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traveling solo…

Posted by on May 8, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on traveling solo…

I love to travel.  Always have.  I like the smell of airplane fuel.  Driving anywhere near an airport, I get a whiff and a sense of excitement around stepping out of my “normal” life begins to take over.

I just returned from a trip to Isla Mujeres Mexico for my 42nd birthday and posted some pictures on social media. A girlfriend commented that it was brave for me to travel out of the country alone.  That comment reminded me that what I now enjoy and think of as normal wasn’t always so.  10 years ago, when I took that first solo trip outside of the US, I had to step through layers of fear…

One thing I’ve come to realize about growing up when I did in the West is that it wasn’t widely encouraged for us to travel alone, or even do things alone like go to dinner or an event.  Our media shouts out fears that tug at the underlying fears already present.  Beliefs & thought forms are vibrations just like you & I are.  They permeate the air we breathe, the food we eat, the atmosphere we live in.  Collective beliefs pull us in if we aren’t aware of them & shape the way we view ourselves and our world. Since my father was a pilot for Delta, thankfully I sidestepped the fear of traveling to other countries. However, I did grow up with the elephant in the room around being a woman and not being able to do certain things without a man. I am grateful to all of the women who came before me and paved the way. Had they not done what they did, I wouldn’t be so free today.

That first solo trip…  I was in the middle of a painful divorce, determined to understand why I was getting divorced for the 2nd time, living in the house with my soon to be ex and needing a break. I looked at a map and thought, I could use a trip to a tropical spa-type destination.  Pampering, beach, relaxation… yes! I spent a day researching and settled on the Sivananda Retreat Center in the Bahamas.  I had been practicing yoga for a couple of years at that time and thought what a nice addition taking some leisurely classes would be.

I told a few friends, whose comments were: “is it safe for you to travel alone?”, “isn’t there someone you can go with?”, “are you sure you want to do this?”.  To which I replied, “I need this!”.  And I thought it was only because I needed to get away from the situation I was in – ha. The humor of the divine is all pervading, a fact I see in retrospect and after 42 years of this life’s experience.  SO, off I go to the airport with my passport in hand, a smile on my face and a fear in my stomach… you know that feeling where you don’t know if you’re going to throw up or laugh hysterically. I took several deep breaths throughout and kept repeating – “you’ve got this!”.

As soon as the flight took off, I settled back in my seat ready for adventure and maybe for angels to start singing or something.  Once landed, I found my way awkwardly to the dock for the boat ride.  I was a bit nervous as the taxi stand was around the corner, not marked & one disheveled guy was standing there next to a run down car that had illegible markings on it.  He said he was the person to take me to the dock.  I gave him my bag with only a slight tremble in my hand as I thought about the fact I hadn’t even told my family where I was going or that I was traveling at all.

The boat brought me to the dock of Sivananda… I walk up to the front and the guests had just finished their lunch and were clearing their own plates (hmmm, that’s a bit strange for a spa).  I am shown to my room (the size of a shoebox, no air conditioning & common bathrooms).  I am given the retreat schedule… 5a wake up bell, 530a chanting on the beach, 6a 2 hour yoga on the dock, 8a breakfast (cleanup duty), free time, lecture, lunch (cleanup duty), lecture, free time, meditation, evening yoga, dinner, chanting, lights out 930p… I worry that I am at the wrong place.

Or, am I exactly where I’m supposed to be?  Needless to say, the Ashram I had booked was not a spa and the 3 days there were hard and transformative and not what I envisioned or expected.  I had plenty of time to journal and sit with my expectations around the trip… which of course led me into seeing some unrealistic expectations I had been holding myself, my marriage & my life to.  It ended up being the trip that touched into deep wells of strength & power I never knew I had. It was the first breakthrough to a self-confidence that has since blossomed in me. A confidence around taking care of myself, trusting myself and my inner guidance and in knowing that it is ok for me to stand powerfully in this world as a woman.

Since that first trip, I have traveled solo to many other places in and out of the US.  I’ve found that it doesn’t have to be far away for me to reap benefits.  Many times it’s a trip a few hours away & into the wilderness.  No matter where I go, it’s never what I envision or expect and I always come up against myself & my beliefs.  I am able to see the ways I get caught in illusion.  Stepping outside my “normal” day to day life, the world reflects back to me exactly where I am stuck but too close to see it.  I always come back changed.  I always come back with a new perspective for that “normal” life that doesn’t ever seem quite so normal anymore.  I am better able to see the extraordinary magic that is in EVERY moment and I step forward with a graceful confidence that is born from being in other cultures, taking a break from the thought forms & beliefs I’ve inhaled and realizing that we are all beautiful and all human and all doing the best we can.

