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Sensei Koshin Paley Ellison is a Zen teacher and Co-Founder, with his partner Robert Chodo Campbell, of the New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care —the leading organization engaging and integrating contemplative training with caregiving through study, care and meditation. He serves on the faculty of two medical schools, their curriculum is now implemented in thirty-five medical residency programs, and they have trained over 1100 physicians from across the world in contemplative approaches to care of the dying. We sat down with him to talk about his book, Awake at the Bedside.
I gather clutter every year: paperclips, shoes that don’t fit, magazines, and leftovers in the fridge. I know a balanced life requires that I’m conscious of what I bring into my life—and that I let go of things in equal proportion. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Research shows that we overvalue things once we buy them, which is why we often live over-cluttered and complicated lives.
As spring arrives and bathes us in a gorgeous display of floral colors, pack a picnic lunch, some yoga mats, and head outside for an inspiring stretch, courtesy of Mother Nature. Practicing in the open air with your kids is a great way to foster a love, connection, and partnership with our earthly blessings.
So much is written about yoga these days. People describe how it helped them through a crisis, healed an injury, made them stronger. Many are inspired to become teachers. Doctors write about yoga’s health benefits and teachers write about its philosophy, anatomical mechanics, or energetics. I am one more fan, student, and teacher, and I want to add my say.
Colleen is bent over the computer, squatting in a chair in the morning light at the kitchen table. She is sorting out the stories of her life; sometimes it is just a recalling of events and sometimes it is a cathartic moment that is unearthing a traumatic burial in her body. What a year and a half it has been, my baby writing her memoir yoga solution book Yoga for Life. Is writing akin to being possessed, especially a memoir where there is a constant exorcism being performed along with eminent exposure? Just like a liberating yoga regime, there is arduous work with momentary flicks of freedom.
“Busy” has become the anthem of the anxious. And yet, when asked, most are hard-pressed to say what, exactly, they’re so busy doing. They shrug and say, “you know, with kids,” or an even more vague, “Not enough hours in the day.”
There was a time I envied those “busy” people. Thanks to a youth spent largely ignored by my more-popular peers, I equated “busy” with “popular.” At home with my books, I imagined “busy” meant parties and concerts, dinners with friends, and interesting work commitments. The lives of “busy” people struck me as exciting. Their time was in demand, and their busyness seemed an indictment of my own busy-less life.
The holiday season is upon us, with many of our thoughts turning to food. The popular adage “you are what you eat” is literally true, according to new research that claims a person’s diet has a profound influence on their brain function and overall health.
Just as our eating style reflects and affects who we are, I believe how and where we live reflect ‘us’ even more. Our homes are intimate expressions of ourselves. Similar to the correlation between poor diet and disease, living in a toxic environment — in any sense, physical or emotional — also impacts our health in a negative way. Luckily, the opposite is also true. By creating an environment that supports our well-being, health and happiness, our bodies and minds will respond in positive ways.
The holiday season inundates us with recipes galore (as well as stress and temptations to overindulge). To balance that, choose an ingredient (or two, or three!) from my “healthy-self’ holiday recipe below, and treat yourself to a generous helping of grounding — whatever that means to you.
“I totally connected to the ocean, spending as many hours a day as I could in it, even to the point of not going out with the others at night,” Margaret De Wys told me, referring to the few weeks she spent in Puerto Rico in December. “I connected to the Great Mother there.”
We’re excited to share with you our latest discoveries about conscious loving and living. The relationship transformation concepts and tools we teach as a team have given us a wealth of joy, abundance and learning in our married life together — and as a team, we’ve shared those ideas with 30,000 individuals and 3,000 couples we’ve taught and counseled. We look forward to sharing these ideas with you here in the Gaiam Stream of Consciousness Blog.