Unrestrained by Demons

It’s been quite a year. Can you relate? I’m not speaking of 2016 (although…my heavens, 2016 has been filled with revelations and reckoning), but rather the last 12, 13, 14 months themselves. The last…long while. So much self-reflection and quite painful investigation into the what’s and why’s of this life.

It can get heavy. Being an emotional being can at times be draining, can leave us feeling depleted and weepy. The lows can get as low as they get high. It can become incredibly daunting to process the ups and downs of life, to navigate one’s own emotional liberation, while still going out everyday and operating as a functioning member of society. That sounds dramatic, but do you ever feel as though the sheer weight of processing your own grievances feels like a full-time endeavor? One you want to just commit yourself to for a week (or five), in solitude, surrounded by healing, supportive space and silence? It’s so challenging to sort through our thoughts when we’re burdened by the need to simultaneously work, maintain relationships, construct the outward appearance of having it all together (not that we’re meant to pretend that our suffering doesn’t exist, but most days no matter how lost in our heads we want to get, we still have to be adults and live our lives). This is reality, despite the suffocating moments of fear and anxiety that visit us all, from time to time.

It can be really tempting to live a life shut off from that emotional processing. Because it’s just hard. The idea of avoiding all that mess can seem easier. Sometimes denial can look, from afar, like such a cozy alternative; not having to feel our feelings, not being blindsided and ambushed by the underbelly of what it means to be an emotional creature in this huge, undulating universe.

But I would never again choose that alternative. I’ve lived in it before; the stuffy, damp, darkly shrouded realm of denial. It’s isolated. It’s claustrophobic. It actually doesn’t feel safe at all. If you’ve ever been there, you probably know that it feels like laying in a dark room with a heavy box on your chest. Even though the box may be like Pandora’s, filled with a whole mess of stuff, it can be far more productive, albeit terrifying, to throw open the windows and start sorting through the aching feelings and thoughts that lay locked up and waiting for our attention.

This stuff – the wading through the suffering, I mean – is, as I view it, the price we pay for being alive.

I’m currently reading (slowly, savoring) my favorite author, Elizabeth Gilbert’s, newest book Big Magic. Liz’s prose slay me. She is, as I say, one of those authors that “makes you feel so much more comfortable with being alive.” Because, let’s be honest, the human condition can feel really intense, lonely, daunting, and uncomfortable at times. Liz reminds us that fear (insert: trepidation, personal demons, struggles – all manifestations of fear) is always with us. She suggests that we be inclined to accept and embrace our fear. Invite it along on the journey we are taking with creativity (insert: love, joy, adventure, abundance – all manifestations of creative living). Her brilliant concept is that, on this road trip of life, we are driving, creativity gets the front seat, and fear gets the backseat. Fear is welcome to come along (because we don’t actually have any choice in the matter, do we?), and it is allowed to speak up, but it does not get to decide where we’re going. It does not get to lay its hands on the map, or even fiddle with the radio station (Liz, seriously, is my greatest inspiration as a writer – this stuff comes from the creative depths of her imagination – what a vision! – get thee to a bookstore and buy yourself Big Magic).

What a notion, right? I feel, and I’m speaking for myself here, that the overwhelming urge is to banish fear, and all its expressions, from my life. I have been standing outside the car, arms crossed, brow furrowed, tapping my toe impatiently waiting for fear to unbuckle, get out of my backseat, and let me get on with my journey.

I might as well turn my distressed gaze upward and start looking for pigs flying.

I’m not proposing, nor is my great hero Elizabeth Gilbert, that we should be super comfortable with the idea of carrying fear around in our back pockets. It’s uncomfortable; it’s supposed to be. But this is the non-negotioable byproduct of having been gifted the most exquisite opportunity of creative living (which we all have been gifted, by being born as human beings with opposable thumbs and incredible cognitive function and hearts so gloriously capable of being wrecked by love that they could just swallow up the whole world with their power for adoration).

We all have our “things” that hold us back. We all have our demons. But we are worthy of living lives unrestrained by demons. If we can, collectively, stop waiting for the demons to release us, for fear to get out of the car, and just realize this uncooperative passenger is going to endlessly serve as a beacon of where we don’t wish to go (because, at its root, fear is a mechanism of self-preservation, sounding off when danger might be present), we can see its purpose. We are high-functioning human beings with the discerning power to notice when we are being chased by a lion and fear should get to use its lung power with all its might, for good rather than evil…and when faith, love, intuition, and creativity are being drowned by the drunken, garbled hollering of our backseat fear (who somehow seems to have climbed onto the dashboard and got its sticky hands on a microphone).

We have the capacity to take a step back, look at our lives, and see where we’re being pinned (or, sometimes, glued) to a spot we no longer wish to be. We have the power to investigate why we’re immobilized. We have the capability to change that.

