Martial Arts Wisdom – Thankful and Present

In spite of things that may not go your way, or things you wish you had…there are a thousand more things that, if you looked closely, you’d realize were blessings beyond measure.

To remain within the present moment is to appreciate, to the fullest, the gifts we have been given.  In so doing, we tap into the deeper magic of abundance, allowing more of the “good” to come into our lives and consciousness.  

Life is bound to time, and time will wait for no one…but in each moment is the opportunity and promise of love, life, joy, breath, health…should we choose to stay within the present, and recognize that which we do have.

Sekai Karate Kyokai image

 

SaveSave

SaveSave

Find Happiness In The Moment

As the wise saying goes. . .

It isn’t designed to put Life into a negative light, nor to add a sense of morbid urgency. . .but the idea is that Life – truly – is a gift.

The people we love, the blessings we have. . .most of all, our own breath, are gifts.

To recognize the temporal confines of this “go ’round” is to bring our awareness to the beauty, the good, the positive, the happy.

We have no control over how much time we are – or are not – given, nor the time given those we cherish. . .

We can, however, find joy in each present moment.  We have the choice.

If you find you cannot. . .endeavor to seek it out – fervently – lest time march past before you discover you had the power all along.

Long Term, And One Day At A Time

Sometimes we get so focused on the long-term, overall picture that we – inadvertently – land ourselves in a state of overwhelming, nigh-perpetual, high anxiety.

A long-term goal is GREAT to have – without our sights set on the future, how can we ensure that we can create a solid plan of attack to successfully achieve that goal?  Not easily! (no goal = a lot of shots in the dark, sometimes without any progress at all.)

Generally, though, the path to what we want isn’t going to be a smooth, straight, upward-driving line – it’s probably “all over the map.” And you know what? That’s OKAY. 

screen-shot-2017-01-05-at-2-43-57-pm

The stresses of daily life can add up quickly, and dominate every action and aspect of our lives. . .but it doesn’t have to be that way, even when we are feverishly striving for that end result.

screen-shot-2016-12-28-at-6-47-57-pm

Sometimes the best thing for our sanity is to focus on a day at a time.  A MOMENT at a time if you have to – and I’ve definitely been there!

When we slow it down, and remove the mountainous task in front of us, we can put out attention to what’s more attainable (and manageable) in that moment.  Maybe its crossing off one or two more things on the “to-do” list that day (instead of forcefully trying to accomplish seven or eight that will, no doubt, only end up rushed or riddled with mistakes.) Or it could be that just making one call will put you closer to fanning out the connections you ultimately need – one call might still be moving in the right direction versus none…or ten poorly executed ones.

Some days we can go full-bore – we feel able to tackle any challenge, and prepared to take on the larger projects.  But when serious stress hits, and we are simply too overwhelmed, it’s okay to take a deep breath and focus on only what you CAN change – if anything – at that moment alone.

Progress is progress – it doesn’t have to be leaps and bounds to qualify as a step in the right direction.  

 

More random positivity here

Above hyperlink (“tackle any challenge”) is for the article “Overcoming These Challenges Will Make You More Successful by Dr. Travis Bradberry.”

Taking a Moment With Mindfulness

Many years – moons ago, it seems –  I was introduced to the concept of “mindfulness.”  I’d been practicing mindfulness most of my life without realizing it…and I hadn’t realized, because I’d not always *quite* had the hang of it. Still, I was vastly more spiritual than I had words to explain, and my ever-wandering mind, and proclivity for all thing magical, led me – both knowingly and not – down the path.

After at least a decade and a half of Alexander Technique, Craniosacral and Somatic work, EMDR, Brainspotting, Martial Arts, and countless spiritual endeavors, I fumble a little bit less. . .  But I’m still learning, and have leagues yet to go – lifetime pursuit, as so many things are.

But it isn’t required that we are necessarily graceful with it.  Fluidity comes with consistency, and mindfulness is very much a way of life.  It is therefore a quotidian ritual of sorts that we evolve with, and as a result of –  to expect mastery instantly is almost an injustice, as the (sometimes clumsy!) journey is what facilitates learning at the deepest levels.  It’s not unlike meditation – widely known to be a challenge at first – as it becomes smoother with time.

screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-8-29-27-pm

Life these days feels intensely hectic – I want to say more so than ever but I’ve only know this Earth, and time, for 38 years!  The influx (and imposition – *cough* *cough* social media!) of technology has created a reality in which “connectivity” is at the ultimate high. 24/7, to be exact.  There are many blessings born of such advances, but there are also massive changes afoot – ones which I daresay are reprogramming human beings at the most fundamental level.

We are all born with a magical capacityALL of us.  We all have the ability to tap into the same natural resources that have allowed us to survive as a species from the beginning of time.  But it feels frighteningly apparent that even children – generally more adept at awareness than overly-conditioned adults – are also losing the ability.  

