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Give
Peace - Part II
Peace - Part I
Understanding You
Follow Your Heart
Allowing for Change
Be an Example
Allowing Emotion
Limiting Beliefs
Responsibility
Tolerance
Life Purpose
Communication
Forgiveness
Stress Relief
Challenging Fear
Commitment
Coaching
Intuition
Fullfillment
Self-Exploration
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Give Love. Give Joy. Give Peace. Give Thanks. Give Freely.


Giving is the source of life. The natural law of energy states that when you give, you receive. Space is vacated in the giving so it can be filled in the receiving, keeping the energetic flow of the universe alive. Without giving we become stale, our knowledge becomes stagnant and our ability to perform from our wisdom wanes.

Giving of yourself, or sharing your true inner spirit, allows it to expand and grow. This is different from the giving of material possessions, which can also be beneficial, but rather the sharing of your true nature empowers the world we experience with flow—a flow of powerful dynamic energy. Knowledge grows through sharing, allowing the knowledge of our communities to grow, in turn raising the levels of collective consciousness on the planet. 

Every one of us has a wealth of experience that we can give from, whether we give to others or simply back to ourselves. How often do you notice that you give good advice to others, but that you may also benefit from that same advice? Take a moment to listen to yourself as you give of your experience and notice how much relates to yourself. Put this wonderful advice to practice and then you can be the example that you wish to be for all those around you. 

These experiences that we have within us can be the most beautiful gifts when shared. Sharing of our being allows others to realize their own being or to awaken within them that which they may not have noticed. 

Giving freely, without judgment or expectation, greatly increases the power of giving. If we give expecting thanks or appreciation, we open ourselves up to disappointment and any gift we may have received gets lost in the emotion of not getting something back. We get lost in the expectation rather than feeling the subtle gift of sharing from your true nature.

When we pause to observe the world we live in, we notice all the taking and holding that goes on. We are constantly taking from this planet and from each other as we grow our egos, whose desire for more is insatiable. Constantly taking or claiming as ours is depleting our planet of its natural balance and resources. Our delicate ecosystem needs to receive—instead of constantly giving—as well. When did you give back lately? Have you questioned or considered the source of all this taking? How about some giving? At least give back what you have taken.

In India it is considered an honor and a privilege to give, as giving raises the karmic energy of the planet. It is also considered one of the paths to enlightenment. We are not rewarded in life by withholding ourselves of our knowledge, as this story below from one of India’s most well known rulers, Ashoka, demonstrates.

After the brutal battle of Kalinga, the emperor
Ashoka was so overcome with remorse that he renounced bloodshed and
embraced Buddhism. As part of his penance, Ashoka went to monasteries
across the country. At each monastery, he would leave generous
donations of gold coins. At one monastery, the emperor left behind only one
solitary gold coin. When his perplexed followers asked him to explain, Ashoka said that the abbot of the monastery was a great man but he did
not share his knowledge with others.

True charity is not simply writing a check, but rather is giving of oneself to another. Someone giving of him or herself can relieve the notion that we can be poverty-stricken from within, whether it’s love, compassion or knowledge. When the giving is empty, momentary satisfaction is received but the feeling does not remain. A little bit of true love from your soul goes a long way. In fact, it never goes away.

We all individually have a tremendous impact on the planet we live on through our families and communities; the giving that we contribute at that level affects the world we live in. As you shine in expressing your true nature, you send the message to the planet to do the same.

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June Yogi Times Finding Your Center

Peace, our responsibility.

What is our individual responsibility for finding peace in this world? The world is created in our perception of what is, therefore if we embody peace, then this world, in our perception of it will also begin to embody peace. Creating peace in the world can be a reality one step at a time or one person at a time.

We all carry around so much fear and anger that our perception of the world is often just that. We experience fear and anger in the world because as individuals all over the world we are governed to some degree by fear and anger.

Discord or lack of communication can bring us to conflict both inwardly and outwardly. Tensions that are part of the normal ebb and flow of healthy interaction among us do not create conflict, it is only when the tensions rise high that we erupt in to blaming others for grievances instead of taking responsibility for the part which we may have played in fuelling the tensions.

This conflict takes us away from the universal energy and our true selves, causing a distracted state. In that state we cannot hear the subtle calling of the universe, our inner voice which requires that we be internally attentive to follow the guidance that is constantly flowing through us.

The first step in finding peace is to take responsibility for our own part in any conflict, imbalance, tension, grievance or problem with courage, honesty, and humility, even if we do not feel personally involved in conflict.

Following are some questions that will heighten your awareness around Peace.

Create some meditation time away from distraction where you will not be disturbed. Close your eyes and allow your breathing to take you to a calm and quiet space. Ask these questions below to yourself letting the answers be. Do not make more of them than that which you receive. There are no right or wrong answers just your answers given to you as per you understanding at this time and your willingness to be totally honest with yourself. Do not write your answers down, trust that you will remember all that you need to.

Peace Questions:

Note: preface each question with "By the Grace of the Universe, at this time, ..."

  1. What is peace for me?
  2. Am I preventing peace in me and around me?
  3. In what way am I preventing peace in and around me?
  4. What is the special gift I am not yet fully using to bring peace in me and around me?
  5. In what way am I preventing peace in my body?
  6. What is the gift that I am not yet using to bring peace to my body?
  7. In what way am I preventing peace with (X, name of the person/s with whom I have the greatest conflict)?
  8. What is the gift that I am not yet using to be at peace with (X)

Questions 5 and 6 to be repeated replacing the word 'body' with other key words, such as: self, family, work, nation, world.

These questions were created by Alexandra Asseily from the UK.

What have you learnt from asking these questions? Share your findings with a loved one or a friend and take this learning into your life. The peace that we bring to ourselves is a direct reflection of the peace that the world experiences. Finding harmony in your life will bring harmony to those around you and in turn to your community. Use your gift to bring peace to yourself and make a difference in the world.

Next month I will share with you the second part of this peace process.

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July Yogi Times Finding Your Center

Forgiveness is our responsibility.

Helping release conflict in our lives by embracing forgiveness.

The second part of this peace process is forgiveness. Once you have taken responsibility for your part in any conflict and you now own your part in what happened you can forgive the other by releasing all the negative energy you were carrying around with you and in turn forgive and free yourself.

The trick is to understand the power of forgiveness. Saying those words: "I forgive you" are often the hardest words to utter. They hold the key to your freedom, freedom from the shackles that we put on ourselves. Find a scenario in your life that you would never forgive in a hundred years. Do you feel any weight around this issue? Does it bring you joy or pain? Ask your self what would you feel like if that weight were lifted. Who would you be if the issue were no more. The thing to remember is that all issues we hold exist in our own personal perception of what happened, (we make up what happened to suite our identity or ego at that time). Ask your self if holding on to that rightful blame brings you personally a deep peace?

By allowing for forgiveness of oneself and others, including our ancestors, by the Grace of the Universe, we can let go of guilt and fear. We then no longer need to uphold the same grievances from one generation to another. As we forgive others, we forgive ourselves and vice versa. (Some people resist forgiveness because of the feeling, conscious or unconscious, that in so doing they are letting a significant 'other' off the hook and/or betraying their obligations to their ancestors to continue to hold grievances. This resistance blocks us from fully using our gifts. And when it is released harmony can then be restored within and the natural flow of life and the life force is restored.

If the first step of this peace process was to take responsibility then forgiveness is the part of letting go.

Create some meditation time away from distraction where you will not be disturbed. Close your eyes and allow your breathing to take you to a deep calm space within...deeper...breath...deeper. Ask yourself these questions below, letting the answers be. Do not make more of them than that which you receive. There are no right or wrong answers, just your answers given to you as per your understanding at this time and your willingness to be totally honest with yourself. Do not write you answers down, trust that will remember all that you need to.

Forgiveness questions.

Note: Preface each questionwith "By the Grace of The Universe, at this time,..."

