Friday, October 3, 2008

Chillin' ICU Style

It's 3am and I'm hanging out in the ICU. The floor I work on has a funny habit of booking nurses in even though they have too many nurses on the floor and then the extra nurse has to go to a different floor. First they sent me to Emergency which scared me, I'm very under qualified for that area. Luckily I was quickly transferred again to the Intensive Care unit which is easier if you ask me because I only have two patients and they're both plugged in like a Christmas tree so the most I have to do is stare at the screen above their heads and empty some tubes and stuff.

Compared to the stress-mess I've been dealing with on my usual floor it's almost a vacation. But there in lies my problem. I had a little break down yesterday morning when I got home from my shift. It was silly really. They made me team leader for the night (which I'm am not actually trained for but, um, ok.) Early on in the night I noticed we were missing keys for our medication carts. Unfortunately because we have two cart and 6 people on the floor it's sometimes hard to confirm keys are missing. By midnight I was sure though but didn't want to call the nurses who had left to see who had took them home. So then when our supervisor came on at 7am I had to try to recover the keys. Technically we aren't supposed to leave the floor if all the keys aren't back. That means after staying there 12hrs we're supposed to hang around even longer waiting for this forgetful nurse to drive or bus back. Well luckily our supervisor let us go but by the time I got home I was exhausted and frustrated with myself and the combination of 14 days of work in a row, way too little sleep, the awareness that this isn't truly what I want to do with my life and the knowledge that I'm not really sure what to do to change it just kind of got to me. So I had a bit of a cry and then thankfully fell asleep.

I think the most frustrating part of all of it is that I got pushed over the edge by a stupid set of keys. I mean logically who cares!? They're just keys. The worse that happens if they never come back is new locks get put on the medicine cabinets.
I just hate to see myself get to the point where I'm wallowing in the little things. So I know things need to change. I need to take more time to focus on myself and get myself swimming with my head above water. I guess it's time to look at my life again. It amazes me that no matter how many times you straighten things out you still have to go back and re-evaluate again and again.

Sitting in ICU tonight though brings back what Jamine told us in teacher training. People always think they want their life to go smoothly with no ups and down, just one straight balanced line. But if your life were hooked up to a heart monitor which would you prefer? A straight line or one that goes up and down? I know which one my patient's would prefer.
Welcome to life. Enjoy the bumps...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

“Like a summer rose I’m a victim of the Fall
But I’m soon returning, soon returning.
Your love’s the warmest place my sun every shines
In my morning yearning, morning yearning…”
Morning Yearning by Ben Harper from the Both Sides of the Gun album

It’s funny how some songs inspire emotions for a while when you hear them, whether it’s feelings of joy or sadness or whichever. Some songs create this feeling in you only for a short while, but then there are some songs that will always inspire emotion in you no matter how many years you listen to them. I think those songs are the most powerful of all, akin to your sense of smell which has the ability to drag up memories from years before where you may have never thought of them otherwise. When you think about it visual cues just don’t drag up memories the way smells and songs can. When something has that powerful an effect on me I always assume it must be deeply ingrained in our reptilian brain. That’s the explanation I’ve always heard for why our sense of smell links to emotions- because it’s one of the senses that was linked farthest back in the evolutionary chain. That makes me wonder about music. How long have animals been hearing music in the world around them? What does it take to constitute music? Does the sound of crickets at night mingled with the breeze rushing through dry leaves count as music? Does our brain still register these medleys as music? Why has our music become so much more elaborate and controlled?

It’s 2am in the morning and I’m at the hospital for an overnight shift. It’s a funny shift because it’s easy and hard at the same time. Patients sleep through a lot of the night so we have a lot o time to ourselves but at the same time my ability to stay conscious at 3am can sometimes be a struggle. Sometimes it almost feels like too much time to think.

I’ve been trying to find out more information about the Nurse Practitioners program at Ottawa University but am unfortunately stuck behind the glass of technology. Their website is under the infamous “Construction” and the contact email person they have on the site has not responded. I know I have lots of time to apply and half of me isn’t set on the plan anyways but I still would like not to sit around only to realize I’m too late to apply. It’s tricky sometimes because I feel like I’m still asking myself the question “what do I want to be when I grow up?” and I’m still not sure of the answer. In the mean time I can’t sit around waiting for the answer.

I guess I’ll go check on my patients, make sure they’re catching some dreams. Hope you’re all catching some dreams too.
Night.

Monday, September 29, 2008

I'm not simple, my life is...

I just ordered a book from Amazon called an Idiot's Guide to Simple Living. I was reading this article this couple who got tired of always being crazy busy so they bought this ridiculously cheap property out in the middle of nowhere and then built a house and farm using stuff people didn't want and began living a sustainable life with out any techie stuff except a telephone line. They read this book so I figured I'd give it a read over too. Now I know all you anti-hippies have your alarms going off and I can understand the distaste. I see that there are two sides to this idea.
The people who are against it will say we can't all just move out to the woods and live off the land. And it's true that if everyone did that it might cause a bit of chaos.
But it's hard for me not to love the idea. I understand a lot of the points they make. The people for Simple living point out that all our possessions cause us more stress and unhappiness where as having a few good things that you truly need allow you to be happy naturally.
I guess there's really two movements going on at once here. There's the people who want to be happy instantly (I think of them as the Techie movement). They want all the fastest, bestest stuff and when they get it they'll be happy. And they are, but eventually the bestest, fastest stuff gets outdated and broken and then you have to cough up more money for newer better stuff. Thus explaining why we're so greatly in debt these days.
The Simple life on the other hand is not for people that have trouble amusing themselves or aren't willing to learn self-suficiency. There's a lot of responsibility in the Simple life, you have to be willing to take care of yourself sometimes and not look to the world around you to make you happy.
But for all the work it requires the Simple life can come with bonuses. The greatest one boasted is the extra time you. I think this is the main idea that attracts me. Would I really have more time? I'm quizzical. I mean I'd still have to work right? But maybe not as hard because I'd have less "stuff" to buy. Then there's the greater community connection. Which would probably only work if you find people who want the Simple life too. Techie people aren't going to have the time or patient to help the simple people. The other thing is the idea that it's easier to be happy. That falls in line with the whole yoga idea that underneath all the clutter of our minds we are happy. So maybe under all the clutter of our "stuff" we're happy too.
I really do like the idea of living simply. I don't know how well it would work in my condo but I'll at least give the book a read over.
My only issue with things like that is that people who write these books or promote this lifestyle often make they're money off promoting their lifestyle. It's like I know a lot of yoga teachers who say they used to work high tech jobs and be miserable and now they're all Yoga teachers and they're happy. Well duh you're happy! How many angery phone calls do you get now? But we can't all be yoga teachers. Can someone be a prison guard (a stressful job) and still live the Simple life? Can they be a waiter and still find happiness? Can we live in cities and be simply living?
All worthwhile questions to consider.
I'll let you know what I learn.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Reach For It Yoga

So big news first. Having finally settled into my new job and gotten used to my new position (that is any position they decide to place me in for the day) at my old job I think I'm ready to throw myself head first into the Yoga Teaching! I've been doing lessons here and there, but it's time to put more effort into finding students. So I'm putting up posters to advertise and I finished my website which I have linked onto here... And I'm also hoping to get something arranged along the lines of teaching Seniors, which was my original plan but I just haven't had time to look into it until now. So I was thinking I might volunteer a free class at the Senoir's Centre down the road just to get started. The hard part is creating a Yoga session that's easy enough but challenging enough. But it's good to be working on new Yoga challenges.

