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How To Get Started in Yoga – It’s Literally at Your Fingertips

How To Get Started in Yoga – It’s Literally at Your Fingertips

How To Get Started in Yoga – It’s Literally at Your Fingertips

The first memory I have of yoga was being at the gym and watching a woman do sun salutations. At the time I didn’t know that’s what they were called. The poses looked complicated and I was impressed by the seamless flow of movement, wondering how she even remembered them. “This must be Yoga”, I thought. I wanted to learn, but how? I had no idea at the time but I figured it out. Here’s how to get started in Yoga and how it’s literally at your fingertips.

Some years ago, my plethora of fitness routines included walking, light jogging, weights, and taebo. A couple years before that, it also included a few aerobics class with a local instructor named Karen Rosito who had the most amazing soca class ever.

Soooo…. Where is my totally fit and “slammin” body, you ask?
CHOCOLATE and CARBS HAVE IT, OK?

But seriously, one of the things that has balanced my love for chocolate and carbs is the fact that exercise has been an integral part of my life. I believe that’s tied to the 9 years I spent doing Ballet in Belize with my lovely teacher Mrs Valdez.

Body Burn by Denise Austin

Yoga Burn by Denise Austin

My interest in yoga didn’t leave me alone. One way or another, it would make its way back to my attention and I’d resolve to find a way to get started in yoga. Being an avid Amazon customer at the time, I found a DVD by Denise Austin called Yoga Body Burn and decided to give it a try. The DVD was easy to follow and each session felt like a good massage afterwards. I learned all about sun salutations and how easy they were. Most importantly, I learned that yoga intertwines mind, body and soul.

Yoga truly connects you to self if you dive in wholeheartedly. I started including yoga as a regular part of my weekly work out, bending into poses at least twice a week. It became a routine – just me and Denise.

Body movement was important… no matter where I was in the world.

As life would have it, changes came and we tend to lose our routines in the midst of change. One of the places I had to settle for a little while was Utah. There was a moment where I spent most of my days in the confines of my domain and I was desperately seeking some interaction with people instead of glimpses to the outside world from the confines of walls and windows. I learned about “Meet Up” and saw a $5 class at The Yoga Center in Holladay, Utah. It was only a few miles away which meant my Benz legs or BMW bike could get me there in reasonable time.

Enjoying the open floor at The Yoga Center, Utah

It was my first “real” yoga class with a live instructor. I’d already conquered how to get started in yoga and this was a test of sorts if I was even doing it right! Everyone was so welcoming and the ambience of the studio brought so much peace to me. I wish I could remember the yogi’s name who taught the classes I attended. I was drawn to her energy and felt quite proud when she called me out on how good my alignment and posture were.

Oh the human need to be praised and accepted.

Yoga is a powerful vehicle for change – Tiffany Cruikshank

Yoga is for everyone

People of all ages attended  the classes, including men and women. It was my first time hearing how yogis breathe in these classes… Breathe in… Inhale… and it was LOUD. Anddddd, breathe out… Exhale… Ahhhh! It was a little nerve wracking the first time but it served as a good lesson in focusing on yourself and your journey, minus the noise around you. One fine day I will master this, but guess what? Not then and NOT TODAY.

I could hear my cousin now, “tune it out”… “Freakin I can’t, dammit”.

My son can attest to the moments I’m in deep with my “Namaste” momentum at home which swiftly changes to a screaming fit over the decibels of his rants while playing his games online. Truly, I am a “masterpiece trying to master peace”.

Breathing and my perfect posture aside, this class was also my first experience with handstands.
We were asked to stand against the wall and kick up to handstand.
HUH!
You want me to do what?

IMPOSSIBLE!

Inversions develop from the strength in your poses

One by one, I saw legs kicking up to the wall as easily as you can walk from one point to another. For me, it meant screaming each time I tried and well, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t wrap my brain around it. There I was, proud of my poses, posture, balance and strength – did you people not hear the yogi commend me on all that? HELLO!

Haters asking for handstands. Show Offs!
I kicked up into nothing – let’s just get back to my beautiful posture people!

Never did I imagine that one day I could do an inversion – without a wall for support. While I’m still making my way to a handstand, I have come a long way and I feel quite proud of that. Inversions are a constant reminder that I can do all things I put my mind to, if I only just believe and apply action – of course. My inversions basically only include a headstand BUT I can kick up into a handstand quite easily now.

