Pause

eunice-stahl-572013-unsplash

 

PAUSE….

What is a pause?

A pause is when something ceases just for an instant or two….

Life’s intermission, a stillness between two moments…

When things are calm, quiet, floating, an instant in which we can restore and refresh, a suspension of life’s play

When we allow ourselves to loosen our grip on life and be free, for freedom is our destination

Freedom from all pain, tension, fatigue, worries and sadness

How often do you pause?  Really pause?

Sometimes the most important things in a day are the pauses between your breaths and the spaces between your thoughts.

I invite you to…..

Pause – to take a deep breath

Pause to arrive.

Pause to settle.

Notice the pauses sitting between the breaths

In your imagination, pause to look around you and be aware

What can you see in your imagination.  What can you remember at this moment?

What do you see, hear and sense around you?

Pause to hear the sounds around you. Is it the sound of the breeze, birds chirping, dogs barking, children laughing, distant conversations, walls gently creaking, music softly playing, the puttering of a candle, distant planes, the beating of your own heart or the sound of your own breath….

Or just pause to take a deep, quenching breath….

and to listen o…

The body whispering it’s messages

Does your body need rest?

Sometimes we just sit in the pause awaiting the arrival of the next breath

Sometimes we lengthen the pause just to cherish the moment of stillness

We need to pause to learn, to know, to grow

Pause to be still

Pause to be a ‘human’ just ‘being’

A human being……

x Annemaree x

 

 

‘Pause’ features on the meditation App ‘Insight Timer’.  Insight Timer Pause

Photo by Eunice Stahl on ‘Unsplash’

 

Advertisements

Being

Being

 

When you are here,

You are there…..  

When you are there

You are here…

In fact, at most times you are everywhere but here!

And yet ‘here’, the ‘now’ is the only moment we truly know.

The only moment that is promised to us.

And the only instance in which we are truly aware……

The mind constantly traipses back into the past or skips off into the future

But what about now?

How do we reach this precious present?

We can learn from little ones, you know.  Observe a child just ‘watching’ and ‘listening’ – a child gazing at a flower in the park or listening to the birds.  The child stops in its tracks; comes to stillness; observes and examines; becomes fascinated; absorbing all that is in this handful of moments; and exists completely in the present.  And to ‘watch’ the child ‘watching’ is so, so peaceful.

The child has tapped into its senses.  Listening, knowing ‘stillness’, watching, feeling,

When you are completely in the ‘now’ this deep, deep peace emerges……you are residing in the universe’s sigh of contentment.

And yes, the mind will frolic about and saunter off on its own…..for that is what minds do.

Reach out and catch it and bring it back to the now, back to the present – draw it back gently to this incredible moment.

When you are fully in the ‘now’, the beauty, mystery and magic of this world are unfurled and its gifts are laid before you.

 

x Annemaree x

‘Being’ features on the meditation App ‘Insight Timer’.  Insight Timer Being

Photo by Lucille Borderioux on ‘Unsplash’

 

Courage…

bryce-evans-203907-unsplash-004

“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.” William Faulkner

Whether you are feeling weak or courageous today, remember, that there is very little difference between the two states of being.  Both have fear.  It is said that the coward listens to his fears and becomes frozen by them and/or controlled by them.  The courageous person puts them aside and pushes through or meanders around the obstacles and refuses to be ruled by dread.

Courage is strength to face pain, grief and anxiety and to act with valour and unashamed assault.  It doesn’t mean fearlessness, because fearlessness can lead to reckless abandon and therefore real danger, but it means confronting the unknown in spite of fears.  Understand the difference between apprehension and the irrational triggers of fear.  Fear confines us, keeps us ‘stuck in the mud’, and limits our ability to grow and to experience a harmonious life-style.

When we feel threatened, vulnerable, and fragile or weakened, FEAR rises like a powerful, comic-book monster ready to disarm us and carry us off emotionally on a trail of negativity and hopelessness.  Doubt and false assumptions set in – weakening us more and more.  Sometimes we have to face immense fear in our lives especially if we leave the shore of our personal safety and shelter.

