The Power of Choice

“It is our choices that show what we really are far more than our abilities.”

-Harry Potter

One of the most valuable lessons I have learned is the Power of choice. A clear understanding that we always have a choice. That choices are infinitely offered to us. Every day, and in each moment. I have met many humans through my life who share this feeling of being “stuck”. I too, know this feeling all too well.

How many times have we stayed in a relationship, a job, an apartment because we felt stuck? Like our only choice was to stay, frozen, stagnant. We felt stuck because making another choice or choosing something different was terrifyingly unknown?

Well, imagine this. Imagine that you’re standing, stuck, at the edge a tall cliff. You stand here, gazing upon a vast ocean. This ocean represents endless possibility. This infinite, beautiful ocean is inviting you in. Asking you to jump. You can feel its pull within your body. It wraps around your heart and you can feel it draw you forward, asking you to trust, to surrender. This feeling is real, alive. You can feel the dew of crashing waves on your skin and you inhale its gentle, salty breeze. You can taste its opportunity on your lips. This sensation gives you a rush that rises to your skin and manifests upon your flesh. It’s electric, magnetic; this is desire. This is your life. This is God. This is opportunity and new beginnings daring you to jump. To take a chance. To make an action. You have a choice. Jump? Or stay where you are?

But you stand still. Waiting. Listening. Deciding what to do. And as you ponder this brave act of courage, the possibility of jumping, your rational mind begins to explain its case.

“It’s too high, the water is too cold, there could be big scary sea monsters just below the surface, you will drown and die”.

All very understandable inhibitions.

But what if this wasn’t true? What if the ocean actually wanted to catch you? And it was warm? And it could carry you to a magical shore of mermaids and sea shells and beauty? What if actually, all you had to do was take a step forward? What if there was a ledge, just beyond the edge of the cliff that would guide you along a path? A path that seems impossibly real because all you can see is how big, how unknown, how vast the ocean is before you?

I have found myself at the edge of said cliff countless times. And time and again I find myself looking so far ahead, into hypothetical situations of my own, creative mind that I fail to notice a small ledge just below the cliff. Or I have overlooked the possibility of being caught, held, and guided to safety. I cannot claim that I have always jumped; that I have always had faith in the ocean, or God, or even myself. However, I have learned that if I do choose to jump there always seems to be this safe, unnoticed, unprecedented soft landing just below my point of view. Some miraculous, magical opportunity that I didn’t realize existed.

I see this soft landing as opportunity. A path that leads us, propels us forward. Toward passion. Faith. Confidence in our choices. Infinite possibility.

In fact, this ledge has inevitably always led me to a path. A path I wasn’t capable of anticipating with in my own consciousness.

If I were to receive everything I want for myself. Every dream, every goal, every idea that I can create in my mind, I’d be selling myself short. Why? Because there is so, so much more. So much that I cannot see. That I cannot create in my consciousness because it is greater than any rational, pre-planned, anticipated hypothetical outcome.

It is the power of choice that sets me free. Of choosing to take a chance, a leap of faith. Of choosing to jump from the cliff into opportunity. To surrender to the internal pull of temptation. Of leaning into fear of what is unknown and allowing the Universe, or God, or Goddess, or Creator to guide us to shore. To reveal the small ledge and to amaze us with its inherent power.

Every minute of every day we have a choice. Will you choose to stay stuck? Or will you choose to jump?

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Transition ~Enjoy it, rather than checking out.

Sometimes, being present is so hard.

Actually more than sometimes. Especially for those of us who find ourselves in transition often. Whether we’re starting a new job or school semester. Moving somewhere different. Traveling the world, or beginning new habits. Being present in transition is a difficult task.

I love change. I love new beginnings, new people. It challenges me. But often during these tides of change, my greatest challenge is self awareness and a present mind. I tend to drift off into a fantasy world romanticizing the future, or even worse, worrying about it. In fact, I spend so much time planning the details of my future in my head that I detach from my present circumstances. I forget to appreciate where I am. Who I’m with. How I feel. Instead, I feel “numb” or I am comfortably “drifting” through each day.