Relocating again, my new situation didn’t allow for yoga classes. Financially and logistically, even a $5 class didn’t work. I missed the balanced I found in yoga. It was therapy and exercise. It was meditation and strength – it’s is so many things.

Open your mind, body and soul.

Yoga at my fingertips

Eventually I found an app called Simply Yoga. [Android Version]
What a blessing!

This was my Yoga class… at my fingertips, literally.

The app is so easy to follow and you can customize your sessions with poses you like best. The instructions are clear and include including a video of how each pose is done. It also has sound of waves gently easing unto a shore as you dive into your connection with your mind, body and soul. This was it… I finally had Yoga back in my life, like an old love I could never forget.

As social media blossomed in leaps and bounds, it started to feel like everything was always available, including yoga. I started to follow yogis on Instagram. One account that really caught my eye was Claire Fountain (@cbquality) – probably mostly because she was doing inversions to Popcaan music (@popcaanmusic).

I damn near asked her to marry me at that point. Inversions AND Popcaan music, are you serious?
It felt like inversions were everywhere, and they looked easy so I was encouraged.

I found myself attempting different inversions in the hall way, stemming from hollow-back to handstands to just putting my crown chakra to touch the ground because for a moment that’s about as inverted as I could get.

Inversions Rock!

Then one day I looked at the hallway where I’d practice and saw a way to use the door frame for support to climb my way into a headstand. Soon after, I started kicking up into the pose and slowly learned to control the legs up and move away from the wall completely.

People have asked me why I love inversions so much. It’s because in that moment where I lean into trusting my body to balance me, it is the only place my mind goes. There are no worries, no distractions, no what ifs – there’s just me, myself and I trusting that I can do anything I put my mind to. And knowing that I am supported and strong. That’s something money can’t buy.

You can start yoga on your own and find your comfort zone with it. Word of advice, just focus on your posture at all times… your core is your main strength and alignment with your spine will provide you with the balance you need. You can start with a blanket although it’s not ideal. I was gifted a Manduka mat and it has made a world of difference in support for my knees especially. Besides those pointers, the only thing you need is your desire – to be better, stronger and healthier.

A bit of a disclaimer – I am not a certified yoga instructor.

Gentle reminder, I am still working on all of this – need I remind you?
A masterpiece, trying to master peace. Yoga is definitely a big part of that.

Let your mat cradle your movement.

 

Golden Advice on Healthy Relationships You Might Want To Consider

Golden Advice on Healthy Relationships You Might Want To Consider

Golden Advice on Healthy Relationships You Might Want To Consider

Two weeks ago, I was scrolling through Facebook – as is expected of any normal human being in this day and age. A video shared by Christa Courtenay caught my attention. It was about relationships. This lead to a multitude questions in my head as I often find myself seeking to gain golden advice on healthy relationships.

The video was titled “How to love genuinely without attachment.”
#LifeGoals. 

Attachment causes suffering.

It’s not just attachment to people but also to time, places, things, and/or events.
It’s attachment. Period.

As the video played, I felt a bit confused – quite possibly taking things too literally. This especially pertained to moments when the speaker talked about holding love gently. Where intimate relationships are concerned, I tend to hang on for dear life and it inevitably leads to the death of it. Contrary to what one might assume by that statement, it’s not that the other person runs away but instead that I mostly do … that I see myself as clinging to love, not getting it back in the same way and checking out when I don’t. It’s this “All In” or “All Out” mentality that is not always conducive to a successful relationship.

This is not ALWAYS the case… more of a general overview when I look back on my love life.

Here are a series of questions I often have about relationships in general.

What are reasonable expectations in a healthy relationship?
When issues arise, where is it you and where is it me? (though I’m pretty sure it’s you boo lol)
How do I know the difference?
Shouldn’t this just flow easily or do all relationships require work?
How can I taper my trust issues or better yet end them?
Isn’t the onus on him to do things I need him to do so I can feel safe?
What do I need to learn to have a long, successful relationship?

And, finally… Um, Soulmate?

While I don’t regret leaving any of my past relationships or in one case, accepting when the end was dealt to me (THE NERVE!), I often reflect on how I could grow from the things I’ve learned and how I could have been a better partner.

After viewing the clip, I felt the urge to look more closely at Christa’s profile and realized she is a therapist.

