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Reflection and Renewal based in Self Compassion.

26 Jan

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In the theme of reflecting on the New Year I started an activity inspired by Giselle Theriault and Drew Dudley. Last year I went to a 3-hour yoga event that granted myself time to review the past year and write intentions for the upcoming year. This gathering allowed me to define what I desired for the following year and giving me clarity to identify and seize these opportunities when they arise.

It’s like going to the grocery store with a shopping list. You are able to easily define what you are looking for, and get those things in your shopping cart!

These reflections and renewal exercises come in four parts, reflecting on the past, renewing desires for the future, putting action to events you want to accomplish, and putting action to emotions you want to cultivate.

Part One- Reflecting on the Past

I first started to review the year that had past. Thinking of all the things that had happened in the span of a year. I thought about the courses I completed, graduating from yoga teacher training, conferences I attended, vacations I enjoyed, jobs I started, and jobs I ended. Some points were stressful, other points were joyful, but in the end everything worked out.

Side note: There was a study done on students who were applying to different universities. The researcher would ask which university they wanted to attend more, and checked back in from time to time to see what actually happened and what their reaction was. Throughout the study the research found that no matter what university the student entered, the one they wanted or the one they didn’t want or if they didn’t get into any universities at all, 6 months after the choice was made, the participant felt happy about the situation they were in.

Which makes me want to give a high five to the power of being adaptable in situations and learning how to make the most of it. Making decisions can be hard, and there are many different tactics on how to go about it. You can read my other blog on making choices here. Reflecting on my year, I am proud of the lessons I learned, and so grateful to know in the darkest of my moments there was always a light that sparked a way.

Part Two- Renewing desires for the future.

The next phase of the activity, I asked myself what I wanted to let in for 2015. I wrote down things I wanted to accomplish like blogging, reading books, teaching yoga, meditating, facilitating Spoons workshops, and completing my website for Spoons. Intermingled in this list were emotions I wanted to cultivate. Emotions like joy, faith, confidence, compassion, humour, and presence. Similar to a blog I previously wrote about the divide between who I was being and what I was doing, I noticed the theme of the two divides were there.

I wonder if a better question to “What did you do today?” would be “How were you being today?” Putting the focus on how we were being with ourselves and others in the present moment, rather than the activities we accomplished.

Part Three: Putting action to events you want to accomplish

 

I took another crisp clean white paper and folded it in two. On the top of one side I wrote Event, and the other I wrote Action to Support.

Event Action to Support
Reading/Writing Reading each week for 30 minutes/writing a blog each week
Yoga Doing yoga 5 times a week
Meditation Meditating for 20 minutes a day

By doing this exercise I was able to take my desired accomplishment, break it down into an action that I could commit to. I gave myself a simple step that described the action needed for supporting the event I wanted to accomplish.

If you are interested in taking this further, I would suggest reading Danielle Laporte’s book, the Desire Map, which talks about asking yourself what emotions you want to feel by accomplishing your goals.

For example; my desired feelings are peace, presence, and joy; thus, I am pursuing goals that include meditation, yoga, reading, and writing. These types of practices help to ground goals into something that has a stronger purpose, a stronger “Why” for why you should stick to this goal. This also allows you to be aware if the goal you are making is not actually getting you the emotion you desire, and it allows you to see a different route you can take to accomplish this desired feeling. Really interesting! Check out her book to learn more. Also check out Simon Sinek for the power of why!

If you are interested in taking this one step further, print out a calendar, write out the events you want to accomplish, make a start date and an end date and track progress on your goals. Please be compassionate with yourself through this journey. There are days when you will do everything on the list and days when you do nothing. But in the end, please be gentle, change takes time, and mastery is in the practice. The most important thing is that you are loving yourself as you are, and as who you are becoming. If you could wake up each day with words of love and support towards yourself, thinking about things you are grateful for in your life, that would be beautiful. Check out this amazing Ted Talk for the power of finding happiness in our present situation.

Part Four: Putting action to emotions you want to accomplish

This event is pretty similar to the Part Three. I folded a lovely white sheet of paper in two, wrote the emotions I wanted to accomplish on the left hand side and what actions I was going to do to support this emotion on the right. I wrote things like:

Emotion Action to Support
Laughter and Joy Smiling, and finding/creating moments of play.
Faith Being aware of thoughts of doubt and switching them to thoughts of faith. And journaling to be aware of these thoughts.
Compassion Meditating on Loving Kindness, and reducing stress in my life.

From here I did two things, one, on the same calendar I had before I decided I wanted to focus on one emotion for two weeks, instead of trying to cultivate all the emotions at once.

I suggest focusing one at a time, and if two weeks is too short or too long for you, change the length for something that works for your soul and wellbeing.

The last activity I did, as inspired by Drew Dudley. Was to write out questions that if I answered them, I knew I was supporting that emotion I wanted to cultivate.

