What’s the big idea? (or meltdown emergency care)

Have you ever had a meltdown? You know, when a fear or anxiety takes over and you just get caught in a little rut. You may rant and rave or cry or just shut down entirely…Did you know that when you focus on negative things for just 30 seconds, the neurochemical response in your nervous system is actually more than your body-mind can handle? Studies have shown that it literally begins to damage cells in the limbic system part of your brain responsible for processing emotion. Which makes you less resilient over the long haul. Youch.

Now when you’re living right on the edge of your comfort zone, meltdowns can happen. They are a wake up call. It means you’ve lost connection with yourself. The practice of yoga can be a means of reconnecting with yourself, with what is most important to you. Consider for a moment, what gets you out of bed in the morning. What drives you? What is your deepest value? See if you can connect with one word. The word form can literally start to shift the patterning of the cells.

Recent studies have also shown when you meditate on what the researchers have called “a big idea” for a few minutes every day consistently, your brain literally gets shifted. In the moment of meditation, the activity in your parietal lobe (your sense of your individual self, small self) goes down as more dendrites are formed, connecting frontal lobe (planner), through thalamus (reality perceiver) to the centers of the brain that help you to manifest big ideas in the world. After just 8 weeks of this, the thalamus is reshaped by 10%. So literally, your perception of reality is changed forever. Which means your capacity to manifest is changed forever.

A yoga practice can be a moving form of meditation. So if you take your one word from earlier with you into and throughout the practice, you can literally start to re-pattern your brain for the better. Which, if you’re anything like I’ve been over the last little while, will be helpful for undoing any damage a meltdown may have caused.

Special thanks to Tara Judelle for the link to the TEDx talk and the inspiration for taking this into practice. Watch more about the research behind this article here: What’s your big idea?

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Aho Mitakuye Oyasin

This is one of my absolute favorite sentiments EVER. I heard it back in 2008, on the eve of my birthday, under a full moon and high above the Pacific Ocean. I was one of the fortunate participants in a sweat lodge ritual during which “Aho Mitakuye Oyasin” was our contemplation. I loved it so much, I considered having it tattooed on my body. Instead, I’ll just post it here.

Aho Mitakuye Oyasin….All my relations. I honor you in this circle of life with me today. I am grateful for this opportunity to acknowledge you in this prayer….

To the Creator, for the ultimate gift of life, I thank you.

To the mineral nation that has built and maintained my bones and all foundations of life experience, I thank you.

To the plant nation that sustains my organs and body and gives me healing herbs for sickness, I thank you.

To the animal nation that feeds me from your own flesh and offers your loyal companionship in this walk of life, I thank you.

To the human nation that shares my path as a soul upon the sacred wheel of Earthly life, I thank you.

To the Spirit nation that guides me invisibly through the ups and downs of life and for carrying the torch of light through the Ages, I thank you.

To the Four Winds of Change and Growth, I thank you.

You are all my relations, my relatives, without whom I would not live. We are in the circle of life together, co-existing, co-dependent, co-creating our destiny. One, not more important than the other. One nation evolving from the other and yet each dependent upon the one above and the one below.

All of us a part of the Great Mystery.

Thank you for this Life.

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Heart Wisdom

The following quote is a reading I offered in my class this past week. It drew many comments and questions so I thought perhaps I would post it for easy reference.

I would like to express gratitude to Elena Brower for first sharing the quote. It is a wonderful contemplation, particularly when the mind continues to hold sway. As she asked at the end of sharing the quote, “How can we be more like our hearts?”

Enjoy!

“The heart is quiet rather than noisy, intuitive rather than deductive, lives entirely in the present, and is, at every moment accepting of reality as it is. Moreover, the heart does not seek to distance itself from, or dominate anything or anyone by labelling.

Rather, it begins with an awareness of its relationship with the rest of creation (and everything and everyone in it),

It accepts rather than rejects,
finding similarity rather than alienation and likeness rather than difference.
Your heart knows no fear, it experiences no desire,
and never finds the need to defend or justify itself.

Unlike your mind, your heart never seeks to impose itself.
It is patient and undemanding.
It nourishes our bodies in every moment.

Little wonder, then, that the mind, always impatient and very demanding, manages to dominate the heart so thoroughly”

Words from Fr. Archimandrite Meletios Webber

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