Not only did I realize I should ask her to shed some light on the video and healthy relationships, but I wondered why we weren’t besties so I can get free counseling?

I reached out to ask if we could talk about the video and all the questions that ensued.
I wanted to learn so I can share also.

She was game!

LIGHTS. CAMERA. ACTION.

I Heart ?

Who do you love and are you ATTACHED?

I could have talked to Christa for hours.

Question after question kept forming in my mind, besides the 15 I emailed to her that we didn’t even really touch on.

Her knowledge and the way she explained things felt so much simpler than they did inside my complex mind. I gave her an example of a recent text I’d composed which I thought was very well written. She summed it all up in two sentences. “Wow,” I said… “Amazing.”

“You suck at communication” I whispered to myself, rolling eyes included.
Not to worry, my internal language is constantly being worked on. If nothing else, at the very least, I am aware.

Looking at my notes, it is clear our conversation went from one thing to the next and surely I added to the frenzy of it by the way the questions flowed. While the point of the video was to hold gently to love, my questions seemed to be based more on finding a balance between whats reasonable in relationships, considering this concept of non-attachment.

Either way, I learned… and I hope to have a few more interviews with Christa.

Human behavior fascinates me.

Why we do the things we do – always and forever seeking to understand this.

Here are the main pieces of golden advice on healthy relationships you may want to consider:

Read the Book “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus” by John Gray, PhD.

Essentially, the core differences between men and women are what contribute greatly to the fundamental tension between the genders and how we understand and interpret each other. This, combined with astrological considerations (if you’re into that), how you grew up, life experiences, models, personality traits and how you put your OOTD together (hahaha kidding) will all affect the flow of your relationship. All these things shape us and we tend to act on them unconsciously.

Some core differences we discussed:
– Women tend to present their needs in the form of a question.
Men tend to answer the question asked, so think wisely before asking.

Women tend to be argumentative and a bit “mothering” in their approach to men
– Men cope with this by distancing themselves or finding solace elsewhere.

– Women have a fundamental need to be heard.
– Men have a fundamental need to feel competent.

Women tend to ramble on which can be overwhelming for men.
– Men filter what’s being said: complaint or need? How do I fix it? 

We can establish healthier relationships by increasing our understanding of how men and women operate. Traumas and life situations will cause our scanners or filters, as Christa words it, to read signals differently. This can cause an array of misunderstandings and miscommunication.

Reward System Works for Men

Classic conditioning is the way to go. He does well, he gets positive reinforcement (i.e verbal praise, extra time in the man cave whatever he responds to. Often times, simply noticing and saying something like “thank you for doing that, it felt good” works just fine).

Even “The Secret” audios talk about this – for all relationships… the more you focus on the good, the more of the good you get. This is not to say that unhealthy or abusive behaviors are overlooked. These are tips and traits for the general construct of relationships and the potential success of them.

Emotional Intelligence is Key

I didn’t even know this was a thing. Christa sums it up to say that emotionally intelligent people understand how they themselves are impacted by their own emotions, and how their actions may impact the emotions of someone else. They also understand how to be emotionally flexible. Most importantly, they also understand the importance of communicating in a healthy way to get their message across. I interpret this to mean “no games”.

Even Healthy Relationships Take Work. (Sigh)

Here I was thinking Christa knew where my soulmate was and had the map!

Relationships bring a personal challenge and enhance personal growth.
Something to note is that being in touch with and in charge of your own needs is ideal so that you can teach someone how to take care of you. The trick is discovering the balance between reasonable and unreasonable requests.

Here are some basic questions to ask yourself when determining the general health of your relationship:
Does it harm me in any way to give him or her what is needed or wanted?
How does he or she communicate with me when I fall short of their needs?
How does he or she treat me on the days I don’t do what is needed or wanted?

People Tend to Jump into Relationships Without Knowing Themselves

Christa equates getting into a relationship with getting into a business and having no clue about the market. We tend to go by this gut feeling” that are mostly based on impulses of what feels good in the moment. This approach doesn’t give much thought to long term outcomes.  We then tend to defy our intuition thinking that we can just “make it work.”

This is a common mistake and she feels the “make it work” concept is best reserved for people who are already in committed relationships. Oftentimes, we are not taught how to self-reflect or self-evaluate our own intentions, or tried and failed methods of getting our needs met.

