Dwell in Possibility…

Mother Teresa in Calcutta

‘Dwell in Possibility’ – Emily Dickinson

As I teach more and more yoga I observe more and more behaviours on the mat related to stress, striving, winning, comparing, judging, hurrying, fear, impatience, lack of confidence, grief and I could go on and on.

I know that my students reflect my attitudes and behaviours and thanks to them I have learned more about myself than any personal development book/wise man/guru could teach me!

In doing so, it has taken me many years to understand how much of these behaviours stem from the need/desire to be ‘successful”‘.  What on earth is success? If you ask a Western child today, what do they want to be when they grow up…..often the response now is ‘to be famous’!  Really? That is seen as success to so many. Yes, success wears many cloaks but having thousands of Facebook friends doesn’t cut it for me.

What is success to you?

I recently was in the home of a lovely friend who pointed out how successful her husband was because of what he had provided for her and her family.  However, she didn’t seem to see, in any way, her own so-called success.

Apart from the fact that I was sitting in a beautifully designed home; speaking to her charming son; and having just walked through a stunning garden fit to be in Vogue Living (all produced, designed and nourished by her I might add); she saw her husband as successful but not herself. In fact she sees herself as one who lacks ambition, and is without drive or purpose.  However, how I see her is not how she sees herself.  She is simply not aware of how she has dwelled in possibility and potential and has created a magnificent haven/ environment for her husband and her children.  Success?  Surely!

Yes money can certainly be a sign of success if put to good use but so can a garden. For what is more beautiful?

A dollar note or a gardenia?

And how blessed can you be to not feel as though you have to strive every day. Have you considered what it is like just to be aware, to potter, to be present?

Ask someone who has been given 5 years to life, what success is? I did ask this question this week.  And the answer was simply: ‘to live in the present with those I love’.  End of subject.

Sometimes I play a beautiful piece of music in my classes which is interrupted for a split second with these words…..’When our bones turn to dust the two most important things in life will have been how much we loved and how much we gave’.

When I reflect upon the act of ‘giving’, I recall the times I have visited Mother Teresa’s (now St. Teresa’s) homes in Pashupatinath (Nepal) and Pondicherry (India) and have seen first-hand (whilst being humbled to my very core) what she created in her life and what these lively little nuns (yes they all seem little) do for the disabled, poor and abandoned. Giving and loving – in a nutshell.

Surely these are the two greatest qualities of the human race?  Surely what stems from these is happiness. And isn’t being happy – success?

Oh if we all just ‘loved and gave’…..what an idealist I am!

So when you feel you are not ‘being successful’, think again or plant a tree!  That will do it.

Or… simply dwell in possibility and potential for others and watch how your success unfolds.

And remember, a small gift given to the earth can give shade, safety and joy and all it takes is a thought, a seedling and a moment in time.

 

Love   x Annemaree x

 

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Thank you to those who took these photos….whomever you may be….for they are beautiful!

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From Here to There…..

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‘Where your deep gladness and the world’s hunger meet’

 

How do I find my way?

How do I journey from here to there?

Where am I now?

Where to now?

Why am I here?

No matter where I go, my shadow lingers behind me, a kaleidoscope of broken dreams, distant memories and fearful rides. Best to tip-toe out of it gently, I think, but not too abruptly or the future will draw me into its untenable illusion.

Be silent. Be still. Be present.

I  seek the sunshine, to step into its light and feel the warmth on my back

And I know, I must keep dancing on the sun drenched stage. Alive with desire, awakening to dawn, realizing my gifts, knowing myself, coming back home to me! To that place that was, that was here, that is there, that is now.

The more I observe, the more I am present, the more I feel.

As I stand still amidst the flora of my existence, I watch with curious eyes and I hear with awakened ears the toll of time…this moment….this precious moment.  I learn what has brought me here and where I must go.

Is my ‘meaning’ for living, my purpose? Or is my purpose the path I create and pursue to fulfil and validate the meaning?

I tell myself to know my purpose I must understand my values….

Perhaps my most treasured value at this time is freedom….to flow freely in body and mind….to love freely….to be free from illusion and old tensions…to be free from complexity, hedonism and selfishness –  to ‘know’ peace.

Could it be that my purpose is to discover who I am? Who I am becoming?  And then? How to nurture who I am?  To love and understand myself at the very deepest level.  To develop strength, resilience and courage to guide myself back to ‘me’ when I have lost my way? And as is often considered ‘to step outside of myself to connect, to serve the world and to attend to others”.

And then surely the crux of my ‘meaning’ and my purpose (once recognised), must be to give and to love….is there another? To give to others, to give to myself, to love others, to love myself.

