• Atman

    The Atman or Atma (IAST: Ātmā, sanskrit: आत्म‍ ) is a philosophical term used within Hinduism and Vedanta to identify the soul. It is one's true self (hence generally translated into English as 'Self') beyond identification with the phenomenal reality of worldly existence.
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  • deserve

    By heather | September 10, 2014

    “Expectations are the root of disappointment”
    I’ve come to despise this word – deserve.  As I study and practice yoga, we continually are taught non-attachment to outcomes.  In other words, if we give for the sake of giving without any expectation as to how the receiver will use or respond to the gift we are much happier.  In doing so, we respect the choices that others make, without judgement and without assuming that we know the best answer, the only path, the one way to do things.

    “Deserve” was recently used to manipulate me, as in the receiver deserved better than what I had given.  In my 20′s I would have taken this criticism to heart, lost night after night of sleep, searched for the perfect apology or response that would change this person’s mind and erase the hurt.  At almost 40 and with more than 15 years of yoga study, I can step back and acknowledge that other person’s disappointment, and acknowledge the way in which something was received has nothing to do with what I felt when giving.  Does it make me wary of future interactions?  Perhaps, and in that way I accept that I need additional practice in living for the moment and worrying less about the future.  Does it remind me that everyone has their own stuff to work through that has nothing to do with me?  Absolutely.  In the same way we’re all connected, we are all also subject to the whims of ego and it is the voice of ego that tells us happiness is found in taking what we deserve.

    Topics: Uncategorized | No Comments »


    elusive sleep

    By heather | August 21, 2014

    For all the articles written about sleep there are few if any that address how to actually fall asleep. Everybody knows you are supposed to have a dark, cool room; stop using electronics for an hour before, avoid caffeine in the afternoon. This kind of article isn’t news and that’s not how to fall asleep.

    What would be great is to have some directions on what to do from when you lay down and shut off the light to sleep. Count sheep? Stare at the ceiling? Squish your eyes shut and hope you eventually drop off?

    I am a sucker for anything that hints at better sleep because I generally suck at it.  It’s amazing how bad I am at something that I have in theory been doing my whole life.  Most days I wake up more tired than when I went to bed. I often have trouble shutting down, I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep, or I wake up at that irritating time where it’s too late to go back to sleep but too early to be up.

    I started a meditation challenge and that helps.  Of course I’m not doing as much meditating as I am falling asleep.

    Someone told me about the acupressure mat and that’s probably the most obscure thing I’ve tried so far.  You lay on these pointed plastic things for however long and somehow this helps.  I will attest to this, perhaps it’s the focus on the discomfort that allows your brain to temporarily turn off everyday worries about what to make for dinner and how much you are screwing up the whole parenting thing.  I usually do fall asleep on it.  When I peel myself off though, my back lights up with pinpricks as the blood rushes around.  Not entirely  unpleasant but sometimes enough to wake me back up.

    I tried combining the meditation while I lay on the acupressure mat and the first time I did it, I had one of the best sleeps of my life.  I woke up refreshed, not stressed – in short, it was amazing.

    So of course the next night with the exact same set up, I was so excited for that deep restorative sleep that my brain wouldn’t shut down and it never came.  The light bothered me, the pointy mat was excruciating and I started to panic that the mediation wouldn’t last long enough for me to settle down. Expectations are the downfall.

    I’ve added a weighted eye pillow, socks, a blanket, and sometimes a heating pad all with the knowledge that if I ever have to sleep anywhere else I’m going to need a separate suitcase just for my props.  But even to me, the amount of preparation is starting to seem a little silly.

    I’ll keep doing it though, at least until I’ve caught up on the last 10 years.

    Topics: deep thoughts...or not | No Comments »


    on balance

    By heather | August 18, 2014

    It occurred to me this weekend that I am not very good at balancing. Work life balance has always been a buzzword at most of the companies I’ve worked for, but I think to find a work-life balance you need to be able to seamlessly transition between the different segments in your life.

    It sounds pretty obvious – when you’re at work you focus on work, at home you focus on family and personal stuff – and you try to balance the amount you spend on each to a degree that is comfortable and necessary.

    But what if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t transition well?

    I don’t transition well. I generally am very organized and have a hard time switching between tasks. If I left something undone at work, it’s hard for me to fully focus on home stuff. Or I’m doing it, but I’m cranky about it, not for any real reason just that constant availability seems to be the cultural norm and I feel lacking if I’m not instantly responding. This is an internal pressure that I put on myself. Non-organization makes me irritated.

    On the yoga practice side, I’ve been struggling with handstand for what seems like years now. Of course, practicing it only every once in a while isn’t going to move things along very quickly, so there’s that. For the last few months I’ve been practicing nearly every day, and so was starting to feel frustrated that it wasn’t better. I have a happy kick-up and hold using a wall, but when I try away from a wall my brain shuts down and I kick like a donkey with no upward progress. Fear-based, because I’m so used to having the wall to catch me.

    I decided yesterday that I was going to practice on the edge of the pool. No wall to catch me, but in theory less chance of an injury falling into water. I’ve been thinking about this all summer and finally set aside excuses (don’t want to get my hair wet, don’t want to give the kids any ideas, just don’t want to…) and I did it. What I learned from this is that I’m not that much better at handstand without the wall but more importantly – I KNOW HOW TO FALL. I’ve always known that instead of flopping over onto your head, you are supposed to just fall out to the side like an awkward cartwheel. And I did. Instinctually.

    There is a metaphor in here somewhere.

    Back to balancing. Always a work in progress, and sometimes falling but usually the fall isn’t the worst case scenario.

    I was talking about this with a friend and how I think work-life balance is only a valid solution for those who transition completely and without anxiety on short notice. She suggested that instead of a balance – answering an email while cooking dinner – that compartmentalizing could be the thing that saves my sanity. Literally opening and closing file cabinets in my mind or having a physical cue that signals the end of one and the beginning of another. I like this idea, just now need to figure out how to do it in a way that works.

    The somewhat obvious revelation about my reaction to transition came to me last night after all those handstands that I fell out of. Yet another reason to keep striving for balance, at least in the literal sense.

    Topics: deep thoughts...or not, yoga | No Comments »



    By heather | June 17, 2013

    Topics: Uncategorized | No Comments »

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