Mary Layton – Modestoview https://www.modestoview.com The Independent Guide to the Modesto Area Since 1997 Wed, 21 Jul 2021 00:38:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 87300716 ZenView: Harmony https://www.modestoview.com/zenview-harmony/ Tue, 03 Aug 2021 15:37:00 +0000 https://www.modestoview.com/?p=25367 ZenView: HarmonyBy Mary Layton Harmony?  What is it?Any time I watch a flock of geese flying in formation it looks like they have that harmony down.It is an exhilarating experience for me.  What magic!  To experience a little harmony in your day can do wonders to help unwind and recuperate. In an orchestra, everyone has […]]]>

ZenView: Harmony
By Mary Layton



Harmony?  What is it?
Any time I watch a flock of geese flying in formation it looks like they have that harmony down.
It is an exhilarating experience for me.  What magic!  To experience a little harmony in your day can do wonders to help unwind and recuperate. In an orchestra, everyone has to be in harmony in order to produce a pleasant sound.  It is only when all the players are in harmony that the audience will be able to experience the pleasure of listening. We feel in harmony making music with others and also alone,  singing,  dancing or watching a beautiful sunset. Taking a walk in nature gives us a feeling of harmony. The feeling of having a common focus can give us that feeling too,  participating in a common goal..  seeing eye to eye. We need these feel-good moments. Humans don’t do so well when they argue and disagree for long periods of time.  Even if we can only hold a thought of harmony for a short moment it is good medicine for the soul. Seeking harmony can affect our state of health, physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally in profound ways.


Personally, I love the experience of practicing Tai Chi with a group, everyone stepping at the same time, doing the same movements.  You are in a large room with people from all different walks of life, different ages, backgrounds and occupations with the intention to move simultaneously!   At first, this is quite difficult because we are not used to following others, we are so used to doing our own thing in our own tempo and style. We don’t often know about the sensitivity and alertness that is required to match another person’s movements.  In Tai Chi, there is a sequence of movements that involves learning the transitions from one posture to the next.  All the movements are executed slowly and deliberately and bring more awareness, energy and concentration. There is a gradual experience of relaxing within oneself and flowing together with others. The feeling of separateness so common in our world is gone.  I believe it has something to do with giving up the ego,  and something to do with really wanting to listen to each other with all one’s senses.

For more info, you can go to taichi4modesto.com or call (209)572-4518

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ZenView: Rewards of Being Human https://www.modestoview.com/zenview-rewards-of-being-human/ Tue, 06 Jul 2021 16:55:00 +0000 https://www.modestoview.com/?p=25239 ZenView: Rewards of Being HumanBy Mary LaytonWhat are the rewards in your life? Many of us may feel that as long as we have fun and excitement in our lives everything will be good. Having fun is such a welcome reward for putting up with life’s challenges and disappointments.  We need to have fun. But […]]]>

ZenView: Rewards of Being Human
By Mary Layton

What are the rewards in your life? Many of us may feel that as long as we have fun and excitement in our lives everything will be good. Having fun is such a welcome reward for putting up with life’s challenges and disappointments.  We need to have fun. But sometimes too much of a good thing can also get us off the good path.  The fun lovers will most likely argue that it’s the way of the world and not to worry about it. Yet there is the possibility that following what seems fun and exciting too much of the time can eventually backfire and hurt us in some way. I believe many of us go through life believing “this is just as good as it gets”. But I think this can be a trap because if you want to find the best in life which I think is Love – then there’s a lot of work to be done. It’s about finding out who you really are. How you really want to live your life. What you want your relationships to be like.

What is holding you back? I think this kind of honest search for oneself is rewarding. Growing older also has rewards as I can learn so much from my mistakes and free myself from my illusions. The famous Italian story of Pinocchio is a wonderful description of what the journey of growing into a good human being can be all about. The story has been made into a very beautiful movie. Of all the different adaptations I love the one directed by Matteo Garrone the best. The movie is about a wooden puppet that is rebellious and succumbs to all kinds of temptations. His father who created him out of a tree trunk is unable to guide him. Because of his many lies, Pinocchio gets into more and more trouble. Things look dark and hopeless. But eventually, it is Pinocchio’s ability to love and connect to love that ultimately ends his suffering. He is rewarded for his understanding of what truly matters in the end. The loving fairy transforms him: Instead of only a puppet he now deserves to be a boy, a real human being. Going through life’s trials and tribulations we can learn to become the humans we were meant to be.