I find myself stuck on the whole Tapas thing, the practice of Burning Enthusiasm. I brought this Niyama up a while ago but with this new job sweeping me up in it's momentum I didn't have much time for doing anything other than trying to keep up with all the new responsibilities I had to perform. The first time we went through the Niyamas in Teacher Training I was surprised at how easy I found it. At the time I was working at my desk job for the CCAC and before learning about Tapas I was having trouble convincing myself to do anything because it was just so friggin' boring. I kept thinking I need a new job, I need a new job but was having trouble finding something more interesting. One of my teachers pointed out that we always tell ourselves we'll be happy when we gain this or achieve that but unless we are happy in this moment our happiness in any other moment will be fleeting. I realized that was what I was doing in my job, waiting to be happy, but realistic I can't always choose my situation only how I respond to the situation I'm in. Once I started practicing Tapas towards my job it became easier and I moved through my work so much quicker.
Now I have a new job and I'm beginning to realize that while I can practice Tapas all the time there are always going to be situations where Tapas falters. I think that sometimes there are certain jobs that some people can't do with a sense of enthusiasm (like a vegetarian working at a butcher shop). With my new work, believe it or not, I don't mind helping patients take showers, sure you usually get sprayed fifty times and it's always a bit of a struggle getting all their 2000 body parts clean but it kind of reminds me of playing with the sprinklers as a kid and the patient always feels so much better after it's done. Then I look at handing out pills. I hate handing out pills. I hate that half the patient have 20 different pills to take and that I spend my whole day trying to make sure I give them at the right time or that I'm fighting with pharmacy to send up missing ones or I'm fighting with patients to take them all. I don't enjoy it in principle or practice.
But I've been trying to practice Tapas with my pill giving for the past month. What I've discovered in the end is that while not all activities of the day can be super fun and sometimes you have to rework your thinking to find the fun in them, but sometimes it's better to listen to your inner voice and find an alternative path that suits you better. Thus explaining why I'm putting myself more thoroughly into my Yoga teaching.
I hope you get a chance to check out my website. Reviews and opinions are always appreciated.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Natural Connection

So my computer is sitting forlorn and dusty, but I don't really feel bad for it. It's nice to be out and interacting with people. I feel like I've been hiding behind a phone or computer for the past year.
Sometimes if you've gone a long time with out talking to people you're not familiar with face to face you can get a little shy. I think everyone is shy about who there are on some level. Otherwise why would computers and cell phones be so popular.
My new job is forcing me out to do more face to face conversing. There are some days where I don't really want to go into my patients' rooms and do the face to face thing. You never know what'll happen in there and it's so easy to just hide outside. The interesting part is that the more you get talking to real people the easier it becomes. It's like when you go away for a long vacation and your first day back is sooo hard but after a few days the anxiety lifts and you forget you were even stressed about returning.
My Shaman told me last week I have to practice appreciating the connections that come naturally in my life instead of reaching out for connections that aren't there.
If you take the time to sit still and listen it's easier to see how some connections flow and some you have to force through like the lid of a jar put on too tight.
The funny thing is it's hard not to want to make those difficult connections work. I mean they're a challenge and we're programmed to think if it's challenging they must be worth having. Half the time though the reason it's challenging is because the other person just isn't that into you or because their thought patterns and your thought patterns don't really click and you end up trying to change yourself to make that not true. With all this chasing you're doing you're losing the time you could be spending with people you already connect with. Eventually if neglected long enough you lose that connection too.
So take a minute to love what you've got and maybe if you're out of friends right now don't take that as a sign you don't deserve friends but as a sign you're not giving a chance to the connections that are waiting to be made. Or maybe you need to connect with yourself first...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tapas


I just came across this quote that made me laugh and I couldn't help putting it out there for you:

"A girl is a person who screams at the mouse and smiles at the wolf."

-Shyam Kapoo

I just thought the quote was strangely true in some ways and ironic as well. Unfortunately it's a bit unrelated to the topic of the day. I'm long over due to talk about my next Niyama- Tapas.
Tapas means burning enthusiasm, or austerity, or great effort as well as lots of other translations. All the different meanings or translations boil down to one thing- giving it your best shot. Which is the opposite of what I often find myself doing. Half-assing it (sorry I couldn't think of a nicer connotation for this). Tapas represents picking something you really want to achieve and putting all your effort and energy into achieving it and not letting other things get in your way. Using tapas helps burn up all the bad stuff in the body on the physical, mental, and spiritual level. It also burns up all the road blocks preventing you from achieving your goals.
Here's an example. Say you decide you want to lose ten pounds and I mean you really do want to you're not just saying it. If you approach this goal with tapas you would set out your plan on how you will be eating well and exercising regularly and when temptation offered itself to you you would walk away.
Compare that to how a lot of people go about weight loss. They say they want to lose weight. They choose an unresearched fad diet that makes them go crazy, they tell themselves they'll workout 2 hours a day and then they tell themselves they're strong enough to accompany a friend to a buffet. Next thing you know nothing has changed. If they had just set more realistic steps they could have gone about the whole thing with enthusiasm. An important thing to notice with the yamas and the niyamas is that practices like non-harm and contentment with yourself come first. So setting goals that take care of your well-being and looking for aspect in the things you have to do that you can find enjoyable makes a big difference around whether you'll achieve your goals.
There are lots of areas you can practice tapas, with your work, with how you treat your relationships, with what you do with your free time.
It's funny when you think about present society, we don't even relax with tapas. We'll tell ourselves we're going to take a vacation because we need to relax and then we spend the whole time answering emails related to work or doing this or that because it needs to be done, yet we told ourselves we need to relax. Even when it's something we should be enjoying we have trouble practicing tapas.
So my suggestion is to start out with something small. Like decide the next time you have a meal you will do it with tapas. You're not going to rush through it jamming bitefuls in your mouth. You're not going to pay more attention to some magazine then you do your food. Your just going to enjoy your food for every single bite. Then maybe consider bigger things to put your full effort into and if when your doing this practice you hear your mind telling you you'd rather be doing something else or you have two million things you should be doing instead tell your mind to be quiet, you're busy practicing tapas.
-Namaste!


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Ants in Retrospect

I've been going through my old blogs adding tags to them for the past hour. It's so weird to read about your thoughts months after you've had them. First there's the initial shyness over reading what you've written, it's similar to hearing your own voice on a answering machine message. Next there's the strangeness of how much you've changed in the past few months, sometimes progressing forwards, sometimes circling back in on yourself, (giving the illusion of little progress despite all the mileage you've put on). Then there's the odd discovery that some part of yourself has not changed one bit and never seems to no matter how you grow or evolve.

My first few posts were right at the end of my yoga teacher training. I notice I sounded quite a bit lighter and brighter but also a little more unsure and maybe scared or something.