A) - what stops me from forgiving myself? - how do I forgive myself? - how would The Universe have me forgive myself? - what is forgiveness when it comes from the Grace of The Universe?

- what is my gift for peace when I have fully forgiven myself or allowed myself to be forgiven by the Grace of The Universe?

B) By the Grace of The Universe, at this time, ... - who is the "victim" in me? - who is the "persecutor/victimizer" in me? (the "racist", the "enemy", the "terrorist", the "other", etc.) - who is the "savior" in me?

- how would The Universe have me forgive these aspects in myself? - how would The Universe have me forgive these aspects in others?

C) By the Grace of The Universe, at this time, ... - how may I include the "other" to bring unity to myself? - what is the potential for world peace when I include the "other"? - how is it when all parts of me are fully in harmony?

Did you learn anything new around forgiveness? From what you have learnt what can you apply to your life? The harmony that we feel within has a direct reflection on the World. Graciously giving to yourself in this way is part of accepting and recognizing all the different parts that make you up and working with them. Forgiveness is a powerful tool in healing both the world and ourselves.

In September I will share with you the final part of this peace process.

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May Yogi Times Finding Your Center

Understanding all the parts that make you up.

By observing how we see others and therefore ourselves we can grow from within. Sometimes it is easier to judge others than to become aware of how we judge ourselves, using this, we can then turn it upon ourselves and recognize that we do the same to ourselves. If we feel sad for someone it is often because we relate to the same sadness within.

The challenge we feel in a relationship is an indication that within us there is an un-expressed emotion or feeling. I think that it is truly wonderful that we can take a look at these life situations and claim them as our own so that we can process them and step into an empowered place that leads us forth effectively creating our lives in the image of who we are at our core and not as our peers or society would have us. We can find peace inside our selves creating harmony by forgiving that which we hold against another. Simply asking ourselves how can I forgive allows us to begin the process of forgiveness which, when embraced frees us of our torment towards the other and therefore to ourselves.

Byron Katie said. Change your thoughts change your feelings. Opening yourself up to change is the first step to transformation, if you can acknowledge that there is a different way of seeing a situation then already you are beginning the process of healing the many different parts that make you up, all of which have their own story from your past.

Clear the weight that holds you down so that you can enjoy the moment and be fully alive instead of caught up in the past or future. Listen to your partner or simply the other you within. Allow yourself to enter a state of deep calm and quietly ask for guidance from God or the universe as to what steps are appropriate for you to take at this stage in your life. Listen attentively to your answer and do not be fooled by its subtlety. We are constantly experiencing miracles yet we are rarely aware that they exist, because our existence is too loud. The experience often drowned in our need to look good or we are too busy entertaining our own fear filled ego.

An understanding of all the parts that make you up puts you in harmony with yourself. Are you content with the way you live. Do you accept what is in front of you. Do you accept the reality you create? When we accept the reality we create we take responsibility for ourselves, when we are responsible for ourselves we stand in awareness of who we are and are at peace with the choices we have made and the choices we will make.

Finding the strength to let go of the familiar and step into the unknown takes a lot of energy as we combat our fears the same fears that keep us from being clear in the choices that we make for ourselves. We all know that it is often easier to handle some discomfort in the lives we live rather than face the fear of the unknown. Creating awareness around the different parts that make us up allows us to choose that which gives life and therefore not choose to entertain that which takes life away.

Living a fulfilled life with an honest integrity takes you to new dimensions within the realm you live and experience. A whole new world becomes available to you as you step into a fearless existence, constantly creating the life you now know to be truly yours.

Hermas is a life coach who helps his clients find their own true path for this moment in time allowing them to fully experience themselves in their own awareness, empowering themselves in the possibilities they create leading themselves in to a new life and a new vision.

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April Yogi Times Finding Your Center

Follow your heart

"Follow your heart". Being open trusting and full of faith that the path you are on is in accordance with who you are. Only the heart can lead you this way. Not the jealous or broken heart filled with fear but a heart filled with love, love of yourself creating only the best for you in every moment. When we fully respond to our heart or to love we can then give to others freely with compassion and care for the more you give love freely the more you receive it back and your capacity to hold and cherish this love grows.

I find that so much of the fight that goes on with us all is the conflict that we have within our selves over weather we are right or wrong in our way of being, we are constantly trying to keep up with the way society has deemed fit to be. Opening our heart allows us to forgive. It allows us to see our truth and to follow it.

Opening your heart if it is closed can begin by stepping into awareness. Become aware or conscious of the grudges you hold or the anger you have inside at someone. Notice if you are affected by someone, notice the way you behave when you do not get your way. Standing in your identity as you know yourself to be or your "ego" does not allow for new possibilities to arise and to create from them.

Putting down your sword and your shield and standing in open love can be the hardest thing to do yet the result is the most powerful learning and healing you will ever have. If you can do this with yourself, forgive yourself you will ease the process of opening up to others. If you feel frightened of someone, open up feel the fear and hug them or communicate that to them letting them know that you are afraid but wish to be open and free and that you want to love, you can even ask them for help. They may come up with suggestions as to how you can be open and loving. To do this requires that you embrace the vulnerable within you.

Remember that all we hold on to has to do with the past, the past has an uncanny way of creating the same path for us in our belief systems, our patterns and our ways of being, one way of dealing with these past issues is to let go of them. It sounds rather simple but the bottom line is that you can let go if you want to. Ask yourself why you need to hold on? How does it serve you to hold on? What does keeping this wound do for you? Try it and let go. Put down your need to be right and know that all that is, is the way we perceive it to be. It is simply our reality and everyone has their own reality we do not need to convince others of ours.

Sometimes opening up your heart even the idea of it can be enough to position you for change. Get a feel for it. Do Ustrasana (camel) or Urdhva Dhanur asana (wheel) to open the heart and get the blood flowing cleansing and energizing supporting the change that you may bring to yourself by desiring to heal your wounds to let go of the hurt and to return to love.

When you are mad at someone stop yourself and reopen your heart for in your madness you close your heart not only to the other but also to yourself. So in harming the other you are actually taking away from yourself. Rather give to yourself and you will give to the other.

For what is anger but an expression of the need to be right to defend your own ego or identity. What is there to defend if we are all one? Start to recognize the love around you. What small actions can you take to increase the love in your life. What actions can you take to give of your love, when you might take it away. A heart that gives protects the soul as it allows the flow of life to be constant. When we stop this "life blood", the flow of energy, the flow of love we keep ourselves from the much needed nourishment that fills our souls and gives life to this planet.

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March Yogi Times Finding Your Center

Allowing for Change

Our desire for change arises out of the conscious understanding that we are no longer satisfied with a particular impasse we keep arriving at in our lives.

Our first and most powerful tool in our movement toward change is our will - our desire and focused intention. Change does not happen unless one really wants it. Therefore the moment one actively makes that decision the process itself has already begun. Up until the point of clear intention, each method will unlikely have any real or lasting effect. The process of change takes time and involves some radical actions to really be successful.

Changing is the challenge of stepping out from what is familiar, into the dark waters of the unknown. It is stepping out of the realms of our known reality - better know as our identity - the image of ourselves we have built up over the years.

Our fear of the unknown is perhaps the thing that most pointedly thwarts our own desires for change and transformation. And it is this fear out of which rises the many excuses we create to avoid change like our fear of upsetting the status quo, the family who may not be ready to change or accept the change we impose. We ask questions like will they still love me? Will I fit in? What will come next? What if I am wrong? Often our beliefs are loaded with so much stuff from our religions, from society, from our peers and our parents. Over the years we build a case around not changing based on these fear and over the years the fear grows until it becomes this humongous thing, way too big to be dealt with and often left unchallenged - we make do with what we know because the idea of challenging that beast is too much to handle. Handling and challenging this beast is not as hard as we first may think. In fact the process is quite simple. The first step can be, when the fear comes up acknowledge it and continue on, knowing that it is a figment of your imagination. Face it head on knowing that it will not bite back, trusting the process. There is no other way round it you need to face the fear if you want to move passed it.

