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Perspective

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Art in Action is a weekly post: a short, practical guide to applying the ideas and principles in the Focus Pocus posts to your body and life. As always, I love to hear from you about how you use them and how you translate the ideas into action.

You wake up (or sit at your desk all day or trip over a root or try carrying ALL the groceries in) and something in your body doesn’t feel good. Instead of focusing and dwelling on what hurts, here are 6 ways to expand your view:

1. Notice what’s happening in detail. Is the pain throbbing, steady, hot, sharp, sporadic, steady?

2. Notice what’s happening around the part that hurts. If it’s your knee, for example, what’s happening in your hip? Your IT band? Your foot? Your ankle? If you take care of the parts around the pain (stretch, for example, or roll on a foam roller, or massage), does it affect the hurt part?

3. Notice what things soothe the pain and what things exacerbate it.

4. Notice what doesn’t hurt in your body, what actually feels good or open or free. Notice that just because one part hurts doesn’t mean that everything is a hopeless mess.

5. Notice how you talk about the pain. Do you call it your “bad knee” or your “stupid back” or your “annoying shoulder”? Do you talk about how much it stinks to get old and how that’s just what happens when you reach a certain age?

6. Notice how you feel about the pain. Do you live in what my friend calls “the wreckage of your future”? Does a pain in your knee spiral into “never hike again,” “never walk again,” “knee cancer”? Notice if your emotional story makes it more than it really is.

With an expanded view, see how it feels to reconnect with the injured part of you. Are there more possibilities? More perspective?

You can use the same approach when something in your life or in a relationship or in the world feels bad. See what happens when you expand your view:

1. Notice what’s happening in detail. Do your best to understand the full situation and then investigate what it is that you are feeling. Stay concrete rather than rushing to the philosophical. Check out the physical sensations in your body around the situation. Is your stomach tight? Does your head hurt? Your heart?

2. Notice what’s happening around what feels bad. Investigate what is happening around the situation. What might be contributing to it beyond the obvious? Is someone afraid, desperate, embarrassed or angry? Are you?

3. Notice what things soothe your suffering about the situation and what things exacerbate it.

4. Notice what is working in the situation. Notice the good. As Mr. Rogers said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”

5. Notice how you talk about the situation. Do you call someone “an idiot” or a company “heartless” or a decision “crazy”? Do you lump a group of people together or make the situation black and white with the way you talk about it?

6. Notice how you feel about the situation. Do you live in “the wreckage of the future”? Does the situation spiral into “everything will be terrible,” and, “the world will end”? Notice if your emotional story makes it more than it really is.

With an expanded view, see how it feels to reconnect with the difficult situation. Are there more possibilities? More perspective?

073116 grbrh

The blueberry bushes in Rebecca’s back yard tower over me, their lanky branches intertwined like a roof. Armed with my colander, I snake around, between, and under. I keep thinking I’ve found all the ripe berries but when I circle around again and look from a different angle, inevitably there is fruit that I’ve missed.

The way I dance around the blueberry bushes is the way I dance around my days. Big issues plant themselves in front of me – love, parenting, friendship, money, vocation, art – and I spiral around them. As soon as I think I’ve figured it out, as soon as I nod confidently and say “oh, yeah, I’ve got this,” I look from a different perspective and see something new I’ve never seen before.

Wednesday, August 3 is my 52nd birthday. Most people would say it isn’t a “big” one but for me, it’s the biggest yet.

In the 13 Moon Natural Time calendar, every day is unique. Every day has its own Galactic Signature: 260 unique fingerprints made up of combinations of four colors, thirteen tones and twenty tribes.

  • Today’s Galactic Signature is Yellow Electric Seed.
  • The Galactic Signature on Thanksgiving Day will be Yellow Lunar Sun.
  • The Bicentennial in 1976 was Red Magnetic Earth.
  • September 11, 2001 was Blue Self-Existing Monkey.
  • The day Donald Trump was born was Blue Electric Hand.
  • The day Hillary Clinton was born was White Galactic World-Bridger.
  • The day you were born had a signature, too. (You can look it up here.)

Each of the 260 signatures has a meditation that decodes its energy and essence (you’ll find that here, as well.)