I found myself in the throws of self preservation and fear the last few weeks I was in Kentucky, anticipating my move back to Colorado. I began practicing unhealthy behaviors, lacking self awareness and compassion. I felt restless, irritable, and discontent. My mind would constantly think “ugh, I’m so ready to get out of here.” I’ve been here many times. In this state of boredom, judgement, and just plain “yucky”ness. And with much gratitude, my spiritual journey has given me tools to rescue myself from situations like this.

Thankfully, by tapping back into my spiritual source, I was able to be present and enjoy my last few days in my hometown. And what do I mean by “spiritual source”? I mean meditation. Prayer. Reaching out to my healing community. Asking for help. Being of service to others. Basically, getting myself out of self.

Self is such a tricky place. It’s so easy to just want to think about myself all the time. “I’m going to do this. I’m going to do that. I think this/that. Me, me, me.” Or even worse, “Poor me. Life is unfair. I’m not getting what I want”.

The reality is, this is my default…
Self absorbtion.
Self pity.
Vanity.
Boredom.
Fear.
Escape.

Yuck, right? When I am dwelling in this place of “self” or “ego” I often feel restless. Like I just need to go out and do something. Be somewhere else. I just want to escape my thoughts because they’re endlessly spinning like a wheel inside my head.

But the good thing is, this trance is totally curable. All I need is a little mindfulness, followed by willingness, and then action.

Here are a list of actions that I take to help clear my mind:

Meditation (always)
Riding my bike
Going for a walk
Dancing/singing to music I love
Self care (I made a list in a previous post)
Yoga
Deep breathing
*Serenity prayer
Journaling
Calling a loved one to say hello
Reading a book
Exercise
Cooking/baking
Taking a nap (sometimes the mind needs a rest)
Painting my nails
Organizing/cleaning
Act of kindness/doing a favor for someone
Browse a bookstore
Go through clothes/donate old stuff
Paint/draw
Puzzles/sudoku
Write a letter to someone
Playing an instrument/learning a new one

Every time I pull from this list, my head feels a little more clear and then I am capable of being in the present. With a clear mind, I am more able to make healthy and kind decisions for myself. Maybe that’s calling a friend or mentor for help or guidance. Taking a seat in meditation. Preparing a healthy meal. Or practicing self care. When we begin to show ourselves love, we can then en

There are many ways to enjoy our current circumstances. To find gratitude in a moment of stillness. Rather than waiting in anticipation for what is next, I can dive into the abundance of my present surroundings. Enjoying stillness through meditation, journaling, or reading. Enjoying nature through biking, hiking, or walking. Enjoying my loved ones through coffee, board games, or good food. Enjoying my own company through self care, dancing, or playing music.

Let’s not allow ourselves to slip into a trance of self pity, anxiety, or boredom. We are much more evolved than this. We deserve to experience each moment of our lives, presently. We are capable of bliss, happiness, and contentment each day. Being mindful in transition, will allow us to take in the present, to observe the intimate details of our lives. We must trust the processes of our lives, handing them over to creative spirit. We can then enjoy the slow processes of transition, which consistently brings us back to gratitude, to divine self, molding us into whole and humble beings.

Om Hare Om

everything is as it should be.

Ceremony & the Sacred Self: A Celebration of the Winter Solstice.

“It’s time we learn to thank the shadows, bow to the darkness they bring. Sing, sing the sadness of the body escape, while ever more soaring back to the sails of self.”­­­ –Rising Appalachia

The Winter Solstice is upon us, and I ask you, how will you be committing to yourself during this period of stillness and cultivation? Where can you invite ceremony into your life? What can you do to honor your darkness? To be still with yourself, and your purpose.

The days are becoming shorter and nature is beginning to fall asleep under the blanket of darkness that has arrived to nurture the Earth, and with it our souls. The Winter Solstice is a time to reflect upon the year past. To become aware of the darker places within ourselves that linger. To release what is no longer serving us, and then to commit to what we want to embody in this next year. And as we plant seeds of cultivation, we begin to invite in a new intention, a new way of being. To refocus energy towards our inner, and most sacred selves. And then, as the Solstice passes, we begin to celebrate the Sun. To anticipate the light that will be rejoining us in the arrival of spring.

