Skimming Deep

Searching, traveling, talking, reflecting, and exploring. Read along with me as I continue on my journey through life.

Tag: reflection

M is for “Mantras and Mudras”

I’m trying to practice yoga more regularly, and today in class, the teacher (my favorite at this studio) played this mantra and taught us a mudra to go with it:

It was really beautiful, both the mantra and the mudra, and she told us they (the mantra and the mudra) were about cutting away the ties that bind us to messages, expectations, and other things that we internalize and believe to be true (“you’re too fat,” “you’re too loud,” “you’re not smart enough,” “don’t do that– it’s too risky.”)  By doing both the mantra and mudra together, we are actualizing the cutting away process.

I came home and looked up these concepts to better understand what I learned and absorbed during my yoga practice today:

Mantra (according to freedictionary.com): A sacred verbal formula repeated in prayer, meditation, or incantation, such as an invocation of a god, a magic spell, or a syllable or portion of scripture containing mystical potentialities.

Mudra (according to yoga.about.com): A gesture, usually done with the hands, which focuses and directs energy in a yoga pose or meditation.

With mantras, there’s an aspect of sound vibration that affects us physically and spiritually.  So even if you don’t understand the words, you recite the mantras over and over and feel the vibration and then absorb that feeling into mind and spirit.  I could feel that happening as I said the mantras over and over along with the music making the flow more beautiful.

It reminds me of this experiment I heard about by a Japanese scientist (I looked it up for this blog– his name is Masaru Emoto, and he did these experiments in the 1990s) where he took words with positive and negative feelings, taped them on glasses of water, and then froze the water and looked at their crystals under a microscope.  The water that had been exposed to negative words (like “You make me sick, I will kill you”) had irregular crystalline structures and the water that had been exposed to positive words (like “Thank you”) had symmetrical crystalline structures.

There’s some argument about whether his science was real science or not, but I think the idea is interesting– that because we as humans are about 60% water, we are affected by words, thoughts directed at and around us at the water-atomic level.

I do believe when we say things that are loving, caring, warm, sacred, and generous, we become that way.  Just as when we say things that are hateful, disrespectful, cold, profane, and selfish, we become that way.

So in the same way that what we say, incant, sing, and chant can vibrate us into joy and happiness, so can what we do with our body.  Mudras are gestures that help us connect with our spiritual energy and the universe, and by simple gestures like hands in prayer, thumb and forefinger connected into a circle, we can direct energy through our body and beyond.

This is sounding kind of new age-y, but for me it comes downs to words and actions creating our realities in profound ways.  It’s not about just being naively happy and Pollyanna-ish.  In fact, I think it’s important to see the world around us with all its beauty and ugliness and be critical where needed and hopeful where needed.  And from there I want to take an approach of love and love that attempts to understand how we got here and where we can take things.

What words do we say that pass on vibrations of love and hope?  How do we treat our bodies to be open to the traversing of positive flows of energy to and from the universe?

 

Stunning Sunset: One of Life’s Blessings

This is the first summer in a long time (at least within my memory) that I can remember appreciating the change in rhythm of the summer.  Things slow down a bit.  People are a bit more friendly.  I feel a little looser about things.  And this summer, I’m really feeling the “break” aspect of summer.  Even though I don’t get a break myself and summer is actually busier at work, I can feel the “vacation” spirit in the air.

I’m loving the later hours the sun stays up.  I’m also loving living near the beach where I can take a quick walk or drive down there to see beautiful sunsets like this (can you believe the reflection in the still water?  it’s intense!!!)

and this  (a bit ominous with the sign, but it sets an interesting story.  plus more amazing reflections.)

and this (that’s the Boston city skyline in the far distance)

I’m so lucky to be alive and living where I live!  I am counting my blessings more and more and this has been such a joy– to see all the amazing aspects of my life’s blessings:

  • having a steady job, skills, and the ability to make a living where I am comfortable, not in debt, and able to even afford luxuries like travel, my techie gadgets, and dinners out.  So even after I leave this job, I’m pretty confident that I’m going to be able to make a living doing something else.
  • my amazing friends and community of people whom I love and who love me just as I am.
  • my quirky and wonderfully unique family.  My parents who’ve never pressured me to be something or someone that I’m not.  My brothers who are doing their thing and being wonderful role models for their kids and loving husbands for their wives.
  • my health.  My only weakness there is my eyesight.  But other than, I have good health!
  • a wonderful place to live for now.  With fresh air, lots of space, and a happy “welcome home” feeling.
  • the ability to cook and clean, without it being because I’m a woman but just because I love to do it, and I love the effects after I do it: getting to eat good food, getting to live in a clean environment.
  • confidence in and love for myself.  I haven’t always felt this, and it’s still a challenge to remember that I AM good enough for myself and those around me.  Keep riding that wave of confidence and love, I have to keep telling myself.