On the day I was born, August 3, 1964, the Galactic Signature was Blue Rhythmic Hand and the meditation is:

I Organize in order to Know
Balancing Healing
I seal the Store of Accomplishment
With the Rhythmic tone of Equality
I am guided by my own power doubled

Every 260 days since I was born, Blue Rhythmic Hand has been the signature of the day. But never since the day I was born has that signature fallen on August 3…until this year. After 52 years, a cycle is complete and a new cycle begins. In the 13 Moon Calendar, the 52nd birthday is called the Galactic Return.

Fifty-two, then, is a BIG birthday. The Galactic Return is celebrated as a time of rebirth and renewal , the finishing of a cycle and the beginning of something new. My friend and Nia colleague, Zan Tewksbury, says that her Galactic Return was about the freedom and responsibility to write her own story. Her willingness to step out of the expectations of society, family and even herself allows her to live more authentically from her essence. And while that can be disorienting and scary, the unfolding adventure is worth the discomfort.

“The day came,” wrote essayist Anais Nin, “when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Perhaps that day comes on the Galactic Return or maybe it happens at another time. The Galactic Return routine celebrates all courageous human choices to see life from different perspectives and to reimagine ourselves. It’s about all our returnings and rewritings.

We are all circling and spiraling through time – experiencing repeating patterns and cycles. What’s more, all our circles and spirals are intersecting and interweaving. Galactic Return: Blue Rhythmic Hand is a physical and symbolic honoring of all of us swimming in the river of time, circling together through past and present and now.

[I’ll launch the Galactic Return: Blue Rhythmic Hand routine on Wednesday, August 3 at 11am at acac Albemarle Square and then teach it again on Thursday, August 4 at 840am at acac downtown. I’ll then be traveling for a couple of weeks and will return to teaching the routine on August 29.]

practice on your own mat savasana room 2Counter-intuitive perhaps, but when I practice on my own mat I deepen my connection with myself and I see other people more clearly. When I sense my own pain, annoyance, happiness, pleasure, anger, fear, I remember that everybody else feels those things. When I’m in my head thinkingandthinking and tellingallkindsofstories, I’m disconnected from me and from others. Drop in and connect.

“Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant with the weak and the wrong. Sometime in your life you will have been all of these.”
~ Dr. Robert H. Goddard

window washingThis one time? We thought we had to move, but really, we just had to wash our windows.

Okay, maybe it was a little more complicated than that. But only just a little.

Our boy was graduating from high school. Our girl had moved out of the apartment in our basement into one with her fiancé. The nest was emptying before our eyes. What’s more, after working on the renovation of our home for nearly four years, we were up to our pitchforks in the last, massive landscaping project. We took down four haggard-looking trees from the front yard to open up views to the house and simultaneously opened a wide swath of space that needed to be designed, planted, weeded, seeded, and mulched. At the same time, spring was springing and everything on our property seemed to need tending or pruning or planting or transplanting or fixing or reworking.

Then sprinkle on top of that some of my love for making a plan (a love that is, at least in part, a sugar coating on my distaste for the unknown). I wanted to know what was next. Together with their mother, Frank and I have spent the last 15 years raising his two children. Now, we could see an open path to a time for just the two of us.

So, we started talking about our next chapter but no longer in a Maybe-Someday-We-Could kind of way, but in a What-Do-We-Do-NOW kind of way. In a swirl of giddy enthusiasm, we bought a townhouse with the intention of renting it but almost immediately decided that we should move into it ourselves. As soon as possible. No more mowing or weeding or cleaning out gutters. More freedom, less responsibility, more travel, more ease. Our hearts soared at the idea.

The whirl continued as we talked to our realtor about pricing and listing our house. We cleared shelves and closets to make it more “showing ready.” In the midst of this, we realized we had to wash the windows. They are big and high, so it is no small task. Which probably explains why we’d never done it in all the time we’ve lived here. Dust and dirt and smashed stink bugs and cat nose prints and bird droppings were all part of our vista. But now, Frank hauled out the walk board and his special Norwegian window washing rag and went to work.

When I walked into the kitchen that evening, it was like walking to the edge of a tree house. Through the sparkling windows, I could see everything clearly. Our garden, the chicken coop, the woods beyond. As the sun set, the trees glowed green. The sky and late-day clouds radiated white, gray, blue and pink-rose. We watched the airspace transition from bird traffic to bat. It was glorious. Beautiful. This was why we’d designed the house this way – to be able to see, enjoy, absorb the wild natural beauty in our back yard. I’d somehow forgotten our original vision of living in this place. I’d gotten distracted by the grime and cat nose prints.