As I move along through my posts I notice my tried and true sarcasm coming back into my writing and while my negativity bugs me I find I sound stronger with that edge to me. I think that's been my balancing trick all along. Trying to be open and happy without being gullible and lost. Soft yet strong, Ying and Yang. The balance a lot of us look for.

The really weird thing in the whole overview is how quickly a person's path changes and swirls around back in on itself. I imagine from a God perspective the path of most humans would look like that of an ant, erratic and lost. That's how it feels sometimes too, at least in the moment. When you're standing in the middle of it life makes absolutely no sense. It's only after the moment has passed that we can look back and see the purpose of the path you followed.

I signed up to do a one day yoga retreat on one of my days off. I haven't been back to the yoga centre in about two months and I'm hoping if I put myself out there I might get some of my shininess back.

I'm not really sure where it goes but I'm hoping if I keep coming back to being shiny long enough it will just stick.
I feel badly about not having more time to post. I hope to get a post out to you about Tapas (the burning enthusiasm Niyama) next time I write.
In the meantime wish you all and myself Shanti Shakti (Peace and Power).

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ginourmous





Hey Everyone!

Just got back from a mad rush trip to Tadoussac, Quebec to watch whales (not my picture above by the way, just an Internet pic). It was crazy but so much fun. I got off an over-night 12hr shift and we left right away to make the 8hr drive (I slept in the truck for a bit).
Tadoussac was very beautiful. It's nestled right in between two sloppy hills. You have to get on a ferry to reach it which gives you time to take in all the beautiful surroundings. Sloppy green hills that fade off into the clouds. The ocean fading into the distance. The fuzzy borders give it all the impression of a dream. Then you put your hand in the water and realize no dream would have water that cold.
We headed out on a zodiac to see whales the next day. My first advice on zodiacs is wear your sweater and some warm pants. Between the amazing speed of the boat and water spraying everywhere it gets a bit chilly. We had a few hours of Fin Whale chasing. Up close it's hard to believe how gigantic they are. Part of you can't help but worry they'll flip the boat. There were porpoises jumping around and seals kept popping their heads up out of the ocean like gophers, just looking around. The amazing part is just how large everything in the ocean is. Like with out the limits of the land things seem to keep growing forever. I kept wishing I could jump in with the whales but luckily the sheer frostiness of the water kept me safe in the boat. We didn't get to see Belugas but that just gives us a reason to go back.

It was sooo nice to go with the flow and take in the moment. I haven't had an amazing time like that in a while and despite all the driving it was completely worth it.

Today I'm getting back to the real world. I think it's hard to get back to the real world sometimes because when you come back to reality you have to play by those rules. I think the trick with the real world is keeping present enough to realize that there are times when you can be having more fun then you think possible on a regular day and there are times when you're settling for things that aren't really what you want. So being able to keep a clear head and have the personal strength to make the changes you need in your life can have a huge impact on how the real world is for you. I haven't had a chance to do more then meditate and practice my Santosha for the past few days so I'm looking forward to getting back into it.

It was a beautiful trip now let's see if I can make my everyday that awesome.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Crown Chakra- Sahasrara Chakra



I finished my first shift at the hospital on Tuesday and have my second one tonight from 7pm to 7am. The first shift was ok, I was mostly observing. I felt really overwhelmed and a little frustrated at how the conditions for nurses seem a lot lower than the working conditions for the other professions on the floor. I know it's always been like that but it still makes me wish I could change it. I'm definitely going to have to focus on finding my Santosha, contentment, as I reach 3am for my shift. I hope I can stay awake all night.

I'm finally finding time to complete my chakra summery. We've reached the 7th chakra, the Crown (Sahasrara) Chakra which is in the same line as the other chakras which run up the middle of our body. I've heard before that the Crown chakra isn't actually in the body but outside it because it represents our connection with the infinite or the spiritual. It's located on the top of the head near the top back of the skull, right where your hair divides into all directions or where you feel a little bump where bone plates meet. Just like your root chakra grounds you in the real world the crown chakra connects you with the spiritual part of yourself. It's often depicted as a 1000 petalled lotus blossom which is a symbol of how infinite your spiritual self is. People with too much energy in this chakra can often be more intellectual then grounded, while people with not enough energy flow to this area have trouble thinking for themselves, experience materialism and spiritual skepticism. A lot of yoga and meditation work is centered around opening up this chakra so we can connect with the infinite around us.

Here we begin to work on our 7th and final chakra. Close your eyes and sit in a meditative posture. Clear your mind by focusing on your breath and when you're ready focus your attention on the area at the top of your head near the back. The crown chakra has no sound and is often considered to be reached by creating a silent space in the mind, which is the main goal of any meditation. In order to get to that silent space it is sometimes helpful to let the word Om vibrate through your thoughts 3 times and then let the mind fall silent. Breath here for a few minutes as you begin to fill your head with a white glow, still focusing your thoughts on the top of your head (You can actually roll your eyes up with your eyes still closed to look at the area you are focusing on). Continue to keep your focus here as you breathe. Again you can do this for any length of time you find suitable but 3 minutes is a good start. After your time is up let your focus return to your breath and your mind to clear. Start to deepen you breath to bring yourself back into your body. Thank yourself for for taking time to care for your Sahasrara chakra. Namaste!

A chakra meditation can either focus on one chakra or can move through the chakras from the Root to the Crown by linking together the mentioned meditations that have been given. So as you move through focus on the first chakra and it's colour and sound and stay there for a few minutes and then move up to the next. When you've reached the crown chakra cycle back down more quickly only spending a little time on each chakra. It takes some time but it will leave you more balanced and can be fun to try at any rate.

Better start getting ready for my shift. Wish me luck.





Monday, July 21, 2008

Santosha

Boy, it's time for my next Niyama already. Having just finished my orientation for the hospital it feels like time is really flying for me. I have my first real shift tomorrow and you can bet I'm worried it will go well. Hope hope!
The last two weeks I was practicing Shaucha which is the practice of cleanliness or purity. I have been putting off scrubbing my house down for the past few weeks because my sister is supposed to do it in lieu of rent. Unfortunately no amount of reminding seems to make the cleaning happen and I was getting to the point where I didn't want to be in my own house. I felt so good to get the place cleaned up. It's amazing how much more comfortable I feel in my own skin when the floors don't feel like a sand box.
This week the Niyama is Santosha or contentment. This Niyama goes well with our Yama practice of Aparigraha- Non-grasping. One the the easiest ways to be content is by not trying to hold onto things you can't control.
I was having a conversation with a girl today and she was saying how she wanted this boy she liked to do this or that and she wasn't sure what to do. The first thing I thought is that she can't decide what the boy was going to do, only how she is going to act. Sometimes we get caught up in how we want to world to behave and then when it doesn't participate in our plans we become upset. That's normal, it's human nature. But if you want to be content the first thing you have to do is realize that you only get to choose your own actions and noone else's. Then life becomes a lot more simple. Instead of trying to orchestrate the plans of the whole world you choose your own and hope everyone else finds their own path. What a hard lesson to learn:
You'll hear your brain tell you you can't be content because your house isn't nice enough or your job isn't good enough, but if you take a minute to quiet your brain you will find you already are content. Underneath all the thoughts and emotions there lies a state of simple bliss.
In everyday life an easy way of finding this contentment is placing all your focus into the task you are working on. Like washing the dishes. A lot of the time your brain wanders and you start thinking of the million things you'd rather be doing. Next thing you know you've cut your hand on a knife in the water or slipped and dropped a glass, or just done a poor job of washing the dishes. You've just brought yourself suffering. Life is the same way. If you had only been focusing on what you were doing you would have found contentment in the speed and quality of your work. Instead you became distracted and found a way to keep from being happy. In yoga we call this concentration ekagra or one-pointed mind. It's a skill that takes time to learn and the best way to learn it is to practice. So next time you wash the dishes use all your senses and experience what you're doing. Little tasks quickly become interesting.

