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Sunday, 29 January 2012

Retreat

We do not truly serve the world if we give to others but neglect our own truth and our own needs. It’s only when our own needs are fully met that we can generously and whole-heartedly give of ourselves. It’s not selfish to look after ourselves -- it’s essential!
(Borrowed from Ron Handrahan - photographer, father, grandfather, all round great guy...)

The idea of "retreat" is as old as civilization itself. It is to get away to a place of serenity where you can create, restore, share, and simplify your life. I firmly believe that our nervous systems are not really built for the array of stresses we put ourselves under in daily modern life. How wonderful it is to just surrender our cell phones, our responsibilities and our "schedules" for a short time so that we can return to the simplicity of our breath, of resting in a quiet corner of the room with a good book or enjoying the beauty of the sunset without needing to be or do anything else.

Ambition, drive, goal-setting and seeking continual evolution through change and growth and gathering of knowledge are all so important. But so is balancing those aspects with rest, meditation and gentle but honest inward reflection. Add to that coming together with other like minded people to share your energy and common intentions for healing and renewal and you've got yourself one powerful combination. And enough spark to ignite some wonderful changes and invoke some incredible manifestations.

Our modern world is full of striving. Each time I visit Latin America or return to the tropics, I am reminded of that. It's not until you actually step away from it that you realize just how intense our lifestyles are. "Rest" is not high on the list of priorities around these here parts. Accumulating more, doing more, being better, getting ahead - these are all themes that seem to permeate our culture. And when you're immersed in it, you hardly notice it. Many are hardly aware of what a wave of stress, exhaustion or defeat they've gotten swept out on.Almost as if this has become the "norm".

Taking time to reflect is unquestionably important. As someone who needs lots of "hj time" I have come to respect and understand this well. Modern living needs balance for many of us. This requires a bit of courage to really understand what it is you need and then to implement it. To ask for space or time isn't always easy. To honour yourself isn't always easy. But it IS essential as Mr Handrahan so eloquently pointed out above. (Thanks!)

Getting away on Retreat regularly is also something I've become accustomed to and something I hold as a really important thing that's one of my overall "wellness strategies" for my life. Join me this February 17th, 18th and 19th at the rustic and historic Lansing Lodge at the Buffalo Canoe Club in Ridgeway Ontario for a weekend of renewal and re-invigoration.

The weekend getaway will include 4 Yoga & Meditation classes, Breakfast and delicious lunch as well as an Ayurvedic-inspired Supper on Saturday night followed by a live kirtan performance by John Bauld and Ananda. Participants will also receive as part of their retreat - one aromatherapy massage treatment, one reflexology treatment, and a personalized Feng Shui consultation with Ginette Hunter (Master Feng Shui consultant) about how to best prepare for the upcoming year.

The weekend promises to be restful, inspiring and deeply nurturing in all ways. But space is limited.
Join us for the day, a class, Saturday's Kirtan performance and dinner, or the whole weekend.
Visit www.PlanetLoveCreations for more info...

May you be happy. And may your life be filled with ease....

Friday, 27 January 2012

Welcome the Dragon!

A few days ago, on January 23rd, we welcomed the Year of The Dragon in the Chinese astrological calendar. And I couldn't be happier! Born under the sign of the Dragon I feel quite at home with the exuberance, adventure and excitement that this year promises.


"The Year of the Dragon is the most majestic and regal of all the animals," says Candice Chan of Toronto-based event planning duo, Candice&Alison. "Dragon personalities tend to be strong, fiery, eccentric, passionate, generous and loyal - some of the best themes to bring to life at an event. It's the time to be more daring and dramatic in your lighting, sound and d├ęcor."

2011, a Rabbit year, in Chinese astrology was kinda dull (at least for us Dragons anyway). It felt stagnant, eerily difficult and unquestioningly challenging. Kinda like swimming upstream despite your bravest attempts to relax and go with the flow. The problem was, for some of us, there simply was no "flow". Ugh. Exasperating.

But this year promises something very different. Very different indeed. The last time there was a Dragon year was 12 years ago and it was rung it with wild assumptions about Y2K and the threat of the world's technology systems crashing and burning. Which, in typical Dragon fashion, never really actually happened. Yet it certainly got people fired up....effectively starting that year with increased wildness, a little flamboyant pageantry and some definite excitement that seemed to get everyone's juices flowing again. (Dragon's are good at that!) It's true. Seriously.

This year, 2012, is the Year of the Water Dragon specifically. It happens only once every 60 years. When you think of water and it's immense fluidity and power, it should give you a good indication of what this year has in store. Literally - things will start to move and flow again. In exciting, powerful ways. Think - Niagara Falls! Water brings with it constant movement, swift currents, high and low tides (the contrast of which will be even more evident this year as the striking difference between the two will be interesting at times, I'm sure.) In many Asian cultures having a baby or starting a business in a Dragon year is considered highly auspicious and is quite sought after. Water Dragon years bring with them the ability to flow smoothly around obstacles, as well as successful expansion and growth. The peaceful clear-thinking energy of the Water Dragon can help us see the needs of others, and work for the benefit of the people and wider world around us. Which is, in fact, the way the consciousness of the world is shifting. The old paradigms of greed, "all for one" mentality and empty work that steals from the world instead of adding to it, is definitely changing. The Water Dragon is a wise and powerful leader, a mystical and legendary creature - noble and untouchable. We can look to this powerful figure from the Asian Zodiac to inspire our yoga practice and our lives this year.

I think the general message with this year is to literally practice Going With The Flow.
As well as expanded consciousness, increased creativity, risks, a lil' spontaneous adventure(I'm sure), and a general feeling of excited possibilities!

Ahhhhh.....feels good to be home in some familiar territory. 2012 - you ROCK so far! Keep it comin'!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Carpe Diem

"Celebrate we will, because life is short but sweet for certain."

- Dave Matthews Band


We all have goals... dreams that percolate in the back of our minds and propel us to do some remarkable things and take some interesting risks. Some of these goals are immediate, some far off in the distance. By working hard and focusing on what you want to get out of life, you increase the probability of achieving all of your dreams. In the end there are no guarantees, so I think it's best to make the most of each day by celebrating and cherishing the moment instead of looking too far forward too often. Know what you truly want. Plan for it. See it, feel it, believe in it. But stay present in each day and remember to love fully, relax and smile often, and celebrate what each day brings. Have a sense of humor! Work hard, be disciplined and dedicated to what you truly desire. But remember to laugh! Laugh and smile and relish the hilarity and the comedy of life. (It adds 8 years by the way.....)

This time of year, so many people are excited and energized by the thought of a "new year", a "fresh start", a chance to begin again and create something inspiring. I know I am. So - what does it take to really stick with those intentions? Passion. Drive. Belief (even just a little) that you CAN and you WILL have what you want. You are worthy of good things. They will be yours if you truly want them.

You see, sometimes negativity, laziness and pessimism are nothing more than habits. Just habits we've gotten used to. Habits we somehow feel "comfortable" in. Because they've become so familiar. Doesn't mean they're permanent. Doesn't mean you can't easily shift into something different.

Want to try yoga but have been too intimidated? Tired of getting the same haircut over and over? Want to go back to school? Go for it! Tomorrow is not a promise. Seize the opportunities while
you still can! Life is meant for the living.