Lately I have taken to reading fashion mags on the beach as form of detachment. Today I decided that I had read enough about my stress cravings and desires for clothes and chose something a little deeper. Yesterday I chatted with you all about all the doors and windows that are suddenly or no so suddenly opening and closing in our chat Doors and Windows Today I decided that I needed a break from it all. I need to go somewhere and do something that would allow for non attachment from the past and the future. So per usual in the summer that means heading to the beach. Today’s musings come from the sun, the ocean, the seagulls and Thich Nhat Han. Ok so I lied when I said it got a little deeper…it got A LOT deeper than Marie Claire and has more long lasting gratification. As always I am home refreshed, ready to let go of what was in order to dive into my Fall teaching schedule. The magic of the ocean is only something you can truly experience for yourself but I can share some wisdom from Thich Nhat Han’s book “You Are Here” that may also help you release what is also not serving you and move forward into Fall.
You Are Here. Three simple words that kind of make you want to say “DUH where else would I be.” But like I say to my yoga students often times our mind is not where our body is. I know I have definitely been having some challenges keeping my head attached to my body lately. Just like most books on mindfulness, especially those by Han, it focuses on the breath. But unlike other mindfulness based books, Thich Nhat Han’s books always speak to me in this loving and soft way. Maybe it is because I saw him speak and have experienced just how loving he really is. One line that he mentions in the book that I have heard him say before is “As I breath in, I know that I am breathing in. As I breath out, I know that I am breathing out.” So this breathing this is just that easy? Yup, just that easy and yet not so much at the same time. He goes on to discuss how being grateful for the different organs in our body, in particular our heart, can help bring our attention into the present moment with compassion and love. He spoke about acknowledging all the work that heart has to do and that it never gets time off; even when you are asleep it keeps working. Paying special attention with loving kindness to the intricate nature of the heart can help bring awareness to how you treat your heart. Do you give it the nurturance it needs both through food love and plai? Do you close down your heart and not open it to others? There is a very symbiotic relationship between how you treat your heart and whether you are able to open it to others. If you find yourself closing down your heart you are not only doing so towards others but you are doing it towards yourself as well. You are depriving your heart of the love and nurturance it needs from other human beings. As we discussed in our chatBreathing Space humans need each other. We need our own breathing space but we desperately need to be in connection and community. If you find that you are struggling with opening up your heart to others maybe the real issue is that you need to first start within.
I can definitely relate to these oceanside musings. It wasn’t until I began my path towards opening up to being vulnerable that I was able to create truly authentic connections with others. To this day, I find that I tend to work mostly with people who struggle with this exact thing. Helping people become vulnerable enough to open their heart is truly a gift. I carried my own shielding around for far too long and therefore have an intimate understanding of how exhausting it is! Being vulnerable has it’s upsides and downsides . Now that I am more vulnerable and open, I tend to be more sensitive. In the past I would have thought this was a weak or bad thing. Now I know it’s ok. I am human. Humans have feelings. Humans get hurt, angry, sad, as well as happy, excited and elated. It’s all a part of the process. In Han’s book he talks about how healing comes when we can meet our discomfort with love. When we can invite our anger and hurt in and care for it as if it were a loved one such as a brother or sister that we care for. Rather than telling oneself that we shouldn’t feel how we feel, it is much more healing to accept how we are feeling and embrace it. For me, I imagine that process being like seeing my Italian American family…big hugs and kisses all around. It was ingrained in me since being a small child that this is how we greet. What would it be like to greet my anger and hurt that way? Hmmmm that seems a lot nicer than how I generally do. What about yourself? What would it be like for you? What would that look like? Can you envision a moment, even a recent moment, where giving your anger a hug would have helped?
I think I am going to end this amazing Labor Day with doing just that! You are Here…Here is Where You Are. Love it with a full and open heart and watch how your flower grows!