I have a tendency of getting stuck in a rut. I am fearful of change, and the unknown brings me great anxiety. A life of ritual and routine has brought me great comfort. My chest grows a bit tight at the image of jet-setting wanderlusts, living out of suitcases and going where the wind blows. No, no, I’ll wait patiently for my niiiiiiice, detailed itinerary please.  But that’s just me. And a huge part of this presses is in getting to know ourselves, and embracing our quirks and tendencies. Learning, through trial and error, where to push our boundaries and where to respect our needs. I went heaving and hyperventilating into a 3-month study abroad venture overseas back in 2009. I literally fought for breath and sucked on tears as I wrestled with the militant French operator and a dinky little calling card in a Parisian phone booth, begging my mom to come and visit because WHO DECIDED IT WAS OKAY TO PUT AN OCEAN BETWEEN US FOR A QUARTER OF A YEAR and I hadn’t slept in 36 hours and HOW DID I GET TO FRANCE?

By the end of my trip I was seriously devoted to finding a way (ANY way) to stay in Italy, cash in my plane ticket, and preserve the little world I had created with my friends in this foreign land where everything exotic had become familiar and reality was suspended in favor of 20 year old, wide-eyed, first-time independence.

…didn’t see that coming.

What made it so wonderful and tolerable was that, after the initial shock and severe discomfort of having no familiarity, no routine, and no way of predicting what was ahead…I reestablished all of those things that kept my needs met. I made routines. I settled into my Florentine flat, put my belongings in their new places, found a local market, carved new neural pathways in my brain, got to know my surroundings, created nourishing relationships, and set up a daily routine. All while testing my boundaries.

I did return home as planned, fortunately, but I do think back regularly and fondly on my time living Europe as an experience I’m so deeply grateful I had. It showed me I am capable of wrestling fear to the ground and making a run for it.

Letting go of control and powering through the impending horror such an act produces makes for a sweet, intoxicating exhale; like a flood of dopamine, or (on some much smaller level) the ecstatic amnesia a new mother experiences, forgetting the pain and agony of birth upon beholding their precious infant.

It is so tempting to stay on the shore where everything is safe and protected. But, the reality is that we only perceive this space to be safe and protected. It’s a deeply seductive act, for many of us, to try and preserve a sense of stability and safety by putting on our control freak panties and hyper-managing every aspect of our lives. This doesn’t make us safe. This sacrifices sanity for perceived safety. Not even real safety. Just our carefully constructed belief patter of “if I do this, and this, and this, everything will stay okay. I will be safe.” That is a very sad and disappointing way to live each day, I think.

I’m not saying we all need to turn our lives upside down, or go jump on a plane and live in Europe for 3 months in order to experience life from a place of love and creativity rather than fear (though maybe the thought makes your heart skip a beat and, actually, is just the type of experience you do need). For many of us, though, the healing medicine can be found on a much smaller scale. It can be accessed in our day-to-day lives. It might just mean doing things differently today than you did yesterday (that is often a big enough shake up for me, honestly, as a diligent creature of habit). It also doesn’t mean things have to be different every single day, because ritual and routine are beautiful and holy, just so long as they don’t come from a place of fear and seal every crack in the structure where love and creativity might try to seep in and stir things up.

Maybe it means starting a creative project or finishing a degree. Maybe it’s finding the courage to use some of that built up PTO and taking a trip. Maybe it’s climbing out of the unemployment shame and getting excited about a new career. Maybe it means going to a yoga class for the first time or revisiting a forgotten passion for hiking. Maybe it means going out to eat, or maybe it means staying in and preparing a favorite recipe. It could mean asking for help. It could be breaking a pattern of isolation and going out with friends, for an introvert. It could be a day or night of self-care and indulgent alone time at home, for an extrovert. Perhaps it’s looking at your body in the mirror and not breaking your gaze until you are able to see yourself through the eyes of someone who loves you unconditionally. Maybe it’s a commitment to a new routine, or maybe it’s the courage to break out of a rut. Maybe it’s the act of daring greatly enough to build an avenue between the two.

Whatever it is, whatever your sweet, pulsing heart knows in its very depths is an act of great courage…that is the first step in your journey. We all have demons (not a one of us is immune, no matter how “perfect” someone else’s existence and “put together” life may seem…they too struggle, I promise).

We all experience loss, fatigue, sadness, anxiety, depression, negative self-talk, FEAR. We are all united in this human condition, no matter what ways our fear and creativity display themselves. We may look different, but we are not. We are all the same. We are all paddling our little boats furiously towards freedom and love. But perhaps, in a joint effort of all the eyes reading this, we together can start to see our fear as something new. Rather than a block of darkness, threatening to sink our boat, we can view our fear as something useful. As a necessary component on our journey, an irreplaceable cog in our wheel of healing. A threatening shadow of heaviness to keep the brilliant light from blinding our eyes; a little hunk of pressure providing just enough weight to slow our speed, so that we don’t race feverishly past all the opportunities to pause, and be shattered by the staggering beauty of how very far we’ve already come.

