• 5 Awesome Things That Happened When I Tried this Organization Technique

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    As a longtime list maker and former stationery addict, when I began seeing the recent influx of posts on the organizational trend that is the ‘Bullet Journal’, I was instantly intrigued. Not one to follow crazes but always open to anything that is a self-started organizational tool, I started my own. Though I have always kept somewhat coherent lists and notes, often jotted throughout a tiny spiral book, what I noticed instantly about the ‘Bullet Journaling’ technique, (which I translated very loosely into a larger spiralled notebook) was that the segmentation and occasionally drawing little images to break up the monotony of the written chaos did in fact seem to help. Here are a few ways in which the bullet journalling technique has upped my daily game in concentration, prioritization and relaxation.

    I feel less stressed.

    Blessed with the gift of a good memory, I have a tendency to rely on it and overload my internal to-do list to the point where my present tasks take a hit, as I am pre-occupied with the up and coming tasks that subconsciously whirl through my mind.

    Even if some things do not get checked off at the end of each day or desired timeframe, the mere fact that they are now residing in their respective spaces in the book allows me to clear my head and focus on present endeavours, free from constantly ‘reminding myself to remind myself to remember’.

    I feel clearer about my progress.

    As a visual person, it helps me keep tabs on goals, tasks, and the like by providing an image I can latch onto instead of consistently having to refer to my own chicken scratch. This way of maintaining clarity in the book also proves to maintain it in my mind. Although perhaps silly, this allowed me to take time for myself more and practice self care

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    My daily intentions and mantras have become more consistent.

    Keeping a written recollection of the intentions and positive reminders that I strive to make a part of my everyday routine has become easier, as upon waking, I can refer to these points as a kickstarter for a successful day, even if I am feeling out of sorts or running late with a million things going through my head.

    My shopping has become streamlined.

    Although as aforementioned a proud list-maker, where it seems to take the wayside is when it comes to grocery lists. But employing a specific section for this entices me to actually include my desired ingredients there, and utilize it when out. In turn, my mealtimes have recently become more organized and balanced, which has helped me save money.

    I feel less confused in general.

    Keeping everything in one book has been a big one. In the past, I would designate different notebooks for their own specific subject, but since merging into one, I find that having one book instead of two or four has greatly reduced the impact of external disjointed topics, and in response, the internal. Unloading all of the ideas, inspirations, ‘to-dos’ and projects that come up on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, has allowed me to focus on the present moment, prioritize within them, and find a new sense of freedom even with a busy schedule.

    The best thing about starting your own ‘Bullet Journal’ is that there are really no rules, just guidelines to help you design a system that works for you!

    Check out this post with tips on how to start: http://creativesavingsblog.com/life-and-style/time-management/how-to-start-a-bullet-journal/

  • Lessons from the Road by Cheyne, RMT

    photo 3 (1)¡Buenas dias a todas los personas!

    We’re almost back from our travels; we’ve seen so many places, met so many amazing people! Traveling is such a gift. Being able to work, supporting my partner Lila’s yoga workshops while on the road, has made it such an amazing journey.

    We’ve been to the Interior, the Prairies, east coast United States, Hawaii, but mostly Central America, in the past seven months. We’ve taught workshops, yoga teacher trainings, took a two week permaculture course, lived with handfuls of Central American families, and traveled with some of our best friends to some truly amazing places.

    From the deep wet jungle to the oppressively hot coastlines, what resonates most deeply for me after reflecting on the past seven months, and often what we all come back with after traveling, is memories of the people we’ve shared our lives with. It seems there’s a wisdom that comes with developing new routines. Playing soccer with the children in the dirt, howler monkeys in the trees, hand washing clothes, speaking a different language, listening to their stories… It seems we travel in search of something. Something beyond our lives back home; an inherent sense of humanity that crosses culture, language, ethnicity, even belief.

    To be honest, the majority of people traveling for a few weeks from the west are there to drink. Some stay, and develop ways of bringing their Western luxuries and lifestyle to, quite frankly, these impoverished areas that are economically forced to serve them. Some people are searching for something better when they travel, more so when they move there, studiously avoiding whatever is left in their wake. Chasing happiness as a set of preferences that seems fundamentally unattainable. Others come with a beautiful sense of exploration, some with an inner churning, some come with a burning desire to help the world. Or maybe a mix of all of them. But that’s an essay for another time. Traveling deeper into Nicaragua, past the areas with these socioeconomic challenges, there’s a different vibe. Bustling sidewalks, kids playing in the dirt roads, hungry dogs looking for scraps, and the stare of unfamiliarity from the locals as they assume you’re not Catholic. Nicaragua. It’s in these places, and deeper into the jungle, that we came across new friends, some we eventually traveled with, and communities we visited that left permanent impressions on us. There are some amazing things happening everywhere, and many people to be inspired by. Sometimes you just have to look with the right focus.

