Monday, December 31, 2012

Design Your Year

I love a good year-in-review wrap up. In fact, I encourage you to take some time to look back on the past year and assess your progress, reflect on learnings, and take inventory on the lessons that are still incomplete. Ask yourself a few questions:

What are you willing to scrap?
Sometimes we just have to say 'good enough'. Certain relationships, projects and attempts that are not falling into place effortlessly may have had enough attention. It is sometimes hard to know when to work through a difficulty, and when we really have exhausted every option. Take a look at some of the areas of your life where you have been trying to force a solution. Maybe it's time to say 'good enough'. I remember when I was 20, and I finally decided to stop reconciling my bank account manually and matching it up to my statements. I keep great records, so this had been a tedious and maddening triple check. When I chose to stop, I felt instant liberation. Now, 25 years later: Quickbooks! Easy!

What is completed and needs to be filed away?
There may be a few accomplishments that you made in 2012. I love to look back at my travels, jobs, projects, personal work, family life, my moves (I lived in three different homes in 2012!), hobbies, and business. It's neat to reflect on, acknowledge and complete things. Even my happiest moment and greatest accomplishment must be released to make room for something new.

Where did you start to do it differently?
There is always room for improvement, places where I still need some work. Seeing how I have made progress, without having to be perfect, is a wonderful way to acknowledge my growth. If I improved even a little bit, I give myself credit. After all, it's the small adjustments, done consistently over time, that accumulate to change my life in a big way.

What are you bringing into the new year?
This is where I lay out a map of my year. I already know several of the projects. My speaking panel at the Fertility Planit Show on Jan 13th. The launch of my new book, YOGALOSOPHY: 28-Days to the Ultimate Mind-Body Makeoveron April 23rd. The book tour and workshops in Summer 2013. And my personal intention for 2013: Receive.

When I look back at my intention from last year, which was to follow my instincts, I see how magical that was, and how it enabled me to flow fluidly through my many travels, jobs, projects, moves, and emotional shifts. I look forward to the gifts of receptivity.

What is your intention?

May we all be abundant in grace this coming year!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Wounded Healer: Re-alignment

Here we are: Christmas time! Giving. Loving. Receiving. Finding peace. Sharing. Raising the Christ-consciousness, which is compassion in the face of hate; love in the face of fear. The myth of the Wounded Healer holds a message about the alignment of the mind, body, heart and spirit. When all of these aspects of yourself are aligned, you become whole. This healing and realignment comes after having been misaligned. It is recovering from a deep wound, wherein only you can take responsibility for the journey of realigning, and you uncover the healer within.

Ways to realign the mind:

  • Journal. Look for your core beliefs. State what is bothering you. Then ask yourself: What if it were true? Would it be so bad? What is the worst thing that could happen? Keep on going until you distill your core belief.
  • Meditation. While sitting, watch your mind drift to different thoughts and simply label the thought: "thinking". Each time you do this, remember to come back to the present moment and your breath.
  • Write a gratitude list. Simply writing 5 things you are grateful for and saying "thank you" will direct your mind to a better place.

Ways to realign the body:

  • Walk. Walking balances out both hemispheres of the brain. It is also a good way to realign your spine.
  • Iyengar Yoga. This type of yoga is focused on alignment. It uses props, and reminds the body to allow the skeleton to realign. Patience is required, and I highly recommend this type of yoga for anyone who wants to learn about proper form.
  • Legs Up the Wall pose. Any posture where you are supported by the floor will allow your spine to realign naturally. This is a nice restorative way to allow your structure to fall back into place.

Ways to realign your heart:

  • Place your hands on your heart and breathe. (You can even tap your chest in the center where your heart is. Just by intending to feel, you will be amazed how easily you can.)
  • Give and receive hugs. Remember that hugging is about being heart-to-heart. Embrace your friend, and place your hand on his or her back, right behind the heart. Feel the energy exchanged.
  • Smile. Even the act of smiling brings joy and openness to the heart. Smile at a stranger and feel the joy you give and receive.

Ways to realign the spirit:

  • Be in nature. Nature is spirit. Use your senses to connect to this true beauty. It is good for your spirit because you too are nature. Have you ever seen an imperfect flower? Of course not!
  • Be still. Take time throughout your day to get still and take a deep breath. Imagine Spirit working through you in the moment.
  • Be creative. Spirit is creative. When you create (or recreate) you are honoring that your are both created by spirit and are a creative spirit. Paint, dance, make an art project, plant a tree.

As we realign with the spirit of compassion and healing, may we all find peace.

Merry. Happy.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Staying Positive in the Face of Fear

In the reverberation of last week's tragedies, and in looking for what we can do, what came to mind is the notion that what you focus on expands. As I have read on Facebook: when we focus on the murderer, we empower his story. Whether we are demonizing him, or whether we blame the religious sects or the government to quell the pain of powerlessness, perhaps we are missing the antidote in the poison. Sitting with the uncomfortable feelings of hatred, pain, fear and helplessness is the last thing that most of us want to do. I have personally endured a violent crime first hand, and what I found was that I did not want to focus my hatred and anger to the assailants. I requested that those around me leave their anger outside the door. The only feeling that I was open to was the love and compassion that was pouring into me from my friends and strangers. Acquaintances that sent me love, condolences, flowers, phone calls. For the "bad" that came my way, there was "good" one hundred fold. That was the salve I needed to soothe my internal wounds. It reminds me of this quote from Martin Luther King Jr.

"Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."

What you focus on expands. There will always be the dark and the light. They are, in fact, one. You have the choice in each moment to choose to see the hate or the love. To choose to act from love or hate. That is one thing you have control over. Where you put your attention and focus. That is what will expand.

Without a television set, I am not assaulted with the story. When I see the internet headlines, I know what is going on. I hear it from my clients and friends, and see posts on Facebook. One post, in particular, that struck me was the bravery of a young teacher who saved her students. But what strikes me even more is the level of human compassion that I see as I walk through my days. A deep sadness, that we could somehow live in a culture where this tragedy can and did occur. Solution? I don't know. I really don't know that we can eradicate all human suffering and darkness. Yet without it, how would we know the unlimited level of compassion in our own human hearts? How would we overcome pain and learn how to wrap our arms around another who is suffering even more? How would we learn to grieve together? To feel less alone?

Here are several things you can do this week to be helpful to the victims of this tragedy by being kind in your own day-to-day life:

1. Slow down. Begin your day with 5 to 15 minutes of quiet. Place one hand on your solar plexus and one hand on your heart. Breathe into the sensation in your physical body and allow your feelings to rise. Sit and breathe. Be with your feelings, whatever they are. This slowing down will allow you to honor yourself and will help to remind you to stay present throughout your day.

2. Be kind. Just for this week, allow the person trying to get into your lane to go first when driving. Be patient when standing in lines. Look your barista in the eye and say hello to him/her when ordering your morning java.

3. Give hugs. When you greet your friends, do so with a hearty hug. Connect hearts and place your hand in the center of their back. Take in their energy.

4. Say yes. Things are happening as they should. Reframe your week simply by knowing that all is well in the world. So when you encounter a seemingly difficult situation, accept it as correct. Whatever comes your way, be in acceptance, shift gears, and assume that the Universe is guiding you to where you need to be.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

12/10/12 Journal Entry: The Journey of You

As we encroach upon 12-21-12 (at last!), I realize how much I love looking at the pattern of the numbers. It was pointed out to me that this week we will experience 12-12-12. It will be the last time we will ever see a date that repeats itself three times. I am delighted by the repetitive and circular nature of this journey. The synching up of dates and events consistently entertains me. Energies that repeat at higher octaves (in spirals, like DNA). Things teachers try to teach in school, that become flattened in a science class, when imagined, take on a creative and artistic galactic expression of my intrinsic nature. 

I have been following an energetic spiral that flows through the center of my body in my meditations. I follow that spiral as far down into my center as I can. I travel as far out into space along that spiral as I can imagine. I sit in the center of this spiral strand that extends in both directions for what seems like (and probably is, scientifically) eternity. There are certain points along the way that I call my past and my future. Yet here I sit in this human body: heaven on earth.

As I look back at the patterns, and the points that were breakthrough experiences in my life, I am so deeply happy for my incredible, life-changing moments. The journey that has brought me right here and beyond! In truth, it is all happening simultaneously, which I experience as I travel up and down the spiral. In my imagination, there are no limitations or constraints of time and space. So far, there are no rules in that nation. I am free to discover and explore. Forwards and backwards. I can turn the events inside out, until they  morph into similar patterns at other times in my life. In fact, my life repeats that way, just like 12/12/12. Something happens just like what happened 30 years ago. A brand new understanding opens up!!

I was considering these life-changing events. The ones that expanded me forever. There have been a few. Moving to a large house with a pool: "We're rich!" Leaving public school: "The system is a sham! We have the power!" Becoming macrobiotic and yogic: "Food is medicine." Acting in a Broadway show. "Dream come true. I DID IT. I BELIEVE IN ME!" My parents' divorce: "There is no stability. I have to take care of myself." My first crush "Uh oh." Being assaulted: "I want to live." Teaching spinning: "I have a purpose." My first love/broken heart: "Pain is God's hand in my heart." 9/11: "What was I thinking?" My father's death: "There are no words." And now: "I accept."

The above video is a moment captured in time, from thirty years ago, when my life did a complete 180. In that year, I became an actress on Broadway—my dream! (Little known fact...I had creatively visualized and imagined getting the role. I even had a dream with Neil Simon where I got the part.) My amazing school closed due to lack of funds while I was in New York and my parents split. So my foundation vanished while I was away from home. (Sidebar: a couple of years before I got my first role in this show, my mother was threatening to leave my father after yet another volatile argument, and I said, "Just wait until I become an actress." It was a total coincidence that my father fell in love with another woman as I was fulfilling my actress dream.)

In the end, all of this story, every incident, is just another point of reference. Another moment in time. I cannot tell you how much I enjoy my journey. Every moment of it. Up and down this spiral, like a strand of my own hair...or my DNA. I sit here, and I smile. And I try to imagine...what is next?!

Do you know? I bet you do....