I am just going to be completely transparent here. I have had this blogpost all mapped out in my mind for a day or two, and it was forming several days before that, running around in little sparks within the lobes of my brain…an inspirational message to coincide with the new year beginning, and including things that I love: Scripture, yoga, healthy food…etc…
…and Life Happens…and maybe we don’t get to the blogpost as quickly as we hope, but at least we get there…but maybe more importantly, in between the time that one has formulated their oh-so-inspirational message and the time that it gets typed, life happens in such a way as to make them think, “who am I to write an inspirational message?” I am human and flawed. I make mistakes. I get into arguments. I get judgmental. I have my heart get hurt. I hurt someone else’s. These things happen in a normal, human life, even when we have chosen day after day to strive to live a life of freedom and balance and never hurt anyone else or do anything stupid. It can cause one to think, “is it hypocritical of me to type out this ‘oh-so-inspirational’ message, when I have surely already done or experienced a few less-than-inspiring things today?”
Yes. And no.
It is why we all need fresh starts. Why we needed a Savior in the first place. HIS message never changes. He tells us in His Word that hope never fails. (Romans 5:5 Amp) I, for one, am thankful for the reminder and the assurance!
I could receive a thousand and one affirmations and confirmations from God that I am on the right track (and I have), and STILL I can stumble somewhere minute along the way (and I do/did)…
But like I have said and heard many times, He can use my mess to bring a message…and while this particular message was already planned out, isn’t it funny how it has been punctuated by life events?….
20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. Phillipians 1:20 NIV
Are there any areas of your life that you struggle to yield to Jesus? It’s ok, you can admit it. I am not actually there listening…but He is…and guess what?— He already knows. It will be a relief to lay it down before Him, I promise. There is nothing so funny/overwhelming/relieving as working yourself up to tell someone something big only to have them respond that they knew and they are ok with it, or even approve! (Human life example: calling home my freshman year of college to tell my parents that I was switching my major from Music Education/Therapy to Music Performance…they saw it coming, with approval, long before I did.) I promise you, He will approve. And if it is something you need help with, He will show you the way.
Maybe you are not struggling with anything, though…maybe you are actually just filled with hope about the new things He is doing in your life…AWESOME. I love that, too. I am in that place as well…and are you so excited to see what happens next?!?
Through your faithful prayers and the generous response of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, everything he wants to do in and through me will be done. I can hardly wait to continue on my course. I don’t expect to be embarrassed in the least. Philippians 1:20 The Message
I also love this…
The thing we have to do in either case listed above (or quite frankly, any case we find ourselves in) is CENTER. Center ourselves in Him, center ourselves physically. Stop. Listen. Breathe. Focus. Keep to the point. Keep to the purpose…no distractions…(or at least, take our focus AWAY from them for a time, and as much time as we can!)
We can do that spiritually AND physically. I believe and know that everything has 2 layers: Spiritual and Physical. Whether you realize it or not, it is true. We ourselves are physical beings and spiritual beings. For Christians, we know the Word is both a guidebook and the Living Word.
So, I’d like to share a little about Child’s Pose in this post. Stuff I have known for awhile, but stuff that comes home to me ANYTIME I actually sit in Child’s pose and just breathe. just sit. just listen.
In the first picture (at the top of the post), you see someone in child’s pose on a bed. I picked that one because I often do that! As I begin my devotional time, I like to bow before my Lord and pray to prepare to receive whatever He has in store…Now, I don’t always do that, but I have to say, the times where I am just sitting upright with closed eyes just don’t feel right to me anymore, so lately some sort of folding forward humbly is the only way I like to start…and you know what? He does tell us to come like a child…=-)
Anyway, in that first picture, you see the girl’s arms are reaching forward, whereas in the second picture, the arms are back. Both ways are great. (One of the wonderful things about yoga, it meets you where YOU are…just like God…) So, if you are feeling any shoulder tension, the second picture is the way to go. Being someone who tends to hold stress in her shoulders, guess which way I often choose? Or, I do the first version with bent arms and am conscious to relax my shoulders away from my ears.
