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Blog

Where is your mind right now? Without judging the findings, chances are you may have been thinking about something in the future or trying to resolve something from the past. 

We are hard-wired to scan for problems and threats. Research shows that we spend about 50% of our waking hours in this state of mind called the default mode network. 

There is another way though and that is with mindfulness; being present to more moments of your day without judgmentas you live them. Is this a day that you can tip the scales and be present more than 50% of the time to what is happening, as it is happening?? You may be surprised with how wonderful it feels to live more of your moments fully.

Angela Mazur

Reflections while on vacation

Do you fantasize about when your next vacation will arrive? Perhaps you have done all the research to find the perfect rental, the perfect sight -seeing agenda, the perfect restaurants etc. etc. All of this planning is done by the thinking mind, right? 

Then it is time to board the plane or get in the car and start your adventure! I wonder how many of us realize the perfect vacation? I dare say, probably none of us.  There may be perfect moments but in the grand scheme of things, like life itself, there will be moments of too much sun, not enough sun, too cold, too hot, too buggy. You get the drift…

So here I am writing from Jekyll Island. I took a plane to get here. Of course I did all the planning for my perfect adventure. Has it been perfect? Not at all. Have I had moments of sheer wonder, absolutely!! I have relearned how it is important to let go of how I thought it would be and be present for what it is…

So for today, I will open to the natural world around me. We are biking to Zachary’s Riverhouse restaurant for lunch. The bike paths on the island are glorious. Large live oak trees with moss dripping off their branches canopy the north side paths. The Jekyll River is off to the  right and sightings of osprey and other shore birds are a common site. My intention is to be present for  each moment instead of getting ahead of myself for the rest of the moments to live today. It will be good practice for how I want to live my life in general. 


Angela Mazur

Opening the heart chakra to the beauty around us!!

Last Sunday, Angela and I had the pleasure of leading a Let Your Yoga Dance/Meditation workshop at Yoga From The Heart in West Hartford Center. The eight women who joined us got right into the experience. As we danced our way up through our seven energy centers, (the chakras), the group’s energy became more vibrant, connected and alive. Midway through our Let Your Yoga Dance portion, I taught movements to this Native American chant called Beauty Chant. The chant goes like this:

Beauty before me— We raised our hands up as we all walked into the circle.

Beauty behind me— We walked backwards with our hands pointing to the back of the space.

Beauty beneath me— We bent our knees and pointed to the earth.

Beauty above—-   We stretched out our arms and raised them towards the heavens.

Beauty beside me— We reached our right then left arm out to the sides.

And all around me—— We circled our arms around our hearts.

Beauty encircles me with love— We reached around our bodies with both arms sweeping in wide circles.

This lovely song and powerful, heart-filled movement continued for several rounds. At the music bridge, we all danced our beauty to one another and offered our heart-filled energy to the wider world.

It was a powerful dance of whole-hearted communion with one another. We had never met as a group before. It always amazes me how the Let Your Yoga Dance experiences can cut through shyness, resistance and join previous strangers in an intimate moving expression of love. 

Do you have a song that springs your heart open? Perhaps this is something you want to play more often. Perhaps you can find a dance movement to go along with this piece of music to further celebrate its enjoyment. May you dance like nobody is watching!!


Angela Mazur

The magic of Cape Cod!


As soon as we made our way over the Buzzard’s Bay canal, I could feel my muscles release some tension as I prepared myself for the first delicious inhalation of salty air. My senses come alive when I visit Cape Cod! Memories of childhood summers accompany the myriad ways my senses absorb the goodness of this special place. 

We bundled up yesterday afternoon and carefully made our way down the steep sand embankment to walk along the ocean’s shoreline. No one was around:  no brave surfers fully geared in their black wet suits that resemble sleek seals, no seals, no sea gulls. We were graced with the sight and sound of the waves curling into the shore. It was just beyond high tide so we had to scramble farther up to the dunes’ edge to miss being soaked by the oncoming waves. 