For my Santosha practices for the next 2 weeks I plan to 1- Move from worrying about how I'm doing in my new job by paying attention to the new things I'm learning. I plan to write down three things I've learned everyday so that I'm pushed to be more aware of what is coming too me.
2- I plan to clear my mind whenever I'm outside walking and experience every step and sound. This is good practice for those people that end up at the end of their journey and can't remember how they got there.
3-I'm going to reaffirm my daily 15 minutes of meditation which have been getting lost in the tussle lately.
I think I'll also take 5 minutes to send contentment out in my thoughts to the people around me. I hope all is well.
*Hugs*
J.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Third Eye Chakra- Ajna Chakra

My orientation is finally done at the hospital. I happy about that but I'm pretty sure this feeling of nervousness will stay around until I actually get out on the floor and try out my skills. The good thing is I don't have to work until next Tuesday so I get a 4 day weekend! Crazy. It was a bit unexpected though so now I'm not 100% sure what to do with it. I'm trying to keep my options open and just go with the flow. I love to plan everything in my life but things won't necessarily go any better if I plan them all. Besides who knows what crazy fun will arrive if I'm open to it.

We're on to the sixth chakra. I've always been partial to this chakra (hence the blog site address), but have recently began to realize the issues around being too caught up in this chakra. The sixth chakra is called the Third Eye Chakra (Ajna chakra) and is located in the middle of the forehead, near the eyebrows. This chakra represents intuition and perception and one of the easiest ways to use the energy of this chakra is just by staying present in the moment.
I remember when I was little I always wanted to be able to read people's minds and be able to know what they were thinking. I used to wish for it all the time. As I grew up I realized that I am pretty perceptive of what people are thinking and pretty intuitive when it comes to predicting actions and outcomes. Unfortunately as I get older I see the flaw in sending all your energy to this one chakra. The third eye chakra exists on a non-physical plane. In fact it has no grounding in the physical world at all. This chakra often makes me think of some of those people in the world who can wrap their mind around all kinds of mind-boggling ideas with high intellect and come up with some ideas very few people can comprehend. We're all amazed at the things they come up with and yet despite all their genius they are often separated from society. They can become disconnected from the world around them because they live inside their head so much of the time. While I'm grateful they take the time to break into new realities with their thinking I don't envy their loneliness. In that lies the weakness of focusing too much on one chakra or another. If you exist too much in your upper chakras you become unaware of the reality around you. If you stay in your lower chakras you never become aware of all the possibilities that exist. So if you're going to work on one chakra consider working on all of them because 7 healthy chakras keep you healthier then placing all your energy in one.
Something to consider when you begin the next exercise.

Here we begin to work on our 6th chakra. Close your eyes and sit in a meditative posture. Clear your mind by focusing on your breath and when you're ready focus your attention on the area at the centre of your forehead near your eyebrows. As your attention focuses here you can begin to hear the word Om (rhymes with Tom) vibrate in your mind at any speed or frequency. Let the sound fill your head as you focus on the area. Then after breathing here for a few minutes begin to fill your head with an indigo (blue-purple) glow, still focusing your thoughts on your forehead (You can actually roll your eyes up with your eyes still closed to look at the area you are focusing on). Continue to keep your focus here as you breathe. Again you can do this for any length of time you find suitable but 3 minutes is a good start. After your time is up let your focus return to your breath and your mind to clear. Start to deepen you breath to bring yourself back into your body. Thank yourself for for taking time to care for your Ajna chakra. Namaste!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Throat Chakra- Visudda Chakra

No I haven't forgot my blog. Last Friday was my final day as full-time at the Access Centre and then I started right away at the Queensway Carleton hospital on orientation this week. The most challenging thing about my orientation thus far is staying awake through all the presentations and not going to the bathroom every 2 hours now that I'm drinking over three litres of water a day to keep myself from getting climbing injuries. I'm sure once I get on the floor it will be much harder. It seems as though so much of the nurse's job is just handing out medications and I know many nurses would disagree but with all the fear around losing your license over improperly dispensed meds there's been a ton of focus this week on not messing up. Super nerve-racking. I don't have a computer at my new job so it'll be interesting to see how this affects my yoga and other life things (including this blog frequency). I'm not going to have all the time I want for the people in my life but I know it's hard for me to say no when people ask for it. So it's going to become an interesting lesson on speaking my truth so people understand that I'd love to see them more but I'm just super stupid busy (Yes I know I'm always super stupid busy).

On that note I have conveniently reached the 5th chakra, the throat chakra (Visudda chakra). Two guesses where this chakra is located. Yep! Right in the centre of your throat. And guess what it relates to. You got it, communication. This chakra holds your energy for your self-expression. It links back to The Yama Satya which teaches us it's better to tell the truth whenever possible. On top of telling the truth this chakra asks you to tell your personal truth which can be challenging for a lot of us because we've been raised to suppress our truth, and half the time aren't aware of what it looks like anymore. Think of your friend that became a lawyer because his dad's a lawyer and wanted to please his father, when he really wanted to be an auto-mechanic. Or the person who stays with their partner because they're who society says they should want to be with (ie. gorgeous, rich, etc...). Clearing out all our fake truths from our real truths can be a real challenge because we have never been taught to listen to ourselves. One quick way to get closer to your true self is to quiet the mind when it comes time to make a big decision and trust what your intuition is telling you. Often if you're deciding to go on a path that isn't true for you your body will give you a signal. Maybe you'll get a tight throat or stomach upset. The hard part of following this is having the courage to speak your truth. That's why we work to improve our Solar Plexus as well so we have the energy and courage to back up our truth. Not speaking or communicating our true selves takes the responsibility of our lives out of our hands. For some people this might seem like a relief "Fwww, not my problem anymore. I'll let everyone else make the big decisions." The danger in this is that no one knows where you're supposed to be in your life but you and no one else has your best interest in mind but you. So really you are leaving your life up to chance, and chances are it won't go in the direction you like.

So to work towards speaking your truth we practice with the throat chakra the same as your other chakras. Close your eyes and sit in a meditative posture. Clear your mind by focusing on your breath and when you're ready focus your attention on the area at the centre of your throat. As your attention focuses here you can begin to hear the word Ham (rhymes with Tom) vibrate in your mind at any speed or frequency. Let the sound fill your head as you focus on the area. Then after breathing here for a few minutes begin to fill your head with a vibrant sky blue glow, still focusing your thoughts on your throat. Continue to keep your focus here as you breathe. Again you can do this for any length of time you find suitable but 3 minutes is a good start. After your time is up let your focus return to your breath and your mind to clear. Start to deepen you breath to bring yourself back into your body. Thank yourself for for taking time to care for your Visudda chakra. Namaste!