Child’s pose can be a relaxation pose between vigorous yoga flows, or, by adding a focus on the breath, it can become an active pose. It is most certainly a centering pose. Just being still, breathing, and listening…maybe praying…a great pose for encouraging an opportunity to focus, if you find your mind and your life getting too distracting!
Physically, it stretches the lower body gently; think ankles, thighs, hips and low back. It can be practiced with knees together as above, or knees apart:
There are certain contraindications, or “issues in your tissues” which might cause you to choose a gentler form of Child’s Pose, or not choose it all! It is not the most fun with certain tummy ailments, but it can be a help with nausea, depending (again, yoga meets you where you are. This attention on focus also means really listening to your body…if it seems like your body is saying “this is a very bad idea”, go with that thought. Don’t panic, just come out of whatever pose you are in gently and gracefully–physically AND mentally. No judgement. Just adjustment.).
Ankle, hip, or knee injuries or inflexibility (we all start somewhere) may want to choose a modification with props to ease the tightness or give more support and release. (I often say the stronger yogi is not the one who doesn’t use props, but the one who DOES…they have let their ego go and know what feels the most delicious!)
(And sometimes it is not about flexibility, but how you were anatomically created…some poses will never work for some bodies, and that is ok!)
I mentioned Child’s Pose for relaxation above…one of my own personal favorite ways to get into Child’s Pose is by using a pillow or bolster beneath me. I like to either turn my head as these ladies are demonstrating, or situate myself far enough forward that I can rest my forehead on a neck pillow just in front of the bolster…
Another way we physically bring about focus is in our intentions. I know that at this time of year a lot of people are going on a diet…or, I hope, choosing a healthy diet lifestyle, meaning being intentional about what we put into our bodies—physical,mental,and emotional– on a regular basis (NOT going on some fad diet or deprivation diet).
And guess what? I am not going to write a blog post about cleansing or dieting! Nope. I would imagine you have seen plenty of those already…instead, I am just going to talk a little (very little, in fact) about one food that I enjoy which has protein, fiber, nutrients, carbs (the good kind) and is even detoxifying…They are even green, so I suspect they must have some kind of chlorophyll; major score there!
Drum roll, please….
You can eat them as beans, you can eat them as sprouts, and they are used in a myriad of other ways as well…(I know, it’s wikepedia. Take it with a grain of sea salt.)
Since beans in general can be a strain on the digestive system, depending on the person I suppose, I like to soak dry beans for quite awhile first (soaking and sprouting also tend to make more nutrients active or bioavaiable in nuts and beans, just fyi),
and then cook them in a saucepan with a sheet of Kombu (a seaweed which helps to tenderize them).
Now, I don’t know if it is just a Southern thing at New Year’s holiday time, or if it is all over the country, but in my family, you cannot begin a new year without black-eyed peas. My husband is not a fan. He can just tolerate them in my Mom’s Hoppin’ John dish. We were not spending New Year’s with her, however, so I made some Mung Beans for myself to take the place of the obligatory Black Eyed Pea. They taste fairly similar to me, or at least enough. (Mom will probably say I am doomed to bad luck this year…luckily, I know my God is bigger than that!) So, I guess you could say I have started my year with a bit of green, detoxifying luck…doused with a bit of mustard or ketchup or cranberry salsa; yum!
(Another yummy way to use mung beans is in an Indian dish called Kitchari, which depending on how you fix it, can be very balancing. I made some last fall and blogged about it: https://robynlooksup.wordpress.com/2011/09/16/fall-real-you-or-real-frayed-italian-noses-and-frazzles/ )
My prayer for you is that this year in 2012, you are able to focus. You are able to center. You are able to ignore the distractions and do what you are called to do, and remain balanced along the way! Whatever your goal may be, looking neither to the left nor right, but zinging in on your true purpose and letting all the yucky –whether past or present– fall away as you move forward. I pray you know the One who loves you, and you let Him lead you. I pray you have Peaceful Purpose and Purposeful Peace…
You have before you the chance and choice to live the life you are called to…May you embrace it with a full, two arm hug!!! You have a win-win possibility, you know!
Alive, I’m Christ’s messenger; dead, I’m his bounty. Life versus even more life! I can’t lose. Phillipians 1:21 The Message