    After being on the road for what feels like a very long time, I’m sitting with some reflections before I head back to BC. Part of our intention on this journey was to gain knowledge and inspiration for some projects we have when we return home. For that part, we were overwhelmingly successful. Being able to share with yoga teachers the deeper physiology behind their craft and work has been super fun. But in the feeling of connection to people we’ve parted ways with, and others we can’t wait to see again, I’m left with something that’s quite hard to articulate. Being in developing parts of the world, working through times when we were seriously ill, broke, and seeking refuge at a Red Cross with dirt floors and questionable medication, comes with it some obvious perspective. I now care a lot less if there’s a coffee stain on my shirt or if the line is too long for my liking at the market. What comes to mind for me is that inherent sense of life and vitality in everyone, everywhere: the humble nature that pours out of the women in Nicaragua, despite the general lack of rights they’re subjected to. They’re not chasing a dream, they’re happy with what they have and the food and love they provide.

    That proud vitality, and vibrant sense of life and happiness that we all know comes from something other than what’s material, is what makes me so excited to be home, to my family and friends. Doing the work I love to do, living in the city and country I love. We describe it as the mountains, fresh air, cherry blossoms… summer in Vancouver. But it’s the essence of what’s behind all of those things. It’s the virtuous life, and the communities we build that sustain us.

    With grace and gratitude,

    Cheyne Cameron, RMT

    Cheyne will be returning to Soma at the beginning of April! Go online to book with him.

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  • Congratulations Erin!

    Here is a message from Erin, Soma RMT about her birth experience….

     

    IMG_3215Dear All,

    Alex and I are very happy to share that Beatrix Zenovia was born in water at home on November 6th.  She was gently eased into the world by her mama’s loving hands and came up to the surface smiling with bright, wide, awake eyes! Absolutely incredible! She weighed 8lbs 4 oz.
    Wow! Without a doubt this was the most amazingly intense, challenging and love-filled experience I’ve ever had.  We have been getting to know each other the last 4 weeks, and she is a healthy eater and sleeper; making my recovery very smooth.  She has a sweet and relaxed temperament, except of course when she needs something – then she lets her voice soar for sure.  Yet, it is never inconsolable; usually a snuggle, milk or diaper change is what’s needed.

     

    We are totally in love.

    Here are a couple of photos of our little Honey Bee.

    We look forward to you meeting her!

     

    Love Erin, Alex and Beatrix

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  • Happiness – It's Easier Than You Think

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    A friend forwarded this great article on happiness from The Huffington Post to me the other day, and the words and suggestions really resonated with me. By coincidence Lori also forwarded this article to me suggesting I share it with our readers….and then the very next day I overheard a woman telling her friend about it while on the bus.  I guess I’m not the only one who is ready to mindfully shift gears and create new positive habits to improve their life. 

     Click here to read this fantastic article on  The Habits of Supremely Happy People.

     

     

     

  • Yoga with Laura Arpiainen

    Laura is a Vancouver yoga teacher who currently teaches at Heart Centre Yoga in Burnaby, the False Creek Community Centre on Granville Island and Fraser Health Authority’s corporate headquarters in Surrey.

    I got into yoga relatively late in life.  I had been a modern dance enthusiast and once that stage of my life slowly came to an end, I found myself looking for other forms of body expression that had deep meaning.  Once I found yoga, there was no turning back.  All my yoga teacher training has been in the USA, with Aadil Palkhivala, an incredible teacher who studied (and lived) with the Iyengar family for years. It has been a true privilege to learn directly from a Aadil. I have over 2000 hours of teacher training so far, and I add about 50 -100 hours to that each year. I have found this to be a truly meaningful life long learning quest.

    My teaching varies – in workplace yoga, most students are primarily looking for relief from sitting all day – they have stiff shoulders and hip flexors. In longer asana classes, I enjoy creating complex sequencing to effect  true, deep  body sensations. Yoga is such a powerful tool for transformation, and once you really start felling the effects, your practice will move to another level.

    I regularly also give therapeutic and specialized workshops and classes, as well as retreats (one day – extended weekends) – also by request!

    Laura’s next workshop is:

    YOGA NIDRA – at Heart Centre Yoga, Sat February 9, 2013 at 7:00 – 9:00 pm
    Cost $ 20.00 + HST(until Feb 2) or  $25.00 + HST (after Feb 2)
    Please call 604.294.4954 or email info@heartcentreyoga.cato register.

