The Freedom in the Not-Knowing

“Think Less. Relax More. Listen More. Then, new knowing will begin to flow into your mind.” Erich Schiffmann

I like to remind myself often that I don’t know what I don’t know. How could I? The moment we get stuck and attached to needing to know (or even worse, in thinking that we do know!), we become righteous and unteachable, and greatly limit our potential.

Have you ever noticed how desperately attached we are to ‘knowledge’ in our society, and more specifically to ‘needing to know’? (I am talking here about knowing beyond what is one’s own ‘truth’ in any given moment)

We like to know the answers. We like to know where we are going. We desperately fear not knowing how something will go by worrying a lot about it! We like to think we know best. My way or my perspective is the right one.

We judge a person’s value and worth on how much they know (or at least should know based on all the training and research and studies they’ve done!). Doctors get paid a lot more that intuitive healers, for instance!! (wink)

It is such a part of our conditioning and value system that often it goes unnoticed and unquestioned.

Don’t get me wrong. The quest for knowing more (and especially the acceptance that we don’t know A LOT) is a major positive driving force in our evolution.

Have you ever reflected honestly, though, on how much of your tension, anxiety and stress is created from desperately trying to KNOW? We grasp for it and hold on to it for dear life as a form of control, to avoid the predicament of our very real vulnerability.

Not-knowing is painful, even terrifying!

If I know more I AM more (worthy of love). The more I know the more I can avoid or minimise the painful feelings of shame, not being good enough, and of being a vulnerably mortal being.

Sitting in meditation recently (on an airplane as it happened), I caught myself feeling very confused and perplexed. Confused about how I was showing up, what I was doing, what I was valuing and what I wanted in the bigger picture of a life-time. There was such a muddle in my head, I was feeling lost and out of control.

As I tuned into my body, I felt tension in my muscles and an energy of resistance or struggle in relation to this confusion. I could feel how tiring that was on my whole system to be in constant fight-mode, and what a waste of energy!

I noticed some thoughts – What is wrong with me? I should have it all worked out by now. Am I heading toward breakdown? At an emotional level I noticed I was down on myself and feeling some shame about being in this place. And of course with all that chatter, I could feel that I was vibrating pretty low.

I sat with it, curious about all these feelings.

Little by little I invited my body to relax, layer by layer, like butter melting in the oven. As I started to let go of the tension I noticed my body breathing more freely. I continued to enjoy the process of relaxing and feeling myself opening. What a relief to let go of the effort and struggle around not-knowing. The effort of trying to KNOW or to be something that some part of me thought I needed to be.

Then, with an internal chuckle and a note of glee across my face and in my heart, I remembered……a higher “knowing” flowed into me…….

The acceptance of not-knowing….

….. invites me to be fully present here and NOW.
….. means that I am open to the real truth in this NOW experience. 
….. is a humble and awake state of being.
….. is way more advanced than thinking that I know.
….. is FREEDOM!! 

Aha! I’m not having a breakdown. I am having a breakthrough!

Youpee! I felt so much joy as I just let it all go. I was home again in myself, riding the wave of life, the great unknown mystery. This type of ‘knowing’ was visceral and trustworthy.

Now, why oh why do I keep forgetting?!! I guess it is so that I experience the joy of remembering again and again.

When you sit to meditate you drop into the NOW experience and that guides you to whatever the truth happens to be in this NOW. 

It is such an exquisite feeling to be totally present to the feeling of letting go and opening up energetically. In yoga we speak of a thousand-petaled lotus on the crown of the head blossoming open.

crown-chakra lotus

Meditation (or sitting relaxation if the word and idea of meditation scares you) is for me a very special private moment where I get completely honest with myself by ‘listening’ and ‘feeling’ what is really going on with me. It is humbling too to sit in the not-knowing.

As we relax and open to listen, wisdom starts to flow and the fog clears. In this ‘knowing’ we can trust. The challenge is just to trust ourselves enough that the knowing will always come, in any situation, when we dare to get present, vulnerably present, listen to our body and watch out for the signs through all our senses.