The decision to change reflects in our actions and empowers our will, creating new opportunities - we begin to see things and hear things we may not have noticed before. We have in effect opened ourselves up to new possibilities which in turn enables us to be open to new ways of thinking, new ways of being thus creating new habits which strengthen our resolve on the changes we want to make.

Vulnerability is one of the keys to change. We make ourselves vulnerable when we do not follow our known way of being or that familiar response pattern. Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable we create the possibility of seeing life through new eyes. By vulnerable I do not mean sinking into a fear bath, but really allowing ourselves to be open and accepting to new outside influence, all the while reminding ourselves that there is no right no wrong - just what is. One powerful way of looking at it could be that this change we are embarking on is simply moving ourselves from one state to another because the latter no longer suited us.

Sometimes we need to build up to change almost like a warm up before running a race, preparing ourselves for the changes we wish to make. Forming new habits can help us in this process. Creating practical habits that are beneficial to you that promote health and joy on a daily basis. Sometimes it can be as simple as creating a new mantra for ourselves or consciously reframing thoughts or words into the positive.

In order to bring about change we first need to get curious and open ourselves up to the possibilities. We can start by asking ourselves questions, inquiring and educating ourselves on the unknown. Then step by step put the new knowledge into practice and get into action creating your new reality.

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February Yogi Times Finding Your Center

Exemplify what you want to see in others

As we travel down the road of life, we invariably encounter situations that challenge us to define our values and beliefs. As these situations occur, we are faced with opportunities to become more like the person we envision as our ideal self by applying the lessons we have learned in the past as well as being open to the new lessons available to us each day. As we move closer to this ideal self, it becomes increasingly important to look within and decide what standards we hold for ourselves and to what extent we are upholding them. It is a decision between authenticity and integrity or dishonesty and falsehood. When we have a clearly defined positive set of values that we actively uphold, we can become an example and an inspiration to those around us.

As conscious people, meaning that we are actively present and responsible for our lives and our actions, we have tremendous potential to positively influence those around us. By acting in accordance with our highest values and what we consider to be the best parts of ourselves, we have the power to bring out those same qualities in those around us. When we intentionally focus on the best in ourselves, we are automatically prone to see the best in others as well.

One of the most common symptoms of this downward spiral is the placing of blame. When we place blame on those around us for things that go awry in our lives, it is often a sign that we are hiding or avoiding responsibility for actions or decisions we have made. Given that we are the designers and architects of our lives, solely responsible for our every choice and waking moment, it is likely that we share some level of responsibility for the wrongs we perceive that others do to us. It is difficult to strip away the facades we have erected to insulate us from unattractive truths about ourselves. However, by stripping them away, we empower ourselves to see clearly all of the factors that are directing our lives. We become able for the fist time to see with clarity a true image of ourselves as we appear to the outside world. By confronting these truths about ourselves, we release the hold that the fear of them had over us. Truth has an uncanny way of attracting more truth. When we release a clouded, manufactured vision of reality, a world of possibility and opportunity opens up. It is when we reach a point in our lives where we are ready to drop our facades and acknowledge our own truths that we can act as an example for our friends, loved ones and communities. This is not to say that we become infallible. On the contrary, as role models, it is how we deal with our mistakes and shortcomings that will have the greatest impact on those who look to us for guidance. By acknowledging responsibility and owning our choices, right and wrong, we are showing those around us the essence of personal freedom.

In your meditation, focus on a truth that you have not expressed. Ask yourself what the impact would be if you opened yourself to your truth and freed it? Make a mental note of all the people who would be impacted and what the consequences might be. As you sit with these thoughts, notice if you feel fear of being judged because of the truths you reveal. This judgment you perceive is nothing but a vain attempt to hold yourself back from opening up and revealing the true you. Courage to be you starts within. Allow these thoughts and feelings to be felt. Let them play their course, knowing that if you let them act out, if you give them life they will dictate your actions and those of people around you. This truth is always with you. It colors your speech, your actions, your reactions. It is only by facing it that you will set your self and those around you free. Gandhi said, "Be the change that you want to see in the world." Inspire others through your greatness by living your life to itÕs fullest potential. If you want to live in a peaceful, beautiful world then be peaceful and beautiful in everything that you do. Make it a part of your personal practice every day to show others an example of the kind of world you want to live in.

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Yogi Times December / January Finding Your Center

Allowing Emotion

In expressing our emotions we reveal who and what we really are. How often do we stifle a tear because we are "weak if we cry?" Society does not always make space for emotion. We must uphold a strong character, hide our emotions, push our feelings under the rug just to survive. We are often told not to be angry, not to be sad or even not to be too happy just in case it all comes crashing down. Who are we as human beings if we do not experience ourselves as complete? In that wholeness there is powerful anger, deep sadness and effervescent joy. Ironically in actually feeling all of our emotions we not only survive, we thrive.

How different would our life be if we allowed ourselves our emotions? Do we hold back because society or our peers regard emotion as taboo?

Much of the taboo stems from what we perceive as negative emotion. Is it negative to express anger, sadness or Joy...? Only if we attach judgment to it. For what are emotions but pure simple expression. How beautiful are tears shed from a soul expressing itself for the first time in many years? As children we expressed it all the time, without the constraints society puts on us. We went around all day long singing, shouting, crying and laughing before we got "adjusted," to the correct way of being.

In expressing emotion there is the potential for pain. However it is often through pain that we grow (think of a childÕs growing pains, or birth). Allowing ourselves to experience pain we can in effect liberate ourselves from the hold that fear had over us, keeping us from being whole, complete.

By allowing ourselves to sit inside of an emotion when it comes up we create awareness around that emotion. Feel the salty taste of your tears, begin to ask yourself where they come from. What memories come up as you allow the emotion to just simply be. By expressing ourselves through emotion we allow it out. The irony is that we think that if we do not express it, that it does not exist. However if the emotion remains unexpressed, we will carry it around with us, it will color our lives yet we are unaware of its effect because we are shut off to the idea of feeling it in the first place. If we actually felt it, we would begin to realize how much that emotion influences our behavior and how we interact with those around us.

If you feel pent up you could try venting. Venting is literally letting it go. Having a primal scream from the bottom of your gut. The release of emotion is incredible and often leaves you with a wry smile and a sense of childhood freedom.

When sadness comes up, let your tears run free, releasing all the trapped feelings. You will feel expressed and as you drain the well of sadness you may find the treasure hidden at the bottom of the well. The experience of being fully expressed is in of itself liberating.

How often do you laugh? How often, as adults, do we allow ourselves belly aching laughter that fills our hearts with delight and sets our eyes ablaze with vibrant life? Remember what makes you laugh, create it and give yourself the gift of feeling emotion.

Like a child, let yourself be free to experience all the emotions as they come, stifling nothing and embracing all with an open soul. The wisdom that comes with the experience of having all the different emotions freely has us grow fully, whole and complete in the experience of who we are at our core.

The deeper we can feel our sorrow the deeper our joy. Emotions define us in every way. Restraining ourselves from emotion is like cutting off a part of our being, we limit our experience of ourselves and therefore the life we live. Simply allowing ourselves to feel in the moment gives us the freedom to interact with all of lifeÕs beauty.

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Yogi Times November Finding in Your Center

Limiting Beliefs/Thoughts

Our thoughts have tremendous power. Every action that we take in this world, everything we create or destroy is born out of our thoughts. In this way, our thoughts literally shape our lives. Limiting thought patterns based on habit and conditioning thwart our progression toward positive change and growth.

Even if in subtle though, we go around repeating the mantra, "I am not good enough, smart enough, strong enough," we will indeed create that reality for ourselves. Consciously and intentionally eliminating negative, self-defeating thoughts and replacing them with positive, constructive mantras can empower us with peace, love and possibility.

