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June, 14 2007

No noise

I had planned not to watch television this week and honoring my commitment to me, I turned it off on a Sunday night and didn't turn it back on until the following Sunday. Ironically, every cd player in my apartment decided to not work at the same time and radios are just not in convenient enough places for me to bother with them. Therefore, I had no noise at home for days and what a change it made.

At first the quiet was really eerie – I usually have some company when I’m alone unless I’m reading. So I read and I read much more than usual and that was immensely rewarding.

I also noticed that when there is absolutely no sound on the outside that my inner voice seems to be quieter too. It seemed to me to be a strange phenomenon because I had thought once it was really silent that my brain would go into overdrive but it was quite the opposite – I felt at peace.

At the beginning, I cleaned more than usual (and I already am very tidy) until I realized that I didn’t have to be doing something when I wasn’t watching television. Television watching is extremely passive – one’s brain turns off during the process but when you read or listen to the radio, your mind must be active to form pictures and stay with the information. I didn't do this long enough to know what the long term effects would be but I suspect just from the initial results that with far less TV watching, I will feel more engaged in my own life and that’s a huge benefit.

I didn’t think I watched that much television or for that matter roamed around the web when I wasn’t watching but I did. An hour spent on either of those two activities just flies by. I was worried that time would just hang around when I wasn’t otherwise occupied, but that fear went away very rapidly and I was soon looking forward to spending an hour or so without any stimulation.

I learned far more from this experiment than I thought I would. I have often gone days without watching television before but it was because I was busy with something else. I started this because I was beginning to feel addicted and I wanted to “give up” something that seemed to not be good for me but which I liked. My discovery is that I have found something essential to my personal well-being and that is that I am good company. I like being with me. I love to be in quiet pursuit and I can enjoy not having anything to do – really not having anything to do.

June, 04 2007

Body, Mind, Spirit

We hear those words used but how often do we think about what that means. Today, I had a client who referred to those three parts of herself as if they were a 3-legged stool. I pass that along because I think it is such a great metaphor. We can only stand strong when all three elements of our essence are working at full strength. Like a 3-legged stool, we may be able to balance occasionally on just two legs but for full stability we need all three. The wise Yogis refer to that as the unity. For us to be functioning at full capacity and with all of our personal resources, we are living through our minds, bodies and spirit. And, if we are off in any one, we are uncertain, muddled, and less efficient. So what's the point? It is to be aware of our own structure and to be constantly vigilant as to how we are operating in the world. Each of us holds the answer to our own wholeness.

May, 23 2007

What's the body got to do with it?

In our brain-driven world, we don't usually allow our bodies to do the talking for us. We formulate a thought and it comes through our mouths and enters someone else's or our own's hearing range. We use our brains as a guidance system. We rely upon our thoughts to make decisions and take action. You are probably aware that we only use a small percentage of our brains. Scientists, teachers and philosophers would like us to work with our brains so that we can increase its usage. But even if we used a lot more, we would likely be missing some of our best teachers, which are housed throughout our bodies. About 50 years ago, I learned through a yoga teacher that my body continuously is informing me but that it's likely I don't pay attention. (She was right, of course!) Then about 20 years later, I met Moshe Feldenkrais through his books and lectures and I learned more about the body and how actions of the body can inform the brain -- Wow! I had always thought that it was the other way around, but Moshe's work taught stroke, palsy, handicapped victims (and the able-bodied) how to walk and talk more effectively. And most recently, I have been reminded ONCE more that I can learn a lot from my body. I took a movement workshop, which helped me understand where I was tight and risk-averse. And my yoga teacher, whom I feel so blessed to have found, has helped me see that a tight thigh muscle may not be just a tight thigh muscle -- in other words, our bodies can point out to us where we are holding on and help us let go. If we push through a constraint somewhere in our bodies, we often experience the emotional release we have been looking for with -- what else? our brains! Yep, it's true, our aches and pains may be nothing more than stored up energy that wants a way out and instead of medicating ourselves to remove them, we might do well to listen to them. And even more subtle than that might be a stiffness or tightness that we may assume that we just ought to live with but if we gently push through the discomfort, we might release an obstacle to our growth and well being. It's a big topic and one I still need to explore -- but pardon me while I find a posture that I want to hold just a bit longer because when I let go, it might take some angst with it.

May, 03 2007

It's in the Laugh!

Some of you know that I do workshops about happiness and also add "Laugh" sessions to many of my other gatherings because, after all, it's all about the joy we feel. One of my colleagues had his laughter session taped and it was on the Oprah show, and her guest that day had written about happiness -- I wanted to spread the word. I don't know how long this site will stay on You Tube, but it's there for now...

Do check it out!

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