Meditation is such an essential part of conscious joyful living.

I invite you to sit and relax into not-knowing and experience the lightness, joy and freedom it brings. You may just be amazed at how wise you become too!!

Do you know your WHY?

“When you know your WHY, your WHAT has more impact because you are walking in or toward your purpose” Michael JR comedian 

I hear it all the time that people are not yet clear on their purpose. They are stuck in focusing on the WHAT and the HOW and the WHEN!

I believe that not knowing your WHY is a key factor leading to boredom, anxiety, depression, stress and burn-out. It can make our Chi or Prana, life-force energy, stagnate. In shamanic terms we can call it ‘soul loss’.

This is my own personal experience. Back in 2009-2010 I was fast burning-out, suffering anaemia and chronic fatigue, and struggling to pick myself up. I knew I needed to rekindle the fire of passion within me. I needed to find my WHY!

We do not need to know “how” or “where”, but there is one question that we should all ask whenever we start anything: “What am I doing this for?” Paolo Coelho, The Valkyries

If you don’t know WHY you are doing something, it’s pretty hard to keep motivated and enthusiastic about it, and its all too easy to go off track (way off track over time), and follow old conditioning or other people’s desires (those who do know their WHY).

  • WHY do you do the job you do?
  • WHY are you passionate about your sport / your pet / …….?
  • WHY do you eat the way you do?
  • WHY are you in the relationship you are in?
  • WHY do you want to have a daily yoga or meditation practice?
  • WHY do you think the way you do about……?
  • WHY do you NOT make your dreams come true?

Are you doing it because it makes you feel great? Are you doing it for someone else? Because it seems to be the right thing to do? Because it just happened like that? Because you are actually afraid of your own happiness, light and power? Maybe it felt right before but is it still right for you now?

If it is not nourishing you, WHY are you still doing it?

Perhaps it doesn’t need a radical change, to leave your family, change jobs and fly off to the Tropics! Perhaps it just needs a reflection and repositioning of the WHY!

In shamanic terms we talk about stalking awareness – going out on the ‘hunt’.

It is time to start STALKING your WHY!!!

Check out this short Michael JR video on Facebook for a fabulously inspiring and uplifting example of the difference between just doing something because you can, and doing it with passion because it’s got meaning for you, and you know WHY!

Michael JR comedian

So what is my big WHY? 

It is to support people to come home to their hearts and remember who they truly are, because I believe that when we remember and drop into our open hearts…..

  • we awaken, together;
  • we act out of love rather than fear, and love heals;
  • we free ourselves of conditioning and explore our limitless joy and potential;
  • we nourish our minds, bodies and souls, and remember vibrant wellness;
  • and we live joyfully on purpose, in service.

What is your WHY…..?  

Please do share as it is inspiring for everyone and helps others get clear on their own WHYs.

Choosing the Path of Least Resistance

Do you ever find yourself battling with yourself to keep resolutions or make those positive changes in your life? Do you get frustrated that despite your best efforts things just aren’t working out for you like you expected? Do you find yourself annoyed, frustrated, trying to push through, and filled with inner turmoil? Or do you give up on yourself and your resolutions, filled with excuses why it’s just not for you or who you are, and immerse yourself in the old self-defeating habits?

Come on You! You don’t deserve to treat yourself with such disdain, beating yourself up. You don’t deserve either to give up on yourself or your dreams! And it doesn’t have to be so hard!

In line with my single resolution of unconditional self-love, I know there is another way. I am talking about combining self-love and the path of least resistance.

flow of life-least-resistance

Become adventurer

Transforming, evolving, learning, growing, experiencing – this is our journey in life. All of the downs, the hold ups, the knock backs, the quiet times, the vague times and the procrastinating, feet-dragging times, don’t mean that we are evolving or growing any less. It all contributes to an innately enjoyable and fulfilling journey when you adopt the right attitude.

What if those hold ups are all part of the process needed to allow you to be in the right place at the right time?

Imagine this journey….

