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Showing posts from October, 2014

Practicing Selective Attention

"Can I help you find anything today?" goes the refrain of the Shoppers' Welcome. "Did you find everything you were looking for?" Sometimes you shop for goods or food looking for a particular item, and other times you're just browsing. Sometimes you see what you want and other times you pass everything by, simply observing without taking something away. Shopping can be a metaphor that extends to your life. So what are you looking for today? Each day, in each experience, what are you hoping to see? 
"What we see depends mainly on what we look for." This popular quote from John Lubbock aptly describes the power of our expectations to shape our reality, for better or worse. There's a name for it, actually: the "Observer/Expectancy Effect." So much happens within and around us all of the time, most of which we cannot control, but the question remains, "what are you looking for?" What do you notice as you're browsing through…

Embracing Idiosyncrasy

This week I read a story from NPR about a female attorney who hired a voice coach and worked for nine months to change her voice. In evaluations with male law firm partners, her high voice had been identified as an obstacle. The article is entitled, "Can Changing How You Sound Help You Find Your Voice?" It made me think about my own voice and the voices of some people I have known, both men and women. I used to work in a law firm with a male lawyer who also felt that his high voice was an impediment to success.

Our society likes to define and perpetuate standards and norms. Nothing wrong with that, right? We rarely question the need to adapt to widely accepted norms in our behaviors. Nonetheless, there are certain individual qualities we each have that make us stand out in some way. Voice can certainly be one of those. Part of what determines our voice quality is genetic. Another part is based on conditioning, environment and personality. The same can be said for our postur…

Yoga to Bless Your Heart

My grandmother always said "bless your heart(s)" to everyone. I never thought about what she meant by it. I often hear people refer to following our heart instead of our head, or knowing something in the heart, as opposed to the intellect. In yoga classes I have often heard "bow your head to your heart." In church I have heard that God knows our hearts, even that our heart is the place where God resides. A favorite verse of mine is "People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart," (1 Samuel 16:7).

What is our heart, other than our most vital organ? Do we have an emotional heart, or a spiritual heart? Is it possible to be heartless? When we say that a person is heartless, do we really mean that they have lost the connection to their spiritual heart?

We are taught in yoga philosophy that the spiritual heart is where our deepest wisdom resides and our deepest longings are fulfilled.

In the city of Brahman is a secret dwelling, the lot…