 

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On the Other Side of Fear

I have news : we’re human. This means we are not, will never be, and have never been (nor were we INTENDED to be) p e r f e c t.
We fuck up.
We make mistakes.
We’re here to LEARN.
We trip and slip and curse and break. Things, ourselves, each other.
Anyone claiming to be perfect or holier than thou is full of it. They mean well, surely, but it’s bull.
I am flawed. Deeply. But you know what? I have learned that what I love MOST about others is often what they consider to be their own flaws. Crazy, right? That what I adore, someone actually feels insecure about.
So let’s stop chasing our tails expecting to wake up one day able to do it perfectly. Everything. We’re not INTENDED to, it’s not what we’re here to accomplish. Perfection. It’s an illusion.
We’re here to LOVE.
Bigger, harder; relentlessly.
We’re here to fuck up and then go, “Oh, that sucked, I’m not gonna do that again.”
We’re here to be messy, to be disciplined about some things and an utter wreck with other things.
We’re here to do what feels good, to injure as little as possible, to bond in our humanity.
We’re here to be REAL. Authentic. It’s kind of a rare trait these days. Especially in this little Narnia land of social media.
I am drawn to my brothers and sisters who share their vulnerability, who aren’t afraid to admit they’re HUMAN and real, who shake the world and do incredible work, but who also share their shitty days and biggest fears and most nauseating insecurities.
Does it make us any less mystical or spiritual or successful or capable to admit we’re flawed? To curse? To get heated? To love persistently? To gush adoration for every sentient being? To get pissed in traffic?
N.O.
We’re human. We all put our pants on one leg at a time. We can admire and adore and idolize and worship others all we want, but in the end, we all have a heartbeat. We are all temporally here, together, to do the best we can.
The moment we stop taking ourselves so seriously, the moment we start accepting and embracing ourselves FIRST, regardless of the “likes” or agreement – is the moment we step into our authenticity.
It’s a sweet space. Let’s meet there.

XO
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Honey in the Heart ~ Gemini Full Moon

Full moon in Gemini tomorrow morning at 4:27am (for us in California…7:27am Eastern, 11:27am for my Aussies and 1:27pm in Europe). The sun is still in Sagittarius, which interestingly, the moon also was when we set intentions at the start of this cycle. This celestial positioning is really supportive of seeing visions to fruition. Finishing what we started (perfect timing for the end of a lap around the sun, yeah?). As the year closes, let’s harness this full moon potential more than any of the 11 before it. There’s mercurial energy abounding, beckoning clarity and truth, full disclosure with Self and other. I’ve been sensing a strong urge in the cosmos to incite the SEEKER within. Do you feel it? We are all seekers, by nature, but our external attachments and identifications can distract us and potentially even knock us off this path. It’s mean to be that way. That’s part of the seeking. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. It is VERY easy to leak all of our energy into the abyss, focusing on “action” and losing sight of VISION. The Gemini full moon begs both logic and intuition, a sultry yoking of yin and yang. Making sh*t happen whilst staying rooted in Grace and Divine Femininity. The energy building is like the trembling felt before a quake. You know? Pebbles rattling forth and back, cracks in the pavement bracing themselves to split wide open and let the mirth of Divinity erupt. This is a precipice. Not one of destruction; yes this quake will do some demolishing, it will leave a gaping hole, but it is just the surgically reconstructive measure you’ve been calling forth into your life this entire year. Think about it…this little calm before the storm, fully illuminated by Chandra Herself, is a sacred space in which to have a little dance, take a good look at what’s about to unfurl, and invite some lighthearted play into your realm. Make space for all that is to burst forth organically. There’s no work to be done but to be present and to foster the needle-fine thread of balance between inward devotion and outward expression. Don’t bottle up a thing; express everything you’re feeling, COMMUNICATE, whether it’s to the pages of your journal, your partner, your own spirit or the Goddess Herself. Remember how POTENT the full moon energy is. It amplifies everything. So be wise and meticulous about said communication. Be playful and easy but also rooted in vision. Let the magnified energy of abundance assist you in weaving a sturdy equilibrium between action and vision. Let the high energy FEEL GOOD. Let Chandra illuminate within you what is already organically there. Let the seeds you’ve planted be fertilized. Sit in the moonlight, lick the raindrops from your chin, set out your crystals to charge and your moonfusion elixir to steep. It’s time to let go. It’s time to release. Fortify yourself for the coming solstice and the return of the sun by gently laying fear down, a sweet and grateful release, as it’s led us to where we are right now. Lay fear down gently, my loves, and plunge honey heart first into the sweet, warm, pulsing energy of all you’ve manifested…into the sacred nectar of life that awaits. Happy full moon, earth angels. ❤

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Give All Back to Spirit

Say “God” in a yoga room – much less any other room – and you may well lose half your class. Figuratively and even literally. The notion of God is tangled mercilessly in the web of religion. The image of a man in the sky with a long white beard ruling over humanity with staff in hand may come to mind when the G-word is dropped. Many of us were raised religious; some of us were even provided quite a patriarchal network painted as religion. Religion aside, though, God is a word often skirted around for fear of the ensuing implications. My yoga teacher Seane Corn has the greatest definition of God. It is, “that which exists within that is of truth and love.” Who could argue with that, right?

God, by this definition, exists within us all. God is whatever and whomever we, as individuals, deem proper. You could be drawn to the word “God,” or perhaps Divine Mother, cosmic consciousness, the Universe, higher Self or the powers that be resonate more deeply with you. The point is, God is me as God is you as God is everyone. We are all part of the Divine fabric, intricately woven threads each endowed with our own, marvelous sprinkling of Grace. Our expressions of spirituality are different, our prayers different, our vibration different. This is how it is meant to be! There have been wars waged over religion; unfathomable blood shed over what God is or isn’t. It’s devastating to consider, especially when the truth (as far as I see it) is no one man or woman is more Godly than another. We are all Godly. It’s just a matter of how, or if, we choose to express it.