Imagine getting on a bus, discovering after a few kilometres that it was not the one you wanted to take, and spending the whole journey trying to stop the bus, turn it round, resisting every bump, complaining that it was not the bus you were supposed to be on, and going over all that you should have done. In the mean time, you will have missed the beautiful scenery. You will have missed meeting new people and having unexpected conversations. You will miss seeing how the new destination is maybe even better than the one you planned. And you will have wasted so much energy and added some grey hairs in the process!!

Discipline or surrender?

I certainly believe in clear goals, vision, discipline, focus, hard work and conscious manifesting to create the life we most desire. I also believe in surrender, letting go of control, relaxing, feeling, listening, opening, asking and trusting that perhaps there is another, even better way. (This is not the same as giving up.)

We need both. There are times when focus and hard work are called for, even working through challenges. Sometimes though pure surrender is needed. Overall we need the parallel approach, both in equal proportions.

For most of us surrender and trust are more difficult. We often push and pull and control and resist until finally we have no choice but to surrender. This is the case with burnout and other stress-related health problems when our body cries out “Stop”!

So what of this path of least resistance?

In all honesty this is not the path I have known best. I too have most frequently chosen the battlefields. Perhaps my desire for passion and adventure has me seeking the adrenaline rush and I mistake it for feeling more alive. I want to make things happen quicker, sooner, and to avoid all pain and suffering!

In truth it is scary to let go, to do less, to be patient and to trust, to wait for the invitation.

And yet, wow, it feels so good! It feels like a whole new way of being, like freedom, which in itself can feel destabilizing when you have been addicted to the stress and tension of the battlefields!

So what is this path of least resistance?

Imagine walking through a maze. All is going fine – you are focused on the end destination – freedom perhaps? But suddenly you hit dead-end after dead-end. You have to push through brambles. You come to door after door that is closed. It starts to be less fun this journey! But rather than panicking or angrily forcing through a closed door, you keep alert and radically present to the signs, you manage your energy, you get intrigued by the adventure, you laugh and enjoy noticing the flowers and birds, and you realize that in fact freedom has always been there, inside you. And then, naturally, with ease a door opens, and suddenly the way becomes clearer. Then another door opens and you are moving forward into new territory again, filled with awe and wonder. Feel how your energy can be maintained and channeled to good purpose in this way.

least resistance

The path of least resistance is….

The path of least resistance is one where you know what you want, you are clear on your big picture goals, on what you want to feel and be and become, but you are not attached it being the only way, nor to the how or the when. You are not set on the exact itinerary for your journey. You are open to the surprise.

You let the journey, life itself, be your guide and show you the ‘how’ in ways that you could not have known in advance. You let the universe work its serendipitous magic.

“Remember that you don’t know what you don’t know”

This is not the path of victimhood, giving up, not caring or leeching on to others. This is the path of true unconditional self-love; a path where you never lose your sense of purpose and worthiness. You honour and remember that you are here for good reason and this is being revealed to you. This is a path of trust, knowing that you are being guided, feeling and listening for the signs, so that the universe may unfold in your life and through you the absolute highest good that is seeking to manifest at any one time.

This is the path where you know to be ready to take inspired action, perhaps even courageous action, when the moment is presented, because you are ready (or at least the universe thinks you are!!)

On this path you are resourceful and economical with your energy. You are even filled up and nourished along the path by all that the journey has to offer you.

This is the path of following what truly feels good and nourishing to your body, heart and soul.


The key indicator is, “does it feel good, now?”

  1. Pause – Feel. Do you feel good?
  2. If not……Wait – Trust – Listen – Feel – Watch
  3. Stay focused – enjoy your longing, be clear on your goals, remember your purpose
  4. Wait – Trust – Listen – Feel – Watch
  5. When it feels good – move, take inspired, courageous action.

So maybe that longing to get up 15 minutes earlier to meditate every morning becomes available in a weeks time because this week you chose to love yourself by getting some deep peaceful sleep. Perhaps you find yourself with the opportunity to start going to bed earlier some nights because that feels really good and it starts to feel easier to get up in the mornings.

