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February 2012

Celebrate Your Triumphs!

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Have you ever criticized yourself for not doing something perfectly? Perhaps you’ve become frustrated with those things you might not be or might not have (yet)? Or compared yourself, and your assumed ‘short fallings’, to the successes of others?

Now (and really think here), do you regularly take the time to sit down and acknowledge all of your triumphs? Really taken the time to celebrate what you do and who you are? From the smallest everyday moments, to the big breakthroughs, that YOU create for yourself?

Which shows up for you in your life? If ‘column A’ shows up for you more often than ‘column B’ things can change and you can do it by celebrating the triumphs as they come your way, one at a time!

Take the time to enjoy what you are up to everyday; some might call it ‘the ride’, ‘the journey’ and some might just call it ‘life’. This isn’t a race to the finish line so slow down, take the time to soak it all in and celebrate every single triumph in your life.

There are days when simply getting out of bed can be a triumph. Sometimes the triumphs can be found in smiling when you are feeling down, taking a breath when you want to scream , in the moments where you choose activity over being still, or even when you choose stillness over activity. You can truly find triumph in anything you do and it is a conscious choice.

For me, this 40 Day journey has been about celebrating my small meditation triumphs. So I never made it beyond the 15 minute mark and found it difficult to stay consistent day to day. SO WHAT! I congratulate myself now for the commitment I had to always give it another shot, to always go back to stillness. A series of triumphs!

Take the time to celebrate the triumphs in your life; the big and the small. You will tap in to joy that is unparalleled and powerful! Enjoy the ride!

Heather Coates

Listen Up! It May Be Your Body Speaking

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Last week was week #4 of the 40 Days to Personal Revolution and its focus was Restoration. I have to add that this is also the week where we are invited to take on a 3 day fruit cleanse. In the past I have always been game, and even excited, to take this on but was a little resistant this time around; I may have even muttered the words, ‘I’m not doing this’, once or twice;) But after a great fruit shop, and allowing myself the space to feel prepared, I felt more ready than ever!

And then it happened. Day 2. The day when I barely made it out of bed, to only return, when I realized that I was sick with what felt like the flu. After another five, count ‘em five, hours of morning sleep and I relocated to couch where I spent the duration of the day. I was still committed to the process of the fruit cleanse but I thanked the 40 Days Gods for including miso soup as part of the process. It got me through.

On this day I had no choice but to surrender. My body was sending me a message (loud and clear!) that it was time to give it a rest, slow down, switch off and RESTORE. And that I did…I even have the Homer Simpson dent in the couch to prove it!

I share this with you because I was inspired by the power of my body last week. Its power literally took me to my knees because it had been trying to send me a message and I wasn’t listening; I didn’t trust what it had to say. Someone once told me that the word power is defined as ‘the absence of force’. Recently, I’ll admit that I’ve been forcing my body and my mind to stay busy and last week was a clear reminder that I can step into MY true power, my health and my authenticity, by simply being still and breathing. I am ready to listen to what my body has to say, my life depends on it.

I ask YOU, are you always busy? Are you so busy that you are already on to the next moment? Do you live in the future, in the list of ‘to do’s’, and not in the present moment? When you do stop are you able to really stop, switch off and find restoration?

Believe me, it’s possible. Try it for five minutes in the morning and five in the evening. Simply sit in silence and listen to the sound of your own breath. Do this to honour your own body and to avoid being ‘taken out’ for an entire day like I was.

Trust and listen to your body because it will lead YOU to your most authentic, powerful, happy and healthy life!!

– Heather Coates

A Practice in Equanimity

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Reflecting, and blogging, on the week past has been an interesting project to take on. It has really enabled me to get real with what is working and where there may be room for growth and opportunity, not only within the 40 Day journey but also on my mat, in my meditation and my life! Thank you for reading:)
I have been stuck on what to write on for Week 3 its focus, equanimity, and its connection to my meditation experience. And then it hit me.
Like I mentioned in my last post, I have noticed significant shifts in my life when I take the time to ‘Hurry Up and Sit Still’. During our third week of this journey I noticed a shift in my reactivity and my ability to take a breath before taking action.
Equanimity was presenting itself off the mat and in my life…
Last week when I was stuck in yet another long queue at the grocery store I waited patiently, the clock kept ticking and I began to notice that I was going nowhere fast. I was beginning to get hungry; starting to run late and as a result was getting a little agitated. I kept breathing. As my breath became more shallow and as my heart rate started to increase (note the drama here;)) a woman cut in front of me (I went silently crazy in my head!) and simply asked, ‘Can I skip in front of you with my bag of apples, they are the one thing I forgot in this shop?’ One big breath and I simply responded, with a smile (a natural one to boot!) I might add, “Yes, no problem.” And there it was, my breath neutralized, my heart rate subsided and it was time to move on.
My point is that meditation comes in many forms and can help us out in the most seemingly frustrating situations. I could have taken this incident home with me and made this woman the reason why my day went this way or that, or done the opposite, which I did, and simply took a few breaths and decided to move on.
Have you ever been stuck in traffic in the morning and it ruined your day? What about waking up to dishes in the sink when you did them the night before? How about someone cutting in front of you at the store? Someone driving super slow in front of you….someone doing something……..someone else doing something else….and so it goes.
And now you get to choose how you react, if you do at all. You get to choose. And in this past week I have noticed that I have chosen differently. If something has affected me I acknowledge it as something that I am creating and not making it about ‘someone’ else. It has been powerful.
So I ask you to do the time or at least make a practice of it. When that ‘someone’ has done ‘something’ can you choose to not react and simply let the next moment be about something different. You have a choice and the choice is ALWAYS yours.
Practice some equanimity in your everyday life. It truly is a gift. To meet life as life meets you.

-Heather Coates

Hurry Up and Sit Still

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If you read last week’s blog then you already know that I find meditation challenging. The simple idea of sitting with myself was often times scary, difficult and ultimately a boring activity for me to anticipate. I realized that I had created a massive block between me and the world of stillness.
As we moved through Week 2 with a focus on Vitality I got to thinking about my meditation practice (or lack thereof…yes, I continued to resist into the beginning of Week 2…) and reminded myself gently that my asana practice is a form of meditation; a moving meditation. Now I am not saying that this replaces the benefits of a seated, silent and still meditation but it was something that I had to realize was an accomplishment. I CAN meditate (the proof is in the asana pudding) but I had chosen not to, chosen to make it difficult and chosen to create a HUGE story around it. There was no ‘I don’t know how’, ‘I’m not good at it’ or any more excuses – I just needed to do it. And so I did.
So I am back on the meditation pillow (note: this is just a pillow from the couch;)) and as I type I remember…
I credit the positive changes in my life to the moments where I have taken the time to meditate. Taken the time to sit still and get clear about what I am doing with myself, where I want to go and what I want to accomplish. It’s no coincidence that I had huge shifts in my life once I graduated my PYC teacher training – I was meditating regularly. I should add that I am not sitting and pondering these things with a conscious mind but I find that when I take the time to sit and really empty, I get really clear in most everything I do.
By resisting my meditation practice what I was really telling myself was that I was undeserving of it and that is just not true. I acknowledge this lie and move forward with the power to hurry up and sit still

Heather Coates