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Vacation Alone January 31, 2011

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Who goes on vacation alone? I never even thought about it until last year when I was reading the Artist Way by Julian Cameron. The book was written, as a creative tool to discover and recover the creative self. Part of the 12 week commitment was taking myself out on weekly artist dates, which, by the way, was a completely foreign concept to me.

I thought I was comfortable being alone since much of my time was spent solo, but when I really got to the guts of what she was asking, I was terrified. I was at a loss as to what to do so I spent the first 3 weeks making myself delicious home cooked meals by candlelight and taking myself to the movies (which, by the way, sucks on a Friday night if you’re single). By week 3 or 4 Julia says (and I’m paraphrasing), “… if you’re still taking yourself to the movies or making yourself a romantic home cooked meal, as your artist date, get out there and go on a “real” date … be creative and have some fun  …”

Have fun going out alone in public? Really? That didn’t sound like any fun at all. It was much more fun sulking around the house playing the abandoned victim who would never love again.  I didn’t know what to do, but the daunting task of being more creative opened up a whole new chapter in my life. My inner child awakened and I had permission to be authentic without fear of predisposed judgments.

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Closer to the end of the course, she assigned us the task of writing down our dream weekend. Not knowing the next week she would actually have us carry out the big dream, I went all out! I visualized myself on the beach basking in the sun doing yoga and eating gourmet meals and sipping on vintage wine. I was reading on the beach and writing by the pool. I was sleeping in and beginning each day with a leisuring bike ride.

Determined to complete the assignment, I took myself (kicking and screaming) to Destin Beach.

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I so wanted to back out, but in staying and facing my fear, I empowered myself beyond measure. I reconnected to a part of myself that was abandoned, as a child and my energy shifted to a more subtle vibration. My sense of being was awakened and renewed and it felt good to be in my body. I had confidence and strength and saw my life’s purpose in all its glory. It felt good to be me and I was proud of myself for facing a paralyzing fear and stepping in to the unknown. I was showered with abundance and joy and for the first time in my life, I knew what it was like to smile from the inside.

Who knew vacationing alone could bring so much joy and clarity and insight. There’s just something about being away from distractions and not having to coordinate schedules with anyone, but yourself. Your perspectives and judgments shift, as you notice your surroundings with every sense. It’s truly a spiritual gift to travel alone, as your inner voice becomes the only voice and the wisdom that speaks to you ignites the internal flame of the mother womb and we are immediately taken back to the place within us that’s pure and beautiful.

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Creating the Life You Want March 10, 2010

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People have a tendency to get lost in relationships, as it takes special attention to keep one’s individuality in tact. I think we all lose ourselves to some degree, but it’s not always apparent until the relationship ends and you have time to reflect. It’s easy to get caught up in your partner’s life, putting his or her needs before your own and forgetting about the things that matter most.

I love to nest so I enjoy lighting all the candles in the house, turning on some music and cooking dinner at home. I like waking up to the smell of coffee brewing and having some time to chill in my own space before I head out and meet the day. It brings me a lot of joy to be in the sacred space of my own home and it keeps me grounded and centered yet I allowed my relationships to take me away from what mattered most. I was either with someone who preferred to eat out all the time or with someone who didn’t cook or like to cook or had the audacity to judge what I did cook. Instead of fighting for what I needed, I just shut down.

I wanted to share the experience of being at home and cooking a meal with my man, but instead, I allowed his schedule to dominate. I wasn’t secure enough to stand my ground and fight for some kind of balance so I gave up my power and became a resident of his life. It was easy to make excuses when I was in the relationship, but then I found myself single making new excuses. I would tell myself how silly it was to cook for one person or how nice it would be to finally meet a guy who liked to stay at home and cook.

The reality was I didn’t need a partner to fulfill my dream and if I sat around waiting for prince charming, I would be doing myself an injustice.  It was time to honor my journey and create the life I always wanted so I picked out a recipe, drove to Whole Foods and bought a bunch of groceries, and then went home and lit all the candles. I turned on some music, rolled up my sleeves and got to work. As I chopped, shredded, diced, stirred, and finished preparing the ingredients, I came alive and felt like myself for the first time in a long, long time. I found myself smiling and dancing around the  kitchen in my goofy toe socks having a romantic love affair with life.

