Where is the Magic?

Going into Darkness

I recently returned from a weeklong retreat, Aventura Tulum, in Tulum, Mexico that I co-led with my dear friend, Patti Quintero. It was a magical experience with incredible humans. I needed this time as much as everyone else to step away from the news, busyness, overstimulation of life and reconnect to what really matters. The big blue ocean, jungle living, yoga, and stimulating conversations all shifted my senses to clear the smog and breathe fresh life into my purpose. The one experience that changed me forever didn’t happen on my mat, it happened in a cave deep in the belly of the Mayan jungle.

I have been to a cenotes before, but this one was unique. It was on private property, not open to the public and had recently been discovered. As we descended into the opening of the cave we were outfitted in wetsuits, masks, and flashlights to explore the darkness that contained the mysteries of this ancient place. Each one of us went through a ritual of copal, our shaman clearing our energy with the smoke of this burnt resin. After we entered, he said “You think you’re here to be on retreat, but you’re here to see and feel magic.” I experienced a shiver and a tear and felt the truth of his words deep in my bones. I had lost some magic and it was in the darkness that I could see more clearly than ever.

We ventured deeper and with each step the beauty was more intoxicating. I lost track of where I was and felt like I was being swallowed into a space beyond linear time. I was fully in the moment and that was my yoga. We splashed around like kids in the clear pristine waters and it felt like a baptism of new energy. The most profound moment came when we all sat still in a shallow pool of water. The shaman reminded us that darkness is not something to fear because it is where we come from. In the darkness and silence we can listen to our voices of truth. We proceeded to turn our flashlights off. With my eyes closed I perceived the dark and when I opened my eyes I saw a blackness that I had never experienced. It wasn’t scary. It was comforting as if I could see beyond the veil of all my human fears. I sat with my inner child and held her and there was a peace that washed over my entire soul.

I left a part of me behind in that cave that needed to die. Within the darkness I birthed a deeper ability to love and own my shadow. Within the darkness I saw and felt magic and now bring it back into my life. I remember, and I will never forget, who I truly am. If I lose my way, I can close my eyes and drop back into the cave and listen, feel, and see magic. As the seasons shift and the days get shorter, take a moment to close your eyes and drop into your darkness. Remember in the silence who you truly are and as you re-emerge to the surface, maybe you will see more magic and trust your path as it unfolds. All that we are going through collectively is to bring us closer to our humanity, so we remember.

Check out my new Processing Playground video Going into Darkness.

Abundant holiday wishes to all of you. XO

PASSION + PURPOSE

Please put pen to paper to channel your purpose and passion!

In my July newsletter, I suggested getting outside and going on some creative play dates to channel your passion and purpose. I signed myself up for a weekend of painting with Roofless Painters. I am not a painter and have judged myself as having no ability here. My gremlin voices and insecure vibes came up especially because I was with a group of seasoned painters. It was such a great space to let the critical voices out, welcome all vibes, not judge them, let them have their say, and patiently move through them so I could create a new palette of choices. My favorite part of this weekend was being outdoors in the elements and letting nature inspire me to be, breathe, and create. The key to letting the brush strokes flow was non-attachment. I let go of the need to be good, right, perfect, and there was such a beautiful breakthrough.

A big takeaway was that I was given limited color choices so I had to learn how to mix oils and create colors unique to my canvas. I also learned pink is a great neutral!

Here is an exercise to get your creative juices flowing and paint some new brush strokes into your life:

If you had three colors to choose for your personal canvas what would they be? Why did you choose them? What do they say about your personality?

How can you take your three personality colors and share them with the world? What does this understanding of your personal blend of colors help you create in your life?

It’s helpful to now write:

I just learned………..  And this makes me feel………..

Have fun, create, express, and let all your vibes out to play!

Next Workshop with Roofless Painters is Sat, Aug 26 painting at the Eames House in Pacific Palisades, CA. Be there!

ALL VIBES MATTER

Good Vibes and Not So Good Vibes. Do you pay attention to both?

August air is full of change. Can you feel it? We have two eclipses this month, a lunar and a solar.  This surge of energy can impact us in ways we might not even understand, but we can feel. Can you feel the vibes? These external shifts can stimulate different vibrations within us to help bring attention to deeper matters in our lives.

Many of you reading this are yogis, and you know how important our practice is to return us to our true nature where all of our vibes feel balanced. What are vibes? Every thought we have has a feeling attached to it, and every feeling has a vibration. Anger, sadness, pain have a much different vibe than happiness, excitement, joy. They are all necessary feelings to embody the full spectrum of life. They don’t define who we are, but they help us understand what needs to be attended to so that we know who we are. Change requires that we reevaluate our choices along the path of life. If we edit out the vibes we don’t like or confront us, we can lose a huge opportunity for growth. Navigating change in our outer world requires navigating what we need to change in our inner world. See my Processing Playground video HERE on how All Vibes Matter.