At dinner the next night, our boy stopped eating for a moment, looked out the windows at the view and said, “That makes me happy.” Well and truly said.

In some ways, it really was as simple as that: we thought we had to move but really we just had to wash our windows. At the risk of sounding like Dorothy in the last scene of The Wizard of Oz (something that would delight Frank no end), sometimes what I really need is to look with different eyes at what is right in front of me. Am I seeing through a film of dirt and bird poop? Am I seeing only what I want to see and editing out the rest? Am I oblivious, eyes down, not seeing at all? Am I seeing how flipping amazing the world is? Do I need to wash my windows?

How do you use your eyes: your physical eyes, yes, and also your eyes as they connect to your mind, heart, and imagination? What is your vision of the world, your life, this moment? I’d love to hear your eye perspectives.

It’s my birthday today.  I love a birthday.  I love birthday cards and birthday candles.  I love getting a bunch of messages on Facebook wishing me a happy day.  I love doing something – alone or with others – to mark the milestone.  I love feeling special on “my” day (which, if I’m doing my math right, I share with about 16.5 million others on Earth).

And I hate to admit it, I wish it wasn’t true, but I also struggle with having a birthday.  I’m 48 today.  I graduated from high school 30 years ago and from college 26 years ago.  A whole boatload of adults were born AFTER those graduations.  Time is moving forward and my life and my body are going with it.  Most days I’m okay with it.  I usually feel pretty Zen and chill but then I find myself wishing that I could run like I did when I was 28 or that my face and body looked like I did when I was 25 (or even 35!).

I’m embarrassed to admit it.  It feels small-minded and superficial.  But the truth is that sometimes I feel sad and even scared about getting older.  I KNOW that aging happens to everybody and (as I often say to someone who is bemoaning their own birthday), it’s better than the alternative.  I love being alive.  I love life.  I’m reluctant to give it up.  Which I’m not planning to do any time soon.  But still.

A few weeks ago, I listened to a brilliant dharma talk by Anne Cushman called “Long Live Impermanence.” (I don’t know what happened y’all but since I downloaded it, I’m not able to find it on DharmaSeed so I can’t share a link.)  She is funny and smart, draws on a variety of fascinating sources and she offered me new thoughts on the constant change that is human life.

In her talk she makes reference to Buddha’s Five Remembrances and recalls chanting them every morning when she was practicing at Thich Nhat Hanh‘s  Plum Village in France.  They go like this:

Buddha’s Five Remembrances

I am of the nature to grow old.
There is no way to escape growing old.

I am of the nature to have ill health.
There is no way to escape ill health.

I am of the nature to die.
There is no way to escape death.

All that is dear to me and everyone I love
are the nature to change.

There is no way to escape
being separated from them.

My actions are my only true belongings.
I cannot escape the consequences of my actions.

My actions are the ground upon which I stand.

On the surface of it, this is a real bummer.  At first blush, it would seem that chanting that every morning would seriously be a drag.  I mean, seriously.  But right there at the end, that last part turns it around. “My actions are my only true belongings.”  The last section reminds me that my time and my life are precious and what I choose to do with them is important.  Yes, it’s true that in 100 years we’ll all be dead, but the world that will be happening then will be affected by the actions I take now.

So, I got curious about the Remembrances.  After listening to Anne Cushman’s talk, I looked them up online and I wondered about the possibility of looking straight at the reality of impermanence.  I realized that in some part of my brain, I think that MAYbe, if I eat right, and exercise, if I take care of my skin and drink 8 cups of water a day that I won’t age and, ultimately (this little part of my brain thinks), I won’t die.  It’s not my whole brain.  I don’t BELIEVE that I’m immortal.  It’s just a little part of my brain that says, “Yep, everybody gets old and dies.  But if I do things JUUUST right, maybe I won’t.”

Since I know that this line of thinking is a little off, I figured I’d give the Remembrances a whirl, so I’ve taken to reading them before I meditate in the mornings.  And it’s funny, but it’s not a bummer at all.  There is something freeing about it.  I can actually feel myself relax as if I’ve been holding time and change at bay and I can let it go.  There is no way of escaping change or old age or death, so I can just chill and get on with my day.

In the introduction to the Remembrances that I found, it says “When you deny the reality of life, you appreciate it less. Meditate on the Buddha’s Five Remembrances and rediscover the magic of life just as it is.”  In my short experience, this feels true.  I am struck by the preciousness of every day and am reminded to choose words and actions that I feel good about.  It’s cool how this seemingly-morbid look at life has encouraged me to engage in life:  say the compliment that I might not have, apologize more quickly, and help, even in a small way, however I can.