Thursday, July 10, 2008

Heart Chakra- Anahata Chakra

So I did my first healing lesson with the Shaman last night. It was really interesting and although my scepticism kicks into full swing a lot I'm working to keep an open mind because even if any of it is true I can use the tools he gives me in my new job and gain a lot of experience from this.

I'm feeling a little more settled about starting work at the QCH. I'm still nervous underneath but I'm hoping I enjoy the experience and can add to my knowledge base with this job.

The fourth chakra is the topic of the day. This Chakra is known as your Heart Chakra (Anahata) and is found at the centre of your seven chakras. This allows it to act as the amalgamation point of the physical lower chakras and mental upper chakras. The fourth chakra is responsible for balancing a lot of parts of your life. It's thought of as a meeting point for your Ying and Yang, your masculine and your feminine. It's also responsible for all forms of love. Love for yourself, society, the people you are in relationships with, the universe. It's in-charge of a lot of your positive emotions like happiness, kindness and generosity. One interesting concept I came across is that we often feel our hearts are broken or blocked but underneath all the pain and suffering we take into ourselves there is a whole and blissful heart waiting to be found. Another important point to make with the love emanating from this chakra is that it doesn't involve the selfish type of love. Some types of love we experience are selfish. When you are friends with someone or surround yourself with people based on what they can do for you this is a selfish love. I don't know if I'd even call that love because the whole point of love is to give it with out attachment to what you will get in return. Anyways the whole point is this chakra deals with selfless love. A big challenge with the heart chakra is learning to let go of previous hurt so that the chakra can be open to pass energy again. People who hold onto past emotional injury have a harder time using this chakra to it's fullest.

Breathing exercises (Pranayama work) help with the clearing of this chakra so I thought I'd give you a fun breathing exercise for the day called Lion's Breath (Simhasana Pranayama). this is a good one for clearing out toxins in the body (your tongue might taste funny after), and clearing out blockages in general:


1. Sit down on your knees with your bottom resting on your heels. If you have bad knees you can do this cross-legged.
2. Extend your arms and push the palms of your hands against your knees, spreading your fingers out like they are lion's claws.
3. Sitting with your spine long and straight breathe in deeply through your nose.
4. Exhale through your mouth, opening your mouth wide and sticking your tongue out as far as it will go like your panting. As you exhale let out a "haaaa" sound by moving your breath from the back of your throat.
5. Try this breath a few times leaving your tongue extended out and when you've had enough fun pull your tongue in and return your breathing to normal. You may want to take a sip of water.

We can also use the same meditative process for our heart chakra as we did with the other chakras. Close your eyes and sit in a meditative posture. Clear your mind by focusing on your breath and when you're ready focus your attention on the area at the centre of your chest. As your attention focuses here you can begin to hear the word Yam (rhymes with Tom) vibrate in your mind at any speed or frequency. Let the sound fill your head as you focus on the area. Then after breathing here for a few minutes begin to fill your head with a vibrant green glow, still focusing your thoughts on your chest. Continue to keep your focus here as you breathe. Again you can do this for any length of time you find suitable but 3 minutes is a good start. After your time is up let your focus return to your breath and your mind to clear. Start to deepen you breath to bring yourself back into your body. Thank yourself for for taking time to care for your Anahata chakra. Namaste!


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Solar Plexus- Manipura Chakra

Been feeling a bit overwhelmed with my life path lately and when things get like this I always have to fight the urge to just stick my head in the sand and hide. I'm not a big confrontation person, I don't really enjoy debating, I get nervous around people who aren't open to the possibility that they're not always right and at the same time I worry I don't stand my ground enough.
Part of the issue that comes along when I should be standing my ground is that I don't always know how I feel about certain situations and which stance I should take on the subject. I think they call that fence sitting. The issue being if you sit there too long you get sore. Eventually you have to pick a path and make a choice. I find that idea so hard I often want to run away and just skip the whole thing.

Today we're talking about the third chakra, the Solar Plexus (Manipura), which turns out to be pretty relevant to me at the moment because the focus of the chakra is making choices and living by them.
I was zooming around the net reading different ideas on Manipura and noticed the outstanding theme to be self-esteem. For a lot of people it's hard not to follow societies opinions of how we should live our lives. Many of us fall into the "find the right person, settle down, have kids, and steady job..." state of mind, but this isn't the only societal influence. Some of us buy cars because we're told everyone wants one. Or we go to university because it feels like the next step.
The first step to working with our Solar Plexus is asking ourselves what we truly want (Again mediation the help clear the mind is the often suggested method for figuring this out).

The solar Plexus is our power centre and once we have gained a clear view of what we want for ourselves it gives us the power to follow through. And that's what self-esteem really is- Awareness of our true selves and the power to be that person. The first two chakras relate more to control of our outer environment but the third chakra connects the outer world to our inner selves by working to find what we want inside and stand by it in the real world around us. Moving energy healthily through this chakra is important for gaining power over your own existence and moving down your life path in a way that's healthy for you. Fear of change and failure are common human challenges. Just because everyone else chose one path does not mean it will be the right path for you. Finding strength to do what we need to for ourselves is far more likely to create lasting happiness in our lives instead of the short lived happiness that comes from achieving society's goals.

We use the same process for working with the Solar Plexus as we did with the other chakras. Close your eyes and sit in a meditative posture. Clear your mind by focusing on your breath and when you're ready focus your attention on the area of your belly button, only further back closer to the spine. As your attention focuses here you can begin to hear the word Ram (rhymes with Tom) vibrate in your mind at any speed or frequency. Let the sound fill your head as you focus on the area. Then after breathing here for a few minutes begin to fill your head with a yellow glow, still focusing your thoughts on your belly. Continue to keep your focus here as you breathe. Again you can do this for any length of time you find suitable but 3 minutes is a good start. After your time is up let your focus return to your breath and your mind to clear. Start to deepen you breath to bring yourself back into your body. Thank yourself for for taking time to care for your Manipura chakra. Namaste!



Monday, July 7, 2008

Shaucha

I was planning on posting on the third chakra today when I realized it's time to talk about our 1st Niyama so I will come back to the chakras tomorrow.

First I hope all had an awesome weekend. I had a most amazing time at Niagara Glen. We were climbing in the area around the river that comes off the Niagara Falls. There's all these limestone boulders just laying around asking to have me climb them and I did my best to answer that request. We got in some camping and some hoteling and some late night breakfasting and hot chocolating. It was just an awesome weekend!
Now I'm back and just waiting to hear about my salary from QCH still. My mind is still up in the air about which job I should go for but I'm pretty sure I'll stay here. More about that tomorrow though.

