I’m hopeful your August offered a sense of adventure. How could it not considering last week’s earthquake and hurricane? Sometimes a little shake up is in order to shift perspective. August’s theme at Tranquil Space was impermanence and mother nature seemed to serve it up perfectly.
My month included teaching chair yoga sessions at The Phillips Collection’s “Spirituality in Art” extravaganza, a week of playing New Yorker in a tiny 4th floor walk up on west 14th followed by a week of learning at Disney Institute followed by a week of writing in the woods plus taking up embroidery in between travels, and now back to school for year 3 of 4. After these adventures, I’m bursting with inspiration and new information for changing the world and myself.
The above quote by Leo Tolstoy is such a beautiful reminder of our role in making a difference in the world. As yogis, ideally it is a way of life. Svadyaya, one of the basic tenets of yoga, is the notion of self-exploration and self-study. There are so many ways to play with this concept. One of my classes this semester is psychodynamic theory a la Freud – an entire study of what conscious and unconscious motivations underlie our behavior. Hmmm, should be very, very interesting. So, there’s one way to practice svadyaya.
Another is journal writing. Simply pull out a pen and paper and begin to write whatever comes to mind. If that feels overwhelming, try answering the prompt “today I am feeling . . .” This simple act of penning thoughts can provide an insightful view into patterns and habits. For example, when rereading entries you may find a continual complaint about a person or situation that may be beckoning a shift you weren’t fully conscious of when you sat down to write. A recent passion is to combine journal writing with artistic play (coined “art journaling”) which allows use of our left and right brains. Here are scenes from a recent art journaling workshop at Tranquil Space.
Yet another is meditation and yoga. Observe reactions on the mat or on your meditation cushion. Do themes arise? Sense of frustration? Feelings of joy? No judgment, simply observation.
Take a look around you. What does your environment say about you? Your friends? Family? Things? Does the way you spend your time, money, and energy reflect your values? Does the way you eat and where you shop align with compassion? Our lives are made up of daily decisions that offer opportunities for us to better understand ourselves, make changes to align with our values, and, ultimately, to change the world.
Last week I sent a museletter highlighting 10 simple ways to do-good and they are:
1. Pick up litter
2. Plant a tree
3. Donate books to hospitals, libraries, schools, shelters
4. Read about people making a difference
5. Tweet about a favorite cause and bring it to someone’s attention
7. Donate pet food and love to animal shelters
8. Make space for others on public transit
9. Smile and say “thank you”
10. Shop at farmers markets
Simple acts can bring about such beauty to those around you. As we move into a new season coupled with crisp fall air, let’s take a moment to reflect on the ways in which our daily actions are impacting the world. After all, as yogis we have a responsibility to practice mindfulness on a daily basis – not just on the yoga mat. What small shifts are beckoning attention? How can you begin to change yourself (and the world) today? Simple acts make a big difference and it all begins with you. Ah, no pressure, eh?
On a journey with you,
Kimberly Wilson, Creative Director + Founder