After this walk and  an afternoon of relaxation, I felt moved to be present for the sun’s descent. No one was around as I trudged through clumps of piled up seagrass and around wide puddles with their inky surface. Rounding the sandy lane, the thin line of beach came into view. What struck me was how still the waters were. I had to make my way closer to the solo canoe to find the right angle to snap my picture. Luckily for me, my hiking boots withstood the thick, mucky terrain. After taking numerous shots, I put away my iPhone and just absorbed the surroundings… breath-taking and etched in my mind, I said a small prayer of thanks for being able to enjoy this winter scene that is so different from the winter scenes at home. 






Angela Mazur

WINTER’S THAW

Two days ago, the weather in our area was cold and blustery. Despite the freezing temperatures, my body craved being in the fresh outdoors. I spent some time walking the paths at a local golf course. My pace was quick in an attempt to keep the chill from settling into my bones. As I came down a hill, I noticed a group of youngsters barreling down a bigger hill in the distance. Their shouts of joy were discernible. I marveled that for them this winter day held the magic of careening down a slick carpet of white snow. I could only imagine that they weren’t fretting about how cold it was. I bet they didn’t even register the cold. For them, the thrill of the next slide down the slippery hill was holding all of their attention. 

Today, I walked the same golf course. It was a totally different landscape. First of all, most of the snow was replaced by large puddles of water. I had to navigate carefully around the pooling water. At one point, I decided it was best to just walk through the water hoping it wouldn’t go over the lip of my hiking boots. No children were present. Puddles of water somehow don’t hold the same appeal as snowy surfaces do. 

Anyway, it all reminded me of how everything is always changing! For some of us, this is a difficult concept to accept. When things are going well in our lives, we want to push the pause button and have things stay the same. I would bet we would tire of things always being just right. It wouldn’t give a comparison to the times of challenge. Take today for instance.  If every day was the perfect temperature, we would never get to experience the many nuances that Mother Nature delivers.

I am going to enjoy the rest of this night as I watch the sky turn its brilliant pinks and purples. I will look forward to one more day of winter thaw tomorrow. 


Angela Mazur

SITTING IN THE CENTER OF UNCERTAINTY

Transitions are part of life, but with the flux of change comes a mixture of turbulent thoughts, emotions and body sensations. Not such an easy place to live from. Pema Chodron, an American Buddhist nun, teaches us how to STAY present to the full gamut of inner experience. There is no amount of shopping, substance use or other distraction that can remedy the inner process of “riding the wave of experience”!! Are you staying present for what needs attention in your life? it is a tall order indeed. We live in a culture that touts the quick fix, better in a few days approach. The marketing gurus want us running to the nearest store to buy more stuff to fix us. A wiser approach is learning to lean into what is difficult and hold onto the steadiness of our breath. That is something we can count on. Breathing in, breathing out, allowing room for what is here. Now that is a much better approach to claim our lives instead of the elusive chase after the magic bullet. Learning to stay present is a skill. The more you practice being with what is arising within you and meeting it with kind attention, the more it becomes the familiar place to come home to.

Angela Mazur

A New Year starts off with a blessing!

My husband and I took our 11 year old dog Oscar for a romp at the local golf course this morning. It didn’t matter that the ground was saturated with water. We all needed to absorb the warmth of the sun from the unusually  high temperatures. Upon entering the paved golf cart path, we were met by an energetic 10 month old pup named Peanut along with her owner, Corey. Peanut took off like a shot and led Oscar on a roundabout game of “catch me if you can”! You can probably figure out what happened? Oscar quickly tuckered out and simply found a high perch on the lip of the sand trap to have a good view of Peanut circling around and around. It was so delightful to watch the pooches as they were completely in the moment enjoying the push and pull of being together. Meanwhile, Corey, Bill and I continued to walk along together as we dove deep into conversation. This was the first time we met this kind and gentle human being. It felt like three souls coming together to share insights, good conversation and sacred moments. A big shout out to Corey for his presence on our path this morning. Before we embarked on this walk, I was feeling the let down of all the holiday festivities and overall rather blue. Our chance meeting with this lovely man changed all that. We never know who we will meet on our path, who will help us break out of our funk, who will help reignite  the light inside. This morning was a blessing indeed. 

Angela Mazur

The gifts of breath

As you read this blog, I invite you to first take a pause, turn your attention towards the rhythm of your in-breath followed by your out-breath. Allow the flow of energy to be the focus of your attention. Like the gentle wave rolling into the shore, our breath provides an anchor of attention no matter what season, what circumstance, what frame of mind we find ourselves in. 

