Mindful Productivity and Less Stress Days

As serendipity would have it, Wework, NYC a co-working company that builds communities to empower people to do what they love, came across my desk, just when I successneeded to write my next blog post. Sometimes we need these friendly little nudges of inspiration to get going and take action.

I happily stumbled across a post, on how to save time by doing less. I am all about doing more with less and exploring ways to simplify. It’s what I practice and preach.

This list resonated with me and serves as an excellent reminder to be the best you can be and focus on your priorities, what really matters.

In the fast pace within in which we live, there is something really attractive about simplifying and doing less while accomplishing more. Shortening down the ten-page to-do list with perhaps, one. The sound of this might make you cringe, but it is possible.

Here are a few suggestions to ponder. It might be worth your time:

Stop, Pause and Breath

Often, I say to clients, ‘we don’t know, what we don’t know.’ It takes quieting down our busy minds to see things with a fresh perspective and find the space to lead. We need to stop, push the pause button and step outside of the ‘to-do bubble’ for a few moments, to better understand what is working and what is not working.

Stop, pause and breathe. Sounds simple, right? It works. Conscious, diaphragmatic breath, meditation and mindfulness will lead to greater focus and productivity, saving time in the long haul. Moreover, you will be a happy soul for it.

Relax and Calm the Body, Tame the Mind

By pausing and taking a few breaths, you can relax and calm the body and mind. Take a ‘time out’, allow yourself to get curious, ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I doing and why?
  • Is it serving me in a balanced way?
  • Is it feeding and fuelling my energy or is it depleting?

Patterns and habits run deep, and if we find ourselves on auto-pilot, perhaps it is time to regroup and fuel positive change.

What You Focus on Grows

I realize as an entrepreneur that we all have tasks that are not so desirable, but when done with awareness and kindness, it will go much smoother. Making a ‘conscious’ choice and intention to do less, while still gaining the benefits will prove fruitful.

Questions worth reflection:

  • Do you intentionally use your time wisely or are you distracted by ‘busyness’?
  • Do you respect your own time and others?
  • Are you on time or always running late from one meeting to the next, trying to catch your breath?

Mind Over Matter. Focus and Visualize Your Highest Priority

How we manage our thoughts and attention are critical. According to Science, on average our minds wander 46.9% of the time – a significant chunk of the day; we may not be paying attention and on auto-pilot. Think about your commute to work – do you remember what happened?

Cultivate present moment awareness. Try focusing on one thing at a time with undivided attention, until it is complete. If it is a larger goal, break it down into smaller chunks, so that you save time in the long run.

Quickly we can get distracted, with an email request or a trip down the social media abyss, to discover that the day has passed without accomplishing the goals or tasks originally laid out. Time is precious, live it as though it is your last day and focus on what matters most.

Choose wisely, stay present, visualize success and desired outcome.

Find Your Natural Rhythm of Productivity

Perhaps, a paradigm of the past is the 9-5 workweek. Have you ever noticed that some days trying to get things done is like pushing water up hill? We proceed by forcing our way through and end up with misguided actions that lead to a lackluster finish. You see, we have this great ability to align ourselves to our natural rhythm by following an internal clock – listening to the needs of our bodies, as well as the moon cycles. I’ve been able to tap into super productive times and have backed off at other times to listen to the needs of my body. I know when to rest and rejuvenate, coming back stronger, clearer and ready for the next challenge in renewed ways. Try it, you may just find yourself, working smarter, not harder. Why not align yourself with the force of Mother Nature?

Create a Toolkit for Less Busy, Less Stress Days

Explore a daily ritual, not intended to become another item on your ‘to-do’ list that helps you ease into the day by setting regular times for meditation and mindful breathing. Commit to stopping for awhile and notice the beauty of your surroundings. Take three to five diaphragmatic breaths – it can change the course of the day.

Above all, we can only work with what we have and continue to be grateful for it. Time is precious, so use it wisely. On the right stuff, that is.

 “Notice that very often, the very first things we give up are those that nourish us the most, but seem ‘optional.’

The result is that we are increasingly left with only work or other stressors that often deplete our resources, and nothing to replenish or nourish us — and exhaustion is the result.”  Mark Williams and Danny Penman, Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World

Another lovely resource: LESS, Accomplishing More By Doing Less, by Marc Lesser, CEO, The Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute.

 

© 2013-2018 Paula Pyne. All rights reserved.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Regroup, Reconnect, and Recharge

Warm breezes rustling through the leaves of the trees, days long and light, playful birds singing joyful songs. Summer is gently calling us to come out and play, and then rest for a while.dragonfly_wings

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
~ Mary Oliver

At the halfway mark of the year, it’s a great time to regroup, reconnect, and recharge. This year has been moving at lightning speed and the pace, along with the ubiquitous change, has made for a challenging year so far. I’ve welcomed the slower pace of summertime this year and I’ve been reminded yet again that our current ways aren’t working, that there are better possibilities for us, ones that balance and foster leadership, purpose, passion, authenticity, and overall wellbeing. As I recharge in the abundance of summertime, I’m realizing that success isn’t ‘all work and no play’. I’m a ‘doer’ and have this thing about ‘getting things done’, even sometimes at the expense of my own inner balance and peace. Call it my Achilles heel. Yet I truly believe that we can have inner balance and peace, while working to accomplish our dreams and goals…and it begins with our definition of success.

