Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mealtime Prayers



As I sit an pause to look at the bounty before me, whether it be a single scrambled egg or a Christmas feast, my mind wanders to the origin of this food.


The chicken scrambling about the yard and laying an egg while the farmer slept. How this new life is given up to provide protein and life for my family. Thank you.



The wheat fields shimmering in the sunlight as a gentle breeze helps them to dance and sway. The soil providing a foundation for the tall stalks and the rain giving life. Hundreds of tiny grains milled and brought together with yeast and water to bring the slice of bread now on my plate. Thank you.


The list goes on and on. There is no doubt that I am connected intimately with the earth. Each bite that enters this mouth and is broken down by these teeth is a reminder of the gifts that the earth offers. I have no choice but to offer back. Thank you.



Just before that first piece of sustenance enters this physical form, I silently whisper, "May this food provide this body with health, vitality, strength, flexibility, and balance. Thank you." This is not a rote ritual, but rather a conscious consideration and appreciation.



Then the first few bites are savored with closed eyes and all focus goes to the taste buds, the sounds of transition, and the marvelous texture of this gift. Taste explosion. Even the simplest of foods take on new flavors as I simply notice. Just notice and say thank you, really thank you.



Love Much,

Kris
http://www.totalhealthyoga.com/

Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Reaching Out


Story of this unexpected couple at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-481601/The-abandoned-monkey-love-pigeon.html.

Reach out and touch someone in need.


Love Much,

Kris
http://www.totalhealthyoga.com/

Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Acceptance

Being a summer bunny at the start of what is predicted to be the snowiest winter yet, I find myself reflecting on acceptance. That much overlooked and yet vital element to true happiness. Acceptance cannot exist in the state of complaining which keeps us stuck (ironically) where we don't want to be. When we fight with Life, it's a never ending battle--well almost.

Nicole Kidman was on Oprah the other day for her new movie, Australia. At one point she voiced her desire "to live life fully. I want to look on my life and know, really know, that I lived. I want to embrace it all: the happy times and the painful times." This is the only way to live completely--to take it all in, not just select pieces.

Accept was is.

Make space for reality.

Allow emotions to be felt.

Surrender to the moment.

Become aware of what is.

Positive change only comes from seeing things as they really are.



Love Much,

Kris
http://www.totalhealthyoga.com/

Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Coping With Holiday Stress

Here are some ideas provided mostly by students on how to enjoy this potentially busy time of year.



1. Focus on the giving part of the holidays. Gather old books and take them to the local shelter or get the family together and bring no longer used goods to a non-profit organization. It's fun to get together with the intention to give.



2. Shop early!!



3. Instead of cramming a number of celebrations into a day or two, spread out the festivities through January and February. You can get gifts after the official holiday when they all go on sale and have more time to spend with loved ones.


4. Avoid the malls as much as possible. If you're fed up with the commercialism and Christmas music before Halloween, then stay out of the mainstream stores for a month or two. You just might find more meaning and peace during the season.



5. Take a hatha yoga or meditation class!



6. Spend time to meditate and follow the breath even if just for a few minutes.



7. Take Vitamin D3. For more information on this vital supplement check out

http://mayoclinic.com/health/vitamin-d/AN01558 and

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/QAA358211.



8. Shorten your gift or card giving by omitting folks that you are no longer close with. A guideline for determining this is to ask, "If I was nearby this person, would we get together for lunch?"



9. Shop online. Here are a few places to consider:

http://cdbaby.com/cd/kriskramer

http://store.gxonlinestore.org/

http://www.worldgoodsgb.com/

http://www.gaiam.com/?gcid=S18376x028&keyword=giam

http://www.amazon.com/



10. If you enjoy spending time baking cookies, go for it! If you're feeling like it's "one more thing to do", purchase home baked goods from retirees or non-profit groups. You'll help someone out, enjoy fresh treats, and have a lovely gift to offer a friend.




11. Take a bath scented with lavender.

12. And finally, DRINK MORE WINE!





Have a blessed holiday season,


Kris
http://www.totalhealthyoga.com/

Today is the first day of the rest of your life!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Am I Enough ....


As I ate breakfast this morning and felt the sun shining through the window and warming my skin, I felt grateful: Grateful to be able to live such a peaceful life. Here it was, 9 a.m. and I was enjoying hot eggs with homemade whole wheat biscuits and an orange directly from Florida. In the quiet of my home, I could choose to sit in the sun light and watch the birds flocking about the freshly filled feeders. The snow, albeit too early in the year for my taste, was stunning; the sun's rays sparkled like the finest diamond on the snowflake covered tree branches. What a sight!
Again, I was filled with gratitude. Not so much for the snow, but for the ability to just sit and enjoy what many only have on the weekends--a peaceful and lazy breakfast.
Does this make me a bad person? Shouldn't I be contributing more profoundly to the world? What gives me the right to just enjoy and not give?
These questions began to bother me and distracted my mind from the beauty all around.
Doesn't it make sense to offer more? Is teaching a handful of yoga classes a week enough? Couldn't I do more? Shouldn't I do more?
My sense of worth faltered a bit as I questioned my lifestyle. I began to picture other people taking on the morning traffic, having a boss to please, and giving their time and energy to accomplish something. While here I sit, feeling the sun and watching the gem-like reflections on the snow.
To be honest every moment is not as bliss-filled, and there are activities that I "have" to do for work and home. But is it enough?
Am I enough?
That's the real question. Am I enough? Do I do enough, offer enough, live enough? What determines who's worthy and who's not?
Eckhart Tolle spent two years of nirvana living is poverty and homeless spending most days sitting on a park bench watching the birds and absorbing nature. Now he's a best selling author and an internationally known spiritual teacher.
Was that wasted time? Millions of his fans would say, "No." From Tolle's books, such as the Power of Now, it seems that he never questioned his worth while sitting on that park bench.
Is it better to be in a situation or job that you dislike or be in an environment doing things that you really enjoy? Sounds like a no-brainer to me: Enjoy life!
But what if you enjoy sitting on the couch and watching TV all day long? The question may be, "Do you enjoy it because it's an escape from reality or because you feel peaceful, thankful, and more connected to the world around you?" If it's an escape from life, then that's not truly enjoying life.
I wonder:
Can the trick to a happy and "worthy" life be to simply do whatever fills you with gratitude and peace at any given moment?
Is that possible? Sounds a bit pollyanna; but consider having lunch with someone that is depressed and miserable. Are you left feeling upbeat or drained? Now imagine sitting across the table from a person filled with gratitude and joy. Notice how his or her happiness can fill a room and bring a smile even to a stranger?
Perhaps this is the greatest gift we can give.
Perhaps our greatest contribution to the world is to be happy and share that happiness with others.
Maybe relishing in the peace offered by the glistening sun on a snow-filled day is exactly and precisely the best place to be.
Love Much,

Kris
http://www.totalhealthyoga.com/

Today is the first day of the rest of your life!