The Catharsis of Movement

Even the Slow Movement implies movement of some kind. It may not boogie at the pace to which you are accustomed, but then again, that’s the whole point. Slow requires reflection, thought and deliberate choices.

What better movement can you have than the actual process of moving itself?

Admittedly, moving is considered one of the top ten most stressful life events a person can experience. And yet there is so much potential in moving house.

It allows you to take inventory of everything you have experienced up to now. Dismantling my office, for instance, took months. I tossed out old book proposals, papers, books and even some of my children’s artwork. I reached pain points I never thought possible, all in the name of clearing the path for something new. I bid adieu to dreams unlived, ideas that died on the vine and projects that never lifted off the ground.

Nevertheless, it was amazing how cathartic it was to get rid of the old to make room for something yet to come. It takes a measure of trust that the choices you make are the right ones.

That’s where things get exciting. Because even as you part with the familiar, you have yet to embrace the energy that is waiting for you in the wings.

That energy comes in different forms. Sometimes it comes in so-called chance meetings. Your palette is clear, without baggage, as you embark on an explorative journey. Your surroundings respond to your clarity, as if you are somehow reborn and they recognize your newness. Angelic guides lead you to the right place at the right time to meet the right people.

Moving is like taking a soul bath ~ you wash away the detritus of your past. Your tabula rasa existence rings clear as a bell. You are free to create anything you want from this moment forward.

That’s a wondrous prospect. How often do we actually get to experience that level of possibility?

Not often is my guess.

It may be stressful to make that kind of change, even a positive one, but I will tell you people, is it ever worth it!

Tap into Your Extraordinary

Your environment matters. If you live in a dark place, chances are you won’t feel as bright as someone who lives under the sun 365 days a year.

The landscape matters. If you are in an urban jungle, you might not feel as consistently grounded as someone who lives amongst the red rock of Sedona, Arizona, for instance.

I had the pleasure of visiting Sedona this week. Known for its vibrating vortexes of energy swirling up from the minerals in the ground, Sedona holds a special kind of vibe I have never experienced in my life. Go there and you will realign with your highest self. That’s all I have to say.

Sedona, power of slow, energy vortex

Sedona, Arizona

Even if you aren’t apt to make your way there, consider where you live as your sacred space. If your office is lifeless, without plants, water or some kind of sunlight, consider placing a portable water fountain on your desk. Place special rocks or other meaningful items around you. They hold positive energy, something everyone could use a little more of!

It is easy to tap into your extraordinary when you have peace of mind. All it requires is a little time to reflect, go inward and really listen to yourself. Take a few breaths, light a special candle, and think about how extraordinary your life is. Every day you get a new chance to live that life to the very best of your ability.

Some times all it takes is a beautiful landscape to set you free. You can create it right where you are. You really can.

3 Steps to Nirvana

Strolling across countless Tuscan piazzas from Florence to Siena to Pisa to Lucca, Italy, one cannot help but see the birthplace of the Slow Movement with Slow Eyes. The three-hour siestas, the wine, pasta and beautiful shops are breath-taking. Around every corner is a new sensation in which to immerse yourself. Even the air tastes good in Italy, at least in Tuscany where we spent six glorious days with the top down in our two-seater, pretending we lived there without a care in the world.

Nirvana under the Tuscan Sun

Perhaps it is the sea that tightly hugs both coasts that brushes away the soot and smell of modern life. Or perhaps it is the sun that kisses your face in relentless delight. Your skin absorbs the light, entering your heart in a constant wave of glowing warmth.

Can you tell that I’ve fallen in love?

Yes, Italy is an amazing place. For the past two weeks that I’ve been on vacation, I have experienced the world with immeasurable delight. As a writer, I must live in order to feed my creative source. So it was my mission to live life to the fullest and report back to you on what I found.

And what I found was Nirvana.

It started in Paris where I began my Slow travel. The city cast a spell on me as I wandered about the cobblestone streets, practicing my French and remaining in constant awe at the grace and refined, yet celebratory nature of the people there. Whoever says the French are arrogant are simply wrong. They know how to live…and eat. Three-hour lunches? Absolutely!

I realize now that anyone can experience Nirvana at any given moment (a beautiful setting helps expedite the process, of course!). It takes practice to get there, but it is possible. In my view, there are three essential steps one must take to reach that place.

1. Harmony

One must first enter a harmonious space. It starts with our thinking about things. If we are in conflict over something, harmony is hard to find. When we adapt our thinking to embrace change, challenges and upsets, we enter a state of Flow. Flow leads to better decisions, which leads to better action, which leads to more Flow.