Emotion Question to support
Laughter and Joy Did I smile today? Did I find time to play? Did I make a joke? Did I find humour in a hard situation? Did I dance?
Faith Did I pray today? Do I trust in the process? Do I believe in myself and my abilities? Do I know I can overcome obstacles that come my way? Do I believe that the universe is here to support me?
Compassion Was I kind to myself? Was I kind to others? Did I help someone in need? Did I listen without judgement? Did I compliment someone?

In Drew’s method, he creates alarms on his phone and writes the question in the alarm label part of his phone, so that every three or four hours his phone goes off to remind himself of the emotion/value he wants to cultivate. In that moment when the alarm goes off with the question posted on his phone, it brings him awareness of the habits/thoughts he is supporting.

Another idea would be to have these questions posted on your bathroom mirror, or put them in your journal to reflect upon before bed. Which ever works best for yourself. As we are all individuals, try different situations out and see what works best for you.

The exercise really helped me to reflect on all the things I was doing and the growing interest to explore who I was being. It also presented me with some clarity of what I wanted to focus on.

Living in Toronto and being surrounded by innovators and entrepreneurs, the amount of causes to get attached to are endless. This process helped me identify the projects I want to pursue for the long term, and create well balance schedule that supports peace, presence, and joy. My mantra has been, I can’t do everything right now, but I choose a small number of things to do really well.

Throughout the journey of self-improvement and exploration, please be gentle. One cannot pull on a plant’s leaves to grow, instead it takes a healthy curiosity, self-compassion, and perseverance to create change.

But I believe in you. =)

If you have a reflection process that you enjoyed,  please leave it in the comments below! Would love to hear from you!

The Launching of Spoons!

29 May

ImageFor the past couple of months I have been working on a project called Spoons with support and help from so many people.

All of you know who you are and I give a big thank you! 

Why is it called Spoons? Because Spoons come in all different shapes and sizes, and each has the ability to cradle as well as be cradled. 

Spoons is a program where people with different physical and/or mental abilities come together to explore the path of wellness together. Together the group explores what it means to be alive. Finding out tools like meditation, breathing, positive psychology, philosophy, and wellness articles/books/videos.

Workshops will be held at 519 Church Street from 1-3 pm $15 a session, limited to 15 people. 

RSVP to moksmith@gmail.com 

Sunday July 13: Foundations: Who am I? What are my Strengths and Values?

Sunday July 27: Relationship with the Self: Creating purpose, courage, and healthy lifestyles.  

Sunday August 17: Relationship with Others: Non-violent communication and dealing with difficult people. 

Sunday August 31: Relationship with the Other: Cultivating loving kindness, gratitude, and presence. 

This is not a group for one on one counseling, or for people trying to overcome severe mental challenges. If an issue comes up that is above our means as a group, I will support this person any way I can, and offer to refer them to trained professionals that can effectively support the person in this time of need. I am not a psychologist, but I am passionate about enabling others to achieve a healthy body, mind, and spirit.

Through my education as a yoga instructor, my connection with people who have different abilities, my university education in Health and Society, and my personal path of wellness, I hope to be able to facilitate a group where people feel empowered, supported, and valued.

If you have any questions, please let me know, I would be happy to answer them! 

The Time Satan Stole my Phone

21 Mar

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One day, a friend of mine and I were sitting on steps to a building late at night. Enjoying the summer night air and talking about the never ending and always interesting subject of boys (or men in some cases).

As the night wore on, and all the supportive phrases of “You deserve so much better” and “Hunny, he doesn’t know how good he has it”  were articulated, we were looking forward to a comfortable sleep from a cycle of venting and cheerleading.

Upon my arrival home, I realized I didn’t have my phone on me. I searched around the house, using my friend’s phone to call mine, I played the electronic version of hide and seek. I backtracked my steps to where we were last, but came up empty handed.

I put in one last call and the person on the other end in a deep voice said “Esta schubdt diegmbhf” and hung up the phone. Which pretty much means it was Satan, because who else talks in a deep voice backwards.

You got me this time Satan, but next time, I am going to have a voice recorder ready.

Introductions to Stories I Don’t Want to Forget.

21 Mar

The day I was born I was smuggled across a border, I grew up in a forest with imaginary friends, I rode a galloping horse while riding on my knees, I ran for Daffodil Princess, I played competitive soccer, I started a recycling movement, I have pooped my pants many times, one time Satan stole my phone, I have lived in 7 countries, I have traveled to 20 countries and sometimes I forget that I have done all that.

I find that because I have been to so many places and done so many things that the people that I met at certain points in my life, only know me as that person. To no fault of their own, they view only a slice of a person before them. This instant, this person that works a job, that eats this food, that does that activity, but has no clue about all the other slices of life that came before me.

It would be interesting to have all the people I know, in the different sections of my life to be together at one time, sharing stories about past adventures.

Which made me yearn to write down these stories in hopes that they can be remembered. So that when I am 80 and reflecting back, the memory is not hazy (though that may be better for some stories).

Thus the section of “Stories I Don’t Want to Forget” was born. Happy Birthday to you, new blog category.