Destroyed houses after the storm or a pile of wood? The path to true serenity in the chaos

Mind and soul

DSC_0156There’s a lot of change these days and I start to understand that change is becoming the new stability.

Some of these changes are so radical that what lies ahead is truly unknown. The crocodile mind freaks out and wants to run away in panic mode and hide.

When our fight or flight is turned on, there is nothing we can do. Our body shouts and we don’t see clearly inside our outside.

Remaining calm and relaxed in these very intense moments is an art and the greatest help is actually not rocket science:

  1. I have trained myself to detect the panic mode before it turns on. The art here is to notice the body reaction – everyone has his own: increased heart beat, sweating palms, stomach tensing, faster and increased thoughts, muscle tension.
  2. As soon as I have detected the upcoming flight or fight, I decide to disengage from any story that my mind builds. It is a decisive moment, a tipping point which when persistently tracked becomes clearer and clearer.
  3.  When I disengage, I watch my thoughts and body sensations as a pure story, a movie I do not want to take a part in. That’s the hardest part because our mind will enforce them: “are you nuts? This is no fiction, this is a total drama!!!!”. Many times I fall into the story but when I don’t give into the drama, then I am on the path to victory.
  4. From there I focus on the body and observe what is, breath deeply and let the rush pass. If the mind is disengaged, the body will relax and return to calm.

You will probably think this is too hard or that your drama is TRUE and not a fiction. I used to think this way and remember one thing: PERCEPTION IS REALITY.

The unknown is scary for as much as we dramatize it. If we trust we are held and that what is unfolding is just right for us, then we can open our arms and embrace what is coming.

I am stepping into a new life and much of this new world is so unknown that I can’t possibly grasp it and I have said to myself: don’t judge, walk with an open heart and trust that what you need to know will become clear just at the right time”.

This recipe has helped disengage from all the drama that sucked my energy and I continue to use it. There is of course another story: where does all the drama come from, why it is here? But that’s another story…

If you found this post useful, share it with friends and let me know!

With my gratitude.

What we take for granted: ode to the rain in these summer days

Mind and soul

IMG_2037It’s been raining non stop for a few days here in Zurich in the middle of what is Summer.

Sadness is creeping and trying to take control. But seriously, who said the Sun was the only attribute of a perfect summer?

Here are ten reasons we can enjoy a rainy summer:

  1. Rain moistures our skin
  2. Rain nourishes the soil which in turn gives us beautiful crop (not the GMO ones)
  3. Rain washes our thoughts away and calms the mind
  4. Rain feels really good on your face, try it
  5. Rain shows us how everything is impermanent and reminds us to hold on to nothing
  6. Rain softens our eyes so we can calm our gaze
  7. Rain in the summer offers a moment to self-reflect on our preconceived ideas
  8. Rain is water, the feminine principle, which we so much lack in our hectic lives. (if you don’t, please share your secret)
  9. Rain is the opportunity to open up to our fears. Try to embrace the rain instead of closing your body and hiding it.
  10. Rain is melodious. Listen to it in the forrest and watch the vivid Green of the trees go greener. Isn’t that magical?

The clarity in the foot: another look at the extreme

Random Sparks

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I haven’t paid much attention to my feet throughout my life. I guess you haven’t either, have you?

They were there and useful but I found them quite ugly. Then I used to twist my ankles quite often and then my feet would become a hassle.

Only when I started yoga, I started to pay attention to these irreverent extremities. Arching the foot, lifting and spreading the toes, grounding the soles. There started the beginning of a  love relationship with my feet.

Who said they were ugly? They were actually quite nice and the more flexible they were becoming, the more space they took and opened up.

This morning downward dog started with sending awareness in the feet and something magical happened.

I realized that the feet are nothing more than awareness. We call them feet, like we label everything else to function in this world but what are they really?

A continuation of the energy flow in my body and suddenly it wasn’t clear anymore where my feet were starting – just there yet not there.

Try it out, take a downward dog yourself and send your attention to your feet. What do you notice? Not with your mind but with your heart’s eyes.

A beautiful realization and I fell in love with my feet.

After all, they are gently stroking Mother Earth, keeping me grounded and moving at any moment. Thank you, thank you beautiful feet.

I guess next, I will connect to my hands?

_MG_8673Thanks you Stephen Thomas for this beautiful yoga class.

 

Where it all starts: Mother Nature is within us

Mind and soul

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When I first moved to Switzerland, I lived by the Geneva lake close to the stunning hills of the Lavaux vineyards. There was something charming and bucolic for a Parisian to say I lived in the Nature but that’s about as much as I would accept to risk a nature adventure.

I considered hikers really boring people (apologies) and the Swiss pastures acceptable for the Sound of Music but that was it (and obviously I hadn’t wasted my time watching this boring movie – sic).

It was hard to settle in Switzerland and now I realize that what was actually going on had nothing to do with the hikers nor the Swiss alps. The real problem was that deep down I was craving to connect to the original feminine, to Mother Nature: dark, wild, moist, fearless. My life of performance, achievements, constant activities and travel was certainly the masculine side of me but my feminine side was perishing. What I would have really needed is a meditative retreat in a dark jungle and all that my mind could take me to at this time was a postcard scenery, manicured and polished – and even that, I could not connect with!

A few years later and many hours spent peeling the onion, I feel it is now time to open the doors to the sacred feminine!

