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Posts Tagged ‘breath’

Today, the day after the Winter Solstice, the sun will be around a tiny bit longer than yesterday.

Today, my seeds of intention are one day new.

Am I any different today than I was yesterday?

Are you?

Yesterday the skies were thickly overcast all day long. This did not bode well for my sunset Solstice ritual at the beach. Still, I was determined to go and I did.

It was blustery at La Jolla Shores in San Diego. The first thing I noticed was how I’d miscalculated. In my town, Santa Cruz, the beaches face south, so we get to see the sun set in the water there. Here, in San Diego, the beaches face west. The sun looked like it might peek out from under the clouds before it hit the water, but it was going to be on the other side of the point.

I reminded myself, play with what is and be willing to be surprised. So I began my walk northward. I called in the elements.  I called in four Arcangels and I asked them to co-create with me. As I invited the angels, I came upon a white feather. This has always been a sign to me that I am not alone.

I picked up four rocks and infused each one, in turn, with what my body, mind, spirit and heart wanted to release. Then, I tossed the rocks, one by one, toward the sea to be reclaimed by the elements. With each toss, I declared my new intentions. I planted the seeds of new energy, new emotion, new thought, new form. Well, maybe they are not so new, but now they will have room to grow. Let’s say, I did some weeding.

All along I was humming whatever came to me; improvising something without words, something new yet deeply familiar, something from my soul. After I tossed the final rock, I turned and headed south. The humming grew more courageous.

There was a tug at my heart as I recalled my youthful summers at this same beach. I chose to remain present and brought myself back by taking in the richness of the cool salt air.

Breathe, simply breathe.

thin layer of sunlight

Feeling disappointed (c) K J Loh

The sky grew grayer and there was a slim line of golden sky at the southern horizon. I tried not to be disappointed. I considered driving to the point in hopes of seeing the sun, but decided I wanted to remain connected to the ritual rather than attached to my original vision of watching the sun set in the water.

I was sitting in my car writing in my journal when I glanced up and saw the most amazing red sky. I gasped. Then I grabbed my camera and walked back down to the water’s edge. People dotted the sand and stood spell bound. Some, like me, took photos. The sky was afire. It was one of the most spectacular sunsets I’ve ever witnessed.

blazing sunset La Jolla Shores

Surprise Surprise (c) K J Loh

Had I been attached to my original vision, I could have been sitting at a traffic signal, fighting commuter traffic to get to the point and missed it all.

(I just noticed what I wrote – “fighting…get to the point…miss it all.” A lovely double-entendre reminder to take the scenic route, to dawdle and enjoy the journey)

Hey beautiful mischievous angels, thanks for the surprise!

Fire, you really strutted your stuff!

In the night, a gentle rain fell washing away the dust in this dry town.

Today a huge wind is up; for many, just an observation of the weather and a potential inconvenience.

For me, it’s an affirmation from the elements I invited to play with me.

If it’s all made up anyway, why not have fun?

So again, am I different today? Has anything changed?

I planted the seed.

I weeded the weeds.

Already today, I’ve had the opportunity to choose not to hold the old way and to invite and embrace the new.

Sometimes form (earth) takes awhile to catch up with energy, thought and emotion.

What appears to be a so-so ho-hum shift just might turn into something really amazing.

We’ll see what unfolds in the months to come.

Meanwhile, I trust.

And I remain willing (and not so secretly eager) to be surprised.

Copyright (c) December 2009, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved
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Happy Thanksgiving!

Today’s post is a reprint of an article I wrote that was published in

Coaching Interactive in 2006.

Gratitude is an attitude of gratefulness or, as I love to play with it, great fullness. It derives from the Latin “gratus,” pleasing. Gratitude creates awareness for that which is pleasing us, even while we may be standing in the shadow of our unhappiness. It is receiving and luxuriating in the richness of the warm sunshine upon our shoulders, the breath-taking display of a starry night, and the lingering embrace with a loved one.

