra. We are compelled to believe in a source of miracles and hope in order to heal and grow.

Symbolically, the crown chakra is a thousand petal lotus flower and embraces an attitude of gratitude for one's life. It is nurtured, grown, and submerged in muddy waters. It blooms where there is no clarity. The beauty of the lotus is unique to its environment, which appears monotonous and lacks vibrancy.

When we reach the opening of the seventh chakra, we emerge through the restrictions of the physical body, the ego, mind, and intellect. We are freed from the endless cycle of drama that plays out in our lives. We trust with faith and vision that we are worthy of a life of peace. When we open up to a bigger purpose than we can see, we stand out in our murky surroundings.

We have a sense of knowing that there is a deeper meaning of life and that there is an order that underlies all of existence.

When we realize that everything is interconnected and that we are part of the larger scheme of life, we begin to live with gratitude, faith and trust, rather than filled with fear and anxiety. We are guided by the higher power and we feel divinity from within and from without.

"When one or more are gathered together, miracles occur." That is the beauty of recovery and connection with others. In recovery yoga we come together in a safe and confidential space. Sometimes we just need to show up, be with the tribe and with ourselves on our mat. Nothing more.

Every Thursday, 7pm at Namaspa

Love, Julie

The Chakra of wisdom

 

The 3rd eye center is the chakra of wisdom.  It is the spiritual center in which we learn to act on internal direction, discerning between thoughts motivated by strength and those motivated by fear and illusion.  To move from unconscious behavior to conscious behavior we must be an impersonal observer by seeing the truth instead of trying to control how we want things to look and turn out dictated by past beliefs.  The 6th chakra activates the lessons that lead us to wisdom, beautifully expressed in the Serenity Prayer,  "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference."  Sometimes that's easier said than done. We can be our own worst enemy. We must give up the need to control outcome and accept that change is constant. 

The consciousness of the 3rd eye center is the ability to release the old and embrace the new with the awareness that all things end at the appropriate time and that all thing begin at the appropriate time.  We can see how that works in our lives when we look back.  Hindsight is 20/20 vision, right? Living consciously means living in the present moment and staying in the flow instead of swimming against the current. 

Each of us has an internal reality that is the rhythm of our spirit. Discovering our inner wisdom and living according to it's direction brings us serenity and joy. It brings us energy and vitality because we're not fighting against ourselves and reality.  What beliefs and attitudes would you like to change in yourself? When we wake up and let go of illusion to see truth, we are able to realize that the outside world doesn't have that much power over us.  When we let go of how we thought our life should be and embrace the life that is trying to work it's way into our consciousness, the struggle lessens. We release fear and embrace the deeper truth that all will be well. We experience grace. 

"When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you." 

Tao Te Ching 

Are you willing to make a commitment to listening to your inner wisdom? 

Come to Recovery Yoga for inquiry through meditation, breath and gentle yoga at Namaspa, every Thursday at 7 pm. 

Love, Julie

Forgiveness

The more I study the 4th chakra, the energy of our heart, the more I find how it affects every aspect of our truest nature and how we show up in our lives.   So, I want to spend another week of inquiry on the most powerful energy of all…love.  How can we use this power to create peace and serenity in our lives?  Forgiveness. Forgiveness is the path to the empowered heart.  More than releasing the blame associated with emotional and physical trauma, forgiveness means releasing the power and control they have over our spirit.
This is the moment in our recovery where we move from fear to love. We no longer stay sober based on fear of the past. We stay sober out of love for life. We forgive so that we are no longer attached to the pain of our wounds and we practice compassion, a spiritual energy of the heart chakra, to regain power in our lives.  Healing is simple, but not easy.
We evaluate what we need to do to forgive others and ourselves in the 4th Step. We search our conscience for resentments and face them. None of us can progress in our recovery while holding onto resentments, old angers, and hatreds. When we hold them, we protect dark corners of our souls from the renewal we need. Nothing can be held back. We must be willing to surrender all.  When we are willing to be honest, to be humble, accept and grow, we fill up with the divine power of love.
Think love.  Live in appreciation and gratitude. Invite change into your life. Everything in and about our lives runs off the fuel of our hearts.  We all have experiences meant to “break our hearts”, not in half, but wide open.  However your heart is broken, your choice is always the same.  What will you do with your pain? Will you use it as fuel for fear to have more power over you, or release the hold it has on you in an act of forgiveness?  
When we practice yoga and meditation we find the key to happiness that we so often think comes from an outside source, but is truly and only found within. Yoga releases the pain and suffering in the physical body and meditation allows us to create ease in our continuing thoughts.  Both allow space to breathe and connect to our body, mind and spirit in truth.

 

Journey To the Heart

This week in Recovery Yoga we are continuing our journey through the energy centers of our being...the chakras. While the 3rd chakra focus is on our feelings about ourselves in relation to the physical world, the 4th chakra focuses on our feelings about our inner world. The heart chakra embodies the spiritual lesson that teaches how to act out of love and compassion and recognize that the most powerful energy we have is love. More than any other chakra, the fourth represents our capacity to “let go and let God.” By releasing our emotional pain, by letting go of our need to know why things have happened as they have, we reach a state of tranquility. In order to feel inner peace, we must embody the healing energy of forgiveness and release our need for justice. To quote Sooz, “Being happy does not mean you always get what you want. Happiness comes when you love what you have and when you are grateful for it.”

