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Tuesday marked the end of our first week of the “take time challenge”… and I was afraid to tally up my results. As a teacher, a naturopath, and a potential role model, I am acutely aware of the importance of “walking the talk“. Authenticity is for what I strive every day – and, when there is a disconnect between what I believe/teach and what I do, there is a deeply unsettling feeling. A mixture of anxiety, shame, guilt, and the other emotion that has no name that comes around from my core knowledge that those are all life-sucking emotions to feel.

This, unfortunately, was the feeling I walked around with over the last week.

This, alone, is an unfortunate turn in my own “Take Time Challenge”. However, on adding up my own results, the clouds cleared. Things aren’t that bad.

My total: 27 (out of a potential 35)

Where I earned points: A Wednesday night chamomile bath with a book, a fairly regular meditation practice, small breaks for sunshine even if I didn’t have time for a full “workout”, lots of connection with people

Where I lost points: A lunch skipped, a few days of not leaving my work for anything, forgetting our theme some days, procrastination

I can learn to celebrate the little achievements, and now I am conscious of my “learning objectives”.

  1. Work can often overpower my need for nourishment – in body, mind, and soul. However, to be the best that I can be in my work, I must be nourished. I must feel complete. I must be present and awake and balanced.
  2. Though it is important to walk my talk – it is more important to move forward without shame or guilt or those other unnamed feelings. Kindness and compassion towards one’s self are the answers. If the path to optimal health and balance in boy, mind and soul were simple, then we would all be there. There will be obstacles – celebrate not only when you have crossed them, but also when they become visible. This is the first step to formulating your way over, under, around and through.

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” ― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

So, let us introduce the theme for week 2 (sorry I am a day late!)…

TAKE TIME FOR THE HERE AND NOW.

“Whatever I’m doing at the moment is the biggest thing in life — whether it is conducting a symphony or peeling an orange.” – Arturo Toscanini

Ideas for how to do this daily:

  • This is an easy one, if you read the quote. The key is presence. Mindful action. Being here, now. Going a little slower to take time and “smell the roses”. Noticing the details, and delighting in them.
  • Be Here, Now.
  • Another quote for some hints:

“If you can see it, hear it, feel it, taste it, touch it, or smell it, you can be present with it. It is of the present moment, and so it brings to you the opportunity to be present with it.” – Leonard Jacobson

Enjoy!

As we move up the chakras, we find ourselves at a chakra we visited once before: Svadisthana (sweetness) chakra, the second chakra. One of my personal favorites, this chakra is in charge of movement, flow, emotion and pleasure. During our Muladhara chakra week, we concentrated on consistency, stability, and safety– this week we counterbalance this and we encounter change. Like all polar opposites, we need both to live a balanced life: consistency brings meaning to consciousness, change brings stimulation and expansion. Just as the little oak nut needs roots to prosper, it needs an equal amount of growth and change. It, like us, needs both earth and water.

The Right to Feel, to Have Pleasure

Now that our basic needs for place in the world and security have been addressed, we move ahead to our other, equally important needs. As with the feeling of grounding of the first chakra, our society often also has issues with the second chakra. Pleasure, fun, and desire are often looked upon in an imbalanced way– they seem to be equally suppressed and abused. Denying ourselves of our guilty pleasures (whether it is watching American Idol, eating ice cream, or taking a nice long bath with candles, all by ourselves) is a common practice, especially in our busy lives. With careers, families, to-do lists and obligations, who has time for pleasure? Failure to nourish the second chakra results in a blockage here– and imbalances can be seen at both extremes. Suppression easily leads to excess– bingeing on two tubs of ice cream, a night of excessive partying and alcohol, promiscuity. Then, the guilt cycle begins.

Guilt: Blocking the Flow

“Unhealthy guilt is an autoimmune disease of the soul that causes us to literally reject our own worth as human beings.” ~Joan Borysenko

As we move into early “toddler-hood” and out of infancy, the world becomes a little bigger to us. We gain the ability to move around a little, see past ourselves and our parents… in short, we are introduced to the wonder of all those other exciting things in the world: colours, tastes, sounds, smells… life! In turn, we must be encouraged to explore (within safety, of course), to feel, to experience life. Guilt begins if we are made to feel that what we are experiencing is wrong. Although guilt, to a certain degree, is quite healthy and helpful to establish boundaries, excessive guilt leads to dysfunction and lack of flow to our second chakra. Guilt is a teacher when it guides us, but a demon when it binds us up.

Thus, counter to what we may think is “mature”, “civil”, and “acceptable” as adults, we must continue to explore our senses and appreciate the pleasurable things in life. From time to time, we must escape our minds and stone-set beliefs and listen to our hearts. It is healthy to catch the flow and fluidity of life from time to time.

“Lose your mind and come to your senses.” ~Fritz Perls

Svadisthana Chakra Homework: This may not sound like homework, but for some of us, it does take some effort… you must do something you love this week. Take a bubble bath with scented candles, flower petals, your favorite music… buy yourself a piece of your favorite chocolate cake and eat it with the one you love (or alone, of course)… dance around your living room like you’ve never danced before.

Wear orange.

Just me…

2010 Journey

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