How does one go about expressing God in day-to-day life? Kindness. Compassion. Love. Generosity. Gratitude. Just to name a few. While cathedrals and chapels and shrines are stunning, we needn’t go to such trouble to express our devotion on a moment-to-moment basis. We are Divine expressions of God in and of ourselves! Our bodies are our temples. Our breath and movement is our prayer. Our very existence is an expression of devotion and, with mindfulness and commitment to Self and other, we have the capacity to fortify the unification of humanity.

I am a yoga teacher and soul activist who is deeply spiritual and open about my faith in Grace, the Divine and intangible cosmic beauty. On this path, I have been faced repeatedly with the judgment that yoga is a religion. I was even told recently that all yogis are “going to hell” because they fancy themselves “above God.” What the what? First of all, the ancient system of yoga originated in India. It is a multi-layered practice, and asana is only one limb. Yoga is not a religion. Hinduism and Buddhism are the two most well known religions associated with the yoga practice, but they are completely separate.

It’s important to differentiate between spirituality and religion. Religion is the subscription to a specific dogma. “A particular system of faith or worship,” according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. On the other hand, spirituality is less a practice and more an embodiment. It is defined as “relating to or affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things; not concerned with material values of pursuits.” Quite different, yes? I will definitely admit there are some grey areas. A religious person can be deeply spiritual. But, on the contrary, there are countless spiritual beings who are not religious in the slightest. So one must be mindful of how one does differentiate, if discussing religion and spirituality. Especially when yoga is involved in the conversation!

Spirit is where we all came from. The Divine essence of existence. The pulse of the Universe. The rhythms of nature and the cosmos, the steady thread of unchanging bliss. My guru, Mynx Inatsugu, taught me what our “true nature” actually is. We are not the bodies we live in. We are not the minds we have in our heads. We are not the titles and various identities we accumulate throughout our lives. Because all of these are changing. Our bodies grow and age, our minds learn and change, our identifications come and go. The one steady constant we have had since coming into this life is the simple thread of awareness we were born with. It is unchanging. It is unaffected by weight, height, intelligence, memory, success or failure. It is the sweet nectar of our very being. It is our own personal dose of Spirit.

Spirit comes from the Latin root “spiritus” meaning “breath.” As yogis, and as human beings, everything comes back to the breath. Breath is life. Breath is prana; life force; sacred energy. Without the breath, we cannot survive. Similarly, without Spirit, we cannot survive. We can live completely disconnected from Spirit, in denial of it, or completely oblivious to it…but it will persist. It is threaded into our very spiritual matrix. We are vessels of Divinity. We are conduits of Grace. We are Gods and Goddesses in the flesh. We can argue it all we want, but we are vibrational beings of light living human lives on this sweet little planet. We come from the stars; we are literally made of stardust. The human restrictions of flesh and thought cannot contain us; we are inconceivably more than anything any human mind could even process. What power that offers, right? We all have this inherent capacity to “be good and do good,” by birthright. We are all cut of the same cloth.

It’s really easy to identify and cling to the changeable nature of things. Money, possessions, politics, relationships. It’s practically impossible not to cling to these things, at least some of the time. But the real problem lies in the belief in duality. The belief that you are different than I am. The belief that what I’m doing is wrong and what you’re doing is right. Seane Corn says that all things happen exactly as they’re meant to “so as for our souls to transform.” We are on a journey, all of us. We are here to grow, expand, transform and learn. We are here to spread love and be love but, most of all, we are here to remember how to love. We are here to teach each other. We are here to spend every single day practicing the art of seeing God in one another, of practicing compassion and kindness, to our Selves and to others. We are here with a great responsibility to the very magic of which we are comprised…to recognize the power that lies within, to never forget it, and to stand in awe of the great gift we have been given. You are God, you are Spirit and you are perfect – absolutely perfect ­– just by breathing.

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Fundamental Truths

As I stood at the kitchen sink meditatively massaging the inside of a large pan with the soapy sponge, I was struck with a wave of nostalgia. I had a sudden and vivid memory of the first time I learned the difference between “pot” and “pan.” This must have been a memory from grade school, a grammar lesson, but it suddenly felt fresh in my cells. I couldn’t help but marvel at the sensation. We are students of the universe, constantly learning and ever-evolving. But the teaching of such simple knowledge? The acquisition of fundamental truths? Most of these happened early on in our sweet little lives, when we were just wee little kiddos.

I remember learning how to address an envelope in second grade, and mailing ourselves letters as practice. I recall practicing the alphabet, and later cursive, on dotted line worksheets at smooth desks poised on the edge tiny chairs. I can visualize the finger paints on my skin in preschool as I was familiarized with the color wheel, the new shades created when one puddle mixes with another.