Winter serves as an era of cultivation and rebirth. Of self-care and gentleness. Like the turn of the seasons, we too are always changing. Ever evolving, growing, and dying. So intimately bound to nature, we human beings are also in a constant cycle of rebirth. Like a seed that is planted in the obscurity of the Earth’s soil, with tenderness and care, we too will grow from our darkness. We will rise and grow towards the light.

I encourage you, as the days grow darker, to find moments of stillness. To sit with your sacred self. To commit to falling into a deeper connection with spirit, with nature, with solace. To cultivate self awareness. To accept and love the darker parts of yourself. To offer them over to the energies of the Winter Solstice. To plant seeds, intentions, for the year ahead.

Where can you create ceremony? With yourself? With others? With spirit?

Whether it be through meditation, yoga, creativity, or self-care. Take time for yourself during this soft, still, and fostering season.

My Personal Solstice Ceremony:

In respect and honor of the Solstice, here is a ceremony you can try at home. You can do this alone, or with a group of friends. You will need two small pieces of paper, a pen, a small ceramic bowl, and a candle.

  1. Find a sacred space in your home, or in nature, where you will not be distracted or bothered.
  2. Seat yourself on the ground in front of your lit candle and small bowl.
  3. On one piece of paper write down something you will be letting go of. A darker part of yourself that is no longer serving you. That withholds your soul from divinity.
  4. On a second piece of paper write down something you will be inviting in. A lighter part of yourself you will be cultivating during this winter season.
  5. First, burn the piece of paper with what you will be offering over to the Solstice. The part of yourself you are releasing. Out loud, say what it is you are offering and place it in the bowl and watch it burn.

Ex) This Winter Solstice I am offering over jealousy.

  1. Second, burn the piece of paper with what you will be cultivating or receiving this season. Light it with the candle, say it out loud, and then watch it burn in the bowl.

Ex) This Winter Solstice I am receiving self acceptance.

  1. Sit in stillness for a short meditation, embodying the experience.

Self reflection and ceremony are powerful tools to intimately pull us towards our most authentic and spiritual selves. Reap the benefits of this Winter’s Solstice! Celebrate Ceremony with your loved ones. Become aware of your darkness. Commit to loving and accepting all parts of yourself, in darkness and in light. And most importantly, be kind to yourself.

Om Namah Shivaya

“I honor the divinity within myself”

A Letter to My Body.

Dear Body,

I want to start by saying that I am sorry for the way I have treated you.

I have starved you, poisoned you, and neglected your needs. I have spoken to you with the ugliest of words. I have disrespected you. Shamed you. Told you you weren’t good enough. I’ve told you that you are ugly. I have compared you to others. Always measuring your value by impossible standards and expectations. I’ve exposed you to countless men that don’t respect you, seeking validation. To prove that you are good enough. I have binged and purged. I have fed you toxic diet pills and drugs to shrink you. To make you feel empty and small and insecure. I have squeezed you into tight pants, heels, and push up bras only for the admiration of others. I have cut you, scarred you, bruised you and beat you with careless behavior, hatred, and drunken episodes. I have put you through physical pain for countless hours. I have told you that I hate you and that I wish I had a different body. A body that was not you.

I am sorry body. I do not want to treat you this way anymore. You have been so good to me. You have kept me alive. Healthy. Physically able to maintain a good life. You have always supported me. You have always shown me love. You have healed me. You have given me strength with out asking for anything in return. You have loved me unconditionally. You are all that I’ve got, and I won’t take you for granted any longer.

I hope you will forgive me. I hope you will give me a chance to prove to you that you really are enough. That you are beautiful. That I love you.

With out hesitation, you do so much for me. You continue to breathe each night when I sleep. You fight to keep me alive when I am in danger or sick. You protect me from harm and illness without negotiating my worth. You are constantly growing and regenerating yourself to keep me healthy and beautiful and strong.  You keep my heart beating. My brain thinking. My eyes seeing. My ears listening. My tongue tasting. Because of you I can ride my bike on a warm sunny day. I can snowboard down snowy mountains. I can swim in the ocean. I can practice yoga. I can walk and run and jump and skip. Because of you I can hold puppies and babies and the people that I love. Because of you I am able to exist. To live. To love.