Redefining Success…It’s Sweet

“Don’t just go out there and climb the ladder of success. Instead, redefine success. Because the world desperately needs it.”~ Arianna Huffington

In the bestselling book, Thrive, Arianna Huffington lays out a bold and refreshing message of change, highlighting the need to redefine success and shift the focus from money and power to wellbeing and wonder…essentially, to thrive. It’s a wake-up call, and it is well overdue. We need to shift our perspective because we know, deep down in our hearts, that it’s good for everyone and when it’s good for you and I, it’s good for the world. It sounds simple, doesn’t it?

Except…our actions aren’t always congruent with our wellbeing and our choices aren’t always wise for the world. We need to continuously remind ourselves of what is ‘truly important and meaningful’.

Right now, it’s far too easy to get caught up in the frenetic and chaotic energy that surrounds us. We have a tremendous amount of wisdom available to us but our fast pace is blocking our reception. It is time to slow down. It’s with a slower pace that we have access to wise action and conscious choice.

Slowing Down

As I embarked on the slower pace of summer, I found myself in the heart of change, an opportunity to redefine and gain further clarity on some important things in my work and life. I don’t have all of the answers and, well, it’s scary. I’ll admit that all this introspection is a good test of patience. It’s easy for me to fall prey to the ‘thinking mind’ which offers some really nifty short-term fixes, but they always falls short of my longer term plan to support my dreams. So the answers lie in waiting patiently for my intuition and heart to speak and in the meantime, accepting that everything has a natural order. I have to remind myself not to muck it up and to keep the faith.

Of course, I’m not always the greatest at following instructions! This work requires the time and space to get out of daily routines, so that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. I’ve come to know all to well that forcing or pushing through something when it’s not ready to come out into the world, simply doesn’t work. Respect it. Honour the timing.

I see this mistake happening frequently in organizations. Tight timelines placed on projects, with an ‘at all cost to get it done approach’, only to realize that by pushing through, trying to squeeze every last drop, the results are lackluster and without innovation, not to mention the team of unhappy campers, ready to jump ship.

Sound familiar?

We’re constantly and madly producing at light speed. I know this way of working isn’t working, and it is not sustainable. It leads to burnout, stress, and uninspired results. So let’s slow the pace a bit, and appreciate a softer and gentler approach to the days ahead.

True creation and innovation requires spaciousness. They come from being quiet, mindful, and present. There is great power in leading from this place.

A big part of the daily ritual that keeps me grounded and out of my ‘thinking too much’ mind is my writing practice. This, combined with travel and rest, is the perfect antidote. Writing my thoughts, my fears, and my intentions allows for the creative space I need to fuel the next chapter. Through this practice, I can be ready, eager, and yet patient for the harvest to come.

I hope you’ll take some time off too. Time is precious. Step back and take a look at the beauty within. Pause to smell the flowers.

A few questions for your reflection:

  • How are you redefining success?
  • Growing requires us to break away from our comfort zones. Where are you growing in your life? What is coming into fullness?
  • What is out of balance? What needs to be course-corrected in your life/work?
  • Which seeds need cultivating?
  • You are the author of your next chapter. What are the themes? What’s your storyline?
  • What’s working well? What’s not?
  • What needs renewal and attention?

Enjoy your summer!

Love and light,

Paula

PS. Did you read my article in Women of Influence Summer Issue? It contains some great reads to add to your summer list! Here are a few others I’m enjoying:

PPS. Ready for retreat? Stay tuned for dates in the autumn of 2014 and throughout 2015.

 Photosource: http://www.grahamowengallery.com/new_york/dragonfly_wings.jpg

 

© 2013-2018 Paula Pyne. All rights reserved.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Women of Influence – A New View

Thrilled to share a recent interview with Women of Influence that was just published in The Women of Influence magazine, summer issue.

It was such a pleasure! I enjoyed reflecting and stepping back, to talk about how some of the most inspiring and uplifting books (it was hard to choose!), came into my life, just at the right time and changed my life.

The magazine is a culmination of role models, a deep look at issues relevant to women in business, and insights from signature voices, all in a high-quality, highly intelligent, beautiful book – delighted to be a part of it.

I hope these beautiful resources make it on your summer reading list.

Enjoy!

Zoom

 

 

Zoom2

© 2013-2018 Paula Pyne. All rights reserved.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Reclaim and Uplift Your Feminine Soul

I have wanted to create and lead a women’s retreat for many years. It was always in the isparkleleigh-1356808639_600backdrop as invitations had surfaced along the way. Finally, the right time came on the New Moon, March 30th. It was a remarkable and magical day—more special than my mind ever could have imagined.

You see, when we work on our dreams the seeds are planted in our hearts to support our purpose and beautiful things can happen. It reminds me of the following poem, which was read to 30 women from around the world in Banks Peninsula, NZ, where I attended my first retreat led by Donna Farhi, who has inspired my work:

You must give birth to your images.
They are the future waiting to be born.
Fear not the strangeness you feel.
The future must enter you
Long before it happens.
Just wait for the birth,
For the hour of new clarity.
—Rainer Maria Rilke

I have always said that it takes courage to live out your dreams. It looks quite easy from the outside, but it is not so. What has always moved me past that gulp and inner thought of, ‘Oh my goodness, what did I just sign myself for?’, is acknowledging and preparing myself the best I can. To move past it in mindful, positive ways, and as I learned in my 20’s from author Susan Jeffers to “feel the fear and do it anyway.” Instead, I listen to the whisperings of ‘believe in yourself, Paula’ and ‘this is what you are here to do. You are being called to step up and outside of your comfort zone.’ When the retreat was announced in the Ottawa Citizen, it was no different. But when I embark on my work with Uplift, I know it’s right. I get this overwhelming feeling of ‘I care about this,’ which is an important drive that’s constantly moving me forward. Along with the signs signaling right and left turns all pointing to this day, it was time and I was ready. (And so were the 20 other women who came together on this beautiful and blessed day!)

