Find a Blissful Moment Every Day

Find a Blissful Moment Every Day

What is bliss? The dictionary has two definitions for bliss. The first is: perfect happiness; great joy. The second is: something providing such happiness.

First of all, happiness starts from within, but a few simple things, done every day, do help. Blissful moments are different for everyone. Here are mine:

1. My morning cup of coffee. The moment I wake up, I look forward to my cup of coffee. Why? It is such a simple thing: hot liquid in a cup. To me, it is so much more. My senses awaken every time I hold a cup of coffee. The cup warms my hands which are always cold (even in the summer). The warm liquid is smooth, creamy and delicious. The smell of fresh brewed coffee reminds me to be thankful for being alive and to cherish these simple moments. I close my eyes and I am in the “now.” I focus on all the happy sensations this one simple beverage does for me. Then all of a sudden, the cobwebs evaporate from my foggy brain and I am able to start my day as a happy, content and grateful human being.

2. Meditation. I must meditate daily. My mind takes me on a turbulent ride and if I don’t sometimes get off, just like in Thelma and Louise, my “car” will drop off a cliff. I keep saying there is something wrong with my brain, but I am told otherwise. Perhaps other people feel the same as I do… it is nice to know that I am not alone. Meditating slows down that ride to a nice Sunday jaunt. I meditate in the morning with the aid of an app downloaded to my tablet. It is time specific and a beautiful ringing bell sounds as the meditation counts down. I close my eyes and my thoughts race, but every time I hear the bells I return to the moment quickly and easily. I have found that meditation has made me feel happier. I am able to handle the stressful moments in my day easier. I also look at people differently because I am not judging them or criticizing them if they take their anger out on me. I just remember that they are having a bad day and try not to take it personally. Meditating calms my mind so that I can let go of external conflicts and put my mind at ease.

3. Driving home from work. This is the time I take to relax and prepare to finish my day on a good note. If you don’t like your commute, find something that you enjoy doing that you can incorporate into your drive or train ride. Listen to the radio and focus on how the songs make you feel. Listen to a motivational CD and focus on improving yourself. If you are taking the train, read a good book, take a nap or make conversation with the person next to you. Everybody has a great life story to tell. If you are constantly stuck in traffic, or the train is late, take those moments to focus on the “now” and enjoy “being.” Don’t focus on the negative. Try turning this moment into something positive: a time to meditate and focus on your breath. Learn to enjoy the moment instead of indulging the negative emotions building up inside of you. Once you arrive at your destination you will no longer feel agitated or angry, but more focused and able to get on with your day in a positive mood. If you are arriving home after work, you will be able to greet your family in a happy mood.

4. Brushing my teeth and washing my face before going to bed. That simple everyday activity is both calming and soothing. As the electric toothbrush whirls, I focus on the positive aspects of my day and let go of the experiences that weren’t so great. I focus on the day’s events that I am grateful for and cherish those moments. When I am done brushing my teeth, my mouth feels fresh and clean. Next I wash my face. The suds erase all the impurities. My face feels tingly and I am left with a clean slate. I am ready to do it all over again the next day.

Your blissful moments could be different from mine. Perhaps when you come home, you get to greet the pet you’ve missed terribly all day. Other blissful moments could include: cooking a great meal, working out, talking to some friends on the phone, or doing yoga to alleviate some stress. Pick your blissful moments and make them count each and every day.

This is what life is about. Simple, blissful moments.



Push Away Nothing: The Art of Receptivity

Push Away Nothing: The Art of Receptivity

I received the weekly newsletter from UPAYA Zen Centre via email. It opened with a quote from Frank Ostaseski:

“The First Precept: Welcome everything. Push away nothing… At the deepest level, we are being asked to cultivate a kind of fearless receptivity.”

There is more to the quote and I encourage you to source the rest of it. “Push away nothing.” There was something freeing about that statement. It felt almost paradoxical. We tend to protect ourselves from the experiences and situations we deem bad, harmful, stressful, discouraging. There was a sense of liberation in his statement. I felt as though it contained a secret key. I have found over my years of spiritual seeking, that when I stumble across a paradox or a deeply contrary belief, I am usually stumbling onto something great.

“Welcome everything.” It wasn’t to say that I welcomed awful things. It was when I found myself fighting against what was happening, that I stopped and repeated the words, “Welcome everything.”

Fear keeps us from welcoming everything. There was a time I lived by the phrase, “The garbage you know is better than the garbage you don’t.” (Well, maybe I didn’t use the word garbage). What do we think is going to happen? And why do we assume it is less than what we have now? Perhaps it will be greater than we can imagine.

“Push away nothing.” I was starting a new venture with a dear friend and the timing of this new mantra was perfect. I took it into every challenge and situation that arose in the early stages of creating our vision and bringing our project to life. When conflict came, I welcomed it. When the workload grew, even though it was summer holidays and I had planned to be loafing around doing yoga in the garden and playing with the kids, I welcomed it. When I had to wait for others in order to move forward, I welcomed it. I pushed away nothing but something fell away all on its own. As I welcomed each and every circumstance, feeling and thought, struggle fell away. As I welcomed everything, everything became easier.

The new venture emerged with much work and little struggle. Finally, I made the time to enjoy an end of summer yoga class. The summer work and activity schedule had gotten the best of my back. I altered the poses. Rather than flow from up dog to down, I took an extra plank, reducing the movement in my spine. I lay on my back in a tense version of setu bhandasana, or bridge pose, mitigating back pain by squeezing my glutes tighter. I wondered why my back was in such a state after a long period pain-free. I wished the pain would go away so I could enjoy my practice.

“Push away nothing.” The mantra found me on my mat. I released my glutes and my tension. “Welcome everything.” I breathed deeply into my back and the discomfort. I moved through the remaining practice with breath and mantra, welcoming the state of my body and the opportunity to gently back off from the full expression of the poses. I took seated twist and simply allowed myself to back off. In backing off, I discovered deeper release and the ability to move further into the pose with greater ease. In welcoming the condition of my body and allowing it to guide my practice, I found more freedom and flexibility.

I woke the next morning with more mobility in my spine and my mind. Seemingly counter-intuitive, there is great freedom in Frank Ostaseski’s words. I am grateful he shared them and I adopt them with fearless receptivity.

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