I want to treat you better. I want you to know that you are loved. I want you to feel warm and full and comfortable. I want you to feel satisfied and pampered. I want you to feel healthy and confident and safe. I want you to feel loved. To know how deeply I appreciate you. I want you to know that you never take up too much space. You are never not enough. You are always beautiful and perfect just the way you are. I love you for your authenticity and uniqueness. My love for you is no longer conditional.

I don’t want another body. I just want you. In all you perfectly flawed beauty. You are the only body I will ever have and I am grateful for you. I can not promise that every day will be good. I can not promise that I will always be kind. Sometimes I will say hurtful things. Sometimes I will doubt you and make you feel insecure, but I want you to know that I am trying. I am healing. I want to be better. I am seeking a deeper love and appreciation for you and all that you do. Please be patient with me. Give me time to prove my love to you. Because I really do love you.

Sincerely,

Me

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The Battle of Fear and Love.

We always have two choices. We can choose fear. Or we can choose love.

It really is this simple.

Within our lifetime we will be offered countless opportunities. No matter the decisions we make. Or number of failed attempts. These opportunities will continue appearing. We will always have a choice. In every moment. And when we begin to live our lives mindfully. When we become conscious of the present moment, we begin to notice these opportunities. We see them more clearly. They become more obvious. Bigger. They turn into forks in the road. But as we begin to chose love. And as we begin to trust these opportunities. We open ourselves up to synchronicity. We step into the flow of life each time we pick love.

The next time you are presented with an opportunity, go with your gut. This is your intuition. Rather than weighing the pros and cons of a decision, choose what immediately radiates from your inner being. If your heart intuitively leaps to “YES” then choose yes! And if your mind begins saying, “Now just wait a moment. Consider the consequences”, then fear has already begun to take its grip on your soul. Choose what makes you happy. Reach for love. Reach for what fills you with passion, joy, and creativity.  What makes your heart race? Gives you butterflies in your stomach? Makes you tremble with fear? What do you crave? What seems impossible, yet so rewarding?

Ask yourself, What makes me feel alive? 

Jim Carrey shared a really beautiful story about how his father wanted to be a great comedian, but fear made him doubt himself. So instead, he made a conservative decision and chose a safe job. And when Jim was 12 years old, his father was laid off by that safe job and his family did whatever they could to survive. Jim said that what he learned from his father was “you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”

When ever I take a chance on something I love. When ever I leap into something blindly, following my faith, everything always works out. Choosing love, has a domino effect in our lives. We ignite a small flame which begins to burn into a fire of passion, success, and happiness! More and more opportunities begin to arise, and suddenly our life is pulling us into the direction of our dreams. And usually even father beyond! We begin to live a life greater than what we had imagined for ourselves.

Many times I have made this choice. Love before fear.

About two years ago I made the decision that I wanted to travel to South America. I don’t know why, or how this decision was inspired, but suddenly my heart felt drawn to it. As soon as I made this decision within myself, I began to attract people into my life who had traveled to South America. I enrolled in a Spanish course at my university, and the second week of class a young woman came and talked to us about study abroad. I remembering thinking “This is it! Of course, I am going to study abroad!” That night I went home and applied online for a semester abroad in Argentina.

It wasn’t long before fear crept into my thoughts. I began to reconsider going to South America. Practicality told me it didn’t make sense to go to Argentina. Why would I uproot my life when I had a perfectly good relationship? I had an amazing job. Amazing friends. I was finally comfortable in my new home in Denver. Life was pretty good. But I had an itch. There was a little voice inside of me that said “I want more”. This voice quickly evolved into a deep desire to travel. To explore. It became wanderlust. My intuition become louder, more powerful, and it told me to follow my dream. To step into love. To take a chance. To believe in the impossible and take what I want!