“I would recommend the Uplift Retreat to anyone who is looking for peace, tranquility and a way to reconnect with yourself and others as women. It was rejuvenating, inspiring and healing in a way that I never would have expected. I enjoyed every second and continue to feel the benefits of the day. Thank you, Paula.”  –  Tina

What moves me ahead isn’t necessarily all of the details, but it’s the vision that inspires 10153012_620274708054648_7067744565404200129_nme to go along and ride the waves—and sometimes the waves are, well, like the ocean, rocky and overwhelming. Sure, there were moments where I got in my own way and fear reared its head. I heard that negative chatter whispering words of worry and self-doubt. By allowing it to surface, I recognized it for what it was and happily moved on. At the fork in the road, when I was forced to stop, pause and breathe, I discovered it’s a blessing, something that I needed to learn to dissolve. But for the most part, when I was aligned with my purpose it was smooth sailing. What I learned through this process was a deep seeded realization: when there are rocky times working on the projects we care about, we need to fuel ourselves with self-love, as it will give us roots to fully awaken to our Unique Gifts, Wisdom and Inner Knowing. Earlier this year, I recalled a woman in my yoga class talking about this very concept of self-love, and that for her it was radical. I can also deeply relate to this; it is radical, yet so necessary on this path.

The retreat was a gift. It helped me to fully come into, embrace and express my gifts as well as to share them with the world. Although I know the things I’m good at, this was different. Now I’m stepping up and owning it in an embodied way, and that truly is empowered leadership.

It was a perfect day. Although it was technically spring, winter had returned and nature 861758_700was telling us on this first day of the New Moon that we needed to go inside and rest in her arms for awhile. The message was to take moments of silence and refuge and listen to our heart by getting back to what we know deep inside, our most natural state. With the heavy snow came heavy hearts and heads—body, mind and soul. I felt the heaviness before we began; it was in the weather and in the planets, a certain palpable intensity.

As the women arrived one by one, quiet in their own way and not knowing what to expect, formerchurch1_700they were greeted with smiles, a cup of warm tea and a treat. To start, we all just hung out for a bit to get acquainted with one another before we assembled in a restored church dating back to the 1900s and located in Gilles Corners, ON, Canada. The soothing melodies of a warm fireplace crackling and the faint smell of burning wood combined with aromatherapy blends and lavender from the glowing beeswax candles filled the air. It was a feeling of warmth and welcome. When I sat and looked at everyone in silence, I closed my eyes and took a deep a breath. I silently prayed calling on my Angels, and as I felt their presence, it was time to begin. “Welcome,” I said. And in that moment, I felt like we were all in the right place and at the right time—it was much like coming home.

“I felt totally comfortable, and never like I didn’t know what we were doing, or what to expect, or indeed that I COULD be doing anything wrong. The language Paula used was always very encouraging, gentle and non-judgmental.”—Ann

So we began in a sacred circle to introduce ourselves and talk about what brought us there. We were from different walks and in various life stages, but every single one of us sat and listened intently with loving kindness and deep contemplation. There was a lot covered in that opening circle. The themes that surfaced were of letting go, seeking, being on the path to self-discovery, rest and self-care, to name a few. Tears came and there wasn’t any holding back. It was a tender authenticity of expression, a sharing of what needed to be said and voices heard in a safe space. This circle acted like a gateway for what was yet to come. I was truly amazed at the courage and vulnerability expressed; right from the start of the retreat, I felt such an honour to be an integral part of it all.

We then moved into a morning of profound rest, with meditation-constructive rest, somatic movement and restorative yoga—all to the nourishing and uplifting sounds of crystal bowls and Naomi Athena’s angelic voice raising the vibrations. We spent some much-needed, quality time inside just being quiet, resting for a while, letting go and creating a space for the new to emerge. After we awoke, there was time to write about what may have surfaced in this quiet space, which was done through guiding affirmations and questions of self-inquiry.

The comforting smells of the kitchen made there way down the hall and into the church. diningroom_700After blessings, we headed to the dining room for the Jeffersonian Lunch. We had great food and wonderful conversation. As a group, we pondered two questions that were emailed out to all participants prior to the retreat:

  1. At what moment did you become interested in the themes of the day (Feminine leadership, Self Empowerment, Self Care,  Authenticity) and what brought you here?
  2. How can we move forward, building in practices like mindfulness, compassion, wisdom and feminine leadership into mainstream -daily life/work?  What are obstacles and opportunities? How do we support each other, along the way?

