Rituals are important because they imply sacredness. Mindfulness. Doing something co mpletely and making sure it doesn’t get lost in the ether and drift away. The sacred practice of rituals keep us connected to our source. When something is important to you, then you should ritualize it. Your teeth are important to you so you brush them twice a day. You start the day and end the day with this ritual. Why? Because our teeth are important. They allow us to chew our food into easily digestible pieces, which in turn allows us to nourish our bodies. They are taken for granted almost always, and yet the quality of our lives would lessen greatly if we allowed these teeth to decay to the point of them falling out. Oral health is not unlike our inner health. Our inner health requires not only consistent nourishment, but also consistent maintenance. One of the keys to maintaining our mental, spiritual, emotional (and physical) health is to create daily rituals. Here are a few suggestions of rituals that maintain our inner health: -Start and end your day with meditation. Spend five minutes connecting to your breath, silence the mind, check in with your heart, and plant your seeds of intention for the day. In five minutes, you will have invited clarity into your space, and set the tone for your day. -In that space of waking up and jumping into action, take 3-5 minutes to breathe and check in with yourself. Scan your body and look for areas of tension. Send breath and healing prana into these pockets of discomfort. Allow the natural healing abilities of your body to do the work for you. These spaces may feel heavy, uncomfortable, even painful. Explore why this is. What’s stuck there? What’s worrying you? What’s causing you pain, sadness, anxiety? Breathe into this space. Send it some love. Allow the breath to EXPAND this area rather than allow it to remain constricted. This process can take as little as three minutes! -Explore what you are grateful for. What you have to appreciate in this moment. It could be something as small as your kids are still asleep, and you have 5 minutes of peace and quiet to meditate, or the fact you have a home that keeps your family safe. The beauty about gratitude is that it is an expansive, uplifting emotion. Imagine a hot air balloon...gratitude will send you sailing effortlessly up, up and up into the sky. It gives you a feeling of lightness, and a fresh perspective. You are connected to all you see, but you should not be attached to all you see. When you can rise up in that hot air balloon and see everything around you with a fresh perspective, you are able to see with objectivity. You are able to see the beauty in all of it, as well as the impermanence of it all. -Set your intention for the day. Every day we wake up with a to-do list that can make our heads spin. Work, kids, relationships, and on and on it goes. But take 2-3 minutes and pre-visualize your day. What do you want to accomplish? What action steps are you going to take toward that goal that lights you up? Your ritual can be whatever YOU want it to be, but the key ingredients should be gratitude, compassion, and service (to yourself and others). It should be nourishing, and it should set the tone for a day full of flow and grace. Feel free to join me as I take you through my own 10 minute morning practice.
Chakras are centers of energy found in everyone, and these centers receive, transform and distribute the universal life force throughout the body. As such, chakras play an important part in our physical, emotional and spiritual health. When our chakras are out of balance, it’s a warning sign that there is something bigger at play that needs to be addressed. Here are five things to know about your chakras. They’re not pronounced SHAKRAS (with a shhhh sound). They are pronounced Chakras with a “Ch” sound. They are energy centers that run from the base of your spine to the crown of your head. They are however not the only chakras in your body. They’re simply the “big dogs” if you will. Chakras are wheels of energy. As with all energy, it’s meant to flow. When your energy is stagnant or blocked, you can manifest dis-ease within your physical body. Essential oils can help you open your chakras. For example, the throat chakra which is our center for communication and personal expression can be stimulated and opened with Sage, Lavender, and Frankincense. The best ways to balance your chakras are through meditation. Join me for a 10-minute chakra balancing meditation below!
Let’s talk about the difference between busyness stemming from purpose, and busyness as a distraction to “feel” purposeful. I am a goal-oriented woman. Like many people, I live for setting goals, achieving them, and then moving on to the next. It makes me feel like I’m doing something. It makes me feel accomplished and worthy, and like I’m living a life full of purpose. Once I started meditating consistently, I realized something that I instinctively knew for a very long time, but refused to see. I realized that purpose does not come from busyness. Achieving a bunch of “goals” and immediately running onto the next is simply a distraction designed by the ego. It feels like I am alert and aware and present, but really I am none of the above. I am on autopilot, and I’m responding and reacting to things with the same conditioned responses I always have. So how could I possibly be aware? I’m not even present. So why do we do this? Well in large part it’s because our society is so collectively plugged in all the time with our phones, and other devices that we are too busy to notice anything else. We are running from jobs to schools, to meetings, and on and on it goes. The list is infinite. We take very little time for self care, and virtually no time for checking in with ourselves. Our body and our emotions try to communicate to us, but we’re not allowing ourselves to receive the communication. The phone is ringing off the hook, but no one is home. So what can we do? Well first, we should be real with ourselves and determine what on our to-do lists is necessary and essential, and what is just a distraction. Second, we can take time each day to unplug, practice self care, and check in with ourselves and our loved ones. Are our needs being met? Are theirs? If not, what steps can we take to course correct? For me, my daily self care routine includes meditation and journaling. Occasionally my meditations are as short as 7 or 8 minutes twice a day. On good days I get 30 minutes in when I wake up, and another 30 minutes before going to sleep. I would love to tell you all that as a meditation teacher, I meditate each day for several hours and levitate and have visions each time, but that would be a lie. My meditations show up for me when I show up for them. Sometimes they are difficult to get through, and my mind is turbulent throughout. Other times I’m in such a blissful state, I feel like I’m floating through my day. But here’s the truth: If you meditate consistently you will see a difference in how you respond to life. You will find solutions to problems that you’ve been wrestling with for weeks. You’ll be present instead of coasting on cruise control. And I personally have found that you will start cutting loose all the extra distractions in your life, and you’ll start truly living a life of purpose. So if you’d like to, feel free to join me in a short 5 minute meditation right now.