So I did. Over the course of 9 months I down sized my life. Ended my relationship. Left my job. My life. And hopped on a plane to Argentina.

Now here I am. One year later. Feeling more alive than I ever have. Relying on my faith in the Universe. In opportunity. I am slowly transitioning back into my life in the United States. In one month I will be back in Denver. Finishing my last year of school. Returning to the amazing job that I took a chance on losing.

All of the fear that I had before I began my journey through South America seems so small now. After the experiences I had, the perspective I gained, and the relationships that grew while I was abroad I could NEVER justify the small fears that could have held me back. That could have robbed me of such an incredible journey.

Choosing love -choosing South America- has given me courage and confidence. It has strengthened my faith and deepened my love for my self, my life and the world around me. I have entered a new world of opportunity for myself. I find myself continually choosing love. Taking small chances and receiving greater opportunities. I feel like I have more options. I almost feel overwhelmed with how many different paths I can take. Places I could end up. People I could meet. In every decision we make lies an experience. A lesson. Some way for us to connect more deeply with God, ourselves, and the world around us.

My journey to South America is an example of the gifts that choosing love can offer us. Though this example is quite great, I promise there are small, sweet gifts to be received each day. Whether it’s saying yes to an invitation, choosing the job that pays less but you love, finally enrolling in a pottery class, telling someone “no”, practicing self love, moving across the country, or showing kindness to a stranger. Each time we choose love, we invite opportunity into our lives. Small dots begin to connect and suddenly we have spun a web of intricate and beautiful successes. Of happiness. And we are left feeling alive, loved, and connected to the world around us.

Om Hare Om.

 

Transition and Anticipation. ~7 Steps to Bring Yourself Back to the Here and Now.

As a twenty something year old living in the United States, I seem to be in a constant state of transition. Whether it’s moving into a new apartment, finding a new job, traveling abroad, or visiting friends and family… My life feels nomadic. In fact, this past year I have been a nomad.

In 2011, I made my first big move from Kentucky to Colorado. Three jobs, two apartments, and one break up later, I decided to purge myself of almost all of my belongings before heading off on a seven month adventure to South America. Now, here I am, spending an extended period of time in Kentucky with my family until my return to Denver, and I keep finding myself day dreaming in anticipation of what is next for me. I ponder over an endless list of small details of my future: purchasing a bed, job applications, buying a bicycle, a yoga mat. Where will I go grocery shopping? How long is the commute to school? What outfit am I going to wear to the airport? (Yes I’m serious.) I keep coming back to this list, over and over. I become anxious, restless, and discontent. I am not present, but rather I am drifting away in a cloud of thought about what is next to come. It’s as if I am living in a heavy fog of confusion and chaos. I begin doubting myself. I begin to feel lost. My thoughts provoke round-about questions like: Who am I? What am I doing with my life? I slowly creep away from myself, and become engulfed by ego. Soon I am left feeling overwhelmed with fear, anxiety, and uncertainty.

I think most of us do this. We live in this invariable state of anticipation of what is next for us. We are continually sprinting towards the finish line. There is this subconscious energy of, as soon as I complete this or that, I will be okay. I will be able to relax.

But the reality is we will always be in transition. Especially those of us full of curiosity, passion, and adventure. As long as we continue to set goals for ourselves, we will consistently create new methods of anticipation. We tell ourselves time and again, I cannot be present until I complete this or that, or until I figure out all of the details. But can we not? Can we simply enjoy what is right in front of us instead? Can we be content with our current circumstances and accept what is?

The truth is, the future never pans out as we anticipate it to. No matter how hard we try, the details we try to control and manage become irrelevant when the future becomes the present. Things don’t always work out as we plan. Of course they don’t, that’s just how life works. We are always making these big plans when instead, we could enjoy where we are. What we are doing. Who we are with. And let the future take its course, rather than desperately grasping onto the details of our future. Can we just let them unfold organically?

I realize now that I am simply robbing myself of the magic of manifestation. Of allowing the Universe to gift me it’s marvelous plans. Everything is going to be okay. Everything always ends up being exactly as it should be. And if I got everything that I wanted, everything I planned, I would be selling myself short because the Universe is capable of giving me so, so, so much more.

