Kimi Marin Yoga

Honor limitations. Transcend Boundaries.

Archive for the tag “inspiration”

Life’s Most Daring Adventure: Contentment

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The  saying “the grass is always greener on the other side” sums up humankind’s tendency to grasp the external for pleasure, happiness, and fulfillment. Many of us spend our entire lives looking outside of ourselves to find inner peace. As we do this, we  see how other people’s lives and circumstances seem to look better than our own lives.  As a consequence, we begin to believe that happiness is about acquiring more: bigger houses, more clothes, fancier shoes, busier social lives.   Yet, this insatiable quest to buy or acquire the elusive happiness only leads us to a place of discontent.

The second niyama (an attitude we hold toward ourselves) is Santosha or contentment. Santosha is to find happiness and peace in your present life and not to keep searching for something more, something external, to gain security, joy, and contentment.  Life is not about comparing yourself to your friend, your neighbor, or an ideal society declares your life should look.  Life is rich in experiences to aid you on your inward journey of fulfillment…and your fulfillment, your contentment, is the greatest contribution you can give to the world. When you live from a place of contentment, you attract beneficence to you, and find an ease in which to move through the world.

We are often told that life is not a destination but a journey. Santosha wants to be your companion on your life journey. Santosha does not mean that you are always happy with how things because, honestly, life can sometimes suck. But santosha asks that you embrace that time, realizing each moment will change and your perspective, your attitude will make all the difference in handling difficult circumstances. We are not to live looking for happiness but instead to recognize the gifts of the moment and find contentment within. When we spend our days yearning for something else – a different lover, to be single, to be rich, have more clothes, then we are unhappy. We are unhappy because we have come to believe that we need these things to have a sense of worth and happiness.

If you are not content with as aspect of your life – CHANGE IT. Seriously. Listen to your excuses why you cannot be happy. Listen to how many times you say “but,” “should,” or “would” when focusing on your ideal life.  Personally, I would like to write more but… I can come up with a thousand excuses why I do not write – and all of them are legitimate and hold weight. But the ultimate truth is I am too lazy and too afraid to change my habits to start doing what I really want. My challenge is to dig deep, make small changes to start writing. And those small changes lead me to santosha. Even as I write this I feel a sense of calmness and peace. I am not comparing myself to someone else, I am not berating myself, I am living my life as I want to live.

What in your life is not fulfilling you? What excuses are you making? What are your desires? Is anything keeping you from truly enjoying the present life you are in, or are you too busy making excuses about how you don’t have time? Do you tell yourself you are too busy with the kids, school or are broke? Will there ever be a good time? Right now is the only time you have and if you aren’t truly content, if you aren’t truly happy, it is time to sit with yourself and find out what it is you need from you. Being joyful, being happy, is a state of being, a perspective of the world. Alter yours to be filled with light and love and bestow all that wonderfulness and everyone around you. You are a magnificent being, accept your greatness, smile and shine.

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7 Days, 7 Love Stories

We are told that love is all around us, all the time. I spend so much time in my head, dwelling on a crude remark or a selfish act (usually my own), that I often fail to see that beauty, compassion, and heart-opening gratitude around me. Realizing that our reality is dependent upon our perspective, I opened my eyes, heart, and mind, and here is a very-condensed list of what I saw:

Sunday: My cousin’s wife was hit by a car while riding her bike and has a brain injury. Being in the hospital and witnessing how my cousin spoke softly to his wife, fed her ice cubes, and held her stable when she sat up was a lesson in quiet, committed love.

Monday:  The most confident, or dumbest, cat followed his dog friend to the park. This courageous feline strutted onto the grass and sat down among running dogs and ball tossing to watch, and be with, his canine friend.

Tuesday: A woman left yoga class to be surprised by her partner and their two kids waiting outside. They brought her a box of pastries and coffee to say good morning. Her smile enveloped the four of them as they walked down the street together.

Wednesday: On a hot evening at the country fair, just when I thought my thin cotton dress was too heavy, I saw two large pigs sleeping and “spooning” each other.  All the other pigs kept to themselves.

Thursday: A man working diligently in his yard, carefully tending to all his plants. He bent down and inspected each tomato, mindfully moved the water hose to his sunflower plant, and nimbly maneuvered between plants to weed.  Each plant had the essence of a small child under his care.

Friday:  A smile from a stranger.  It lit up my heart.

Saturday: Teenagers stealing glances at each other at a city festival. The jut of a hip, the puff of a chest, as teenagers circled each other, embarrassed blushes when eyes met. Ah, the game of love and courtship.

I felt better, lighter on my feet when I began to see that I am part of a glorious world. I realized that my own contributions of compassion and love were not for me but to make the world better for everyone I share this time with. Being a part of the positive, cheesy as it sounds, makes me a happier person.

What do you see when you look around?  Shadows dancing, a sunset, two people holding hands? I would love to hear what you have to share. Whatever or however you see and feel love, breathe it in and allow the sensations to enhance who you are.

The Brilliance of Now

What is it about the present moment that makes us want to escape? How much of your day do you spend thinking about the past or day dreaming about the future?  I often drive  around Portland in auto-pilot as I latch onto fantasies, dwell in my jealousy, or turn to the past and linger in a memory. These are tools to escape my present. Pema Chödrön writes in Taking the Leap that the three classic styles to find relief from the present are “pleasure seeking, numbing out, and using aggression: we either zone out, or we grasp.” But what is so wrong with the present that we need to find “relief”?

Ms. Chödrön says that “the ego is the experience of never being present.” I interpret this to mean that it is our ego that gets so wrapped up in the emotions that arise in our mind and body. We are unable to enjoy the flux and uncertainty of life and let each experience be a personal indication of something greater. Yet when we relax and settle into the Now, the ego is not involved since we are an observer and participant instead of ego dictating that our experience is the moment.

When teaching yoga, in poses (especially those held for periods of time) I watch students struggle with their present: they fiddle (pleasure seek), they ride on the their thought waves (numbing out), and tense up (aggression). What they are escaping — what I am escaping–is the reality of who we are. Yet the feelings we have, the anxiety, the sorrow, fear, happiness – all reside in the future or past. Feelings and emotions stay connected to an experience outside of the moment. The present is about being alert to the changes in our body and mind.

I had a realization the other day. I was working in staying in my moment — to notice the sidewalk, listen to my feet on the pavement, feel the sun and cold–and fear arose. I  was afraid that if I stayed in the present moment and didn’t fixate on the future, my motivation, my drive, my inspiration would be gone. I was afraid that by being in the moment and not fixating on other things, I would lose my inspiration and creativity. How absurd! It hit me that inspiration, motivation, creativity, do not come from hashing things out in my head but from a pause– simultaneously tuning within and without. The gift I was receiving was deeper insight into how I work — fears, joy, anxiety, truth, etc.–and opening me up to witness the brilliance of the Now.

Stop, pause, be in your moment. Enjoy the flux of emotions and the unpredictability of life…that is where dreams and reality merge.

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