Isn’t this ability to breathe, to land, to feel engaged in this present moment one of the deepest gifts available?  We can’t find this at the mall or on any of the myriad online shopping sites. Sure, we are all enthralled with the trappings of the holiday season. The sparkly, colorful display of lights, the warmth and comfort of gathering with family, the traditions that have been passed from generation to generation. However, there is a quieter stillness that awaits our attention. I have been saved by my breath. Each day before my day begins, I take 30 minutes to meditate, to come into the quiet and ride the waves of my breath. Of any gift I may receive this season, my daily practice of focusing on my breath is by far the greatest gift of all.

May you discover or re-awaken the practice of coming home to your breath.

Angela Mazur

The holiday rush is upon us!!

Do you feel the momentum building? Even if you don’t celebrate, the increase of traffic, frantic energy and impatience is all around us! In this hectic time of holiday stress, our meditation practice can be a healthy place of refuge. I look forward to arising at 5 am so I have ample time to meditate and journal before my day begins. How about you? Where are you fitting in time to meditate or pause and breath in deeply for a few moments? When we create time to focus our attention within, it provides a chance to reclaim our anchor in this present moment. 

Happy Holidays everyone. May you keep coming home to your deep place of truth within. Let the light, the love and magic of this season radiate its goodness within you and around you!! 

Angela Mazur

Rolling with the tides

We are inching our way towards December 1st! My grandma got it right. I remember her commenting that as she got older, it seemed like time had a way of moving faster. Well folks, I am getting older and I can attest to the truth of grandma’s words… Whether or not you celebrate a season of light, we New Englanders are headed into the darkest and coldest time of year. Are you noticing that your energy is on the wane at night, that the idea of going out after 5 pm seems ludicrous? Despite the holiday season and all the hype that comes with it, we are still very much connected to the rhythms of the natural world where there is a tendency to slow down and pull in. Funny how the holidays don’t align with this biological need, right? How many of us are burning the midnight oil rushing around to get the decorations up, presents bought, packages sent out? 

So, how do we both roll with the tides of our biology and  with our customs and celebrations? This is where a mindful practice comes in! Taking pause daily to meditate is so beneficial, but especially so at this time of year. Meditation provides a new and steady rhythm to ride the waves of breath while noticing when the mind wanders and  then gently bringing  attention back to the breath. Meditation practice can be the best remedy for the holiday blues. 

How is your practice going? Could you take a pause each day and sit for maybe five or ten minutes? Start small but start. Angela and I have a variety of meditations on this website that can assist you in your practice. Let it be easy but do it no matter what. When it comes down to it, our meditation practice is the best gift we can give to ourselves during this holiday season and on any day of the year! Happy practicing!!

Angela Mazur

LIFE IS MESSY!!

As I drove around my neighborhood this morning, I witnessed Mother Nature’s full display of “Life is Messy”. Although the road surfaces were simply wet, the sides of the road were filled with heavy wet snow mixed together with brown leaves. I had to chuckle in realizing that even the changing seasons aren’t perfectly timed. Our street had been lined with pile upon pile of leaves waiting to be collected by our town highway department. The early storm that blew through here on Thursday really curtailed that plan. 

I guess the question is can we roll with the unexpected both around us and within us? Flexibility is key, don’t you think? I will be learning this lesson until I take my last breath. I come from a family of routines, plans, organization and seemingly “being in control” at all times!. As I became an adult decades ago, I could see behind this facade of thinking this kind of structure could keep bad things from happening. No amount of routine could keep family members from getting sick and passing away. No amount of structure could prevent other members falling into the grips of addiction. Truth be told, this morning scene is probably the greater teacher than all the teachings I received as a child. Its message is to expect the unexpected, learn to live with things in disarray and know that life goes on.