Is having meaning then something I do rather than something I feel? And finding this activity, this job, this eudaimonia, shall I then live a life of ‘human flourishing’?

And so this passion I feel within me….this joy….can only surely stem from the knowing…the understanding of my deepest desires?  My inspired mission.

It is said: ‘He who gives, gathers’   I would add: ‘He who loves, lives’

How do I become so sure of my path?

I come to silence and allow the truths to surface….the answers to come…..and no matter how I resist this understanding, until I accept my power, my skills, my knowledge, my true self, my ‘meaning’, I can never pursue my purposeful path, nor seek the warmth and adventure of a passionate nature.

Thus my quest!

Yours?

Annemaree x

 

 Something to reflect upon:

“Leading a eudemonic life, Aristotle argued, requires cultivating the best qualities within you both morally and intellectually and living up to your potential.  It is an active life, a life in which you do your job and contribute to society, a life in which you are involved in your community, a life, above all, in which you realise your potential, rather than squander your talents”.

The question is how to do your duty, how best to contribute – or, as the theologian Frederick Buechner put it, your vocation lies ‘where your deep gladness and the world’s hunger meet”.

 

(Excerpts taken from Emily Esfahani Smith’s book ‘The Power of Meaning’.

 

My Yoga Journal: The Y&M Effect

I’ve been feeling like a complete fraud lately. Until last Tuesday I hadn’t practised yoga or meditation for six weeks – in which time I also joined two committees.

Fortunately, unlike medication, meditation doesn’t wear off – so I was able to keep the monkeys at bay and a relatively still mind for the weeks that Annemaree was traipsing through India.

In fact, I had a bit of an epiphany about The Y&M Effect. I thought – and had been feeling – that I was supposed to be feeling calm – all the time. In actual fact, it is about being mindful; being present; being aware; feeling fully and letting each thing pass – as it always inevitably does. The trick is to notice how you feel, feel it fully, sit with it and examine it for a moment and then let it go. The thing NOT to do is feel it, feed it, succumb to it and take as many people as you can hostage on the way through (recall: Christmas / husband / headlock).

Being calm all of the time – whilst a refreshing change from being completely loco – would be a bit dull. Variety is the spice of life after all, and who wants to sail through it like a lobotomized chimp anyway?

Over the past months I have actually come to quite like myself. Being kind to myself, instead of being my own harshest critic and taskmaster, has brought me to appreciate my quirks and idiosyncrasies. Meditation has opened up a rather pleasant internal conversation – which results in my own happiness, contentment and gratitude by and large. No, I’m not hearing voices – it’s not THAT sort of internal conversation.

I know that I am warm, generous, funny and kind. I have a lot to offer and want to offer it  up in any way that might help my local community or others less fortunate. This seems to involve becoming a committee-tart – but as a home-based Mum I have the time to give and so I give gladly.

Liking yourself is quite handy when you embark on spending extended periods of time alone with yourself in a dark room, with your eyes closed under a blanket. As far as I am aware, meditation never made anyone go blind either.

As an Aussie, liking yourself, ( or daring to admit  it), is just not the done thing. Our mob subscribe to more of a “tough-love” approach, believing that life is bound to disappoint you anyway, so best we let you know you’re not ‘much chop’ before you hear it from strangers. But to be a part of our mob you must be smart and by God you’ve GOT to be funny.

Our mantra could be this saying I came across recently “If you find yourself losing an argument, start correcting their grammar”.  Aussies are sometimes the product of long lines of intelligent, slightly depressed individuals with superiority complexes and smart mouths (albeit, on the whole, hilarious).

It is exhausting trying to maintain the mask of being the funniest / wittiest / cleverest person in the room and, for me at least, all behaviours were a form of armor to keep people at bay, so I couldn’t get hurt. Oh, and ALWAYS with a drink in hand.

Through Yoga & Meditation I have softened – I have ALLOWED myself to soften through letting go of the armory.  I am easier on myself.  I am easier on myself because I have come to quite like myself.  Today I prefer to let my character develop and manifest through my actions, rather than just being the ‘cleverest Dick’ at a dinner party.

I am finding it much more rewarding and fulfilling to simply learn and become educated without having to form an opinion which must be defended to the death.  Attaching to an opinion – for me – shuts down such a big part of my brain’s ability to take information in – like trying to “live in the moment” whilst thinking what your next facebook status update will be!

Until next we meet,

Om & out.

AQA xxx

This article has been contributed by student, writer & eternal work-in-progress, Anita Quigley Atherton.