The present is always offering opportunities and manifestations. The Universe is always opening new doors for us. But if we are not in conscious awareness, how can we walk through these doors? We miss what’s in front of us when we are not present to observe it. Like John Lennon said “Life is what is happens while you’re busy making other plans”.

So what is the solution to our eager anticipation? How can we let go of control and anxiety, and step into the present moment? Here are seven tricks to draw your mind back into the here and now.

  1. Self-Awareness. Notice when your mind begins to wander. Entertain yourself with the ego. With the mind. When your thoughts start slipping towards to-do lists, managing details, or anxiety; notice it. Create a dialogue. Think to yourself, “There it goes again. My ego thinks it can just run the show. How about nope. I am taking matters into my own hands. I am ready to step back into the present.”
  2. Breathe. Always, always, always a guaranteed free ride back to the present. The breath slows the heart down, slows the mind, and brings us back into our bodies. When I am able to calm down, I can become clear and focused and ready to do the work.
  3. Find your fear. Why are you anticipating what is in front of you? Are you afraid of failure? What is the worst thing that can happen? Be honest. What feelings are you avoiding? Find the deeper truth. What is really pulling you away from the present? Is it serving you? Are you ready to let it go?
  4. Connect to Spirit. Can you offer over your fear over to the Universe? To your concept of a higher power? -whatever that may be. Can you offer it over to your yoga practice? To nature? The world is so vast, and so big. We are so small and delicate compared to the whole Universe. You don’t have to carry such a big burden such as anxiety and fear. Let the Universe take it instead. Simply say “I don’t want this. Here it is, I am offering it over to you now.” A friend of mine created a small box labeled “The Universe” and every time something creeps up she writes it down on a piece of paper, and puts it inside of the box. Sometimes a physical act of letting go helps.
  5. Gratitude. It always comes back to gratitude. The heal all. What do you have to be grateful for? Make a list. Try not to name people, dig a little deeper. For example, “I am grateful for having a bed to sleep in every night. I am grateful that I can afford to buy healthy food. I am grateful for my strong and able body. I am grateful for my life experiences. I am grateful for yoga.” Once you realize how many great things you have right in front of you, you won’t want to leave the present!
  6. Self Love. Remember that “self care” list we talked about a few posts back? Pull it out, pick one or two things, and take care of yourself. Show yourself love and compassion. You are growing. You are learning. It is not always easy, but don’t beat yourself up. It’s progress not perfection. Each step we take along the spiritual path is a step towards deeper purpose and self-love.

When we step into self awareness and practice compassion towards ourselves, we begin to live our lives more mindfully. The mind will always wander. It will always try to pull us away from where we are, and we will continually have to draw ourselves back into the present moment. This is the dance of life. The ebb and flow of spiritual progression. Of taking small, but sustainable steps, towards our most authentic selves.

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu.

Morning Ritual ~5 Steps to Creating a Daily Practice for Peace.

My smart phone used to be my alarm clock. Which means my morning routine consisted of a half hour of scrolling through social media news feeds and checking emails before stepping two feet on the ground. By over stimulating my mind first thing in the morning, I would launch into a full speed of racing thoughts. My mind would fill with to-do lists: bills to pay, errands to run, calls to return. I would carelessly stumble into my day, with out a pause. My day would pass me by at the speed of light and before I could catch a breath, I’m diving into my bed and setting the alarm for the next morning.

Does this sound familiar? In the world of smart phones and social media have we lost our connection to personal intimacy? I don’t want the whole world to jump into bed with me in the morning. I want to start my day on my own terms. So a few years ago, I took it upon myself to purchase my first alarm clock. $7.99 at target. And in exchange for this small fee, I have been freed from the shackles of social media. It’s a quick fix, but there is still work to be done to peacefully ease into my day.

My morning ritual has been the most essential piece of my spiritual practice. I am dedicated to taking a few moments each morning to be with myself, to connect with spirit. To nurture my emotional body, and bask in stillness. This allows me to saunter into peace, presence, and the flow of the universe.

