February 2019 | Inner Circle

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I had picked the photo above for my blog a week ago but didn't know why.  Just yesterday I had a conversation with my sister who mentioned she had been feeling disconnected from her inner circle. Work was important, but it was more important for her to feel connected to those nearest and dearest. It really got me thinking. Am I making quality time to be with the people I love the most? The ones who inspire me, make me laugh until my belly hurts, love me no matter what? In other words, are my primary relationships well-tended?

Am I making enough space from the rest of the humans in my life so that my tank is actually full enough to share and offer myself fully with that inner circle? Yes, we all get depleted and feel like we are "overextended and busy" from the giving and working in the world that by day’s end, we've given the best of ourselves to things that certainly do matter, but do they matter the most?  This question requires consistent evaluation and re-evaluation. Connecting in a deep way to those we love is one of the primary fuels for well-being. I am reminded by the gentle nudging soul of my sister that it’s a must, not a maybe.

Even in the quiet of these mountains, there can be a surprising amount of noise coming at me, or quite possibly from within me. I'm radically self-driven and motivated by nature, and I also need an equal dose of radical self care.  However the real balance is about learning to both listen to and respond to the voices that come from within. The ones that tell you when to move and when to be still, when to find good company and when to be alone, when to push and work hard and when to rest and play.

Sometimes we choose to be busy and that's ok, and often necessary but it doesn't leave a whole lot of space for anything else. Our schedule easily can, and has many times been completely all-consuming- sometimes out of choice and others out of necessity. It takes discipline and dedication to make time to do other things, and I am sometimes successful, sometimes not so much in that effort.

Don’t get me wrong. I am fully aware that there are far worse things to be consumed with. I am so grateful and lucky to have a practice and work that connects and sustains me; I am in real community with people who are more interested in the project of cultivating a spiritual life than a material life; I have incredibly fulfilling work that I love with brilliant, dedicated, loving, compassionate teachers, staff and students. But though I’ve not always practiced what I preach I do absolutely believe that it’s never good to lean too far in any one direction – too much of a good thing is still too much. It’s out of balance and ultimately not healthy.

How much time do you carve out to explore, enjoy, learn, serve, share, study, play with the people, places and things that speak to your heart, that fill your very soul? What is missing or has been sidelined by your business or busyness or both?

It's an ever evolving and endless dance to listen to the voice of knowing that is the voice of the soul, with messages direct from the universe about the next best word or action to find harmony. What aspect of our life is asking for our attention a little more than the others so that our whole self and mission might be fed and realized? I ask you as I ask myself.

I've realized through my own reflection, which happened to coincide with this conversation, that expanding my creative artistic side deeply feeds my soul, so I've rekindled my passion and love for making jewelry again. It brings me a kind of happiness and fulfillment difficult to describe. Check out my shop below for some recent creations. These creations will soon be available at Black Mountain Yoga as well. Stay tuned..

Love for the journey,
Anisha 

January 2019 | For a New Beginning

For A New Beginning

by John O'Donogue

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,

Where your thoughts never think to wander,

This beginning has been quietly forming,

Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

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For a long time it has watched your desire,

Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,

Noticing how you willed yourself on,

Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety,

And the gray promises that sameness whispered,

Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent, 

Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,

And out you stepped onto the new ground,

Your eyes young again with energy and dream,

A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear

You can trust the promise of this opening;

Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning

That is at one with your life's desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;

Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;

Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,

For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

Happy New Year! Yoga, Acupuncture and Qi Gong are all about finding ease in discomfort. It's about deliberately doing postures and exploring moments within that are new, unknown and restorative. Through the breath, the movement, and the constant shift and transformation of energy, these practices helps us to feel alive and involved. We learn to seek out silence and calm so we can hear the benevolent inner voice. And we begin to settle for nothing less than this: beauty, truth and kindness.

Cheers to a new beginning, to a new year, to committing yourself to always seeking the "out-of-the-way" places of the heart. 

Love for the journey,
Anisha

December 2018 | Prisoner of Blame & Praise?

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I've spent the last week in the presence of my teacher and role model, Master Ou Wen Wei. He teaches by example and this way of teaching invites and encourages his students to understand how to improve and evolve on their own, through communication and guidance from the heart. As we understand ourselves under his expansive wings of love and affection, we naturally recognize what we need to change and how we can reach our goal.

What I've been willing to understand within myself is the difference between seeking acknowledgment, needing approval and trying to appease, and genuinely wanting to give, help, serve and share with others with full devotion and dedication; the difference between reacting to others' negative feelings or intentions towards me, and being able to ignore, overlook them or not see them at all; the difference between protecting or shielding myself to be safe, and opening my heart to everyone without worrying about what I may lose, only seeing the advantage and the goodness in each interaction and in each person.

"Praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and sorrow come and go like the wind. To be happy, rest like a giant tree in the midst of them all.” ~ Buddha

It’s human for us to be stalled by the criticism of others and intoxicated by the fragrance of praise. However, the thing about listening too closely to blame is that we become a prisoner to it, feeling the need to correct ourselves until we have approval and acceptance. And the thing about exaggerated praise is that we also become prisoner to the need to maintain the sudden regard we are bathed in. Whether we act out of a need for approval or react to the withholding of approval, neither is life-giving and both are eventually draining.  What if we could be like a giant tree amidst it all?  What if in any matter I can naturally and freely acknowledge and be responsible for my part in it? And when I know in my heart I have done my best, to be able to let go.  In doing so, we find a balance between the need to control the life around us through action, and the need to trust the path,  slipping into the river of life. 

 

These patterns are conditioned within us and often deeply rooted. It takes time to realize the difference, to modify ourselves; it takes patience. Sometimes we don't see the depth of change we had hoped for immediately, but if we stay with it, day by day, step by step, those small accomplishments eventually surprise us with a lasting transformation. And though sometimes in the moment we can feel trapped in our current reality and negative emotions, we must remember it is one moment, one setback, one little whirlpool in a long river of life. Seeing our mistakes, our misunderstandings, our weaknesses and correcting them doesn't have to be painful. We can be the giant tree, withstanding the winds of praise and blame, gain and loss, pleasure and sorrow. It is and can be a golden key in creating freedom for ourselves, from our past and present burdens. All the while, our limbs and leaves go every which way, branching out farther into the world of relationships and connections with an ease and adaptability that can only exist from spreading roots steadily into the ground of understanding ourselves.

Love for the journey,
Anisha