Be Beautiful

Feel beautiful; surround yourself with beauty; live in beauty; seek the beauty in yourself; seek the beauty in others; add beauty to those around you; and think beautifully.

I rang a friend on Friday to wish her happy birthday and she told me that her brother had died of a massive heart attack in the early hours of the morning.  No warning.

That same week a truly lovely woman whom I had been teaching yoga, left this world.  And, in the same week I heard news that an aunt of mine had died.

Again I reflect.  We are so busy balancing on the precarious tight-rope of life that we fail to stop and notice the beauty.  We rush, run, sprint through the hours, worry, self-recriminate and dilute the day with our angst and mundane utterances. Sometimes we stop to take a deep breath, but mostly we don’t.

We must not lose the opportunity to see something that is beautiful or to feel a moment of splendour…..for do we know the day when we will leave here too?

And beauty abounds all around us.

I awoke this morning, very early when it was still dark.  The birds were just starting to welcome the dawn.  I draped my gorgeous white blanket across my shoulders, lit a candle and sat listening to the beauty around me.  A cacophony of sweet sounds wrapped in stillness.

My breakfast looked beautiful and tasted as such.

I made sure that I rang a friend just to say ‘hello’.

I asked my negative thoughts if they would consider going elsewhere today?

I noticed the beauty in my students as I taught them yoga this morning and realized how blessed I am to do what I love.

I actually stopped to admire some of the gorgeous photography I have on my walls.

I plucked a small flower and it is now sitting in front of me.

I absorbed the sunshine and bought myself a gift.

I smiled.

I felt the vibrations of beauty flow through me and realized that my awareness of beauty surpasses my mind and aims directly at my heart.

Don’t be too busy to finish this piece…..take a deep breath and read the tale that found me today too.

It’s amazing how your heart-felt intentions come back to you dressed in words.

One summer night, out on a flat headland, all but surrounded by the waters of the bay, the horizons were remote and distant rims on the edge of space.  Millions of stars blazed in darkness, and on the far shore a few lights burned in cottages.  Otherwise there was no reminder of human life.  My companion and I were alone with the stars:  the misty river of the Milky Way flowing across the sky, the patterns of the constellations standing out bright and clear, a blazing planet low on the horizon.  It occurred to me that if this were a sight that could be seen only once in a century, this little headland would be thronged with spectators.  But it can be seen many scores of nights in any year, and so the lights burned in the cottages and the inhabitants probably gave not a thought to the beauty overhead; and because they could see it almost any night, perhaps they never will.  ~Rachel Carson

 

Advertisements

Smile!

I often reflect upon an experience I had in India a couple of years ago.

I was walking along the street in a small beach resort in Kerala, the south of India, and I noticed a man standing on one leg (he only had one leg).  He was holding a large cluster of balloons for sale.

He shouted out to me “hey, I remember you, you were here last February!”  That was true, but a year had passed and I was so shocked that he remembered, that I was stopped in my tracks.

I went up to him and asked “How do you remember me?”  His reply humbled me to the very core.  He said…”I remember you because every time you walked by you would smile at me”.

Here I was traipsing around the world (on two legs) and here he was limited to a tiny spot and probably had never left this village.

The lesson is in the ‘smile’ and how much they can mean to those with whom you share them.

How do you feel when someone smiles at you?  Just smiles, without any discernible motive, just simply smiles – offering you the gifts of affection and recognition?  You feel warm and for that brief moment, you feel  ‘noticed’.

How do you feel when you smile at someone?  A smile shows for a split second that you care, you share and you acknowledge.  It makes you feel happy too….doesn’t it?

‘A smile costs nothing’ and is of particular value when you know that the person you are directing your smile to – needs it so very badly.  The more desolate a being seems, the more potent and valuable the gift.

Leave a trail of smiles behind throughout your life.  Smile inwardly and smile outwardly. Smile every day for no particular reason. Who knows, your smiles may become contagious. One by one these smiles may be passed on and soon we shall all be smiling.

A SMILE

A smile costs nothing, but it creates much.

 It enriches those who receive

without impoverishing those who give.

 It happens in a flash,

and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.

 None are so rich that they can get along without it,

and none are so poor but are richer for a smile.

 It creates happiness in the home,

fosters goodwill in a business,

and is the countersign of friends.

 It is rest to the weary,

daylight to the discouraged,

sunshine to the sad,

and nature’s best antidote for trouble.

It cannot be bought, begged, borrowed or stolen,

for it is something that is no earthly good to anybody

‘til it is given away.

 And if it ever happens

that some people should be too tired to give you a smile,

why not leave one of yours?

 For nobody needs a smile so much

as those who have none left to give.

by Author Unknown

 

Do you hear me?

“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.” Karl A. Menninger

Do you actually listen?  Carefully?  Without  judgement?  Sometimes we are simply too intent upon hearing our own voice and not those of others!

Are we losing our listening abilities?  I think so!

Recently I was out with a group of friends and I realised on several occasions on the day, I wasn’t being listened to at all. I was reminded of how little we actually ‘hear’. I spent the afternoon not being heeded.

When I speak I like to think I am being heard. Don’t we all?  After all this is called ‘communication’.

I notice all the time that people do not wait until others have finished speaking without adding their own ‘broadcasting or grandstanding’.  In fact on five separate occasions on this particular day, I was asked a question and then completely ‘talked over’. At one point I actually said “Are you not interested in what I have to say” and still I wasn’t heard.  There was simply no reaction, just a continuation of the conversation.