    Yoga Nidra is a deep, guided yogic relaxation technique in which
    participants learn to direct their consciousness in a state of yogic sleep,  and work on bringing positive shifts and profound improvements into their lives.
    This deeply transformative practice is open to yoga practitioners of all levels.
    Please feel free to bring an extra blanket from home!

  • Giving Back During the Holidays

    The holidays present the perfect opportunity to give back to our communities, especially to those not as fortunate as ourselves. Helping others rejuvenates us in ways that a wrapped gift can’t, taking the focus off accumulating “more stuff” and putting it back where the true meaning of giving lies.

    Giving back doesn’t need to involve a monetary donation. You can volunteer your time at a local charity, donate goods you don’t need or do a ‘drive’ to collect clothing or personal care items for people in need. Volunteering can also involve your profession: many organizations would welcome you to donate your time as a nurse, photographer, graphic designer, yoga instructor, massage therapist, etc.

    Five Places to Give Back in Vancouver

    Lookout Emergency Aid Society – Volunteer as a kitchen or clean-up helper during holiday meals or a Christmas helper, Santa, elves or musician on Christmas Day at this organization that supports emergency shelters, transitional housing, outreach and training programs. The society is also looking for many other types of volunteers.

    YMCA Presents of Peace Holiday Hamper Program – Assist a low-income Vancouver single parent who is facing the holidays with no other support (i.e. family, ex-partner, other agencies, etc.) by providing a gift hamper. Note: Hampers are due in the family’s home by Dec. 19th.

    Union Gospel Mission – Volunteer or do a ‘personal goods’ drive (toiletries, warm clothes) to support their large range of services, including meals, outreach, emergency shelter, affordable housing, children & family programs, alcohol & drug recovery and more.

    Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society– An obvious choice at this time of year, but beyond donating the most needed items to local donation bins, the Food Bank always needs volunteers for their warehouse, depots and events; and appreciates specific gifts in kind.

    Your Neighbours – Most of us can think of an elderly, disabled or homebound neighbour that may appreciate some able-bodied help. Depending on your (and their) comfort level, offer to help them with their shopping, drive them to an appointment, put up some festive lights or – if it snows – shovel their walkway and stairs. You could also bring them a surprise such as a warm meal, holiday treat or plant.

    Giving back shouldn’t stop when the holidays are over. There are countless Lower Mainland organizations that need our help throughout the year. Check out more volunteer opportunities here.

  • Take the Pledge to Simplify Your Holidays

    The holidays, meant to be a time of peace, reflection, and celebration, too often exhaust rather than uplift us. If you sometimes feel trapped by the shopping, spending, crass displays and frenzied preparations, you aren’t alone.

    The Simplify the Holidays Pledge offers many fun and creative actions you can take to add more meaning and environmental mindfulness to the holiday season. Celebrate what really matters: creating a meaningful life, contributing to community and society, valuing nature, and spending time with family and friends. This year, take the pledge to make your holidays more simple!

    Below is a list of ideas to help you celebrate the holidays with more joy and less stress.
    Pledge to five actions – or more! – that you will adopt this year:

    • Give the gift of time by creating your own gift card for a service (e.g. babysitting, carwashing, petsitting, chores, making dinner, organizing an outing)
    • Give a handmade gift like a memoir of cherished memories with that person, a book of family recipes, a collage of pictures and mementos, or a calendar filled with the birthdays and anniversaries of friends and family.
    • Offer to teach a skill you possess (e.g. knitting, photography, computer skills, financial planning, a foreign language, music lessons, canning tomatoes, cooking a favorite recipe).
    • Consider less gimmicky, less commercial gifts for children, such as arts/crafts supplies, books, a magnifying glass, or building blocks.
    • Create a paperless holiday letter on the computer and email it to your list.
    • Draw names in your family for gift giving (for extra fun and surprise, make it “Secret Santas”), so that you can put more time and thought into one gift instead of having to give to several people.
    • Shop for used items for all or most of your holiday gifts (e.g. local thrift store, Craigslist, Freecycle, used products on Amazon or eBay).
    • Share the gift of music by caroling, and include visits to elderly neighbors or a nursing home. Or, gather friends and family for an in-home holiday sing-a-long.
    • Give back to your community by preparing care packages for the homeless, or volunteering at an organization to help those in need during the holiday season.
    • Adopt a “less is more” attitude toward holiday decorating. Opt for natural trimmings such as clippings from local evergreens and holly bushes.
    • Save paper by wrapping gifts in newspaper comics, junk mail, paper bags decorated with markers, recycled gift bags, old maps, phone books, or other reused paper.
    • Prepare holiday meals with as many seasonal, locally grown, and/or organic foods as possible.