Thursday, July 28, 2011

Life Rhythm

"There is a rhythm to everything in the cosmos.  The wind, the rain, the waves, the flow of our breath and heartbeat--everything has a rhythm.  Similarly, there is a rhythm in life.  Our thoughts and actions create the rhythm and melodies of our lives.  When the rhythm of our thoughts is lost, it reflects in our actions.  This will, in turn, throw off the very rhythm of life.  Today, this is what we are seeing all around us."  
- Mata Amritanandamayi (Amma)

  • Is there a rhythm to your daily life?
  • Does your life flow melodiously from one activity to another, or do you get stuck?
  • Do your movements flow with ease, or are they jerky and stiff?
  • Is there a balanced rhythm to your gait, or is there an uneven lopsidedness?
  • Notice where rhythm is irregular in your life, where would like it to be more regular. (Example: "My mealtimes are irregular."
  • Realize that you have a choice: to continue with the habitual irregularity, or to stop.
  • "Choosing to stop."
  • Change direction towards what you want: "My mealtimes are not irregular."  "I eat three meals per day, at roughly the same time" (or whatever you prefer).
Continue thinking in this way, and over time your habits will start to shift, as you start making the necessary adjustments towards your goal.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Laugh it up!

There are so many ways to laugh--just watch the people around you wherever you go, and watch yourself in the mirror, if you dare!

Do you throw your head back when you laugh?
Do you double over with laughter?
Are you thrown into stitches?

Or do you laugh it up?

Which parts of you do you laugh with?
Where do you feel it?
Where does the laughter originate?
Think about it for a moment.

Stomach, throat, chest, voice, face, torso...feet...mind?

How about laughing with your whole self, whole being, with a real, heart-y laugh?

Next time you laugh, notice whether you hold in your laughter in any way by tightening/constricting/pulling yourself down...or whether you collapse...or whether it energizes you and uplifts your spirits.

Does your laughter bring you closer to or further from what makes you laugh?

See if you can be aware of the space above you as you laugh, and choose not to tighten in reaction to the stimulus that you find funny.

Let yourself go into a freefall for laughter, aiming everything up!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Noticing the face

As you sit looking at the computer screen, stop for a moment and become aware of your face.

Do you notice any excess tension around the eyes? Forehead? Lips? Jaw?  Don't try to change your face or get rid of any of the tension just yet.

In fact, can you exaggerate it and get to know your habits better first?  The more information we can gather about what it is we're doing, the more control we can potentially have over it in the future.

What if you scrunched up your face even more, in the same direction?  What happens to the different areas of your face?  In which directions do the muscles pull?

Now stop and ask yourself to let go of it all.  Did you notice an expansion outwards?  Did your expression soften?  Did your breathing change?

Can you let go of more around the lips and jaw area?

Imagine that your face is a crumpled piece of cloth.  Can you imagine that someone is gently pulling it outwards from all sides, smoothing the tension that pulls on and tightens the muscles?  You can use your own hands, slowly and lightly, to smooth your face outwards from center, guiding muscles into release.

Can you let your vision soften, letting the eyes rest further back in their sockets?

How about letting the corners of your mouth aim slightly upwards, into the beginnings of a gentle smile?

Notice your face during different activities today: while listening to someone speak, when you wake up from sleeping, as you walk down the street, looking in the mirror, etc.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

You can rise above it

Are you feeling a specific emotion right now, or experiencing a general one today or this week?
Whatever it is (whether you experience it as "positive" or "negative"), can you rise above it?  There is always a higher place to aspire to.  Getting stuck in a feeling is not life-enhancing and doesn't contribute to personal growth until you have a breakthrough out of it.

Bring your awareness high up into your forehead (prefrontal cortex--PFC).
From there, can you observe the sensations in your body below?
Emotions have physical counterparts; they go hand in hand.
For instance, do you feel some constriction in your chest, or in your throat?  Neck? Hands? Belly?

Staying up in the PFC, gently ask yourself to stop constricting (in a general way, then in specific places, too).  "I wonder if I could let go of that? I'd like to stop tightening there."

Other helpful inhibitory thoughts:
"I'm allowing myself to feel X down there, and I'd like to stop feeding that feeling now.  I am not reacting to it. I'm not in a hurry.  I can feel X and yet be detached up here.  I want to stop interfering with peace (or happiness) now."

Staying forward and up is the key. When you experience an emotion/bodily sensation as "negative," staying "up" and aiming "forward" into life becomes much more difficult, and all the more important!

Friday, July 1, 2011


idea: I want to walk forwards
this may not be a verbalized idea at all

if I inhibit my habitual reaction to the idea of walking forwards
then my head releases forward and up, floating away from my spine

my head leads the way as I release into movement
trusting, I aim my whole self in the direction I'd like to go

released ankle joints mean that my body begins to fall forward
released knee and hip joints mean that my leg moves to catch me

instead of falling down, I fall up and forwards
and I am carried where I want to go, never leaving where I am