Friday, October 31, 2008
When asked at her 80th birthday party, "What keeps you going, Lorna?" my mother said, "You've got to get up and just know that something good is going to happen today."
Is our Reality a choice? Can we make it a bad day or a good day? These women seem to think so. The "ki" in Aikido means energy, power, life force. How are you spending your ki today ... right now?
The Dalai Lama said, "If you don't like what's happening in your life, change your mind." It only takes a moment to breathe, center, and change things for the better. How about taking a moment now to become fully aware of your energy, your life force, and to make it a great day.
Read more about Joy Johnson and watch a video of her training regimen.
Read more about "Night and Day" realities in my e-newsletter, Ki Moments
Monday, October 27, 2008
A good way to increase relaxation and develop your centering practice is to notice you're holding your breath. It may make you a little crazy at first. We all hold breath in our bodies far more often than we realize, and it may surprise you just how often it happens. But the awareness of holding will trigger you to start breathing again.
When and how might you unconsciously hold your breath? There are so many possibilities, but here are a few:
- Opening the door to your office
- As you start the car
- When you encounter a confrontational coworker or family member
- When you're trying to think what to say next
- Shoveling snow
- During parts of your exercise routine
- Right now?
The more you notice you're holding, the quicker you can begin to breathe again and the more relaxed you'll be. And even more than relaxation, your breath is your ki, your life energy. Conscious breathing re-centers you and engages your inner wisdom, resources and strength.
You need only open your throat and allow inspiration to take place. As you open your body to the breath, your mind opens, too.
Make this moment a Centering Moment! Notice your breathing; expand your ki. Remind yourself to do this simple act several times today, and support others in doing it. Let it bring you back to the present moment.
- Judy Ringer
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Author and runner Jeff Galloway has been coaching me in my running for the past year with impressive results. His training approach has served me well - I was able able to prepare for my last marathon with about half the mileage I had used for my previous one and as a result, showed up at the start line injury free.
Jeff is a dedicated runner with many, many books that reach out to everyone encouraging them to exercise and, if running is their choice vehicle, to do so in a manageable, kind way to their bodies. He recently wrote a great article on finding time for exercise on his blog that he graciously has permitted me to reprint below. Judy Warner
Setting Aside the Time by Jeff Galloway
Most of us are involved in dozens of projects, day after day until we go to bed. Adults tend to keep going until we are exhausted. One detail leads to another, and each year we get better at making detailed check lists which can be endless. Even our greatest sanctuary, the home, unleashes a continuing stream of upkeep items. Don't you long for “recess” period, during elementary school?
Actually, recess is a great concept for adults also. Even if it's only a 5-10 minute walk around the block or down the hall, there will be a vitality boost and usually a better attitude afterward. Studies show that the time spent in exercise results in greater productivity when we go back to work.
The best part is that when we decide to do this, at strategic intervals every day, is that we take charge over a significant aspect of our day. The commitment to exercise develops a sense of responsibility for maintaining a good energy level, a positive state of mind and better long-term health. It sure is better than just waiting for things happen.
Over the years I've heard from a number of walkers or runners who motivate themselves by having a co-worker or relative drive them a certain distance away from work or home. Their feet must go the distance and the workout is guaranteed. Here are other motivational tips:
- The exercise buddy system. When two people make a commitment to help one another get active, they often feel a greater sense of commitment. Even when miles apart, the call before or during the workout is a great way to connect with a friend or relative, as each inspires the other.
- Get a treadmill or other equipment for the home. Mothers are able to watch the kids while logging their miles. Dads can be around the family as they get in their after-work exercise.
- Keep your exercise gear packed. Having walking/running shoes and clothes in a bag in your car allows you to change during your child's soccer practice and take a few laps around the field, etc.
- Schedule your workout as an appointment that does not get changed. For sanity, this appointment may be the most important all day.
- Join a health club, running group or walking organization. Many find motivation when they pay the membership, and place themselves in the midst of peers who are exercising.
- Have a reward. I always look forward to sitting in my Human Touch massage chair as I enjoy the glow of completion.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
"I wish I had a better job."
"If only this person would move to a different department."
One of the things that interests me most about trying to live in the present moment is my tendency to resist it, which inevitably causes me to miss a ki moment of my life. Resistance can show up as:
- Wishing this moment away, as in: "I wish it were summer and not winter;"
- Wishing a person or circumstance would change, as in: "Why doesn't she just stop for a minute and listen to me!"
- Disappointment over a turn of events, like catching the flu or not receiving a promotion.
Aikido is where I first began to learn about and physically experience ki. Aikido is often defined as "the way of blending with universal energy." You may notice that Ki (k-i) is the central syllable – it's the "energy" in aikido."
Aikido teaches me to blend with the ki (the energy) of the attacker, to connect with that energy and use it. I change my view from "this person is attacking me" to "this person is offering me energy I can use."
Aikido is a nonresistant art, and the goal is to stay safe and in control without harming the opponent. Resistance pushes back, Aikido blends. Aikido's power comes through its ability to lead by joining with the energy given.