If we explore most of our thoughts or beliefs we will notice that they often originate in stories that we have entrenched into our identities about events that occurred when we were young. Our thoughts also may have been passed on to us by our parents, peers or our culture.

Acknowledging the existence of these stories and assessing the thoughts that stem from them is the first step toward creating new, positive stories and thoughts from which to live our lives. Whatever the thought, whether it is limiting or not, can we say that it is real? Reality exists in the moment. For most of us, reality is something we decided upon when we were small. So one personÕs reality is not the same as anotherÕs. If all of our realities are different does the one that you choose serve you?

We express limiting beliefs with statements like: " I never have enough time. Money is the route of all evil. And, I will never find a good partner." These mantras leave us no choice or alternative possibilities, and they are therefore disempowering.

On a piece of paper, write down as many limiting beliefs/thoughts as you can think of. Take some time to discover them and if you cannot find any, make them up about yourself. For example, "If I did have some limiting beliefs/thoughts they would be..."

WhatÕs on the flip side of your thought? Rephrase it in the positive opposite. Challenge it, explore it, look in and see if there is any other meaning for you. How else might you express it? Open yourself up to awareness. Depending upon your thought/belief ask yourself some of these questions below.

Is it true? Who says? What stops you? How do you know? Has it ever been different? What would happen if you didn't? What would happen if you did?

These powerful questions can help shift our awareness. Ask yourself these questions to every limiting belief/thought that you have and take the time to write down your answers. Read your answers out loud and listen to yourself as you read, taking in all of the different possibilities. It may feel false at first but as you progress it will make sense to you. You are not necessarily looking for answers here, but simply opening up your awareness around your limiting thoughts/beliefs. It is often beneficial to share your findings with someone.

These types of questions will initiate a shift in awareness that will move you from the perception that you have no choice, to realizing that you do in fact have choices as well as possibilities for transformation.

You may really get in touch with how these thoughts and/or beliefs are affecting you and those around you. If your belief is deep and has been around for a while, it may be difficult to change even once you see it is not true. Awareness of the pain it causes can provide you with the inspiration finally to challenge it. Choose your beliefs/thoughts in accordance with your true nature and a clear, powerful action will follow.

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Yogi Times October Finding Your Center

Responsibility - Finding Alignment with Our True Inner Nature.

Perhaps our greatest responsibility as human beings on this planet is being true to our deepest inner selves. When we get in touch with our ability to respond, or our "respond ability," we can become brutally honest about what is inline with our true nature and what is not.

Through this awareness we can begin to uncover our true inner calling - the life that brings us peace in the clarity that we are fulfilling our purpose. We only need look at our personal health and the health of the planet to get an indication of how far off track we have gone and how important it is that we take this responsibility.

Becoming accountable for our lives first means reclaiming our responsibilities from where we may have dished them out to others in the form of blame or because of fear. In blaming others for how our lives have turned out, or in being fearful for what may come, we hand the responsibility over, subjecting ourselves to external forces out of our control which make us passive and disempowered in the participation of our lives.

There is a consequence to our actions weather they are passive or active. We cause life to happen through our actions. Taking responsibility for our actions allows us to choose a powerful specific outcome for our lives on our true path.

If we take a look at our lives today we can begin to see that we are responsible for the reactions and stories that shape our lives. Within this perspective we empower ourselves toward choice and transformation with the notion that we are the creators of our lives.

If we are the creators of our lives then we will have no issue with being responsible for it because it is from our conscious choosing.

Reclaiming Responsibility

Individual responsibility asks for an attitude of self-reflection. Instead of blaming others for your discomforts in life, learn to look within for the cause of your own life situations.

  1. Take some time in a quiet meditative space. Search within the areas of your life in which you give away responsibility for how your life is today. Who are you blaming, what are you fearful of? Feel how this state of holding others responsible is disempowering you. Begin to feel yourself surrendering this blame, let go of it with the understanding that we can only truly work through our own aspect of any situation.

  2. Look at the issues that you moan about most - there is a great amount of information here. Ask yourself what part do I play in these moments. If you are honest with yourself, you will find that in most cases you have created the situation just as much if not more than the party you are blaming?

  3. Stop moaning and start communicating. Express the responsibility and let the other know you want it back. Share the responsibility recognize that it takes two to cause a reaction and choose a more empowering pastime, like.....world peace.

If we are responsible to our true inner selves, we naturally become more involved with our families, communities and ultimately mother earth as a whole. We affect the greater consciousness of the world when we become conscious of our own personal actions by first taking responsibility for who we really are.

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Yogi Times September Finding Your Center

What We Cannot Tolerate in Others

If we look at our being as a vehicle that has a certain amount of space and accept that our vehicle is probably filled with a load of baggage, some that we know about and some that we are not aware of, we will see that this baggage is often heavy and impedes us in our pursuit of a free true self.

Now imagine that your vehicle is empty and the space within is free from baggage. How would you then create a life? From clarity, lightness? Without all of the time spent dealing with and handling this baggage, how much more energy and time would you have to create a life for yourself that is in accordance with who you really are and not what your baggage dictates!

Oddly enough, it is much easier for us to see the baggage others are carrying around, than it is to see our own. Ironically, what you cannot handle in others is the baggage you cannot handle in yourself. Allowing ourselves to be honest about what we find difficult in those around us, gives us the opportunity to look at ourselves in a new light. For instance, when we get agitated by someoneÕs behavior, it is a sure sign that this behavior is unresolved within ourselves, thus triggering a reaction.

Happily we can use these inner reactions as clues to guide us to areas within ourselves that we can heal.

What is it that irritates you in others? Now hold up the mirror and ask, do I have a hard time with this in myself, is this something I have not shared with anyone. Get in touch with the truth within that you are holding or hiding, you may need to be brutally honest with yourself here.

Then ask yourself when in my life (particularly from my childhood) have I been subjected to similar behavior? Maybe a memory comes up when you turn this way of being on yourself like some age old truth finally uncovered. Trust the process. Trust what comes up do not judge it.

We have systems in place that we have created that can often stop us from getting close to that which we need to look at in ourselves. This little tool (of looking at what we cannot tolerate in others) can surprise us and bypass the system. In that space you will find that memories may arise, not necessarily the ones you know or associate with but for sure a memory that relates to that way of being you no longer wish to keep.

You can work with this memory (you may find that all the emotion and behavior comes attached to it), often it is that you are holding someone to blame or you may be angry with them for some event that happened.

In my experience when you forgive that person and begin the healing process of opening your heart to them, you will automatically release yourself of the attachment to that certain behavior (which you cannot tolerate in others) and you will find that you are no longer irritated by it. There may be some residue from the habit of being a certain way but over time it will go and you will no longer notice it.

This does not mean that you will start condoning potentially irritating behavior, but that it will no longer have a hold on you, it will no longer subconsciously control you and you will be free to relate to that kind of behavior in any way you choose. So rather than being angered or irritated, you will feel light (having freed yourself from the heavy baggage) and you may also find that that light illuminates your path you now tread.

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Yogi Times July/August Finding Your Center

Life Purpose

What is your gift?

Purpose, when we have one, is the thing that inspires us to wake up and take on every day with excitement and passion, to leap out of bed with the idea that we are going to make a contribution and a difference in the world. When we are without a purpose, we often find ourselves asking questions like, "why am I here?" or feeling that if only we could get our life together, then we could find our purpose. Many people who have lost sight of their purpose or who have never found it in life often fall into the trap of letting influences from society, fashion or the media dictate their purpose, creating a sense of unfulfilled disconnectedness and a never ending pursuit of the next trend or the new "in thing."

