Thankful

That time of year is upon is again. On Thanksgiving eve, one can’t help but ruminate on the upcoming national “day of giving thanks.” This colonial holiday seems to have evolved into one of overindulgence and highly chaotic energy. Loads of people spend the days surrounding this holiday traveling, cooking, shopping, sometimes arguing and often lost in the bustling business of preparing a “perfect” meal.

Well, I’m calling for a moment of stillness. Would it be too much to ask you to take a moment to sit and meditate tomorrow? It could be at any point of the day, for any length of time. If you practice EFT, I urge you to find some space to tap. Set an intention to have a mindful and peaceful day. We have the power to do this everyday, but life gets so chaotic and sped up. Thanksgiving is no different.

If anything it’s far more chaotic than the average day. For one, it’s likely that no meal intended to be perfect is ever going to be perfect. Seriously, think about it…I’ll bet the best meal you’ve ever had to date was not at a restaurant where you had reservations months in advance and spent loads of money or prepared from an elaborate recipe after hours and hours in your kitchen. For most of us the most perfect meal was in a hole in the wall cafe on a random vacation or a thrown together healthful meal at home with impromptu ingredients that tickled every last tastebud and was either shared with perfect people or in a perfect atmosphere.

That’s what it’s really about. It’s about the internal state, not the external state. It’s about joy and peace, not about a turkey or tofurkey, and it’s not about a mashed, smashed or hashed potato. Thanksgiving means something different to every person. Some people get really heated about the historical context, others use it as a day to binge their faces off without feeling guilty (binging, be it guiltily or guiltlessly, is a practice I highly abhor, if you hadn’t gathered). Some folks spend the holiday blissfully enraptured by loved ones, some steep in tradition, others suffer from emotional explosions of pent-up familial energy. There are plenty of people who are all alone on Thanksgiving, too. We are all in different places and we all have different feelings around this day. My intention is to make it just another day to be grateful, as grateful as any other day. My intention is to not place any heavy burden of expected perfection on this day (easier said than done I suppose, considering I’m not hosting the Thanksgiving feast). My intention is to infuse the day with peace and love, the greatest token I can offer my family and the Universe alike.

What is your intention for Thanksgiving? What is your intention for your life? Perhaps they are one and the same.

So, my beautiful love bursts, I thank you. For being in my little Universe, for being yourselves, for adding your deliciously unique vibration to this sweet frequency of life. I wanted to say I am thankful for you, this day and everyday. 

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The Soul’s Whispering

Sometimes I don’t understand myself.

The confession initially makes me blanch. But then, from somewhere deep inside, I hear myself whisper it’s okay…this is what it’s about. You’re on a journey. You’re learning…learning to understand yourself…

I’m learning. It’s a process. Trust the process.

Do you ever have those moments when you stumble into exactly what you thought you wanted, and something inside you shrieks out in alarm?

Something tells you not this, not now, not this way. And you’re thinking but why? And you’re not given an answer. You just feel it. You know, intuitively, what is right for you. What feels good. What pulls you in.

This is a journey. A voyage. Trial and error, aplenty. There’s no “right and wrong,” heavens no. There’s only try, and try again. There’s only that was amazing and this feels right and that was not for me. The inclinations and the expectations…they’re all part of it. The journey. We try to control these little peculiarities of life, we try to anticipate them, head them off. We try to analyze ourselves, and others, we try to know what’s coming. We try, in vain, to know what’s best for ourselves ahead of time. Before having the experiences that teach us what is, in fact, best for us.

I had a pretty magical day today. It may not have been so magical had I not listened to my divine intuition, though. It started out with a beautiful yoga practice, one that left me lying in a heap, ready to conk out for a nap in savasana. A nap at 9am, what nerve! A frosty Sunday morning that begged me to just move slowly, to savor, to proceed gently. As I tugged on my warm boots and faux lined coat, I whimpered about the day ahead. I had plans for a fast-moving, highly adventurous, not necessarily gentle day.

Now, who’s to say my day would have been awful. It could, in fact, have been quite incredible. I’ll never know. But I know I haven’t an ounce of regret. I chose to withdraw from my plans, instead turning inward. I’ve been riding a wave of rather intense, emotional energy the past few days, and this brisk Sunday offered me the perfect space to seek solace in solitude. Nourish, my spirit whispered, and so I relented.

The whole story is that I had a date today. I suppose you’d call it a date. Yes, it was a date. I don’t know what my aversion is to that word these days…perhaps it’s reside of the PTSD induced by dating a short string of guys with whom I was never quite certain whether or not I was in fact on a date. Mind-boggling, to say the least. Well it seems I’ve finally met a lovely human being with whom there is no mind-boggle at play. Simply straightforward, clearly communicated interest. Naturally I wasn’t aware that our first date was in fact a date. But in the wake of said first date, I started to barrel roll into some resistance with alarming momentum. Something just felt off.