And maybe the hold ups and knock backs on you project are in fact giving you a much-needed breather, some space to reflect on your truth or to smooth out the details or an opportunity to meet a new partner who can add a whole new dimension to your work.

Pushing and shoving and resisting and raging in tantrum rarely do any good and certainly don’t feel good.

In what part of your life are you feeling the pains of resistance and fight? How about daring to try out the path of least resistance? How about daring to love yourself even more and follow what feels good when the going gets tough? 

With love. Take care of you because you are here for good reason.
Georgina

Why yoga might transform your life

I often say it. We hear about it and read about it. Yoga can transform your life! But how can a bunch of odd looking poses, breathing and relaxation techniques have such an impact? 

Two key points to recognize here before I say more:

  1. We are each born with a certain genetic disposition that affects our health – nothing we can do about that.
  2. We have no control over other people, their actions and reactions, nor any other external factor or past event.

These seem obvious but if you think about it for a moment you might be surprised how often you ‘suffer’ and complain that your life is not what you want because of these!

So if we can’t change or control these aspects, then all that remains is ourselves. Very important caveat at this point:

Transforming your life ≠ changing you!!

I would like to suggest that transforming your life is a process by which you take control and power over your own life and move toward your joy and optimum wellness. 

source: Rgbstock

source: Rgbstock

We do have  full control over what we do, say and think and how we interact with others and with life in general. The challenge, however, is that our way of being, thinking and doing is influenced by our ‘conditioning’. Yogic wisdom refers to this as ‘samskāra’.

Unconscious patterns of behaviour

When we are born we function instinctively, with no judgement or barriers. Quickly though our actions and reactions start to get programmed into the body and brain. Based on our experiences and what we are taught or learn from watching and imitating, our actions, reactions and interpretations of the world start to become more reflexive and engrained. We start to walk, talk and act like our parents!! As we move through life we continue to be conditioned by neuromuscular organization (i.e. repetitive movement programmed into brain and body) and socialization (i.e. what is considered the norm in our community or society). When we experience emotions or pain the support we receive to deal with these at the time will affect how we deal with them in the future.

The characteristic of this conditioning or samskāra is that it is unconscious or reflexive. Our ways of doing, being and seeing the world become our own norms and we don’t even realize that they are not necessarily the same for someone else, perhaps not serving us best and that we have the choice! There may be other ways or perspectives.

If this conditioning is not optimal for our well-being but is unconscious, we may be confused as to why we are ‘suffering’ and cannot bring about the changes we desire in our lives. Perhaps you have the reflexive reaction to watch tv to numb out thoughts and feelings when things get difficult. Maybe you find yourself again and again in relationships that are abusive, thinking nobody likes you when you get rejected, or constantly pushing yourself to exhaustion (hmmm, that one is familiar to me!)

How to break the conditioning?

This is where I can come back to the role of Yoga!

Yoga asanas give us the opportunity to feel more. Georgina Peard by GDavila (c)

Yoga asanas give us the opportunity to feel more. Georgina Peard by GDavila (c)

There is nothing static in life. Change is constant. If we become aware of our conditioning we can choose to break the habits or patterns that no longer serve us and replace them with patterns that bring us joy and wellness. As Gary Kraftsow, one of America’s foremost yoga therapists and author of Yoga for Wellness, says “this liberation for the effects of conditioning, on all levels, is the purpose of Yoga”.

In our daily lives most of our attention is turned outward. So only when we start to look inward and develop our self-awareness can we notice the patterns. This is key to transforming your life!

It is not enough to simply think about our conditioning. Since so much is programmed and engrained in our neuromuscular structure, there is a need to embody the transformation.

Again in Gary’s words, “Āsana practice was developed as a means of purifying and restructuring the body, bringing to it the qualities of stability, strength, flexibility, stillness and a sense of clarity and well-being. It does this by introducing some non-mechanical elements into our daily life, through which we free ourselves from conditioning and effect positive change”.

So the process of transformation starts here, and the practice of yoga can only be truly transformational, I believe, if there is a primary focus on interiorizing our attention and exploring the body with a sense of curiosity.