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Luckily, there is more to Switzerland than domesticated nature and it is now high time to make peace within and welcome back Mother Nature in my life. Thank you Mother Nature for your support each and every day, without judgment.

Let go! The word won’t turn upside down. Here’s a great definition of Aparigraha

Leadership and skills, Mind and soul

IMG_0168It’s a few weeks that I am looking for the right resonance in words with the concept of Aparigraha- non possessiveness, non hoarding. I heard this word a few years ago for the first time in an Anusara yoga class and ever since, I just love it!

Try it out: say it loud within your heart and then out and louder and louder. Don’t you get happy just by saying this word? Ok, I do!

So what does it mean? Here is the definition I found today on the Voice of the Vedas which I really like:

Live simply. To live in aparigraha is to strip your life down to its essentials. At the material level, the secret of optimized living is to use your resources efficiently, so that you achieve maximum results with minimum expenditure. When you live with minimal resources, you automatically learn to operate at peak performance. At the mental level, aparigraha is the courage to live with minimum beliefs or preconceptions. Only the courageous can live without beliefs, because it means that you will have to contact life every moment as it happens. At the spiritual level, aparigraha means living with no other support than the Divine. Obviously, this does not mean you will give up your job or your family. Aparigraha only means that you will live life with simplicity, discipline and tremendous internal freedom.

Aparigraha!  Let go and have fun.

It really is like this: Our beliefs are our reality

Mind and soul

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I have had a lot of physical pain lately, stuck in the body, unable to see beyond. My mind wandering like a hunter in chase for reasons, explanations, root causes. Why? Why?

I noticed how much the “why?” surrounds me. My whole world likes explanation, rationalization, root cause analysis. As if we actually feel better after we have explained “why?”. Is it so?

I don’t think so actually. I believed everything happened for a reason meant I needed to find the reason and all would be well.

What I realize now it actually means is that everything is related, let go of reasons, let go of answers. There are no questions. Just be.

I am curious to see what happens around me as I shift. Will the people around me change? Will they leave my life because they want to hold to their “why?” story?

Let’s see…

I would like to be coal in the palm of her hands

Mind and soul, relationships

_MG_8673Giving all we have with all our soul and body so that our work and the result of our work are in perfect harmony with everything around and within us.

Click on this picture and just imagine being the coal on the palm of her hands.

This is the perfect way to finish-off a good day isn’t it? She gave me an amazing feeling of unity and synchronicity. Thank you Heather Hansen.

The brilliant mind and the dancer

Mind and soul

IMG_9634Not too long ago, I didn’t regard any higher authority than a brilliant mind. After all, I was raised as a French girl and there are two key pillars in our education:

  1. Descartes‘ rational genius: Cogito Ergo Sum (which we obviously had to learn and quote in latin)
  2. Pascal‘s safe bet about God’s existence (which I regarded as a proof of religions weaknesses).

Everything in my life was ordered around the conceptual mind. Concept, strategy, ideas were my favorite words.

About 15 years ago, I started dancing flamenco after work and what raptured my mind was of course the exactitude of the steps rhythmically falling on the guitar notes and the perfection of the  body movement enhancing the drama. I was a dancer and after a few years of practice I managed to reach a point where I no longer had to count the tiempos and contratiempos and could really enjoy letting go in the dance. Sometimes.

As much as I was striving to feel the complete harmony between guitar, dance and cante, I had not realized that my approach was mostly intellectual. I was the dancer and exactly what I was looking for was not going to happen this way.

What I was missing is to genuinely let go of the conceptual mind. I recently found my answer: we are not dancers, we are the dance. The Dancer is life itself and letting go to its choreography and style is all we have to do.

Slowly slowly, I become familiar with this fundamental truth and imagine how the world would be if everyone could live by this. An amazing symphony.

But that is already conceptualization again…

Are you procrastinating your life? or enjoying the sparks of desire?

Mind and soul

Life is here and now, no time else, nowhere else. What about our desires? What I want now and don’t have yet.

That new roaring car, that sparkling dress or these mesmerizing high heels. Objects of Desire.

We fantasize that our life will be so much more beautiful when we have put our hands on them. Buying is such a commonly accepted activity that we actually do not think so far any longer. We just automatically expect a new acquisition to give us joy. We think it is the case because we liven up at the idea of having them, so it must be good right?

There is nothing wrong with enjoying beautiful objects, still there is a twist of the mind that we need to be careful of.

When our mind wants the object of its desire, we believe by association our happiness is the result of getting this object. When we live in this way, we are constantly in the future instead of enjoying simply what is now. We procrastinate our life by jumping from one desire to the next instead of enjoying what is now.

But I still believe that desire is the engine of life so I don’t mean that we need to suppress our desires.  Where we often get it wrong is in the confusion of desire itself with the object of desire. Desire itself is an aspiration, a burst of joy. When we become blind by the object, we completely lose the connection to the joy and instead we settle in a restless quest.

In the end, it is not whether we acquire the objects of our desire or not. It’s about how conscious we are of what is at stake here. It is a simple choice: enjoy the movement of desire and stay free of the object itself  or procrastinate our lives by only thinking that the object of desire matters more than desire itself.

Next time you feel this movement, simply stay with it and disconnect from the urge to acquire the object. Maybe something sparkling will happen! Just try…