If I fight the inevitable transience of life, and work to stay as some previous, faster-running, firmer-skinned version of myself, I lose the chance to become who I am now.   With one month left of my sabbatical, I’m ready to teach Nia again*.  It is a small way that I can be of service and offer my gifts, and it feels good.  If this birthday was my last, I would feel that I made a contribution in a way that only I can.  Reading Buddha’s Remembrances every day is helping me to actively choose more ways that I can connect and shine my light.  “My actions are the ground upon which I stand.”

In Nia, we borrow the famous Crazy Horse quote and say “Today is a good day to die” when we are surrounded by what we love and we have done our best.  Today is my birthday and today is a good day to die.

Happy Transience Day, everybody!  Let me know how you are celebrating the precious impermanence of your life!

* For Nia fans in Charlottesville, starting September 1, I’ll be teaching on Mondays and Wednesdays at 1045 at ACAC Albemarle Square and on Thursdays at 9am at ACAC Downtown.  I’m also subbing a bunch in August, so you can check the schedule!  Do come play with me!

Months ago, my friend Rebecca forwarded a blog post by Glennon Melton about parenting that has stuck with me (Click here to read it.).  Melton writes eloquently about her experience of raising young children, but what really captured my imagination was her observation of the difference between loving doing something and loving having done it.  She wrote:

“…last week, a woman approached me in the Target line and said the following: ‘Sugar, I hope you are enjoying this. I loved every single second of parenting my two girls. Every single moment. These days go by so fast.’… There was a famous writer who, when asked if she loved writing, replied, ‘No. but I love having written.’ What I wanted to say to this sweet woman was, ‘Are you sure? Are you sure you don’t mean you love having parented?”

Mmm.  I so appreciate this distinction and it has stuck with me since.  In fact, I’ve started looking at everything I do through this lens.  Do I love doing this?  Or do I love having done it?  And then (since I am, after all, me), I took it a step further and created a chart.  I just love me a chart.  Here it is:

 

Love to Do

 

Love Having Done

 

Love to Do

 

Don’t Love Having Done

 

Don’t Love to Do

 

Love Having Done

 

Don’t Love to Do

 

Don’t Love Having Done

Part of what I’ve done on my radical sabbatical is to look at my days, what I spend my time and energy on, and to notice where they fall on the chart.  A few examples from the past week:

Clean cat boxes – Don’t Love to Do / Love Having Done

Meditate – Sometimes Love to Do, Sometimes Don’t Love to Do / Love Having Done

Check email – Don’t Love to Do / Love Having Done

Ride bike to gym & work out – Love to Do / Love Having Done

Work in the garden — Usually Love to Do, When it’s Hot Only Love to Do for a Little While / Love Having Done

Call Comcast about Internet outage – Don’t Love to Do / Don’t Love Having Done

Empty Dishwasher & Wash Pots – Don’t Love to Do / Love Having Done

Call friend about sticky topic – Don’t Love to Do / Love Having Done

Eat chocolate (actually a LOT of chocolate) – Love to Do / Don’t Love Having Done

Write FocusPocus post — Love to Do / Love Having Done

I am on sabbatical, of course, so I am fortunate to have a large amount of freedom around how I spend my time right now.  As you can see, almost everything on this list I love having done.  As I’m looking ahead, my intent is to do my best to choose to do things that fall on the LEFT side of the chart:  things that whether I love to do them or not, I love having done.

As I play with this chart, I realize that over the years (long before I had my chart), I’ve been slowly making more and more choices from the “Love Having Done” side.  Ending relationships that weren’t working.  Leaving jobs that were out of alignment with my values.  Moving to homes that are beautiful to me.  Doing work that I love.  Spending time with people who feel good to be around.  All of these choices are getting me more connected with the “Love Having Done” side of the chart.  And organically, the things I neither loved doing nor loved how I felt about afterwards (the dreaded lower right corner) were the first to go.

On my list above, the one item that fell in the lower right corner was the call to Comcast to fix my doggone Internet.  Not a rewarding activity in any way, and if a woman wants to post to her blog, she has to be connected to the World Wide Internet Web.  The lower right corner reminds me to make choices to either find ways of avoiding the things that feel not-good in both the doing and the afterward OR to consciously play with ways of making the activity feel better (like joking with the representative or dancing to the crackly jazz music while I’m on hold for ten minutes).