In future posts and in my yoga classes I will continue to explore this topic and ways to practice to become more aware. In the meantime, I’d love to hear in what ways yoga has transformed your life.

Be Bright,

Georgina

Stability or Anxiety? – You choose!

Key to making any change in our lives is becoming aware and taking responsibility for our own happiness.

In my post on Anxiety, I suggested a first step on acknowledging your anxiety. Now here is a simple yet potentially transformational process to reflect further on your habits and patterns in daily life that might increase or decrease anxiety.

Finding balance. Photo: tropicphoto.net

Finding balance. Photo: tropicphoto.net

 1. Anxiety List : Write a list of the activities, people, places or common thoughts, that make you feel nervous or anxious

For instance, spending too much time on facebook, procrastinating, public speaking, not leaving enough time to get to appointments, worrying about the well-being of others, thinking about the future, watching the news, listening to certain colleagues gossip or complain, imagining what others are thinking…..   Can you identify in each of the items on your list, what it is that makes you feel anxious? What thought or feeling do they arouse?

 2. Observe your habits in daily life 

After writing the first draft of your Anxiety List, start to become more aware in your daily life and continue to note down when you are feeling anxious and what might have stimulated it. This way you may start to see some patterns emerge or become aware of habits that are causing anxiety. You may begin to notice a pattern of common thoughts, such as “Am I good enough?” or “What if I fail”. You may notice patterns of self-sabotage, so even though you know watching television doesn’t make you feel good, you do it anyway as a means to avoid your thoughts and numb the mind. Or maybe you don’t like to speak your mind and so your thoughts build up inside you.

 3. Stability List : Now write a list of activities, people, places or common thoughts, that give you a sense of ease and stability.

For example, walks in nature, gardening, driving at the speed limit, eating slowly, spending time with your kids, dance, yoga, meditation, sport, massage, optimistic colleagues, reading inspiring books or watching TED talks, saying “I am perfect just the way I am”…..  Notice how you feel as you reflect on these items and the kind of thoughts that arise.

Stability in Tree Pose. Photo: Tropicphoto.net

Stability in Tree Pose. Photo: Tropicphoto.net

4. Stability or Anxiety? You choose!

Once you become more aware of your anxiety and negative habits or patterns in your life you get to choose. This is where you take responsibility for your own well-being and happiness. Do I want to continue feeling anxious and living in a way that stimulates a sense of worry and fear? Or do I want to live in a way that I feel free, whole and happy?

It takes time and discipline to break or change a habit, as well as commitment, courage and self-compassion. But it is also enjoyable as you make progress and I promise, this is the road to freedom my friends!

a) Drop one item from your Anxiety List 

Choose one point from the Anxiety List that you can reduce, modify or completely stop doing / being / thinking, and practice this for one full month. Then, once this has become a good habit fully integrated into your life, choose another point to work on for one month. Don’t be tempted to take on more than one item at a time and if you slip up one day, commit yourself even more strongly to it the next day. Never let two days slip. Share your goal with friends or family to help keep you motivated, on track and celebrating your success.

 b) Take up one item from your Stability List

Take one point from your Stability List, and practice doing / being / thinking more of that every day for one month. You may find this item can actually fill the space of the item from your Anxiety List. So for instance, instead of checking facebook in the evening you will go for a walk in nature. Or instead of always leaving last minute for appointments, you leave 15 minutes earlier and take your time to get there. Again choose one at a time for each month.

You may go through this process a number of times and each time adjust a little as you learn and progress in managing your anxiety.

Of course, we cannot avoid or remove all things we find challenging in life and in future posts I will suggest techniques to help generally manage and reduce anxiety when it is present, as well as our potential attachment to feeling anxious.

5 Reminders for Realizing your New Year’s Resolutions

We often start off the year filled with enthusiasm and hope, good intentions and desire for self-fulfillment. By the end of January the body can feel tired, the motivation dwindling and old habits and patterns threatening to take hold again.  Arrrrr!

 

Welcome to being HUMAN!!