We were all born with a purpose. It makes up the essence of who we are. When we get in touch with our own personal gift to this world, which makes up the core of our purpose, it gives meaning to our daily routine and lifts us out of that unfulfilled place into an exciting, driven, fulfilled life. It is not necessarily something that can be put into words, but it informs all of our actions and colors all of the relationships in our lives. In essence, it gives life meaning.

Meaning is what takes us out of a life consumed by "me, me, me," and opens our eyes to the world and people that surround us. Meaning is not something we invent. It is something that we discover or recognize. The wonderful part of finding meaning in life is that it does not take total reform to step into it or take it on. As we become aware of it, it feels natural like we have known it all our lives.

For most, finding and tailoring a life purpose is not something that we figure out by taking a "life purpose quiz" but starting a process of awareness and building on that over time will open up the path that leads to a life filled with purpose and meaning.

Here are some questions to begin that process and help find an impact statement that has significant meaning for you. With these questions you are looking for clues that will guide you to find your life purpose statement. A purpose that is true to you will carry joy. If after searching you come up with something that has pain attached, then you have not found it. Search again.

  1. What was an abandoned dream that you had as a child that is still around today? As a child, I dreamed of being a _____________________________ What is the essence of that profession if you take the title away?

  2. What obstacle or hardship have you overcome? How did you overcome it and how could you help others with a similar obstacle?

  3. If you could deliver your most powerful message to a group of people, what would you say?

  4. Ask yourself what does your partner, family, coworker or community, rely on you for?

  5. What political leader, spiritual leader, social leader, business leader, family member or friend inspires you and why?

  6. Imagine yourself as an old person sitting on your porch with all your family, grandchildren and loved ones sitting around you, they are all saying wonderful things about you and what you have done in your life. What are they saying?

  7. The results of this purpose will be around long after you are gone. What is the ripple effect you wish to leave as your legacy? How do you wish to impact the world and those around you?

Each one of us has a unique gift. In spreading your gift you will make a difference. Sharing your true self will have an impact on those close to you, your community and the world.

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Yogi Times June Finding Your Center

Communication

Opening up the pathways of expression.

When we communicate effectively, we share a part of our true selves and receive from others valuable tools and knowledge, which we use to create our lives. In ceasing to communicate with ourselves and/or others, we take away the glue that holds our relationships and our society together.

Healthy relationships rely on consistent, honest communication. The more we share with those we love and care about, the stronger those relationships become. Keeping things bottled up inside undermines the foundations of those relationships and weakens our connections to each other. I remember a time when I was blocked up with thoughts and emotions. I had not had a conversation with my wife for a long time. Things were not easy. The world seemed like it was against me. Every thought, every emotion that went by unexpressed built up into this colossal silence - which, as it grew, became even harder to penetrate. I longed for this painful, deafening silence, this noncommunication to cease. Some wise words from a friend helped me pop the bubble. "Just start talking, anything - open your mouth and let some words out" I then realized I was so intent on saying the right thing, saying what I thought my wife needed to hear. But all I needed was the opportunity to express. All sorts of stuff came out - from the weather to work to the washing up and we ended up having a fantastic conversation, reopening the lines of communication between us. It is amazing how simply initiating a conversation can change our perspective or a situation!

We have a responsibility to create a safe environment for expression, not only for ourselves but also for those around us. Being a good listener is an integral part of communication. How available are you to listen to those around you or does that internal chatter crowd your ability to be present, to really hear what is being shared so that your response comes from what they have said and not from what you have already decided they said? Can you really focus, giving your energy to them, feeding back your understanding of what they have said?

  • As with all the work we do to improve ourselves, it helps to turn inward and ask "how well do I communicate with myself?"
  • Can I get out of my own way to listen to myself, trusting my inner truth and then follow it?
  • Do I trample over my clear thoughts, clouding my intention and purpose? Or in my stillness, do I see the honest reflection of myself, clear, expressed, ready to be shared with this world?

Create your inner peace and quiet, allowing you to converse with yourself, connecting all of the parts that make you human. We communicate all the time, yet often are not aware of the message we are communicating. Take a moment and ask yourself, what would you choose to communicate if you had the choice, free from the constraints that society and the past impose upon you? Who do you need to be in order to communicate that message?

Create an environment conducive to a good conversation between two people (private, quiet.) Have one person be the speaker, and the other the listener. The speaker has the right to speak until finished. The listener does not speak until the speaker is finished. The listener agrees to listen to every word so that when the speaker is finished they can relate back what they have perceived until the speaker feels completely understood, then switch. For an even deeper connection, try communicating in silence. What is shared as you sit in silence with another person? If there is something you have been meaning to share, express or tell someone I challenge you, to do it now. Create a moment and communicate.

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Yogi Times May Finding Your Center

Forgiveness

The power to heal; to stop being angry about or resenting somebody or somebodyÕs behavior.

What has forgiveness to do with Life Coaching? Living a fulfilled life demands that we honor our own personal values. Holding on to pain, blame or shame has the power to keep us from honoring these values.

Learning to forgive (to give of your love to another) even when it is the hardest thing to do can be the simple act of releasing or vocalizing a need to be expressed (releasing, often negative energy) thus freeing you up to honor yourself. You need to be willing, this takes courage. Mahatma Gandhi was quoted as having said that "the weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong" As with any task that is difficult to overcome the fruits of your labor are often sweet.

The one person who can really benefit from forgiveness is yourself. We all have the ability to forgive even though it at times it may seem near impossible. We can be so hard on ourselves punishing ourselves for past blunders blaming ourselves holding ourselves in a negative light. Forgiving yourself for all that you have made yourself wrong. Allowing you to come out of the shadow of the past and to fully embrace the present. Releasing yourself from the burden you have placed upon your shoulders opening up the possibility for love. Love of self and others.

When you blame someone else for something that happened you generate negative emotions that tie you into that moment and so you hold on to those negative emotions until you release them. Blame comes from our judgment creating right and wrong scenarios, making that person wrong for what they did (and often you right). It has been scientifically proven that negative emotion is poisonous, the irony is that the only person you are poisoning is yourself and not the one you blame!

If we can let go of the judgment and accept that who ever it was, was doing the best they could with the resources they had available to them at that time and what happened was neither right nor wrong but simply what happened, then you will create a space to open your heart and forgive them. The act of forgiveness brings you to the present releasing the hold that the past has on you, freeing you up to fully embrace an exchange of open love as opposed to anger or judgment which holds you back from fully experiencing all aspects of your life.

Forgiveness is not something to work through or unearth it is simply a decision that you can make. Forgiveness actually strengthens you. Not only in what it takes to accomplish forgiving someone or yourself but that it opens and frees you up to love which is a constant source of energy and vitality.

What does it ask of you?

Find it in yourself to forgive yourself for whatever you perceive as being wrong or where you hold yourself in a negative light.

Write down or become aware of the effect, that holding on to negative feelings you have toward someone who you think has wronged you. Even if you do not speak directly to that person you can forgive them by saying "I may not agree with your past behavior but I forgive you from the bottom of my heart" if you can say this then you have begun the process of opening yourself to love. If you can muster the courage and humility to do it in person then you may find the result even more powerful.

As you come to understand this notion of forgiveness you will become aware of the potential it has of healing the world. Indeed as we release the anger and embrace the love we are all doing our bit towards healing the planet collectively.

Hermas Lassalle invites you to find out more on forgiveness and Life Coaching contact him (the first 10 calls will get a free session). Tel: 310 451 3646 email: hermas@lassallecoaching.com

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Yogi Times April Finding Your Center

Stress Releif

Q: When I am doing Yoga I feel incredibly relaxed and unusually stress free. But it is not long after I leave my yoga studio that I get stressed out by my work, my boss and family concerns. What can I do to deal with stress on a daily basis? Bernard Hollywood

No one is impervious to the experience of stress to some degree. But it is how we deal with the many stresses with which we are confronted that ultimately determines the quality of our daily lives.