“What does your morning routine look like?” I am amazed by the puzzled looks I get for asking this question among my friends. So, I have decided to share my personal morning routine. Here are 5 steps to create a daily practice for peace.

  1. Personal Space. I recommend finding a space, outside of your bed, that you can sit and be with yourself for a few moments. Whether you have an altar for meditation, a yoga mat, or a comfy chair by the window, create a space that is just for you.
  2. Intention. What are you reading? Do you have a daily mediation book? I find it helpful to have a light read. Something to pick up, open a page, and fill my mind with words of inspiration, rather than to-do lists. This usually helps me set a daily intention. Also, spending a few minutes journaling in the morning will help sort your thoughts, and free your worries. My journal has been my on-demand, personal therapist for years.
  3. Stillness. Do you mediate? Even if it’s for 5 minutes. Can you take a few deep breaths? Sit still and tall and close your eyes. Turn your inward gaze to the space between your eye brows (third eye-center) and focus on your intention, a mantra, or a prayer. Fill yourself with breath. There are countless videos on youtube if you need a little guidance with your meditation. Reach for tools! Meditation isn’t easy at first, but soon you will crave it!
  4. Asana. You don’t have to go to a 60 minute vinyasa class to reap the benefits of a yoga practice. I’ve got a 10 minute routine that I like to do in the morning. It’s just enough to loosen up any tightness in my neck, back, and hamstrings. It gets my blood pumping, heart beating, and gives me a dose of energy for the day. Here’s a video for Jivamukti’s “The Magic Ten”. A short sweet asana practice.
  5. Health. I’ve found that when I do a few nice things for my personal health in the morning, I feel better all day! For example, I use a tongue scraper first thing, followed by 15-20 mins of oil-pulling, take a shot of Bragg’s apple cider vinegar, and I make a honey, ginger & tumeric tea.

What can you do for yourself in the morning? I challenge you to set your alarm clocks 20 minutes earlier, and step into your sacred space. I guarantee you will move through your day more mindfully. You will feel more in touch with yourself, more connected to spirit, and you will find yourself gracefully moving within the flow of the Universe. The benefits of a morning ritual are endless. Of course, everyone’s routine will look different, but I hope that by sharing mine I have inspired you to create your own.

Share your morning routine by commenting below!

Om shanti shanti shanti.

When you find yourself alone. ~5 tools to set you free.

Anxiety is creeping in. You pick up the phone. Someone has let you down. You start scrolling through your contacts. You feel lonely. No one is answering the phone. Your body aches of restlessness. But the gym is closed. The next yoga class is tomorrow morning. Why isn’t anyone answering the phone? You just need someone to talk to. Someone to help you sort through your feelings. Help you find some answers to your discomfort. But there is no one. What do you do? How can you find relief?

This is reality. And this is a situation most of us find ourselves in often.

We all live busy lives. Work. Family. School. Life has changed. What happened to the easy days? Sometimes I miss 16. It was as if my friends and I had a hot line that was available 24/7. If a boy broke my heart. If my parents were driving me crazy. If I was feeling sad. If I was feeling lonely. If life was being unfair. I had an army of teenage friends who were ready by the phone, ready to listen and talk to me about every detail of my life.

But soon we evolved into our twenty somethings. Our afternoons and evenings began to fill with jobs. Days filled with class, internships, and part-time employment. And then into busy work weeks. Graduate school. Relationships. And suddenly, my inner circle became unavailable to me.

Life is going to happen to us. Everyday. All the time. And we won’t always have a friend, a family member, or a co-worker to talk to. So I ask you, who do you turn to when there is no one else? When you find yourself alone, what is your plan?

This is where I have found myself, at twenty five, time and time again.

The relationship we have with ourselves. The tools we reach for. These are essential. Here are five tools that I use, when the only person I have to turn to, is myself.