 

So how do we stay true to a desire to improve our lives and really bring about the transformations we want? How do we navigate uncontrollable and changing circumstances and our frustratingly deviant minds?

 

Personally I am in constant search for the answers to these questions! I believe it is an ongoing process of exploration, including setbacks and progress. It is above all a learning journey called conscious living.

calvin-hobbes-new-years-resolutions

This topic is of course massive! The tips below are a few reminders that I am working with; each huge areas to explore in life and in a daily mindful practice, such as yoga, meditation, tai chi or the like.

 

1. Know your heart’s desire

What is it that YOU really desire? What is it that your heart yearns for? Why is this important?

 

There’s no point having a whole list of unrealistic things you want to change, improve or have, many of them perhaps changing depending on your mood and what you see or hear, if you don’t understand what these desires are responding to within you.

 

Knowing the ‘why’ is critical before defining the ‘what’ in your resolution(s).

 

To know what we really desire we must do the work within! We must be still and listen and dig deep beneath the superficial layer of ego, attachment, fear and longing. Ways of doing this may include yoga, meditation, various psychosomatic therapies, self-development books or courses, sharing reflections with friends or family, and mindful creative expression.

 

It takes courage to go within and there is no one right path to do it but the reward is substantial!

 

2-minute exercise – Self Check-In

As a very simple exercise to know what you need right now, take 2 minutes to check-in with yourself. We are made up of four selves: physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. Allow yourself to be still and quiet. Close your eyes and breathe slowly and evenly into your belly for 10-20 breaths. Then bring to your mind each of the four selves, and observe the first thought or sensation that comes to you:

a)    The physical self (the body)

b)   The emotional self

c)    The intellectual self (the mind)

d)   The spiritual self

You may have thoughts or sensations that arise instantly, perhaps surprising you, about how you feel or what you need. Do you have the courage now to consider the best way to act on those for your own well-being?

 

2. Increase your willpower

Ouf, this is a tough one! Have we all got the same amount of willpower? Don’t write yourself off too quickly based on previous experiences. You have the choice and you can make anything happen! Willpower I believe depends a lot on knowing WHY you want something (point 1 above). But it’s not enough just to wish it to happen. You need to really want it and know that you will have it.

 

The more detailed you can be about your intention the better. Develop a very clear sensory image of the result. Can you see yourself? Can you feel what it will be like when you achieve it? Can you imagine how you will act in certain situations? Get it clear either through visualization or by creating a physical picture with cut-out images, drawings and colour.  Remind yourself of this each day, and especially when you feel the willpower fading. Make sure you stay charged up on energy too (see point 5 below).

 

Check out this awesome Pep Talk from Kid President!  and my post on Improving Self-Discipline.

 

Pep Talk from Kid President

Pep Talk from Kid President

3. Be aware of resistance

Resistance comes in different forms; sometimes conscious (procrastination), sometimes unconscious (illness, fear of letting go) and sometimes from uncontrollable external factors (weather, family members, job). The key is to become aware. When you are struggling to fulfill a resolution see if you can catch yourself making excuses and strategies of avoidance. Can you stop and ask yourself, ‘what are these feelings and thoughts?’, ‘what am I really afraid of?’, and ‘what is actually going on here?’. Simply acknowledging them can be the beginning of letting them dissolve.

 

Yoga practitioners might enjoy a great article by Sally Kempton on Freedom from Resistance.

 

4. Offer yourself self-compassion and forgiveness

We are all human. We all slip up at times and have setbacks. Sometimes those setbacks are way out of our control. Sometimes they are simply a loss of willpower. Rather than going ‘what the hell’ and indulging in negative thoughts, self-destructive habits or victimhood, try giving yourself the equivalent of a big hug like you would a child or a close friend who has had a setback.

 

Go back to the 2 minute self check-in exercise and consider what you really need at this moment (other than chocolate for instance!). Maybe it’s a massage, a fun day out with your best friend or a ritual to consciously let go of that which is holding you back (e.g. writing the word on a stone and throwing it into a stream).