Angela Mazur

The oak seed

About five years ago or so, we had to make the difficult decision to take down our beloved, massive oak tree that had graced our backyard for decades. In the summer, its long, arching limbs provided much relief from the sun. We were able to enjoy our deck in the middle of a summer day since this special tree provided a canopy of shade. Our house temperature was cooler due to the relief provided by this towering tree. Unfortunately, it had to come down since   it had lost its structural integrity. I wasn’t home when the tree service arrived. I probably planned it this way since it was heartbreaking to say goodbye to this oak tree that had commanded such a presence in our yard and in our lives.

That next Spring when we began our typical tasks of cleaning up the back yard, we discovered the most pleasant surprise! A tiny tree sprout was popping through the ground. Upon further examination, we realized it was an oak sapling, probably a seed from our tree that had replanted itself!! As these past years have gone by, we have watched this oak tree’s circumference  grow thicker and reach taller as it has  taken a stronger foothold in our backyard. The picture in Mindful Moments was captured this morning as the brilliant sunlight sparkled upon this proud tree. Who knows, it may be possible for it to provide shade and relief from the sun in our lifetime!! 

Angela Mazur

The 3 P’s and how to maneuver holiday stress

Pacing, Pausing and Presence

The build- up to the holiday season begins earlier and earlier each year. We barely have time to enjoy Labor Day before the push for holiday festivities begin! Shelves become filled with every kind of Halloween candy along with all the merchandise for ghosts, goblins and trick or treaters.

Just the word, “holiday”, can conjure up an entire physical, emotional and mental response for many of us!  We Americans can put a lot of weight into what our holidays should be like. We are subjected to a litany of media input that highlights the perfect family enjoying the ideal celebration. Can you picture that perfect scene of members smiling around the dinner table as the head of household is effortlessly carving the turkey?  This is not reality, people. For many folks, holidays are downright painful! Deaths within the family in the past year, failing health, job insecurities, abrupt ending of loving relationships and active additions in families can all add to the mix of feeling derailed by the high pace and expectations of the holiday season.

So to relieve some of the stress and pressure during the holiday season, it is first important to recognize that no celebration matches what we read about in magazines and see advertised on tv. Life is messy and this spills into the holidays as well. If we put less stress on ourselves to have the perfect holiday and enjoy the “being together” as the focus of the celebration, we are much more likely to enjoy the holiday season.

I used to feel tremendous stress before the holidays. That was about twenty years ago when I was buying presents for all our family members. We all smartened up and decided to do cash for the kids and let that be enough! What a relief to remove myself from the frenzy of holiday shopping where I would be competing for sought after parking spaces in the malls while dashing from store to store  as I  agonized what gift to buy each member of the family.

There is a balancing act of figuring out when to visit both my husband’s side of the family along with mine. I no longer will do a holiday marathon where we used to drive from one member’s house to the next on the same day. To be honest, I prefer to stretch out the family gatherings to at least a day or two in between. As much as I love both sides, it can be draining to participate in these big gatherings. 

I also have become known as the “board game family member”. I usually travel to celebrations with some kind of board game to engage all of us. This brings a certain presence for all of us to connect, laugh and enjoy being together. It sure beats having each member zoned out on their technologies or riveted to the TV. 

Pausing is so important during the holidays. My mindfulness practice serves me well. I can be sitting at the large gathering and if I need to, can take a moment to tend to my breath as a way to regroup and refresh. Or perhaps the pause most needed is to step outside, drink in the fresh air and put the day into perspective.

When I think about tips to help navigate holiday stress, what comes to mind is pacing. No matter what additional responsibilities may be on one’s plate during this time of year, chunking it out in manageable pieces is a great way to cut down on some of the stress. 

Self care is another essential component during this time of celebration. Making sure to get some daily exercise along with having healthy food choices at the ready will go a long way in combatting the overwhelming stress many feel during this time.

When we realize that any of the holidays are just another day, this strategy reduces the pressure of needing any holiday to be a certain way. This outlook can be extremely beneficial for those who are faced with celebrating without a family member or perhaps alone for the first time in their lives. 


 




Angela Mazur

The Japan adventure continues

Arrived in Kyoto on 9/12

I don’t know about you, but I love high speed trains! There is nothing like getting into your assigned car and seat, finding how to best position your foot rest, get organized with  reading material and settle  in for the ride. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Tokyo’s tight -packed streets of building upon building recede into the background as our train made its way to Kyoto. 

