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JOURNEYING ~ Mind, Body, Spirit
February 2017 with Miriam
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WELCOME TO JOURNEYING, FEBRUARY 2017

Wintering in the Okanagan means THE most sensational weekend morning commutes.
One of my favourite mindful moments: riding to the mountain peak. Looking over my shoulder at the valley below I can't help but experience a wave a of gratitude for the opportunity to just be here in precisely this moment, taking it all in: the vista, the feel and sound of stillness, the energy and snap of the cold, the taste of clean air, the smell of evergreens... YES. Yes. This all feels like a yes to me. Open, energy expanding, and JUST SO GOOD! (That's the whole point, isn't' it?)

But I know that to experience this, I need to choose to be open to receiving it. When life gives you snow, you make snowmen; right? The cold weather and shorter days, these can be tough. They can have the effect of temporarily shocking our senses, and we can find ourselves feeling physically and mentally constricted. And once there it is too easy to stay frozen and stuck.

In these moments we need to dig deep; we need to dig deeper than we may be used to going in order to access and receive the nourishment that our bodies and minds and spirits need through the cold spells. 

Nature is a gorgeous reminder of this, of life's natural ability to give and receive exactly what is needed in each moment in order to prosper and thrive. On the surface winter's deep sleep comes to our forests. But below the surface, the root systems of our leafless trees are digging down deeply to seek out and receive nourishment from the earth. Receiving and restoring; restoring and rebirthing. So that come spring they can bear their fruit and give back again. 

Are you with me? Are you feeling this in your own life? Maybe a pull, an urge to ground, to nurture, to hunker down and rest and heal. We are simply an extension of our environment. The cycles of nature are our cycles. And when we allow ourselves to receive, we keep ourselves in the flow of this cycle. 

You don't have to go anywhere, or get a lift to a mountain peak to make this happen (although this can be a lot of fun!). The truth is that your power to receive and restore exists deep within. Winter reminds us to explore.  Dig deep. Connect to your roots. Return to the memory of wholeness.


Begin where you are.
In this issue of Journeying as we move into the month we most associate with love we look to opening and honouring the heart chakra. The Vedic tradition teaches that when this energy center is open and flowing we experience a deep connection to all of life, naturally giving and receiving love and compassion. Moving through this month we can practice inviting in more love, compassion, empathy and openness at all levels of our being: mind, body, and spirit.
BODY
Embrace thyself.

I LOVE to give. Love it. Giving can be the ultimate heart opener. But I have struggled to allow others to give to me. I have found it so much easier to give (time, energy, attention, gifts, love) than to graciously receive. Receiving can feel tough. It can be humbling, revealing, and an easy trigger for the ego to take up a dialogue of "I am not worthy," etc. (which, although this voice may sound persuasive, is pure garbage, by the way).

Is this true for you, too? In your experience is giving often unidirectional? This can't last. It just doesn't work. In order to be whole, in order to allow the energy of wellbeing to circulate in our lives we need to allow it to flow without cutting it off. We need to become adept at both giving and receiving. And a brilliant way to practice this is to learn to give to yourself. Learn to receive self-care.

Does this sound selfish? We need to get over it. Self-care is about stepping into your full potential so that you can really, actually show up and be this person you KNOW you are meant to be. And you know what? Other people will love you more profoundly because of it, because they get to embrace a fuller, more lit-up, and inspired version of you.

So ask yourself:
WHAT CAN I DO TODAY, RIGHT NOW, TO OPEN MY HEART TO RECEIVING WELL-BEING?

HOW CAN I GIVE MYSELF CARE, LOVE AND THE ATTENTION I NEED TO BE WHO I DESIRE WITH ALL OF MY HEART TO BE?