The energy livened right up and something really special surfaced. Not only the sharing of stories, but also how we were all relating to and inspired by the new possibilities that lie ahead and were spurring us in new directions. At one point, all you could hear was laughter and all you could feel was a joy that had turned lunch into a celebration of sorts. I would like to think it was a celebration of our empowered feminine leadership. Our stories have an incredible power to inspire and uplift, so we shared the wisdom that had been dormant, waiting for this moment to rise up. We laughed and we cried. Things stirred and moved in the direction they needed to—without contriving or holding onto—and this led to powerful authentic conversations that uplifted the entire space and filled it with grace. It was quite glorious.

 “Paula’s powerful guidance was delivered through a unique forum that was profoundly nurturing with its aura of femininity. She provided a quiet, reflective and restorative opportunity that challenged me to consider priorities and opportunities to increase the effectiveness of my personal contribution. The retreat provided an opportunity to strengthen my ability to stay grounded, focused and fulfilled -Sue

After a long, unencumbered lunch that included a celebration of discussions and the sharing of wisdom, we made our way back to the church where Naomi Athena led us through the breath work, voice and movement. So we breathed our bodies, igniting fuel to move in ways that were fresh and new by listening to and letting our inner wisdom and higher self lead the way. We found ourselves in a trance, moving in new ways that was supported by the music; we were going to the beat of our own drums. It was new for most of us, and it elicited this feeling of change. When it comes to change we naturally resist, but we did it anyway. Rattling our own cages awakened a joy within; we were saying ‘Hello, come on up, rise up.’ Then we settled, stood in a circle and harnessed the power of our voices in song. Through singing out, we listened to the songs in our hearts and beautiful voices emerged with power, clarity and grace. The room filled with love. After all, isn’t that exactly what the world needs?

Afterwards, it was time for rest with Yoga Nidra, which is otherwise known as yogic or psychic sleep. We nestled into our comfortable spaces, back to the comforts of home, as we lay down for a while and I guided the women on a journey. I lead them back in time to right up until that moment and then forward to envisioning themselves as older women who have lived this life to its fullest. I encouraged them to listen to what this wise old woman had to say at this point of her life.  When I first heard her voice, many years ago, she said to me, “Paula, you are beautiful and loved. No need to worry, everything is going to be just fine, darling.” And then she laughed with a joy in her heart that lit up my life in that profound moment.

As the journey came to a close, we took our time to awaken, resurface and respect the moment by following the needs of our body and inviting our intuition to guide us. We refueled with a break where we focused on our intentions. After all, an auspicious time to let go of the old and embrace the new is during New Moon and the transition into spring. There was a lot of letting go on this day. Letting go and surrendering. We were ready for new beginnings.

Lastly, we journeyed back to the very beginning, as we ended the day with a sacred circle. We shared what had transpired and that where we had started was very different from where we had ended. It was a day of transformation that had given us all much more than we had bargained for. This is what happens when you allow things to unfold in spirited, compassionate and kind ways. We got out of our own ways on this day, and let it all happen. Everyone had a role to play. You see, we all have a role to play: to show up in this life just the way we are. And that truly is perfect. Accepting ourselves with great kindness and self-compassion provides us with the key ingredients to in turn support those around us in compassionate ways. Embracing these feminine qualities is what we so desperately need in our world.

We stood one last time in circle and chanted the words ‘I stand in my power and truth,’ and then one by one we burned our intentions in the fire. And off we went…

I’m grateful to have shared this day with you. It will always hold a deep place in my heart.

“Thanks for sharing in this beautiful vision. I know that this retreat is only the beginning of amazing work you are stepping into as a healer and visionary for our planet. It was a truly special day that touched the lives of many.”—Naomi Athena, Co-Facilitator

Photosource: OBEO.

© 2013-2018 Paula Pyne. All rights reserved.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The power of poetry

white_lily-3One of my teachers and dear friend, said recently, that ‘poems find you’… Funny she’d mentioned it, her words peaked my interest, thinking to myself, silently, “I wonder where my poem is and when it will find me”?  Early in the new year, I had come across this quote from Mary Oliver:

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”.

I fell in love with the words and posted the quote on the fridge for awhile and then it made its way onto my vision board.  These words seemed to be enough, not knowing that there was much more to it.

I recently completed a course called Lifesong, and had my last one-to-one session.  I had intended to bring with me a new song to sing, a poem I had written for my husband, but as I rushed out the door, it didn’t make its way into my handbag.  When I shared this, Barclay said, that’s just perfectly fine, I’ll find a poem for you.  He immediately pulled out Mary Oliver’s work and read a poem, called The Pond, the words melted into my heart:

“Still, what I want in my life is to be willing
to be dazzled – to cast aside the weight of facts.”

Then another, The Summer Day…. and as the ending drew near and I heard the words,

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

I almost flew off my seat, I said, this is the poem!  Love these precious moments of how life unfolds in its own magical ways and sitting back for the ride.  You just never know, what lies around the corner for you.

It seemed to good not to share. May these words, bring light into your heart and move you to dream, this ‘one wild and precious life’ meant just for you.  Be sure to read aloud, many times, the poem begins to take a life of its own!

The Summer Day, Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

The Ponds

Every year
the lilies
are so perfect
I can hardly believe

their lapped light crowding
the black,
mid-summer ponds.
Nobody could count all of them –

the muskrats swimming
among the pads and the grasses
can reach out
their muscular arms and touch

only so many, they are that
rife and wild.
But what in this world
is perfect?

I bend closer and see
how this one is clearly lopsided –
and that one wears an orange blight –
and this one is a glossy cheek

half nibbled away –
and that one is a slumped purse
full of its own
unstoppable decay.

