Weekly Challenge (Omwork) – The word “perfect” kept coming up for me the last few days…at mass on Sunday (in a reading from Matthew), on a college tour (on a white board was the word flawsome which according to the urban dictionary means “an individual who embraces their flaws and knows they are awesome regardless”) , it seems as if the universe is trying to speak to me! The definition of perfect has changed over the years. The Greek or Hebrew definition is – healthy, complete, finished, or mature. This is very different from our definition of perfect or perfection today.

View your imperfections as a positive rather than a negative, own up to your mistakes…imperfections cause growth, and laughter. They can lead you to your authentic self…they are things of beauty that empower and build self-esteem.

So this week, when you hear, think, or say the word “perfect” instead of thinking “without flaws” replace that with the original meaning – healthy, complete, finished or mature.tree rings

Savor the Present Moment

Weekly Challenge (Omwork) – Is what you have right now enough? Are you constantly striving for more (monetary rewards, accolades, promotions)?

A group of psychologist conducted a study back in the 80’s on people’s happiness. They were asked to wear a pager. Every time the pager went off, they were to record how happy they were at that moment on a scale of 1-10, and what was going on in their life to account for the feeling. What they found is that people usually recorded a 7. Sometimes it went up or down (promotion at work, marriage,sick friend or relative), but it was only momentary. They routinely lived at a 7.

But our minds are constantly chasing that perfect 10. “If I could just lose another 10 pounds then…If I could take my dream vacation, then…”. Instead of chasing something elusive, live your life as if you are already there, because you are! Practice contentment (samtosha). Contentment does not mean complacency, it means that we savor the present moment!

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Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Weekly Challenge (Omwork) – The World Health Organization has said that by 2020, anxiety and depression will be the #1 disability worldwide. Twenty five percent of US women are taking an anti depressant or anti anxiety medicine, and sleep dysfunction is at an all time high. All you need to do is turn on the news or check a facebook or twitter feed to see why.

Whenever I start to feel anxious, I think back to a flow chart that I came across years ago (if you would like to find it yourself, type “do you have a problem no then why worry” into google search or any browser). The premise is simple –

Do you have a problem in your life or work? No. Then why worry?
Do you have a problem in your life or work? Yes. Can you do anything about it? Yes. Then why worry?
Do you have a problem in your life or work? Yes. Can you do anything about it? No. Then why worry?

Words to live by each and every day! It reminds me of a bible verse from
Matthew 6:27 “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

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Slow and Steady

One of my favorite stories from yoga literature is about a student who comes to the shore of the river and is eager to get to the other side because he believes this is where he can find the answer to life. He sees a rowboat going across and asks for a ride. They kindly let him in and they begin to row across the river. Then a shiny, beautiful sailboat comes along, and the student sees how effortlessly it moves across the water. Since he is tired of rowing, he jumps from the rowboat to the sailboat. But the winds quickly die down and instead of moving across the river, the sailboat is moving downstream with the current. Impatient, the student jumps from the sailboat to a motorized boat which is passing by. This clearly must be the most efficient way to cross the river. The fumes and noise from the motor, however, quickly irritated the student. Then the motor dies as they run out of fuel. The student looks up just in time to see the rowboat with its hardworking rowers crossing to the other shore. Ahhhh, if only he had stayed in the rowboat!

We are always so eager in life, like the student above, to reach our “final” destination. When we are children, we can’t wait until we are “grown up”. When we are older and have children of our own, we are anxious for them to reach each milestone (1st words, 1st steps). Whether it is in our yoga practice or off of our mat, we are anxious to obtain our goals. Maybe we are missing the point, the answer to life is not in the destination but in the journey itself. There will be obstacles along the way…twists, and turns, and the waters will not always run smoothly, but we will be strengthened with each experience. Enjoy each and every day, practice gratitude, spread joy, kindness, and compassion to those you encounter along your way!

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Weekly Challenge – Take time this week to connect on a personal level…find an opportunity to stop and talk to someone you usually wouldn’t speak with. Have a short conversation with them. Or pause to listen to someone you usually wouldn’t normally take the time to listen to. This doesn’t mean you need to go out and find your next BFF. It can be as simple as stopping to ask someone at Trader Joe’s if they’ve ever tried Joe’s XYZ (fill in the blank) before and how they liked it! It doesn’t need to be a deep philosophical exchange…just a brief chat. Notice how it feels to connect on a human level face to face!Forest with a woman