I marvel frequently. Marveling goes well with appreciation! Everywhere in the world, I see patterns and flow (physics!) that bring me moments of awe. It is simply a question of focus – selecting the appropriate lens, finding a new viewing angle. Yes, I see the same road I drive every day. I pass many of the same people as I patter along my daily route. I like my routine! That doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of room for wonder and marvel. A small shift of focus unmasks the mundane and shows the magic of the moment. One way I shift focus is by sending my attention inward to notice my body. Recognizing the body’s fluid nature helps me move out of mundane and straight toward magnificent!
This past week, I shared a beautiful video showing, in slow motion, vibration patterns emerging in water. Commenting on the video, I shared that some of the early inspiration for Twirl was the idea that our bodies are largely fluid in nature and, like water, responsive to vibration. My friend Pam told me about an experience she had. She imagined the vibration of words like “love” and “joy” and “peace” flowing into and through her body as she drifted toward sleep. She felt herself “becoming” love and joy and peace.
Today, I’m going to share a movement practice that I use to help me create greater sensitivity to the fluid nature of my body, and through that sensitivity bring more marvel into my mundane. As you read this, take time to do the exercise. Or, if you prefer, listen here to an audio recording and I’ll guide you through the experience.
To bring your attention to your body, reflect on some things you know about it. You know your mouth waters when you see something that looks delicious or smell something enticing. You know that blood flows through your veins and carries nutrients to all parts of the body, as well as carrying waste products away for recycling. Perhaps you know about the cerebrospinal fluid that bathes our brain and spinal cord.
Settle in. Feel the outflow of your breath and the intake of your breath. Even breath has a wavelike flow. Imagine the nourishment of the breath being picked up by the bloodstream and flowing through your body. From the lungs, the blood goes to the heart and nourishes that organ. This is a lovely reminder of the importance of nourishing our hearts! As the blood flows through the body it delivers energy to all parts of you. Take a minute to feel every part of your body receiving that flow of energy.
Now move your attention deep within your body. The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flows in a sac called the dura mater (which means “tough mother”!). This CSF is like clear, pure water surrounding your brain and spinal cord. It, too, flows with a wavelike rhythm. Imagine is it like an inner mountain stream that sparkles in pristine beauty. Or, like a lazy river in a water park, imagine it as it circulates up and down around the central nervous system in an endless stream.
Bring your attention to your spine. Allow the spine to move in wavelike undulations. Soften effort, and feel where the body moves easily. Focus on where you feel fluid movement. You may imagine your body like seaweed, or like a sea creature. Take several minutes to enjoy gentle undulating movements of the spine.
Now allow a word like “peace” or “love” to drop into the clear, cool water of your body/mind. As if you are able to feel the vibration of the words, let them resonate through you. If you discover any areas of your body that feel tight or resistant, simply invite gentle fluid movement to move a bit more fully into these places. Be gentle with tight places, as if opening up to receive a soft rain.
Observe the impact this exercise has on your sense of well-being. I find even spending a minute or two with this practice wakes me up out of my ordinary life and reminds me of the extraordinary within and around me.
Tonight when I lay my head on my pillow, I’ll feel the softness of my Twirl pillowcase. I’ll allow my eyes to move toward the words “love and appreciation” embroidered there. I’ll close my eyes and smile. Nothing mundane about that. Marvelous!
At Twirl, vibration is an important consideration in the creation of our products. The world all around us is vibration. Movement, color, and sound are some ways we perceive these vibrations. This week, as you practice mindfulness day-to-day, choose with intention and notice vibration. What does that mean? Today, for instance, I chose to put on a durable cotton shift of soft green, with whimsical flowers offering small splashes of coral and lavender. I took time to feel (vibration is sensed) how these colors feel to me. Made me smile! I chose my eggs gently scrambled. The soft, fluffy firmness suited me just right. My eyes, my mouth and my tummy all enjoying the moment. Today, ask yourself, “What do I see? Smell? Taste? How does this feel or resonate?
Everything is vibration. We learn to read its language - frequency - through practicing focused attention. Since our experience is filtered through our unique and personal biology and biography, we are the only ones with the capacity to discern what brings us more joy and makes us twirl. Living ever more fully in the NOW, we find little presents hiding in plain sight. Portals into Presence. I’ve called them “Dime Store Moments”. Choice of clothing and food are only two examples of ways we create each day. Our focus, dancing on a platform of attention and intention, has the power to make the mundane magnificent. The light shining around the edges of the cloud or the clerk’s smile behind the counter may pass by unnoticed or may change us forever.
Mindful selection in everyday decisions lets me find more joy, ease, and comfort. Music is one of my favorite ways to find support in setting my vibration. A piece of music can instantly shift me, grab me, and carry me on it. When I allow that assistance, my work becomes a dance of celebration and effortless grace. What lightens your load? Is it music? Color? Light? Texture? Aroma? Notice what brings you deep and expansive feelings of love and appreciation. What makes you twirl? Do more of that! This week, will you join me in the practice? Let’s nourish and nurture ourselves by paying closer attention to our choices.
