Saucha – lightening the load

This past weekend, I spent time on another round of de-cluttering, since it was cold and snowy. Though Marie Kondo claims that one can tidy in a one-time special event for a period of a few weeks or months, I believe it is more of an annual or seasonal ritual for me at minimum.

January is a great time to do this. After the holidays, we have accumulated more things. Some of those things we might use; other things we might want to gratefully pass them along to someone else via donation. The purpose of those things was to be received, and to convey care from the giver. Possessing them for longer than needed creates an unnecessary burden.

Saucha - lightening the load

For me, what accumulates is usually clothing and books. Oh, and since I did not entirely finish the “komono” clearing before (random odds and ends) I am still working through that. So many decisions!

Last month my yoga book club group focused on Saucha,or purity, the first of the 5 Niyamas, observances that make up part of the ethical guidelines. Part of this practice is to purify our bodies through healthy food and exercise. Another part of it involves taking care of the space around us, so we are not weighed down by excess possessions.

After dropping off some bags of clothing and shoes I no longer wear, a few household items and a bag of books, I felt immediately lighter. I felt less weighed down, buoyed by fresh energy after letting go of these items that were encroaching upon my space. I still have work to complete. But this flying start was such a nice reminder of the boost that comes from Outer Order (with credit to Gretchen Rubin, who has also inspired me this month via Audible).

Where might you purify your body, your space, or your thoughts? You might be amazed at the energy that’s released by letting go.

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cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Unexpected Acts of Kindness

I had three unexpected gifts show up within the last 2 days, one at work and one delivered at home. All of them put a big smile on my face and gratitude in my heart. I’m not the best at getting gifts for people. I am more inclined to try to spend time with people I enjoy. But I really enjoyed receiving these kind gifts, and it helped me feel the spirit of the holidays.

May you have a wonderful holiday season and enjoy the blessings you receive.

Grateful for the generosity I have received from work colleagues and friends.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Yoga for over-thinkers Week 4 – Brahmacharya

This week’s yoga class will focus on the 4th of the Yamas, Brahmacharya, or non-excess. The term literally means to “walk with God” and it is a guideline to leave greed and excess behind while we experience the world with wonder and awe. When we attend to each moment as holy, we are less inclined to feel lacking, and to over-indulge.

Salad from Campus Club
Rather than eat ALL of this beautiful salad in one sitting, I got a to-go box to eat half of it later. Serving sizes are so big!

My experience with this concept is first as a practice with food and with consciousness around eating. For many years I struggled with this, since food was used as a coping mechanism in my family, a way to dull our feelings. We were not allowed to express anger, and I recall getting ice cream more than once when I was sad rather than just being able to cry.

I have since learned that all feelings, even difficult ones like grief or loneliness, are tolerable if we sit with them rather than resist them. Acknowledging that our feelings are valid, and having compassion for ourselves (practicing ahimsa) and our basic humanity, can go a long way toward curbing any sense of “lack.”

Sometimes uncomfortable truths can emerge for us, and that can lead us to want to eat, or spend, or distract ourselves rather than to courageously act to improve our situation. This is a natural impulse, to stay with our familiar patterns rather than to move outside our comfortable habits.

Many of us can relate to an excess of busy-ness in our lives, a pull to be “always on” and always positive. And yet, acknowledging our need for rest, for pauses in our day, and for experiencing the whole spectrum of emotion is how we realize we are whole. We are never lacking. In every moment, there is abundance, if we can take the time and space to become present.

May you, my lovely readers, take time to slow down, take good care of yourself, and realize the abundance within you.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

Workplace wellness: say thank you

A few weeks ago I was at a gathering of colleagues who had lunch with one of the leaders of our growing department. One of the laboratory managers explained that many of the principal investigators at the University do not ever tell them the final results of their studies. Nor do they routinely thank the staff their for their contributions to their research projects. And yet, many of these projects could not be completed with the hard work of these staff.

image of thank you post-it
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I found this appalling, as someone who has engaged a variety of multi-functional teams over the years for a global company. Thank you is a minimum. Thank you for me is just the floor for what you must do when you collaborate. Thanking people and also letting their managers know what a good job they did is next level.

Making sure you credit people in a published paper, a poster and/or a talk is another way to give credit. Though if the staff are not in the audience of that talk (because it may be directed at another audience), please find a way to thank them personally in another way.

Sometimes a hand written card can be appropriate. Other times a short email with a “I appreciate your work on …” is enough. We all depend on others to get our work done in this day and age. It’s true, sometimes people just do the minimum at their job. Maybe they didn’t put in any “special” effort, but they showed up and they delivered.

Consider how good it feels when someone takes the time to thank you, and to acknowledge how your work makes an impact. All of us enjoy being recognized for our efforts. Some of us don’t love the spotlight, so please don’t make us accept awards in front of big crowds… a simple and sincere thank you will do.

WORKPLace wellness on wednesdays

On the other side, consider how much you enjoy doing for those who express gratitude rather than those who are always griping. It’s worth considering this before you spending time critiquing what may not have been done perfectly.

Take the time to notice those efforts and your workplace engagement will improve. And yes, even bosses like to be thanked! If they give some helpful advice or feedback, or maybe help you see things in a new way, it does not hurt to tell them what you appreciate.

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cristy@meximinnesotana.com