For more info go to: taichi4modesto.com or call (209)572-4518

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ZenView: Detaching from the Past https://www.modestoview.com/zenview-detaching-from-the-past/ Wed, 31 Mar 2021 15:45:00 +0000 https://www.modestoview.com/?p=24793 ZenView: Detaching from the PastBy Mary Layton Looking back to my old life I feel a sense of bereavement and loss. As much as I wish that things were still like before I am learning to accept once again that everything comes to an end at some point. My schedule and routines have changed and […]]]>

ZenView: Detaching from the Past
By Mary Layton

Looking back to my old life I feel a sense of bereavement and loss. As much as I wish that things were still like before I am learning to accept once again that everything comes to an end at some point. My schedule and routines have changed and many of my cherished experiences have ended faster than I could ever have imagined. I am realizing that that past experience with all its wonders and magic and fun and connections and habits had its life, time and place. Even though I may not ever continue down the same road as before I feel that these experiences live on in the cells of my body and in my soul. They are there for me to give and share with others and to draw strength and hope from. Endings are never easy to accept. But I feel I have a chance now to redefine myself and to redesign my life. Detaching from the past is to accept change. It is helping me to be open and present for whatever shows up right in front of me. This year the arrival of spring seems especially lovely. What a good feeling to see flowers and the sprouting of new life and to take in the good smells all around. It reminds me that nothing stays the same forever. We can count on the renewal of life. With it comes a more uplifting mood, new opportunities, the budding of new ideas and creations. There have been many losses but there have also been many gains. The pandemic and the many stresses that we have gone through as a society has made us learn things that may make life better for us as we recover and move forward. We needed to depend on our families more, spend more time together, maybe even moved in with family. I heard that many spouses, partners and friends got closer and we’re feeling grateful for many things that they had taken for granted. We found new innovative ways of connecting with each other through Zoom and FaceTime which added a new facet of communication tools. We learnt to entertain each other, sending pictures and videos. The other great thing is that we can work anywhere now and that is truly a break from the past. It’s a new day! It’s a new life! It’s a new world. We are all in this together.

For more info go to taichi4modesto.com, or call (209)572-4518

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ZenView – New Energy https://www.modestoview.com/zenview-new-energy/ Thu, 05 Nov 2020 19:40:01 +0000 https://www.modestoview.com/?p=23847 By Mary Layton New Energy I have been busy lately, the days go by so fast and some days I forgot if I’ve eaten. There’s so much to do, projects, daily chores, organizing, reorganizing, helping friends move, out of the old and in with the new. I seem to be in perpetual motion. I’ve been […]]]>

By Mary Layton

New Energy
I have been busy lately, the days go by so fast and some days I forgot if I’ve eaten. There’s so much to do, projects, daily chores, organizing, reorganizing, helping friends move, out of the old and in with the new. I seem to be in perpetual motion.

I’ve been reflecting on my mortality more than before. And it has actually had a very positive effect on me. With life more fragile due to our present situation, is it possible something has shifted in our brains and behaviors? Maybe it’s the thought: It’s now or never. We might as well take on life all the way before it’s too late! No holding back. Maybe it’s time to realize a dream and really do something about it. Put out the energy and do the best you can. Talking to a few of my friends I keep hearing people are on the move, reinventing themselves where possible, seizing opportunities that didn’t exist before the pandemic.

If I imagine my world from above it looks like a giant anthill with all of us scrambling to find order in a life that has been severely disrupted and shaken to the core by a tiny, invisible virus. New energy, new ways of living have sprouted. Many of us do their work from home now, which has resulted in improving our houses as best we can. I believe there is an opportunity in the difficulty that we are currently faced with. And that is to learn that our survival actually depends on our ability to work together and develop compassion to understand the struggles and challenges of others. We need to think of the greater good, as opposed to just following our now desires and interests. This is essential to more than just survival; it is paramount to our own humanity.