We think if we do good or have good intentions that it would be enough.

Many Times, there’s a Misunderstanding of Reasonable Expectations

It’s pertinent that we take time to consider how we want to feel in relationships and the type of attention we want. We can rewire our brains if we so wish. It’s about learning who we are, what works for us and most importantly what is healthy and what isn’t. This is why therapy is so vital to our growth. It would be my guess that 100% of people in the world could use or may have used therapy at some point in their lives.

TRUST Means “I trust you not to intentionally hurt me”

This was a bit much for me to take in.
I always thought trusting someone meant that person would never do anything to cause hurt, period. If your partner has done something to warrant your lack of trust then that’s something to pay attention to and attempt to work though, either on your own or with the help of a professional. If you are just not trusting (via your own scanner) then you may want to seek professional help on your own before attempting to address this in the context of a relationship.
(*puts Christa on speed dial)

While the point of the video was understanding how to love gently and how that is very different from simple attachment, it triggered questions I constantly dance with. My yearning to expand and grow internally stemmed from learning to be alone. In that space, I understood so much about myself. However, as a new relationship would find me, I’d be faced again with the areas in me that still require light.

Solitude will lead you to learning true self but intimate relationships will uncover all the areas you have yet to heal. Photo by Jeannie Shaw.

Attachment does not quantify love

The gift would be to arrive at this space where attachment does not quantify love. This entails learning to look at ourselves, learning to let things be but having a clear understanding of who we are and what our needs are. Gently holding on to someone doesn’t mean allowing them to walk all over you in any way, shape or form.

It means not being too strongly attached to a scripted outcome, being able to let things flow in and out freely, as well as knowing that if a relationship is harmful to you, you are also free and capable of letting it go.

Oh, if only it were that simple. Mooji says it is. What does he know!

If you’d like to consider counseling in Belize for yourself, your family, or a friend, I encourage you to contact Christa Courtenay, M.A. Click here for email. She’s presently working in Belize and has plans to expand to include online services in the future. Counseling is a personal journey full of exploration and learning, and is something we can all use. There’s no shame in personal growth!

What is one of the key things you have learned about relationships?

Four Good Books Worth Your Investment

Four Good Books Worth Your Investment

Four Good Books Worth Your Investment

If you know me or have read all my posts (be nice), you’d know I don’t particularly like to read which goes hand in hand with wanting to be a writer. Not. Even though I’m not much of a reader, there are a few books that were well worth my investment. They all lean on either personal development or journey that proved to be life changing for the author. I’m a sucker for these kinds of stories – where someone gets a chance to step away from their lives to look at what changes they’d want to make. Listed in no particular order, I’ll cut right to the chase and share them with you.

Dying to Be Me by Anita Moorjani

Dying To Be Me by Anita Moorjani

Anita Moorjani is an Indian woman who grew up in a culture she found she didn’t really identify with. While she grew up in HongKong, her family upheld all their Hindu beliefs. Anita eventually found that she was not being her truest self – always fighting the desire to live life the way she saw it. This affected everything in her life. The only thing she actually did do right was marry an Indian man even though he wasn’t the one chosen for her. Eventually Anita found herself dying (literally) which lead to her having an NDE (Near Death Experience). She shares her experience with this, why she believes she got sick and why she chose to come back into form to continue her life on earth until another time.

I’ve always been fascinated by my dreams, visions and messages I hear.
Yes, I do literally hear them.
Don’t run.
Come back.

My interest in the spirit world continues to grow as each year passes. Some years ago, I was introduced to Tarot Card reading by a friend who is naturally gifted with connecting to the spirit world which only amplified my interest and curiosity. So, naturally I was drawn to Anita’s experience in that realm. It’s an easy read – light hearted, comforting and definitely lends to bouts of laughter. If you’re looking to gain a different perspective on life, religion, your truest self, balance and understanding why you’re here or how things really tie together, this is a good read.

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up by Theresa Caputo

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up by Theresa Caputo

Theresa Caputo is a medium. This basically means has a gift to connect to people who have passed on and crossed over to the “other side”. She discovered this gift at a very young age and she describes what it was like to have this gift as a child and how she finally embraced it. Theresa also has the popular show Long Island Medium where she connects with individual clients or audiences to help them receive messages from loved ones who have passed on. The book is very down to earth and explains as simply as she can about life on earth, our connection to (God) Spirit as she calls Him and how we truly do have free will.