Sometimes paying a little more attention to our physical wellbeing is an easy way to begin. Here are some of my favourite ways to offer love and care to my body.
  • Soak in a warm bath, with zero distraction (I try to do this at least once a week. It's a great reset for my body, mind, and spirit).  
  • Get myself outdoors (cold or warm, the fresh air always enlivens my senses).
  • Show up to a spin class (my favourites are at New Wave Fitness: they do the best job of bringing mindfulness to all their classes and I leave with my body as well as mind and spirit ignited).
  • Practice yoga (whether it is an hour long class or just 10 minutes in my pjs when I wake up, yoga opens me up, every aspect of my being).
  • Take a nap + get to bed early (yes, the sleep revolution is alive and well in my life).  
  • Intimacy (absolutely necessary, solo or shared -- 'hot lunch' with my significant other once a week is a great way to keep it regular). 
  • Eat nourishment that truly nourishes you (for me, this is about treating the body with compassion, gratitude and love).
  • Meditate (every day. Why? Learn more HERE).
 
MIND
Share the love.

The universe operates through dynamic 
exchange... giving and receiving are different
aspects of the flow of energy in the universe.

And in our willingness to give that 
which we seek, we keep the abundance of
the universe circulating in our lives.

~Deepak Chopra
This month I have invited the family under my roof to join me in sharing the love. I found this idea on Pinterest (never short on inspiration!): a daily love note left on bedroom doors. Of course, understanding that the experience of love involves both a giving heart and a receptive heart, everyone - including the kids - will be sharing as well as receiving these heart post-its. 

Do you live solo? Or are you not into the visual display? It's all good - simply make a commitment to share a gift each day with whomever you encounter: the gift of a compliment, of time, of listening, a smile, a cup of tea, a thank-you, or a prayer. 

When we intentionally choose to live with a giving, compassionate, grateful and open heart, we begin to establish within our minds a new way of interpreting the events of our lives. Our brains become hardwired to express these positive human capacities more effortlessly and our default responses to the events of life begin to reflect this change.
 
Interested in reading more? 
Compassion Meditation Changes the Brain
SPIRIT
How is your heart today?

How are you? How's it going? What's up? 

How do you typically reply? "I'm well, I'm fine, thanks. And, how are you?"

This is the drill. Our social interactions as we come and go, pass through, and interact on the run day-to-day are conditioned, for the most part, to be polite and concise with little invitation to really settle into the question long enough to offer an authentic and heart-felt reply. 

But, just for a moment, imagine: you greet your work colleague, or your workout partner, or another parent at school pick-up with this soul limbering question: 

"Hey! How is it going;
how is your heart today?"

 
(Now, check your heart out - is it beating a little faster just imagining the interaction? Might this be a little out of the comfort zone? Stay with me...)

The way I imagine it, there are a number of ways this might go.
Maybe you get a strange, WTF, look and silence. So you smile, wish them well, and take it from there...
Maybe you get a strange look and a terse and tense reply. So you smile, wish them well and take it from there...
Maybe they laugh out loud and slap you good-naturedly on the back, but otherwise ignore the question. So you smile, wish them well and take it from there...

And maybe you get real eye contact; maybe the person's whole expression changes, it softens, it relaxes; maybe they smile and share what's really going on; maybe they get teary and say thanks for asking but they just can't talk about it right now; maybe there are no words but they reach out and hug you. And so you smile, wish them well, and take it from there...

Regardless of the way it plays, you're okay. And something has shifted. Just by asking the question you are offering to hold a new kind of space for and with this person, space to connect at the level of your soul, from a deeper realm of awareness. Wow, that's a gift. 

As my friend, Libby @libberated, likes to say, "I will if you will... I mean, what's the best that could happen?" 


Take a deep breath in, exhale fully, and begin where you are.
Are you interested in deepening your meditation practice, or learning meditation for the first time? Explore a 4-week guided meditation series and experience silent self-reflection as well as the benefits of meditating in community with others. Register today!
 

When was the last time someone asked you:
“How do you want to feel?”
In my upcoming Desire Map Workshop,
a guided experience for holistic life planning,
I help you get clear on that question.
Learn more here.

GRATITUDE!
 
SO GRATEFUL FOR THE EXPERIENCE 
OF BEING FEATURED IN
KELOWNA NOW's IN FOCUS.
DID YOU MISS IT?
READ IT HERE!
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Miriam Desjardins, mindfulness.meditation.fitness · 2376 Saucier Rd · Kelowna, BC V1W 4B8 · Canada

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