Growing up riding horses, I would go out into the hills by myself where I felt a sense of peace. I was away from the noise and pain of the world. Sometimes I didn’t want to come back. People were confusing because they said one thing, but their energy said something different. I felt like I didn’t belong here and I knew deep inside that this was going to be my biggest challenge: to figure out how I fit in. What I realized is that the judgmental words I heard stimulated judgmental thoughts and feelings about myself, my vibes. It was me I had to figure out, not them. It has been a lifelong path back to my Self to deal with and heal my critical thoughts and feelings.

We all have these mean voices at some point. They usually arise when we feel out of our comfort zone and self-doubt creeps in.  I talk about my vibes being creepy when I haven’t dealt with these voices. I may say one thing, but my energy is saying something else. I have learned to work with them versus against them. That is where the growth and the wisdom happen. Here comes the problem… if I start judging my vibes as good or bad, I’ll attach to the ones I keep wanting to feel and experience and avoid the “bad” vibes because they are ugly, mean, upsetting, and uncomfortable. Why is this a problem? We can be walking around bypassing the yucky vibes, disowning our shadow, and looking for the high of the “good” vibes. This can create all kinds of addict energy wanting BIG happy feelings with no truth and self-responsibility.

No one is responsible for our feeling good in our skin except for us. Have you ever looked outside of yourself for validation or worth? Controlled others to get what you want? Shut down what you need to be a people pleaser? Manipulated the truth to make it an acceptable lie? The list goes on and on. We are all trying to make our way in this life so we need to cut ourselves some slack and learn to understand how we act out to make up for what we perceive that we lack.  It is a process of learning to love all of ourselves, the messy bits included. That also means that the bad vibes we perceive in others can be triggering our own creepy vibes that we need to address, understand, and own.

Many of us were not taught how to navigate our confronting thoughts and feelings so we suppress them or project them onto others. Creating a blame game, then usually a spiral of shame. Our true nature is not petty and insecure. Pettiness and insecurity are actually learned and practiced through cultural conditioning, through shaming pain and sadness, and through institutions and family programming. The challenging part of this teaching is that it was done from love, but the version of love that has guilt and shame intertwined because of fear and pain that have been denied. Fear that is blocked and disowned doesn’t go away. It comes back with friends, stronger and even more destructive.

So how do we deal with these vibes rooted in fear? Constructively go toward them with the intention to get clarity through communicating with these voices, not shutting them down. Give them worth and learn to understand what they are trying to tell us. There is wisdom here. It does require that we slow down and listen without judgment to our fear voices. They are not necessarily the truth, but they contain a truth that needs to be heard, felt, and understood.

If we are attached to only “good” vibes, we are not taking accountability for our “bad” vibes and disowning half of who we are. There is tremendous healing when we admit our pain, process our sadness, and rinse the gremlin voices, so that we can deal with our fear and love all of our vibes. We will learn to bring this understanding into our relationships so that we can see other people’s vibes as neither good nor bad, but as part of the growth we all need in order to stay awake to our true nature.

A lifetime is full of all kinds of feelings such as joy and sadness. All are equally important on our journey. Owning and understanding our thoughts, feelings, and vibes help reveal our true Self as long as we stay open to listening. Then we are a welcomer of truth. We do our part in shifting the energy of this planet because all vibes matter for us to grow.

Check back HERE for future Processing Playground gatherings where we employ many different techniques to own and understand all vibes LIVE here in Los Angeles.

PASSION + PURPOSE

Writing prompt to activate your personal power. Pen to paper, please!

Staying connected to what we are passionate about brings a deeper meaning to the overall quality of our lives. What do you love to do? What makes you feel alive and inspired? This doesn’t need to be anything that you’re “good” at! Often times we block our creative flow because we judge it as good or bad. Recognize when and where these judgement words pop in and shift them to something more constructive. I like the word “explore” because it brings out curiosity rather than achievement. TRY THIS EXERCISE:

Close your eye and place your hands on your belly center, breathe deeply into your core and ignite your breathing with the visualization of a bright yellow sun. In your minds eye, see that sun expand beyond the borders of your body and into the world around you. Ask yourself what lights you up from the inside out. Don’t answer quickly let the space of your mind, emotion, and spirit fill you up with the response. The gift is you get to feel and intuit the answer rather than intellectually react. As you breathe into the sensation. Gently open your eyes and write in your journal:

The answer that came to you. For example mine is “living in connection”

So I would write “living in connection”

Means……… Write out everything it means to you

What it feels like………write out all the feelings

What this creates…………..