Still, what I want in my life
is to be willing
to be dazzled –
to cast aside the weight of facts

and maybe even
to float a little
above this difficult world.
I want to believe I am looking

into the white fire of a great mystery.
I want to believe that the imperfections are nothing –
that the light is everything — that it is more than the sum
of each flawed blossom rising and fading. And I do.

Photosource: flowerpics.net

© 2013-2018 Paula Pyne. All rights reserved.
Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

An extraordinary day

It was an extraordinary day…far from ‘just another talk’. It was a meeting of minds cheap essay writing services stonesfrom the communities of spirituality, science, and business, blessed with the openness and wisdom of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Now is a time of change—mindful positive change—and we’ll see much more of it this year as people wake up to the possibilities of a better way to live and work, not only on an individual level but as a collaboration to make this world a better place for all of us. It’s this fundamental spirit of togetherness that will lead us through the critical time ahead. This strong sense of community was demonstrated yet again at the most recent Wisdom 2.0 conference.

The event was hosted by Arthur C. Brooks, President of The American Institute (AEI), a conservative think tank, in collaboration with The Mind and Life Institute, and featured honoured guest, His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Scholars, social and political leaders, doctors, and scientists united, to deliberate ways in which ‘moral markets’ and ethical leadership can maximize human wellbeing. The event then interwove discussions on how the free enterprise system can include the element of human fulfillment and prosperity—posing questions such as, ‘is the free enterprise system the most moral?’ Above all else, the event was grounded by the idea that to support change, to move towards a more prosperous and fulfilled nation, we require ethical leadership that includes morality and compassion for others. We already know the traditional answers are not working. We need new solutions for our increasingly complex problems.

Here are a few pieces of inspiration that stood out for me.

It was refreshing to hear economists and scholars talk about what matters most versus the typical ego-based dialogue that usually drives any budget argument. Arthur Brooks led the panel with “the system we believe is most able is under question today” then went on to ask, “What matters most for human happiness?” As it turns out, money wasn’t on the list. What matters most (to the vast majority of us) are four things: faith, family, community, and work.

The Dalai Lama expressed that happiness begins with the individual and every one of us has a role to play. He too feels that we’re at a turning point where we’re headed into the Century of Peace but that we must create it through right action and effort. Peace will not happen only through meditation, self-inquiry, and prayer. We must act upon our convictions for the greater humanity. 

The Dalai Lama went on to share, “The very purpose is to derive to seek enlightenment. Happy community, happy family, happy nation. Then happy world. We are far from the world. Where do we start? From the government? No. From the UN? No. From individuals. Disasters, climate change due to global warming, population explosions. These are different days from ancient times. Reality is that we are multiracial. East needs West. South needs East. We must think in terms of the entire 7 billion human beings”.

Dan Loeb, Founder of Third Point Capital spoke about his background in yoga and how he studied with Pattabhi Jois (Ashtanga Yoga) in India. He shared how he was warned against it. He said, everyone would think he was “a flake”. He said, “back then there were no cell phones, but it set up my mind for contemplation and meditation. They aren’t just for monks or hermits, they are important for business people and for all our lives.” Why?

Loeb made reference to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (aphorisms that are the foundational text of yoga) and their importance in making business decisions. Brilliant.

We make poor decisions when our minds are distracted, busy, and overwhelmed. Yoga teaches us to find stillness and clarity of mind, through a mastering of the waves of the mind, “yoga cittra vrtii nirodha”.

We can apply this same philosophy and practice to making good business decisions. We make good decisions when we first eliminate the distractions and quiet the mind. When we practice yoga, meditation, or mindfulness, we may still find ourselves in challenging and difficult situations, but we learn to create good choices by accessing our intuition and higher self as our moral compass, realizing that we’re all interconnected. As Loeb highlighted, “the very core foundational decisions are to be honest and to treat people well, and you have to trust people to make good decisions ”.  

The questions continued, what could we do to create mass prosperity, eliminate the gaps, and create all-inclusive systems, not ones that exploit or leave people behind? There are no simple answers to these complex questions—even the Dalai Lama doesn’t know—but what we can do is cultivate a culture of compassion. Prosperity isn’t limited to financial wealth of course. True prosperity is in all areas of our lives, grounded in good decisions and choices.

Dr. Richard Davidson, neuroscientist, presented generosity (ethics of compassion) and conscientiousness (ethics of restraint) as fundamental in fostering wellbeing. He went on to say that when we teach our children these concepts at an early age, there is “a great return on investment (in the likes of 7:1)”. When it comes to wellbeing, neuroscience has made great strides. It tells us that through training, wellbeing can be learned. For this, we need grounded leaders, leaders who consider compassion and global wellbeing as priorities.

Diana Chapman Walsh, former President of Wellesley College, suggested a true leader “can open our minds and hearts. We need leaders grounded in connection, love, compassion, people who can lead from within, understanding the responsibility to deal with their shadows, so that they can cast more light”.

What I find enlightening about all of this is the willingness to come together with open minds and hearts, and a will to begin critical constructive dialogue. This is the starting point in fuelling mindful, positive change.

So I ask, where is Canada in all of this? What do our political leaders have to say on these topics? What about the academic world or our business leaders? Where is the collaboration, the dialogue, and the action? Why aren’t we coming together for the wellbeing of our nation and our world?

paulapyneI believe there is a call to action here. We need to bring Peace to the Politics on The Hill.