These joys are gratis (free of charge), from the Latin “gratia,” favor.  They do not require great busyness, doings and struggle. We do not have to earn them. We need only stop, notice and allow ourselves to receive them. It’s a simple exchange of energy; like breathing out and breathing in. We give the world around us our exquisite attention and it gives us great fullness.

As we move toward that which delights, we begin to give to ourselves those experiences which bring us joy. We give them to ourselves and in so doing, we create a foundation of trust in ourselves.

I want to be clear about something here. Not all receiving is blissful. The willingness to be with the depth of our grief or remorse is also opening to great fullness. For the moment, I am writing of the abundance we can receive from the world around us.

The Universe offers us a feast, a banquet of richness, and we come to the table starving and saying, “Oh, no thanks; I couldn’t really,” as if we have to check some internal gauge of worthiness. Sometimes, our hunger is so great that the ensuing downward emotional spiral and intensity of our internal dialogue can cause us to resist great fullness. We lose our heart.

In conversation, a friend and I waded into the murky waters of self-sabotage. He said, “Decent hard-working people deserve a good life.” I asked him, “Who would you say does not deserve a good life?” There followed a predictable list that included criminals, riff-raff, cheaters, abusers and the like. It soon came to light that holding the belief  that “decent hard-working people deserve a good life,” was self-sabotaging. He knew he was not a bad person, but he could never know for sure what was good enough or hard-working enough.

He then asked me, “Why do you think you deserve a good life?” and I responded,“Because I was born.” There followed a pregnant pause broken by hearty laughter and smiles all around. He exhaled. He began to experience his inherent worthiness; his great fullness.

It seems so much happens when we stop trying. Making an effort is antithetical to receiving. There is irony in our working to prove ourselves worthy of receiving abundance. When we think we have to earn, because we hold ourselves inherently unworthy, we create an even greater gap, an ever greater emptiness.  While we are striving, we are closing ourselves off to receiving. We are holding our breath. It is allowing and receiving that fills us up and has us experience our natural worth. When we are full we spill over and giving is the natural outcome. The paradigm becomes “allow and receive” rather than “prove and earn.”

fall leaves 2009

(c) Kathy J Loh

Consider this Buddhist Koan:

No thought for the hereafter

Is cherished by the wise.

For on this earth they truly live

Always in paradise.

Desire, from feeling lack, creates the polarity of abundance and scarcity; of paradise and hell. Without desire, the polarity disappears. Breathing in and breathing out is one breath.  What is abundance but great fullness?

When we deflect an acknowledgment, we simultaneously project and create, within ourselves, a greater void of worth. When we truly receive, we simultaneously give and create, within ourselves, an experience of love and self worth. We deflect by metaphorically holding our breath, with armor around our 4th and 3rd chakras. Practice dropping out of your head into these centers when you are receiving. Bring healing to the very centers that have taken so many painful hits over the years.

There are many practices for focusing on gratitude. People find it helpful to create a gratitude book in which they record all for which they are grateful. Others begin and end each day with simple prayers or meditations upon that for which they are thankful.

Here is a practice I created for receiving and experiencing great fullness, which I regularly assign to clients with wonderful results.

Take a walk.. You do not need a destination and you can do it anywhere. As you amble along, notice everything you are sensing. Say to yourself “I get to receive _____________” and start filling in the blank with everything you notice. I get to receive the song of that bird. I get to receive the warm breeze on my face. You don’t have to be name the bird. This is not about information. It’s about experience and sense. If you don’t have words for the experience, simply allow yourself to have it. I get to receive this. You might like to add “For no other reason than because I was born, I get to receive….”

See how many things you get to receive. You may find yourself greedy for more. You are at the Universe’s banquet table and you are saying “Yes, thank you!” You  exhaled and you are breathing in. I especially like saying “I get to receive” rather than “I am receiving” because it adds a sense of fun and gift. There is less opportunity for resistance (as in the “I-am-receiving-oh-no-you’re-not” dialog with the Saboteur)

And speaking of banquet tables, this Thanksgiving, take a moment to remove yourself from the conversation and  look at each person around the table, saying within, “I get to receive ___________ from ______.”  Fill in the blanks with something wonderful, quirky, even ordinary about,  but unique to, that person and their name. Let me know what happens for you.