However, fear is not tangible nor is it visible, but it does exist in our minds.  We bring it to life and then act upon it and out of it – often to dire consequences for ourselves and those around us.

Fear is an emotion – a distressing one at that.  But it is just an emotion, caused by threat, real or imagined.  And it is felt in many, many forms. Fear of spaces, heights, social situations, commitment, spiders, the future…..and it is so potent at times that it can cause us to become confused, illogical, and anxious.  Acting out of fear can also become habitual and can cause us to spiral downwards whenever we are confronted by something that hurts us or that we don’t understand.

Ironically we can bring our fears to life.  Many times fear is simply a decision.  And courage is the warrior to annihilate it.  The question is how?

Shun your fears by believing in your strength and abilities.  Believe in yourself.  Make peace with your world and those around you, so that you do not create stories in your head and create angst based on false assumptions. Trust your senses, your intuition.  By doing this you will know naturally the path to follow.  Many fears are born of fatigue.  Be Mindful.  Rest.

And know this…..too busy a life can breed fear of failure, because it is simply impossible to achieve all that you want to do immediately.

And do remember, we all possess the trait of courage inherently.  It comes from deep within.  All we have to do is muster it and set it to the wind.

 

x Annemaree x

‘Courage’ features on the meditation App ‘Insight Timer’.  Insight Timer Courage…

Photo by Bryce Evans on ‘Unsplash’

 

 

 

 

From Here to There…..

woman-at-peace - blog-001

‘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’.

 

“What more is there to say?”.

 

1493957180989029

 

 

 I saw this photo somewhere on social media recently and spent some considerable time finding it.  

I resonate so much with it, that I put my next blog ‘on hold’ and thought I would share this simple pic with you.

So poignant, beautiful and thought-provoking!

 

Annemaree x

 

 

Thank you to the person who took this photograph, whoever you may be!

 

 

 

 

To laugh often and much….

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As I teach more and more yoga I see 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 and on.

I know that my students reflect my attitudes and behaviours too 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 some years to understand how many of these behaviours stem from the need/desire to be “successful”‘.  What on earth is that?  If you ask Western children today, what do they want to be when they grow up…..often the response is to be ‘famous’!  As a small child I don’t recall ever wanting to be famous for the sake of it!  (Infamous maybe but not famous).  It’s true that 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 she and her family, but didn’t see, in any way, her so-called success.   Apart from the fact that I was sitting in a stunningly, beautifully designed home, speaking to her charming son, and having just walked through a 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 not ambitious, nor driven and yet she ambles through life creating a magnificent haven/ambience for her family. Success? Surely!

Yes money can certainly be a sign of success if put to good use but so too can the creation of a garden. For what is more beautiful? A dollar note or a rose?

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, to potter, to be present?  Ask someone who has been given one year to live, what success is?  I did this week. And the answer was simply, to live in the present with those I love’.  End of subject.

And 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”.

Some years ago I visited mother Theresa’s (now St. Theresa’s) homes in Pashupatinath (Nepal) and Pondicherry (India) and experienced 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, abandoned etc. 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 ‘successful’, think again or plant a tree!  That will do it.

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

Annemaree x

 

“To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition, to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.  This is to have succeeded”.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Pic: By Jaime Murcia, children from The East West Overseas Foundation, TEWOAF, Tamil Nadu, India.

What my mother taught me…

Mum at 21

During one of my recent yoga classes I was walking through the maze of students who were spread out on the floor, lying in Savasana, and I tripped over a block, narrowly avoiding landing spread eagle on top of an unsuspecting body!

Unsuspecting? Or so I thought!

Then I heard the words ‘pick your feet up’.  I chuckled to myself as I was transported back into my past and heard my mother (Pauline) saying exactly the same thing when I was a languid teenager, though she generally attached ‘for God’s sake’ to the sentence.

