Living in Harmony by Anne Cousin

Growing up in Africa, having lived in Asia most of my life, led me to believe that “Home is where the Heart is”.

To feel home and in harmony within my heart and body, I go back to the Four principles of Life, SHU, SHOKU, DO, SO, that the Japanese Master, Kazunori Sasaki Sensei taught me.

SHU stems for breathing. All of our body cells are breathing, this is a gif and a potental in each of us, as well as a great door to self-understanding and living in the present moment. I practice Zen breathing and Pranayama. I enjoy hikes and trail-running in Nature to let my body reset its natural breath and aliveness.

Watching one’s breath, with a slightly longer exhale, even for 3 minutes while commuting or queuing if you feel stressed, does change the game.

SHOKU stems for eating. I enjoy home cooking, shared with friends or in a quiet setting. The smell, textures, colors, seasonality and shapes in the dish, as well as chewing, all make it more energizing and delicious. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Stomach «Oceans of Energy» meridian starts at the eyes, and on the temporals, close to the brain, then runs on the jaws.

Fresh food that you like, in moderation, will benefit you and nourish your spirit too.

DO, stems for moving. Movement and life are interconnected. Movement I experience as breath for the body. It refreshes the blood, lubricates the joints… Besides hiking, I enjoy movement practices such as Tension Release Exercises (inducing autonomic movement) and Yoga, to assess my present condition and encourage fexibility of both mind and body. I also enjoy periods of stillness and non-movement, with meditation, Yoga Nidra and Tibetan singing Bowls, for instance.

Harmony comes with all opposites reunited.

Move daily and remember to appreciate some rest as well. Connecting with your breath as you move will help you gain in awareness and ease.

SO, stems for good thinking and the expression of one’s vitality. It is the resulting from the above 3 principles. I enjoy reading, writing, making bouquets, photography, learning to play the guitar. Activities that enable me to express multi-dimensionally, using more of my senses, embracing diversity, change and hence to feel fully alive. Nonetheless, gathering with friends and my practices at work are meaningful for me; to nurture a felt sense of humanity.

Following your nature, intrinsically leads you to harmony.

Harmony I experience, as a flowing state; a balancing in movement of constant exchanges with oneself and the environment. The ability to adapt to one’s present conditions, at the best of one’s characteristics. This gives me a sense of freedom, equanimity, and playfulness : keeping dynamic forces in balance, like expressed within the “Taijitu”, symbol for Yin Yang.

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