See what I mean? Harmony is a habit based on your thinking about, then reactions to, the things that happen.

2. Bliss

Bliss is the next step. Once we have reached a level of harmony in our every day lives, we are open to the sheer joy of being without conflict. Everything passes through us without judgement or scrutiny. We reach an inner peace that passes thinking to a true state of beingness. Our brains are still operating, but our emotions have been disengaged from their dependency on external circumstances.

This state is Flow to the nth degree.

3. Nirvana

Also known as Enlightenment, this stage is pure Heaven. Everything is in alignment with everything else. There is nothing to do, want or even be. You are in complete Oneness with All That Is.

Getting to Nirvana is a highly personal experience, but it is a journey worth taking. We all have our own path with many bumps, twists and curves in the road. Slow Travel helps get us there if we are willing to take on the world with a different set of glasses.

And who knows? Your Nirvana might co-mingle with someone else’s. Imagine the fun that would be!

 

In the Land of Slow and Plenty

Now I know why Italy is the birthplace of all things slow. Its magical sun, the food that sprouts from the earth, the smiles on people’s faces…with all that goodness, how could you not want to decelerate to enjoy it all?

Four years ago in this very place, I outlined the steps to Slow. In under a week I had read seven books and started to absorb the powerful message that Slow can bring to all of our lives.

I am here now again. And it feels wonderful to reconnect to the source of so much.

May you enjoy the beauty of Slow today, no matter where you are!

 

Slow Movement the Feldenkrais Way

Some days it’s all you can do to shuffle across the floor. The art of slow movement takes practice. You need to learn to release the expectation that it’s going to go any faster than this.

I don’t know what expresses this sentiment better than this three and one-half minute video.

Injurious Texting While Walking Leaves 1000 hospitalized

If you’ve ever been to airports with automated speed walk sidewalks, you’ll observe that about fifteen feet before the sidewalk ends, you hear a voice alerting you to your pending expulsion from it. Not so for real sidewalks on the street.

Photo courtesy of Ohio State College of Engineering

According to a New York Times report, a recent Ohio State University study about texting while walking and the 1000 reported injuries incurred by texting walkers points to an increasing issue of pedestrian traffic safety.  Ohio State University’s Transportation and Parking department is trying to offset the rising epidemic by putting up signs such as the one pictured here.

Or, as I like to say, “You text? You’re next.” That goes for pedestrians as well as drivers.

I can see it now. Sidewalks will soon be equipped with textured flooring just to alert texting pedestrians that a curb is approaching. Or maybe they’ll have recordings of soothing, yet urgent voices like the ones at today’s airports, pointing the way to safety and attention.

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Time-Swathing

We may bemoan the treacheries and time-sucking nature of the Internet, but it sure has introduced me to some of the most fascinating people on the planet. When used mindfully, the Internet offers buckets of useful (and not so useful) information. With technological advances such as web-based video calls (aka Skype), twitter and Facebook, we have raised our awareness of how entangled we all are with one another. In a way, the World Wide Web has increased our consciousness of oneness.

I stumbled upon…ummm… I digged…nope. Let me start again. I met a fascinating performance consultant by the name of Mark K. Petruzzi on twitter. the other day. He tweeted about me. I tweeted about him. And before you knew it, we were Skyping about God, spirit and work-life solutions.

Life can be that grand.

With more than 15 years in corporate training with IBM, CIGNA Corporation, and General Physics Corporation, Mark has spent over three decades in the study of expansive inner life practice and 25 years in the study of enhancing job satisfaction through employee self-actualization. In short, he takes a “personal value” approach to work. Ten minutes with Mark will tell you he enjoys working with individuals and small groups, in business or private settings, as he helps them enhance both their personal and work lives.

Curious about his view of time starvation, I tossed out a few questions to get a sense of his relationship with time.

“If you feel a paucity of time,” he told me, “you literally are compressing it. We have to start trusting others and ourselves more. We need to know our lives will work out. Our point of power is in the now. If you give in to fifty distractions at every moment, you aren’t really living.” You are, in effect, merely breathing. And that rather breathlessly! The basis of his work, like the basis of mine, is choice. When we live in a mindful state, we reclaim our personal power.

We talked about the nobility of pain and how we might very well be addicted to the ways in which we maltreat ourselves. If you run about being so ‘busy’, you might really be missing the whole point. Allowing our ego the space to dwell within us is a great first step toward diffusing its power over us. Mark refutes the notion of the ego being ‘all bad’. Like a houseplant, it needs care and feeding like the rest of our being. I tend to acknowledge its cry so it doesn’t get louder (any parent of an infant will tell you that’s the best thing to do, especially in the middle of the night!). Loving the ego fosters compassion for ourselves and others.