Why not strive to have my whole life residing in the upper left corner of the chart?  I actually think this would be a limiting goal.  For me, it’s important that I’m stretching myself to do things that are challenging and maybe not always great fun in the moment as long as I feel good about them afterwards.  If all I did was stay in the upper left corner, I would be unlikely to step outside the comfortable known.  I recently wrote about my experiences this summer with running (click here for a link to the Turtle GO! post), and this is a good example of consciously choosing to do something challenging that feels great afterwards.

The key is noticing how I feel after I’ve done something, not just noticing how I feel while doing it.  I’m learning that when I appreciate myself for doing things that I don’t love to do but I love having done, I’m more inclined to do them more often and sometimes (for example, running or meditation), they become things that I also love to do.  In a way, it’s like getting a little reward before undertaking the challenge:  I can say to myself, “Yes, I know I don’t love to clean the bathroom and I also know that it feels so great to shower on scrubbed, sparkling tile.”

Sometimes, Frank and I have “Work Appreciation” which is all about the bottom left corner of the chart.  After I’ve done a lot of sweaty work in the garden, or Frank has finished building a complicated component of his Solar System, we take some time to really savor the feeling of accomplishment instead of just moving on to the next thing on the list.  Especially when the task was challenging and perhaps not particularly enjoyable, Work Appreciation really makes a difference.

[CAUTION TO THE DUTIFUL AMONG YOU:  I have to be careful with the lower left corner so I don’t fall into a big, fat case of the “shoulds.”  If I don’t really pay attention to how I feel after I do something I don’t love to do, I often keep doing it thinking that I should (or, alternatively, that someone expects it of me or that a “good” person would do it).  When I’m in this pattern, I often feel a sense of relief when the dutiful thing is over rather than satisfaction and pleasure.  When choosing to do something you don’t love, stay alert to the afterward-sensations and notice if you tell yourself stories about why you “should” be doing it.]

So what about the top right corner?  The things I love to Do and Don’t Love Having Done?  I see this corner as my learning edge.  This is the place on the chart where I have a habit or a tendency or a weakness that I’m still figuring out.  The example on my list above is eating (a LOT) of chocolate.  It’s true, sometimes the sensation of chocolate melting on my tongue is more than I can resist…even if I know I won’t feel great physically or mentally later.  Sometimes, this is a signal to me that I need some other kind of care or attention.  Sometimes, just the awareness that when I eat more than a little chocolate I don’t feel good later, can be enough to remind me to have just a little.  And sometimes, it just is what it is:  a learning edge, something to notice and play with and see how I might nudge it toward the left side of the chart.

Maybe you love a chart.  Maybe not so much.  Either way, this week I invite you to take a look at the thing that take up your time and energy and ask yourself if you love doing them or if you love having done them.  Notice if you have things that you’d like to move to a different corner or ones that you’d like to leave out altogether.  Whatever you discover, I’d love to hear about it.  And if you come up with your own chart, you KNOW I want to see it!

This post comes from the road (or the air, to be more accurate) somewhere between Houston and Charlottesville.  I’m returning after a week with Helen and Joe Terry at Soma Ranch in Montgomery, Texas, where I was re-taking the Nia Blue Belt training.  It was a rich and multidimensional week and I’m grateful for the experience, the connections, the insights (or to be truthful, the little baby edges of maybe-insights that I started to uncover).

First, an aside about Soma Ranch:  I confess that I don’t think of myself as a big Texas fan.  I didn’t really know what to expect an hour outside of Houston at a ranch in the middle of hundreds of acres of farm land with rescued donkeys in the pasture and a Cowboy Church just up the road.  For an old New Englander, it seemed like a bit of a stretch.  And you know what?  It was fantastic.  It was beautiful and peaceful in a big sky, deep breath kind of way.  Studying in the self-contained environment of the ranch allowed me to really focus on the training without distraction or external disruptions.  Helen’s vision for a beautifully designed, peaceful spa atmosphere offered (in general and tangibly in the three main rooms) Peace, Love and Joy.  Joe’s incredibly good cooking that awaited us thrice daily, left me feeling cleansed and nourished.  If you’re considering a Nia training, this is the place to do it.  If you’re looking for an introduction to the Body Ecology Diet, come here.  Soma Ranch is simply lovely.  Do go.  (And when you do, give Moonbeam and Luna – my two favorite donkeys – a little chin rub for me.)

