When Our Community Changes

Are you enjoying the cold? I don’t mind it so much this year despite the fact that it feels a little icy at times. I seem to enjoy curling up with a good book a little more than strolling along the coast these days and despite this, I still feel very much connected to my tribe. One of my clients was chatting to me the other day about the importance of community and how important it is to have one, especially when your personal or professional circumstances change.

His own personal environments had changed dramatically when he embarked on some lifestyle changes that included a radical health overhaul, as well as the demise of his relationship. One of the things that came up in his kinesiology session was a longing to belong, and in his case, the trigger was the lack of supportive community around him.

From the moment our umbilical chord is cut, we have a longing to reconnect, and depending on our personality of course, this manifests in different ways, either by relating through a person, an organization or even by studying. [Read more...]

Winter Chills

winter-umbrella-patty-kikosThe ancient Chinese believed that human beings should live in harmony with the natural cycles of their environment. The cold and darkness of winter urges us to slow down. This is the time of year to reflect on our health, replenish our energy, and conserve our strength.

Winter is Yin in nature; it is inactive, cold, and damp. Remain introspective, restful, and consolidate your Qi through the season and prepare for the outburst of new life and energy in the spring.

“The wise nourish life by flowing with the four seasons and adapting to cold or heat, by harmonising joy and anger in a tranquil dwelling, by balancing yin and yang, and what is hard and soft. So it is that dissolute evil cannot reach the man of wisdom, and he will be witness to a long life.” – Huangdi Neijing Suwen [Read more...]

Thanks

Gratitude is something that I try to cultivate on a daily basis, especially in my yoga practice and in my practice as a kinesiologist. It is often said that through the mindfulness practice of gratitude, one is able to rejoice amidst all life’s suffering.

The Buddha taught that every human birth is precious and worthy of gratitude. In one of his well-known analogies, he said that receiving a human birth is more rare than the chance that a blind turtle floating in the ocean would stick its head through a small hoop.

THANKS

The practice of gratitude does not deny the challenges we face everyday, especially as we live in troubling times, and so many of us have experienced many challenges, uncertainties, and disappointments in our life. [Read more...]

Be Anyone You Want To Be

We are very fortunate to live in a time and place where few of us are limited by what we can do, study or even ‘be’. Gone are the days when your role was very much defined for you by the standards of the society you were part of.  Our life experiences help shape our personality but the way we are treated by others is also a huge contributing factor in how we value ourselves.

Be Anyone You Want To Be

For many of my friends and clients that were married over 20, 30 or even 40 years ago, the options not to be the main breadwinner for a male, or the homemaker for a female were few and far between. The concept of studying and completely changing a career path after 30 or 40? Absolutely unheard of!

In this day and age, it is almost expected that we will try a few different things in terms of our vocation and even life experiences. In fact, it adds a certain chutzpah to our street cred. [Read more...]

Is our sensitivity our strength?

Is our sensitivity really our strength? Have you noticed how much we avoid being uncomfortable in life?  It seems that many of us work very hard to create a life where we are surrounded by people we love and for the most part tend to cocoon ourselves in the bubble of a very cushy comfort zone.

But sure enough a spanner will inevitably be thrown into the works where our perception of ourselves and even the way others perceive us will be questioned. We question things like:

• What do we really excel at?

• What are our challenges?

• Is our life set up so we don’t grow and shift old habits?

• How do we respond when someone challenges us?

How do we handle it when somebody comes into our life and threatens to burst our little bubble of comfort, and confidence? Certain people are unavoidable and they seem to fall into the category of either a new love, their best friend, a newly acquainted brother or sister in law, a disapproving mother in law, or a new boss. [Read more...]

Embracing Our Shadow

In life, the shadow side of our personality often gets sidelined for the part of us that is more ‘acceptable’ to society. If we don’t acknowledge our shadow, it rears its head with the people and the situations that we manifest in our lives.

If we are polarized, we become like a magnet drawing towards the opposite pole and as a result, we attract others who personify our  shadow, or the part of us we have rejected. Think of the people that challenge you most in your life such as your boss, co-workers, siblings, parents, children, friends or lovers – what part of their personality do they embody that is actually a reflection of a part of you?

If we have rejected our own personal power, our boss is likely to be a bully, as we need to learn to stand up for ourselves. If we are generous and kind to a fault, we are more likely to meet someone that is frugal and withholding so that we implement boundaries in our life.

embracing-our-shadow

Our shadow will inevitably roar up from a situation that either makes us uncomfortable or in a setting when we are ready to shift a belief structure that no longer supports us.

