November 4, 2012
Your environment matters. If you live in a dark place, chances are you won’t feel as bright as someone who lives under the sun 365 days a year.
The landscape matters. If you are in an urban jungle, you might not feel as consistently grounded as someone who lives amongst the red rock of Sedona, Arizona, for instance.
I had the pleasure of visiting Sedona this week. Known for its vibrating vortexes of energy swirling up from the minerals in the ground, Sedona holds a special kind of vibe I have never experienced in my life. Go there and you will realign with your highest self. That’s all I have to say.
Even if you aren’t apt to make your way there, consider where you live as your sacred space. If your office is lifeless, without plants, water or some kind of sunlight, consider placing a portable water fountain on your desk. Place special rocks or other meaningful items around you. They hold positive energy, something everyone could use a little more of!
It is easy to tap into your extraordinary when you have peace of mind. All it requires is a little time to reflect, go inward and really listen to yourself. Take a few breaths, light a special candle, and think about how extraordinary your life is. Every day you get a new chance to live that life to the very best of your ability.
Some times all it takes is a beautiful landscape to set you free. You can create it right where you are. You really can.
September 10, 2012
Strolling across countless Tuscan piazzas from Florence to Siena to Pisa to Lucca, Italy, one cannot help but see the birthplace of the Slow Movement with Slow Eyes. The three-hour siestas, the wine, pasta and beautiful shops are breath-taking. Around every corner is a new sensation in which to immerse yourself. Even the air tastes good in Italy, at least in Tuscany where we spent six glorious days with the top down in our two-seater, pretending we lived there without a care in the world.
Perhaps it is the sea that tightly hugs both coasts that brushes away the soot and smell of modern life. Or perhaps it is the sun that kisses your face in relentless delight. Your skin absorbs the light, entering your heart in a constant wave of glowing warmth.
Can you tell that I’ve fallen in love?
Yes, Italy is an amazing place. For the past two weeks that I’ve been on vacation, I have experienced the world with immeasurable delight. As a writer, I must live in order to feed my creative source. So it was my mission to live life to the fullest and report back to you on what I found.
And what I found was Nirvana.
It started in Paris where I began my Slow travel. The city cast a spell on me as I wandered about the cobblestone streets, practicing my French and remaining in constant awe at the grace and refined, yet celebratory nature of the people there. Whoever says the French are arrogant are simply wrong. They know how to live…and eat. Three-hour lunches? Absolutely!
I realize now that anyone can experience Nirvana at any given moment (a beautiful setting helps expedite the process, of course!). It takes practice to get there, but it is possible. In my view, there are three essential steps one must take to reach that place.
One must first enter a harmonious space. It starts with our thinking about things. If we are in conflict over something, harmony is hard to find. When we adapt our thinking to embrace change, challenges and upsets, we enter a state of Flow. Flow leads to better decisions, which leads to better action, which leads to more Flow.
See what I mean? Harmony is a habit based on your thinking about, then reactions to, the things that happen.
Bliss is the next step. Once we have reached a level of harmony in our every day lives, we are open to the sheer joy of being without conflict. Everything passes through us without judgement or scrutiny. We reach an inner peace that passes thinking to a true state of beingness. Our brains are still operating, but our emotions have been disengaged from their dependency on external circumstances.
This state is Flow to the nth degree.
Also known as Enlightenment, this stage is pure Heaven. Everything is in alignment with everything else. There is nothing to do, want or even be. You are in complete Oneness with All That Is.
Getting to Nirvana is a highly personal experience, but it is a journey worth taking. We all have our own path with many bumps, twists and curves in the road. Slow Travel helps get us there if we are willing to take on the world with a different set of glasses.
And who knows? Your Nirvana might co-mingle with someone else’s. Imagine the fun that would be!
May 29, 2012
Now I know why Italy is the birthplace of all things slow. Its magical sun, the food that sprouts from the earth, the smiles on people’s faces…with all that goodness, how could you not want to decelerate to enjoy it all?
I am here now again. And it feels wonderful to reconnect to the source of so much.
May you enjoy the beauty of Slow today, no matter where you are!
November 18, 2011
Some days it’s all you can do to shuffle across the floor. The art of slow movement takes practice. You need to learn to release the expectation that it’s going to go any faster than this.
I don’t know what expresses this sentiment better than this three and one-half minute video.
July 15, 2010
If you’ve ever been to airports with automated speed walk sidewalks, you’ll observe that about fifteen feet before the sidewalk ends, you hear a voice alerting you to your pending expulsion from it. Not so for real sidewalks on the street.
