Archive of ‘buddhism’ category

Staying with Pain and the Uniting Force that it is.

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I call this painting “Teenage Angst.”

I posted it on my Facebook wall the other day and received comments and emails to the likes of “That was so me in high school,” and “Wow, I dated that girl,” and “That’s a spitting image of my own teenager…”

Everyone knows Teenage Angst – many of us carry it right into adulthood.

However, as we become older and wiser, we have opportunities to become more skilled in learning how to navigate angst. Ultimately, the best way to work with it, is to stay with it.

Learning how “be” with our pain is essential to compassionate awakening. But it’s a case of the hardest thing being the best thing.

Our instinct is to run—to be anywhere but here—but “here” is where truth and freedom live.

Pema says it best:

“To stay with that shakiness—to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge—that is the path of true awakening. Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic—this is the spiritual path.” ~ Pema Chodron

Learning to stay with emotion is tricky business. But with practice, it gets easier.

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Breaking our Habitual Thoughts and Emotional Patterns – Working with our Shempas

For me, breaking my habitual patterns has been excruciatingly difficult. But with patience and practice, it’s often possible. Here I share some of the tools that have been most helpful for me in attaining a bit of Prajna; a clear seeing of what is really happening, which is the most crucial piece when looking to break patterns.

With a focus on how to get unstuck from our shempas, and bring awareness to our habitual reactions, I also share a 4-step technique Pema Chodron has offered called the 4 R’s.

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What to Do When You Can’t Get It Right (Life, Love Or That Damn Yoga Pose)

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As a “recovering” perfectionist, failure has always been difficult for me. Be it a job interview, a relationship or getting into those skinny jeans, I’ve often struggled with getting “okay” with what I can’t get right.

I began doing yoga 20 years ago. I fell in love with it immediately. After spending my teenage years enduring the Jane Fonda workout and doing hardcore aerobics that wrecked my knees, Yoga was bliss for my body.

At that time, there was only one yoga studio in the city; that small warehouse space was my haven. Aside from loving the dance and meditation of Ashtanga practice, there was something else I liked: I was good at it. I was the one in the front row who could achieve every pose with ease.

Then, life happened. I got busy and didn’t have time to get to class, so I did my asana practice at home. And by the time I returned to studio classes (at which point they had opened on just about every corner) I had acquired injuries that had affected my practice and was far less flexible. Oh, the joy of aging.

Suddenly, I was not the one in the front and center. I was closer to the back and kind of off to the side. And to boot, everyone in class seemed to be able to do that damn Sirsha-asana (headstand) pose except for me. Cause Yoga is a competition, don’tchya know?

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Beautifully Organic for Life Interview with Tamara Levitt About her Book and Purpose

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Tamara, please tell us about your wonderful company Begin within Productions and how your latest project, the children’s book ~ Happiness Doesn’t come from Headstands~ has been born out of this creation?

My intention in creating Begin Within was to create a space in which to share the tools, techniques, and teachings that have assisted and continue to assist me on own personal path.

I have been writing, illustrating and producing books in which to support others to find the calm within the chaos – at times, a difficult feat. I’ve primarily been developing properties designed to nurture children’s growth, enhancing their emotional intelligence. Children today face daily challenges as they navigate a rapidly changing world. Begin Within offers the support and education to children and educators to inspire their inner transformation.

Happiness Doesn’t come from Headstands is a modern day story about the search for happiness, and one girl’s discovery that even in the face of failure, peace can be found. It’s the first book in a series called Lyle and Leela that was designed to help kids navigate the complex world of today.

Your business message is how to find the calm within the chaos. What does this mean to you and how might we achieve this day to day?

In my own life, I’ve worked hard to deepen my own self-awareness and equanimity as a woman.

To me, finding the calm within the chaos involves deepening awareness and cultivating equanimity. It’s about enhancing self-acceptance, self-compassion and honoring ones limitations and experiences. These are some of the ways to find peace in this roller coaster of a world that we live in and some of the themes of Happiness Doesn’t come from Headstands.

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