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Heart and Mind Matters,  December/13/2016
<<First Name>>, this is the last article in the series we've been publishing from artist, Patricia L. Atchison (we invite you to click on her name to enjoy her inspirational website with beautiful art images). Today's article is inspired by the Fourth Pillar, Elevate Your Spirit, and this is my personal favourite.  Enjoy!!

p.s.  If you haven't had a look at the Four Pillars experiences yet, please take a look at the brief summaries below and call us if you have any questions at 403-285-5266.  We look forward to sharing these exciting journeys with you, <<First Name>>!

If you have missed previous articles on the Shin Dao Pillars, you can read them on our archives here.
By Patricia L. Atchison

Ah, the spirit. I’ve been thinking of my own definition of ‘spirit’ and what it means to ‘Elevate your Spirit(the last of the Four Guiding Pillars of the Shin Dao). A simple definition of Spirit by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is:
  • the force within a person that is believed to give the body life, energy, and power
  • the inner quality or nature of a person
  • a person
I always think of horses when I think of a definition similar to the above. In central Alberta, by Sundre, we have wild horses. They roam free, unencumbered by fences and owners. I can feel their spirits soaring as they look over the foothills, their manes flowing and swaying with the breeze. They can canter, gallop, and step freely in only a way that a wild horse can. (As a side note, biologist’s figure that the wild horses of Alberta were all once domesticated, but they have broken away from the herds.)

There are also domestic horses. Over the centuries horses have been trained and ‘broken’ to be work or entertaining animals. I’ve haven’t personally seen a horse ‘broke’ other than in a movie (or read about it in a book). What I’ve learned is that horses are worked around and around an arena or corral and motivated into relaxed movement that soon takes their ‘spirit’ and squelches it, molding it into a way that the animal will suit a particular job (etc.) per the owner’s needs.

So we have one horse, which is free to live with their spirit roaming wild, and another horse who has had their spirit tamped into a manageable focus.
Do you see how this analogy above could be the same as our own lives? We live in society where we go to work, we struggle to fit into the norm and survive, doing jobs which may or may not be relevant to our purpose. How often do we allow our spirit to come out and play, to dictate our actions, to be powerful and energy giving?

Rudyard Kipling wrote: "People say that what we're all seeking is the meaning of life... I think that what we're really seeking is the experience of being alive."

With the advent of social media, we are seeing more and more inspirational quotes about ‘Spirit’. I think we are all looking to step away from the herd, lose our domesticated-ness and find that free pasture where we can let our inhibitions out. We long to find that spirit within which sets us free, allowing us to roam to places which lift our hearts and spirit.

Personally, I love to elevate my spirit by dancing Nia and letting theatrics and energy come out to play in silliness and fun. I elevate my spirit by studying and taking walks in nature. I love writing and researching. I sculpt, letting spirit guide my fingers. The sad part is, sometimes I find I do squelch, or tamp down, my spirit. My mind takes over and says a long litany of ‘should do this and should do that’.  Before I know it I am walking with the herd again, my spirit buried, ignored until a time when I feel it is the right time to let it come out and play. Everyday should have some time in it to let our spirit roam the valleys and foothills of life, smelling fresh air and letting the wind tickle our manes.

I combed the internet seeking ways to ‘Elevate Your Spirit’, and paraphrasing, I hope the small list below will guide you in some way.  May your spirit soar!
  • Live day to day, positive and optimistic
  • Live with gratitude, be thankful
  • Try your best, be your best
  • Be authentic, set yourself FREE!
  • Live with openness, accepting the good as it comes
  • Grow, even if you feel a little uncomfortable
  • Believe you can and you will!
  • Brightness and light comes from within
  • Ignore negativity and responding to negative people
  • Be a good person, someone to look up to
  • Look at sunrises as an opportunity for growth, sunsets as an opportunity for renewal
  • Breathe, be in the moment, live in the present
  • Believe in yourself, your braveness, strength and intellect
  • Do it now!
  • Love wholeheartedly
  • Choose to be happy
  • Select peace over chaos
  • As life happens, be okay with it, change makes us stronger
  • Listen to the earth and nature
  • Find courage to let be and let go
  • Enjoy the ride of life
  • Give away your gifts and purpose of self to the world
  • Believe and you can
  • Always learn new things
  • Peace is within
And finally my own quote:
"Let the music of life fill your heart, listen to that giddiness within, open the corral gate, kick up your heals, and look beyond, to that which sets you free to allow spirit to come out and play." - Patricia Atchison 
 
We'd love to hear from you,<<First Name>> - Do you live most of your life as a domesticated animal, living by 'shoulds' or do you let your spirit run wild? We'd love to hear how your spirit runs free.   Write to us info@shindao.com 

Hugs,
Tina and Neil
Shin Dao Pillar #4
Elevate your Spirit
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Nia
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Last chance to Connect body, mind and spirit with this fun blend of dance, martial arts and yoga this year! Drop-ins welcome. Text or call Tina at 403-860-7311 for more details.

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