Author Archives: Michael

30 Days of Practice

Why is it that the things in life that are so meaningful, so beneficial, are often so difficult to accomplish?  Something simple like a personal daily practice that involves nurturing self, connecting with self, strengthening self.  For myself I notice that my practice is always easiest in times of great stress or trauma.  During these moments I am quick to return to meditation, yoga, running, music, writing poetry, praying…Yet as I move through a crisis from fear to calm I often see my practice begin to wain.  “I can skip it today” “I feel great today, no need to practice”, I hear myself say, as I move towards the infinite tasks — the dirty dish, the email that needs a response.

I was recently talking with a friend who has had two close encounters with death in the last four years. Our conversation reminded me how trivial most of what I struggle with is, and how important the choices we make on a daily basis are. From that perspective, my daily practice feels like a vital ritual to me, a way to remind myself of what is truly important in life, and a chance to connect with my deeper Self and my deepest intentions. Bottom line, don’t wait until you have a life altering experience to adopt the ritual of practice.

Why is it so easy to drop our practice?  I’m a runner, one who is prone to sprain my right ankle, due to a weakness in that leg.  Whenever I fall, whenever I sprain my ankle — get twisted sideways — it’s my wake-up call.  For hours, days, even weeks after the injury, my awareness increases, I am more present.  Slowly, over time, this awareness dulls until I am running along one day worrying about something, and boom, my foot lands on uneven ground. “Wake-up”, I hear my ankle scream!  Instantly my focus sharpens and I feel alive, aware, and alert, in a good way.

My advice to you?  Don’t wait until you sprain your ankle, break up with your lover, or find yourself with a life threatening illness, before you adopt the ritual of practice.  Remember that your daily practice will not always feel so productive or easy, and yet the ritual of a daily practice is so important to cultivate, for you, and for those around you.  Start with 30 days, whether it’s meditation, walking, yoga, running, writing a poem. Find a practice to devote yourself to that connects you to you – and what is really important to you, in this brief lifetime of yours. And when it feels challenging, remember that we are all practicing right alongside you, each and every day… for at least the next 30!

Michael

“No matter what your spiritual condition is, no matter where you find yourself in the universe, your choice is always the same: to expand your awareness or contract it.”
Thaddeus Golas

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celebrating a decade of service

 

A business, like a child, takes on a life of its own once born. You start with a vision or an intention, but after that, an unpredictable path ensues. How it grows and the direction it takes is deeply influenced by the people who walk through the door each day and interact with each other. Hemma was born in the fall of 2007, after many months of planning and hard work. The home of yoga and acupuncture, hemma, was envisioned as a community centre dedicated to health, to healing, and to the principles of inclusivity, accessibility, and affordability. Over the past 10 years, thanks to the contributions of so many people — teachers, students, acupuncturists, patients, volunteers, staff, and neighbours, I’d say we have all collectively achieved our vision.

From the depths of my heart, I feel an eternal gratitude towards everyone who has and continues to support our mission. As long as there is a need for care, comfort, and community, I hope we will be around to serve you.

Michael

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Loving Kindness

Practice Loving Kindness

My kids head off for school in a few days, my oldest in his last year..  For all of them it marks the ending of a fun and free summer, and the beginning of routines, structure, and practice.  I’ve always used that end of summer, back to school energy, as a way to re-commit to my own routines and practices.  More than a January new years resolution, autumn reminds me of the things I want to learn, commit to, and put into practice.

Some practices that I have been thinking a lot about lately are; community, inclusivity, tolerance, and kindness.  We use the word community a lot at Hemma, and to us, it’s more than just a marketing catch phrase.  At Hemma, community has always meant inclusivity — creating a space for everyone within our community, not just those within our familiar circles of comfort.

“Community is and must be inclusive. The great enemy of community is exclusivity. Groups that exclude others because they are poor or doubters or divorced or sinners or of some different race or nationality are not communities; they are cliques – actually defensive bastions against community.”  M. Scott Peck

We have seen many examples of hate, intolerance, and exclusion this year, yet even as we may feel disgust towards people who openly express hatred and intolerance, it’s also important for each of us to reflect on the ways in which we may contribute — the small, day-to-day, unkind thoughts and actions we commit when we think no one is watching or listening.  How do we combat these forces within our communities and within ourselves?  For me it is a matter of commitment and practice. Whether it’s big or small the opportunities constantly present themselves.  Hatred and anger, for oneself, or towards another, is not an emotion we can afford to indulge in.

What the world needs now is love sweet love,
Its the only thing that there’s just to little of,
What the world needs now is love sweet love,
No, not just for some but for everyone,…  Hal David

Practice loving kindness today.

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