I am stages away from finishing up my post-grad studies and will soon be a Certified Nutritionist. Just yesterday I spoke with my mom about the wonder of learning. The conversation was prompted by an experience with an acquaintance earlier that day. A man in his late forties or early fifties, I presume, someone who knows my general doings and the brushstrokes of my educational route. Yesterday he asked me my age. When I replied that I’m 26 he nodded. “I was 30 when I learned Swedish,” he said matter-of-factly, “and it was hard.” I nodded in appreciation, taking in his words.

It is harder now to make space for new, foreign information that it was at the start of college, I suppose. I couldn’t quite grasp whether there was truth to the concept for me, in this moment, at this point in my life. But upon reflection, and prompted by this sudden memory just now at the sink, I am rather amazed by the notion. When we’re children, we’re blank slates, fresh canvases. We have space and capacity for learning likely greater than our own knowing. But as we age, on both a physical and psychological level, it’s more challenging to retain new information. It’s not to say we can’t achieve phenomenal intellectual feats or become greatly educated later in life, not at all. Many of the greatest scholars, philosophers, authors and thinkers actually came into themselves later in their lives. We gain more wisdom and clarity the  more life we have in our rearview mirrors. But it’s simply a a fact that we have less “empty space” the more life we have lived, the more we have experienced, the more we have filed away in our minds.

We don’t have less capacity for learning, we just have more information cluttering the sky-high shelves of our intellect. Grammar, mathematics, locker combinations, pin numbers, passwords, names, song lyrics, directions, memories…it goes on and on. Our brains, if we could open them up and uncoil them onto the table for inspection, would provide miles and miles of fascinating, brilliant, mundane, useless and priceless information. Facts and dreams and images and ideas. We are brilliant time capsules, walking encyclopedias, sponges ever soaking up the data we are drenched in with each waking day.

How beautiful is this? This life, this capacity to learn, to know, to forget and to learn again. How nice would it be to take a clean cloth to the parts of our brains that are crammed with useless information…wiping the slate and making space to be filled with new, fresh material. I’m fascinated by this concept. Who’s to say we can’t do that?

Sure, we can’t literally take a cloth to the inside of our brains (please don’t try this at home). But what we can do is access our pineal gland, the “seat to our soul,” our third eye. We can tap into our intuition, via mediation and self-reflection (journaling, pranayama, silent time spent immersed in nature, sitting down to the sensory feast provided by the world on a moment-to-moment basis – if only we could stop and have a listen…). We have the power to harness our dreams, our waking thoughts, and embody them to their utmost capacity. As beings of light we are not just here to know pin numbers and memorize formulas and learn languages. Yes, we need to do these things too, but what if we mindfully sectioned off a portion of the brain to contain this monotony, and opened the rest up to the Divine? What if we offered all that remaining space, with fiercely beautiful intention, to the realm of creativity, passion, artistry and imagination?

What if we dropped the “what if” and just did it? What then? I think we might amaze ourselves.

We were born to be creators, passion flaming, we were born as artists, imaginations wild and unbound. The human brain is a brilliant, brilliant phenomenon. The amount of potential we have is greatly more than we actually access, on average. The human mind is another phenomenon altogether; I see the brain as the physical manifestation of the mind. The mind is much more encompassing. The mind operates outside of the brain, all the way to the fingertips, it emanates from the body via thoughts and energetic intentions. I believe the brain is exercised by fundamental truths…pot versus pan, red versus blue, 7^2 is 49, slavery was abolished in 1865. I believe the mind is exercised by tapping into magic…meditation, imagination, singing, writing, taking photographs, music, dancing, drinking in the beauty of nature, making love, laughing, delighting in colors, moving the body with breath, pranayama, deep relaxation, studying, reading, embodying utter stillness and presence, mindful intention setting, journaling, dreaming.

We’re pretty set on the brain exercises. Most of us operate on a day-to-day basis working jobs, driving cars, going to the bank, paying bills. We are bombarded by numbers, decisions, equations, formulas and details almost incessantly. Our left brain is, I dare say, chronically overstimulated. Our right brain, however, often gets shut down in order to make more space for logic, reasoning, critical thinking. But that only gets us so far. Because, while I’m grateful to have the capacity for discernment, what does it really matter if I call the pan a pan or if I call it a pot? It doesn’t matter. It will cook my vegetables nonetheless. But if I marvel at the texture of the pot pan, if I get lost in a poem about the way the food sizzles upon its surface, the way the fragrance rises, curling seductively from the stovetop, warming the kitchen while the frosty winter air clings threateningly to the outsides of the windows…that matters. That is an experience worth making space for.

My point is that there is a serene oneness between these two seemingly separate entities. The right and left brain are one. The reason and the intuition lean on one another, support one another. The structure is not sound without one or the other. So let’s work on our right brain exercises. This means: permission to daydream. Permission to make up songs, barefoot in the kitchen, while scrambling eggs in a pot and boiling soup in a pan. While drinking tea from a bowl and broth from a mug. While standing on the ceiling, steam curling upwards toward the floor. Because what’s a name without an image to match it? What’s reason without recognition? We are the creators of our own universe. We are the pilots of our own orbit and we determine whether we fly through thick fog, trusting we are flying because we’re in a plane…or soaring above the clouds, drinking in the blues and pinks of the sky, toasting in the heat of the sun and cooling in the light of the moon, taking in valleys and mountains, ocean and treetops, letting rain wash clean our exterior and humidity cleanse us from the inside out. We can know we’re flying because we see it, we feel it, we taste it and we hear it. We can know we’re flying because we have given life to the world around us.

You’re flying, didn’t you know? We are in flight, and that is the most fundamental truth that has ever been.

Awaken.

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Convergence

This is the time to be focused on setting intentions. I mean, really putting your entire being into it. The autumnal equinox is Tuesday, closely followed by Wednesday’s new moon. This latent energy is sooo powerful and it’s just WAITING for you to tap it. What do you seek in your life? What do you wish you could change? What, if anything, would you blink into existence if you could this very moment? YOU are in control of your actions, YOU make the rules. Use this power. Harness it. Turn your eyes to the sky, open your palms and unfasten the latch of your heart … let Divinity pour in. You have the power. What are you planting?

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It is no coincidence that mama earth’s new moon cycle begins right on the heels of the autumnal equinox. This convergence of energy is pooooootent. Don’t underestimate it. A space of deep release, renewal and utmost potential – as inherent beings of Divine light we are always poised on the precipice of our highest potential, but these celestial events magnify and heighten the intentions we are setting and the vibrations of manifestation we emit into the universal frequency on a daily basis. USE this time. Don’t underestimate your innate power to create your life, down to the sweetest little pockets that are hidden from the rest of the world. Find some space this evening to retreat inward…design an image of the life you desire. Envision the energy that naturally builds (that feeling in your belly or chest that bubbles up when you really melt into the details of a fantasy of joy and contentment) emanating from your very being. Like little cell messengers floating into the abyss to do the work of the Divine. Journal your intentions, or simply state them aloud. Acknowledge the things that no longer serve you, the things you wish to release, or even scrawl them onto paper and burn them at sunset. Whatever you decide to do, give yourself the gift of intention-setting and the gift of mindful release. Then let go. Palms upward, heart open, set free everything that you wish to cultivate as well as everything that is no longer serving you. Emptying the container so as to be filled. This life is a sacred gift. May we live it to our fullest potential in every breath. Namaste ❤

The equinox is just after midnight here in this realm, and the new moon is tomorrow. Join me for an #SMF (social media fast) and tap deeply into the current of energy, the conscious collective, by abstaining from all web distraction for the remainder of the equinox and new moon. Let the Divine infiltrate your cellular matrix. Be free.

Burning Karma

Do you feel this fierce new moon energy? Holy cow! Rich and ripe…wafting all around, ours for the taking. The three days leading to and following the new moon are the most potent for access. A time for self-inquiry, visualization, meditation, affirmation, intention setting and, ultimately, RELEASE. Release what no longer serves you, make space for what you seek and desire; release positive intentions with palms open to the heavens and harness Her energy of potential. Shedding old skin, shimmying out of the outermost layer which has fulfilled its purpose, spreading our wings and fearlessly accepting this Divine offering of the Mother…the same one She bestows upon us every single month. What a gift! A night of darkness, holding for us the sweet space of renewal. We are being reborn with every breath, each cell bathing in new life faster than we can comprehend. We are miracles, and we are offered this natural, rhythmic, celestial miracle every single cycle; this opportunity to purge, to be vulnerable, to empty completely….so that we may stand in our strength, and let ourselves be filled up again, drop by sacred drop. Vessels of the Divine.

What a complete whirlwind of change the last couple weeks in my world have been, I tell you. So much release, so much shifting, I almost can’t keep up. We took up something on social media, within our little Tribe, called the Gratitude Challenge. For five days we posted three things for which we were grateful for or felt positive about. It. Was. Incredible. It bled into so many different realms within the inter webs that the effect was resounding. It spread to other nations, and it diluted the otherwise mundane and meaningless bombardment of social media with something truly pure and beneficial.

It led me to create a branch of The R3 Movement called the Radical Self-Care Pledge. Simply a pledge to be as diligent to one’s self-care as one is to one’s job or hobbies, fitness routine or social life. A promise to be radical, radiant and revolutionary in the act of self-care, as it is one of self-preservation, not selfish but rather a fortification to preserve the energy one needs to be a force of nature in this world. I’ve been loving the pledge, needless to say. A reason to find even the tiniest pocket of space every single day for me, just me.

On the heels of this, and totally in relation to its creation, I also launched my Social Media Fast (#SMF on instagram). It was completely inspired by Jessica Sepel’s JS Health “switch-off” where she goes media-free for a day each week. I was enamored by the idea and have taken to this practice myself. For one day each week, no social media. No Facebook, instagram, twitter, email, internet. It. Is. Brilliant. The effects are palpable. A quietness…a solitude. I’ll admit even a loneliness, at times, has risen to the surface. So interesting to observe how I fill space with these devices, get lost in a world that is, in essence, not a world at all. It’s clear that we so often use social media as an escape, a social life perhaps at times, and as a black hole when we are exhausted or craving distraction. I think that social media is brilliant for entrepreneurs (thank Goodness I have been able to promote my writing on Facebook, it’s connected me to so many incredible souls I can’t even begin to fathom how difficult it would be to network without these platforms!), expanding social circles (I have become friends with many unfamiliar faces from the yoga studio now just because of the wonderful Gratitude Challenge) and for sharing beautiful, uplifting thoughts. The latter, though, is so often not what we see when we make our way into the two-way mirror that is social media. With one day weekly completely fasting, and the other days spent checking only minimally and, mostly, to participate in the uplifting challenges my teacher has shared, I have found a huge release around the obligatory “checking and posting” rut in which so many of my generation get stuck. A freedom. A carelessness over what’s happening anywhere but right in front of me. Like one swift exhale.

Next came a brilliant creation of my teacher Mynx’s; the Month of Magic (#MOM on instagram). This one is geared towards collectively raising the vibration, with the understanding that the power of many is greater than the power of one. It’s been really quite phenomenal. If I thought the gratitude challenge had made waves, this baby is blowing it out of the water. It’s spread far and wide, it fills my heart to the point of bursting. If this is what we have the power to transform social media into…what power! This is what it should be about. Magic, gratitude, community. Not a platform to parade one’s greatest achievements and expressions of seeming perfection. We all know there is no such thing. We all know that, while positivity is a necessary wind in our sails, realistically we all have our ups and downs.

As if this shift towards literally unplugging and disconnecting so as to figuratively engage and tap in wasn’t enough, I also purchased Jessica Sepel’s The Clean Life. What a GEM of a wellness manual! I am devouring this wellness bible and it’s resonating on such deep levels it’s almost unnerving. Something Jess goes into great detail about in her book is REST.

I know, you might be thinking rest? What about fitness and the best exercises to stay toned, lean and in shape? She shares some of that too, her own routine, but most importantly she harps again and again (and then some more) on rest. “A healthy body is a rested body,” I must have quoted her ten times already since starting the book. It’s neat because I am nearing the end of my nutrition schooling, and Jess’ compact, “nutshell” summaries of stuff that’s really quite dense, science-based and complicated gives a great refresher for me of what I’ve been learning and studying so intently. The book is interactive, with spaces to fill in one’s own experience and sort of journal one’s way through, so it’s been deeply healing. Therapeutic, even. It’s brought to light something I had been ignoring for many moons…

I had forgotten how to rest. I was on “go go go” mode for nearly a year straight. No time for down time. What sort of life is that? I was spending all of my time working, exercising, studying or running the hamster wheel of chores and tasks required to manage an adult life. I was exhausted. I had, personally, created standards of living and expectations so high I could no longer keep up. I had fallen into a rut of habitual tendencies, bolstered by my inherent OCD nature. I had begun to expect myself to do it all, every single day. If I did ten things one day, I expected to do ten, if not eleven, the next. I finally found myself run down, sleepless, anxious and frankly a nervous wreck. In the past couple of weeks, the minor shifts I’ve made – taking as much as was humanly possible off my plate, prioritizing rest, devoting myself to my weekly #SMF, trying hard not to plan everything out in advance and allowing my intuition to move into my world – have had resounding effects. I can’t even comprehend how I was going on day after day in such a numb and mindless rat race, especially when I know better!

That was the biggest part for me. This is my business. Wellness is my craft! How could I be “doing it wrong,” hmm? I laugh now at that phrase. I really felt, deep down, like I was “doing it wrong” but was powerless to stop myself. I knew damn well I would not tell a client to do what I was doing, expecting every single day to be as jam-packed as the last, failing to listen to my body because my mind was overriding my intuitive alarms, getting lost in the pit of planning rather than making space for the Divine to chart a new course. But, even as it was happening, I knew I just had to let it play itself out. I knew with every ounce of me that this was happening for a reason. I needed to experience the sensation “stuck-ness,” at this advanced step of my schooling and early stages of my career, in order to know what to say to my clients one day down the road when I, inevitably, encounter this with them in their own lives. I knew to trust, and now the reward is the sweet rush of release that I had been so deeply craving.

I spent the past week in my hometown visiting my parents. A day at the coast with my mumma Tuesday, climbing a mountain into the clouds with my dad Wednesday; long, therapeutic massages and family relaxing Thursday, then a brisk morning bike ride with my mom and tea in the sunny backyard with my dad on Friday. The week was indescribably healing, grounding and sustaining. It nursed and nurtured me in ways I can’t even fathom. It was just what the doctor ordered. I was tapping into what I needed to do, the role play in this journey of healing…

Carried away by the high of intuitive exploration and acknowledging my Truth, I finally tapped into something else I’d been smothering as well. A dietary concept.  Pescetarianism. I’d been feeling intuitively drawn towards fish for several weeks, even having symbolic dreams and being bombarded with nutrition literature to support the cause. Now, let me say, in my heart of hearts I desperately want to be vegan and thrive. I do. I believe it’s the best way to live, it’s cruelty-free and feel so very clean. I thrive on the concept and the lifestyle makes my heart sing. But (you knew there was a but coming), what I’ve learned in nutrition school has led me down a different path. It was  very – and I emphasize very – difficult to learn what I learned as a strict vegan, finding out day by day that I likely, despite my best efforts, was not getting quite enough of what I needed.

It was a huge challenge to tune into my intuition in this way. I mean, I’m a yoga teacher, a yogini, a spiritualist, I desperately don’t want to take a sentient being’s life for my own benefit! The concept still riddles me with angst. But I slowly incorporated our neighbor’s pet hen eggs into my diet and felt the positive effects in my body and mind. Now, after having reintroduced some fish, I am still battling the guilt. Physically, I feel incredibly well. Spiritually, I feel nourished. I have prayed fiercely before every meal, thanking the sweet fish as well as the Divine Mother, offering up my gratitude for this medicine and treating it as just that. This dietary shift for me is medicinal. It is not for pleasure or preference, it is truly an act of healing. In an effort to not take a pill, I am turning to food as medicine more than ever. What baffles me, though, is I never expected to need to supplement my richly nutritious vegan diet with animal products in order to finally heal and find balance. What a concept!

Through studies of the blood type diet, our intricate endocrine and nervous systems, as well as a deeply meditative look at my own heritage and physical needs, I have found my way to pescetarianism. But I am trying actively to lay down the labels. I promote a plant-based diet; by that I don’t mean vegan, as Divine as it would be for us all to thrive on that diet. I mean a diet based in plants. That could be vegetarian, pescetarian, or omnivorous, so long as the foundation is plants, abundant in leafy greens. So that is what I have prescribed myself. A clean, organic, pranic-healing diet. A basis of organic veggies, unlimited greens, some low GI fruit, moderate gluten-free grains, no processed foods, no sugar, and the medicinal supplementation of pastured happy eggs and some wild, sustainable, low-mercury fish. Occasional grass-fed, organic dairy as tolerated, too. Foods my ancestors would recognize. Food that brings my family and I together around the table like it didn’t when I was vegan (funny how a shared meal of fish could foster such familial bonding…sharing food really is sharing love). While I do not eat meat, no land animal flesh passes my lips, I still feel guilt around eating anything that was ever alive. Despite my prayers, it aches my heart to take life for my own wellbeing. I have spoken to my teachers, prayed and journaled. I have come to a place of peaceful understanding that I do everything in my power to lessen my carbon footprint, and I am stretching my vegetarianism a bit in order to accommodate physical healing. I am trying to rise above any rules, any labels (Prakriti!). I am observing that much of the remaining guilt stems from comparison.

Ohhhh FUCKING comparison!

Pardon my french, but comparing has become the bane of my existence. It is literally driving me nuts. I have come to compare everything at every turn, and I don’t understand why. It only makes me crazy, it only confuses me, it does nothing to benefit me and, yet, I compare on.

I want to say it’s ironic, but as an intuitive I know it most definitely is not, that I sat in meditation this evening over my Zen tarot cards calling forth a collective reading. I pulled one card, asking the Mother to hold space for my girlfriends who are adjusting to some tough energy, as well as myself. Well, I can’t speak for my ladies, but the Universe definitely had Her eye on me because the card I pulled was, of all cards, COMPARISON. I was totally floored. I choked on my breath, and then laughed out loud. A deep, echoing belly laugh. What a comedy this life can be! Nothing is an accident. There are no mistakes. “Namaste. No mistake,” as Byron Katie would say.

So it all comes full circle, then. I’ll tell ya, old habits die hard (ha, as if I need to tell anyone that one). But they do. You know they do. They die harder than brick, harder than stone.

We cannot beat ourselves into submission, and we should never try. I did try, as I’m sure many of you have as well, and we can all agree it’s a terrible way to live. Guilt is poison and perfectionism is a death sentence. We are not perfect. We fall down. We fuck up. We are awesome on Tuesday and on Wednesday our shoes won’t stay tied and we lock our keys in the car. On Thursday we feel on top of the world with energy pouring out our ears and on Friday we just desperately desire a nap. The beauty in that? It’s all okay. It’s all perfect. We require something different every single day and, if we shut our troublesome brains off and get in tune with our inner rhythms, we are more apt to remember the value of the Self. We are more apt to care for ourselves as we would a loved one. We are more apt to rest, move our bodies, feed our souls, nourish ourselves with whole foods, get good sleep, rest, unplug, look up…we are liable to really enjoy life, free of worry and doubt. We are likely to find better health than we’ve ever before known…body, mind, and spirit.

My mom said something brilliant to me when I was home visiting this past week. She said, “when you have those comparing thoughts, when you have any thought that causes you stress, pause…ask yourself, ‘does this thought help or hinder my movement towards my goal?” So, I move into my every moment now holding space for that thought. Does this thought, behavior, image, experience support or undermine my goal? There’s no avoiding one’s Truth when one chooses to stare it straight in the face on a moment-to-moment basis…and I’d rather look a predator dead in the eye than stare at my feet while it eats me alive. I will never leave myself in the dark again. I mean too much to myself to turn off the lights. We are vessels of healing, completely equipped to give ourselves everything we need, in every moment. We are more than we think, and we are responsible for keeping the light burning. We must shine bright so that the Truth is always visible.

I believe in us. We are in this together.

In the words of my teacher and soul sister Lakshmi…Sad Gurunath Maharaj Ki Jay, Victory to the True Self!

May we carry this torch, burning fiercely, into the new moon this Monday morning. May we light our intentions on fire and release everything that is no longer serving us. Sad Gurunath Maharaj Ki Jay, Victory to the True Self . . .

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