Twirl’s gift line was created to provide you ways to share feelings of love and appreciation in a real and tangible way with loved ones who are sometimes far away. This demands we tune in to the frequency of love and appreciation for ourselves first. Through mindful choice during the day and focused intention/attention during rest, we can feel more enriched and energized. This is the feeling I refer to as “twirling”. Will you give yourself this gift? Lay your head down on your pillow at night and feel LOVE. Feel APPRECIATION. Soak it in. Begin with this and notice where it leads you.
This coming weekend is Labor Day. You work hard. How will you celebrate? If you want to treat yourself like royalty, unplug and rest on one of our luxurious pillow cases
. (These also make great gifts for house guests and hosts!) Even if you find yourself working instead of vacationing, use the reliable tool of mindfulness to experience more of the joy, love, and delight that awaits you. Each time you consciously choose you are one step closer to living in vibrations that resonate with your highest joys
Posted on 17 Jul 10:10
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According to Webster’s dictionary, to appreciate is “to grasp the nature, worth, quality, or significance of” and appreciation is “sensitive awareness”. Appreciation requires us to slow down, notice and feel. Imagine the different experiences of two people eating a meal. One is in a hurry and distracted, getting ready with the next bite before the current bite is even chewed. Like a sleepwalker awakening, they suddenly notice their plate is empty. Perhaps at the end of the meal they are still unsatisfied. The other diner takes the time to enjoy the visual presentation, the aroma, the textures and the tastes. Each bite is taken with a discernment that might be seen as reverent and sacred. Which diner do you think gets more value from their meal?
Our lives are busy, and our brains are naturally wired to make quick judgements and be on the lookout for the next new thing. Appreciation is one pleasurable way to engage the mind and heart in grasping “the nature, worth, quality, or significance of” the things that surround us every day. This morning, I awoke with my cheek on one of Twirl’s soft, Egyptian cotton pillow cases. I used my breath to draw me more deeply into appreciation, allowing a delicate inhalation to increase my “sensitive awareness” to the softness. What a beautiful way to start the day! I noticed the hem embroidered with “Love and Appreciation”. I allowed those words to inspire me and set the mood for my day.
Another definition of appreciate is “to increase the value of”. Each of us is unique in what appeals to our preferences and sensitivities. It is easy to notice what irritates us, but when we take time to notice what brings us joy and delight we can bring more value to each moment. I don’t know about you, but I have a strong preference for that!
One of my favorite teachers refers to the simple pleasures of life as “dime store moments”. These are the little things that, when I allow my attention to be captured by them, bring joy and delight. Life is so often organized around milestones that it is easy to confuse big accomplishments with things that “should” bring me happiness. Since nothing lasts, and there is always the next goal ahead, a great deal of energy has been spent and my return on investment, so to speak, is low.
I live in a culture that advertises happiness packaged in big things – but let’s un-package this idea. Do these big things ensure my happiness? No guarantee. Might even create more on my plate to have to take care of, worry about losing, or manage.
My joy comes mostly from the little things. The dime store moments. Each day is filled with them – little jewels waiting to be noticed. Perhaps I miss the sparkle of them if I am looking ahead to my next big goal or acquisition. Dime store moments are found in present time! A few of my recent favorites are the feeling of a breeze on my skin, a smile from a stranger, a clean kitchen floor.
What dime store moments will you notice today? I’d love for you to share some with me.
My heart is like a tuning fork, and I get to decide in each moment what frequency I vibrate. On a typical day, I run a wide range of frequencies (think “emotions”) through my system. I observe that when I notice the energy in my heart more frequently, my sensitivity or awareness begins to increase. As I increase my attention, I also observe an ability to shift frequency with that attention (what I focus on I get more of).
I like experiencing a range of emotions – they give me information about my preferences. I have a strong preference for experiencing joy, peace, love and appreciation; of these, appreciation is the easiest to get to no matter where I find myself on the vibration dial. Finding joy when I’m really mad about something – not so easy for me. In my experience, however, there is ALWAYS something I can appreciate. Often something in my environment captures my attention. Wind, water, fire, air, earth, light all make up the world around me, and often the smallest thing is large enough to bring on full body appreciation!
How do I feel when I am in appreciation? I feel open and full at the same time. In addition, I find that when feeling appreciation there are often dimensions of joy, and peace and love. Appreciation has a one-ness feel to me, as if I am breathing in an essence of something beautiful and wonderful – whether that’s an oldie but a goodie on the radio, the color of a scarf, or a bite of cookie. Appreciation is not a snob. What captures my attention in a delightful way right now? A crunchy pickle?! Good enough!
Ah…. This is why I enjoy appreciation more deeply than gratitude. When I am grateful for this pickle, I feel thankful that it has been provided for me, for the vegetable that gives its life to me, for the folks that picked it, pickled it, packed it and shipped it. Yet it is an “I and Thou” relationship. I am grateful FOR all of that. Not a bad feeling. Gratitude is important to me because it is both comforting and humbling to remember how many people have a hand in the life I enjoy. But appreciation, the taking in of pickleness and feeling my joy and love of pickle crunch, somehow makes me feel one-with. Are you with me?
