“It is worth doing nothing and having a rest”.

I remember the first time I heard this wonderful piece from The Curly Pyjama Letters by Michael Leunig. I was enjoying relaxation at the beginning of a yoga class with my dear teacher Lyn Colenso and she read the letter (see below) to us like a bedtime story; the sentiment stayed with me for a long time after. The Curly Pyjama Letters is a collection of correspondence between lone voyager Vasco Pyjama and his friend and mentor Mr Curly of Curly Flat.

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Dear Vasco,

What is worth doing and what is worth having?

I would like to say simply this. It is worth doing nothing and having a rest; in spite of all the difficulty it may cause you must rest Vasco –otherwise you will become restless!

I believe the world is sick with exhaustion and dying of restlessness. While it is true that periods of weariness help the spirit to grow, the prolonged ongoing state of fatigue to which our world seems to be rapidly adopting is ultimately soul destroying as well as earth destroying. The ecology of evil flourishes and love cannot take root in this sad situation. Tiredness is one of our strongest, most noble and instructive feelings. It is an important aspect of our conscience and must be heeded or else we will not survive. When you are tired you must act upon it sensibly – you must rest like the trees and animals do.

Yet tiredness has become a matter of shame! This is a dangerous development.

Tiredness has become the most suppressed feeling in the world. Everywhere we see people overcoming their exhaustion and pushing on with intensity—cultivating the great mass mania which all around is making life so hard and ugly—so cruel and meaningless—so utterly graceless—and being congratulated for overcoming it and pushing it deep down inside themselves as if it were a virtue to do this.

And of course Vasco, you know what happens when such strong and natural feelings are denied—they turn into the most powerful and bitter poisons with dreadful consequences. We live in a world of these consequences and then wonder why we are so unhappy.

So I gently urge you Vasco, do as we do in Curly Flat—learn to curl up and rest—feel your noble tiredness—learn about it and make a generous place for it in your life and enjoyment will surely follow.

I repeat it’s worth doing nothing and having a rest.

Yours Sleepily,
Mr. Curly XXX

As we learn to witness and welcome whatever arises within and around us, we gain insight and understanding into what is required to live harmoniously with ourselves, others and life around us.

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Looking for Happiness

I often come across images, poetry and stories that inspire me in the work I am doing (and I have one below to share with you). They can be gentle reminders of what we already know, or ignite a new spark of knowing or curiosity. In a world that pulls us in different directions with so much stimulation and on offer, it can be really helpful to come back to what is simple and grounds us in present moment reality. For me, spending time with family, friends and animals, being in nature and connecting to beauty, all bring me deep peace and happiness.

Here are eight ways to connect with happiness –

1. Express Gratitude

Never let the things you WANT make you forget about the things you HAVE.

2. Savour life’s joys

The real beauty of life is in each precious moment. Stop and smell the roses.

3. Commit to your goals

Most people who fail at reaching their dream, fail not from lack of ability but from lack of commitment.

4. Cultivate optimism

Stay Positive. When it rains look for Rainbows. When it’s dark look for stars.

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5. Stop over thinking.

Thinking too much only complicates your life and creates a problem that wasn’t even there in the first place.

6. Avoid social comparison

Most of our insecurities come from comparing our behind the scenes life with other people’s highlight reel.

7. Increase flow experiences

Flow is a state where you are so focused if feels like time stands still. Doing what you love and challenging yourself is how you get there.

8. Nurture your relationships

The happiest people have deep, meaningful relationships. Nurture them and watch them grow.

 

hugs

 

 

There is nothing I want but your Presence. In friendship, time dissolves” ~ Rumi

 

If this resonates with you, perhaps choose one area to focus on each week then use this focus to form an intention. Set your intention at the beginning of the day; for example….today I am grateful for……..OR ……today I will have lunch with ……….

with love, Gabrielle

 

 

 

 

 

Out of Hibernation

Wow! I cannot believe it’s been almost 3 months since my last post. It wasn’t intentional but it seems I have been in hibernation.  I did recently celebrate my 50th birthday (no grey hairs yet) and have just returned from a beautiful relaxing retreat in Fiji, so I have also been a little preoccupied.

hibernation2I was fortunate to attend a 7 day silent retreat with my spiritual teacher, Richard Miller on 20 April and it has profoundly changed my life. As part of moving deep within and letting go of the busyness, I found that my priorities changed. I live more in the moment, allowing myself to be guided by what brings me happiness and peace. Even the mundane tasks can be pleasant and satisfying if done with awareness and purpose. I take more time in the “in between” moments; after a job is done, when I arrive somewhere in my car – time to pause, breathe and simply be in the moment. I have found that when I make space for myself, I create more space in my day. How cool is that?

Meditation has been part of my mornings now for just over 12 months and it really has made a difference to how I see, experience and meet each moment. I am more content than I have ever been and feel deeply connected to all of life.

With the days getting a little warmer and the wattle and blossoms beckoning, I feel a gentle pull to look outward again, to become more active, start planning and looking forward.

I would love to share with you a beautiful sequence called the Goddess Vinyasa. It’s beautifully warming, opening the upper body while strengthening the lower body. The combination of stability, movement and breath is wonderfully uplifting. You will feel great afterwards! Thanks to my friend Gina for the inspiration and recording below. As we approach Spring and the warmer weather, this would be lovely outdoors.

