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How to stay centered and the use of Yoga

Hello and Welcome!  Staying centered is remaining balanced.  Balanced within your own sphere as well as balanced in your interactions and community.  Centeredness and balance infer a collaborative and open response to internal sensations and external expectations.

When you are pulled in one direction or the other this can have the effect of destabilizing you internally as well as  you within your environment.  It can then skew your energy and focus onto a path that is not in your best interest.

The best way to stay centered is to maintain an internal awareness of your senses.  Paying attention to how you feel in each of your internal centers will assist you in staying centered.  You may use you internal sensory guidance system – your five plus one senses – to remain centered.  The use of mindfulness and paradigm shifting are of great benefit in developing your relationship to your internal guidance system especially through paying attention and neutral observation of your sensory guidance system responses.

One way to develop this relationship to your centers is through the practice of Yoga.  This is because you will have the opportunity to connect breath, with the integration of physical body positions and energetic spiritual centers.

In the Yogic tradition there are bandha that need to remain closed or locked as you do various positions to assist in building physical strength and maintain the pose for clarification.  These bandha correspond with certain energy centers in your body called chakras.  What is useful for the musculature is related to the emotional component of the center – one is at the root chakra and is referred to a kegel closure – the root chakra relates to survival and may connect to issues of fear.  The next important bandha that is discussed is the belly button area – holding this bandha closed is described as pressing the belly button to the spine – this is related to the second chakra which deals with creativity of all types including sexuality and procreation.  The third bandha that is discussed is described as holding the chin to the chest – this has a dual effect of closing off the throat chakra while opening further the chakra at the third-eye or the brow chakra which relates to inner vision and intuition.  By closing off these centers while holding the Yoga positions the practitioner is strengthening the flow of energy within his centers so that the energy doesn’t dissipate.  This results in strengthening the muscles and the physical core of the practitioner as well as the energetic flow of internal connection between these centers.  This is how an intentional Yoga practice can assist in the strengthening of a practitioner’s sense of being, and remaining, centered.

Any focused attention with breath to your inner sensory guidance system will produce an increase in your awareness about what and how you are feeling, and responding, in any given situation and can provide guidance about what action is in your best interest which includes a choice to not act from an intentional place.

Centering your self is simply paying attention to, observation of, gathering information from, your internal sensory guidance system (your five senses plus one, intuition)  and responding from a place of compassion, love, and neutrality to that internally connected information.

Remember that  centered sensory guidance  information is in general a calm, and charge-free instinct and results in a sense that something is the best response – rather than a loud, pushing-through-to -the-fore, anxiety-filled, reactive response.

Simple focused breathing for 30 seconds to 3 minutes can increase your capacity for mindfulness and can re-center you.

Longer focused, breathing meditation for 15 – 30 minutes can increase your centering-practice even further and allow you a space to reconnect to your inner self and inner center, this has a lovely additional effect of reducing your blood pressure and reducing your sense of anxiety by bringing your fully into the present moment.

A focused intentional Yoga practice can also encourage you to develop a deeper centering practice.   For more information check out this article on Yogi Times, connecting spirit mind and body through Yoga.

Any activity that is present moment focused with love and breath will increase your capacity for centering, praying meditation, walking, running, singing, and dancing all have the components for increasing or deepening your integrated spirit, mind, and body connection.

Staying centered increases self-knowledge, self-love, strength, and right-action.  In love and light, Beth

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Hearing and Listening in Relationships

Hello and Welcome !  The foundational work of relationship is to maintain a connection and alignment with self while simultaneously connecting with your partner.  It requires a thorough understanding of yourself to do this.  You have to have a sense of what matters to you, your goals, your talents, and your limitations so that you can negotiate the common ground of the relationship or partnership with your partner.

This is harder to accomplish than your may think because humans have a tendency to hide information from themselves or distort truth in order to feel accepted or to feel approval or fit in to their chosen group.  This tendency to hide internal needs may, in one’s youth, assist in avoiding difficult situations or even surviving difficult environments – but the habit later becomes a powerful deterrent to a successful partnership.

Seeking internal guidance and developing an image of your self that coordinates all of the necessary components of your being into a congruent and coherent whole is the first step.

Seek first to know thyself; this suggestion is centered in the understanding that through self-knowledge you can attain your highest goals easily and happily.  Once you have an understanding of who you are you can then begin to connect with another in partnership.  When you begin the connection process you need to have a certain knowledge of yourself and then you can focus your attention on understanding the other.  Through this investigative process you develop the connecting points of your relationship. The better developed your hearing and listening skills, the more facile your capacity to develop relationships.

When beginning a self-discovery, first be willing to accept yourself precisely where you are – it is only through this acceptance that you will have the strength, understanding, and compassion to love yourself.  And through love you can then determine if you have things you would like to change in yourself.  Self knowing is a starting place for self-development, and relationship development.

One common  problem that happens with hearing in relationship is that people get into a habit of hearing what has been said in the past or hearing with a historical negative energy – so that they aren’t actually listening but rather already preparing a defense to what they think they heard.

You may be able to discern this is happening if you are surprised by your partner’s response – for example you say something innocuous and they respond by yelling or with a very negative attitude – using your listening skills you hear the dissonance between what you meant and what was heard by your partner – before mounting your own defensive action I suggest you first ask this question”  what did you hear me say?”  This will get you and your partner refocused into the present so you can communicate more clearly.  And then you can each listen to each other more fully, respectfully and lovingly.

