Category Archives: Weekly Meditation Ideas

The Rise of the Phoenix

In Greek mythology, the phoenix is a long-lived bird that regenerates or is reborn through a cyclical process whereby upon death (traditionally the legend cites death by fire), the phoenix gains a new life and rises from the ashes of its predecessor. As such, this mythological creature is often used as a symbol of rebirth and renewal. And when you think about, what great symbolism – to go down in flames only to rise again anew! Powerful imagery to say the least. But I also think it is symbolic of what many of us go through at various times in our own lives. We’ve all been there – something big happens in our lives forcing us to start over in a major way…to be reborn or renewed like the phoenix. Perhaps it is the loss of a loved one or of a job, maybe it is the loss of a significant relationship or prized possession, or possibly a huge financial loss. No matter what it was for you, it rocked your world…but, hopefully, you made the decision at some point during your healing process to pick yourself up and move on…to rise from the ashes and start anew. There’s no doubt, these kinds of life events leave their mark on you, but after you have overcome them you are able to look back and know you are stronger because of them.

Deborah Day once said. “Renewal requires opening yourself up to new ways of thinking and feeling .” How very true! In order to rise from the ashes of those significant life altering events, you will most likely need to open yourself to a new view, a different way of thinking or feeling about life as you know it. Easier said than done, right? Certainly, but definitely worth the effort. We are such creatures of habit and we get stuck not only in the way we do things but in how we think and feel about things too. Those stagnant thoughts and behaviors stunt your growth as a human being! And at no better time is that apparent to us than when we are “rising from our own ashes”. Hard as it is, be open to new ideas, new feelings, new interpretations, new ways of viewing your world. Trust me, it will transform your life. It really is all in how you view things. Choose to view your world in a positive light. Have an attitude of gratitude for everything…even the challenges you face, for they have something to teach you too!

And so as we work our way through our March theme of rebirth and renewal, keep in mind that we are all human – translation: we are not perfect, nor should we hold the expectation that we, or others, will be. Have love and compassion for yourself and for others. Be compassionate towards yourself as you emerge from your ashes and be a support to others who are rising from theirs as well. Rise like the phoenix and do great things!

The Best Laid Plans…

I can recall the plan I once had for my life as an archaeologist living and working in a southern state (any place where it was warmer really). I knew where I was going to go to school, what kind of archaeological digs I was going to go on, what kind of place I was going to live in, etc. I had it all figured out. And while that plan was one I held in middle and high school, it was nonetheless one I felt strongly about. But, as they say, “life happens” and “reality sets in”…needless to say, I never left my home state and my career path never was one in archaeology (though I still love that subject and read about it often). My plan never came to fruition. I could offer plenty of other examples of this “phenomena” in my life, as I am sure you could do the same. Whether it’s the big things, like my “life plan” to be an archaeologist, or the little things like when it feels like the whole universe is conspiring against you some mornings as you just try to make it to work on time, the bottom line is that life seldom goes as planned. (I’m pretty sure this is some kind of universal truth.)

The challenging thing is to find a way to stay positive in the midst of the curveballs life can throw at us. And understandably so. Whether we are in the midst of a life path that suddenly takes an unforeseen turn or we consciously decide to make some major life shift because an unexpected opportunity has presented itself, unplanned change has a significant impact on us. It can be frustrating, irritating, and at times can leave you feeling defeated. The important thing to remember is you can get through it and come out on the other side in a better place than when you started.

You made need a little time to mourn the loss of someone or some thing in your life…you may need to take some time to gather your thoughts or wrap your head around what has occurred. Sometimes, you just need to stop and take a deep breath. Whatever you need to do…do it…it’s okay. Take that time to mourn, process, gather your thoughts, breath…whatever you need to do to be able to close that door and walk toward the next. Just don’t let yourself get stuck there. Allow yourself the time to be human, but then take the opportunity to move on and create something new. I know this sounds easier than what it often is in practice, but its all about your mindset. And you may likely need a different mindset each time something different happens in your life. You could choose to look at the unexpected change to your life plan as an opportunity to do something that maybe you have always wanted to do but for some reason never have. Or look at it as the chance to start over and be anyone and do anything you choose (in other words, redefine yourself). And I would also recommend that, as often as it is appropriate, you develop a sense of humor about it, especially when it comes to the smaller stuff. Life will happen to you so if you can laugh about it you will feel better than if you are always so serious about it, trust me….I have been there, done that, and got several T-shirts as they say!

Whether we like it or not, those times when life doesn’t go the way we had planned it will happen. Just remember that they are opportunities to rejuvenate or renew ourselves and our lives. In the words of Mark Nepo, “There are no wrong turns, only unexpected paths.” Seize the opportunity when it comes your way…learn from it what you can and make the most of it. Become a better version of yourself and be the person you always wanted to be.

