Monday, August 18, 2008

Think Better - Like a Pearl

The flip-side of summoning the bigness to welcome what comes our way, another powerful tool is wielding the ability to feel welcomed no matter where you go. You've probably observed it from time to time in others: that ability to feel graceful and at ease no matter where or what is happening.

The secret is that this is not a genetically coded ability only some of us are given. In general, this state of being is a disposition to cultivate actively. Sure there are moments that we all lose ourselves to fears or anxieties about judgements of others, feeling out of control, or worrying about being truly wanted along for the ride, but with practice it's possible to minimize those moments and tip your own inflow/outofflow ratio.

By cultivating an ease within ourselves, we actually become more welcomed by others. Think about it: that anxious mess of a person you know - how often do you wish you did not have to be with them or that they would just CHILL? Reinforcing our essential connection to our OKAY-ness is KEY and these below steps are a great way to practice.

  • Always Begin NOW - Imagine the chair you are sitting on welcoming your weight. The computer screen welcoming your gaze. These pixels celebrating your attention.

  • Make It Personal - Feel your clothing caressing your skin, the light in the room delighting in your form and shape, the air smoothing your face and hands.

  • Be a Moveable Feast - When you do get up to move through your day, feel the floor beneath you like an unfolding welcome mat, the walls around you like a picture frame around you as work of art, and every conversation as welcoming and responsive.

  • Wear Your Welcome - Watch how you cultivate welcoming in interactions with both inanimate and animate objects (ie. people). Watch the lost energy of unwelcoming people and let them be your teacher.

This simple Jedi mind trick puts you in the frame of mind of FLOW - being absolutely more than at ease with what is. In this frame of mind you are the compliment to every situation, every element. And in being that, you become a contributing instrument to the symphony of your own life.

Feel Better - Becoming Well

Heading to the Berkshires to assist renowned meditation teacher and YogaJournal Wisdom columnist Sally Kempton at Kripalu this weekend, among the multiple causes for excitement, not the least of which were fresh air, early to bed, healthy eating and heartfelt conversations.

Given that going on retreat for most of us is at best a yearly activity, everyone there expressed a sense of excitement and anticipation for relief.

But wait - is it impossible to achieve at home? Every desired element listed above is FREE and is a matter of active choice making. As sentient beings and responsible adults, it's ridiculous that we wait for the environment of retreat to act on our highest good!

Look at the choices you can make differently and choose at least one to act on each day. Is it eating on time or with more life-supporting food? Is it going to bed a little earlier? Is it taking a moment to breathe deeply - no matter where? Is it making sure to engage in at least one positive, meaningful conversation a day - no matter how short?

Feeling better means welcoming your essential needs, physical, mental, emotional, and making empowered choices in response to them. From that three minutes you allocate to breathing deeply and gazing softly out the window to actually cooking a healthy meal you make for yourself with love, the actions we take in support of our own lives can be as time-conserving or time intensive as our creativity allows. Make your own list, then do something/anything to support the life within you.

Lead Better - Bring It OM!

Bring It! Bring it ON! Bring it OM!

Slang debates aside, consider this expression of welcome a leadership skill. Let's face it - life is full of surprises and nowhere do we observe surprises more than in pursuit of our objectives at work. Unlike the resignation, hidden resistance or powerlessness that can be imbued in acceptance, the ability to open the figurative door to whatever is arriving or surfacing is a fantastic way for you to see, assess, empathize and interact with wahtever is coming your way. Try the following steps:

  1. As you finish reading this article, allow yourself to take a breath and feel a welcome or well-come sense in your heart. This is different from the hard lines of acceptance, it has a softness and receptivity, as if you are allowing a guest into your home to delight and play with them.

  2. Whatever does arrive or happen, stay with the sense of well-come. Especially if you find the event or person not to your liking, or the news disappointing, see if you can stop yourself from hardening to it by breathing well-come into wherever you feel the clenching start.

  3. As the event or news unfolds, observe how you stay receptive and open. Observe what the reaction is of those around you.

  4. After the situation, meeting or interaction concludes, take a look at your own energy and ability to transition to whatever is next.

  5. Rinse and repeat.

In general what you'll find is that welcome breeds welcome. Receptivity breeds creativity and participation. By allowing yourself to bring whatever happens into your reality, others around you will be less likely to manipulate or conceal reality in hopes of winning your approval. Responses will be based on actuality, and it will become possible to innovate in situations that might otherwise be staid or prescribable situations. Your ability to be bigger than what would be unwelcomed by limited minds will allow others to feel safety and trust in bringing problems to you.

Even better, that old clenched jaw, lower back, or stomach? You wont have it. Period. And that's definitely a welcomed change.

Welcome Om

Are we there yet?

Journey minded as we are, the notion of arriving often keeps us from enjoying the NOW. Whether on a literal road trip anxious to arrive or looking at our current situation as a precursor to a longed-for outcome, our preoccupation with goals, triumps and having things unfold to our liking just isn't they key to an enjoyable life. In fact, emotional intransigence with respect to our preferences often keeps us from enjoying anything at all. Can you dedicate your awareness to enjoying right now?

This issue of balancebreak debunks the often referenced notion of acceptance in favor of cultivating a sense of welcome. Observing the plethora of wisdom teachings emphasizing cultivating acceptance of what is, despite our intentions we often confuse acceptance with resignation or settling. You know: a certain whatevs attitude, like, "I'll be here and sit through this and deal, but...". Welcome offers a graceful alternative, as you'll see below, and allows us to move masterfully and powerfully through any traffic jam, literal or figurative.

We welcome your opinion! Earlier this summer, we experimented with linking short versions of articles in this newsletter to a full length blog-versions of the same. What we saw and heard is that you LIKE having the entire article on your desktop. In fact, when the articles are included in desktop version, you go back again and again for months to re-read and consider the ideas offered. In honor of you, moving forward we'll be doing the following: each article will be offered in it's entirety here, with end of article links to the balancebreak blog for anytime you feel inspired to comment, argue, contradict or offer other ideas. What's more, we're thrilled to welcome your insights on getting through the world masterfully in our new blog called Corporate Yogis. This is a real-time blog where you'll find little comments from the balance team ongoing throughout the month. The theme is Welcome OM - a suggestion that it's all welcome fodder for moving us all forward along the journey.

Moving along your own path, be welcoming and know you are welcome.