To honor myself and do something I really wanted awakened something powerful beyond measure. My need to nest literally manifested right before my eyes and it was invigorating and empowering in a way I can’t describe. The only way to build self-confidence is to get out there and do something that scares you. Face your insecurities with tenacity and be proud of yourself, as you reclaim your power. Explore yourself and come alive from the inside out.  You will feel genuine joy in your heart and be at peace with the world.

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Face your Fear December 8, 2008

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Before I got my bike back from storage, which was just a recreation bike, my friend let me borrow her mountain bike and I fell in love with it. I no longer had the desire to ride around casually, as I wanted to go out for long rides where I could feel the muscles burn as my feet slowly and steadily pedaled their way up an incline a good size hill. I liked the challenge of a good climb, as there was nothing better than getting to the top and then coasting down the other side as currents of wind whirled around me. It was an absolute rush and invigorating in every sense of the word.

I decided I was going to start putting a little money aside each week so I could buy my own bike. I started shopping around and getting as much information as possible so I could make an informed decision when it came time to buy. One of the bike specialist asked me how often I rode the trails so he could help me figure out what type of tires to get and I laughed because I had actually never been on a trail. I had always wanted to, but was scared of getting seriously injured so I just stuck to the road. Well, I got to thinking about it when I got home and thought I should probably get out and ride one to see if I even liked it, as there was no sense in souping up a bike if I wasn’t planning on taking it off-road.

Well that was that! I got my gear together and off I went. I was happy to see there was a separate trail for each level, but I was still a little weary when I saw the narrow passage and the steep incline of what was marked as the beginner’s trail. I sat at the start of it with my fingers pressed in to the break, as my knuckles turned white and my feet ground to the earth. There was a tinge of excitement, but I was mostly scared to death. I kept thinking what would happen if I wrecked or flipped off my bike and whacked my head in to a tree? There wasn’t a soul around…just me, the trail, and the sound of my own heart.

The last time I remember feeling that way was when I went propelling for the first time.  I remember thinking right before I took my first step off the face of the rock, “Oh my God…I could totally die right now…what am I doing…this is crazy…well if I died, then it was meant to be, but I can’t live my life in fear so I had to trust in the Universe and in my higher soul so I went for it.” I prayed to God to keep me safe and then down I went and it was the absolute best feeling in the world when my feet finally touched the ground and I looked up and saw the massive rock I had just conquered. It was a thrill like no other and I’ll remember that high for the rest of my life, as I felt fearless and powerful in a way I can’t quite describe. 

Standing at the start of the beginner’s trail left me feeling the same, but I knew I had to face my fear or else I would always be afraid. Fear has no place in the company of trust so I knew had to look the dark looming shadow straight in the face and just go for it so I said a little prayer and then slowly eased my hand off the break. Before I could even think about what was going to happen next, my bike was flying down the trail, as I screamed silently aloud.

The whole way down the trail I screamed, “Holy crap…what were you thinking…you are totally out of your mind…oh my God I’m going to die…this was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done…I’m going to end up in the emergency room and I don’t even have insurance…whoa…oh my God…this is dangerous and scary and I’m never doing this again…whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah…I’m insane…oh my Gooooooooooooooooooooooooooood…what did I think I was going to prove by doing this…please…let me get out of this alive…don’t let me die on this trail…oh man…”

Well, I didn’t die and when I finally got to the end of the trail I was completely out of breath and my heart pumping vigorously, but guess what I said? “WOW that was AWESOME…what an intense rush…I wanna do it again!!!” And again I did.

Don’t let fear stop you from living your life…take a walk on the wild side…look fear straight in the face and go for it…trust in yourself and embrace the fear, as it will transform in to something more powerful than you ever imagined.

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India bound August 28, 2008

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I don’t know if I told you about my trip to India, but I’m leaving Saturday for a meditation/yoga retreat. It has been a dream of mine to visit India ever since I began practicing yoga 8 years ago. I still can’t believe I’m actually going. I don’t think it will hit me until I’m there and then reality will set in as I will be a stranger in a foreign land. The hardest part will be the flight, but there’s no way around it. Thankfully I’m flying to Dubai first, which is only 16 hours. I fly the remaining 5 hours to New Delhi a couple days later so I’ll have some time in between flights.

