February 23, 2011

Take it easy on you

 Growth is an erratic forward movement: two steps forward, one step back. Remember that and be very gentle with yourself.
Julia Cameron 

 Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.Saint Francis de Sales

Just continuing down my list:

Stay Present

Practice Patience

Cultivate Gratitude

Maintain Flexibility

Be Kind & Gentle

Remain Humble & Open Minded

Forgive, Forgive, Forgive

And above all else

Love Deeply

Like Kindness I feel it is so important to start with ourselves first. If we are not first gentle with ourselves we forget what it is and how to bestow it on others. And gentleness is not an excuse to be a door mat, or to let yourself off the hook in all things. It is a way of seeing your own (and eventually others) humanity in such a way that we first seek to understand and allow space and time for growth. It is this space I am coming to more and more frequently that sees how and doesn’t always seek immediate gratification or even a why. It is the soft word that suggest it is OK to stumble. The forgiveness for perceived mistakes. The breath that comes instead of the berating word and that patience with the learning curve. It’s that mind set that doesn’t grumble at the tight hamstring…but breathes into it…It’s the thought that first say thank you for what is rather than dismay over what is not. It’s a space that praises success and learns from setbacks. In relationships it’s that feeling that you love first and foremost and share concerns and wishes and take responsibility and action for your part in all endeavours. It’s a place where we say and think kind words. For remember thoughts are things, here is an excellent article about being gentle with the self from Glamour

In classes I look at it like this — remember it has taken more than a few minutes to create that tension so it’s OK that it is taking some time to unwind. And my now oft repeated line “muscles are like people they respond best when asked and allowed to choose, rather than when pushed or pulled”. And as yogasana for me is a metaphor for our lives I ask my students to look at how they react to tightness do they push through it? do they pull harder? Or do they forgive and understand? Do they see how it could have come to be? Or do they need to know why and why it hasn’t gotten better yet?

The same technique could be applied to weight lifting…when it is difficult to lift a certain weight do you get angry and push through or do you reset a little lighter and work back up to a weight? Do you start to high and creat stress and imbalances? Or do you gradually with wisdom move steadily to your goal?

And of course you can take this internally if you like — did you try to meditate for half and hour and get angry or annoyed or frustrated when you couldn’t? I am a firm believe in start at the beginning and build. Place one foot gently in front of the other and before you know it you will be a thousand steps further…

Oh don’t get me wrong, I grow impatient and push hard and push through and try and do all those things — but I have to admit I get the most out of my day when I move gently from one thing to the next and allow things to unfold, how about you?

In researching gentleness I came across this….I love when spirituality and religion meet. (it also reminds me that truthfully there is “nothing new under the sun”.

“Fruit of the Spirit” is a biblical term that sums up the nine visible attributes of a true Christian life. Using the King James Version of Galatians 5:22-23, these attributes are: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. We learn from scripture that these are not individual “fruits” from which we pick and choose. Rather, the fruit of the Spirit is one ninefold “fruit” that characterizes all who truly walk in the Holy Spirit. Collectively, these are the fruits that all Christians should be producing in their new lives with Jesus Christ.

and from a Buddhism:

To be gentle (soracca) is to speak or act in a careful, mild and kindly way that causes no harm to others. The English word is derived from the Old French gentil meaning ‘of the same clan’ and referred to treating others as if they were one’s own family, while the Pāḷi word comes from sorata meaning placid or soft. The scriptures often mention the value of gentleness. ‘Those who love the noble Dhamma, who are pure in word, thought and deed; always peaceful, gentle, focused and composed; they proceed through the world properly’(Ja.III,442). The Buddha usually linked gentleness with mildness (maddava) and patience (khanti) and very clearly the three mutually support each other. Gentleness adds a special dimension to our practice of Right Speech and Right Action.

For an incredible take on yoga and gentleness please go HERE.

So that is all, be gentle …. be gentle about being gentle and sometimes it helps to just know that others are feeling, deeply feeling all the time, just like you

When Inspiration Leaves

When Depression Hits

When You Feel Like “poo” 🙂

For me I’m being gentle as my body tries to handle some horrible allergies. I have fought it, gotten angry, ignored it, complained about it…but today I’m just going to sit and feel it and know that this too shall pass. And it’s OK if I am not 100percent today or even tomorrow…I’m me in this moment and that’s all you get!


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