When we first met, he asked me right to dinner afterwards. After the actual first date, he texted me straightaway. Ample coherent communication, one of my favorite traits in another human being, and on point with making plans. Wow. Someone who can communicate and make plans ahead of time? Whether this was to be just a friendship or something more my subconscious was eagerly pleased to have met my match in the realm of considerate actions.

So then why the resistance? Why did I hole up today, with the dog and my book and a mug of tea, and feel so deeply rescued from the potential of deepening intimacy with another person?

That’s a great question. One I don’t have a solid answer to, I suppose. Like I said, I sometimes don’t understand myself…But I think that’s what has resonated with me most about today. I took a day for me. I’m having a relationship with myself. The relationship with the Self is the most important relationship one can ever have. In the end, all one has is oneself… I do want to better get to know this person, and all likeminded people whose interesting paths cross mine, but I must navigate this portion of the path with caution. Resistance doesn’t pop up for no reason. I am politely treading on it, away from it, but with understanding for its presence.

I’m pleased to say I practiced utmost truthfulness in this endeavor, too. I’m used to being alone, I’ve been flying solo for some time now, and it’s grown quite comfortable. I do what I want, when I want. So having to answer to another beautiful soul, a person who I care for though I hardly know them, immediately called forth more resistance. I am a people pleaser and my instinct was to white lie. Oh I can’t make it, something came up… But I didn’t. I was honest. It’s so terrifying and refreshing and LIBERATING to be truthful! I’m pleased by how well received honesty is, most of the time, and even more elated by how freeing it feels…like splitting open the shutters of the chest and releasing a surge of precious light, held firm by integrity.

Telling the truth feels good. Namely when spoken kindly, with a nod to brevity, and in a state of passive detachment from the effect.

I spent the day in a blissful haze of . Lost in myself. When’s the last time you spent a whole day lost in yourself? It’s not an opportunity we often have. I relish in it. I left the house only to walk the dog in the morning sunshine. I tidied up a bit, did some chores – with an especially unreserved lack of urgency – I slipped from room to room with neither rhyme nor reason. I stopped unexpectedly to investigate corners of the house, sit on the floor, flop down and read my book. I found myself lying, leaning and flopping all about the house with my book, for unknown lengths of time, only dragging myself from the story when thirst sprung or I realized my laundry had finished. I showered lazily in the middle of the day. I enjoyed long, languid meals at my dining room table, pouring over my book. I stood at the window and watched the sweet drippings of twilight, not halting my reverence until the dark had set in, and then I shut the curtains. I wrote a poem. I drank copious mugs of herbal tea.

Something about today shut off my normal mental device, the incessant chitter chatter, the rush. For the first time in a very long time, I spent an entire day – well, nearly an entire day, at least from the moment I made the decision to stay home on – without concern for the time or having to be anywhere. I nourished my soul on such a deep level that it left me in stunned silence. That’s what I expect is going on, inside my brain, this light and yet heavy quiet. Heavy in a profoundly grounding way, light in its buoyancy. Mmm, primed for meditation, I now see…

I suppose the moral of this story is that, while we may not always understand ourselves, it is that very confession that brings us closer to understanding. Closer to ourselves. It’s not fighting it, not challenging the resistance, not asking why but rather acquiescing that builds sacred trust with our own intuition. We are blessed in every breath we take. The silver lining is always there, and sometimes it’s far more brilliant than we could have ever anticipated. If we can just step away from the chronic, ever-anticipating manner, for even a day…sometimes we make the space to breathe. Fully. Deeply. Inhaling and exhaling, without questions or expectations or deep inquiry. Reflecting rather than investigating. Listening rather than speaking.

We can be good listeners to ourselves, too, you know. It’s not a luxury and it’s not just an honest courtesy reserved for family and close friends. Our minds speak at us all day long. Yes, speak at us. Turning our minds into a listening instrument, letting our soul do the speaking, is much gentler…much more quiet. It leaves us much more at ease. That’s where I am, this evening. At ease.

So the next time your soul is whispering…do listen. You just might be surprised by how much it helps you understand.

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Ground Down to Rise Up

I had a life-changing experience last night. A beautiful new friend I met this past weekend at Rod Stryker’s Tantra Vinyasa ParaYoga Intensive Training came to practice with me at my studio, and afterwards he gave me a Tarot Card reading. It was my first tarot card reading ever and, let me tell you…it was one of the most powerful experiences I’ve ever had.

My friend told me to call to mind a focal point. An energy I’m currently working through instantly came to mind. The cards are called Osho Zen Tarot Cards; they aren’t like traditional tarot cards where there’s a death card and all the ominous, worrisome potential.

Osho was an amazing Sufi mystic, I learned, whose influence continues to this day. Osho’s teachings are very, very relatable to the Tantra training we just completed, said my friend. Sufi means “one who is pure in the heart.” 

Just holding this deck of cards radiated a vibration throughout my body. There was so much energy in them. They’d been in many special people’s palms before and the collective energy was palpable.

 

“Your whole idea about yourself is borrowed.” -Osho. 

I shuffled the deck well, many times, intuitively. Then I pulled these five cards at random…

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The pattern they were placed them in was called “diamond,” and formed a “lock and key.” The cards I pulled were totality, intensity, breakthrough, thunderbolt and completion.

The first card represented the “issue” at hand. Namely, the energetic “issue” I’d called to mind instinctively. The second card represented what I’m “aware” of in regards to the issue. Third represented what I may not be aware of, or perhaps completely “unaware” of, in regards to the issue. Fourth represented what is happening to resolve the issue, currently. Last was the end result, where I’m headed, in regards to the issue. Completion.

The placing of the final puzzle piece, over the third eye center, is illustrated on this card. Let’s just say I welled with at every card, hearing the portion of reading that came with each step. My hand darted slowly from my mouth, to my heart, to clutching at my medicine woman bag, which held my sirius amethyst phantom elestial crystal. I was so deeply moved. Even though we were holed up in my car, I might as well have been on the moon. My spirit was having such an experience…

The whole encounter was so, so, SO powerful. I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. I did not expect that. A profound sense of freedom. Again, very unexpected. I am still so deeply moved, almost 24 hours later. Perhaps there’s a time release at play?

I can’t wait to get my own deck. In fact, it’s already on its way to me…

Bathing in the magic of my evening, letting the radiant energy swirl all about me, I slipped into dreamland last night and dreamt of many wondrous events. The final dream, that elapsed just before I woke this morning, was a rather frightening one. Nothing horrible happened, outright, but I was carrying a sense of fear throughout the latter portion of the dream. I was in an auditorium with many, many people. I wasn’t with anyone I knew well, but felt comfortable with these dream people, who were acquaintances if not friends.

Then the lights went out. The adventurous spirit of the dream shifted instantaneously. I felt a great sense of foreboding. Danger. I couldn’t understand why no one else was panicked. Why no one else was in a hurry to leave, to move out of that space. I felt like someone was coming, and they might be coming with a weapon. Something with malicious intent was certainly on its way. It was so dark. I grew very fearful and felt deeply that someone was going to be hurt. Someone might even be killed. Someone who mattered to me…perhaps that person was me? In the very last moments everyone was lining up in the restroom and I realized I really had to pee (great timing, right?). So I filed in along with the rest of them, candidly asking why no one else was concerned. When it came time for me to use the restroom I went into my stall and, realizing I must not have noticed how badly I’d had to pee in my fearful state, came out feeling a release. Then the dream was over.

The lights never came on, no one was ever hurt, but my sense of fear was lifted. Luckily I didn’t pee the bed either. I mean, I realize I’m 25, but one never knows with dreams of that nature 😉

Today has had a steady theme, a thread of “grounding.” First was my horoscope…Image

Then was a gorgeous, challenging asana class with my soul sister earth mama goddess teacher. After which we spoke of chakras, bandhas and grounding

Then, later this afternoon, the same friend who gave me my reading last night sent me some guided meditations. Make sure to be anchored to the earth, fully grounded, he said.

Grounding, again! Perhaps the dream was about grounding, too? In some way?

One way or another I am all ears, I hear you Uni! Fully open to and embracing of the Divine messages coming to me. I woke feeling strongly drawn to my rose quartz crystal, which I wore hanging around my neck all day, safe against my heart center. I have felt unnervingly aware and awake, very much the Observer, and very much in a non-trying way. I find the whole experience so interesting…as though I’m really watching it all unfold. Beautifully, perfectly. Purusha. 

One way or another, this has been a spiritual couple of days. Deep meditations, deep asana practices, powerful pranayama and deep sleep laced with vivid, tangible dreams. The winds are howling tonight and my astral body is highly tuned into the rhythms of the shifting Universe. Something is shifting; I already knew this, but my reading confirmed it.

Oh what a magical, heartbreakingly beautiful, constantly moving life this is. 

I was lent this great book yesterday, a starter in learning about Chinese Astrology. So, in honor of grounding, I will be spending my evening cozied up with a mug of tea and this borrowed book, anchoring and learning…

I told my friend yesterday that I believe we meet one another for a purpose; to learn from each other, to teach each other, to guide and protect and inspire each other. Tasmai shri gurave namah, he replied. Meaning, essentially, I salute the Guru. The Guru in each of us. The Guru we are to one another. To ourselves.

Tasmai shri gurave namah, my loves. 

Om shanti. Be well and may you have peace.

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The Moral is Always Awareness

Did you know that compulsive over-eating is the number one eating disorder in the nation? It makes sense, right? But you may not have known it. It makes perfect sense although, upon hearing it, I realized I never held that in my mind as a fact. Why is that, I wonder? Well, I think I have an answer. Because it’s socially acceptable.

Compulsive over-eating -“binge eating,” if you will – is simply a social norm. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s the perfect example to illustrate this notion. A holiday built around one meal, after which many people end up in sweat pants and overeating is simply common practice, in no way is the act of stuffing oneself at the Thanksgiving table seen as disordered eating. Taking it further into the holidays themselves, many people take the rich, calorie-laden food as a cue to eat, eat, eat and then eat no more come January first. Ergo New Year’s resolutions. And we all know how those end up…

I totally realize that food is an expression of love. It can be such a beautiful gift to share. Making someone soup when they’re unwell, baking with apples and pears fresh off the tree, picking bits from the garden to build a glorious salad, sharing culture and tradition, mincing garlic, grinding spices, massaging herbs…the whole episode of cooking can be very sensuous, very romantic. I resonate with that. I am positively enamored by the experience of creating healthy masterpieces in my kitchen! In fact I’m working on a recipe eBook. That, however, is completely beside the point.

The point of that was to convey that I don’t abhor the holidays, by any means. I have beautiful Thanksgiving memories from my childhood! This entire notion extends far beyond the holiday season, but I couldn’t resist using these notoriously overindulgent couple of months as a prime example for socially acceptable gluttony. 

What I find puzzling is that the act of compulsive overeating is validated from early childhood. Sleepovers were prime time to completely binge on candy, junk food and other nutritional terrors that would assist in a preteen attempt to stay up all night. Look at families out at restaurants, though. Even out in the light of day it’s become common practice in America to gorge oneself until one needs to unbutton one’s pants! What’s seen as abnormal behavior is asking the server to halve a dish before it’s been brought out. Asking for a meal to be made healthier. Choosing to cook more healthfully and eating normal sized portions. These are the rarities and seen as confining. 

It’s interesting the things society deems acceptable. Just yesterday I was talking to a customer at work, during an ordinary late afternoon transaction in broad, albeit gloomy and rainy, daylight. She was telling me that her husband had been in a motorcycle accident last week. At the gasp of horror on my face she hurriedly assured me, oh no, he’s fine, he’s okay. She continued to tell me that her grown daughter came to stay at the house for the week, having been so rattled by almost losing her father that she needed to be near. The woman said that, while she found the whole idea rather morbid, the closeness and the way her family “holed up” and “shut down,” sort of closing out reality for those few days, was the most beautiful experience. I understood what she meant. The closing in, wrapping oneself and one’s clan in a safe little bubble, just the few of you as though no outside world existed…no job, no obligations, no school, no demands, no sense of time or space. I immediately related. I was transported back to 2008 when my Grandpappy was killed suddenly. The way the German women of my family, my Tribe, holed up in my Oma’s house in a brisk corner pocket of Colorado, just off the Army base…the way we divvied up tasks, intuitively cared for one another’s wordless requests, gave silent thanks for one another and lost all track of time of day, day of week and how long it’d been since we arrived. The woman and I shared a soulful gaze. It’s too bad that tragedy is the only real excuse to do that, to retreat in such a way, she said. I nodded emphatically. It’s not socially acceptable, I said. She nodded even more emphatically, it’s NOT! Something has to be WRONG in order for us to do that! Before leaving she seemed to snap out of a deep, introspective mood, instigated by our unexpectedly profound conversation. Sorry, she said instinctively, who’d have expected a little retreat right here at the grocery store. I smiled genuinely, resisting snapping out of my own deepened spirit and instead bottling it, nestling down into the warmth of it. Here’s to retreating for no reason, I said, and then she was gone.

What makes society deem so much of what’s actually healthy socially unacceptable or “odd,” and the acts that are emotionally, healthfully and physically damning just common practice? Overworking, too little time spent with loved ones, not enough sleep and rest, poor nutrition, not enough beneficial exercise, not enough time for wellness…

This morning I was discussing with my Mum what I’d written thus far of this essay. She brought up a brilliant point. Our society is always focusing on the flaws. Even on television, the shopping network, the ladies selling makeup…They say see how this covers up her dark circles? rather than, look how this accents her cheekbones! Or they say, you can hardly tell this is a size large, rather than look how well this skims her frame. It’s all about the covering up. Even in terms of makeup which, historically, was used in rituals, and was seen as a sacred means of adorning human bodies and faces. It was celebratory. Accentuating. 

Today makeup is worn by many as a mask. Worn as a “face.” Worn because, without it, one’s face would be naked, would look tired, would be unprintable… I stopped wearing makeup over a year ago. It’s inauthentic, a character in a movie once said. This is my face, take it or leave it. I recall going through high school, feeling like makeup was the thing to wear because everyone else was wearing it. I remember relying heavily on it after high school, feeling like I wouldn’t be pretty without it. I remember sneaking out to the mirror to put on eyeliner before my boyfriend woke up. Fixing the smudged eyeliner from the night before. Preposterous! 

I remember reading books where the characters didn’t wear makeup and thinking, wow…I can’t imagine just not wearing makeup…going out into the world everyday with just my own honest face to show. I wish I could… I was twenty years old and thinking this! Now, at 25, I look in the mirror and even if I’ve a blemish or didn’t get enough rest, it’s still just my face. It’s my honest face for that day. I’ve come to appreciate every single freckle and eyelash, every divot and curve. No one else has this face. It’s all mine. I can’t even remember what it was like to cover it up everyday, as just common practice.

What was the point of all that, you ask? The concept of “common practice.” We’ve come full circle back to compulsive overeating (quite a little ride I just took you on, I know). How is it possible that a full blown eating disorder, a chronic condition within our society, has become  common practice? The same way cigarettes are legal, binge drinking is not only normal but supported by bars that open at 7am, and foods with five year shelf lives are sold everyday in nearly every supermarket.

Just because something is common practice doesn’t mean it ought to be blindly practiced. In fact, what’s “common practice” might be more aptly questioned. Investigated. Looked at inside and out. 

Men and women who are stricken with eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia are often chastised, condemned even. Why is this? Because these are diseases misunderstood by the vast majority of society. Most people, gratefully, don’t know what it’s like to have this disease. They don’t know what it’s like to suffer, work through and recover from it. A blessing and accomplishment many who are stricken with this disease do not have the opportunity to celebrate. These beautiful beings are condemned because the cross they bear is one most people can’t understand. 

This society is built around overindulgence. It’s the compulsive overeating that’s seen as normal. Those who exercise regularly and are committed to balance and health are seen as the “different” ones. Those who air on the side of strict in their dedication to wellness are the odd ones, the ones who constantly hear how do you do that, I don’t have willpower like that. It’s because balance is a foreign concept to the vast majority of the American population (the only culture I’m comfortable speaking for, despite my having witnessed a culture of beautiful balance while I lived in Europe). 

So, what’s the moral here? Awareness. I think in any scenario one can emerge saying the moral is awareness. Just because we don’t understand something doesn’t mean it doesn’t hold just as much weight as what we do understand. Just because society deems something acceptable doesn’t mean it is. Just because something is comfortable and common practice doesn’t mean it’s okay. Just because a behavior has become a crutch doesn’t mean it’s serving us.

Cultivate awareness. In everything. Every moment. Every day. Every breath. See the world, society, your own actions, the stories your own mind tells you, with clarity. Eyes wide open. Fully aware.

Because the moral is always awareness.

 

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Always Stand in the Light

I’m about to revisit a familiar thread here, won’t you take the ride with me?

Lifestyle. Green. Progressive. Alternative. Conscious. Non-harming. Whatever you want to call it, however we choose to categorize it (as if it could be categorical at all)…a lot of it has to do with my generation. A lot of it also has to do with my spirit, who I am, my Divine Awareness and the path I’m meant to walk.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, as it’s deeply important to me. The last thing I ever want to do is hurt the ones I love. I don’t want my Mom and Dad to ever feel fear, worry, doubt or anger at my hand. But, at the end of the day, they are their own people. They have lived decades longer than I have and had entire lives before they brought me into the world. I respect that, and the older I get the more able I am to detach from their opinions in a healthy way. What they think matters profoundly to me, but it no longer shapes everything I do. They don’t expect it to. It used to, though, when I was younger.

Guilt has always been a big part of my existence, another karmic tendency to work out, ideally in this life. Guilt over things said, not said, done, not done, things I can’t change and things I can. It’s strange, guilt. It eats away at the soul and creates a little muddy hole in the spirit in which to festers. Guilt is so gross. I have no interest in guilt anymore.

So, as of late (since starting nutrition school especially, and being immersed in the world of green living and avoiding toxicity, in addition to ultra clean eating), I’ve found myself bumping into a few roadblocks with my darling parents.

Earnest (on my part) but concerned (on his part) debates over the flu shot and immunizations with my dad…oh God honey, don’t become one of “those people” who doesn’t vaccinate their kids for measles. Walking through the department store with my Mumma and hearing her say I don’t feel like I can share things with you and I feel left out of your lifestyle and you’re so restrictive. Hearing their concern, occasional sadness, and yet having their full support in my endeavors, is emotional for me. I am so grateful to have a set of loving parents who uplift me in every way. They’re not asking me to change, they just talk to me like adults and telling me how they feel. They support me and admire all of the many positive influences of my lifestyle. But they are also honest about how my strict manner of living makes them feel. It makes me sad to think my dad might fear I’m heading down a loosey goosey weirdo road, and it deeply wounds my spirit to even consider my mom feeling as though she’s lost an important mother-daughter bond with me as a result of the lifestyle I lead.

I don’t expect to always be so strict. But who knows. I know right now I’m pretty dang freaked out about everything from BPA to neurotoxins in other people’s perfumes, so I’ll say it myself that I hope I’m able to relax a smidge at some point. It’s like, once they turn the lights on, it’s BRIGHT…

What I mean by that is, once you learn the truth about so many “everyday” things, it’s hard to tolerate them anymore. Products, foods, activities, what-have-you; once I learned what the government is doing to our food supply, became aware of how wasteful our packaging is, was educated on and became enlightened by the myriad of benefits of a green, plant-based lifestyle…I found joy. But I also found a little pit of fear and guilt. Guilt if I stray from my eco-conscious lifestyle by burning a candle from Bed Bath and Beyond (which I now know contain neurotoxins), and fear of all the “evils” out there (plastic island floating in the ocean, anyone?). I know, I know…I sound like a fanatical extremist, I hear it too. I’m certainly not ignorant of it. I do believe, though, that even when I settle down from this holy smokes I just learned all this and everything’s toxic and I don’t want any of it in my life novice green living stage, life won’t be more than a stone’s throw from how it is now.

I believe in never saying never, but I also believe it’s safe to say I won’t ever eat animals again. I won’t say that I’ll be so hardcore vegetarian forever (not consuming any animal products, that is), because I do dream of having my own happy little chickens one day and eating their “happy eggs.” I like wool sweaters and treating sore throats with raw, local honey and I live on almonds, so I guess I can’t really call myself vegan anyway.

I’m fairly certain I’ll always be this wacked out about organic food, toxins and chemicals in cleaners and household products, and making everything that I physically can on my own. I know I’ll always be the one who brings canvas bags to shop everywhere and who wouldn’t dream of buying a plastic water bottle in a store. I will do silly jigs to avoid sugar and trans fat and I will likely be the one who calls ahead to see if questionable restaurants can cater to a plant-based diner such as myself.

My point is that I know I’ll always be über committed to a green lifestyle, plant-based diet and gentler, kinder way of existing. This won’t change. And, while it may seem slightly off the deep end slash inspiring to my parents, I know I’m not alone. In fact, I’m surrounded by loads of people of all ages who live the same way. I’m grateful to have learned what I’ve learned so far and to still be so young, so I can implement what I now know (and continue to learn as much as I can) and hopefully offer as much longevity to our sweet mother earth as I can in the short 100-something year life I intend to live 😉 I want to inspire the coming generations to leave the world a better place than how they found it, but it starts now. With me. With my peers. With my own family. Currently, the earth is being torn to shreds by human beings, but that’s another essay entirely so I digress…

I think it’s kind of my right, at 25, to be head-over-heels, gung-ho about my life. I understand how difficult it must be at times for the gorgeous human beings who raised me to see me stray so seemingly far from how they raised me, but I know they support my cause. I know they are rooting for me and understand me. I know they know I’m not a half-ass-anything kind of person and I’m mildly obsessive with the things I’m passionate about. By mildly I mean super. By obsessive I mean extraordinarily dedicated.

The intention I’ve set in my lifestyle is to promote healing, peace, happiness and longevity. While some may not understand that always, I know the ones who really love me will always embrace it. Just like I embrace them. I think it’s powerful and important to stay aware and in the light. To hear how one another feel, to think about how we feel, to be mirrors for one another and to express why we are the way we are.

There are few experiences as valuable as shedding light on personal truths, and still saying “I love you,” with a smile, when you’ve finished.

earth92

Bring on the Woo

A few months ago I met a crystal healer. We were energetically drawn to one another like a powerful force of nature and, long story short, I followed him out of the store into the parking lot just as he was getting out of his car and coming back to find me. Fateful meeting. He gave me a crystal, and told me it was “for my alter.” Not everyone has an alter, so it was pretty profound how deeply I was connecting with this [seemingly] perfect stranger. I soon learned he’s no stranger at all. Our souls have definitely spent time together in another life.

The crystal he gave me that day was an amethyst. He told me it’s an ascension key, and later gave me all the details of this powerful little crystal. Its energy was so strong that I couldn’t keep it on my person, I had to take it upstairs and leave it in my purse. Well, yesterday he appeared again. He  gave me another crystal. This one is “32 kinds of crystal in one.” I’m waiting on an email depicting  the details so, we’re both in suspense for the moment…

What’s really interesting is I told him about the past life visions I’ve been having during/after meditation. He told me the crystal he first gave me, the amethyst, “is known to do that.” It’s an activator.

Now, I am very uninformed in the world of crystals and crystal healing, but I find it fascinating. I want to learn so much more. I suppose it goes rather hand in hand with my passion for holistic healing, as I also want to learn every nook and cranny of herbalism, acupressure, EFT, Reiki…I am completely woo-woo and I ain’t afraid to shout it!

Something occurred to me a while back, while sitting in the sunshine over lunch discussing our alternative healing modalities with a massage therapist friend. A friend had asked me, why don’t you get certified in massage, too? I feel like I’ve been asked that a lot. But in a fill-in-the-blank manner. Why don’t you get certified/trained in __________ too? The “too” being the operative word. I’d always get fidgety and think to myself, but I don’t want to be certified in everything, I feel like that takes away from my true passions to just hoover up certifications and try to become some jack-of-all-trades. 

So, what occurred to me, is the idea of one’s Tribe. Not just the comfort of fellow beings who vibrate on your frequency, but also the notion of not needing to know everything. Not needing to be trained or certified in everything! Having a Tribe of beautiful souls who act like a medicine kit. I may be the holistic nutritionist (to be), Ayurvedic counselor and yoga teacher, but I have a rich and vibrant Tribe of therapists, masseuses, estheticians, herbalists, Reiki masters, EFT practitioners, meditation teachers, personal trainers, gurus…it goes on and on. I’m so blessed to know all of these people and to be able to reference them as well as direct the beautiful beings in need who cross my path in their direction.

We don’t need to know how to do it all, we just need to build our clan!

I digress…So last night I meditated with my new crystal. Luckily we are coming up on a full moon (this weekend, after a powerful practice with Rod Stryker, for which I am TOO excited!). Full moons are apt time for cleansing crystals. All the more power to harness that potent energy… Anyway I meditated with mudra, holding this crystal, and I could feel the energy coursing through my body. particularly my muladhara chakra. Then today I wore it in my medicine woman pouch, around my neck, and it wasn’t until tonight that I realized the energy radiating around my anahata chakra all day. 

Even as I chanted (I often pass “stuck in traffic” time with chanting…what, don’t you?), I placed my cool hand over my heart center. I left it here for probably three minutes, not thinking anything of it, but feeling the pulsating energy beneath my palm. It wasn’t until I came out of meditation tonight that it hit me…the crystal. It is likely the crystal that was activating all this heart center energy, considering that’s where it hung all day long. I couldn’t feel the vibrational frequency of it in the pouch, not directly, only when it was in contact with my skin, so I didn’t even sense its profound effect on me throughout the day.

Well, the full moon is this Sunday (did I already mention I’ll have just wrapped up a powerful intensive with Rod Stryker? I’m a little excited…), and I will be cleansing this dear crystal. Clearing it of its pre-harbored energy, so that it may serve as a port for whatever vibrations come its way, from me and from others. Inside and out. I will take this crystal to the Tribe and see what they make of it. Because, naturally, apart from all of the other brilliant healing artists I’ve already listed, there is also a crystal virtuoso. 

And that’s where I’ll leave you for the evening, blessed lovebursts. With this….always have a crystal virtuoso in your inner circle, and never fear the woo-woo side of life. In fact, bring on the woo.

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My Favorite Yoga DVDs

Since becoming a certified yoga instructor, I’ve really not relied on the DVDs that once built the entire foundation of my practice for a couple of reasons. One being I can build my own sequence now, having been YogaWorks trained, and flow on my own – safely and soundly. That was a large factor in my deciding to do teacher training in the first place, to fortify and stabilize a home practice for life. Secondly, I not only belong to the incredible and world-renowned YogaWorks studios, but I have also discovered the gorgeous universe that is online yoga classes.

Let’s slow down.

I adore my practice DVDs. I need you to know that (as I’m about to recommend to you my favorites!) and count them as highly valuable tools in my yoga library. In fact, just the other day I was met with a grand morning internet flub and my planned practice (that I was to stream offline) was made impossible. GASP! What to do?! Other than practice vairagya, that is 😉 Well, I reached into the cabinet and grabbed one of my favorite DVDs and boom, practice a la living room. You know which one it was? A certain bubbly blonde who’s getting married this year to a certain dude who jumps out of airplanes…any guesses?

Okay, without further ado, I will share my list (in no particular order)!

  • Kathryn Budig – Aim True is Kathryn Budig’s two-part yoga DVD. One practice is geared towards beginners and the other towards intermediate practitioners. There’s also an instructional and interview portion of the DVD. KB is one of my favorite teachers, writers and, frankly, women in general. I had the honor or practicing with her at this past summer’s Wanderlust and will be practicing with her spunky fabulous Self again this coming Yoga Journal Conference. Can you tell I’m exited?! When you’re picking up her great DVD, don’t miss her book, The Big Book of Yoga. It’s frigging epic. Also, she’s currently writing a follow-up book, happy dance!
  • YogaWorks – there are three DVDs, all of which come highly recommended by yours truly. I’ve actually not tried the Beginner’s Practice but own and love the other two DVDs. Fit Abs has a 40 minute practice led by Billy, and a separate 10 minute core work sequence led by Jesse. You can play them separately or together, which is awesome, depending on what kind of time you have. The other DVD is Body Slim and, my lovebursts, please do not underestimate the amazing Jesse Schein. She may be little but she is mighty! Jesse is one of the best teachers I’ve “encountered” (I’ve not yet had the opportunity to practice with her in person – although she is directly trained by Maty Ezraty, the founder of YogaWorks about whom I just wrote the other day). The sequence kicks your butt, builds strength and endurance and is all around awesome.
  • Ashley Turner – Ashley’s three DVDs are just too wonderful for words. First of all, Ashley has an M.A. and is a registered MFTI, she is an Ordained Priestess (is that not the frigging COOLEST thing EVER?!), she’s the queen of essential oils, AND she’s a yoga/meditation teacher. Talk about a jack of all trades. This woman is a huge inspiration of mine and the work she does in the world of wellness is simply beautiful. There’s some seriously inspiring stuff in Ashley’s DVDs (the gorgeous bridge of therapist and yoga teacher) and I never get tired of hearing her wisdom. One of my favorite quotes from her DVDs is, “seeing the body as an instrument rather than an ornament.” Just beautiful.
  • Tara Stiles – Tara’s DVD not only has a beautiful practice, led outdoors in Tara’s super chill, laid back manner, but there is also a guided Deepak Chopra meditation. I have the strength and energy DVD. Also, Tara too has a great book out, Yoga Cures. Both it and The Big Book of Yoga are great, fun tools in my yoga library.
  • Jennifer Galardi – Flowetry is awesome. I love that you can build your own sequence! There’s a menu where you can pick and choose which aspects of the practice you’re in the mood for, or you can select all. It’s great. Plus Jennifer has a background in dance and so “flowetry” is an apt title for this DVD. Even the way that the parts of the practice blend together with watery imagery is lovely.

I own other yoga DVDs but these are the cream of the crop. As for streaming online yoga classes, these are my recommendations.

  • MyYogaWorksOnline – I just have to say, I luuuuurve Jesse Schein. I may have a yoga girl crush on her. Her teaching style, personality, wealth of knowledge and approach to yoga and life are infectious, inspiring and just plain awesome. She kicks my BUTT, too! Which I love. Even though I’m safe in my living room, when she says, “squeeze the heel to the butt I know you’ve got more squeeze in ya,” I actually listen. Like she’s going to pop out of my laptop screen and smack my tuckus as Maty Ezraty would.
  • YogaGlo – Practice with the likes of Kathryn Budig, Tiffany Cruikshank and Jason Crandell on this epic $18/month site.
  • YogisAnonymous – Practice with the amazing Jennifer Pastiloff for only $15/month.Just think, if you live someplace where you don’t have access to a studio (many of which cost about $60-100/month in membership fees, plus transportation), invest in a couple of DVDs and/or perhaps subscribe to all three of these online classes (for under $60/month!).

Alright, my loves, there you are!

*Important note: as a teacher and longtime yoga practitioner, I cannot emphasize enough the value of having an experienced instructor to guide your practice. Especially as a beginner. Yoga is the total package, yes, but as with any physical activity it can result in injury. Attending a studio with a good teacher, whether it’s sporadically or regularly, will ensure your practice is safe and stable, and will foster longevity.

Namaste 🙂

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