I find myself grateful for the home I have in a way I never felt before and I’m grateful for the water that still flows out of the shower and faucet. The sun is still shining on us. I give thanks to all that is in my life: family, friends, my work, my cat, the neighbors and sometimes a helpful stranger. It has brought me much joy and hope. Faith has a lot to do with my ability to “stay calm and carry on”. As Victor Hugo puts it “Have courage for the great losses of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.”
For more info go to: taichi4modesto.com or call (209)572-4518

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ZenView – Lost and Found https://www.modestoview.com/zenview-lost-and-found/ Fri, 09 Oct 2020 15:19:30 +0000 https://www.modestoview.com/?p=23673 ZenView By Mary Layton Lost and Found Have you ever desperately searched for a lost item and while you were turning your house upside down looking for that thing, you found something else that you had been looking for a long time ago but had given up on ever finding again? I have. It’s one […]]]>

ZenView
By Mary Layton
Lost and Found

Have you ever desperately searched for a lost item and while you were turning your house upside down looking for that thing, you found something else that you had been looking for a long time ago but had given up on ever finding again? I have. It’s one of those miracle moments. It makes me believe that no matter what our losses may be about, there is always hope. Deprived of something we find something else. In a short amount of time, due to the pandemic and the fires we have lost many things that we had taken for granted. Our jobs and occupations that gave us a sense of identity and livelihood, many types of gatherings and traditions we cherished. Where possible we keep distance from each other because our health and lives depend on it.

Our eyes have been opened to the fact that climate change is happening more rapidly now. Our survival is at stake. In the face of so many losses and changes I’m finding myself busier and more capable than I knew I was. Many people I think are rising up to the challenge of these new times. We learn to adjust ourselves to the facts and figure out different ways to keep ourselves going. Who would have thought that we could bring our exercise machines outside, get haircuts in the street, view art exhibits on a sidewalk? Or have alcoholic drinks to go? Our world has gone upside down in many ways. It’s been hard. But good too! The time has gone where we used to second-guess ourselves, now we have to think on our feet. Make things happen regardless, in a new way or old way that we had forgotten about. At this time only a positive attitude can help us out of our predicaments. Complaining and whining doesn’t get us anywhere. Maybe we need to join forces with others. In these externally stressful times I find internally a sense of hidden treasures of gratitude, kindness and love.

For more info go to : taichi4modesto.com or call (209) 572-4518

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ZenView – Necessity https://www.modestoview.com/zenview-necessity/ Sat, 08 Aug 2020 18:12:32 +0000 https://www.modestoview.com/?p=23327 ZenView By Mary Layton Necessity “Necessity is the mother of invention” is a saying that popped into my mind the other day. Our lives have changed so much and keep changing week to week as we have gone through reopening of businesses to having them close again. Seems like in these uncertain times it really […]]]>

ZenView
By Mary Layton
Necessity

“Necessity is the mother of invention” is a saying that popped into my mind the other day.
Our lives have changed so much and keep changing week to week as we have gone through reopening of businesses to having them close again. Seems like in these uncertain times it really is imperative to have a good attitude, to keep going, to be resourceful, creative and willing to deal with new regulations and requirements. It isn’t always easy and comfortable but we may discover new frontiers, new possibilities and actually reinvent ourselves because it is just plain necessary to do so. And so as in Star Trek, out of necessity, we “boldly go where no-one has gone before. “
I am by nature a shy person but I understand for the first time that necessity is the thing that makes even the most timid soul bold. For example using Zoom and seeing myself and others on a screen was a struggle initially.

Having to learn the ropes of a new technology, seeing others including myself on camera felt strange at first, to say the least. But I do remember the thrill when I overcame my fear and the wonderful reward to see people I hadn’t seen and communicated with in a while. While I’m still not very comfortable with this new possibility I get that as with everything else that is new, the more you use and practice it, the more fluent you become in it. I have to make the best of it.

Now is the time to jump over my own shadow. Knowing that millions of other people are going through this ‘new normal’ makes it easier. We are now basically all beginners. And it is a comfort to realize that even though we are more separate physically than before as we are doing our business or homework from home, we are learning to connect beyond the distance and get the work done.
The necessity for social distancing has made its way into countless situations and a lot of them are truly devastating, like not being allowed to visit loved ones in the hospital or nursing homes as well as the restrictions on wedding celebrations and funerals. And the list goes on.
There are many terrible losses but also many good things that our new reality has brought us. May be some of us have become more playful, entertaining ourselves at home, spending more time with loved ones, or having time to write and create new things, fix stuff on our own and learn something new.

