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Awake Your Soul

by Carrington Jackson

There is a line in the Mumford and Sons song,  Awake My Soul, that says:

“Where you invest your love, you invest your life.”

I came across a picture recently of someone who had this line tattooed on his arm. It struck me still and quiet for moments after I saw it. Not because it was a new idea or concept. It was so impactful because the meaning of the song was already inside me. And the reading of it on that person’s arm was the remembrance of it for my own life.

How much of your day is invested in what you truly love? How many of the conversations you have, the connections you make, the job that you do and the people you meet are rooted in the space of love? Not the romantic love, or the love you have for your kids or friends. But love without labels and conditions. The definition of love is, in my opinion, light and joy. Plain and simple.

Take note of where and how you invest your time today. And what’s the ratio of love vs. non-love interactions? It’s not to judge. It’s simply to assess where you are and if things need to shift in order for you to be the person you know yourself to be.

Awake Your Soul, friends.

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‘Tis the Season to Slow Down

by Sandy Scherer

The language of our lives can oftentimes resemble that of a racetrack — especially this time of year. How many times a day do you find yourself uttering something that sounds like: I’ve got to run to the grocery store. I’m just going to jump in the shower. I’m going to grab something to eat. Do you have time for a quick call? I’ve got to squeeze in a workout. I’m running late. Hurry up!

Overcommitted schedules and distracted lives driven by checklists can stress us out like nobody’s business. We rush through our days, from one task to the next, and feel like, no matter how good we are at multitasking, there’s just never enough time.

Or is there? Are we rushing because we are under a lot of stress? Or are we stressed because of all of our rushing?

When we think and feel about what is really, truly important in our lives, it can become easier to see our daily agenda a bit differently. And with perhaps more ease and space.

My “slowing down” is a work in progress. Meditation is a key element to that process. The time I take each morning to sit and breathe sets the pace for my day.

Once I started to notice what happened to me physically, emotionally and energetically when I “hurried” (all, by the way, in the category of “not beneficial”), I also noticed that hurrying really wasn’t getting me where I needed to be any more effectively.

I can’t say I excel at planning a calendar with the appropriate amount of white space (read “breathing space”) in between appointments, obligations, and events. But what I do know is that even when it looks like one solid block of a day, my intention is to move through it all more slowly — mindfully, with breath, and awareness.

What about you? Could you go about your life just as effectively at a slower pace? Maybe just for today?

Start by taking five minutes. Right now. Sit. Breathe. Make space. Feel groovy.

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Why yoga?

by Suzanne Weiner

“Suzanne, why do you do yoga?”

If I had a nickel for every time I was asked this I would be really rich. REALLY rich. I have come to believe that the people who ask are the ones who are looking for one of two things. They genuinely hope I will say something so profound they will immediately see the light and understand what brings me to the practice. Otherwise, they hope I might say something that sounds so outrageous they will laugh and be able to place me in the category of “that strange yoga person.”

So what answer do I give?  I am sure that over the years I have given plenty of both types of answers, but these days I usually say, “It is a really personal practice and what I get from it matters to me.” It is that simple and that complex.

The practice is a commitment and may engender comments from those around you. Some will be good and some may not be so good.  Regardless, I am grateful for those who share the practice with me, because it means they are taking care of themselves.  My hope for you is that when you get asked THE question you can look the person in the eye and say, ” I do it because I matter.”

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Hardening against the uncomfortable

by Jill Sockman

This morning I suited up to take Padma for a walk just as I have for the past week or so: sevevteen layers, complete with ski socks and a hat. By the time I got back to the house, I was sweating (profusely) and cursing my inability to gauge the outdoor temperature with more — or any — skill. It made me realize just how much I’ve been bracing against the cold.

I grew up on the north shore of Ohio. (I know, you didn’t realize Ohio had a shore, right?) For all of the things you might or might not know about that part of the country, perhaps you’ve heard of something called Lake Effect Snow. What is that? Well, basically it boils down to what happens when you live to the south of a giant body of fresh water with Canada to the north: in the winter months (there are about six of them) you get DUMPED on. Driving along the country roads with 8-10′ snowdrifts on either side of the road was normal. Bottom line: Cold. As. *$(*^#. So I should be immune to our coldest 20-30 degree days, right?

Apparently not. Even with the many layers, I curl in, harden, truly brace myself as if cold is somehow detrimental to my very being. As though it is trying to get in and steal my soul. (It might be, it really might be.) Today’s weather made me realize just how much I have been futilely guarding myself, and how that hardening against what is uncomfortable is a habit not solely confined to the cold.

What would it feel like to soften, accept, allow the discomfort in our lives, in the many forms it comes — from the bitter cold outside to the dis-ease of change on the inside? Perhaps on this mild day, it’s a good opportunity to try and see. Shall we?