One does not become enlightened by imaging figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious - Carl Jung.

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Is a 50/50 Split Always Equal?

For most of us women that live in a western world we have been told that we have equal rights to men. Women can be doctors, lawyers, and company directors; in fact we even had a female Prime Minister, but is a 50 / 50 split always equal?

One of my 1:1 balance clients had been self-employed for many years and when he first started dating his partner, there was an assumption made by both that all costs would be split down the middle. Except that his salary was less than half of hers.

He tells me that it took a year of dating before he realised that his ego had not allowed him to voice the fact that he simply was not able to keep up with her more expensive lifestyle. His interpretation of what her expectations were of him, were based on the fact that he simply never shared the reality of his finances with her.

is-a-50-50-split-always-equal

Through our sessions, we explored further and discovered that their lifestyles were also very different when they were both single. He is a Pilates instructor with a modest income and a minimalist lifestyle.  She is a Corporate Executive with a 6-figure salary and a vast disposable income. [Read more...]

New Years Resolutions Yoga Style

Have you been thinking of your new years resolution for 2012? I wonder why we place so much emphasis on them? Since starting a serious yoga practice several years ago, I’ve stopped putting so much importance on new years resolutions. A sadhana is like a new years resolution – yoga style - every 6 weeks or 3 months, I choose a new meditation practice for myself, so essentially it’s like a new years resolution all over again.

However.. I can’t help but miss the feeling that the New Year will commence with a fresh resolve and a renewed way of thinking so this year I have decided that I want to start the new year with a brand new sadhana. The literal translation for ‘sadhana’ is conscious spiritual practice so essentially one could choose anything as their sadhana, from a meditation, a physical practice, even a resolve to abstain from either sex, alcohol or coffee for a period of time.

The idea behind having a sadhana is so that you can decrease a negative type of thinking such as fear or anger, or increase and develop a particular strength such as your confidence or patience. Sadhana is a daily spiritual practice as the daily practice of meditation and mantra is one of the most thorough ways for cleaning the subconscious corridors of your mind. Having a daily sadhana is a cleansing practice. To experience liberation we have to expand our awareness beyond the limitations of our individual consciousness and doing the same physical practice and meditation every day for 40 days or more allows the empowering shifting of our blocks to take place. [Read more...]

Rest vs Party

I’ve noticed how busy many of our lives already are so it astounds me that we become even busier in the lead up to Christmas and New Year. It’s a toss up between rest vs party.

Many of us scramble to make time to catch up with people before the New Year and recently I’ve been wondering why, after all, we’re not going anywhere to die (although the way some of my friends consume alcohol, I’m sure their liver would say otherwise). Major catastrophes aside, we’ll all still be here in the New Year.

Sarah Wilson said something really interesting on her blog the other week. “Resting is not just putting our feet up on the couch when we collapse in a heap, exhausted. Resting is a responsible way of living. Resting is about consciously setting aside pockets of time ON A REGULAR BASIS – AS IN, DAILY – to unfurl and be quiet”. [Read more...]

But My Family Stresses Me!

If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family – Ram Dass

So your family stresses you? Christmas, Hanukah or Summertime periods usually mean spending time with the family we grew up with. The same individuals that taught us about boundaries, often pushed our buttons, and the same kinfolk that were most likely the reason we decided to move away from home and forge a life of our own.  Welcome to Family Dynamics 101 – Western Society Style.

Do you interact harmoniously with your family members who are considerably different to you or do you clash horribly? Irrespective of your answer, the fact is, we don’t always see eye to eye with our loved ones, and that’s OK. We choose our friends but don’t always get to choose our family members. What we can choose however, is the way we respond to certain situations.  I’ve discussed this in quite some detail during my 1:1 balance sessions and in some of my yoga classes.

One of my clients had said my sister got out of rehab a few years ago and every time there’s a family function, the worst type of drama ensues.  Her behaviour constantly demands attentions in the most immature way and when she doesn’t get it, she attacks my brother and I and then lies to my parents about what happened. I don’t know what’s worse, the fact that my parents pander to her childish needs, or that this behaviour is still occurring in our 30’s”.

This is a common story that many of us can relate to one some level, be it with a parent that has an excessive need for attention, a sibling or even a child. Sometimes it’s not even a need for attention. Instead it’s a drug, alcohol, mental health or just a good old-fashioned personality clash.  [Read more...]

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