Having lost my mom in 1999, I’ve always wondered about where the spirit goes after the body dies. I’ve had experiences with my mom where I’ve received messages in dreams and otherwise.
That we are here is nothing short of a miracle.
That we have to lose people we love is nothing short of a tragedy.

Theresa’s gift helps many people to understand what it means when we pass away. She breaks down life as she sees it in a very simple and easy way. Reading it brought me much comfort in the loss of people I have loved so very dearly.

Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly

Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly

Matthew writes about his journey to finding who he really is and acknowledging how things distract him, how we often set our dreams aside for the mere fact that we don’t dare to be who we really are or do what we really want. His journey leads him to visiting the elderly in convalescent homes to doing talks all over the world.

Like Dandapani, the Hindu priest I wrote about last week, Matthew admits to his humanness and all the ways he doesn’t practice what he preaches but he always comes back home to himself. He incorporates religious beliefs but they touch more on the idea of keeping in touch with your higher self as opposed to promoting religion per se, even though he mentions catholicism frequently.

Recent years brought me to a place of being more conscious of who I let in to my space. It takes practice and sometimes I still fall off key and lose track of my inventory. This clipping below explains why we have to be more aware about who we share our time and space with.

Do the people in your life make you feel heavy or light? Are you even conscious of the changes you feel when you’re around certain people and/or environments? It takes practice but soon enough you’ll know the people who make you feel like sunlight.

Eat Love Pray by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat Love Pray by Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth found herself lost on her life journey. A part of that was her realizing she was in a marriage she didn’t want to be in. It was extremely hard for her to make a decision on the way forward but she did the unthinkable and the somewhat unacceptable and she left her husband. She took a trip to Italy where she ate all the pizza in the world. OH, now I have your attention. I said #pizza! It’s ok I get it.

She spent the time in Italy enjoying food, connecting with other people, finding jeans to fit her new added curves (story of my life) meeting a younger man and fighting off the urge to be with him. She then moved on to India where she spent a lot of time meditating and connecting to her higher self. During this time, she was able to let go of the marriage and the younger man. This lead her to finding her balance and eventually love in Indonesia.

This book really embraced me during a time in my life that I too was questioning everything around me – including my marriage. It is well-written, funny and made me feel so normal with all the things I was going through including moments I never shared with other people. It’s a “feel good” kind of book and it ended with a new sense of who she was, a new love and a new lease on life.

On Human Moments…

Often times I find I look to anyone who looks like they just have their lives together and I adhere to the concept that they never falter or have “human” moments. Most of these books give me a sense of comfort in knowing we all have “human” moments. Some people have just learned how to master their shortcomings but they still feel most of these things, except Mooji.
He’s a boss!
Mooji falters never.

If you are consistently seeking a higher state of consciousness, I invite you to check these books out and see if they resonate with you the way they did with me. Life really is what you make it. What do you want your life to be like?

I’d also love to hear about books that have touched your life and how they affected you. Tell me about it and why!

Meditation doesn’t help focus. Focusing helps meditation. Do You Know About Dandapani?

Meditation doesn’t help focus. Focusing helps meditation. Do You Know About Dandapani?

Meditation doesn’t help focus. Focusing helps meditation.
Do You Know About Dandapani?

YouTube has been providing me a world of information lately. #ILoveYouTube. It feels like I’m constantly lead from one thing to another, all tied to the same elements – higher vibrations, higher consciousness and growth. Recently I found a video with Dandapani which later lead to a full interview I saw on London Real by Brian Rose. There was so much shared in the interview but the one thing I walked away with was “Meditation doesn’t help focus. Focus helps meditation.” Now, that’s an interesting take on “how to meditate.”

Dandapani is a Hindu priest who left his entire life behind at the age of 24 or so to join a monastery in Hawaii to follow his guru Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927-2001) , affectionately known as Gurudeva. Joining the monastery meant giving away all one’s worldly possessions and cutting off all ties to friends and family. Danda would become a monk for the next ten years, talking to his family once or twice a year.

MacBook Pro for a Monk

Life in the monastery was rigid in terms of scheduling and focus but they all had a MacBook Pro which is a great incentive for anyone to join a monastery, don’t you think?
I mean HELLO!
It’s a MACBOOK PRO.
Join here

Dandapani in session.

