Monthly Archives: February 2010

THE KEY TO DEVELOPING RELATIONSHIPS: FIND SOMETHING TO LIKE!

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um-022310-emailDo you ever have any problems with certain people? They just aggravate you! You only have to see them and your stomach tightens, and you feel resistance rise in you as sure as the tide comes in each day. This is unfortunate news, but I’m here to tell you if that happens, you are at the effect of that person like a puppet on a string. How do you come back to a point of choice and power?

Actively look for something to like about that person. Now if you immediately negate that possibility by thinking about how to find something to like in a really despicable person. Stop it! I’m talking about your boss, a coworker, someone in your family … start there.

If you focus on someone’s shortcomings that will be all you see. If you focus on your own shortcomings that will also be all you see. What do you like in another? What do you like in yourself?

BEING IN ACTION

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inq-02.12.10-blogYoga, for many people, is synonymous with exercise, but Hatha Yoga is only one of eight forms of yoga. Among them are Bhakti – the yoga of loving kindness, Jnana – the yoga of wisdom, Raja – the yoga of discrimination, and Karma – the yoga of action.

The yoga that best fits the temperament for many of us living in the western world is Karma Yoga, the yoga of action. We are all about doing. We strive to do more in the course of a day, or a lifetime. We desire to better ourselves financially, so we can do more with our families and friends. When we meet someone new, the first question we often ask is “What do you do?”

TURN BREAKDOWNS INTO BREAKTHROUGHS INTO PRACTICE

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um-020910-emailEarlier this month I let you know I was focused on healing my knee from a running injury. I’m happy to report that I’m running again! I have to admit that I had to hold back a little and not run too far or too fast, too soon. I’m focusing on building my strength, knowing that mileage and speed will increase a little bit each week.

Every training program I read about in Runner’s World tells you to build your strength slowly. If you do, you won’t re-injure yourself. My doc told me the same thing, and also told me not to stop my strengthening program when I feel better. “Keep up the routines that allowed you to heal.” he says, and I’m convinced he’s right!

An injury of any kind, physical, emotional, or financial is a great reminder to start where you are, even if in years past you were faster, smarter, or more efficient. You have to start where you are now and build from there.

DEVELOPING A LIGHT TOUCH

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inq-02.05.10-blogI was asked to speak at a conference for health care givers recently, on bringing a more caring approach to our aging population.
While I was sitting in my favorite chair contemplating what I might say, my daughter’s dog Frankie jumped up and settled lengthways against my outstretched legs. I laid my hand on his back with a light touch, to which he responded by sighing contentedly. I could feel his body twitching slightly as he relaxed, and the warmth of his body met the warmth of my hand in a silent bond that said, “You are safe here. You are loved.”
At first I thought how lucky Frankie is to have a loving family around him (he was in a shelter for part of his life). Then I thought, as I sighed and relaxed a little more myself, “Who is teaching whom here?” And that’s when it hit me. The key to care in health care is the willingness of the provider to see the patient as their teacher.
A light touch on the shoulder, or holding someone’s hand, with no agenda, no purpose, no outcome other than to be there — is a great gift — for both the giver and the receiver. This is a gift best given when you’re present, in both body and mind. It brings a deep calm to your spirit. It opens the doorway to a dimension so different from our ordinary hurried, troubled, frenetic states of mind that it can best be described by what it’s not. It’s not an action with a purpose. It’s not directed towards an outcome. It is being, pure and simple.
The dimension of being is where miracles happen. I’ve seen people break down and cry like a baby when someone sits with them and listens without judgment, maybe for the first time in their life. I’ve seen pain and worry disappear in the presence of love.
Being with another can only occur by being with yourself. With practice, the state of being expands like a wave of calm, so that when a troubled thought enters your mind, you can observe it without doing anything about it. In the presence of being, future concerns recede and disappear, and the timeless present comes to the foreground, heightening your senses, and awakening you to focus where you are.
With practice, you can also learn to sustain this state of being in the middle of a busy day. Yogi’s call this the yoga of action. Next week I’ll talk more about the yoga of action and what I’m learning about how to Be in Action.
PRACTICE
This week, look for places where you can give the light touch of a warm hand to someone. Let them know, by simply being with them, that around you they are safe and loved. See if you can find new ways to practice being. And take a 5 minute break from doing every once in a while, with no purpose whatsoever. Just be.

LIVE DELIBERATELY

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um-020210-emailAfter reading last week’s Uplifting Moment, a valued friend told me that it was actually a recipe to get rid of the feeling of panic when overwhelm or an unexpected turn of events intrudes on the orderly planning of your life. “Write down what needs to get done and schedule it. Make time your pal.” And then it became clearer to me that even with all the planning that’s necessary to quiet your mind, and banish any inner resistance to dealing with life as it shows up; there is more than planning involved to live deliberately.

So settle back for a moment and let’s look into what Thoreau so eloquently said, “I went to the woods to learn to live deliberately, to confront only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what they had to teach and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”