This practice of receiving creates presence. Being present, in the now, we are free to experience the great fullness of life, something we deserve simply because we were born.

After all, the best things in life are gratis.

Copyright © June 2006 and November 2009, Kathy J Loh, all rights reserved

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I’ve just discovered a lovely set of short talks and descriptions of beautiful meditations with Thich Naht Hanh on Oprah’s site.

I highly recommend them (despite the quick commercial on the front end).

Want a respite from your day?

Want to become centered and grounded right now?

Been at Twitter, email or Facebook too long?

Always useful and perfect for those moments when you find yourself indecisive, overwhelmed and spinning.

You can choose from breathing, mountain solid, flower fresh, water reflecting, space free meditations.

Follow this link below. From there, you can view the others

Thich Nhat Hanh – Space Free

On Oprah’s site there are many brief audios to explore that will rejuvenate your body, mind, spirit and heart.

Click on the link below for more audio meditations for revitalizing the body and then have fun exploring.

Meditations for rejuvenating body

I’ll be back again later today with another post. Meanwhile enjoy this beautiful day that was given to us. All we need to do is receive.

copyright(c) Kathy Loh April 2009 all rights reserved

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Today, I’m sharing with you a very simple and effective way to become more aware, more conscious, reduce stress and guess what….it doesn’t have to be hard!

Stop

Breathe

Notice

Go ahead and try it right now.

Stop:  whatever you are doing and be still

Breathe: let your belly be soft and your back straight so as to give the airways a chance to expand and breathe in and out easily.

Notice: Allow yourself to be curious, from a childlike state of not-knowing and non-judgment.

What do you notice about how your body feels (including your breathing)?

What do you notice about your thoughts? Are they charged, pressured, focused, scattered, whiney, empowering?

What do you notice about your feelings? Are you being with your feelings? Are you repressing them? Are you wondering what it is to feel?

What do you notice about your spirit? Is it present, absent, patient, impatient?

What do you notice about your environment?

Check in with your senses: what do you hear, see, feel (as in touch), taste, smell and sense (intuitively)?

You don’t need to ask yourself all of these questions and you will come up with some of your own. They are all designed to bring awareness to the present moment, by way of body, mind, spirit and heart.

Remember to remain curious and simply notice without passing judgment.

It takes a minute or two to do this. It is meant to be done many times throughout the day. Call it mini-meditation (which you can expand into longer sittings whenever you want).

It’s easy and it’s meant to be easy. Living consciously is a natural state and we are masters at resisting it.

Curiosity is one of the keys to playing in the mystery.

You might be wondering, “How do I remember to do this practice?”

There are a number of ways to remember to stop, breathe and notice. Here are a few suggestions:

Set your cell phone/ watch alarm or a computer beep to go off at various intervals.

Put sticky notes in prominent places like a mirror, dashboard, computer screen (create a pop-up or wall paper reminder) – Be sure to move them around since notes that are in the same place all the time become a part of the scenery and become invisible to us.

Have an awareness buddy and design an arrangement where you call or tap each other at moments to remind you to do this practice on the spot.

Bonus

Once you have become familiar with this practice, you can add the next step – shift

If you want to change the way you are talking to yourself, holding your body (generally with tension), the pace at which you are moving or even open more to your authentic emotions and raise them to a higher level on a vibrational scale, you have a better chance of shifting them after you notice what they are by default.

I’ll write more about that in a future post.

As I stop and breathe, I notice what a beautiful day it is and that I’d really love to go out for a walk right now. It’s Earth Day after all!  Meet you on the pathway…………

all photos and words copyright(c) April 2009, Kathy Loh, all rights reserved
Forest Path (K Loh)

Mystery Path (K Loh)

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