So on this recent birthday trip, I’m riding a rusty bike with no gears around the island in sweltering heat, seeing nothing but run down buildings & wondering if the local I spoke to hours ago was laughing. She had told me I could ride the island on a bike in less than an hour for a $5 rental & that a beautiful beach and sights awaited at the other end. I had passed 1 other person on a bike, the rest of the many people on scooters or in cars, peering at me with quizzical looks. I crested another steep climb and my breath caught. Wow! Bright turquoise blue water, mayan ruins, a strong breeze and cliffs below. Thinking of the great quote by John Muir, “…for going out, I found I was really going in”, I put a hand on my heart and say “You’ve got this!”

the still point…

Posted by on Jan 28, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on the still point…

Recently my classes have been focused on finding the inner still point. Imagine you are seated and circling your waist in one direction… my guidance is generally to pause after several revolutions before starting to circle the other way.

The last few weeks, I found myself out of sorts. Trying to accomplish forward movement and not quite getting there. Couldn’t put my finger on it, but knew I wasn’t the only one. One day in class we did the waist circles and I guided everyone to switch directions, skipping the pause in between. I noticed how jarring it felt and it suddenly hit me… this is what I was trying to do in my own life. I’ve got a taste of where I’m headed and I’m so excited about the new direction that I’m ready to be there RIGHT NOW! Can you think of a recent instance in your life that correlates? Maybe a new creative endeavor, relationship, or a new job…

What this realization reminded me of was a conversation I had around integration. To move forward in our lives in a fully integrated way, we must be willing to pause and allow all parts of ourselves to get on board, to move in the other direction ONLY when we feel the pull, the call from within vs the push from without. For me, it is an exercise in patience.

What does it feel like for you when you are being guided from within? The next time you are rushing through your day, take a moment to pause and breathe. I’ve been teaching yoga and meditating for 7 years now and still have to remind myself to breathe when I’m stressed. However, I noticed a leaps and bounds difference in the way I relate to the world since I started meditating.

If you don’t have a meditation practice, start one. Hands down, it has been the thing that has supported me the most in tuning into that inner guidance. Slowing down the barrage of thoughts and voices in my head enough to be able to recognize the spaces in between has been the best gift I’ve ever given to myself.

As I find myself pausing, breathing, feeling the old way unwind, there is a natural impulse to move forward in the new direction. And when I start to move that way, I smile at the rich feeling of knowing I am being guided from deep within.

If you have questions about meditation, shoot me an email.

invisible planes & pure potentiality…

Posted by on May 30, 2015 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on invisible planes & pure potentiality…

Sitting on the runway at JFK watching planes take off.  As soon as they do, they disappear, moving behind the clouds on this hazy day.  Or truly becoming invisible.  I choose to believe the latter.  Many amazing things are invisible… like Wonder Woman’s plane.  We all know her plane is there… how else would she be able to fly such amazing distances so quickly & be such a bad-a$$?

There is also the invisible space between objects in our physical world.  Many of us have believed that this space is empty, allowing our worlds to be defined by what we can see.  However, physics shows us what many spiritual teaching have been leading us towards for thousands of years, that the space is actually quite full.  What we can see only makes up .0000001% of matter.  The rest, meaning 99.9999% of it, is the space of pure potentiality, of waves and frequencies of energy.  Philosophers and scientists have referred to it as the matrix, the field, the current, etc.

I read a young adult series called The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, about a year ago.  In it, the King of the Enchanted Forest could alter ‘reality’ by reaching out and plucking the strands of thread that ran throughout the whole forest.  I think about space like that… full of waves of energy, vibrations that might look like an infinite number of threads.  Everything, all possibility, is here right now for us.  All we have to do is center ourselves in the present moment, reach out and touch the thread connected to it and it is here manifest physically.  The stories of our childhood are real, as real as the computer you are reading this on that is connecting you to the internet through these waves of energy.  And we can alter them in any way we can conceive of IF we can imagine it.  We are only limited by the mental constructs that we ourselves hold onto.

We can alter our memories (and in fact do every time we remember something from the past).  We are re-imprinting it into our cells and our bodies every time we think of it.  It’s easier to see this when looking on the outside – have you ever had a long time friend whose stories you have heard told over and over again throughout the years?  Do you notice the subtle shifts and embellishments that happen each time the story is repeated?  We do that on the inside too.  This is not only the stuff of fairytales & superheroes, it is reality, which we shape and morph through our thoughts, beliefs, emotions & habits.  The adage “to see what your world will look like tomorrow, look at your thoughts today” is absolutely true.

My practice right now is to stretch my mind & my imagination, to really stretch it.  What can I dream of and envision that is not already here in my physical seen world?  My brain feels at first like a shoe stuck in molasses.  Suctioning out seems sluggish, resistant even.  However, as I stretch & practice, ideas move through faster.  What about this, and this, AND THIS?!?  I am manifesting at lightning speed – mental constructs, thoughts, ideas, beliefs – moving as fast as Wonder Woman’s plane.  As soon as they come up, I catch them and release, making way for the next.  Wheeeeeee…

Now it is our turn to take off.  Instead of the plane disappearing, the whole city of New York does.  I smile in delight.  Anything is possible.