I was just telling my girlfriends today at lunch how shocked I was at my present state of being. I never thought in a million years I would be this calm, cool and collected two nights before my trip. I’m usually running around taking care of last minute details up until the last possible moment yet here I am completely packed and ready to go. Why is this trip different? It’s not like I’m flying a couple states away. I’m flying to a country on the other side of the world.

Either the meditation and work I did during teacher training transformed me or I’m totally missing the boat on something. Seriously! My life is effortless and I’m absolutely blissed out of my mind, as I’m in such a beautiful place. I don’t think I’ve ever been this high before and I almost feel guilty for feeling this good. Is that wrong?

I still can’t believe I actually took the plunge and left corporate. It feels surreal to be doing what I absolutely love!!! It’s a joy to be able to share the gift of yoga and there is no better feeling than sitting in the energy of my students right after practice while they’re laying in savasana. It’s still weird to know I manifested this right in to reality, but every day it becomes more and more real.

I feel blessed more than you could possibly know and I have so much gratitude in my heart, as this beautiful dream provided a schedule which allowed me to get everything I needed to get done in enough time without having to stress or run around until the last minute. It’s amazing how a decision to follow my dream changed so many aspects of my life. Honoring myself opened a lot of doors and life just  fell in to place effortlessly without stress or struggle. Every day seems to flow like the wave of an ocean….like a beautiful dance beating to the sound of the universe. 

 I can’t even imagine the journey I’m about to take, but I look forward to watching each and every moment unfold. I will be sending my devoted readers loving energy as I’m meditating up in the Himalaya Mountains. I can’t even imagine what the energy must be like at the top of one of the world’s highest peaks. It must be incredible and I’m going to be sitting in silence feeling the beat of my own heart…what a rush!!! HA…some people can’t even stand to hear the sound of their own breath and here I am about to sit in my own essential nature with nothing, but absolute stillness.

Life is truly what you make of it so speak your truth and do something to honor your inner self. Find love within your heart and share it…with someone…with anyone…. smile at a stranger…make eye contact with someone you don’t know…hold the door for someone you’ve never met…just open your heart and share a part of you you’ve never shared. Let go of all the doing and open yourself up to simply being.

Honor the people you meet and truly listen to what they have to say…look into their eyes and be fully present. Go an entire day without saying anything negative and no matter what happens try and find the positive knowing that everything is happening just as it should. Trust in a higher power that exists within and all around you.  Don’t be hard on yourself or anyone else. Know that we are all here doing the best we can. Don’t judge or say anything hurtful. Be aware of the present moment…be aware of the love within you…be aware of the light in and all around you.

I will not have access to email while I’m away so please check back with me towards the end of September as I will have a lot to share. I will be sending you energy!!! All my love and a big woo hoo!!! Bon Voyage my friends!!! India, here I come…

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Golf June 11, 2008

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I played my first game of golf and it was AWESOME!!! I always wondered why the boys liked it so much, but I was never invited to play so I didn’t think much about it. Now I know…the secret is out. It all made sense to me standing out in the middle of the golf course surrounded by trees and blankets of lush green. The only sound you heard was nature. It was quiet and pristine. The course moved around and about mother earth’s natural curves. It was beautiful and perfectly serene.

I realized something profound as I stood there at one of the pars with my driver in hand concentrating intently on the ball I was getting ready to hit…it was completely silent…not a word spoken nor a golf cart heard. It was just me, the greens, the driver, and the ball. I was fully present…not in the past or the future…just standing there in the now. This is why guys love the sport…this is their meditation…their Zen…their place of peace. I suddenly understood why so many business deals were made on the golf course and why so many men love to play. Being out on the golf course enables professionals to get out of their head…to let go of their thoughts and just be present with whatever comes up and whatever comes up is most often what is most true because truth will only show it’s face when the mind is quiet enough to listen to the pure consciousness that exists within all of us.  A business decision made in the present moment without any analytical thinking or forced thought forms is usually the best decision for all involved.

The insight was incredible. So much made sense and it just made me smile. Awareness is a beautiful thing! I find it quite ironic how quickly I fell in love with the sport considering I never thought in a million years I would ever step foot on a golf course. It gave me the same high as a yoga class. It was beautiful. Golf is definitely a form of meditation and I finally understand why so many golf pros are being advised to take up yoga to shave strokes off their game and to lower their scores.