As I had time to unwind while the train sped towards our destination, I silently offered myself compassion for the parts of the journey that felt difficult. Maneuvering from place to place was stressful for me. I felt so grateful that both my informal and forma Mindful Self-Compassion practices were helping me navigate the rough spots of the trip with more ease.

Kyoto was lovely. Our small rental was nestled in a local neighborhood but close enough by foot to the vibrancy of city life. Each morning, our street came to life as we witnessed the school children make their way to school. Back packs slapping their backs, they would scurry down the sidewalk with such confidence. I noticed how young some of them were to be walking alone. It underscored the safe feeling that permeated this country. Some children arrived on the back of their parent’s bike. Biking as a main form of transportation seemed big in Japan. Even on rainy days, we witnessed parent’s and children fully dressed in rain gear making their way to both school and then onto work on their bicycles!

Anyway, again and again, I was impressed by the sense of how the Japanese value family, community and connections. One day after touring Nojo-jo Castle built in 1601, we wandered over to a small park that was nearby. The park was alive with activity. A group of seniors who looked to be in their 80s, were enjoying some kind of croquet game. Another active group of elderly were stretching out together after having completed a brisk walk together. Further into this park, we noticed a play area teeming with squealing children and parents engaged with conversation with one another. It felt so alive and vibrant!!

As I witnessed their values in action; kindness, connectivity and respect, I wondered if as a culture ,they struggled with strong inner critics like we do in this country?? Would they even need a Mindful Self-Compassion practice? Upon further contemplation, I realized that perhaps people are people and despite the strong values, Japanese too may  grapple with “feeling not good enough” at times. 


Angela Mazur

My MSC practice gets a workout in Japan!

Reflection # 1

Having survived the longest flight of my life, 13 hours, we landed in Haneda airport in Tokyo late afternoon of September 6th. Due to the international dateline, although we had left the morning of September 5th, we set foot on Japanese soil over 24 hours later. After having shuffled through the crowds to depart the highly air -conditioned airport, I was first surprised by the blast of hot, humid air. Beyond exhausted at this point, we jumped on the first subway that seemed to be headed in the right direction to  our apartment in Tokyo. Mistake number 1, don’t assume anything. The subway reached the end of the line and we were nowhere near our destination. In the thick of rush hour, folks were dashing around us as they made their way from work to the next destination in their day. After practicing our limited Japanese, we were directed to the right track and the right subway. Throughout our trip, being able to ask for help is what saved us. Although the Japanese learn English in school, many were hesitant to speak. Again and again, we had to persist in asking for help until someone could articulate the answer. It wasn’t that they didn’t want to help. Just the opposite. I have never met a kinder, more gracious, gentle group of people in my life! So many of them went out of their way to be helpful. 

Anyway, I digress. Back to the beginning. We finally arrive at our destination. We are in the heart of Tokyo, right near Jingu baseball stadium where my husband’s nephew-in-law, Matt,  is pitching for the Yakult Swallows. His being in Japan is the reason we have embarked on this trek across the world!! 

Over the next five days, we orient ourselves in Tokyo. In order to manage the heat, humidity and streets teeming with a sea of people, we begin our days very early. This becomes my favorite part of time in Tokyo. We are able to explore the city on foot with some semblance of peace and quiet. Nearby the apartment is a lovely national park. These places with space and greenery are ones we seek out as our 22-  day trip unfolds. I realize that city life is overwhelming for me. Not only are there crowds of people fast-pacing it up and down the sidewalks, there are bikes careening around the corners, criss-crossing on sidewalks to find the fastest routes forward. 

Can you begin to get the picture why my MSC practice was both essential and a lifesaver? I used my informal practices all of the time, especially the Mindful Self-Compassion break! I was so grateful to have this practice to fall back on. I was raised a country girl. My grandparents were farmers. We had a huge, open cow path going between our house and the farm. My nervous system was not designed for the fast pace of this vibrant city. 

The highlight of Tokyo was attending a baseball game where Matt pitched. Let me tell you, the Japanese love their baseball. I have never seen such team spirit. Between the drums, trumpets, songs, and waving umbrellas, it was a deafening display of their enthusiasm for this sport. We witnessed Matt sliding into home plate, his white uniform covered in dirt. The umpire called safe but it got replayed about 12 times on the big screen with the accompanying eruption of hoots and hollers from the stands. American baseball will never live up to this experience. My next blog will cover my reflections about Kyoto, our next destination where we spent 13 days. 