We need more light and love in this world.

© 2013-2018 Paula Pyne. All rights reserved.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Collaboration is the Way Forward…

How many people do something they really believe in? I just wish people would realize that anything’s possible, if you try: dreams are made, if people try.

~ Terry Fox

With a ‘we can and will’ mentality, we can overcome great challenges. The ‘we can’ mantra brownstoneswas a theme of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Ex-President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, led a lively debate on what women leaders can do to mobilize and strategize for equitable climate action ahead of the 2014 Leaders’ Summit. What came to my mind was that if we are to move in a positive, mindful direction, we need a nurturing quality to this mobilization.

Love, compassion, and caring need to be at the forefront of the climate change action plan. This is the wellbeing of our future, first and foremost, and Mother Earth is counting on us. It was lovely to hear Mary say in her talk that we need to ‘nurture mother earth’. For Uplift, this means leading with a very different approach and fostering a new way of conducting business. You see, all of this is interconnected but the grounding foundation is leading in ways that foster compassion and kindness–it really is just that simple.

The world is ready for your light, grace, and wisdom and your leadership.

The conversation about action at the World Economic Forum took me out of a period of hibernation. Providing the space and teachings for women to rejuvenate themselves and explore their limitless potential has been a long-time dream of mine. Some of the greatest progress and profound moments of learning is through sharing with like-minds and I have always wanted to facilitate programming that resonates throughout our community of women. Then, as soon as I felt the stirrings of action, it seemed the stars magically aligned and a new partnership arose.

I’m thrilled to host, in collaboration with a dear soul sister, the first of many Uplift retreats. It comes at a good time: with the call for women to rise up and a great need for feminine leadership to celebrate compassion and partnership. Along with mindfulness and movement, we will explore our great depths to take into the world. This will be a powerful day and I would love you to join us.

Of course, I’m continuing with the monthly community meditations, teaching yoga and mindfulness meditation, along with Leadership and Authenticity courses in partnership with Women of Influence and Queen’s School of Business. There is a lot happening in the next few months, so please stay tuned to my teaching and speaking page.

Collaboration is key for the coming years.

Another collaboration that makes my heart sing is with the work of Karen Armstrong, founder of The Charter for Compassion. Uplift’s role will be to promote the importance of the Golden Rule and encourage people to sign the charter. This is such a natural extension of the work we already do and I’m excited to work behind the scenes on ways to introduce this wonderful work to the Uplift community.

I am continuing my studies in 2014, going back to my roots in psychology with a focus on the connection of the mind-body-spirit. This move will be good for Uplift, and especially for my clients as I continue to expand the counselling and healing side of our services. This new set of services promises great things for our corporate clients as well by fuelling compassion and overall wellbeing in the workplace.

Finally, I’m excited to announce that we’re bringing a recent international business school graduate on board – it’s time to bring someone in to help behind the scenes. After all, we’ve got big dreams and this year is about action and collaboration is the way forward.

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.
-Langston Hughes

With love and light,

Paula

 

 

© 2013-2018 Paula Pyne. All rights reserved.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Breathing In A New Year…

sunshineIt probably seems to you that the days of the New Year have long passed but I’m just getting around to writing this post. I’ve been going at turtle speed! Every day, even every moment, is an opportunity to embrace our lives. Much like the feeling of entering a new year, we can embrace every new day, and live it to the fullest, like there’s no tomorrow.  It’s easy to forget our New Year’s resolutions with the absence of regular practice. It requires a boat-load of patience and self-compassion to return again and again, back to the beginning, to the New Day and Year we promised ourselves, remembering what are hearts truly long for. If we look on each day as a new start, we have the opportunity to return to this beginning again and again.

I entered this year in my usual quiet way. While most of the world is raring to go with a laundry list of promises, goals, and resolution—whether quitting an old habit or forming a new one—my body was telling me something else. I wasn’t ready for the Jan 1 bells and whistles. Instead my body was saying, “Rest, darling, just rest. Rest is what you need right now, everything else will take care of itself”. Of course, I didn’t take this message easily. My always-on-the-go brain kicked in and said, “Come on, Paula, get going. Everyone else is, and you are going to be left behind”. When the familiar anxiety showed up, I chose instead to watch the playing out of my storyline and listen closer to my natural rhythm. I find that when I try to push myself into doing during times of rest, I don’t see the results I hoped for. Besides, there was unfinished business of 2013 that needed attention before I was able to embrace the New Year.

It’s in deep silence where the profound resides and in the quiet, restful state lays the container of productivity, creativity, and innovation.

 Silence is more musical than any song.

~ Christina Rossetti

So in those early days between hibernation and incubating ideas, I toiled at my business plans and rested, dreaming in between. This time has been a life review, an intense practice of writing, mindfulness, meditation, working with voice, telling the untold stories that matter in a big way.  We all have great stories to tell and to be shared. By ‘big way’, I mean it’s the inner work for becoming more present, courageous and trusting.

 Becoming bigger is an inner process. It is not about external achievement. It is not about being an extrovert rather than an introvert. But it is about allowing yourself to feel – more and more and more.

~ Lee, from 2014: Year of Emergence

When we feel more, life becomes alive and expansive…and it’s with this awareness, that we heal–ourselves as well as our world.