As I reflect, I realize I used to ‘butt in’ all the time.  I think we all do.  Our egos get in the way and we want to rule the conversation.  But now, I am so acutely aware of the need to listen to others.  I wait until someone has finished speaking and I am intent upon looking into their eyes as they do speak.  After all, everyone has their story to tell and deserves to be heard. So often these stories expound great wisdom, interesting comment and intelligent perspective. We learn from others, so we need to listen to them.  I fail at this sometimes, but I am practicing!

In my yoga classes, I teach with little visual demonstration but with a great amount of auditory guidance.  At first students look around and are nervous that they ‘don’t get it’.  But within a short time, they learn to be patient with themselves.  They learn to listen to my voice, their bodies, their hearts and minds.  They learn to enter their inner stillness and realize very quickly the rewards of being ‘silent’. They learn to hear again.

According to Julian Treasure, author of ‘Sound Business’ we are meant to spend roughly 60% of our communication time listening but as he states we are not very good at it.   ‘Listening is our access to understanding, he says, conscious listening always creates understanding.  But our world has become scary because no one is listening to one another’.

And what is his first lesson to listen better?  “Silence” he says, just a few minutes a day. How yogic!

He uses the acronmym ‘RASA’ which in Sanskrit means ‘essence’. RASA stands for ‘Receive’ which means pay attention to the person; APPRECIATE what the person has to say; SUMMARIZE so that you are showing you are paying attention and ASK questions afterwards to show your interest.

I came upon Julian’s talk recently.

It is only 7 minutes long.  Sit back and listen….it is fascinating.

http://www.ted.com/talks/julian_treasure_5_ways_to_listen_better.html

‘We need to transform our world into a conscious listening world. ‘A world of connection, a world of understanding and a world of peace’   Julian Treasure.

 

Friends of Mine

Among Life’s precious jewels, ‘Friends of Mine’ sparkles brightly!

I thought you may like me to share some of the special places in my hometown that I find truly gorgeous.

My writing is from a ‘yogic’ perspective and what could be more yogic than friendly smiles; a true understanding of ‘serving others’; a beautiful ambience; attention to detail; stunning cuisine; and an underlying joyful heart.

I called in for brunch one day.  Two staff at the door were assisting with the inundation of clients pouring through the doors. Queuing isn’t an issue for me but I was advised to come back in 10 minutes.  My name was taken.  (Always a good sign). When I returned I was greeted by name and a very big smile from Melanie.  Rather than dismissively told where the table was located, my friend and I were escorted to it.

Looking down at the menu, I was sold!  “You are beautiful, xo” peeked up at me.

Sometimes businesses just get it!

And as for the food……it was divine!  Generous, affordable and YUM.

I don’t know what to recommend as I fully intend to work my way over time through the whole menu.

In their own words, the concept is simply ‘a collaboration of many wonderful people….. cousins that made our aprons……uncles that supply some of our meats…..friends who designed our lampshades…..mates who helped paint…..’

And…

The kitchen team uses “organic, free range happy and local produce” as much as possible.

By the way, I asked ‘Friends of Mine’ if I could possibly show you the photo on the menu.  As expected, it was sent to me within a couple of days. No pretension, sensitivity or ownership issues.  I shall always protect it and always admire it.  I trust you will too!

Visit the cafe.  You won’t be disappointed.

Friends of Mine,                                                                                                                        506 Swan Street                                                                                                                   Richmond, Melbourne                                                                                                                              P: 9428 7516

Check out the very cool website:  www.friendsofmine.com.au

Grace

Do you have a favourite word?  A word that inspires you? One that you try to live up to?

I have a friend who always laughs when I say things like “this is one of my favourite songs, or this is one of my favourite artists”, and she always says “but you can only have one favourite. The word ‘favourite’ is absolute”.

My argument is that I can have as many ‘favourites’ as I want.  There are so many things I love – how can one draw a line between them?

And so….one of my favourite words is ‘Grace’.  One to which I aspire and that defines all that is exemplary to me.  It encapsulates the fundamental principles and philosophies of my yoga practice.

This word is owned by those who bestow kindness and compassion upon others and who possess the disposition to ‘serve’.  It defines those who are generous, helpful and courteous; refined, charming and elegant.

And….that leads me to ‘Graceful’? Another favourite word!

I am always saying to my yoga students to enter and release from a yoga posture gracefully; enter a room with your head held high; walk gracefully; breathe effortlessly; waltz with the heart; sing from the soul; glide across a room and smile for no reason.

What about ‘Gracious’?

I am always overwhelmed by the kindness, courtesy, hospitality, and charm that is bestowed upon me in many lands.  That is what the word ‘Grace’ truly exemplifies, and I am often in the company of the most gracious people.

There you are three words all borne from the one derivative…..

Yes, three favourites!

Is there such a place where people embody these words?  I think it might be Bali.  To me, Bali is a land of gentle souls and warm and welcoming faces.  The environment is charismatic. The nature is simply hypnotic.  The people move so gracefully. Alluring smiles reign and the isle offers some of the finest service in the world.

Yes, the more I think about it the more I realize why my clients love it so much.  It is the ‘grace’ that enraptures them.   Grace arises from the core of the land and the souls of its people.

That is why I called my tour to Bali – ‘A Noble Heart’

http://www.coolcalmandcollected.com.au/courses/Bali_tour_Noble_Heart.html

Grace, Graceful and Gracious.

As a footnote: Some time ago, I fell in love with this image which was taken by the Dutch photographer Miki de Best www.debestpix.com.  As a gift, Miki allows me to use his beautiful photograph for my Balinese tours.

How gracious is that!