So Shaucha. Shaucha means purity and it's one of the first yoga practices you should look into out of the 5 niyamas. This one can be challenging because it can feel like a never ending practice. Once you purify something once it doesn't just stay that way, you have to make a practice of doing it regularly. Things always move towards chaos. A different word to describe this one is cleanliness and it can apply to many different things. The most obvious is your outside environment. Different people tolerate different levels of cleanliness. On this one I have trouble speaking for other people but for myself I know that I would prefer to have my place clean and in order. It's not that a little clutter and disorganization drives me crazy but sometimes it gets out of hand it it begins to feel like every time you move you are knocking stuff over. Cleanliness and purity also extends to one's own body. Yogis practice regular cleaning (although they sometimes use 'natural' products which can mean the smell left behind isn't something we all consider an improvement) and consider regular bathing and grooming important. As well there are practices like detoxification through sweating and diet which are debatable in the efficacy. Again it comes down to how it makes you feel. If it doesn't work for you don't do it. Then there's purification of the mind. These days allowing the mind to experience negative things through the five senses is considered common practice. News stories are full of unhappy circumstances, we sit and watch blood filled movies and our brains take in bad thoughts. It's not to say one should stop experiencing the world, just that focusing more on the positive then the negative will improve how your brain functions. Think about it. Would you let a 3 year old watch horror movies every day of the year and then be surprised if they felt afraid or irritated or angry. You could use the excuse that a three year old has a young impressionable mind. But beneath all the upper level thinking we've developed we have a pliable impressionable subconscious too. If someone calls you a mean name it gets stuck in there even though you know what they say isn't true. So why wouldn't negative experiences in your life cause an impression to form on your mind.
So shaucha is an all over life cleansing that asks us to look at what unnecessary clutter fills our life that can be removed or reorganized to better let us function to our full potential.

For my three practices this week:
1. I will clean out my truck (things go in but they never come out), my desk (cause I'm leaving) and my apartment to make more room for Kait's stuff (I've been keeping stuff because I had space to but now I don't, which is good because it forces me to de-clutter).
2. I will stop swearing for the next 2 weeks. Even in french (that'll be the hard one), because I seem to have let my bad words get out of hand.
3. I'm considering a diet detox, but I'll have to look more closely into that one. I know lots of people that have sworn by them but I'm always skeptical so we'll see where I go on that one. Definitely a proceed with caution type thing.

So those are my shaucha ideas. I'll be back tomorrow with more chakra work. Stay clean ;)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Sacral Chakra- Svadhisthana Chakra

Of course now that I've said I'll take the full-time nursing job with Queensway Carleton Hospital who ends up calling me? Alberta.(I haven't heard hide nor hair from them in a month) they left a voicemail asking when I would like my start date to be. At the same time I realized I haven't discussed salary with the QCH at all, they haven't even mentioned it, so I'm putting both jobs on hold until I have a better idea of which will serve me better. There's a bunch of pros and cons for either choice so like any big decision this one won't be easy.

I'm reaching the end of my Aparigraha practice but know that I'm not really near the end of it at all. Not grasping onto things is an ongoing battle that I know I will always face but just bringing my awareness to my unconscious desire to pull all things close to myself is a big step towards stopping. I've realized over the past two weeks that I very rarely commit to one path and usually start down one way and then change my mind and start down another and then turn around again. I'm always wary of closing doors in my life but at the same time I'm spreading myself too thin and making it hard to truly achieve any one thing. I know I've always been proud of my ability to multi-task but I think this is getting to be too much. Strangely my chakra of the day is the Sacral Chakra and it really relates to this.

So your Sacral chakra is the second chakra in your group of 7 major chakras. It moves up from the root chakra and is located in the middle of the lower abdomen. This chakra is often associated with your sexual expression, but I really think that would be giving this chakra far to little credit. I read once that when it comes to men everything in life is about sex, except sex which is about everything else. I'm sure this is true for women in some ways too. And that's what I find with this chakra is that it relates to so much in our lives besides our sexuality. It's strongly linked to emotional expression and creativity but more importantly it's about balance. When we look at our Sacral chakra we have to ask ourselves are their things in our lives that we are pulling to close to ourselves (aparigraha) and are there things that we're running away from. Do we take on too much or too little and are we aware of what we need to find balance. The sacral chakra receives it's energy from the root chakra so we still need to consider our foundation as we move up through our chakras, but once we are well grounded it's possible for us to consider our path. The direction we take is not as important as making sure we move with balance. Any path taken without considering this balance is likely to tip us off it. So be willing to ask yourself these honest questions and give your honest answers to find out whether your pulling or pushing yourself too far in any direction.

Sending healing energy to your sacral chakra is similar to working with your root chakra.
Close your eyes and sit in a meditative posture. Clear your mind by focusing on your breath and when you're ready focus your attention on the area below your belly button (in about the area where you feel pressure when your bladder is full ). As your attention focuses here you can begin to hear the word Vam (rhymes with Tom) vibrate in your mind at any speed or frequency. Let the sound fill your head as you focus on the area. Then after breathing here for a few minutes begin to fill your head with a orange glow, still focusing your thoughts on the area below your navel. Continue to keep your focus here as you breath. Again you can do this for any length of time you find suitable but 3 minutes is a good start. After your time is up let your focus return to your breath and your mind to clear. Start to deepen you breath to bring yourself back into your body. Thank yourself for for taking time to care for your Sacral chakra. Namaste!

I'm off to Niagara Glen for a climbing weekend and I'm so happy to get out for the beautiful days. I hope everyone goes and enjoys some free time outside.
Happy Friday!



Thursday, July 3, 2008

Root Chakra- Muladhara Chakra

I'm getting ready for a small trip out the Niagara Falls for some climbing and really looking forward to it. I was hoping for some time off before I started my new job but it looks like I won't be getting this so I'm going to have to buckle down for a long while without any time off. I'm hoping I enjoy my new job so much I don't even notice the lack of vacation I'm having but it's hard to tell what will happen. The word that has been coming to my mind lately is trust.

"You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you don't trust enough." Frank Crane

I tried to look up yoga information related to trust and didn't actually find anything. At first I thought that was weird but then I considered Aparigraha and realized that complete trust is an impossible thing. Yoga teaches us not to grasp for things and try to make them our own and when it comes to trusting other people that seems to be the underlying idea. When we place our trust in people we are placing in them the responsibility to never lead us a stray. Of course we can't decide the actions of other people nor the outcomes of our choices, we can only make them and hope for the best. So to place the demand on people that they should never let us down is impossible. On the other hand it will only cause you pain not to trust that people are trying to do the right thing and that everyone is not intentionally out to mess you over, because this train of thought will only bring you misery as well. So then you're stuck walking this fine line of not trusting because you can't predict the world and trusting because it only causes yourself a lot of pain and unhappiness not to trust anyone. When it comes down to it I think the best thing we can do is learn to trust ourselves and the natural flow of things. How many times have you had a really rough time with something and looked back a year later to see it was all leading to something good in your life now. This all comes down to the fact that change is the only constant and you have to know that things get bad but they get good again too. And the part about trusting yourself is important because without faith that you will be able to handle any situation thrown your way you will never be able to find the hope to keep going. So for right now and with the situations in my life I'm practicing trusting that things will be ok even if they are not ok right now and that gives me a lot more freedom to just be happy in this moment.

so on to my chakra for the day...
The Root Chakra is the first chakra of the main seven and it is located at the base of our spines. The root chakra represents the physical body but also has links to our basic needs like food and shelter. I've heard that people with problems in the root chakra area often have problems with feeling stable and safe in their lives. I also know that not caring for your root chakra enough can create a disregard for the importance of the body. I see this a lot when people get all caught up in their computers and cell phones, ignoring their physical health and well being. Unfortunately the rest of you wouldn't be here with out your body. According to yoga the body exists 4 months in utero before the soul even enters it. Your mind still needs your body to get it places and a lot of our self expression is subliminal and physical by nature. Yet so many of us are becoming afraid of the outside world. The numbers of people with social anxiety and agoraphobia has grown so much in the recent years. It's harder to make friends even though we are all connected virtually. I think the fact that this is the communication era yet so many of us feel cut off says a lot about the importance of existing in the physical world and not ignoring it.