Along with my life review, I also embarked on a One Year Journey, A Year to Live  which, so far, is helping me get focused, suspend my fears, and get clear on what really matters most in this one precious life. Even in the early days, it’s amazing what has surfaced, a deep interconnectedness arose and I came to the realization, this time in a ‘bigger’ way that compassion is at the heart of being Human.

Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.

~ Pema Chödrön, The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times

Isn’t Winter About Hibernation?

I strongly believe in working and connecting with our natural rhythms, following the cycle of the seasons, the planetary shifts, and tuning into what’s happening in nature. These things have so much to tell us and when we work with them, we reignite and balance our energy, productivity, and creativity.

It’s also a great time of year to learn. Daniel Goleman, author, psychologist, and science journalist, talks about brain science in the fascinating NIACBM webinar series. He says that focus and attention require a lot of energy, and the body needs periods of rest to reboot. The problem is, we continue to drive full speed ahead, even when our fuel light is on.

Other fascinating research, published by Richard Davidson, recently suggests that gene expression changes with meditation. As a treatment, this has wide implications for therapeutic and preventative applications. Practices of meditation and mindfulness (as well as restorative yoga practices) directly target the parasympathetic nervous system, which in turn promotes rest and healing. We’re living in a world that fires off the sympathetic nervous system, the fight or flight response. We’re not intended to live this way without great side effects.

This time of year signifies a greater need for rest and retreat. Winter is an incubator, a time for hibernation, and an opportunity to replenish our energy for the year ahead. After all, it’s what nature intended. The days are shorter and not designed for long days of productivity. Unfortunately, that’s what’s not expected of us. The pressure to keep up with the uber-pace doesn’t stop for winter, hibernation, or a need to rest. But, here’s the thing: you have a choice. You can choose to do things differently, even if its just short periods of time integrated within your day to day.

Your breath is your fuel, just like gas in your car. With daily meditation and mindfulness practice, our point of focus is the breath. The breath is our life force and the quality of our breath has a direct impact on the quality of our thoughts and actions. You see, when our breath is scattered, so too are our thoughts and when we breathe with deeper, longer, conscious breaths, we think more clearly. You become fully present in your life.  So, ‘Breathe as if your life depends on it’.

Inhale, exhale.

 Let us determine to be more sincere, compassionate, warm-hearted human beings, trying to make our world a more equal place. That way we’ll actually make it a happy year.

~ Dalai Lama

With love and light,

Paula

© 2013-2018 Paula Pyne. All rights reserved.
Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Peace this Season

“Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.”

~ Helen Keller  background-1170x1080

After coming out of the whirlwind that was the final months of 2013, here we are days before the holiday season and fast approaching the celebrations of the winter solstice. I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to many about the countless transitions that have surfaced over the year, about things breaking down as fast as they began, about fast-paced change and the awareness of what needs letting go, and about the things that are no longer working for us evolving. 2013 has been humbling to say the least. Just when I think I’ve got it, it’s gone.

Last week, Uplift was honoured to host our final community meditation of the year celebrating the winter solstice under the full moon. We had a full house with Jeremy Sills leading a crystal bowl meditation by candlelight. It was truly a special evening. With the healing sounds of crystal bowls and voice, we invited the old to depart and welcomed the new into our lives with the power, clarity, and grace to move forward on our paths. We honoured the divine light in each other and prepared to welcome the return of the light in the coming days. One thing that has become very clear this year is the strength of our community and the support we all have along our spiritual path for personal growth and development. I will write more about the importance of community in the New Year. Uplift has some great developments and projects that I’m excited to share with you.

Managing The Stress Of The Season

December and the holiday season is stressful for many. There’s no escaping the energetic frenzy. As soon as you walk out the door, it hits you. The busyness and pace with which we’re living our lives compounds the issue. We tend to be running on empty at this time of the year.

The stress of the season and the energetic shifts happening on the planet create an intense atmosphere. We are being called to slow down, breathe, “get grounded”, and get to the heart of who we are and our purpose on Earth. The layers of our being continue to shed. Let them. After all, it was the year of the snake!

As we find ourselves in the busyness of this holiday season, I encourage you to do one thing out of all the priorities on your to-do list. I invite you to rest and connect with your heart in these dark days. Rest. Be quiet. Be still, even if it is for just a few moments. It’s what Nature is telling us to do.

I was inspired by this talk by Kelly McGonigal, PhD. She is a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University and a leading expert in the new field of “science-help”. She has much to say about managing stress over the holidays and shares some centering words around compassion for those experiencing the season in a different way. Whether they are a loved one or stranger, the important thing to remember is to have compassion.

Becoming Holy

The December chapter of Angeles’ Living in Gratitude is called ‘The Mystic Heart’ and it candle-lightreads, “December is the month of holy days and holy nights, a time to express the spirit of love and generosity. It’s coming back to this remembering of what is good, true, and beautiful within the human spirit that infuses this month with meaning. It’s a time of spiritual renewal and reflection in many world traditions…it is no coincidence that the root words of whole, health, heal, and holy is hale.  When we heal, we become whole – we are Holy.”

During the holidays and the days leading up to them, it’s so important to open up to the healing forces and natural states of grace that allow us to be whole and healthy.

“We don’t become holy by acquiring merit badges and brownie points. It has nothing to do with virtue or job descriptions or morality. It is nothing we can do in this do-it-yourself, 7-step approach world. It is a gift, a sheer gift, waiting to be recognized and received.”