When we lose the connection and energy flow from our personal power and self esteem of the 3rd chakra to the compassion and acceptance of the heart we live in fear of loneliness, broken commitments and betrayal. We experience jealousy, anger, bitterness and the inability to forgive.

In recovery we regain our personal power so we can connect to our heart. The relationships we strive to heal, and the new friendships we form, are opportunities to open our hearts and discover that we’re all in this together. We learn that being self righteous and self serving behavior no longer bring us the serenity we long for.

An open heart is the fullest expression of our spirit; it is discovering the depths of our divine wisdom to express love, compassion, forgiveness and generosity. When we take a spiritual path we are driven to discover the greater purpose and meaning of our lives. We discover courage, self-confidence, and faith within ourselves. When we choose love over ego, we're on a never ending journey to the heart.

"The future is completely open, and we are writing it moment to moment. There always is the potential to create an environment of blame -- or one that is conducive to loving-kindness." -Pema Chodron

Love, Julie

Surrender

  

Surrender 

 It prepares us for the rest of the path 

In recovery we practice surrendering over and over again.  Sometimes it is the same issue…sometimes it’s the same subject in a different form.  To“turn it over” we must first acknowledge the part that the ego plays in our struggles.  True surrender moves beyond the control of our addiction, to surrender of our unhealthy behavior patterns. The ego fights hard to be right… to control and to judge.  Our work with the steps is to acknowledge and identify our personal challenges.  It requires trust in a higher power…a higher self…our inner wisdom. (Serenity prayer!!)  It requires doing our best with right effort and keeping the ego out of the outcome.   

Our path is progress, not perfection.  It is a practice that can result in a beautiful unveiling of the true self. 

Deborah Adele writes “As we let go of what we cannot change, we are able to grow more and more into our unique gift and contribution to life.. it is an image of strength and softness at the same time…to be strong enough to engage each moment with integrity and at the same time to live soft enough to flow with the current of life.” 

In yoga we practice sukha and sthira..softness (surrender) and strength (action)…a moving through and beyond resistance to calm the mind and create the flow of energy through the body.  We give up the egotistical illusion that we know best, and instead accept that the way life unfolds may be part of a pattern too complex to understand.  In yoga, the practice of Ishvara Pranidhana ( final Niyama in the eight fold path of yoga) is a practice of surrender to our divine within and faith in a bigger purpose.  What if we surrendered to being here now, instead of asking the question why am I here and what is my future?  Can we trust that surrendering creates space for personal power and fulfillment instead of struggling to control the outcome? 

Surrender gives us peace and serenity in the present moment, preparing us for great things as we continue on our precious journey of life. 

Practice surrendering to the moment in Recovery Yoga with meditation, breath and gentle yoga.   

See you on your mat!

Thursdays at Namaspa, 7 pm

Namaste,  Julie

Re-Connection

This week I’ve been thinking and talking with others about the power of connection and how important it is in our recovery, so I’d like to share some of Brene Brown’s wisdom with you.

“Connection is why we're here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. The power that connection holds in our lives was confirmed when the main concern about connection emerged as the fear of disconnection; the fear that something we have done or failed to do, something about who we are or where we come from, has made us unlovable and unworthy of connection.”

My addiction created disconnection within me on every level…spiritually, emotionally and physically. I became isolated, as many of us do, and and was a seeker of disconnection from the reality of life by numbing out. I felt unloveable, ashamed, and “not good enough.” In recovery, with the spiritual journey of the 12 Steps and yoga, I was able to restore connection and hope by awakening to my heart and opening up to raw vulnerability. I prayed for courage and continually set intentions to let go of defeating beliefs so I could align with my true nature…from the words of yoga master, Baron Baptiste...the experience of connection with all of life, where everything is perfectly imperfect as it is, with nothing to fix, nothing to change and nothing needing to be different or better, is True North Alignment. “In these moments we feel open, undefended, with no need to protect. There is no urge to hold on, consume or collect. We are aligned with and flowing from our greater purpose.” It’s found within doing the work and trusting the greater good. It is living wholeheartedly.

The stuff that gets in the way of being wholehearted can be released..if we allow it. Progress happens when we're committed to the process. Connection happens when we're willing to show up in our lives and be there for others, do the work, and open up to something new. That's the beauty of a new day. A fresh start is available to all of us whether you're in recovery or not. Like Brene, I believe we are here to love and connect with each other, show support and practice kindness for ourselves.

Yoga gives me a chance to create connection to the present moment and the life force of my breath. It allows me to release the mucky, yucky, buildup I've created in my mind and softens the jagged edges of life’s challenges.

I encourage you to join us Thursday for a gentle yoga practice and meditation to deepen connection within your beautiful self!

Every Thursday evening at Namaspa, 7 pm

Much Love, Julie


Connie Holen

I'm a Digital Strategist + Squarespace Web Designer for yoga, fitness and wellness studios who need a strong brand presence both on-line and off. I specializes in creating clean, modern and easy-to-manage websites that cleanly integrate online scheduling software and are optimized for local search engine results.