“Normal” boys want to be firemen. Dandapani wanted to be like his guru.

Danda knew from a very early age that he wanted to be a monk, describing his affinity for this lifestyle the same way “normal” boys saw firemen. Meeting his guru was love at first sight – that instant connection you feel to people that has no explanation. He finished his Electrical Engineering degree and quickly gave up life as he knew it to join his guru. It was the simple life. He lived in a 10 x 10 x 10 structure, meditated, ate only three meals per day and worked in his respective department inside the monastery. One option included their web department. That would have been my preferred choice.
Just sayin’.

Every two years your contract is up for renewal or you can opt out completely. Three years after joining, Danda’s beloved Gurudeva passed away. It was the hardest thing Danda has experienced to date. 7 years later, he decided not to renew his contract. Given $1,000, 2 sets of robes, a set of beads (for completing 10 years) and a one way ticket to wherever he wanted to go, his life back in the mainstream began again. This lead him to his desire to teach people some of the tools he learned that can be applied to enjoy a more meaningful life for “householders” – regular folk, like you and me.

The interview was thoroughly enjoyable to say the least and the above is a synopsis of the most memorable parts of his story. I wanted to share my take away with you in hopes that it will add value to your life also.

Here are some key points that stuck out to me, so much so that I ran to get a pen and take notes…

The Meaning of Meditation

Danda describes meditation as a prolonged state of concentration. Their set schedules taught them to concentrate on one thing at a time, preparing them for meditation at the end of the day.
Here’s something interesting to note:
Meditation didn’t help them to focus. Focusing helped them to meditate. This sounds like such a simple advice on how to meditate.

How to Teach Yourself Focus

– Do one thing at a time.
– Finish what you begin.
This starts with something as simple as making your bed. You slept in it, wake up and make up the bed for the next night’s rest. You made breakfast and ate it? Now clear the table and wash the dishes. You wouldn’t imagine that these simple acts of completion train your mind to do one thing at a time AND to start and end things. If you are talking with someone, put your phone down. Make eye contact. Engage.

If you’re writing a blog post about Dandapani, stop looking at your phone lol #NoteToSelf. DO ONE THING AT A TIME. Multitasking does not exist.

Molding Your Subconscious Mind

Danda talks about how we can mold our subconscious minds by using mantras or affirmations. These affirmations start to create a new vibration and pattern that will in turn attract things, people, places etc that vibrate at the same frequency. You’re basically reprogramming the neurons or simply put, rewiring your brain. Attach a feeling to that (the energy of emotion) is like adding steroids to your wants or desires. Feeling is the impetus to shifting your vibration.

How to write a mantra/affirmation:
– Use a concise choice of positive words
– Have a clear visual in your mind
– Tie both the above ingredients to a corresponding feeing

The clearer you are about what you want, the more energy you can give it and bring it in to your life.

Danda uses the example of wanting an apple. “I love apples” would be your mantra, for example. This is great as he suggests but you have to tie it to the exact kind of apple you want. So you’d need to visualize it. Red apples? Green apples? What kind of apples? How do you feel when you get the apple you want?

Be mindful of your thoughts

Your subconscious vibrates at the frequency of your thoughts, whether they are good or bad. This is why we have to be mindful of our thoughts and words because our subconscious is always listening and transferring information. It’s a similar concept to The Secret which I’ve written about my other post about getting into the feeling of what it is you say you want.

Danda has one mantra per day for three different areas of his life.
personal
business
family

He programs his brain one mantra at a time.

Energy is Finite

The energy we are given each day is finite and like money, it’s best to invest it wisely. Simplify your life and align it with your purpose so that you can make wise decisions about how you will spend the energy you are given everyday. Before you sleep, disconnect. When you wake up, connect. BUT with yourself first.
Don’t grab your smart phone.
Don’t grab the remote.
Pay attention to the first things you allow into your mental space because it sets the tone for your day and how you will spend your greatest asset – your energy, your life force.

How to Find Your Purpose

Take 5 minutes to spend with yourself each day. Sit, align your spine, breathe deeply and ask questions. Danda describes this ritual as something that may seem pretty superficial at first but over time, your connection with yourself will grow deeper. It’s the same as any other relationship he says. As time goes by, you get a lot more personal, you trust more and you share more. Soon enough, you’ll receive all the answers you seek. Go within, not without.