I think at this time it would be beneficial that we all look after each other and assist one another wherever possible. Do what is necessary. We have more time now to reflect on our lives, and decide what is a luxury – not essential – and what is.

The pandemic has been terrifying – especially for all those brave people who are fighting and serving daily at the frontlines in hospitals, nursing homes and schools, gas stations and food distribution places, etc. I feel truly grateful to these people. As a society we are undergoing huge changes. We are forced to wake up. As Gillian Anderson, actress and writer says: “Just remember, you can do anything you set your mind to, but it takes action and perseverance and facing your fears.”

For more info go to : taichii4modesto.com or call (209)572-4518

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ZenView – Transition https://www.modestoview.com/zenview-transition/ Mon, 06 Jul 2020 15:16:56 +0000 https://www.modestoview.com/?p=23144 ZenView By Mary Layton Transition I would have never thought to witness this experience that we are all now going through in the world. It has given us cause to learn how to transition from old practices of going about our lives and our businesses to more modern and progressive ways of doing things. Whether […]]]>

ZenView
By Mary Layton
Transition

I would have never thought to witness this experience that we are all now going through in the world. It has given us cause to learn how to transition from old practices of going about our lives and our businesses to more modern and progressive ways of doing things. Whether I like it or not, I am getting that this is a time of great upheaval but also a time where we find ourselves in the midst of a great shift in evolution. Some things will end forever. Some things will just change. We are grappling with how to transition into this new normal, how to figure out a new way of being comfortable in the world. Personally, what I find positive for me is that I have permission to feel parts of me that I wasn’t so in touch with before. I am more aware of boundaries and limits to my energy and that is actually not bad at all. For example, I give myself permission to wait with answering my phone while shopping. It’s just too much trouble while I wear my mask. Besides I get that in order to stay safe I need to give whatever I do, wherever I go, my undivided attention. For sure, overall our lives have seen lots of restrictions, cancellations and loss of things we took for granted. How to transition smoothly from the familiar to the unfamiliar is a big challenge.

Can one practice to be comfortable with transitions? I think it has to do with learning to relax, to listen and to watch. One of the most difficult aspects of learning a mindfulness practice like Tai Chi, for example, is to go from one posture into the next one. The postures themselves are easy. What’s hard is the transition, connecting movements, going from an established place to a new place, much like moving from one house to another. At first, looking at the immensity of moving is overwhelming. Or doing Zoom meetings instead of live meetings. Transitions are just hard for us. We are so used to our old ways and find comfort in the familiar. But I believe that if we want to survive we have to be willing to do whatever may be necessary. Since the beginning of this new era we had to find creative solutions quickly while following the safety guidelines. We have watched things evolve and progress at times faster than we could have ever thought possible. May be what matters now more than ever is to keep a positive attitude and an open mind. There’s an ancient saying: “Life can never give security; it can only promise opportunity. An optimist sees an opportunity in every calamity; a pessimist sees a calamity in every opportunity.”

For more info go to taichi4modesto.com or call (209)572-4518

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ZenView – Flexibility https://www.modestoview.com/zenview-flexibility/ Sun, 31 May 2020 16:45:40 +0000 https://www.modestoview.com/?p=22957 ZenView By Mary Layton Flexibility The 3rd month into living in the world of COVID 19, I find that the shock waves are lessening. Certainly news of some businesses being allowed to reopen has helped. I’m beginning to relax. Evidence of how people have rallied for mutual support has been amazing. It’s so obvious to […]]]>

ZenView
By Mary Layton

Flexibility
The 3rd month into living in the world of COVID 19, I find that the shock waves are lessening. Certainly news of some businesses being allowed to reopen has helped. I’m beginning to relax. Evidence of how people have rallied for mutual support has been amazing. It’s so obvious to all of us now that we cannot survive in this world alone. Keeping an open mind, being flexible is the thing that gives us fortitude and courage to deal with whatever tomorrow will bring. Basically it’s like playing a different ball game, with a bunch of new rules. If before I was able to teach a Tai Chi class consisting of 10-40 people I’m now supposed to teach only one person, or at most 2 people at a time in order to guarantee social distancing and safety. It’s been actually great fun. It really helps to stay mentally flexible now. I’m learning to look for the hidden good in everything I encounter. I liked a quote I came across in one of my wise books: “There is not such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands.” I have watched myself stiffening up in recent weeks around worries for the future of all of us. Then I came across another great quote, from the Bible: “Do not be anxious about tomorrow, tomorrow will look after itself.” So true!