Most of us are not sensitive or present enough to know exactly what it is that causes our stress in the moment. What most of us notice are the physical signs of stress such as insomnia, depression, anxiety, fatigue, headaches, digestive problems and irritability. Many of those who are seeking the help of physicians for these complaints are often simply suffering from unrecognized stresses.

The first step in dealing with this pervasive concern is becoming aware of what is triggering the stress. (Your knowledge that it is your boss is part of the first step!) The second is developing precise individual methods for dealing with them consciously so they donÕt control our lives. It is important to understand that it is not the situations and challenges in our lives that cause us stress, but rather our response to them. The presence or absence of stress in our lives is a choice that each one of us makes, whether consciously or unconsciously.

First, however, a distinction must be made here between pressure, which can be a positive drive forward toward achieving goals, and stress, which usually leads to physical illness. When pressure becomes negatively focused in the form of hostility directed at friends and family or feelings of helplessness or anxiety and a desire to escape, it is likely that pressure has now turned into stress. One way to differentiate between the two would be to ask your self " can I accept this particular situation?" if the answer is "no" then you are under stress and not under pressure.

Here are seven steps to managing and relieving stress.

1. Bring to the forefront of awareness the triggers of stress by taking the time to stop when you feel the symptoms of stress- keep a small note pad and write down what it is that triggered a response. How did your body respond to it? Recognize any negative coping patterns (things you do that are not healthy for you). Note them down.

2. Calm the mind and body. Set up breathing exercises like Three-Part Breath - Dirga Pranayama. These methods produce anti stress chemicals that will either act as a treatment or a preventive measure. Set aside time to make this a daily practice.

3. Set aside time to do the things you love.

4. A regular yoga practice (or exercise regime) burns up stress chemicals and improves your ability to handle stressful situations. However, be aware that over activity or working beyond your capabilities can stress the body even further.

5. Manage your time. Time and feeling there is never enough to get what we need done- is one of our societyÕs main causes of stress.

  • Set priorities
  • Organize your day
  • Delegate as much as possible
  • Tackle tough jobs first
  • Avoid putting things off
  • DonÕt fall into the belief that everything has to be perfect

6. Learn how to communicate. Another major cause of stress is interpersonal relationships.

  • Learn to be a good listener
  • Be an active listener
  • Be a reflective listener
  • Wait to speak until the people you want to communicate with are listening
  • DonÕt try to talk over somebody
  • Help others to become active listeners, ask if they understood what you are communicating
  • Allow for silent moments. They are an important part of communication.

7. Work with someone, weather a friend, a partner or a life coach- whom you can consistently check in with regularly so that a true shift can occur in the patterns of how you are dealing with stress.

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Yogi Times March Finding Your Center

Challenging Fear

We are born into this world without fear - we are pure love, yet gradually, as the realities of life infiltrate the protective bubble of childhood, fear sets in and the world we are born into teaches us to fall in line with its social conditioning. One of the great ironies of this internalization of fear is the fact that behind our most profound fears, those imposed on us as we learn to fit in, our greatest power and our greatest gifts to the world are hidden. As a result, many of us avoid fulfilling our potential and boldly embracing that which would give us the greatest joy.

What is fear exactly? Fear is a personal reaction to something or someone. It is actually something that we create ourselves. Fear exists in the future not in the moment, it is in anticipation of something happening not in the happening itself. Thus, it is a state of mind that can be transformed.

In-order to move forward in our lives and evolve as human beings, our fears must be challenged and demystified. We all possess the courage to challenge our fears. The strength to harness that courage comes from a willingness to fall on our faces and embrace the possibility of failure. Though we have been conditioned to fear failure above almost all else, if we can approach our failures without judgment or attachment, they can become our greatest teachers. By allowing fear to control and hinder us, we are most likely giving up more than what we feared losing to begin with. When we allow fear to hinder our lives, it is like disowning a part of ourselves. It is the emotional equivalent of cutting off a limb. If we can objectively assess the cost of cutting out the part of our lives that we fear, we can gain an understanding of what we are sacrificing for our invented sense of safety and security. Yoga teaches that each of us is a complete whole, containing both yin and yang, love and fear. They are both a part of us. The one we choose to embrace is the one that will rule our lives.

Here is a simple meditation that can help you identify and address the fears in your life:

What do you fear?

  • Close your eyes.
  • WhatÕs the fear?
  • Get in touch with the fear.
  • What do you feel or notice about the fear?
  • Notice any resistance.
  • Give in and let go of the resistance.

What do you notice about the fear now?

  • Now imagine a door. On the other side of it is this fear. Imagine that the fear is a long lost friend. WhatÕs different about the fear now?
  • Now open the doorand welcome it in. Just notice how it feels. Offer it some tea, maybe something to eat.
  • Now really open your heart, and embrace the fear like a small child. Cradle it. Hold it. Love it. What do you want to say to this fear? WhatÕs going to be different? WhatÕs possible if you are willing to welcome, fully embrace, and love the fear?

Make a commitment to truly embrace this new friend of yours. Do something you have been fearful of doing. Get to know that little voice that reminds you of this fear. By embracing it, you empower yourself to deliberately choose your own path. The influence of this choice to overcome fear is infectious. As Marianne Williamson so beautifully put it, "As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." Embracing your fear liberates you to live the life you have always wanted yet never dared to have.

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Yogi Times February Finding Your Center

Commitment. Laying the foundation for our goals.

Commitment is a powerful tool in changing habits of a lifetime. Making commitments gives our life thrust and purpose. It is a constructive way of achieving our goals and moving toward creating the life we want.

What stops us from living our lives the way that we want? For many of us it is simply that we have no idea what kind of life we want. How can we commit to something that we have not yet envisioned?

Committing to something is an act of creation and, as with any creative process, it can get messy at times. Keeping our commitments is a continual practice in mindfulness in which our purpose is expressed in action. It is the a practice of keeping your word and rising above your ever changing feeling and moods to hear your empowering inner voice beyond the fears and desires that can throw you off course.

In this way your choices are handed over to your underlying motivation of your commitment. Choices are now based on what you said and no longer on old unconscious habits.

What is the difference between commitments and goals?

Commitments precede goals; they lie below the surface, like a buildings foundation. A commitment can be seen as the building's concrete pillars supporting the platform that houses the goal or the part that is visible. A goal is specific and measurable and there is a time frame attached.

A goal exists in the world: "I will do yoga, 5 times a week." A commitment exists within you: "I am committed to deepening my spiritual practice." The commitment describes the state of being; the goal describes how you will achieve it. "I am committed to a loving relationship with my wife. Therefore I will initiate a special date at least once a week."

You may say that you are committed to a loving relationship for example, but what may show up in your life is that you are actually committed to struggling about your relationship. Saying you are committed to something vs. the commitment really existing are two distinct truths.

Many of my clients begin out their journey with me with a variation on the statement - "That's where my heart is but my it's not where my life allows me to go!" A real commitment to what they wanted had not truly been made at that point. They were still committed to the reasons or excuses as opposed to the results. I ask them "are you willing to engage NOW?" What will have you commit? What do you need to say NO to and YES to in-order to honor that commitment? My clients are then challenged to dig deeper in search of the answer that will call them forth to a life that has meaning and purpose.

 

  • Take the time to ask yourself what you are committed to in your life. Explore fully all of the areas that matter deeply to you, (notice too the things you are committed to that do not serve you). On a scale of 1-10 mark how committed you are to each. Ask yourself what you need to do to raise that level two notches.

     

  • Write down 10 things you would raise that level. These ideas may take the form of a plan (i.e. to write a love poem). Give yourself the freedom to create here, do not limit your ideas. Now choose 3 from your list that have the most meaning for you. Committing to too many things at once may make it harder to keep your word.

     

  • In order to fully commit to these new ways of being there are things that you will need to say no to and things that you will need to say yes to. for example. I say NO to (not communicating) and YES to (communicating every day). This helps to deepen your understanding of the commitment and where the obstacles may lie. List 3 of each.