Compassion is a funny thing because we often have it for others, yet fail to enlist it on behalf of ourselves. For one reason or another, one of the hardest things for many of us to do is be gentle with ourselves. When we mess up, we beat ourselves up instead of forgive ourselves. If we fail at something, we kick ourselves rather than let it go. We are harder on ourselves than we would ever be on our children or loved ones. When it comes to ourselves, we can be downright brutal! A wonderful tool for developing compassion towards oneself and others is a Buddhist practice called Maitri which translates to “loving kindness”. To cultivate maitri toward oneself is the first step in this Buddhist practice in which you concentrate on sending loving-kindness to all beings. First, you must flow unconditional loving kindness inward. Directing loving kindness towards yourself first is essential. The concept is similar to what we’re told to do on an airplane when there is an emergency and the oxygen masks drop down. Passengers are instructed to put the mask on their own face before attempting to help children, or anyone else. The same is true with this. Once you have directed loving-kindness inward, you then can project it outward to friend and foe alike. You do this using your breath as the vehicle which carries loving kindness into your own spiritual center (your heart), and then from your heart, you can project it out to others. Join me in a 5 minute loving kindness meditation by clicking the link below.
There are seasons, cycles and rhythms for everything in life. Nothing lasts forever, and all things are fleeting. Take the seasons for example. In the springtime, nature is teaming with life. Flowers and trees are in bloom, animals are giving birth and growing their brood. But when winter comes, the flowers die, the trees are bare and the animals are take shelter. Humans too, experience a fleeting earthly experience. We are born into this world only to one day leave the earthly plane. But the rhythm of nature is such that there is always new growth. People pass away, but babies are also born each day. The law of nature dictates that nothing lasts forever. Everything has its time. As negative as that sounds, it also means that the bad times, the terrible days, the pain of a breakup, the death of a family pet, or the passing of a loved one - that hurt is fleeting as well. Things must die in order for new things to be born. The same is true for ourselves. Releasing old patterns, habits, and limiting beliefs is the only way to make room for new, healthier patterns, beliefs and habits to be born. If you have a closet bursting with clothes, and you go out and buy 20 more outfits, there won’t be room for them. But if you get rid of the outfits that are 10 years old, maybe the pre-baby items you haven’t fit into in 6 or 7 years...you’ll be able to make room. This quote is about non-attachment. It doesn’t mean you can’t have nice things, but it does mean to not correlate those “things” with your self worth. Once you define yourself by your “stuff”, you are de-valuing yourself immensely. That “stuff” becomes your shackles. It ties you down. Imagine having all the stuff but without the attachment. Your mentality would become “I have this and it’s great but if I didn’t have it, I would be fine. Having it is just gravy. And I know that all things are fleeting, so one day I won’t have it, and that’s ok too. I’ll enjoy it while I do, and I’ll be grateful. Once you switch your mindset to not attaching yourself, you can be fluid, rather than rigid in life. You will be able to turn with the tides, and appreciate the seasons of all things- natural and material - and remain fluid rather than rigid.
The ancient Indian sages who wrote the Brihadaranyaka Upanishads thousands of years ago knew that we shape our lives through our intentions. Ultimately, we can steer our life in the direction we want by placing our attention and intention on that which we deeply desire to manifest in our lives. 2019 is in its home stretch, and the new year is right around the corner. Along with all of the holiday traditions people have, one of the most famously practiced is the “New Years Resolution”- the tradition of acknowledging that with a new year comes a new beginning, and the opportunity to course correct, or set an entirely new trajectory for our life. People generally choose resolutions that include things like drinking less, eating less, exercising more, spending more time with their family, working less, etc. The intentions are good, but the execution is often faulty causing these resolutions to dissipate by springtime. So what are resolutions and how can we make them stick? Resolutions are decisions to do or not to do something based on a result that we desire. Essentially, resolutions are intentions. They are the road map to get you where you want to go in your life. Intentions are the pilot light inside of us that get our inner fires burning so we can manifest what we wish to create. How to set your intention and manifest it! 1) You first need to ask yourself what you want. What does your heart truly want? Ask your highest self to define the highest intention that you can set for yourself and become very clear on what you want and why you want it. 2) Once you have an intention, you must put your attention on it so that it can grow and manifest. Think of it this way. Your intention is like a newborn baby. A newborn baby must be fed and nurtured to survive. You don’t bring a baby home from the hospital and care beautifully for it for the first three days and then decide you are too exhausted to continue, and go on vacation for a week. You have to plough through the sleep deprivation and muster the energy to show up for that baby completely so it can grow, get strong and develop properly. Your intentions are your babies. You need to nurture them daily with your time, energy and love until you fall madly in love with them. That’s how you will begin to manifest them! 3) Now that you have your intention babies and are nurturing them daily, what is the best way to stay energized to seeing this whole thing through? The best way to stay motivated to make manifest your intention is to remind yourself constantly of how great it will be once your desire materializes! This requires visualization and imagination. Let's try it together now. Imagine you are sitting in the cinema and your ideal life is the story projected on the screen. Imagine specifically what you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel in the most ideal telling of your story. Feel joy in dreaming it and gratitude in knowing you will receive it. It’s important to remember that setting an intention is not about wishing for something and willing it into existence. You have to lean in to your intention by taking action steps toward getting what you want. Visualization helps to create the image of what you want and the feeling of having received it. The key is remembering to be consistent in working toward your intentions. Happy manifesting!