Don’t edit, let it flow and reveal some of the deeper dimensions of what lights you up. This is how we connect to our purpose, we embody it from inside out. Enjoy the light and shine on!

Check back HERE for future Processing Playground gatherings where we employ writing techniques such as this one LIVE here in Los Angeles.

PERFECTIONISM

perfectionismHere in LA we have June gloom. It’s a reminder that life isn’t always sunny nor should it be. Sometimes our desire to be up keeps us attached to happiness. Sadness is also a state that we all must visit to sit in a deeper understanding of what it means to be human. It can be messy business here in earth school and if we have a desire to keep up appearances of happy all the time, we just might develop the  “Perfectionism Syndrome”. Perfectionism means I will only show you what I think you want to see so you will validate me. Then I don’t have to deal with my fears and insecurities. Perfectionism will want me to be a control freak, because God forbid I make a mistake! How do we not make mistakes in this world? Isn’t that how we learn? It’s the judgment of the mistakes that kills the spirit and the growth. We place “bad” on messing up. Then we live in shame, and “I will never let you see that part of me because you will not love or like me”. Shame, like a fungus, grows in the dark. So what is the antidote? Shine the light of our awareness on the upsetting experience, understand why and what happened, own our part, forgive, and heal the pain so it doesn’t it fester into more pain and create mean voices that will eventually lash out.

The truth is many of us have self-beat voices. I call them gremlins. They seem more approachable that way. They usually started talking early in life when we were developing a sense of self. If we took on the criticisms of our culture, religion, perhaps family of origin, we may not have learned how to process our insecurities, fears, and upsets. This can sit in our subconscious for many years and stimulate our thoughts and behaviors, talking in our ear whenever we feel scared and off center. The thing is they are often not true but feel very real. If we continue to avoid them and not deal because fear is up, how do we learn how to navigate our negative feelings?

There is a lot of talk about the power of positive thinking. But what happens to all the negative thoughts we have? Ask yourself what some of your negative thoughts are, and what you do when you have them? Negative implies bad which is a judgment, and judgment often shuts down new information and learning. Often times we think that pain or sadness is to be avoided because it hurts. Then we can judge it as bad and shut off the channel to understanding our hurts and wounds. We live in a world that judges quickly and understands and owns slowly. That’s why it is important to slow down to understand our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Fear is a teacher if we learn to listen without judgment and go towards understanding what is off center and needs attention. You see, the thing about fear is that if we avoid it or shut it down, it will come back with friends even louder and we will have to find ways to silence it again. This is where the addict jumps in and tries to save us from our mean thoughts. If we start judging the addict then how are we ever going to change? Yikes!

So how do we get off this crazy train of trying to be perfect? Rinse and understand our feelings and stop judging them as bad or wrong! Through this process we own what is ours, build the muscle of self-trust, and catch our judgments of others. When you feel triggered and upset, recognize your patterns. Do you blame, project and personalize? Is your thinking, seeing, and listening open and clear? Probably not! Write down in a journal what is stirred up for you to stimulate all the voices that are spinning in your head. Every thought we have has a feeling attached and a vibe. If we thought it, we felt it. And no amount of physical or mental gymnastics will make it go away. Understand what the feelings are saying to create greater awareness of a truth that is out of balance. Feelings are not facts, they are like a school of fish when allowed to move together, they help us swim forward and not stay stuck in a trance. This will help us process deeper feelings in the subconscious mind that have been avoided so that we don’t keep playing out the past pain and imposing it onto our current life. That’s why it is so important to take negative off of sadness and upset. This is how we learn about ourselves and process old residue that we may be carrying from many years ago. See my Processing Playground video HERE on Rinse, Process, and Own.

Clearing the emotional center can make you feel more alive and even childlike. It takes a lot of our energy to hold down the fort of fear and keep judgments alive. Frankly it exhausts our ability to be present and awake. So recognize if you have an attachment to staying in turmoil to not deal with upsetting truths. When they are acknowledged and liberated, you may see the world from a much more open view. You may feel more open and courageous to share all of you because you won’t fear other people’s judgments. We take on other peoples’ pain and projections because we are already doing it to ourselves somewhere!  As we rinse and process our feelings of fear and own what is ours, the truth doesn’t hurt. It sets us free!  So love your flaws, understand and own your mistakes, and recognize that beauty is in the truth of who we are. To know true love, is to love all of our truths, the good, bad, and ugly. If we can do that for ourselves, how much easier will it be to love others with more understanding and less judgment? Whenever the gloom sets in, it’s not bad it’s a moment to pause and feel what is coming up, let it move you through the shadows to bring you back into your light. We are human and spirit, darkness and light, we are perfect in the wholeness of who we are.

Check back HERE for future Processing Playground gatherings where we continue to cover this content LIVE here in Los Angeles.