The Nia Blue Belt focuses on Relationship, Communication and Intimacy.  Those three words have so much attached to them, so much complexity.  As I type them, it makes sense that I feel more than a little pooped after working with them all week.  At this moment, most of the training is a jumble of yet-to-be-processed sensations, ideas, emotions and possibilities.  I don’t have a great humming wisdom to bestow on you at this point, just a mumble jumble sense that that it was basically good and full of possibility.  However, as I travel home today, serendipity suggests that I share one sliver of the training with you.

Today, while waiting at my gate for my first flight, I read one of Rick Hanson’s Just One Thing blog posts.  He actually sent it out more than a week ago, and I didn’t have time to get to it then.  Usually my anal-retentive office manager-self demands that my email box be purged of any such detritus.  Instead, something about it caught my attention so I didn’t delete it.  The post was called “See What’s Likeable” and you can read it here.  Dr. Hanson talks about connecting with people, experiences, and objects with the intent of finding something to like about them.  He invites us to begin by “pick[ing] something simple – a meal, a room, a view out a window – and find something you like about it. Perhaps it is a particular taste, or the curve of a favorite armchair, or the way that light is playing on leaves outside. For a few seconds or longer, stay with it and let the sense of enjoyment grow. Be mindful of the experience of liking something.”  The idea is that by finding something likeable, we open up to the world and connect with it rather than withdraw.  And liking something or someone feels good!

During the Blue Belt, we played with a similar practice.  In Nia, we recognize that we are (in a mind-blowing kind of way) in relationship with everyone and everything on the planet (and in the universe, for that matter) all the time.  I’m in relationship with my friends and family in Charlottesville even though I haven’t seen them in more than a week.  I’m in relationship with the camp I went to in Canada when I was a teenager and the forks in my kitchen drawer and a cowboy hat for sale in Dallas that I’ve never even seen.  (Truly, it can be a little crazy-making.)

The key is that for every relationship there are three entities:  the self, the other, and the relationship.  Instead of BEING something in a relationship (that is, “I am selfish,” “I am loving,” “I am confused”), in Nia we talk about what we BRING to the relationship.  This is helpful to me in that like a gift I bring to a party, it is separate from me and I can bring more than one thing.  AND (and this is key), I have no control over what the other brings to the relationship.  Think about that:  how often do I say, “They are doing this or that and making the relationship crappy.  It’s not my fault.”  Instead, if I can let go of what the other is bringing, I can focus on making a conscious choice about what I want to bring to the relationship and let go of the rest.

In my relationship with my cat, Phoenix, for example, I bring affection, care, attention, annoyance and love.  Phoenix brings affection, a relentless pursuit of food, a love of warm places, and a tendency to use the box the second I’ve scooped it.  To my relationship with my new leather backpack purse, I bring satisfaction, pleasure, and gratitude (especially since it was only $2).  My bag brings three handy dandy compartments, comfort and ease for carrying, and snappy good looks!

Like Dr. Hanson, Helen wisely invited us to begin by looking at our relationship with simple, inanimate objects rather than something outrageously complex (oh you know, like my relationship with an actual person).  So I spent some time this week looking at my relationship with my favorite cashmere socks, my four-color pen, and my PG Tips Decaf tea.  It sounds absurd, right?  And yet it is surprisingly illustrative.  It helps me notice my tendencies (for example, I tend to take things for granted and expect things to just do what they usually do).  The practice helps me break down the complexities of relationship.  What do I bring?

Dr. Hanson suggests bringing a willingness to find something likeable.  His practice invites a choice.  I choose to like something, at least one thing about the object, person, or situation.  Nia suggests looking at all the things we bring, and then invites us to question whether we are consciously bringing what we want to bring to the relationship.  Either way, I find that the practice sheds a whole new light on how I relate to things, situations, people and myself.

Give it a whirl for yourself:  pick something simple and begin by finding something to like about it.  Then ask yourself what else you bring to the relationship.  Then ask yourself if that is what you WANT to bring.  We can’t control what the other brings:  the cat will do what she will.  Heaven knows I have no control over her.  AND we do have a choice about what we bring even if the other insists on getting underfoot and making a mess in the box.

There is release in that awareness.  Release and freedom.  And that, I think, is pretty cool.

I’d love to hear about your dance in relationship and what you choose to bring.  And I promise, as those the little baby edges of maybe-insights come through, I’ll share them.

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