~ Madeleine L’Engle

Instead of getting caught up in the frenetic pace of the season, resolve to take a different approach. During the darkest days, take periods of rest for renewal. Practicing gratitude, working with the breath, and caring for oneself through mindful conscious rest are all ingredients that invite the soul to speak. Listen for the gems of truth in these moments.

Find it in your heart to come of out of your shell to do what you are meant to do, be who you are meant to be, speak your truth. When you find your authentic place and bring your gifts and innate talents forward, the world becomes a much better place to live.

A Gift For You

One of my most cherished renewal practices is Yoga Nidra, otherwise known as yogic sleep. Yoga Nidra is so powerful that one hour of practice is equal to 3-4 hours of rested sleep. The holiday season is a perfect time to start a new practice of getting grounded and reconnecting with your higher self.

My gift to you: the Uplift 21-minute Yoga Nidra practice.

May you move with power, clarity, and grace. May you invite the inspiration of your creative imagination, align your Will with the Divine Will, and manifest your deepest desires. May you have a peaceful, calm, and restful holiday.

Much love and light,

Paula

PS – if you are looking for a hit of inspiration over the holidays, listen to a dear friend’s podcast called Unplug.

Photosource: futureastronauts.co.uk

© 2013-2018 Paula Pyne. All rights reserved.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

This is my dream – repost

With the News programs blaring the most recent political scandals, it’s hard to remember  paulapynethat there are positive things happening in the world and leaders who are inspiring heart-centred change. It’s integral that we maintain a healthy, higher perspective about what really matters and share it with our communities. Especially now, we have an opportunity for all of us to step into our role in fueling mindful positive change. I wrote this piece earlier in the year for the Uplift Blog and I feel it’s timely to repost.

I recently had the great fortune of seeing Congressman Tim Ryan in conversation with Goldie Hawn speaking about wisdom in the workplace and the world. I was also delighted to hear Marianne Williamson’s news about running for congress. Her ‘Create Anew’ campaign resonates deeply with me and shows us all that there is another way of doing politics, that also applies to life and work.

As a nation, we’re being challenged. It’s hard not to get caught up in the events around us, whether we are influenced by our leaders in government or by the plight of the planet. It saddens me that we find ourselves in this state but it also drives me to play a bigger role in our evolution.

I fundamentally believe that awareness is at the very heart of our dilemma: self-awareness and the realization of new possibilities for brighter moments and brighter days.

I say, let’s change the channel.

Tara Brach leads off her talk with Congressman Tim Ryan with the idea that we are all looking for a sense of ‘hopefulness’. It is hopefulness that comes when you see someone like Tim and his work with Mindful Nation take steps to change the world for the greater good. It’s this type of inspired and deeply intentioned work that helps us realize what is truly possible for the healing of our world.

Tim goes on to say that we’re asking people to slow down in a time when we’re fraught with economic inequality, a failing healthcare system, deep environmental issues, and more. An average teenager in our society sends out 3000 text messages per month; the rate of technology growth is doubling every 18 months; most of the country is sleep-deprived; people are working harder and longer and making less than they were a few years ago. In order to survive, we simply must teach people basic skills to live in this world. It’s the right thing to do.

The change is happening slowly. We all want a less complex, simplified way of working and living our lives. The good news is We Have A Choice but we all have to step up to the plate if we are going to change things.

When we become aware, grounded, and centred, we awaken and our Spirit comes alive. When we work on ourselves with kindness and compassion, we illuminate positivity in the world.

We need leaders. Uplifting leaders.

We need leaders who embody mindful awareness and who exude clarity, authenticity, and open-heartedness. So many of us are yearning for skilled politicians and leaders who make a difference in the world, people who are guided by kindness, compassion, and wisdom. I believe they’re out there but… we need to slow down, to go inside ourselves, and educate our hearts. I have been encouraging this for many years and I believe now is the time to act.

Mindfulness, or the lack thereof, greatly affects our politics. We’ve seen the recent debacles in many levels of our governments and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. This proves that we need, more than ever before, compassionate leaders who are committed to breaking down the corrupt systems that we have allowed to flourish. I feel sad when I reflect on our current state of affairs, but I’m compelled to take action and I hope you will too. After all, it begins with you and me.

This year, I was inspired to write to a few Parliamentary leaders. I have the ideas, the connection, and the self-awareness to fuel the positive mindful change that we need to see in this world. I called our leaders to action because I believe in a world where all can be at peace. As citizens, we need to lead from this belief…it begins with all of us, through awareness, action and accountability.

After one of the Uplift monthly meditations, I shared in our discussion that I had written to our leaders in Ottawa. It wasn’t my intention to share this with the group but I am so happy I did. I received the support I needed to take it to the next step of my journey. The lovely beings at the meditation that evening are my Angels (you all know who you are). I feel so grateful to be supported on this journey and to know that we are all supported in doing what we need to do.

Funny enough, as I’m reposting this, another Uplift monthly meditation has just passed. We didn’t talk about politics but what we did do is create space to be who we are in quiet stillness and peace, then emanated that out into the world. It’s what our world so desperately needs.

 “Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

~ Albert Einstein

This is my dream. This is how we were meant to live our lives. I wish this for you and for all of us.

with love and light,

Paula

 

 

© 2013-2018 Paula Pyne. All rights reserved.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment