Butterfly Wings

Have you ever looked back on your life or a particular memory and thought wow…that’s very nearly how my life ended up. Or perhaps “went” would be better suited to describing such a thought than the words “ended up,” since one decision is not so much an ending as it is an avenue. A course changer. The force that beckons us in one direction, gently taking our lives by the hand and leading them onto adjacent, untraveled paths.

 

It’s a bit bizarre to look at one’s life in such a way. We often scrutinize our past, rather than just observe it. Scrutiny really has no place because what’s done is done, and it all happened perfectly. Maybe not in theory, but in fact. It happened perfectly because it’s irrevocable, so why dub it anything but? Because regret is jet fuel for the emotionally wounded. It’s the intangible equivalent of what I imagine is the satisfying slice of skin for a cutter. Regret is toxic.

 

But so is living in the past. Toxic, that is. Living in the past, clinging to “the way things were,” pining over a more youthful face, an old flame, a simpler time, a career…it’s toxic to believe we were ever better than we are now, in this very moment. To observe one’s past, as free of judgment as possible, is one thing. To regret and or cling is another altogether.

 

Have you ever been in a relationship where you knew the ship was sinking but you were helpless to jump off? Have you ever thought to yourself, “I will go down with this ship,” (maybe even sung the words along with Jewel? I won’t judge) against your wiser, better, knowing instincts? I have. I haven’t, fortunately, gone down with any of my ships but I have certainly had the thought. I’ve certainly had the intention.

 

I was walking the dog the other day and my mind was going in a hundred different directions, as usual. The amount of things I can think about in that hour walk is really quite staggering. As my consciousness bounced along, audacious and overeager as a neon green tennis ball, I felt it thud into a thicker, darker thought. Reminiscence. An old relationship. Something in the curve of the sidewalk, the fumes of a car idling, the sideways shaft of light piercing portly clouds, I don’t know what exactly it was but something made me think of him. Of us. Of what we were. Boom, instantly I found myself in that shadowy forest, the toxic river of reinventing what was. That’s really what it is, after all, a reinvention. Nothing is ever as perfect as it is in a memory.

 

What came to my mind this time, however, was a more realistic pitch of the situation. I remembered who I was in that relationship, in that time, all those years ago. I saw clearly what parts of myself I keenly forfeited, what discovered had I stayed in that boat. I truly caught a rare glimpse of how much better off I am for having jumped ship. The realization that the path I’m currently on would not have been an opportunity, simply would not have found its way onto my radar in the capacity it has, smacked me right between the eyes. The corners of my mouth turned up. I wondered what little moments, what triggers had knocked down the trail of dominoes that are my life, causing one event after another. I wondered what divine coin, spinning wildly on its axis, landed heads or tails and led me down the various hallways I’ve traveled.

 

I’ve always been deeply intrigued by the “Butterfly Effect.” It, in theory, conceptualizes how everything could turn out differently based on one event. The philosophy itself was birthed by Edward Lorenz, who theorized that the genesis of a hurricane was conditional on the flapping of a butterfly’s wings weeks prior. Think about that. It’s referred to as the “sensitive dependency on initial conditions,” where essentially a tiny little event or change of course can create a ripple effect changing life on a much larger scale down the road. Fascinating, no?

 

The point of this detailed little debriefing is that I believe fiercely in the beauty of the butterfly effect. What pebble fell when I was five years old that, at eleven, caused a splash? What happened to an ancestor that is now reflected in my existence? What happened in a past life that is now triggering my direction in this life?

 

The Butterfly Effect is insanely cool, frankly put. Sure, it can sometimes result in an ugly, quaking present experience, but I also believe fiercely that everything happens exactly as it’s meant to. Even the awful stuff. Spoken truly by someone who’s (blessedly) had relatively little trauma in her life, generally speaking.

 

Just this morning I was talking on the phone with my brilliant, self-made, warrior of a soul sister, and we got onto the weighty topic of life. I couldn’t help but be blown away by how grounded and stable she sounded. We’ve known each other for close to twenty years, since were wee little tangle-haired babes, and five years ago her life was tipped on its head. She lost her father suddenly, to death, and her mother shortly thereafter, to drugs. Needless to say, losing both parents practically at once sent her into a grief spiral. She didn’t hit any “rock bottom,” she really fought through the horrendously awful experience. The drama was minimal but the suffering intense.

 

Hearing my best friend say today that she believes losing her parents is the best thing that’s ever happened to her just amplified this idea that’s been spinning around my mind for days. She quickly qualified that what she meant by that is that she had to become her own person. Face her demons. Take care of herself. Emancipate herself. She found herself, in the thick of the horrific ultimatum she was handed by life. She became the person she’s becoming.

 

My friend gets it. She gets what I’m trying to convey in saying “it all happens as it’s meant to,” and she has been through hell! The suffering of my lifetime is dwarfed by the trials and tribulations she’s survived in just the past five years, but we’re still on the same page. She still believes to her core, despite the pain she’s endured, that she would not be nearly as alive, secure and stable had things not gone exactly as they went. I’m in awe of her resilience, and I think it illustrates beautifully the point I’m trying to make.

 

Whether the thoughts are about why a tragedy happened and the what ifs that are tangled up in such an experience or whether they’re about what would have happened had I married my ex, frankly they’re one and the same. Incomparable, but still cut of the same cloth. Still a cookie cutter thought embedding us in the past.

 

So what happens for us when we look back on our lives and see the myriad of ways things could have gone? Is there regret? Doubt? Fear? Relief? Is there intense love for the person we’ve become? I hope the latter, for us all, I hope for it fiercely. Because that’s truly the only reaction that serves us. Dissecting what’s come and gone can be awfully entertaining, it can be masochistic and torturous, or it can be as luxurious and decadent as watching a favorite movie. Let me be clear in saying that I’m not suggesting we forgo memories, not at all. Memories are a huge part of who we are, the basis of our life’s gilded frame. But we can’t live in them, whether they’re good or bad. We can’t cling to them, regret them, pine for them. Well, we can, but doing so is to forfeit the present moment.

 

The present moment is the most delicious offering life has for us. It’s all we have, in essence. We’re not promised tomorrow and, while we have the memories of yesterday, the past is at once shadowed by our own perception. Instantly veiled by a lens we cast rather than the crystal clarity of truth. We like to color memories, whether we realize it or not.

 

So let’s indulge in the deliciousness of this present moment. Let’s treat ourselves to the extravagant idea that a butterfly flapping its wings three weeks ago was what triggered the deluge of cathartic tears this morning in front of our bathroom mirror…or the rupture of the sky, lavishing the parched ground with rain…or the carefully erected wall of denial holding us back from what we know we must do. Let’s surrender to the simple truth that what has come and passed is no longer; what’s yet to happen is suspended in Her hands; what we can hold, warm and vibrating, in our hands right now is the right now. What we have is this avenue beneath our feet, the intuitive force beckoning us ahead, and our own little furiously flapping butterfly wings.

 

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Body Karma: Some of my Favorite Holistic Products

My business is called Body Karma, it is also the name of this blog. This title came from very simple roots. I have always believed in karma. Karma has played a huge role in my life and is a component of everything I do (and don’t do). That being said, I consider my body my temple. I refer to the body as one’s “sacred vessel.” It’s a house for our soul, during this life. It should be taken care of because, if it’s not, we will pay the price. What goes around comes around. The rule of karma, as applied to the body, is very simple. We get out what we put in. Our bodies work hard to maintain our survival, and they will be far more apt to continue this if we are loving, kind, caring and compassionate towards them. Thus, body karma 🙂

Self-care does not need to be complicated, overly expensive or time-consuming. Making subtle shifts and commitments are the key to developing a personal care routine that will last a lifetime.

I’m not a makeup girl, although I have a tube of mascara (that I’ve used once in a year) and an unopened eyeliner (haha). I used to wear makeup and in the last few years have just come to appreciate my bare face more than one with makeup on it. I think it’s super fun to play dress-up and get all girly, and I’m super girly on the day-to-day even without makeup, but I just find myself to look inauthentic with makeup on so I never reach for it. I do like the “eye pop” effect of a bit of mascara, though, and I buy organic, all-natural brands because of a commitment to nontoxic body care as well as having incredibly sensitive eyes. As for the rest of it, I like to rock some nail polish sometimes, I love wearing my perfume and I am a self-professed skincare adorer. So, in hopes of spreading the holistic wellness inspiration, here is a random compilation of some of my favorite products and practices…

John Masters Organics. Love ’em. Been really digging the haircare line as of late. Very nourishing and nearly 80% organic content. The line is also endorsed by the Queen of Green herself, Rachel McAdams. Jake Gyllenhaal too 😉

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Mineral Fusion. I’m suuuuuper particular about which products I’ll use and which I won’t. Thus far, I like the polish and remover offered by Mineral Fusion. It still smells strongly but that’s kind of what you get with nail products. I don’t paint frequently but, when I do, I want something as nontoxic as possible.

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Pacifica. Okay, I lalalaluuuuuuurve this perfume (the ONLY I’ll use, apart from pure essential oils), and just bought the lip gloss today. It’s creamy and nourishing with essential oils. Both are vegan, nontoxic, free of parabens, petroleum, FD&C color, etc. I dig it.

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DeVita. I cannot say enough good stuff about this product line. Totally vegan, cruelty-free, paraben free, primarily organic and formulated by a sweet gal with a cool story. I have super sensitive skin and have never had an issue with this line. I apply the SPF day creme every morning and the eye and night cremes each evening. Yummy delicious nourishing skincare.

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Coconut Oil. I love this to moisturize my body. Unparalleled. Not married to the brand. Anything virgin, unrefined and organic essentially. Coconut oil is antimicrobial, antibacterial, intensely hydrating, can soothe psoriasis and eczema, and just plain smells divine. 

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Neti Pot! That one got an exclamation point. Part of the traditional Ayurvedic self-care routine, neti is an unparalleled cleansing practice. It keeps the nasal passages clean and clear, helps prevent colds and is sincerely soothing for those with seasonal allergies. Think about this…the nose is our natural air filter (another reason to breathe in through the nose and out through the nose). It’s fab that we don’t have to breathe in all that gunk that would otherwise come streaming in our mouths, but it’s not so nice unless we cleanse our sweet little nasal passages periodically! Some folks thrive on once weekly, others daily, it depends on your constitution. Putting a cotton swab of coconut oil into the nasal passages to help rehydrate and replenish the sensitive tissue if you find the saline rinse to be drying.

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Rosewater. Mother Nature’s toner! Hydrating glory mist. I travel with this and spritz it on my face to rehydrate when stuck in stagnant air (hello post-airplane rehydration!), to wake up my skin or simply to indulge in its rejuvenating scent. I always spray this on my face, neck and decolletage after the shower before slathering on my DeVita.

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MyChelle Fruit Enzyme Scrub. Exfoliation is essential to fresh, vibrant, rosy skin. Sloughing off the old, dead  cells rejuvenates and is one of the most anti-aging practices one can keep. I love this particular scrub and put it on at the start of a shower or bath so the enzymes can work on my skin for at least 5 minutes if not more. I love an epsom salt soak with this on my face for a good 20 minutes.

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Well those were just a few of my steps. I also swear by a tongue scraper (another Ayurvedic practice) for mouth health and fresh breath, a body brush (yet another Ayurvedic tip) to stimulate circulation, slough off old skin cells and improve lymph flow, sesame oil foot massages and my homemade brown sugar body scrub. I mentioned epsom salt soaks above, but I can’t emphasize how healing, nourishing and replenishing they are. I put lavender oil in for extra relaxation and sometimes some organic bubble bath.

Remember, anything you put on your skin is absorbed directly into the system. It’s (almost) as good as having eaten it! So really aim for natural products. As organic as possible, as non-toxic as possible. If it’s a product that doubles as a kitchen ingredient, bonus points (just today I made a baking soda face mask and then used apple cider vinegar as a toner!). Our sacred vessels deserve just as much love on the outside as we give them on the inside; in short, put as much thought and care into the products you choose as you do the food you ingest! Your health will thank you, holistically 🙂 x x

Be well, Namaste.

Your Life is the Stage…You are the Greatness

We tend to think not every day is a stage set for greatness. Those days are special occasions, the look like scenes void of obligation and monotony, where humdrum routine is escaped and we can really rock our awesomeness uninterrupted (all while the sun sets thunderously and triumphantly over the horizon).
But how often do those scenes really come to fruition? If at all? Don’t wait for film-worthy circumstances, because they’ll likely never come (or maybe they will but we’ll be so enamored and shocked we won’t be able to embody our film-worthy character of greatness). Don’t wait, because you know what…?
Today IS a stage set for greatness. EVERY day is a stage set for greatness. Your life is the stage, YOU are the greatness. The opportunities are EVERYWHERE.
You have the opportunity to love fiercely while covered in your infant’s spit-up. You have the opportunity change the course of someone’s day whilst bustling through the grocery store. You have the opportunity to be radically kind and gracious behind the wheel of your car…in line at the cafe…unrolling your mat at the yoga studio…laying eyes on your partner first thing in the morning…answering the call of a loved one…passing a stranger on the street.
The “perfect” circumstances for ANYTHING rarely manifest as all we’ve imagined them to be. But once we see that the circumstances we have, the ones we birth and inherit day after day, that they are indeed perfect…we can start spreading our greatness like wildfire, not missing a single opportunity. We will come to find our days, though often brimming with routine and responsibilities, are littered with opportunities like little land mines of fireworks. Step on as many as you can.
Because you are great. You are greatness. You are authentic. You are radiant. You are revolutionary. Be fiercely, radically, boldly aware of this fact, and go light the world on fire.

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The Space that Listens

I’ve always had a fairly clear view of who I am. By fairly clear I mean a hazy bullet point list and by view I mean a seemingly outside perspective. As outside a perspective as one can obtain whilst living inside one’s own Self.

I’ve always seen myself a certain way. A curious interest laced with the inherent familiarity of actually being me. I’ve been consistently quick to attribute quirks, favorites, flaws and fears to myself. An ever growing or shrinking, depending on the season and mood, bullet point list. I’m not just using this analogy off-handedly, I have a serious affinity for bullet point lists.

The funny thing – and by funny I mean peculiar not har har – is that, of late, I’ve felt this “image” grow hazier and hazier. The picture of myself, bullet point list and all, have begun to feel a bit like the voice on the other end of a warbly phone call. The warped sound reminiscent of coherent words but unintelligible. While my view of myself has become more like a funhouse mirror, the way it feels to be me has become more solid and steady than ever. Despite the disconnect between my head and heart, the asymmetrical formation they’ve assumed, I know exactly what it feels like to be me.

This rather dooms my bullet point list from before. Because the “before” list was written in pen. One thing I detest doing is scratching out what has been written so neatly, its permanence lending it validity. Or so I thought.

I’m a page of contradictions, it seems, pen or no pen. My qualities and characteristics are an eclectic group, something I’ve always rather enjoyed and which comprised a colorful space on my list of self-descriptions. Some of these qualities and characteristics are ingrained, deep-rooted in the sinews of my being, the caverns of my soul. Others are fleeting, I know this from experience and from sensation. I know that, while the vision I hold of my “identity” continues to blur and contort, I feel in my very marrow who I truly am. And it has nothing to do with any bullet points or any list.

That’s not to say the list holds no merit, that the bullet points aren’t achingly real and worthwhile in and of themselves. It’s just the [rather relieving] realization, like the sun slowly creeping up over the horizon to light the dark morning, that these are the least important facets of my connection to myself. That my “identity” is just that, just eight characters enclosed by quotation marks. Who invented quotation marks? Who decided that all these little characters would form words which would have meanings which, when grouped together, would imply grandiose theoretical concepts and philosophical musings?

People did. Human beings. Mere mortals. But we are not characters, we are not words, we are not yoked permanently in specific order to convey weighty meaning. We are more than that. We are indefinable. We are not our hair color, our pants size, our career title, our marital status. We are not a title or a status at all, in any regard, as a matter of fact. That would imply we are merely letters, whose role is to construct meaning of a larger picture. That might sound quite romantic or perhaps nauseatingly philosophical, but the truth is that we are so much more than that. We are the larger picture. Each one of us comprises our own large picture whilst also being a glittering rainbow fragment of the whole Divine piece.

Am I speaking to you?

Let me also clarify that this sweeping statement is not to say that our hair color, pants size, career title, marital status, what-have-you have to be meaningless to us. That’s just like asking the darkness to take a night off, let’s be honest. Sure, there are many sacred beings who are capable of complete vairagya, non-attachment, because they have practiced diligently. But for the average person, yogi or not, there will still be a tugging desire to attribute worth to these things. To answer the question “Who am I?” with these minute details. And that’s okay. That’s part of the practice.

Identifying with those details is one thing, knowing you are not those small titles and yet still acknowledging the ego’s desire to identify with them…that’s something else altogether. I believe it takes strength of spirit and of mind to draw the line between the two and then dance it.

It’s become rather comical to me how parallel my thoughts are to the frequency of the Universe these days, as I wrote about in depth in my last essay. So naturally I wasn’t surprised when I flipped open my latest issue of Yoga Journal for some morning reading and opened straight to an article on ego. There was a blurb illustrating an exercise on how to meditate on the question “Who am I?” I just laughed out loud (I’ve been working on the roots of this piece for a couple of weeks now and wrote half of it last night, before ever seeing this piece). Ah the Divine parallels, they are really everywhere.

Anyways, the point is that this question immediately triggers all sorts of “meaningless” answers. By meaningless I mean temporary and by answers I mean choices. Truly. It’s all a matter of perspective. Every crossroads in you rife, every heartbreak, everything that has led you to right here in this very moment has been a decision. Think about it. In some form or another, it’s been a choice (even if the choice were made subconsciously years prior, there is a ripple effect involved in the ultimate outcome, directing the course of your path). I read a Carl Jung quote yesterday that slips in here perfectly…

 “Until you make the unconscious conscious , it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

Is that not totally perfect? We are Divinely guided. We are a thread of awareness, a thread that has continued from the moment of birth until now, one which will continue until we leave these bodies. That is who we are. That sensation. Not the details, titles, roles, descriptions, stats. True identity is that one singular bit of ourselves that is unchanging. Think about that. Everything else about us has changed. Since infancy we’ve grown, gained weight, learned how to speak and write, gained further education, sustained injuries, lost teeth, grown new ones…I could go on and on. Our minds and bodies have been changing since the moment we first breathed air. This will continue until we take our last breath. The one unchanging force is the simple, invisible vibration of being.

We have worked hard to become who we are. Who knows how many lives have led us to this point. How many heartaches, achievements, lessons, moments of confusion, moments of bliss have led us to where we are now? It’s been a journey, I tell you, to be the 25 year old girl sitting here typing this; sitting here in this very skin, thinking these very thoughts, seeing life through the filter I’ve cultivated, acknowledging my fears and doubts in a way that before would have left me facedown on the bedroom carpet.

I have worked hard to become the young woman I am today. And I’m nowhere near done.

Neither are you. Neither is your partner. Or the mailman. Or your boss. We’re all perpetually half-baked (unless, perhaps, you’re a Swami and rapidly approaching enlightenment, but for the purposes of this essay let’s assume you’re not…).

I fought to become who I am. I’ve clawed out of the clammy darkness of despair, I’ve balanced the weight of triumph in the blinding sun, I’ve tolerated the confusion of bobbing in-between the two. I’ve learned to be my own fiercest champion rather than my own harshest critic (a continual lesson learned, a behavior executed better on some days than others…). I’ve seen how swiftly I can tear myself to shreds if I’m not on my side. I’ve seen how indomitable my fortress can be when I’m a stalwart supporter of my own cause…my existence. My survival. My growth. My inquiry.

So when next you ask yourself Who am I? I invite – no, I challenge – you to pause. Resist the urge to pepper the silence with waitress, girlfriend, photographer, woman, man, brother, healer…I challenge you to stand firm in the silence. Let it echo in your eardrums. Let the vibration of the question resonate. Reply only with your awareness. Reply by feeling. Become a living, breathing receptor. A mass of cells, pulsating, poised to transmit the energy of the cosmos. A beautiful expression of Divinity. Feel the frequency you emit. Quite literally, the heart is an electrical system; more subtle is the energetic system woven into your spiritual DNA. Both are firing rapidly on a momentary basis. Tap into this. Let the lightning bolt sensations be your answer. Who am I? Let’s go to the space that listens and find out…

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Intense Presence

Lately I have been having experiencing what I can only classify as “intense presence.” Lucid dreaming. Dejavu. Manifesting. Intuitive premonitions. Energy flowing freely. I’ve felt, at times, like I’m watching a silent film, the soundtrack to which plays almost perfectly timed in my mind. It may sound strange, as it’s an experience hard to capture and express verbally, but it feels natural and comfortable. To be frank I keep wondering when it’ll suddenly go away, as quickly as it came.

There are times for us all when we’re more or less tapped into our lives, not just our lives but the rhythm of our lives. The pulse of it. When we’re tapped into our intuition. This is one of those times for me. I find the deeper we sink into these spells when they come, the easier it is to lodge ourselves in a more permanent state of connectedness.

As of late I have been having lucid dreams, dreams that then penetrate my daily activities. I’ll be talking with someone at the market, or standing and people watching in the sun, and suddenly I’ll be overwhelmed with a portion of a dream I had. I’ll be driving through the tunnel and suddenly feel a dream-related wave of dejavu, a profound moment of clarity where two worlds collide. It’s been unearthly, to say the least.

But what I find most intriguing about this (other than how bloody fun it’s been!) is the notion I’ve extracted from the whole experience. The notion of “intense presence.” What does it mean to you to be intensely present? For some it might just mean unplugging from electronics, work, social media, entertainment and being physically and mentally there. Interacting with family. Making eye contact. Enjoying a meal. Hiking up a hill beneath a canopy of trees.

For others it might mean something a little different. It might mean moving past the mental and physical state and permeating the emotional state, perhaps even the spiritual state. Presence of the astral body. Cosmic connectedness. It might mean dreaming so vividly it’s sometimes hard to differentiate sleep visions from things that happened last week.

The latter is illustrative of what I’m living these days. Did I mention it was fun?

The past few days have been frightfully windy (disrupting my Vata and destabilizing me to the extreme, all the more apt to getting lost in my dreamy head and flitting around with neither rhyme nor reason) and we are coming up on the full moon (an energy I feel strongly every month, but more so this March moon). The ungrounded nature of my existence has lent even more fascination to the unambiguous and direct whisperings of the Divine Mother. Dream whisperings and waking thoughts mingling, blending lazily like watercolors, vague enough to be pretty but visible enough to be interpreted.

So what’s the point, you ask? (Pardon my putting words in your mouth but sometimes I wonder the same myself, what’s your point Sara? Land your plane…). I suppose it’s that we have the capacity to be far more present, intensely present, in our own lives than we ever thought possible. I know this because I’m experiencing it. And I believe deeply that it can only grow. We check out not just as a coping mechanism, but by nature. I think it’s been an evolution. I imagine the hurriedness of the world, technology and modern advancements, busy jobs and the art slash epidemic of multi-tasking, has given birth to the casually checked out state of most people nowadays. We go to yoga class and tune into our higher brain, we get in sync with our bodies, but then we walk out and boom…there’s that chaotic world again. Can we keep our cool when we pull out onto the busy road? Can we stay present once the voicemails start coming in and the to-do list materializes before our savasana-glazed eyes?

I don’t know about you, but I often can’t.

So what’s an earnest human being to do? What’s a mindful yogi to do?

I know this is totally shocking coming from a novice 25 year old, but I don’t have the answer for you 😉 Even in the handful of lives I know I’ve lived, I haven’t found the answer. What I’ve found is a feeling. A sensation. It’s the sensation that’s been suffusing my existence, both sleeping and waking, for weeks now. As you may know, I believe we are energetic beings within physical bodies. I believe the body to be our sacred little vessel, the container for our life-force. I believe, because of this, that we can actively tap into the flow of what we truly are. A thread of awareness, a stream of energy, a buzzing aura that can attract and deflect and absolutely radiate. I believe, with practice (perhaps several lives of practice), we can live in this state. Sure, life in all its forms will still exist for us, we’ll still get stuck in traffic and have arguments with our loved ones, we’ll still bleed and cry and sweat, but we’ll be operating on a different level. Vibrating on a higher frequency. Hyper-aware at all times of what and who we truly are, holding that awareness in open palms, letting it wax and wane with the pulls and tugs of the Universe. We can be beings of light, spiritual warriors, in a human world.

If you want proof of how possible this is, I have a slice of it for you right here. So I’ve been writing this piece for about thirty to forty-five minutes. I have gotten up a number of times (can’t sit still syndrome) to wash the dishes, further muse over this essay, to practice some handstands, to get more water…but, as I’m wrapping this piece up, I get the inclination to click over and check my email (in true, short attention span form). What has landed lightly in my inbox? A newsletter from Yoga Journal entitled “Embody the Present.”

Whoa.

What’s even more Whoa is what the newsletter said. It started with, “Our culture values productivity and speed. Before we know it, we’re embroiled in a perpetual battle with time, missing out on our connections to our deeper selves and to others,” and ended with, “Let go of the need to achieve more. When you can stop grasping, even if only for a little while, you can access that state of flow, remain in the present, and enjoy and harvest the time that is available to you.”

I mean…is that not precisely what I’ve been writing about? I’m telling you. This is what has been happening to me, for weeks now. Divine parallels. I’m thinking something, really thinking hard on it, and boom – it manifests before my eyes. I emit an energy, backed by spirit and surrender, and boom – the Universe presents the mirror energy. I have a dream, vivid and sharp, and boom – the next day my waking world curls in around the same sensation, embracing what my soul has been up to as my body slept.

This is what’s been happening for and to me and it’s what can happen for and to you too, if you so desire. A focused mind, an open heart and a pinprick sharp intention are the only tools needed to get in touch with this fluid existence. It’s already inside of you, it’s inside of me. It’s the gently moving waters of real life. Not earthly life, but the life energy that was present long before humans ever walked this planet; the same energy that will go on long after we’ve all departed. The intangible, untouchable, fathomless infinity. That is what we are made of, and all you have to do is look within and see your reflection…dip your fingers into the waters, of true identity. Wade in ankle deep and let the current just carry you.

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7 Tips for a Healthier, Happier, Fitter You

If only there were a set recipe for ultimate health and wellness I could offer you, that would sure make things a lot easier, right? Easier but far more boring, if you ask me. Instead, I have suggestions. We are all very different, which is what comprises the beauty of individuality, but there are certain practices that can fortify nearly anyone’s wellness practice. Here are just a few.

      1. Sleep
        I literally cannot emphasize enough the importance of sleep. Sleep is when we repair, rebuild and replenish. Our cells, our organs, our beautiful bodies literally regenerating during those 8 hours. Naturally there are doing to be times when something comes up; you can’t fall asleep, you decide to stay up later than usual for some occasion, whatever. It’s important in these instances to not stress over the lack of sleep, that will only hinder your feeling well the next day even further. Just accept it and let it be. Trust your body to carry you through the next day on a little less sleep and commit to being diligent about 8 hours the majority of the time. You will see and feel a difference.
      2. Magnesium
        Epsom salt baths, chocolate (yes, I said chocolate!), dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds. Here’s the catch with the chocolate (you knew there had to be a catch) – go for dark chocolate. Ideally raw, organic cacao. I buy the powder and the nibs and use both in many divine recipes like my Chocolate Banana Porridge. You can also buy high quality chocolate bars too, but opt for 80% cacao and higher. The issue with many chocolate bars is the added sugar. Sugar is, in essence, poison. Not when consumed in moderation, of course, but sugar is added to nearly everything in the Standard American Diet (even pasta sauces and breads, for goodness sake!). So aim for raw cacao or super dark chocolate to reap the antioxidant and magnesium benefits. Magnesium is the relaxation mineral and is abundant in healthy foods. Up your intake to feel calmer, sleep better and boost your physical wellbeing immensely.
      3. Move your body
        Aim for 30 minutes per day, every day. It’s really not as challenging as it sounds. Movement is movement. It might be a yoga flow class, it might be a brisk walk; perhaps it’s an aerobics class or it could be mowing the lawn. Yes, even scrubbing the kitchen and doing a few loads of laundry can count. Time spent moving. Find some, every day.
      4. Leafy greens
        Again with the magnesium (but seriously), and additionally leafy greens are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. With cleansing and detoxifying properties in abundance, noshing on fresh dark leafies every day will give your liver a loving nudge and keep toxins moving through the body post haste. Leafy greens also alkalize the body. What does a detoxed, alkaline body mean? Health, energy, vibrancy, a strong immune system and, usually, a lovely little glow. Health from the inside out.
      5. Breathe
        Speaking of a lovely glow, keeping the body oxygenated is a phenomenal way to nourish every single cell. Deep “belly breaths,” as my dad calls them, are a great way to not only oxygenate the blood, boost circulation and increase lung capacity, but it also stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system (translation: it triggers your relaxation response!). Diaphragmatic breathing is another excellent technique that can seriously reduce stress. Remember stress is super high on the list of cancer-causing, aging, detrimental “offenders,” so fending stress off in any way possible is a key component of health. Fighting stress can be as simple as breathing, who knew? A good reason to take a deep sigh of relief.

      6. Stretch
        I categorize stretching all by itself, rather than grouping it with “moving the body.” I do this because I find stretching to be so incredibly important, even away from one’s workout or exercise regime. Stretching is a great way to increase blood flow, boost circulation, gain flexibility and calm the mind. A gentle evening stretching routine before bed can sincerely support healthy digestion, restful sleep and a general sense of “unwinding” at the end of the day. It can also help muscles recover after a workout, prevent soreness and assist the body in being better prepared for the next day’s workout or activities. Try pairing the stretching with the deep breathing for an added health and wellness bonus 😉
      7. Spontaneous Gratitude 

        I recommend practicing spontaneous gratitude at least once per day. What I lovingly refer to as my “spontaneous gratitude practice” is merely coming up with an impulsive list of whatever strikes me in that moment as wonderful. Expressing gratitude for the things we have, bodies and health included, the people in our lives and blessings seen and unseen keeps us connected to our existence spiritually. Joy and gratitude are contagious. They emit a frequency, changing the energetic rhythm of the world that surrounds us, and this practice keeps us anchored in life’s essence: being present and appreciative of every gift, in every moment. Gratitude and acknowledgement of one’s blessings is the foundation of a healthy, happy self. Think of this last practice as spiritual fitness.

Well there you have it, my loves. There are certainly many wellness suggestions I could make, but these seven top my list today. You can easily be on your way to feeling healthier, happier and fitter by implementing some of these simple, accessible tips into your daily routine. Remember, lasting change happens over a span of time, not overnight. So be patient, be kind and loving to yourself, and know that you are capable of anything you put your mind to. Now go have a good stretch, some deep breaths and a full night’s sleep 😉

x x be well, lovebursts.

healthy-living

ROO #23: Sara Courter on Holistic Healing, Nutrition, and Writing

Honored to be featured on the Running On Om podcast today. Click here to check out the show. Julia is the creator and she is nothing short of sunshine. Love and light beautiful, beautiful beings. As ever, thank you for being a part of this journey. I could not breathe as deeply, smile as widely or love as fully without every single one of you. x x

ROO #23: Sara Courter on Holistic Healing, Nutrition, and Writing.