 

5. Relax and Recharge

When we are rushed, stressed or tired it’s impossible to focus on what we really want and it’s all too easy to give up. The only cure is to take some time out, relax, connect with your body and recharge. Take a walk in nature, lie down on the floor for 20 minutes, go for a run or soak in a warm bath. After very little time at all, it is amazing how we remember what is important to us and refocus. So don’t wait for weekends and holidays! Find a way to relax every day to stay in touch with what is important to you, keep on track with your good intentions and recharge your willpower.

 

 

You are awesome. Make it happen!!

The Practice of Surrender

The more I try to plan out my life, the more I find myself worrying and getting stressed. The more I let go, open up and listen, the more I find the right path and resources revealing themselves to me.

It is really nerve-racking, though, learning to trust in life. Giving up on trying to control and manipulate, as Donna Farhi says, “is like being suspended in the air between one trapeze bar and another”. What if…..?

trapeze-artist-photo-isp

But as I let go I feel my body soften. I feel the tension in my head release. I feel my heart open. I actually feel more alive, suspended between those two trapeze bars; more exposed and vulnerable too, but ready to reach out for the next opportunity that reveals itself. In that space I am connected to both my fears and my heart’s desires. I am also connected to a deeper wisdom, an innate intelligence. This allows me to consciously act, react and choose what feels authentic and right to me, rather than be driven by others and forces outside of myself.

This is the practice of ishvarapranidhana – surrendering to a higher force – the last of the ten principles for living happy. It requires going beyond the ‘me’, ‘my’, ‘I’ and all the personal drama, to seeing the bigger picture. It is recognition that there is some stronger universal force, bigger than me, guiding my life in some way. Why? Perhaps so that we can evolve.

As we open to this practice, suddenly, coincidences, accidents, experiences and changing circumstances start to become interesting learning opportunities and life becomes more of an adventure than a struggle!! We start to tap into our intuition and gut instincts and experience greater meaning in daily life.

I find that ishvarapranidhana is a potent antidote to mental agitation, anxiety, stress and feelings of confusion, being stuck or lost. So how can we learn to bring it into our lives? Here’s a few simple ideas.

Pause to notice 

When we stop being completely tied up with our own lives and open our senses to what’s going on around us, we become present. We notice that everything is interconnected, that life is in constant movement and that we don’t actually know or control everything. Our personal drama begins to fade in significance and we start to open up to life. Every day, as often as you can, gift yourself with moments to press  <pause> and notice. Breathe, feel, listen, smell, see, taste and notice what it means to be alive at that moment. What a shame it would be to miss it !

Spend time in nature

Nothing is better at teaching us to see the bigger picture and to surrender than nature. Indeed she reminds us regularly of her power! We quickly pale into insignificance as we stand by the ocean, on a mountain top or facing a storm. In nature there is wisdom. In nature we reconnect to our deeper selves. Take time regularly to be in nature without doing anything; to listen to nature without expecting anything, and to let nature be your teacher.

Practice corpse pose – savasana

One of yoga’s most difficult poses. The more you practice this pose, the more your life will change for the better!! It involves lying on the ground and surrendering completely to the moment. It helps if you are warm and comfortable, supported by some cushions and blankets, and in a quiet, dark space (although with practice you can learn to let go no matter what the noise around you). Let your feet relax outwards and your arms open away from the body. For 9 breaths make your exhale longer than your inhale and repeat to yourself internally “surrender”. Then release the breath and feel your body and mind letting go completely. Surrender all control. Stay here for about 20 minutes.  Enjoy !

Don’t fight it !

Next time you feel that something you are doing is a real struggle, or you feel stressed, indecisive, tired or resistant, try letting go a little rather than forcing through! Step back a while and take a breath. Maybe there is another way? Maybe this isn’t right for you just now? Maybe tomorrow will reveal a new option? Maybe you could reach out for support? You might just be pleasantly surprised by how it feels and what happens next.

With a little bit of experimentation I am discovering that life doesn’t have to be hard work !!

What do you think? What helps you surrender? In what ways has it helped you? Any nice surprises?

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