  1. Take a deep breath. 30 seconds. Deep, controlled breath. 4 seconds inhale, 4 seconds exhale. This helps me to detach from the overwhelming feelings I am experiencing. It slows my heart rate down if I am feeling restless or anxious. I helps me clear my head. My breath guides me toward serenity.
  2. A spiritual practice. “Universe, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things that I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” This small prayer has gifted me relief countless times. Can I surrender to the current circumstances? Can I hand over, whatever it is that is going on, to the Universe? To my concept of a higher power? What do I have the power to change? Or can I allow everything to just be as it is?
  3. Self care. What will pull me of my head, and guide me into my heart? What will inspire me? I keep a personal list of twenty or so things I can do to practice self care. For example, draw a bath, read a book, watch my favorite movie, dance naked in my room to beyonce, unroll the yoga mat, meditate, break open the stash of dark chocolate, go for a walk, cuddle with my (friend’s) dog. Whatever it is, its good to have a list prepared.
  4. Journal. I believe that journaling is the Holy Grail of consciousness. Pen to paper is the best therapy I’ve ever had, and the best part? It’s free. It is the most private place I can go and just purge any toxic, tiring, or relentless thoughts that are circulating through my head. My journal is a safe space for just me. It’s like creating a bank account for life experiences. I love to open an old journal entry, and re-read the thoughts I’ve had. To watch my words pull me out of self-pity and into self-love with each entry.
  5. Gratitude. When all else fails, finding gratitude for what we have will always prevail! I keep a small journal with me. When I am feeling restless, irritable, or discontent, I pull out my pen and write down 5-10 things I am grateful for. I try not to write down people… but rather dig a little deeper. You’d be surprised how many things you have to be grateful for!

The more I practice self-love, self-care. And the more I reach for these tools. The more confident I become. I begin to feel empowered. Connected. Capable. In the flow. My spiritual connection begins to deepen. I realize, there is an unconditional, powerful, and healing source I can tap into. That is always available to me. And this, this is the foundation of a spiritual life. A life of awakened consciousness.

And the best part? After I reach for these tools. And I’ve found at least some small shred of serenity. One of those friends I dialed, they call me back. And I get to share my experience, basking in the light that I’ve found, through my own spiritual practice, and shine it into their lives as well.

*This article was inspired by my dear friend, Anne. Thank you for your friendship.

Seeking Purpose

“Why write a blog?” you might ask. Well, that’s a very good question. And it’s a question I have been pondering myself for quite some time now. Will anyone want to read about my life? My experiences? What do I have to offer with my words?

This is what I know.

About four years ago my consciousness was awakened. My eyes were opened to a new world. My heart began to beat with the rhythm of the Universe, and I was slowly exposed to a deeper understanding of my past, present, and future life experiences.

Along this journey of awakening I have read every book I can get my hands on, infinitely attended yoga classes, retreats, trainings, and workshops. I have participated in circles, meditation groups, and meetings of recovery, healing, and spirituality. I have sought guidance from others including sponsors, therapists, teachers, counseling, and family. I have studied as many subjects as I can to feed my mind and soul, to teach me more about the world around me, and most importantly to dive deeper into my spiritual path and understanding.

So, why share my experiences? Why write about them?

These past few years, I have met many people who have helped to shape me into the woman that I am, and the woman that I hope to continue to evolve into. People who have sat with me for countless hours, listening to me, empathizing with me, and exposing their own wounds and aspirations. This connection; these raw, beautiful, and vulnerable human experiences that have been shared with me… They mold together the vessel that carries me along my spiritual path.  It is this sharing of experiences that has continued to be the light that guides me through the darkness, that gives me hope and fills me with inspiration as I continue to grow. When I begin to doubt myself, or feel small. Or begin to step into fear and self-doubt… it’s these experiences, these people, who remind me how powerful I am. They remind me that the Universe is always rooting for me. That I am loved and supported. That anything is possible.

I believe so, so deeply in the power of sharing our experiences. Therefore, I feel as though it is my time to share mine with you. My story, memories, experiences, feelings, reflections, and moments of inspiration, sadness, clarity, or anger; they are all here for anyone who wishes to read them. To empathize. To feel. To expand. To grow. I hope that my experiences can shed just a little bit of light and inspiration into your moments of darkness. Because when the world begins to seem heavy, it’s our connection with others that gives us wings to rise.