This is true for love and work relationships.

Listening and speaking in a thorough manner when developing the expectations in any relationship will assist both parties in getting what they truly want and connecting more deeply.

This of course is the basic description of mindfulness.  Discovering another’s paradigm as well as your own and then shifting these to see the connecting threads is the place of true intimacy, love, and relationship.

This requires attention to subtlety without judgment and with a focus on connection and clarity with acceptance, compassion, and dispassionate observation.  It requires hearing and listening both – hearing being that component of noticing when something is off, changes in another’s tone, and tenor – and listening being that component of content, meaning, and feeling that we need to listen to from within us and from the perspective the other.

When I am hearing another I feel their meaning from within me and when I am listening I am aware of not just what I perceive but their perspective as well.

Hearing and Listening to another is the ultimate gift of care – it reveals visibility.  From this deep connecting point many negotiation paths are available for relationship.

This is especially true because our world is one of language and verbal, cognitive symbols so that being heard directly relates to being seen and therefore being real.  It is why in the reverse many are drawn to do things against their nature through words that drag them away from their true center.

By focusing our attention on truly listening and hearing the true meaning and perspective of another  we can develop powerful and sustaining relationships as well as avoid those that seem good on the surface but are without sustenance underneath.

Listening and hearing are fundamental tools in relationship.

May your true spirit be heard wherever you go. With the tone of love and light, Beth.

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leadership and inner strength of will

Hello! Welcome and thanks for your interest and support!

Leadership and will are strongly connected.  How the will within is communicated and utilized is different with different leadership styles.

Will without heart can lead to a hollow and disconnected success, and it is also the way to dictatorship.

This can look like a person who drags others forward toward a goal regardless of the consequences.  Propaganda, divisive rhetoric, and shoulds and should nots are some of the mechanisms involved in this style of leadership.

Heart without will results in partially developed ideas that swirl around a person but cannot be fully manifested, and this can look like anarchy.

This leadership style has a tendency to be reactive and emotional without a deeper understanding of the complicated factors encompassing the need and end result required.  Will is the element that simultaneously presses-on, pushes-through to create the change as well as sees the bigger picture that incorporates the whole of the problem.   So heart without that will component results in a lot of emotional smoke without a real transformation – think of the picture of the Peanuts character Linus surrounded by the grey cloud; – all that this leader can see is what is inside his head; he is unable to transform his concerns or ideas into something that can create change, or move a community beyond the vague sense of discontent.

Will and heart together are the best aspects of a powerful, intentional, and transformative leader.  These together allow for individual needs and community needs both being attended to in equal measure, and this can look collaborative and consensus in nature, not a dictatorship or anarchist.

The quality of everything we do: our physical actions, our verbal actions, and even our mental actions, depends on our motivation. That’s why it’s important for us to examine our motivation in our day to day life. If we cultivate respect for others and our motivation is sincere, if we develop a genuine concern for others’ well-being, then all our actions will be positive.  Dalai Lama

So what matters in this heart and will connection in leadership is attention (present-mindful-focus), and intention (compassionate, loving win-win motivation); caring for others even those with whom you disagree and a focus on mindful, present moment dialogue and action together toward the enhancement of all.

Leadership via collaboration is something more than facilitation of other’s needs.  It is not just a separate role of listening and then divining what the group desires –  it includes an inner strength of will, and an inner set of principles that are at the heart and will of the need and the solution.  It is a spiraling process of involution and evolution allowing for the various aspects of the problem and solution to be identified and incorporated.

Leadership is one of the most human of actions.  It incorporates a person’s ability to be altruistic while simultaneously incorporating individual needs.

Hermann Hesse wrote many novels in which he studied the human condition.  In Siddhartha, and Magister Ludi which was published posthumously (also published under The Glass Bead Game) he described the individual search for authenticity, self-knowledge and spirituality.  He also looked at the issues of individual needs versus needs of the group. His work has a lasting quality of important information for anyone seeking to develop an internal strength of will informed by a powerful heart-based internal guidance system.  Understanding how and in what ways individual and group rights and responsibilities interplay is a foundational aspect for effective leadership.

M. Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, jr are representative of this kind of leadership as were the non-religious-biased actions of Jesus and Buddha.  These men described a way of thinking and being as well as taking personal actions that were will and heart integrated to assist in the evolution of the spiritual consciousness of the environments in which they lived.  These are not the only leaders who have integrated will and heart to create change however these are leaders that are well-known to this generation.  Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma (Myanmar) has been practicing this type of leadership to help transform her country throughout the last thirty years.

This idea of change is not owned by any political party, country, or religion it is a way of thinking and being that is directly guided by an integrated inner strength of will strongly influenced by a heart-based internal guidance system.  For this system of leadership to be effective and for the profound good of all it cannot be biased by any ideology that is not connected to a genuine caring, compassionate, mindful, lovingkindness toward others, self and community.

You can create the change your group or community needs by integrating your heart and will so that you act from an inner strength of will informed by your heart-based internal guidance system.

You can develop your powerful leadership skills by simply focusing on listening and hearing in an open, evaluative, interested way, guided by your inner strength of will and heart-based internal guidance system, with the goal that best serves the community and the individual together.

For this to be successful and effective you have to:

This information is the focus of the essays throughout this month through May 20,2012.

Be the change you wish to see in the world – Gandhi). Be a leader.   Start today by re-focusing your attention and intention to create what you recognize you, and your community, need for health and success.

This information is shared with so much love for you all.  Beth