We can speculate all we want. We will never know the future. So I surrender to the moment, which is the only thing I can control. At least for this moment I can make sure that I keep a positive attitude. I practice Tai Chi or do simple Yoga stretches, sit quietly or take a walk.

I need both physical and mental flexibility. I’m learning to be my own best friend. As part of taking care of my needs I’m also aware of some fears or bad habits that are still blocking me from being all that I can be or do. Another discovery is that the world has become more quiet and lovely. I can hear the birds sing like I have never heard them before. I notice so much beauty around me. And I have a feeling that everything is just the way it should be.

For more info go to : taichi4modesto.com or call (209)572-4518

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ZenView – Purpose https://www.modestoview.com/zenview-purpose/ Thu, 02 Apr 2020 20:55:48 +0000 https://www.modestoview.com/?p=22576 By Mary Layton Purpose Not going to work certainly takes away the one thing that gives purpose to our lives. We go to work in order to provide food and shelter, pay the bills. Our work, our jobs have given us a purpose and an identity. What now that we are being asked to stay […]]]>

By Mary Layton
Purpose

Not going to work certainly takes away the one thing that gives purpose to our lives. We go to work in order to provide food and shelter, pay the bills. Our work, our jobs have given us a purpose and an identity. What now that we are being asked to stay home? Who are we? Answering these questions is a big job. This may be the rare chance to have time to finally get to reflect a little or do things we feel we never have time to do! Spend time with our loved ones. Read books or start writing them. Play music and make up songs. Learn a language. Paint pictures, get the creative juices going. Get to those projects that we’ve been putting off.

Get our closets in order, get spring cleaning going and get rid off things we don’t need.
Help people in our communities. Do volunteer work. Cook for other people.
Spend time in our garden. Grow our own veggies. Go on long walks and hikes.

The most inspiring news I remember hearing last month in response to the Corona Virus was from two men who own a distillery in Portland. Because of the sudden shortage in hand sanitizers they decided to make their own based on an ethanol compound. They bottled their product and gave away thousands of bottles. They even shared their recipe! What a great opportunity to be resourceful in a time of crisis while at the same time giving a hand to the needy. The whole community pitched in to make it possible. What a great victory of the human spirit! Rather than giving into anxiety and panic we can make up our minds to be happy and figure out how best we can survive as a society and on this planet.

For more info go to taichi4modesto.com or call (209)572-4518

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ZenView – Benevolence https://www.modestoview.com/zenview-benevolence/ Wed, 12 Feb 2020 15:27:09 +0000 https://www.modestoview.com/?p=22345 ZenView Mary Layton Benevolence Do you know that song “Show me what love is“? Just heard it again the other day on AGT. Pets, no doubt, are the best in showing us what love is. Thank God for them. But when it comes to relationships with humans many of us wonder what love is, how […]]]>

ZenView
Mary Layton
Benevolence

Do you know that song “Show me what love is“? Just heard it again the other day on AGT. Pets, no doubt, are the best in showing us what love is. Thank God for them. But when it comes to relationships with humans many of us wonder what love is, how to find it, how to keep it. We have been told that the prerequisite of being able to love another person is first to be able to love oneself. Not an easy task. I had this inkling that the path to love would be helped a lot by a willingness to be doing good to others. I started to think about benevolence, a disposition and desire to do good. To be benevolent takes strength and energy. I think when we are feeling cranky kindness is hard to come by, so is the ability to listen and respect other people’s choices.

What takes our strength away? I believe it is what we have been focusing on in our thoughts. Maybe we have been condemning ourselves or others for their imperfections, may be we have been impatient or had unrealistic expectations, tried to force a certain outcome or fix someone else’s problems, or may be we worked too hard or been too busy. All these things can make a person loose sight of the goodness and love in their lives. Being kind and forgiving, helping people and good causes on the other hand, does feel really wonderful. One day at a time, moment to moment; Awareness and willingness to do good to ourselves and others can turn things around for the better. All we need is Love! (The Beatles)

For more info go to : taichi4modesto.com or call (209)572-4572

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