     

  • Ask a close friend, loved one or relative to witness your commitment, say it out loud. "I commit to a loving relationship, including your list of yes's and no's.

     

  • Create an action plan around this commitment, when and how you will carry out your plan. (I will write a love poem every Friday morning and read it to my partner).

     

  • Congratulate and acknowledge yourself for having committed to something that is deep and meaningful for you.

    Hermas Lassllle CPCC is a life coach empowering his clients to live the life they want to be living. For more information you can contact Hermas by e-mail at hermas@lassallecoaching.com

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    Yogi Times December /January Finding Your Center

    Q: I have been reading your column for months now and am intrigued by your subjects - Self Exploration, Awareness etc. But could you tell me more about what Life Coaching is exactly?


    WHAT IS LIFE COACHING?

    Life Coaching is a process through which we seek to find out who we really are at the center of our beings. Most of us are so busy trying to get to the top of our professions, to be the best parents and good citizens that we end up spending too little time answering the most important question we can ask ourselves - "Who am I?" Each individual has a unique and purposeful talent. Without knowing who we are, we are rarely able to find that thing we can do better than anybody else. And without that directed, fulfilling movement toward our ultimate destiny, we inevitably stumble into the sense that there is something missing from our lives. Frustration, which often leads to crisis and/or depression, is often the wake up call.

    Life's hiccups are opportunistic cracks in the firmament of our lives. The coaching profession has been called into being by these and similar pitfalls in our complex society today. A coach provides an individual with the opportunity to move forward, through powerful questioning, acute listening and a map for real action, towards a new perspective and ultimate change. On a practical level, a coach works as a one to one guide helping to develop a keen awareness of one's process. The interfacing (communicating not only on an auditory level but also through sensory data, mood shifts, pace, energy, emotion and reaction to environment) that takes place between client and coach is an exploration of values and a cultivation of a deep sense of self, without which it is difficult to find true fulfillment and meaning.

    An open trusting relationship is crucial to this exploration. Without judgment one can learn as much from failure as from accomplishment. A coach creates an environment where the only consequence of truth is growth and learning. When we are not able to access our own truth (as we are often not) a good coach has the acuity to help guide one through the chaos and fog. Where there is courage to tell the truth the client gets a model in the art of "being straight" and is set on a practical path to dealing with the gremlin or "little voice" that often abhors change and demands the status quo. Becoming conscious of the forces at work within us liberates our fears and opens the gateway for walking a path toward a positive and meaningful future.

    The coaching profession has experienced excellent results in helping people to create real and consistent results in their lives. Imagine an opportunity to apply the work you have been doing through your yoga practice and integrate it into a new life that you design. There is not an individual out there who would not benefit from the awareness that Life Coaching brings (no matter the issues they are searching to define). A few years ago the question often asked outside of the coaching community was, "what is a life coach?" Today it is "who is your life coach?" Find a good Life Coach who moves and inspires you. You will never see your life in the same way again.

    If you would like to find out more about how Life Coaching can benefit you Hermas Lassalle is extending his offer of a free trial session to Yogi Times readers through December 31st.

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    Yogi Times November Finding Your Center

    Intuition - Opening up the Channels to Our Deeper Inner Voice

    Intuition is direct inner knowing unencumbered by our thinking mind or fears. Also known as the "sixth sense" or the "third eye" our intuition is something each one of us is blessed with from the moment we are born. It is also the first part of our natural faculties that we loose touch with as we begin to take on the demands of the world around us.

    Following our intuition is a process of accessing and trusting our inner voice. The process is non-linear and not rational - but once harnessed, it is the point of access to a highly valuable tool which allows us to more fully experience what the universe is directing us toward.

    So how do we fully embrace our intuition and follow its messages if our mind gets in the way or we do not trust the information we are receiving? Learning to trust the clues provided by the universe (which in fact is only our openness to "see" the clues at any given moment) requires some practice. The first step is listening to our "gut instinct," following it and then standing in the awareness of what is manifested.

    Like the practice of Yoga, learning to listen to and follow our intuitive voice is a powerful practice, which brings acute awareness into our daily consciousness and leads the way for a more powerful existence.

    Create a practice of intuiting by opening up the channels to our deeper inner voice.

    • Begin the day by stating the intention (say when you are in the shower)to be awake to your inner voice (or intuition). Whenever you get a "hit" or a "feeling" that you think might be an intuitive one - write it down. This action creates a link between the conscious mind and the intuitive mind.

    • When you have made these intuitive moments concrete you will be able to more accurately decipher whether they are real or not. For each of the "hits" you receive - write down next to them what the reality it might have been alluding to in the future. In other words what happened? Did this intuitive experience give you a hint of what was to come? Did you find that if you had followed any of those feelings you would have had an easier time in any situation i.e. You thought you should have brought that telephone number with you when you left the house that morning - you thought you might need it and indeed you did.

    • After you feel you have gotten to grips with these intuitive "hits," spend an entire week following every single one of them. The clarity to do so will be informed and your sense of confidence in them will be strong.

    • Intuition often responds to a question. To practice this, work with a friend or colleague in a quiet place where you will not be interrupted for a while. Have your partner write down some open-ended questions that they would like to ask about their life. Have them choose one question from their list and read it out loud, repeating it with a quiet pause in between each time they read it. Concentrate on the question for 3-5 minutes opening yourself up to whatever your intuition offers. Share with your partner everything that came up. The random thoughts, the feelings, the visual images, the sounds, the smells, along with anything else that you noticed or that distracted you. Discuss with your partner what actually "connected."

    Hearing our inner voice and being able to follow it tells us that we have reached a new level of connection within ourselves and to universal consciousness. In fostering this ability, we allow ourselves to plug into the divine within ourselves, creating a powerful link between the inner and outer worlds we inhabit.

    Between November 1st-31st, Hermas Lassalle is offering free trial sessions. To find out more, visit his website, lassallecoaching.com, or e-mail him directly at hermas@lassallecoaching.com Hermas is a Life Coach dedicated to guiding people on their paths toward living powerful, fulfilled lives.

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    Yogi Times October Finding Your Center

    FULFILLMENT - honoring our deepest personal truths

    "To thine own self be true." - Clearly Shakespeare had a Life Coach. This poignant bit of wisdom has been with us for hundreds of years yet we still need reminding as this well-worn adage holds the secret to personal fulfillment.

    True fulfillment is found when we are living our deepest personal truths. It is about feeling alive. These personal truths are also what we hold as valuable, therefore I will refer to them here as our "values." I will give you a personal example. By racing on a sailboat once a week I am honoring (or giving some form of reverence to) my values of learning, physical challenge, being on the edge, being in nature and working with a team. By putting myself in an environment that has me fully experience these values, this part of me feels fulfilled.

    Even more ancient wisdom comes from Patanjali in the yoga sutras when he says that Sayta (or truth) "is the highest rule of conduct." He says "the man firmly established in truth gets the fruits of his actions without apparently doing anything". Indeed when we are in alignment with our values life feels effortless, productive, satisfying, even the challenges can be fun! When we are out of alignment with our deepest values, life is out of sync and often hard work. In this state we end up spending most of our time trying to unravel the chaos, which does not leave much time for joy!

    We can use the metaphor of an orchestra. When all our instruments (or values) are played in tune and harmony the most exquisite symphony emerges from our being. If just one instrument is not played or is out of tune we do not feel content with the performance of the orchestra. The more we practice each individual instrument (or live each value) the more harmonious the playing and more vitality in the expression of who we are.

    There are hundreds of words we could use to describe our values. Each person will have a different set of words to describe what elements are intrinsically important to them as individuals. Use the words or phrases, that mean the most to you. I have a value called, "being on the edge" that sums up a whole experience of pushing the limits, entering the grey, challenging my fear. Remember these are your own personal, most authentic, foundation-building values. Not things you aspire to, or believe other people or you think you should have. Just be true to yourself.