In aikido, the attack is inevitable. In other words, this moment is what it is.
If I notice the moment as a ki moment (a "key" moment), two questions help me decide how to use the energy:
1. "What am I really going for here?" Focusing on purpose increases awareness and directs the ki moment toward a useful outcome.
2. "What choices will serve that purpose?" Ki moments offer opportunities to choose wisely.
My work focuses on bringing aikido principles to life in "off the mat" scenarios -- the life "attacks" that we experience in the workplace, in our relationships, and in difficult life events that can occur at any time. By asking these questions, we can turn resistance into power and daily conflicts into life teachers.
How many of your moments are Ki Moments?
--Judy Ringer (author of the e-newsletter, Ki Moments)
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
If we all did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.
This isn't the first time I have 'discovered' this quote. I used it in a post I wrote back on March 12. When I came across it again today in another source it resonated with me again so I am sharing it once more.
It reminds me of another hero from this day and age - W. Mitchell.
"Before I was paralyzed there were 10,000 things I could do. Now there are 9,000. I can either dwell on the 1,000 I've lost or focus on the 9,000 I have left." - W Mitchell
You can read W Mitchell's story on his website.
Today was a beautiful day here. While I was out running errands, a clerk in a store commented it was the sort of day you just had to smile. She said the previous customer's daughter had just completed chemo after being diagnosed with breast cancer. The daughter had just had a scan and been pronounced cancer free. The Mom was on her way to see her daughter. What a great moment that leaves you to visualize.
There are always reasons to smile. And, we always have the power within ourselves to create that reason to smile.
Have a great day!
Thursday, October 9, 2008
I was running in a Masters category which means the age group 60-64 was pinned on my back. So, everyone I passed knew about how old I was. As a result, I got a lot of warm and encouraging comments which kept my energy flowing.
I was using a marathon technique of run 3 minutes and walk one minute, so often someone whom I passed would then pass me. One woman I ran by was wearing a t-shirt that said, I am a colon cancer survivor since June 2007. Just as I was contemplating the courage and strength of that woman to be out there running 26.2 miles, she ran by me and, as she passed, she said, ‘I hope that I will be able to run like you when I am your age.’ I offered her some words of encouragement in turn. The exchange touched me tremendously.
So, just consider. You never know who you are inspiring by your actions --- she inspired me and I inspired her. Never give up on an idea or goal – you may be affecting more people than you appreciate by your actions.
Also, remember to express acknowledgment and gratitude to people when you feel it. They may be at a point where it keeps them going. And, you will benefit by the good feeling it leaves in your heart.
Have a great day.
Monday, October 6, 2008
It was quite a celebration – Bonnie Rait, Jackson Browne, Crosby and Nash, Los Lobos, and Elvis Costello all were in the line-up. The host of the program was Wavy Gray – that fellow who made the famous announcement at Woodstock, “What we have in mind is breakfast in bed for 400,000.” Wavy and many of the performers have been supporters of Seva for many years – Wavy was one of the founders of Seva.
The theme running through the night was simple. People can make a difference. Over the years, one person at a time, Seva has helped people. As Wavy Gravy puts it, 3 million eyeballs. No matter what else was going on in the world, Seva made a difference by simply persisting. 3 million people with barely enough to eat and no access to medical care, now can see again and go on with their lives because of a simple operation. And, the benefits extend farther than just the one person whose eyesight was restored, plus the ‘giver’ receives much in return as well, As only Wavy could put it - you “get a great a buzz” when you help people. Quite a testament to the 'power to the people' slogans of the 60's.
One highlights of the night was a point in Bonnie Rait’s performance when she also had Jackson Browne, David Crosby, and Graham Nash out on the stage. There was a lot of grey hair up there on the stage and, for that matter, in the audience too. It felt a bit like a reunion of the 60’s folks, checking in after all these years. Everyone had gone off and lived their lives, doing some good in their own ways, and here we all were back together to celebrate a bit what we’ve accomplished. Actor Peter Coyote who hosted part of the evening put it best, “You gotta admit, the hippies did it right.”
Thursday, October 2, 2008
I've been happily reading Margaret Wheatley this week. Her writing settles me with a style that is poetic and content that is, in my view, sublime. For example, from her book Finding Our Way:
"Life is cyclical–we pass through different moods; we live through seasons; we have times of rich harvests and times of bleak winter. Life uses cycles to create newness. We move from the old to the new only if we let go.
"Instead of fleeing from the fearful place of chaos or trying to rescue people from it, leaders can help people stay with the chaos, help them walk through it together, and look for the new insights and capacities that always emerge."
In Finding Our Way, Meg Wheatley writes about our reactive need to "fix" things through command and control leadership when what our world needs today are leaders who will help us find the order trying to emerge from problems, fear, and uncertainty.
For me, part of finding my way back to peace, center, and purpose is a willingness to sit in the discomfort of uncentered chaotic feelings. These, too, are life. These messy feelings connect me to newness trying to be born, to insight, to my deepest source of inspiration–if I only pay attention. They also the way to finding my human to human connection with others in this oh-so-chaotic, oh-so-interesting world.