We Are Human

I think the part of the interview I most enjoyed was knowing that Danda, even with his 10 years of being in a monastery, is perfectly imperfect. He is human. I felt comforted learning that traveling threw off his rituals, that he got tired sometimes, that he also needed words of wisdom from his guru to get him through his day sometimes and that he too was affected by other peoples’ energies. It just brought a sense of relief to me because as much as I can talk and write about this stuff, help family and friends through their moments, I tend to have 50 mental breakdowns per day when I come across a rough patch.

He was just being his authentic self. I love it.

Final Thoughts

These were based on the last questions asked by his interviewer, Brian Rose.
1. What Would He Tell His 20 Year Old Self:
Go to the monastery quicker. Danda’s guru instructed him to get his engineering degree before joining the Monastery. Danda didn’t wait for graduation day. Once he passed his classes he was on a flight to join his guru who died 3 years later.

2. Best Advice Ever Received:
There’s nothing more important in life than knowing who you are, the path your’e on and its final end. This advice was given to Danda by his Gurudeva.

What I Wanted To Know

Sooooo what’s up with the three stripes on your forehead homie?
Answer: It is a symbol of Saivism and it represents anava (ego), karma (law of cause and affect) and maya (illusion).

So, tell me guys, does this help you?
Are you signed up and on your way to owning a MacBook Pro?
No. Seriously, are you? Can you get me a couple?

The Beauty of Authenticity in Relationships

The Beauty of Authenticity in Relationships

The Beauty of Authenticity in Relationships

Ego is defined as a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance. Most of us operate from the place of the ego on a daily basis. It’s something that I would go as far as to say is mostly innate in us. Some of us either live completely under the reign of the ego, are subtly aware of its existence or if we are like Moojibaba, then the ego can go kick rocks! #LifeGoals. We particularly play into the ego’s realm when we first meet someone. We think it’s safer that way. The truth is that the more honest we are about who we are and what our needs are, the more we will discover the beauty of authenticity in relationships.

Put your best foot forward.

This is especially true in intimate relationships.
We want to paint a picture of being totally “together” and evolved.

Yes! You sir or madam, have made the right choice! I have got my shit together and you can run and shout it on the mountains because YOU HAVE SCORED. I AM IT!!! 

Most of the times though, this is far from the truth. Most of us have a story or stories that have shaped us to be who we are – complete with insecurities, trust issues, abandonment issues and the like. Wouldn’t life be wonderful if we sincerely practiced authenticity in all of our relationships?

Just be you

The past few weeks have left me wondering how amazing all our connections would be if we were just honest about what our issues are. It would be so damn freeing – no pretending and no pressure to be something we are not, just you in all your purest and rawest form. Therein lies a sense of complete and utter abandon of trying to be perfect. It also opens the space for the other person to be open about who they are. Moreover, it gives them fair insight into how their connection with you would be, what’s acceptable or not and if they can grow in their union with you.

Getting into an intimate relationship creates a space for growth and expansion if we so wish, if we choose to let our guard down. It’s one of the fastest routes to the core who we are.  Layers upon layers of our truest self are revealed, even you are not comfortable looking at them. It may also entail having to hear how some of your reactions tied to your issues won’t be accepted.

Where do you need to grow?

All of it can be tough but it’s real and real is always best. Sometimes being real leads to endings but you will have seen the authentic truth in who you are, where you need to grow and there’s a real beauty in that kind of authenticity.

Self discovery, if we are truly open, is hard. Lines can get blurred, feelings hurt and anxiety can creep in but if you are willing to see the truth of who you are, you’ll take the good with the bad and you’ll go through it and hopefully grow through it.

I encourage you to be authentic and as always, this is a #NoteToMyself.

What are some of your issues and how are you working through them?

This is a FEELING Universe. Get In The FEELING of What You Want

This is a FEELING Universe. Get In The FEELING of What You Want

It feels like many moons ago and yet sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday that I ran a small family hotel with my brother. I wanted a change and it took a while to understand what The Secret means by saying this is a FEELING universe. I needed to get in the feeling of what I say I want in order to see it come to life. At this time in my life, this meant having weekends for myself.