Angela Mazur

Time of transitions

 

Ok folks, I have waited all summer for a day like today. There is a cool breeze moving the leaves outside my living room window. The air is fresh and without all that humidity. This is a big cause for celebration in my world. It has been a challenging summer with so much heat and high humidity.  I haven’t enjoyed my deck like in years past nor have I been on any bike rides on rail trails due to the oppressive conditions. Well that all changed today!! I thoroughly enjoyed a bike ride around town this afternoon and later today, I am meeting family at an outdoor patio at a local restaurant. 

The welcome change of the weather isn’t the only transition this week. The college students return to school. Perhaps one of your beloved family members is packing up and getting ready for the new semester. 

There is a bit of letdown for me at this time of year as September looms right around the corner. Although it has been decades since I have been in school, my heart still flutters a bit when I see those big, yellow buses lumbering down our street. I need to remind myself to be present in this moment and allow the myriad of memories and body sensations to move through me as I enjoy what is in my world right now.

Happy time of transition to you. May you enjoy the changing landscape from summer time to shifting to fall. We New Englanders are lucky to have the weather underscore the change of seasons.

Angela Mazur

The high cost of mindlessness in the early morning

This past week, I had three unexpected hours of mindful meditation after experiencing a costly moment of mindlessness. All dog details were on me this past week since my husband was away hiking the Appalachian Trail.  I barely rolled out of bed at 5:40 am on Tuesday, slipped on a bathing suit coverup, and descended our stairway to let out Oscar, our beloved ten and a half year old golden doodle. As I waited for him to do his “business” outside, I idly scrolled through my facebook feed. Upon hearing his sharp, quick bark to come in, I went out the back garage entrance, closed that door and opened up the rear garage door to let him in. All seemed part of the regular routine until I jiggled the inside handle and to my horror, the door was locked!!!! Darn it, darn it, darn it….. I tried jiggling it more vigorously, as if that would help, before I took a deep breath and decided it was time for Plan B. 

Our neighbor has our back-up key but I didn’t think she would appreciate such an early morning rap on her front door. To bide my time, I barefooted it back to our shed and carefully pulled out my zero balancing chaise lounger. After some finagling, I managed to set it up inside the garage with the back door open so Oscar knew I was there. From this vantage point, I could follow the flight of the early morning birds, watch the leaves sway back and forth and take it the dawning of this new day. Instead of berating myself, I had some good chuckles about my predicament and at the same time appreciation that it wasn’t in the dead of winter.

All ended well when I knocked on my neighbor’s door at a reasonable hour of 8:30 am. She was horrified I waited three hours to ask for her help. She assured me that if that ever happens again, I can come over right away. Let me tell you, I hope this doesn’t happen again any time soon. I did enjoy stretching out on this chair that mostly gets stored in the shed and being able to watch the day dawn…. Are there silver linings in things that are difficult for you?

Angela Mazur

The granite steps and life itself

My husband and I, along with my niece and nephew, are enjoying a glorious sun-filled week at Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine. June can be dicey as far as the weather is concerned. We have been graced with a week of brilliant blue skies. Our first hike of the week was one of the most challenging; the Ladder Trail. It was listed as strenuous but somehow I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal to navigate up all the steep steps. How wrong I was! My body went into a “freeze” response from a past incident in Acadia where I slid my way over a moss-covered wet granite slab and ended up wedged between the rocks. Even though the rock face was bone dry, my body went into a threat response. I wasn’t sure if I could make it up the 1.5 mile climb to the top. Luckily my kind husband reminded me to just take one step at a time. Literally and figuratively, it was one step after another. The queasy feeling along with the dizziness finally passed and I made it to the top!! 

Sometimes life is like this ascent up Ladder Trail. We can hit such barriers, both internally and externally and simply want to quit. At these times, it is so helpful to have supportive people around us. Are you hitting any obstacles in your life right now? Are you allowing your loved ones to help coax you on? Just one step at a time is often all it takes to get going and move beyond the fear, the blockage or whatever gets in the way.

