Counting Down to Day 65 (out of 129) of The Middle Path Makeover – Peace is All Around Us

A warm cup of tea on a cold day. A kind smile from a stranger passing by. The space between my thoughts. A child sleeping safely in her father’s arms. A happy houseplant. A deep breath followed by another deep breath. The moment a delicious bite of food hits my empty stomach. A waive hello. The sound of rain falling whilst safe indoors. Letting go.

There is peace here.

-Leah Joy, The Zenful Blogger

Counting Down to Day 81 (Day 49) of The Middle Path Makeover – Clean Eats

This is surely a topic that takes volumes upon volumes of books to cover but frankly I just don’t have that kind of time. Clean eating is one of the few ways I know to clear up some of my health problems- fast! Many years ago, I had developed a chronic bronchial infection and a skin rash on my ankle (it turned out to be black mold from the apartment I was living in). The Doctors dismissed it as asthma and razor burn and I quote ” It might be time to change your razor”. Are you kidding me? I knew it was time to try something else so I researched different kinds of cleanses and found an Ayurvedic cleanse that I felt suited me best (No Master Cleanse for me, thank you very much!). I quickly moved out of my apartment thanks to all the help from my mom and friends, and within 3 weeks, I felt better. No joke. I was breathing fine. The rash went away- actually all of my skin cleared up completely! I lost 11 pounds, which I thought was a nice bonus. I also learned that I’m allergic to wheat and sensitive to dairy. So incredibly interesting and successful! So I got to watch the cleanse work on me first-hand. It wasn’t easy to stick to, but I did and it was absolutely worth it.

So here I am again. I’ve fallen into another health predicament. I’m considering repeating this cleanse so I can feel better (and more normal) in my skin again. And so I’m opening this forum up to you fine folks to read your thoughts and feelings on the matter. If you have a cleanse that rocked your world, or perhaps you just always eat clean, I would love to hear your stories, recipes and feedback. I know you have them. Everyone has an opinion on this subject, right? Can’t wait to hear from you!

Keep on keepin’ on and keep it clean if you can,

-Leah Joy, The Zenful Blogger

Counting Down to Day 88 (out of 129) of the Middle Path Makeover – It is What It is

Today’s post is dedicated to the part of myself that gives others the benefit of the doubt even when I know it isn’t realistic for them to follow through and do the right thing. I know that I can’t expect anyone to be anything other than what they are. It is what it is. This lesson has been shoved in front of me time and time and time again. I (seemingly) refuse to give up hope. But in the end, it is I that am disappointed. It is I that feels like a fool for trying so very hard in hopes of a different, perhaps better result. The irony here is of course that it is I that cannot be anything other than what I am. And so we are all in this together. It is what it is. And so the lesson here (I think) is I must be at peace with this.

For peace’s sake, accept the disappointments; the exceptions. Accept your exceptions.

-Leah Joy, The Zenful Blogger

REGISTER NOW: Intro to Zenful Dance Workshop

Date/Time: Saturday, February 12 · 1:00pm – 3:00pm

Location: Shiva Shanti Yoga School
165 Park Avenue
Rutherford, NJ

Cost: $30

Teacher: Leah Joy

More Info: This 2-hour workshop introduces the practice of anapansati also known as mindfulness breathing and how it is relative to movement. The class is broken up into three parts:

1. Practice of the mindfulness breathing technique (first 10 minutes of the workshop)
2. Applying movement to the rhythm of your natural breath
3. Journaling your experience (last 10 minutes of the workshop). A journal will be provided to each student and is included in the cost of the workshop.

Click Here to Register Online: http://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ws.asp?studioid=6126&stype=-8&sView=day&sDate=2%2F12%2F2011

Prerequisites: None. No meditation or dance experience is required. Be sure to wear loose-fitted clothing, shoes are optional, and bring your open mind and of course, a sense of humor (most important)!

Counting Down to Day 98 (Day 32) of The Middle Path Makeover – Stillness

I never really notice how much I’ve been moving until I become absolutely still. The movement can be intentional (planned) but it more often seems automatic (scratching, thinking, frowning, smirking, tapping, etc.).

I will need to continue this in the morning after I get a little shut-eye. See you soon.

More on being still…

It’s a tough thing, to be still. And after all these years of practicing being still, it continues to be challenging. Sure it has gotten noticeably easier for me overall, but I have days where it feels practically impossible to be still with the itching and the thoughts coming and going and the sounds of my neighbor’s dogs barking.
Lately what I find interesting, is that my body and my mind now crave stillness. I long to “just be” and sit in stillness with focused concentration.

Several years ago I developed a form of moving meditation which I now teach and is known as Zenful Dance. I founded this practice as the middle ground between Zazen (sitting completely still in meditation) and our crazy, busy lives as we know it where we have the tendencies to float through our days without much awareness of any kind. Zenful Dance, which is movement led by the rhythm of one’s own uncontrolled breath (anapanasati), has become a preliminary step (literally) towards being still. But sometimes I question my own teachings: why must there be a buffer? If being still is what is needed in order to see who we all are more clearly, then why not just be still? I have to assume there’s a time and a place for movement and also for being still. There is value in both. We must make room for both. The common thread in practicing both is to be awake while practicing.

So keep on keepin’ on. Be still or move along. Either way, stay awake!

-The Zenful Blogger