On the road to time abundance, we need to recognize there is more to us than what we do, own or look like (Mark says I look like Laura Linney. Now, if I could only act like she does!). We are whole beings. When we are one with time, we can wrap ourselves in it like kings’ robes. You might even call it time-swathing.

Mark offers Inner Life Practice* workshops including Choice-Level Living, Choosing to Stress Less in a Stress More World, and Bringing Your Spirit to Work. He is currently writing The Desire Engine, a book about reclaiming our personal authority, and developing an inner life practice that fuels our internal “engine” of expansion and purpose fulfillment.
 
I’ll be the first in line to buy his book. May the spirit of time abundance, and the miracles of everyday living, give you the oxygen to breathe more fully this day and always!

 *If you’d like to connect with Mark, he suggests you check him out on Twitter @INrLifePractice. You can also find out more about him at http://bit.ly/enlightened.

Give Forgiveness Pants a Try

Do your days thunder by in a flurry of activity? Have you forgotten where you got on to the carousel and, more importantly, where to get off? We often aim for perfection, squeezing ourselves into a mold made by someone else. It is on days like these when we seem to be spinning in an endless cycle of should’s and have to’s that Forgiveness Pants can play the starring role.

You may own a pair. I know I do. My forgiveness pants are made of fleece in the most impractical white you’ve ever seen. I dumped syrup on them once. They still got clean. They stretch and yawn to my body’s movement, allowing for full-sized belly breathing at any given moment.

Forgiveness pants tell you you’re okay just as you are. They permit unyoked days of freedom and kindness when your going gets rough. Forgiveness, in general, is a powerful force, which, when applied, can liberate you from the shackles of your own thinking. Take skinny jeans, for instance. In our supermodel-driven culture, we tend to think we should somehow be a size smaller than we are.

Forgiveness pants say that is not so. They shout, “To thine own fleece be true!” And they mean it.

So go ahead and give your forgiveness pants a try today. If you don’t own a pair, go find some. Chances are there is a pair waiting for you to discover the true power of knowing you are most magnificent just the way you are.

 Original Post from Psychology Today

Space Liberation and the Maker of Miracles

A while ago I talked about space awakening. It is about freeing up space in our lives, both physically and mentally, to allow for an opening that can lead to a miracle.

I also addressed the notion of pockets of win, in which we can inspire ourselves to maintain momentum when things seem just a little dreary.

Today my pocket of win will be to clear out that dusty box that has been hanging out in the corner of my bedroom for nineteen months. I haven’t used what’s in it for that time so guess what? It’s leaving the building. For good!

The fun part about space liberation is watching what happens next. What miracle will you invite into your life as you clear the clutter around you?

How to Design Your Pockets of Win

On November 6, 2009, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics issued its most recent data on unemployment in the United States. It has reached 10.2%, the highest rate since April 1983. In fact, it was reported that 9.3 million people are involuntarily working part-time as a result of the economy.

With all the depressing news of today’s economic forecast, it is no wonder people feel time is not a positive in their lives. With ‘too much time on their hands’ people are left feeling unproductive and unfulfilled.

The power of slow addresses time as friend for the super busy and for the super bored. Having lived through six months of unemployment in my own family, I understand how hard it can be to organize your life into meaningful chunks when times are tight.

One of the things my husband and I did during those dire moments was rent a yoga video from the library. We could walk to our local branch, which saved on gas, and check out a free video for the week. After we put the kids to bed, we would do the thirty-minute workout to clear our minds and cleanse our souls. It helped tremendously to work off the stress unemployment can bring.

At a recent talk at the New York Public Library mid-Manhattan branch, an underemployed actor asked me what she could do with all the time she had at her disposal. She spent hours playing solitaire on her computer. It was a devil’s circle. The more bored she became, the more time she spent playing meaningless rounds of video games.

So here’s a slow tip. Design pockets of win in your life. Whether you are overstretched at work or underutilized, create situations in your life in which you know you will win to keep up your momentum. For instance, when I know I’m going to have a particularly challenging week, I’ll place something on eBay that I know will sell. Then, in my moments of despair, I check in on how the auction is going. On other occasions I may cull through my book shelves and donate a few items to the local library. Passing things on can lift your mood automatically, granting you the necessary perspective to keep going. 

Perhaps your pocket of win is volunteering, working with animals or gardening. Sometimes that pocket of win can be as simple as an ice cream sundae shared with your best friend. Whatever it is, seek out those moments of yes in your day. It will help you sustain your energy and your mood as you transition from this moment to what’s next.

Original Post from Psychology Today