Along with…. ‘don’t chew gum or you’ll look like a cow’; ‘stay out of the sun or you’ll shrivel up like a prune; (I ignored that piece of advice), ‘stay out of trouble, (I did, most of the time); ‘don’t just sit there, do something’ (there is an irony to this comment as I now teach meditation and do just sit there!); ‘put your shoulders back’; ‘put some colour on your face –  you look as though you have just been dug up’ (white lipstick was in); ‘look on the bright side’; ‘swear and I shall wash your mouth out with soap and water’; ‘do the best with what you have so that others will be proud to be in your company; and, ‘if you think you are going out looking like that then you had better have another thought coming’. (This latter comment came with her physically blocking the doorway).  I could go on and on.  Couldn’t we all?

But what I remember mum for most of all, and certainly with great gratitude and love, is her advice to:

Always look deeply into the eyes of those you meet and try to understand what is behind them.  She often spoke about not understanding another until you walked a mile in their shoes which of course was adapted from an old Native Indian proverb.

Fabulous, heartfelt advice from a woman who was so beautiful on the exterior but suffered so much on the interior with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Clinical Depression.  On a superficial level often she would be fine, especially when she was laughing…but often I would look into those eyes, and see the sadness, pain, vulnerability and fear behind them.

Her words prompted me to write this little mindfulness practice:

In your eyes,

I see you in me

You see me in you.

But rarely do I realise this is how I am seeing you or you are seeing me.

It is said that the eyes are the windows to the soul.

If I see you clearly, my heart shall then recognise your heart

My mind will recognise your mind

My spirit will speak to you – for you are me and I am you.

We are not so different – we share similar emotions, joy and pain, sadness and laughter.

We hurt as each other.

We laugh as each other.

Our tears come from the same place,

Our kindness stems from the same depth.

I honour you…please honour me,

so that there is little distance but much love between us.

 

 

Namaste.

Annemaree x

 

P.S. This picture was the one my father carried with him.  She was 21 in the photograph.  When he died I asked mum if I could have it. She was taken aback that I would want it….and would be surprised to know that I look at it every day, to this day, constantly being reminded of her courage and wisdom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In presence of the moon…

 

indian-statue-001

I have often heard it said that beauty is not in the face. Beauty is in the heart. What is truly attractive is when a person walks into a room, carrying themselves with ‘attitude’, straight and tall, exuding self-confidence, smiling and showing their inner spirit through their kind and gentle persona.  This is ‘presence’. This is loaded self-esteem. This is powerful!

In presence of the Moon nobody sees stars.” ― Amit Kalantri

I remember when I was in my early twenties and I was sent to the Maldives for my work. I was alone, lacked confidence and was shy.  I would walk into the restaurant each evening and sit myself down hoping I would not be noticed. One evening an elderly woman came up to me and actually admonished me for not holding my head high, showing courage, smiling, acknowledging those around me and having as she called it ‘presence’.  A little harsh perhaps?  Clearly the experience caused me to reflect, listen, observe and to be more aware. Obviously it affected me deeply as decades later, I am relating this to you. Whilst her words were delivered in a critical way, they helped me through life

So what else has this concept of ‘presence’, taught me?

Presence is when you believe in yourself.

People with presence do what they say and manifest their intentions. People with presence are influencers, creators, leaders and the silent walkers on this earth…

Their presence speaks before their voice does.

They are free to make their own decisions and to follow their own path. Yes, they will doubt themselves. Otherwise they would not grow. However they listen intently and learn studiously but are not into controlling others nor are they controlled in any way.

In fact many influencers on this earth walk through the world without realising their impact.

They walk cloaked with humility and understanding.

Those with presence –

They don’t just talk – they act.

They don’t just hear – they listen.

They don’t just see – they watch carefully.

They don’t just dream, they manifest.

They are compassionate and empathetic.

Their kindness is what roots them to the earth so that they are grounded and fair.

Just because of the way they are, many are attracted to them.  Heart and soul. Not brain and ego. They want to be like them. But not in image – in spirit.

And…often those who feel they have to boast about their circumstances, image, or money are the very ones who have little presence.

For isn’t it true, the most admired qualities in the human race cannot be bought?

No matter how much you own or how much you don’t own, you are the master of your destiny. Money cannot buy inner peace, integrity, love, health, trust, patience, dignity, time or happiness.