Angela Mazur

Little Jersey trail meandered around Lum’s Pond State Park in Delaware offering an adventure for our morning eight mile bike ride. The route began on a narrow, sandy path that was bordered by row upon row of rye grass waving in the breeze. The scene was so reminiscent of my grandparents farm and fields. I was aware of this sweet memory from the past as I pedaled into the woods. Due to the seven inches of rain from a recent storm, the trail was challenging in places. Fresh tire marks tracked deep into the mud as we entered the forest section of the trail. I played it safe and dismounted from my bike, preferring to walk around the obstacles. What was most prominent throughout this bike ride was how changeable the landscape was. We passed tall pine forests with barely any light shining through to open fields baking in the early morning sun. Once the pond came into view, we witnessed fish slapping at the edges of the rusty colored pond water in pursuit of the bugs skittering at the surface. The bike surface was hard-packed gravel in places and other sections were teeming with tree roots criss-crossing the area. Just like life itself, the path and surrounding beauty had a fluidity of its own. I noticed my wanting the path to be the easy hard-packed, dry surface instead of full of roots or slippery with crevices of mud. As soon as I became aware of my “clinging”, I then challenged myself to notice what new experiences I could have in the other terrains. Instead of resisting and tightening my muscles while gritting my way to the other side, could I let go and flow with the changing surface? What I discovered was that there was a measure of thrill of being able to stay upright as my wheels slipped and slid through the heavy, wet mud or bumped precariously over the knotted roots. Could I meet each new twist and turn on the path and adjust my gears, my pace, and my attitude accordingly? I improved this practice as the miles unfolded and once again was reminded how when we can lean into the present moment and flow with what is around us, it makes for easier going. Are there experiences in your life that you tighten against? Would it be possible to live it a different way? You might be delightfully surprised with what you discover by adopting this new way of flowing with life.

Angela Mazur

Sunlight shimmers in the early morning

As a variety of sweet-sounding birds chirped their morning tunes, my husband, our beloved dog, Oscar and I made our way around the local golf course before anyone hit the links. The 6:00 am hour is a fabulous time of welcoming in the day. The newly leafed out trees were all back light by the shimmering sun. I felt as if I was walking in a painting. The colors were illuminated by the rising sun. I could not think of a better way of waking up then strolling over the carpeted greenery with its springy feel as each tree branch seemed to reach out with a “hello”. 

There are so many blessings and precious moments for all of us. The important thing though is to be present to capture them. The morning could have played out much different if I was lost in thought. My mind would have been spinning out in either past or future thinking meanwhile missing out on all the richness of the present moment. This day ahead is going to be a good one. I want to leave you with a link for video called, “A good day”, by Brother David Steindl-Rast. If you have a moment, give yourself the gift of watching this. 

Enjoy your day!

“A good day” by Brother David Steindl-Rast

https://youtu.be/3Zl9puhwiyw

 

 

 

Angela Mazur

 

Spring must be here. The full running stream says so. The red buds on the maple tree say so. The melting snow says so. Can you feel winter’s thaw and Spring’s arrival? What new life inside of you is waiting to burst forth? Maybe it is to become more dedicated to your own self care? Perhaps it is to sign up for that class that will help with professional advancement? Maybe it is time to heal the fractured relationships in your life? Whatever it is, follow this deeper call to move forward. Align yourself with nature and notice how everything is beginning to bud forth, to flow, to open into new life!

I am allowing the energy of Spring to move through me as I continue to create new Let Your Yoga Dance playlists and offerings.  In addition, Angela Mazur and I are excited about offering our first Mindful Self-Compassion workshop for clinicians on May 18th at Copper Beech. Please visit www.coppperbeechinstitute.org for more information.

 Our creative juices are in full gear as we craft this day long retreat. Learning how to cultivate Mindful Self-Compassion for ourselves and others is a major step forward in healing the planet.

On a personal note, I am uncovering my desire to learn more about photography. Taking pictures has always been a passion of mine. I am excited to step deeper into the world of cameras, lenses, classes etc. 

Wishing you a Springtime of new possibilities, fresh starts and ability to cherish the blooming of the natural world around you!!