Golf is an asymmetrical sport and although yoga is comprised of many asymmetrical poses, the full practice is all about symmetry. Yoga is all about balance and concentration, which are two key components in a game of golf. Many people get caught up in the bio mechanics of the swing losing focus on the mental aspect of the game.  Proper breathing techniques brings more attention to the swing, which is crucial considering all the details involved. Another reason to increase mental clarity is to manage the intense emotions that arise during a game. Professional golf players are much better equipped to handle fear and anger that arise when yoga is incorporated in to their life.

Twists and lower back strengthening are key yoga poses for those looking to improve their game.  These and other poses will strengthen the very muscles that cause major swing faults when too tight. This includes the forearms, wrists and hands, which rarely get stretched and can cause inadequacies in a golfer’s swing.  Yoga will also improve flexibility and will structurally align the body so you are better able to move in a full range of motion gaining more power in the upper and lower body. 

Yoga and golf are a unique marriage of two distinctly similar worlds. It is a natural union of the mind and body…the bio mechanic and energetic. Golf is an intense sport driven by power, accuracy, posture, balance and focus. It requires a calm centered mental state, which is the very principals of any yoga practice. Before you turn your nose up to yoga, think again…yoga will bring a balanced emotional state, increase in strength and flexibility, and peace of mind. 

I didn’t just score 1 double bogey, but 3 in my first game and the second game I got a double bogey and a par…how’s that for a beginner? Listen to the ego brag, right?  Hey, I’m still human. Besides, I was proud of the two games I played. It was so much fun and I can’t thank my brothers and cousin enough for being so patient with me. They treated me just like one of the guys, which made it that much more. They even shared their cigars…woo rah!!! I probably would not have enjoyed it as much had I been in different company. I needed to play with people who were willing to teach and be patient with the process, as well as, be forgiving with all the balls I lost in the water, woods, and sand pits. Thanks guys…you rock!!!  

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Cinco de Mayo May 10, 2008

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I love Cinco de Mayo, as it tends to be a chill down-to-earth holiday where there’s rarely any drama and usually a lot of camaraderie. I don’t know if it’s the tequila or quesadillas, but people just love the 5th day of May. The holiday fell on a Monday this year, which isn’t the ideal day to go out when you have to work the next day, but it didn’t seem to stop anyone…especially not me. As soon as my roommate asked if I wanted to go out, I said, “Uh,YES!!!” I’m not usually one to go out during the week because it’s not really the “responsible” thing to do, but I felt the need to let my hair down, as I had a really rough weekend. I just wanted to go out and be human and forget about life for a while.

I didn’t meditate or go to yoga like I usually do…I went to kickboxing instead and took my frustrations out on the heavy bag…it felt great…what therapy! I felt so alive when I left the gym…all I wanted to do was go out and get crazy. I was on fire and there was no stopping me. I just wanted to go out and have some fun.

I should tell you I haven’t had hard alcohol since last October when I started the yoga teacher training program so drinking several margaritas on a empty stomach probably wasn’t the greatest idea, but I wasn’t really thinking about it at the time. I was mingling and laughing and having a good time. We went to La Paz in Vinings and everybody there was friendly…like a big happy family yet we were all strangers in a bar…that’s the beauty of Cinco de Mayo…it brings people together.

A bunch of us left and went to my roommate’s friend’s place, which happened to be a farm house she manages for some guy. My roommate keeps her horses there so I finally got to meet the babies. I barely remember the drive home or leaving the stable, but I do remember hugging up on her horses and giving them kisses.

I woke up in the morning with my clothes strewn across the floor and to the sound of my phone ringing. My head was buzzing and the room spinning as I answered with a scratchy dehydrated, ”hello.” It was my roommate asking if I were okay. I asked her what time it was and she said, ”Its 8:30!” I said, “Oh no, oh no…it’s 8:30? I was supposed to be at work 30 minutes ago…Crap, CRAP…gotta go!”  

I don’t know how I managed to make it to work or look remotely half way decent, but it was the longest day of my life and nothing took away the pounding in my head or the upset feeling in my belly. It was awful and I swore off Margaritas for the rest of my life…well…until next Cinco de Mayo. For better or for worse, I had an awesome time and I successfully accomplished my desire to go out and let my hair down!!! 

Yogis are human too so don’t forget to honor the side of you that needs to go out every now and again, but don’t beat yourself for it when you do. I’m the queen of that and it doesn’t serve me or anyone else so honor all sides of yourself without judgment. 

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