New month, new focus

My purpose in publishing this website and blog is to share, educate, inspire and motivate on the things that excite me – personal growth, yoga, meditation, health and wellness, being a positive influence, and making a difference.  Each month will feature a different theme around which most of the things that are posted will center.  March’s focus will be on the concepts of rebirth & renewal, an appropriate theme, I think, with Spring on its way.

Through weekly meditation ideas and yoga poses, inspirational quotes and photos, personal reflections, and sharing a few of my favorites things, I hope to provide you with something to ponder…something new to try…something to make you reach just a little farther. The only limits we have are those we place on ourselves. Don’t be afraid to gently push your limits a little bit each day!

The Color of Love…

Traditionally speaking, red is the color of love. You needn’t look far for proof of that, especially on Valentine’s Day. With red roses, red heart-shaped boxes filled with chocolates, red hearts adorning Valentine’s Day cards, and red hearts on balloons and stuffed animals everywhere you look, red is clearly our society’s color for love. But what color best reflects love for you? It very well might be a completely different color than red. It could be the color you associate with a person, place or thing that means a great deal to you…or it could just be the color you personally like the most…the color that makes you the most happy. Regardless of the color you see when you reflect on the word love, the important thing is to reflect on love, how it comes to you, how it makes you feel and who/what brings that feeling to you. Whether it is love of someone special, love of family or friends, love of your favorite place or thing, just be sure to take the time to experience and reflect upon that love as these are some of the things that tend to get lost in our hectic daily lives.

For me personally, while I can work with red as the color of love, if I really reflect on love, looking to the emotions that it invokes and to the color that arises through those emotions, my color for love is yellow. A bright, sunny yellow. When I contemplate the word love and I think of all the wonderful people in my life as well as all the places and the things that I love, I feel things such as happiness, thankfulness, and a sense of being surrounded by beauty. To me those emotions are best represented by the very happy color of yellow. When I see the color yellow I can’t help but smile, even if it is just to myself, because it is such a happy, joyful color!  And so for me, love is yellow.

Some final thoughts – with love comes joy, and joy brings vibrancy and happiness. What wonderful emotions to be able to experience! Take the time to reflect and feel…experience those beautiful emotions and discover who/what brings them to you – then make sure you include more of those people, places, and/or things in your life. You can’t have too much love and joy in your life! Happy Valentine’s Day!

What is love?

February is considered the month of love if for no other reason than it is the home of Valentine’s Day – the one holiday that reminds us to do something special for the ones we love. But love is one of those words in the English language that is used to describe how we feel about many different things. We love our friends and family, we love our pets, we love our homes, we love that outfit that makes us look skinny, we love that one pair of shoes, we love a particular sports team, we love a certain restaurant or type of food, we love our favorite band or musician, we love certain movies or TV shows, we love…you get the idea. We use that one word to describe a strong affection for people, places, things, and memories.

Let’s think about this for a moment. Do you love your family the same way you love that one pair of shoes or your favorite band? Most likely not. Yet in the English language we use the same word to describe how we feel about all these things. Is it any wonder that we have trouble communicating clearly about how we feel?

Conversely, in the Greek language there are numerous words that mean love. There’s a distinction between, for example, love of a spouse, love of a parent, and love of a friend. Makes it a bit easier to be clear about your feelings when there are words that help differentiate the degrees or levels of love that exist.

With only one word to describe our love for someone or some thing, how we express that feeling becomes extremely important. How we show it and let it manifest itself in our lives makes a big difference. And because we all live such busy lives we are not usually consciously aware of how we express ourselves, in love or otherwise. Hence this week’s meditation questions. It’s important to periodically take time out to think about how we interact with others and express our feelings toward them, whether those are feelings of love, friendship, etc.

One of my favorite books is The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. The basis premise: We all have a dominant way in which we express love and we tend to want to receive love in that same manner. The problem is we all express love differently, so the chances of other people in your life “speaking” the same love language as you are pretty slim. And so we need to be able to identify and talk about how we express and receive love. Likewise we need to learn which love language those who are important to us speak, and work to meet them there. It’s not about a right or wrong way to express love, it’s about understanding the different ways we all do so in order for us to be more successful in our relationships.

Bottom line – Take the time, at least every once in a while, to stop and reflect on how you allow love to manifest itself in your life. Consider if you are on a path you are happy with or if it is time for a little adjustment. But above all, as this week’s quote reminds us, enjoy those tiny moments with that special person who brings a smile to your face and joy to your heart.