It isn’t just about looking down at a phone while crossing the street – awareness out the window and then some!  It’s also in losing the ability to “read” others – the read the non-verbal cues, to FEEL, to SENSE… Children drown nearly as much in the virtual world these days, to the degree that even THEY don’t see the full picture anymore… 

Scary thought…

The good news?  That extra-sensory ability never truly goes away.  What’s happening is more that we are – byproduct of a civilized, modern society – conditioned OUT of our natural abilities.  Our senses become duller because who needs to be aware of danger when getting dinner involves takeout, or benign shopping aisles?!  

Oh, and that “6th” one?  It gets completely shrouded by all the noise.  Sadly, modern man somehow thinks a 6th sense is actually supernatural.  Ever notice that animals have it?  Right…well. . . *reminder* : we ARE animals.  We have it too.  Just —> noise, noise, noise! 

Enter mindfulness.  

The practice of mindfulness brings back the precise moment in time in which we find ourselves.  For me, it is seeing each letter as I type my words, hearing myself speak them as they form, seeing the pause of my fingertips, hearing the  music that is playing in the background…

Human beings have always projected ahead, and reflected on the past – for instance, planning a hunt to gather food, and drawing the hunt on the walls of a cave after the fact.  But nowadays, that practice is so multi-fold that stress tends to weasel its way in to the process, leaving us frazzled and forgetful of the moment we are actually IN.

When we DO take a deep breath…and take the moment in…our heart rate actually slows down with us.  Our very life force, how about that?

Mindfulness is the place in which perspective is purest, in which our emotions no longer control us (this is a wonderful practice for anger and the anxiety-prone), in which our innate magical abilities awaken.

It can have other great effects too – we might actually enjoy our food, eat less instead of devouring (I’m guilty of that!) It gives stress a swift kick for a time too (something we all need!) Mindfulness can catch us in the act of judging, or just before an argument that we needn’t have… It helps us to become better all around.

Mindfulness is like the free gift of wizardry!  We have the power to create, to subdue, to awaken, to affect, to manifest, and to see.  Our feelings are deeper, our heart unfolds, and suddenly. . ?  It’s like we are truly alive.

At a time of the year when life is particularly stressful – and focused on the superficial in many ways – take a moment (or, better…SEVERAL) and relax into your breath. 

Feel.  

Sense.  

BE.

The magic will do the rest.

Blessed be,

❤ 

L O V E, Captured

It’s fair to say that I’ve seen a lot of wedding photography in the last few months – I’ve poured through hundreds upon hundreds of images, looking for inspirational compositions, colors, poses…you name it (thank you, Pinterest, the visual tool of the modern era!)

But my husband and I don’t much care for contrived… We want to have fun, and have the freedom be ourselves in all that we do – for wedding photography, maintaining an environment in which we could avoid affectation, unnatural manipulations, and overdone postures was incredibly important.  You don’t want to be conscious of being photographed, for one thing, never mind feeling like posed plastic.

We had the good fortune to work with Christian Oth Studio and I have to say, not only were the two key players I came down to PHENOMENAL, but so too were the assistant photographers, videographers and coordinators they chose.  Doubtless everyone on board is well above par – the plethora of imagery was quite spectacular on the site, and I’m not sure I had much hesitation when choosing a vendor.  

The blessing, though, was that each person on our crew was so incredibly well-suited – the laughter was contagious, and I found myself mindfully thankful – and loving – every minute of it. 

While I have to wait the regular grace period of two months or so (Merry Christmas!) for the rest of the lot…I was sent three “teaser images.”  I nearly fell over, (joyful) tears in my eye, when I saw what were more than just photos…  I feel like they not only captured what was physically before them, but the true love and joy of the moment(s). 

Pascal Memishian & Eric Brody

Christian Oth Studio, Andrew Kelly

The stress of wedding planning is very real – it isn’t just the hundreds of files I’ve amassed (documents, spreadsheets, worksheets, contacts, images), nor the hundreds of e-mails.  The coordination, the attention to details (ALL of them), the scheduling… There is so much going on for only a few hours of celebration.  It sounds like planning would be fun, doesn’t it?!  Unfortunately, not much of it was… BUT…

When I saw – and felt – the joy from my family…and when I took one look at him (his energy I could feel across the room)…?  His smile nearly bowled me over.  Every ounce and minute spent desperately trying to design and arrange THE perfect event, cake, setting, flowers, music, photography, guest lists, timing…was worth a split second of his smile.

I have tears in my eyes as I write, feeling a sense of gratitude greater than what my heart can bear almost… To see the people you love at their most joyful and relaxed is a gift worth planning for a lifetime.

I’d not have changed a thing because…

Because it was perfect.

And Oth?  They captured the “perfect”…

And then some.

Pascal Memishian & Eric Brody

Christian Oth Studio, Andrew Kelly

Pascal Memishian & Eric Brody

Christian Oth Studio, Andrew Kelly

My special thanks to Andrew Kelly, Anna Davis, Zachary Hilty, Reuban, Dexter, and Nina.