    * Remember an experience from your past that was rewarding, rich or fulfilling. Ask yourself what was happening, who was present and what was going on? Write down what values were present for you in that moment.

    * Behind every moment of anger or frustration is a personal value that is being suppressed. Take a look at your life and ask yourself where you get upset, angry or frustrated? Or what is it that you cannot tolerate in others? For example I get frustrated when someone creates disorder or I create chaos, you could say that I value order. Write down the values you find.

    * Write down your 10 most personal values. As you write down these values, create the intention to deepen and solidify your understanding and connection to them. Write down how you feel and what comes up as you name each value. Now ask yourself on a scale of 1-10 the extent you are living each value in your life at this moment. Looking at your results, what can you do to bring each value and how you honor it in your daily life up to a 10 on that scale?

    Beneath what we believe we should be doing, or are doing in order to survive, lies dormant most of our values or deepest truths and therefore our potential to live our most fulfilling lives. To uncover and bring them into the conscious part of ourselves by first seeing them and then by honoring (or living them) in our everyday lives, we bring to light a deeper experience of satisfaction and unblock the pathway toward ultimate fulfillment.

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    Yogi Times September Finding Your Center

    SELF-EXPLORATION - Discovering what we are made of

    Before ultimate liberation (Samadhi) most of us still have dishes to do, children to raise and a career to attend to (my agenda for the week anyway). So before merging with the divine, let us first get to grips with the Self.

    We can compare our lives to an iceberg. The part that we see is miniscule in relation to what lies beneath the surface. Unless we dive down and take a look, our greatest riches could remain undiscovered. ñWe suffer because we live in ignorance of our true nature,î according to The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Yet, if there were a magic mirror in which we could see all of the unseen aspects that make up who we are, how many of us would really want to look?

    Educating ourselves about ourselves is an important step in the process of discovery. However, education of the Self can only take place if we have the courage and willingness to challenge the fear of opening PandoraÍs box. It is well documented that holding onto trapped emotions, fears and unexpressed experiences, can make us sick both physically and emotionally. So why do we still so often avoid and/or numb this part of ourselves?

    Ironically, within this knowledge lies our greatest power. Our emotions are the signposts on the map that can lead us toward the veritable riches that are our true selves. Discovering the stories we have attached to certain emotions and experiences is one path to unearthing what we are made of. By exploring and excavating the deep, dark caves within ourselves and accepting what we find, the fears and stories we have created can be stripped of their power over us. To know ourselves on this deeper level also gives us the space to choose and focus on who we want to become.

    Here are a few methods of exploration I use with my clients. Take some time to be in the context of willingness to explore.

    * Take 2 hours and sit with yourself in a quiet space. Empty yourself of all thoughts. Experience whatever comes up and then let it move on. Set an intention that you receive the appropriate experience for this moment. Trust your faith in the unknown and let the universe guide your being. When you stay still for long periods of time many emotions, thoughts and feelings arise. This is an opportunity for you to accept them in the privacy and quiet of your own space. Notice your reaction to these things and also your reaction to being with yourself alone for this length of time. Is there a sense of unwillingness, frustration, lack of patients? Is there peace, surrender? Whatever comes up is a good indication of how you relate to being with yourself.

    * On twelve small pieces of paper write down six things about yourself you consider to be positive attributes and six things that you associate with being negative. Now sit and spread the pieces of paper around you on the floor. Focus on one piece of paper at a time. Just be with this part of yourself for two minutes. For the last thirty seconds, whether a negative or positive attribute, smile as you sit with it. Continue this process with the following eleven. Note what comes up for you.

    * Ask three people you feel safe with to share with you what they consider to be your four most positive attributes and your four most negative. Ask them to be as honest with you as possible. Remember not to judge them or yourself in this revealing process. What they are expressing is their own personal reflection of who you are to them. But it does give you an idea of how you are perceived in this world and may highlight areas of your life that you were not aware of and would like to explore further.

    How does it feel to experience aspects of yourself that do not match your self-image? In some cases it may be exhilarating in others there might be a sense of sadness. Ultimately it will lead to oneÍs own personal truth. Being able to face all aspects of ourselves with awareness and compassion is a vital step on the path toward a meaningful and fulfilled life.

    If you would like further information on practical methods of self-exploration, or have any questions, please write to Hermas Lassalle at hermas@lassallecoaching.com.

    Hermas will also be running a tele-class on this subject on September 24th. Consult his website for more information. lassallecoaching.com

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    Yogi Times July/August Finding Your Center

    AWARENESS - creating continuity in our daily lives.

    Awareness is the experience of "being" human. By simply recognizing and acknowledging our inner states of being at any given moment we become a present participant in our own existence. Our discipline of yoga leaves us with a keen sense of connectedness and awareness to ourselves and to our higher power. But after savasana it is not long before we slip back into the chaotic practice of our daily lives and that sacred place of connection is crowded out.

    The word yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root word "yuj" literally meaning "integration or "union" it also means "to direct one's attention on, to use and apply." How can we integrate and apply that vital sense of awareness and connection that arises from our asanas, directly and continuously into our daily lives?

    Like yoga, it is a discipline. When we first begin the practice of yoga, we discover which asanas are difficult for us to achieve - in effect we begin to become aware of our body, its strengths as well as its limitations. As we continue our practice, little by little our body is able to reach beyond what was once impossible.

    Mahadev Desai, in his introduction to the Gita According to Gandhi, describes yoga as "the disciplining of the intellect, the mind, the emotions, the will, which that Yoga presupposes; it means a poise of the soul which enables one to look at life in all its aspects evenly."

    Like a challenging pose, practiced over time, our ability to sit inside awareness becomes a natural, even pleasurable discipline.

    So what is it actually like to live in awareness? Awareness is a living state of connectedness - the trinity of mind, body and spirit in joint vitality. It is a state in which our minds are focused, our hearts are opened and our spirits are in tune with our instincts and intuition so that we know the path we are walking is truly and uniquely our own. In essence it is being in a constant state of choice.

    Therefore we can look at "being unaware" as experiencing life from within a fog where there is a constant longing for greener pastures. Opportunities come and go. We wish we had been ready for them and are jealous that someone else effortlessly took them up before our eyes. We are subject to external forces and fears that pull us along a path not necessarily our own, missing the valuable information our soul is expressing.

    Create a daily practice of awareness - keep the connection alive.

    1) Set your alarm clock for 10 minutes earlier than usual. Sit up in bed take this time to be inside you body as it awakens to new day. Be an observer of what comes up in your consciousness. Take in all that your senses are communicating to you in this moment of living stillness. Listen to the birds singing outside your window. Make space for your intuition to come alive and find its voice within you.

    2) Create triggers for yourself that serve to remind you throughout the day. For instance every time you look into a mirror or open a door during the day - call yourself back into a state of connection. Take a moment to feel what is going on within you. Ask yourself some questions. What is taking you out of yourself? Are you feeling hurt, heavy, relaxed? Concentrate on your breathing as you return to mindfulness of the self. Once you reconnect you will function better at the task in front of you.

    3) During the day when you are feeling off, find a place to sit quietly for a moment. Feel the chair you are sitting on. Feel you buttocks on the chair. If you can feel them, then you are present too and therefore aware of yourself in that moment. As you step into yourself, what are you conscious of? What do you feel? Name it. Whatever state you are in, (positive or negative) recognize and acknowledge it. Just be with it, without judgment. Once you recognize what state you are in you can choose to stay with it or to move away from it. (It is impossible to shift from a state that we are not aware of!)

    4) Before you go to bed at night, set an intention (or say a prayer) that your awareness awakes with you.

    "Being" aware in the midst of our daily activities allows us to savor every moment of our existence - good or bad, void of judgment, creating within us a continual point of access to our inner light and a platform for deeper self-exploration.

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