This is the time of year when people are often either excited to celebrate the holidays or they are feeling a sense of dread about what might be coming during this sometimes stressful season. But the one thing that we all have in common is that we want to be happy.
As I was thinking about happiness, it came to me that a key to happiness involves circulation. By that I mean that true happiness comes from giving and receiving. The kind of sharing that involves the heart and the willingness to share without any expectations.
By The FIRM Master Instructor Marguerite O’Brien
While I try to be mindful of the blessings in my life and give thanks on a daily basis, there are times when I am humbled by life’s circumstances and my gratefulness is magnified. I’ve had several experiences recently that I wanted to share with you, in hopes that they will inspire you to take a moment to be present to what is going on around you and give silent thanks for every blessing.
I was thinking about hope this week and what it means to our lives. When I looked up the definition of hope, here is what came forward: The feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best; A person or thing in which expectations are centered; to look forward with desire and reasonable confidence.
The definition reminded me that hope can be attached to a feeling and therefore can be affected by emotion. “I hope things turn out okay.” “I hope that I will be understood.” “I hope my family will be okay.” It dawned on me that when I am hoping, I am looking into the future. There is a desire to be supported, but not an assuredness that everything will fall into place. Somehow there is a little kernel of doubt that things might not work out in a powerful way.
Hope is one of those phenomenal insights of the emotional body that can appear in any shape and any context. Hope is cherishing the expectation of fulfillment in any part of your life. Hope is found in loved ones — your sister, brother, mother, father. Hope is the water that fills the well, the lighthouse that calls ships home. Hope is the food on your table and the gas in your car. Hope is as specific or as ambiguous as you need it to be. Where there is nothing, let there be Hope. Where there is something, let there be Hope. You can never have enough and there will never be a lack.
With the recent passing of the equinox and the shifting from one season to the next, Hope has taken up residence around each corner of Spring’s beautiful awakening.
Hope is a feeling, an internal movement. If seen in its proper context, hope is part of the light of joy and love that is constantly shining through and illuminating the beauty of life — the awesome dance in which we take part. There is no need to feed it or hang on to it as a distraction or a promise. Instead, strive to see it in context with all of the present moment’s thoughts and sensations. It is but a broken branch floating in the middle of the river of the Tao that we can hang on to only momentarily; however, it must not become the totality of our reality.
Are you crazy busy? Is there hardly a moment to catch a breath? Is your significance tied to how much you work and how much you accomplish?
We must retrain ourselves to be, not just to do; to live, not just work. It can take time and awareness to rewire yourself, but it’s not an impossible task — and you can make a significant headway with 15-30 minutes of daily yoga practice.
I recently had the honor of attending a family wedding in France. The groom was French and brought up in the Catholic tradition. The bride was born in California and raised in the Jewish tradition.
The family and friends from both sides assembled in a small town in the south of France and the celebration began. There was lots of food, wine, and joyous gatherings. The groom’s family exhibited the most amazing hospitality. Here is the interesting thing: It seemed perfectly natural that the French and the Americans were in the same place honoring the love of this beautiful young couple. Some spoke only English. Some spoke only French. Others had varying degrees of language learnings. It didn’t seem to matter. Somehow, we all found a way to connect and get to know each other.
On Oprah Winfrey’s last show she spoke about the many lessons that she has learned over the past 25 years. One thing she said really stuck in my mind. She said, “You are responsible for your life.” Now, I know that we all know that on some level, but do we really understand what that means?
I have practiced what I call “The Responsibility Factor” for many years, and I want to share with you my process. The moment anything happens in my life that is significant, good or challenging, I pause and ask, “What did I do to create this opportunity to grow”? Usually, when I ask that question, the answer comes quickly and easily. When it doesn’t, I sit down and “stream of consciousness” journal. I put down my fears, doubts, concerns, excitement and enthusiasm. What comes out always makes my heart smile, even if I see that I am on the “pity pot.”
Oftentimes people come to me and state that their intention is to heal. The definition of healing is to restore to health and soundness; to set right; restoration of that which is damaged to its normal function; regeneration (spiritual, revival, rebirth); and renewal of any lost part.
“The renewal of any lost part” caught my attention. During challenging times people are often seeking parts of themselves that they think have been lost, stolen or damaged. I believe that we are, inherently, whole, and that at the core of our being, beauty and peace exist. When my clients speak about wanting to heal, we explore the deep desire to remember that they are not broken or damaged goods. We talk about the fact that in every situation there is good and it is leading us back to a state of wholeness. When the Japanese mend broken objects, they fill the cracks with gold. They believe that when something is damaged and has a history, it is more beautiful. What if that were true of us? What if each and every aspect of our life stories was an essential ingredient that made us stronger and more beautiful?
As a parent and grandparent, I was very hesitant to watch Rabbit Hole because I knew that it focused on parents who were dealing with the death of their child. After much encouragement from my wife, Lauren, and one of our community members (Mark), and with the tragedy in Tucson in the background, we watched the film last night and were absolutely mesmerized.