The hotel was an inheritance that came on the heels of our mom’s passing. She left her legacy flat in our hands. Big shoes to fill, believe me. It was only then that I realised how much work it really was and why she would stay up until 2am to get any sort of paper work done. The day time hassles and hustles just wouldn’t allow it. Hotel Mopan was her dream and her escape. It was a business I very slowly moved into, briefly became excited about but eventually grew to hate. Running a hotel is hard work and it’s non stop. Living on the property didn’t help. My mind was always in work mode – even on my “days off”.

Every public and bank holiday, Easter, Christmas and New Years were not my own. Even if I did manage to get one of them off, it would inevitably involve work some how. I used to especially dread Easter holidays because where I’m from, it meant 4 days off for most people traveling and enjoying life. And, I was either behind the desk, swaying with a broom, cleaning a table, registering a guest, cleaning up from a leaking air-conditioner, serving a drink or something that involved “hotel work”. Exhaustion crept in. Change was much desired and the 3 years that followed brought all the change I wanted.

Ask. Believe. Receive.

Fast track to 2012 where I took my first real Easter break in years! I decided I would enjoy that Easter and went to Northern Lagoon, Belize with family and friends. It was a tiny decision that delivered HUGE changes. I decided and the universe conspired with me to make it happen – or was that just my brother? 🙂 I would take the kids and he would hold the fort.

Little did I know it was the first of many free weekends and Easter breaks to come – something I treasure beyond measure.
My weekends are for me.

We took off on Holy Saturday happily leaving the city behind. Our boat came in just for us and we embarked on a few days of fun in the sun. It turned out to be a weekend I would never forget. There was enough food, drinks, a couple kayaks, a beautiful pier with a bar and even a jet ski. Most important, I was with people I loved and cherished and who loved and cherished me – at least enough to send a boat to get us that Saturday evening. That’s a pretty big much, wouldn’t you say? I was about to be “Sweetly Nourished”.

Journey to the Other Side

Live a little more than you’re used to.

The kids were happily swimming all day and taking turns to see who could go out the farthest, searching seashells along the shore of the lagoon while their Easter Egg Hunt was being strategically planned. We had delicious meals, comfortable accommodations and amazing company. Easter Sunday started with breakfast and egg hunt and rapidly shifted to water fun.

Scary Silence

The entire crew decided to make a little tour around the lagoon and I opted to have Easter Sunday evening all to myself on the beautiful wooden pier. I can remember the feeling of LIFE – like I could breathe and my breath was mine. OK, so that might sound a bit dramatic, but that’s how it felt. Since everyone went off in the boat, it meant I had silence, fresh air and the sunset.

Basking in the Belizean sun.

Some sun, some silence and a million breaths of fresh air, just for me.

It was a day of balance – just enough of everything. Balance is my “kryptonite“. I laid out in the sun and basked in her glory (while constantly reapplying sunblock because who am I kidding? I’m a white girl – my daddy’s genes are strong). The sun and I are OK but we need some distance. My freckles could tell the stories of my many encounters with the sun as a child.

I digress. My evening was quiet and serene – in fact it was so quiet and serene that my complete detachment to the world became so silent, I started to wonder if my crew was coming back. [Insert side eye here -.-]

I heard all kinds of movements in the bushes behind the house and no sign of a human person.

Sunset

In the midst of silence, you can hear yourself think… you can also hear all kinds of scary things in the distance.

It didn’t matter. The “freedom” became etched in my being. I knew what it would be like again to be free and to have my weekends off and holidays to myself. The actual experience was now in alignment with the vision and feeling. It was pure delight. It was one of those life experiences that become a part of who you are.

Back to work but mentally checked out.

We returned home on Easter Monday. I was right back to work. That was April 2012. August 2012, it turned out that I shut down my entire life. What started out as a dream and vision of having weekends to myself and holidays as actual holidays became a reality within only a few months.  Weekends are now mine and I can enjoy Easter, Christmas and New Years as I see fit.

The moral of the story is: get in the feeling of what it is you say you want. This is, in fact, a feeling universe. That Easter weekend gave me the feeling of what it would be like to be free and on my own time. It created my weekends as real and true and MINE.

And this is a gentle reminder to myself as I write the items of my most recent vision board – you can have these too! All I need now is to get into the feeling – focus on the feeling and immerse myself into gratitude and to ALWAYS Nourish Me Sweetly.

I dare you to believe.

Freedom is Mine

Jet ski fun in Northern Lagoon, Belize

 

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