Appreciation is so equal opportunity that it invites me to open up and feel inclusive of experiences beyond my own – like maybe you don’t feel appreciation for the pickle. Maybe you appreciate the onion. But when I am in appreciation of pickle and you are in appreciation of onion, we are one in the vibration of appreciation. Namaste.
Wind at Your Back
Posted on 7 May 14:41
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I use the image “the wind at my back” to help me feel support and movement. I’m a body person. A movement person. When I take time to notice my posture (200 times on a good day!), simply feeling the sail-like rectangle of my torso lifted by a gentle breeze behind my heart brings me a smile, relaxes me, and straightens my alignment. Try it for yourself right now…. feel the wind at your back.
My sister is more of a feeling person. She imagines this breeze behind her when she has a difficult task in front of her, and she sails along with strength and grace.
Recently I have had the pleasure of seeing several women wearing our TWIRL t-shirts. The TWIRL logo is embroidered on the back between the shoulder blades. It reminds me of the wind at our back. Energy is flowing into us at every moment. Like the breath, we take it in and send it out, most of the time not paying much attention to it. Also like the breath, we can use it to build strength and vitality, or to create an experience of calm and peace when we desire that.
The wind may bring fresh insight. Perhaps, like a kite, we can allow the breeze to lift us to a higher perspective. Perhaps we simply leave heavier things behind for the moment.
Pause. Breathe. Close your eyes and open your heart. What do you imagine when you feel the wind at your back?
One important thing when twirling is having personal space. With arms thrown wide open we need plenty of space as we spin. Crashing into someone else could be disastrous. The same idea translates as we do the work of bringing finer energy into our heart and mind. Have you ever been in a great mood until someone entered the room carrying a dark cloud over their head? Buzz kill. Sometimes it’s hard to keep a peaceful, open heart.
In my 30 years of studying yoga and energy, I have collected a number of tools that I use to help keep me stable in changing circumstances. One of my favorites, however, came recently from my oldest daughter. As I'm writing this, I discovered it's an old Polish proverb. She says, “Not my circus. Not my monkeys.” It is a beautifully simple and practical pattern interrupter. Stop, notice, then identify what is yours and what is not yours.
Twirling is more fun when I keep my space open and clear. When I get into someone else’s space I'm likely to send them falling like dominoes – one crashing into the next. When I manage to maintain my space, however, I have the grace and energy available to be more fully present in the dance, no matter what presents.
Thinking of You
Posted on 11 Apr 09:37
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Last week I thought of you. I was knocking out item after item on my to-do list for that evening. You can imagine my to-do list; it is perhaps much like yours. It is never ending, never completely checked off. When a few items get taken care of there are always at least a few more to add on. I don’t recall which task took me out into my backyard. Perhaps I was taking out the kitchen scraps to compost. I do recall that I paused, sat for a moment enjoying this week’s new blossoms in my little courtyard, and thought of you.
Pausing is a key for me. Interrupting the near-constant chatter and motion of day to day events is my saving grace. So that evening I paused. I knelt to see a tiny white flower more closely. As I smiled at its beauty, I felt my heart relax and I took a breath. I breathed into the feeling of that smile and relaxed a little more. I watched the bright yellow tulips swaying in the wind as they hovered over the little white flowers. I felt my calm and my joy radiate out and, as if it were contagious, I imagined that in that moment you felt a breeze invite you to pause and enjoy a breath, pause and notice the beauty in your path.
It may have been 30 seconds, it may have been 90 seconds, but I returned to my to-do list refreshed. Time and space are funny. 90 seconds, a little white flower – these things seem small and inconsequential, but I assure you my evening was made much richer by these than by the 6 items I ticked off my list. While getting things done feels great, it is the opening of my heart, and the moment I spent thinking of you that I remember about that evening.
Perhaps you felt the breeze that night. Perhaps you feel it now. Time is funny. Pause. Find beauty in the world around you. Breathe. Fill your heart with wonder and allow love to flow out into the world around you. Perhaps you’ll think of me, and I’ll feel the breeze whisper your message.
Namaste, a salutation often used in the yoga world, may be roughly translated as “the light within me greets the light within you”, or “when I am Light and you are Light, we are One”. I begin by centering my attention in my own heart space. I fill my heart with appreciation for each breath and each heartbeat. I feel light within me intensify and expand.
In yoga, the word “chakra” means “wheel” because our energy centers may be experienced as wheels of light. As I focus my attention on my heart, and draw a positive feeling into that area, I amp up the vibration of that chakra (much like twirling!). It is like turning up the volume, or dialing the light from dim to bright. The light within is the beginning point. Now dial it up a notch!
From a place of centered Presence, I look out into the world, and see Light in others. The light in me greets the light in you. First Twirl, then Connect.