One way to send healing energy to your root chakra (if you feel you could benefit from more energy flow there) is to close your eyes and sit in a meditative posture. Clear your mind by focusing on your breath and when you're ready focus your attention on the area at the base of your spine (it doesn't have to be an exact area or exactly the right area). As your attention focuses here you can begin to hear the word Lam (rhymes with Tom) vibrate in your mind at any speed or frequency. Let the sound fill your head as you focus on the area. Then after breathing here for a few minutes begin to fill your head with a dark red glow, still focusing your thoughts on the base of your spine. Continue to keep your focus here as you breath. This could be done for any length of time but for a first go maybe it is best to start with 3-7 minutes and you can focus longer the next time. After your time is up let your focus return to your breath and your mind to clear. Start to deepen you breath to bring yourself back into your body. Thank yourself for for taking time to care for your Root chakra. Namaste!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Chakras

It's the day after Canada Day and I know every one's at work and probably a little more tired then they'd like to be. Yesterday was a really full day and today feels like one of those days where you don't want to poke your head above the covers, but it was worth it. I had the chance to see Buck 65 perform yesterday and that man puts on a weird but good show. Check him out if you ever get a chance. He's funny and full of talent to say the least.
Today my mind is on technology as I've been trying to decide whether it's all worth it the way we have our lives on our computers (I say tongue in cheek as I check my email and type on my blog). The computers are down at work today so that means no one can get information on their clients. At my small satellite office the phone and fax are down so we can't call anyone. Except we have work cell phones. But my charger is broken and I can't get it charged so now that's dead. And honestly I don't really mind except that tomorrow is going to be crazy if they have everything working again. I guess that's just one of the things you have to get used to with our new technologized world.

When it really comes down to it how much benefit are we getting from all these computers and cell phones and I-pods? I mean I hate to sound old-fashioned but how many of us know our neighbours. I don't like to admit it but I know I've lost a lot of social bravery. It's hard to convince yourself to go talk to new people with out a computer protecting you. So for today I'm going to do two things. 1- I'm going to commit myself to saying hello to a new person everyday and asking how they are doing. And I mean really asking not just asking and walking away. I'll try this practice for two weeks and see how it goes. 2- I'm going to start telling you about the chakras because this issue really reminds me of the root chakra and imbalances we probably have with it. But I'll write more on that tomorrow, first let me explain what chakras are for those that aren't really sure. Obviously some will find this stupid or unbelievable and others will see some connection with themselves. With this, as with anything in yoga, take it if you feel it applies to you otherwise just let it slide.

So Chakras. Well to start the body is full of energy. You already knew that though because movement takes energy and speech takes energy and heating ourselves takes energy and thoughts take energy. We're full of this stuff but unfortunately we can't see it so it's hard to understand. But we have machines that can read different types of energy MRIs and CAT scans but each machine can only read certain energy types and it's hard to really get the full picture. The energy yogis refer to is called Prana or life energy and it's the underlying energy that exist in all living things. As it moves through our bodies it connects all aspects of our existence, physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. That means when energy is not getting where it's supposed to go it can cause issues in anyone of these areas. A chakra is an area where there is a lot of energy flowing through. They're kind of like train stations for your prana paths. And these chakras are all over the body but there are 7 main ones which run along the spine and are your main channels through which a ton of your energy is either blocked or allowed to flow. If these channels allow through too much energy it's a bad thing just as much as if they block too much. We have more control over our chakras then we know but becoming aware of them can be challenging considering few of us have ever even considered our chakras' existence. I'll let you know about the Root chakra tomorrow, the first of the seven and I'll explain the connect it has with our disconnection from each other.
Hope that wasn't too mumbo-jumbo. Catcha.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Canada Day!!

You know I never truly understood Canada Day until I moved to Ottawa. I guess growing up in a small town it's hard to understand the sheer magnitude of our country when your celebration consists of a bunch of people you grew up with and 5 minutes of fireworks.
Ottawa takes it too a whole new level and can really inspire the Canadian in me. Seeing everyone congregate downtown with their red and white. Seeing all the faces light up with the fireworks as every one's mouth forms a unanimous 'O'. Seeing how easily we all can celebrate the same thing in one moment. It's a pretty neat experience and just thinking about the fact that so many different races and cultures can hang out in complete peace and find the same moments awe inspiring is something to think about. Canada is a pretty accepting place. Of course there are still clashes of culture and moments of hate that get into our news stories and minds but really the percentage of hate is so much smaller than the percentage of peace and acceptance and there is no better example of that then on Canada Day.
With the upcoming year looking a little hazy in it's path it's good to have days like these. Days where we can put all our worries on hold and look up at the night sky as the fireworks shower their falling twinklers down towards us. In that space of time we can be at peace, and if peace can be achieved in one moment it can be achieved in any moment.
Happy Canada Day everyone...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Like you, like you, don't like you, like yo....

I got the job at the Queensway Carleton Hospital! They offered me full time or casual but I want the casual position and I'm switching to casual at my current job so I can work like crazy and then take the last week of the month off for climbing. So that's exciting and also a little nerve racking. I really have no clue what I'm doing in a hospital. Wish me luck.
On the other side of things I'm definitely off balance lately. I know I am because I find myself concerned with what other people think of me and worrying about whether I'm good enough and I'm irritated when I'm driving in the city and impatient with people in general. these are all the bad things that start happening when my personality stops me from just seeing the world as it actually is. That's an interesting human trait, the ability to apply good or bad traits to inanimate objects and people we don't know. Like the guy who cuts you off with his car is bad and the lady who holds the door for you is good. It's so funny to think we stereo-type whole people by their one action. But that's the whole point of finding my balance again, that way I realize that life is neither unfair or fair it just is. You can't stereotype experiences you're having as good or bad because what you're really doing in naming your reaction to those situations around you. Like the guy who cuts you off makes you feel negative and the person who holds your door makes you feel positive. Recognizing that these emotions are inside ourselves instead of projecting them on people gives us the power to control our reactions and not be as volatile to the world with interact with. So my goal is to sit for a few hours this weekend and meditate and do some yoga and when it's all said and done I hope to have balanced out some more so I can have a clear head when I view my life.
Have a Happy Canada Day weekend everyone!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Infinite Love and Attitude

This morning while I was getting ready I kept thinking of things to blog about, but by the time lunch roles around my brain has gone flat from all the crazy work and I can't remember what I wanted to post on.

My interview went well and I'm pretty sure the lady said if my referrals get back to her she'll let me know as soon as possible. I'd be starting training on the 14th of July so that's exciting and a welcome change.

Otherwise I'm back at my climbing training tonight. I had 3 days off and my body is not very appreciative. It's all stiff and sore. Reminding me how important it is to keep moving.

