Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Simple Sigh

A few days ago I noticed myself sigh. I'm sure in the past I sighed a lot and was totally unaware. This time, I felt a release that came with it. It felt like I let go of something stale, old and unneeded. I liked how that felt.

I imagine my new sigh awareness comes from Yoga. Sometimes the class is instructed to take a deep breath and then to let it out with a sigh. Doing that letting go thing with a roomful of people feels especially good.

My old understanding of sighing went along with being bored, impatient, wistful, melancholy and as an expression of relief . I'm sure sighs with those experiences do help in some way, yet I find myself wanting to widen and better appreciate sighing.

When I actually imagine that as I let out my breath in a sigh I am actually being cleansed or prepared for a new breath, I get kind of excited. A sigh is not a throw-away breath, but one that is being let go of with appreciation. Whatever the cause of the sigh, I'd like to believe that it is serving me in some way.

If it was boredom, then I can wake up to create something filled with aliveness. If it is impatience with someone else, it reminds me to make room for understanding. If it is a wistfulness or melancholy thought, I can gently let go of the old with full appreciation, as I fill myself with new possibilities.

Yeah, I like this new awareness of the simple sigh. It doesn't take any special's just breathing with intention. Sigh.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Stories We Tell

We all tell ourselves stories and we can be very creative in our story telling. Keep in mind that these stories do not necessarily have to be fact, they usually aren't. We make them up in our heads. We often do it and we aren't even aware we're doing it.

The stories we tell are often filled with things that scare us. You know, the "what ifs".....what if I'm hurt, what if I fail.....what if they don't accept me.....what if etc., etc. In listening to many people's stories, there is a pattern I see. The pattern is one that puts them in a position of discomfort, lack of love, acceptance and lack of success, otherwise known as failure.

As a coach and as a creative story teller myself, I know it is equally possible to switch out the stories based on fear of lack, loss and failure to stories based on love, success, joy and acceptance.

First of all, when you notice your joy tank being low, check in with yourself to see what story was playing in your mind. If it was one that created fear, re-tell the story to yourself so that it is one that feels good. It is all made up anyway, so you may as well create something that keeps you in better humor and a state of lightness.

For those of you reading this that may accuse me of not taking things of the world seriously, I respond with a question of what state of mind will best serve you in making decisions....a mind filled with joyful thoughts and positive, creative ideas, or a mind filled with fear, dread and limits?

Of course, we all have the choice in how we live our lives. I know for me that the more positive my thoughts, the more positive I feel....the more positive I feel, the better things go in my life. I will continue to practice telling my self stories that create joy. How about you?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Life's Crescendos

The day had barely begun and I was ready to lie down and die. I was completing a fast paced, hour long workout and was working to conquer a long, slow, steep hill. I was way out of breath and my quads were burning. It was hot, humid and I was badly in need of water.

As I was focusing on my discomforts, I noticed the music playing in my ears. My I pod, which was set on shuttle, brought up a random selection of music which happened to be a full orchestra piece with a focus on brass, drums and violins. As I purposefully tuned into the music I noticed it was building to a crescendo and then decided to allow it to carry me. I noticed myself feel more confident and determined to stay strong and not quit. The next thing I knew, the music reached its crescendo at the same moment that I reached the top of my climb.

For the rest of my walk I thought about the metaphorical hills we sometimes climb in our lives. I thought about how we sometimes tell ourselves we can't take another step, even though we know we will. I thought about how exhilarating it is when we stay in the game and reach our crescendos and celebrate all that brought us to that point. I thought about the easy down hill times that are mixed with the harder uphill challenges, and how we don't always appreciate the things that are easy.

Recovery from my uphill challenge was particularly sweet. I not only physically felt strong, I was reminded that the crescendos of life are well worth the struggles we sometimes go through to get to the top.