Goddess Vinyasa

With love,

G

Busyness robs us of the gift right in front of us

It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life. Rushing from one thing to the next, racing through life and feeling there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. I find myself at times saying “I’m super busy!”, as if being busy is a good thing; I’m being productive and contributing to life. What I am being is stressed, tired and disconnected.

“Busyness robs us of the gift right in front of us.”

One of the great things about being a yoga teacher is I practice and teach presence and mindfulness almost every day. When you practice doing just one thing at a time (such as breath awareness), you sharpen your ability to focus, pay attention and concentrate. When we practice one-pointedness, we are developing our ability to remain with a task for as long as it is necessary to accomplish a particular  goal. If we are to succeed in any endeavour, be it bringing an end to insomnia, anxiety, busyness, accomplishing a job at home or work, or awakening to our True Nature, the mind needs to possess the ability to remain one-pointed for as long as is necessary to accomplish our goal. The more you practice these skills, the easier they become and before you know it, you are more mindful in other aspects of your life. So when you become busy or rushed, you notice you are busy and when you notice you are busy you have an opportunity to make a choice. You can stay busy (and at times this is necessary and appropriate) or change your behaviour. We can choose also to be calm busy or chaos busy.

When we change our behaviour, the outcomes and consequences of our actions change too. I know this sounds simple and it is. The hardest part is noticing; being present enough to ask ourselves, “Is this behaviour or choice bringing me closer to contentment, happiness and peace or further from it?”

 

Tips for practising presence / mindfulness at home.

1. Do one thing at a time.one-pointedness

2. Eat slowly and mindfully (away from TV’s, computers and smart phones)

3. Focus on what can be done today. Think about tomorrow, tomorrow.

4. Plan your day before it begins. Ideally the night before or early morning.

 

Degrees of separation

This spring/summer I have decided to reduce the degrees of separation between the food I eat and it’s origin. Here is my plan –

1. I have bought a couple of wooden raised garden beds (1.4 metre square) and will plant some staples: lettuce, cucumber, carrot, cherry tomato, capsicum, coriander, beetroot, basil, oregano and rocket.  I plan to get busy next Sunday setting up the vegetable garden and buying the seedlings.

2. Go to farmers markets to source fresh, local produce that I don’t have in my garden.

3. Google some great recipes that includes the wonderful seasonal produce I have available.

About 3 weeks ago, I planted a few varieties of lettuce in an old wok of nanas. Here’s some I picked for dinner.

This is new territory for me, so wish me luck. I welcome any suggestions or advice from those more experienced in this area.

As an aside, as part of my Yoga Therapy certification, we were discussing nutrition last weekend. When you look up the definition of nutrition you will find a reference to food , you will also find this:

nutrition:that which nourishes“…..Webster Dictionary 1828 and “the act or process of nourishing“…Collins English Dictionary.

I think for most of us, when we consider nutrition we think FOOD. Yes, food does nourish us, but so do many other things. Consider the affect of these ‘primary foods’ – Love, hugs, touch, kisses, warmth, massage, meditation, fun, freedom, self-expression, tears, hot baths, nature, downtime, close friends, and play . These all feed our souls and our hunger for living (according to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition).

I look forward to nourishing my body, mind and spirit with loads of ‘primary food’ and wonderful prana rich food from my own garden and local farmers.

I am grateful for all the gifts that come my way.

With love

 

 

Earth connection……

It is easy to become disenchanted when our sense of stability is rocked to the very core. Fire, flood, earthquakes, cyclones and tsunamis have touched us all in some way in recent times. Events such as these bring up so many emotions: sadness, fear, disbelief but also faith, humility, compassion and hope. You may find it useful to consciously connect with the Earth energy through yoga postures such as child’s pose and tadasana, through warriors and tree poses. To reconnect and find the support and stability that you need at this moment.

In the words of Thich Nhat Hanh……

Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom.
Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Bring the Earth your love and happiness.
The Earth will be safe
when we feel safe in ourselves.

Namaste,

Gabrielle

Let your body sing……….

For a moment imagine the human body as a musical instrument, especially one of the Indian instruments like the Sitar or Sarangi, which have playing strings that are struck or bowed, and also have 40-odd strings which are never played but are sympathetic strings. When the playing strings are struck, they set up vibratory frequencies that begin to sound the finely tuned but un-struck sympathetic strings. These strings pick up the frequency and vibratory rates of the struck notes and begin to sound and create incredible overtones without being physically touched. It is this design that gives these instruments their unique and meditative sound.
The human organism has a similar design. In Yogic terms, we have the central pranic energy channel (shushmana) corresponding to the spinal column. To either side of it are the ida and pingala, the energies of the sun and moon. Think of these as the playing strings. These energy channels then connect with 72,000 nadis (energy channels) loosely corresponding to the nervous system, that extend throughout the body. Think of these as the sympathetic strings. Whatever we vibrate in shushmana begins to set up a sympathetic vibration in ida and pingala and throughout the nadis that transfer that vibration to all the cells of the body.
If we are conscious in our speech and what we are vibrating, we can choose mantra, harmonious communication, and musical sounds that elevate, heal, and balance us.