Lastly I'm reading Infinite Love and Gratitude by Dr. Darren Weissman because the shaman I'm starting training with wants to use information from this book as a stepping stone. I've actually read this book before (convenient), but always come up with the same road block- my own cynicism towards the mystical. This book does seem to ground some of it's information in the scientific but I know it is still what most people would call mumbo-jumbo. And I'm never really sure how to get past that. If I was applying Aparigraha to this I would tell myself I can't grasp to have all the answers right away. Even the medical profession doesn't have all the answers. It loves to make a decision and then go back on what it's said with other studies and there are no set answers for what will work and what won't work in health care. When it comes down to it if it works for you it doesn't matter what all the studies say, that's your truth.
So I'm going to read the book again and keep an open mind that maybe some of it's fooey and maybe some of it's true but I have to give it a chance and keep an open mind because the truth is not found with a closed mind. I'll have to write my book review later and get your opinions on how crazy the ideas may or may not be. It's always good to have a second set of eyes when youre walking into the crazy.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A good, strong, non-grasping handshake


I'm going for an interview with the Queensway Carleton Hospital and I'm super, super nervous. I haven't been in the hospital in two years and haven't had to worry about medications or IV pumps or any of that junk in so long and now I have to remember it all and give the right answers back at an interview.
When I graduated I never really wanted to work in a hospital. I'm not big on the bandage affect I feel most hospitals employ and feel like people are pushed out the door so quickly you'll never get to truly help them. That being said most nursing jobs require hospital experience so I know I've already stunted my growth by skipping right to home care.
If I'm lucky enough to get this job the other plus side is I will be able to use some of the stuff I'm supposed to learn from my Shaman when I start training with him. All the information he will be giving me is more in the area of hands on and right now I'm pretty much 100% hands off. So it'll be good to have some situations to use my new knowledge.
So in order to get into the Aparigraha (non-grasping) tools I can use for my job interview I thought I'd underline some ideas I've had to make my interview go better, and maybe someone else can use some of the ideas too (or has some of their own).

Aparigraha for Interviews
-Stay in the present. That way you can hear the questions being asked fully and give your best answer.
- Don't try to give the answers you think the interviewer wants but instead give the interviewer your true answer in it's best possible light. If you lie about who you are you'll only create discourse later on.
- Don't tell yourself you have to get this job. That desperation in your head only creates more stress that makes it harder for you to stay present.
- Don't hold onto mistakes you've made in past interviews or jobs. Instead use the information you learned from these mistake to demonstrate personal growth you have achieved from what you've learned.
- Be positive. It's easy to hold onto all the crazy things that happened on the way to the interview but if you just focus on your breath you will go in with a much clearer head.
- At the end of the interview shake hands with your interviewer and thank them for their time. Behave as an equal so they can see you as an equal.

Ok, those are the best I've got so far. Just remember when you grasp onto something and won't let it go it's weight becomes a part of you and can keep you down. Enjoy what you have but understand that nothing is permanent and all things, thoughts and people are truly free to come and go. Just as you are.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Aparigraha

So, it's not that I've forgotten my blog , just that no matter how much I try to preplan my life things still come up to shake up my plans. Which I'm trying not to get too upset about. Fortunately this coincides with my practice for the next two weeks. My last Yama to work on for a while is Aparigraha, non-grasping (or non-possessiveness), which really relates to a lot of different things I've posted around. Aparigraha and non-attachment go hand in hand and are locked down into the roots of our happiness. If we learn not to reach for things needlessly we can find a lot more joy in that which we already have. For example, the body needs food but if the restaurant is out of your favorite dish you don't let it ruin your whole meal (you're still getting the sustenance you need even if it's not in the form you would prefer). An easy way to practice non-grasping is by sitting still and training your thoughts on the moment, not on what you want or expect the future to be. It's funny how so much of the practices we should take part in involve being present in our now.

Because I'm short on time today I'll tell you the one big practice I've decided on for the two weeks and I know non-grasping will come up in my posts later in the week.
It's a simple yet challenging practice. Every time I feel or think of something that I want needlessly I stop and take 5 long breaths, focusing all my attention on the air moving in and out. After the fifth breath my brain has usually moved on and the urge to grasp at what I was thinking of has subsided. If it hasn't gone away by that time I consider whether I should be working towards what I was wanting in seriousness (I try to assess whether it is a need or a worthy goal, but the trick here is not to get attached to whether or not you get it). The interesting part about using the breath to clear the minds of the things I am reaching for is that a lot of our grasping starts with our breath when we hold it subconsciously. Even on this subconscious level your body and mind are wanting to hold onto things. So by keeping the breath moving you are letting go of what you are grasping at on a very primal level.
So let go and don't forget to breathe.


Friday, June 20, 2008

There's no place like OM...

I was feeling pretty down yesterday, thus the lack of blog (sorry), but have perked up today and been thinking about it, you know, the whole getting down thing. I've been ignoring my lack of prospects at this point in my life or at least not focusing on them, for the most part, but yesterday my brain caught up with me and started to point out that I haven't heard from Alberta (that's ok, I've given up on them anyways) and I can't really afford my job out here in Kemptville anymore, and even if I do get a job at the hospital in Ottawa (and there's no guarantee they'll hire me) the whole process will take a while and in the mean time I'm getting a bit of a sinking feeling. Needless to say when I thought about it too long I got myself a bit down.
But in retrospect of yesterday I've realized that blue emotions like this don't really have such a large effect on me because of the desperateness of the situation so much as the lack of feeling needed in my own life. I know most people need to be needed by their partner, but I'll be the first to admit work is my boyfriend and I take job rejections the same way most people take being shot down by someone at a bar. And if my job doesn't tell me I'm the best it's ever had I feel offended! (LOL)
Thinking about it, so many of us are out looking for this partnership in our life that will complete us. Be it a relationship or a job, we're all looking for that one thing that will complete us, and make us whole. I wonder where we grew this illusion that we're all half people walking around, about to topple over if we don't find our other half. But it's true there is this emptiness that exists, this longing to feel complete and living at our full potential. We look out to the very corners of the Earth to find the missing piece. Whole industries surround our search, trying to help us complete our hafling souls.
Thinking about this I had a Wizard of Oz moment. We make such great journeys in our lives in this search and I believe many great things have been found along the way but the only way to find your other half is to find you. You are your perfect other half, but it's so often not seen because we are scanning the horizon instead of looking inside. It's such a weird idea though, that for all our searching our other half is right here, waiting to let us be complete if we could just see it.
In retrospect it makes complete sense. Who else knows what will make you laugh better than yourself? Who knows what kind words you need to hear on a bad day? Who knows what music you feel like listening to and is willing to listen to it with you? If only we would just say the words to ourselves that we need to hear or lend ourselves the patience and comfort we all so desperately need. Yet again and again we look outside ourselves for someone to fill these needs. No one else will be able to anticipate your every need.
Obviously this sounds self-absorbed at first glance and by no means am I suggesting we give up on all relationships because we don't need anyone else. Just putting forth the idea that maybe your relationships shouldn't be about finding that person that completes you, only enjoying anther's company that enriches your already complete life.
And the same goes for my work too. I have to remember I'm already complete and there's no job I can receive that will make me whole.
On the plus side this whole train of thought put me back in a good mood. Just in time for the weekend!