These are found ‘ within’ and subject to the choices one makes each step of the way.

But there is also another really important lesson here. Your presence is enough! Yes, enough!

Recently I offered a hand out to a friend who is very ill. Not only did he often shirk my offer, he taught me that it was up to him to heal and my presence was simply enough. I didn’t need to offer help, words, sympathise, stalk or support him. For me, this truth is hard to bear when I see another being I care for suffering. However, it is as it is…and my challenge was and always will be to accept this perspective.

“When someone is going through a storm, your silent presence is more powerful than a million, empty words.”  Thema Davis

So I have to set aside what I call the ‘healer’s ego’ ( i.e. understand that my role is to heal myself and not impose my way of living on another being).  Lighting a candle; making a cup of tea; playing soothing music, may be far more treasured than beseeching one to follow my path or for me to create a plethora of healing remedies in the hope that they will be pursued.  In the end, all my friend wanted was ‘nothing’ – what he appreciated was ‘my presence’.

I do my best to live by this lesson, especially when my students open up their hearts to me. All I can do is be present, silent and to listen.

Poignantly the words ‘silence’ and ‘listen’ have exactly the same letters!

 

“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our presence. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers.”  Thich Nhat Hanh.

 

With love,

Annemaree xxxx

 

 

 

 

I write my own tune….

 

female-singer-silhouette_1048-1142

It has taken many years, much yoga practice and constant self-enquiry to live by the creed ‘I write my own tune’ and to understand how irrelevant and unimportant other’s judgments of me are…..

I don’t focus upon other’s opinions of me…. for I am doing my best.  And I trust that somehow, somewhere, and for someone, (particularly myself), being ‘me’ is simply enough.

I am also much wiser in realizing that when I am mindful I watch my experiences and thoughts as they pass by and I try not to be tempted to dramatize, exaggerate or create illusions. It’s rather likened to watching a movie, scene after scene passing before my eyes; I observe the story but do not become a part of the plot!

And as the philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti so astutely stated:

“The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence.”

Ummm…it’s really tough though not to judge.  Really, really tough.  If only I was that clever!

We judge, often because we have been conditioned to do so.  We create habitual responses to what we suppose is better/worse, good/bad, right/ wrong, ugly/beautiful, fair/unfair and dangerous/safe; what I must do, what I mustn’t do……  When we are imprisoned by our primordial behaviours, we simply cannot grow.  We cannot be free to be our true selves.

Constantly judging everything we say, do and experience is exhausting and often painful.  Not to mention – often inaccurate and disparaging. We become emotionally ‘stuck’.  Same patterns, same opinions, same fatigue, same intolerance, same life.

People will often judge me, I know that, and therefore I accept that they will often misunderstand me and gossip too.  I am my harshest judge as it is, therefore I have to say “go for it”.  I am busy enough focusing on how not to beat myself up.  Others’ opinions are not my concern.

And….it has also taken me a lot of self-enquiry (Sanskrit ‘vichara’) to understand the psychologist, Carl Jung’s words:

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves”.

So every time I judge, I need to turn the mirror around to face myself and to be completely honest with how I perceive the world and those around me.

How do we reject our judgmental frame of reference?

In the yogic world, we speak constantly of compassion.  Be compassionate.  Be compassionate towards others.  Be compassionate towards oneself.  Be in a state of love.  Be present.  That’s how we do it!

Of course, easier said than done, but something to reflect upon nevertheless.

There is a man called Scott Stabile, whom I discovered cruising the net, (as one does)…..and I absolutely resonate with his words and his passion……

He wrote this…and these words may (or may not) make a difference to you……Let’s see!

“Let them judge you

Let them misunderstand you

Let them gossip about you

Their opinions aren’t your problem

You stay kind, committed to love,

And free in your authenticity.

No matter what they do or say

Don’t you dare doubt your worth

Or the beauty of your truth.

Just keep on shining like you do”. 

Thank you Scott……

 

And thank you Ed……

tumblr_m5khf2KYFl1rp741to1_500

Annemaree x

 

P.S. Created by Kjpargeter – Freepik.com