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savoring living meditation rock cairns 3“It doesn’t matter how many times you fall out. It only matters how many times you get back in.”
~ Amy, Susan’s yoga teacher

Savoring is direct experience.
Savoring is being with what is …not what I remember or what I wish for.
Savoring is available in all situations.
Savoring is heightened awareness.
Savoring is living meditation.

Student: My whole life, every single thing I do can be a meditation!
Teacher: Yes. But is it?

I forget to savor. Then I remember.
I come in and out.
The practice is choosing to come back, to start again, over and over.

savoring seeing signsRecently, I got a speeding ticket in a construction area. The officer said I’d been going 40 in a 25 zone.

“25?!” I said. “I didn’t see any signs that said that.”

The patient officer sighed and pointed to a huge sign that said

WORK ZONE
25 MPH

It had two big orange flags on it.

I hadn’t expected it, I wasn’t looking for it, so I hadn’t seen it.

I want to savor what I see, not just look for what I expect.

For fun, watch this video about looking and seeing. In the comments, please share what you notice!

Reade with carrots from Wig Hill Road garden“I asked my body and my body wants dessert.” ~ my step daughter, Reade, at age 10

Your brain is in your whole body, not just your noggin. Listening to your body taps you into a wisdom beyond your intellect.

But it’s not always so straightforward.

Take that cookie, for example. Or that bag of chips. There are times when I would swear my body really really wants them. Actually, that’s my mind telling me that I will get comfort, pleasure and love from that flour-sugar-chocolate morsel (or crunchy-potato-salt crisp).

Body & Mind: practice helps us distinguish between the two.

* * * *
Full-Grown-People-logo-FINAL1
WOW! I’m honored (and a little stunned) to announce that today one of my pieces was published on an excellent site of literary essays called Full Grown People. You can find it here. EnJOY!

DragonLily purpleYears ago, my teacher Carlos approached me at breakfast.
I was so excited and moved so quickly that I spilled tea all over his shoes.

I am agile. A dragonfly.
Sometimes, I could use more mobility.
A little more water lily.

Knowing how we do what we do is powerful. Awareness of my tendencies gives me choices.

Mobility: the constant flow of movement around the joints.
Agility: quick, crisp starts and stops.

Both increase fitness in the body (and mind) but most of us tend toward one more than the other.
Dancing with both creates health and well-being.

Be a DragonLily.

practice on your own mat savasana w bowWhether or not you do yoga, “Practice on Your Own Mat” applies. We all distract ourselves with short-hand stories about the people around us. (See a police officer and notice the story you tell.) We do it to help us navigate the world more efficiently. But if I drop my stories and wonderings about people and feel sensation, I connect with what is actually happening in me. My thoughts and stories feel real and true but practicing on my own mat brings me back to my own experience. It is the only one I can access and do anything about.

choice scarecrow“Gratitude is a Choice” ~ church sign in Stuarts Draft, Virginia July 5, 2013

Do you ever say (or feel), “I have no choice”? Is it ever really true?

Do you sometimes find yourself caught in a activity, a relationship, a job, a feeling and believe you have no choice but to keep doing it? Are you sometimes doing something you love and feel like you have no choice but to stop?

There are costs to all choices. By definition, choosing one thing means you are not choosing another. Some choices have big ramifications. But there are always choices.

If I don’t sleep because the rainrainrain was beatingbeatingbeating on the corrugated roof of my cabin, I can choose to focus on how tired I am or I can choose to be grateful that I have a delicious breakfast awaiting me that I didn’t prepare. If I don’t sleep for 4 nights, I can choose to tough it out no matter how terrible I feel or I can choose to go home a day early.

We always have choices.

This week, notice when you feel like you have no choice. Ask yourself, if it is really true. What other possibilities are there? Recognizing that there are costs and benefits to every choice, breathe and expand your mind to feel the freedom of those possibilities.

fingers and toes manWe use fingers and toes all the time and they’re easy to take for granted. Until you stub one. Mindfulness of them enhances fitness, happiness, and presence – even without anatomy or Nia principles.

Toes tend to tighten. Relaxed toes relax the whole body.

4 Mindful uses of fingers offer big benefits:
1. Use them – Stretching, shaking, squeezing, flicking fingers strengthens hands and engages the body.

2. Relax them – Like toes, relaxed fingers help the body relax.

3. Break habit – Use non-dominant fingers. Wear rings differently. Burn new neural pathways!

4. Be expressive – Using fingers to express emotion is intimate…and healing.