I’m feeling blessed today.  And even when life gets difficult or when I’m feeling fearful and uncertain of what lies ahead, I know that I have all this to provide a safety net in case I fall.  I’ve been fortunate enough not to fall too hard in the past, and it’s because of these amazing blessings. Sending out thank you waves to the universe for all that has made my life possible.

#32: Fruit Bowl Extravaganza!

I had brunch with some friends today, and we got a fruit bowl.  The guy who took our order raved about the fruit bowl, so we ordered it, and I was thinking, “Really, how good could a fruit bowl in Boston be?  I mean, this isn’t like some tropical country or anything.”  But we got it and it was quite amazing!  It even had mango and papaya!

I’ve been reflecting a lot on my experience here in Boston doing the work I’ve been doing and meeting the people I’ve met.  I have a lot of disparate thoughts about this experience that I would like to itemize and then see if there are any common themes, so bear with me:

  1. I know a lot of people, and I think a lot of people look to me as a mentor and supporter; but I have few really good, close friends whom I can lean on and go to when I have my own problems.
  2. I have touched a lot of lives, and I’ve learned a tremendous amount about how to bring out the best in others and in myself, how to create an environment where people empower themselves, come out of their shells and discover their potential.
  3. One can give and give and give but shouldn’t expect anything in return because that won’t always come.  Therefore, it’s not always healthy to give so much.  One has to give to oneself, too, or BURN-OUT ensues.
  4. With youth comes passion, idealism, and sometimes unreachable expectations.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that all that passion, idealism, and high expectations can be tempered with the understanding that the journey is long and in order to persist and endure, I have to be patient.  This is not an easy lesson because I am impatient and want things to happen fast.
  5. Finding allies, like-minded people who want to WORK together is hard, and when you find those people, grab hold of them.  I’m not so good at the “grabbing hold” part.  I’m often afraid to just ask someone if they want to work with me on something.  I don’t want to impose, and sometimes I just assume they’ll say no.  I have to stop doing that and work to build my dream team!
  6. “Everything in moderation.”  Life is about balance, not black and white.  This is my mantra.  I don’t believe in absolutes– absolutely opposed to this, absolutely in support of that.  I think there’s nuance to almost every important social issue, and we need to have more discussion and conversation to raise the bar of intelligent dialogue and critique and feedback.  Why do we always go to the lowest level of intelligence rather than raising everyone up to more civil and rational discussion?
  7. Frozen yogurt is amazing.  Especially “tart” flavors that they have at places like Mixx, Pinkberry, and Red Mango.  Yum.

Those are some of my learnings. Not sure where to go with that.

Purpose of This Blog

So I don’t want this to be a blog where I just muse, ramble, and journal.  I want it to be useful not only for myself but for others who may be seeking life fulfillment.  I think I need to determine a structure and process for this blog.

Possible structures:

  • reflect on a written or visual prompt for each post
  • give advice for each post
  • have a similar format for each post— three parts with each part being the same template for each post

What’s the purpose of my blog?  What are my desired outcomes for

  • myself— to become clearer on my life path. To have a space to reflect and evaluate on my forward motion toward meeting my aspirations.
  • others— to learn from my lessons.  To have a mirror for their own life journeys.

I’d like this to be an original blog— not like a lot of other blogs I’ve read that are really helpful, but not created by me.

I like the idea of having a visual prompt for each entry.  And that each entry must have:

  1. reflecting on what that visual means to me— why “it picked me” for the day
  2. stating what that visual provides as a life lesson for me and others
  3. ending on a quote or statement for more thought

Let’s see if I can make it work.  I’ll start a new post with that format.

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