According to a New York Times report, a recent Ohio State University study about texting while walking and the 1000 reported injuries incurred by texting walkers points to an increasing issue of pedestrian traffic safety. Ohio State University’s Transportation and Parking department is trying to offset the rising epidemic by putting up signs such as the one pictured here.
Or, as I like to say, “You text? You’re next.” That goes for pedestrians as well as drivers.
I can see it now. Sidewalks will soon be equipped with textured flooring just to alert texting pedestrians that a curb is approaching. Or maybe they’ll have recordings of soothing, yet urgent voices like the ones at today’s airports, pointing the way to safety and attention.
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November 18, 2009
We may bemoan the treacheries and time-sucking nature of the Internet, but it sure has introduced me to some of the most fascinating people on the planet. When used mindfully, the Internet offers buckets of useful (and not so useful) information. With technological advances such as web-based video calls (aka Skype), twitter and Facebook, we have raised our awareness of how entangled we all are with one another. In a way, the World Wide Web has increased our consciousness of oneness.
I stumbled upon…ummm… I digged…nope. Let me start again. I met a fascinating performance consultant by the name of Mark K. Petruzzi on twitter. the other day. He tweeted about me. I tweeted about him. And before you knew it, we were Skyping about God, spirit and work-life solutions.
Life can be that grand.
With more than 15 years in corporate training with IBM, CIGNA Corporation, and General Physics Corporation, Mark has spent over three decades in the study of expansive inner life practice and 25 years in the study of enhancing job satisfaction through employee self-actualization. In short, he takes a “personal value” approach to work. Ten minutes with Mark will tell you he enjoys working with individuals and small groups, in business or private settings, as he helps them enhance both their personal and work lives.
Curious about his view of time starvation, I tossed out a few questions to get a sense of his relationship with time.
“If you feel a paucity of time,” he told me, “you literally are compressing it. We have to start trusting others and ourselves more. We need to know our lives will work out. Our point of power is in the now. If you give in to fifty distractions at every moment, you aren’t really living.” You are, in effect, merely breathing. And that rather breathlessly! The basis of his work, like the basis of mine, is choice. When we live in a mindful state, we reclaim our personal power.
We talked about the nobility of pain and how we might very well be addicted to the ways in which we maltreat ourselves. If you run about being so ‘busy’, you might really be missing the whole point. Allowing our ego the space to dwell within us is a great first step toward diffusing its power over us. Mark refutes the notion of the ego being ‘all bad’. Like a houseplant, it needs care and feeding like the rest of our being. I tend to acknowledge its cry so it doesn’t get louder (any parent of an infant will tell you that’s the best thing to do, especially in the middle of the night!). Loving the ego fosters compassion for ourselves and others.
On the road to time abundance, we need to recognize there is more to us than what we do, own or look like (Mark says I look like Laura Linney. Now, if I could only act like she does!). We are whole beings. When we are one with time, we can wrap ourselves in it like kings’ robes. You might even call it time-swathing.
Mark offers Inner Life Practice* workshops including Choice-Level Living, Choosing to Stress Less in a Stress More World, and Bringing Your Spirit to Work. He is currently writing The Desire Engine, a book about reclaiming our personal authority, and developing an inner life practice that fuels our internal “engine” of expansion and purpose fulfillment.
I’ll be the first in line to buy his book. May the spirit of time abundance, and the miracles of everyday living, give you the oxygen to breathe more fully this day and always!
*If you’d like to connect with Mark, he suggests you check him out on Twitter @INrLifePractice. You can also find out more about him at http://bit.ly/enlightened.
November 16, 2009
Do your days thunder by in a flurry of activity? Have you forgotten where you got on to the carousel and, more importantly, where to get off? We often aim for perfection, squeezing ourselves into a mold made by someone else. It is on days like these when we seem to be spinning in an endless cycle of should’s and have to’s that Forgiveness Pants can play the starring role.
You may own a pair. I know I do. My forgiveness pants are made of fleece in the most impractical white you’ve ever seen. I dumped syrup on them once. They still got clean. They stretch and yawn to my body’s movement, allowing for full-sized belly breathing at any given moment.
Forgiveness pants tell you you’re okay just as you are. They permit unyoked days of freedom and kindness when your going gets rough. Forgiveness, in general, is a powerful force, which, when applied, can liberate you from the shackles of your own thinking. Take skinny jeans, for instance. In our supermodel-driven culture, we tend to think we should somehow be a size smaller than we are.
Forgiveness pants say that is not so. They shout, “To thine own fleece be true!” And they mean it.
So go ahead and give your forgiveness pants a try today. If you don’t own a pair, go find some. Chances are there is a pair waiting for you to discover the true power of knowing you are most magnificent just the way you are.
Original Post from Psychology Today