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Tag Archives: Religion and Spirituality

Hello 2014

perfectHappy New Year! I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions but I like to acknowledge the idea of a fresh start. There is something really freeing and exciting when I think of new beginnings. It feels like once again, anything can happen. In honor of this, I am practicing Sankalpa. Sankalpa is an ancient Ayurvedic practice in which we honor the deeper meaning of our life. So even though I have intentions of losing the 8 pounds that I have gained since Halloween, the practice of Sankalpa asks us to dive deeper with our intentions.

The process is simple but certainly not easy. We need to come from the knowledge that we already are who we need to be to fulfill our life’s purpose or dharma. We only need to peel back layers of resistance and old patterns that are no longer serving us. Like I said, simple but not easy. Ideally we can bring forth a statement or vow that we can call upon to remind us of our true nature and guide our choices.

The first stage is to listen in meditation to your heart’s desire. What is it you truly want? This desire is already present within you. You don’t need to create anything. Next, welcome the desire. Feel it with your whole being. The final stage takes courage. The final step is to take the action required. Think about actions that you can commit to that are consistent with this heartfelt desire. Some of the actions will require a strong warrior spirit mixed with loving compassion. This is already a part of you. Let it out.

Balancing tip-So what about that 8 pounds? This is a perfect time to do a mini home detox. When we cleanse in the winter, we want it to be gentle (especially for those of you who are living in colder regions). My plan is to incorporate some self-care practices into my day for the next few days. This will include skin brushing, oil massages, neti, and daily yoga and meditation. I will be drinking at least 1 green juice and/or smoothie each day. I will be drinking herbal teas and limiting caffeine. I will be taking some cleansing herbs and I will be eating plenty of vegetables, mostly leafy greens. My protein and carbohydrate requirements will come from a classic Indian comfort food called Khichadi. It consists of white Basmati rice and yellow mung dahl beans mixed with Indian spices. It is delicious and I will eat it twice a day. This dish is very easy to digest which will give my digestive system a much-needed break from the holiday chaos. The mung dahl beans are soaking as I write.  I (or my husband) will be making the Khichadi tomorrow. If you are local and would like to try a serving, let me know. The recipe makes a lot and I am happy to share.

Feel free to contact me if you would like try something like this for yourself and have some questions.

An Evening with the Lama

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This evening I had the pleasure of listening to Anyen Rinpoche speak about emotions and difficult situations. Anyen Rinpoche is a Tibetan Buddhist Lama based out of Denver who travels and teaches ancient Buddhist wisdom. He was soft-spoken, intelligent and full of humor. He explained that we, as Westerners, are attached to a certain idea about what life is and should be. When events happen that differ from our idea, suffering happens. The truth is that we live in a world full of impermanence, yet we continually conceptualize things to be static. Continued suffering. This is not only true in our situations and relationships, but also with our own bodies. Anyen Rinpoche said, “The physical body is only a guest of our Consciousness.” Coming to terms with the fact that we will eventually die can ease much suffering. He briefly spoke of the concept of Samsara which is the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. This idea of reincarnation allows for a continuous flow and less attachment.

Releasing attachment to our ideas of what should be is the first step to equanimity. The next step, as Anyen Rinpoche suggested, was to use the breath. This can be a simple as paying attention to the inhales and the exhales for four or five minutes. Even when in a rush, taking that time will make the remainder of the day markedly better. The third step deals with thought. Not resisting the thoughts and emotions that arise, and at the same time, not chasing the thoughts and emotions. Number three is the hardest for me. When I am feeling strong emotion, good or bad, I have a hard time letting it go. This is where a daily practice of meditation helps. When I am practicing regularly, I have a much easier time allowing things to flow. When I fall off the meditation wagon, I am often in a state of resistance or holding onto something. He spent a little time speaking of the importance of exercise. He spoke specifically of yoga and tai chi. He was quick to add that although exercise can be helpful, we can’t just focus on the physical aspects. Breathwork and meditation are essential to our well-being.

I was able to receive a personal blessing at the end of the talk. The tradition is to present the Rinpoche with a white silk scarf called a Kada. He may keep the scarf or give it to you to keep. I was trying to not be attached to that outcome, even though I really wanted to keep the Kada. He gave me a blessing and gently put the scarf around my neck. I felt lucky for both the blessing and the scarf!

Balancing Tip–You guessed it–Juicing! I think this topic deserves entire posts dedicated to this art. For today, I just want to say that I have begun to incorporate it into my daily life and love it. I haven’t found the best tasting recipes yet, but when you are drinking something that looks like the picture shown, you know you are doing the body good. It also eases the guilt for ordering pizza tonight because I had somewhere important to be!

Namaste.

Spring Cleaning

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I love spring! Even though I have been living in Florida for the past couple years, I can feel spring as strong as if I had just spent another winter in the Northeast. The energy in everything seems to be amplified. Colors are brighter, the dogs are friskier, and the smells are intoxicating. As much as I hate to lose the hour sleep this weekend, I really enjoy the extended time of light in the evenings. The warmer weather allows more of us to get outside and connect with nature. This is something we all need.

Many of us practice a “Spring Cleaning” ritual in our homes. Opening windows and blinds to release dirt and grime from the winter while allowing more light to shine in. This is more than the usual cleaning. We do a more detailed job in spring. We let go of items that we no longer use to make room for new things. Some of us may even polish some of our more treasured belongings so that we can see them shine and take pleasure in their beauty.

Along with spring cleaning my house this season, I have decided to spring clean myself. I don’t just mean the seasonal detox/cleanse  that I have been doing at the change of the seasons for the past couple years. I mean clean out the crap that keeps me stuck. I am talking about old beliefs, old thought patterns and habits that no longer serve me. I know I am not alone in needing this occasional “tune-up”. Over the years we have taken on ideas that were either put upon us by society or adopted by us as a defense mechanism. Either way, there comes a time when these ideas become more of a hinderance than a help. Spring is the perfect time to reflect and decide what needs to go out with the dirt and grime of winter. Let’s open ourselves up so that the Light can shine brighter inside as well as outside. Let’s not forget to appreciate and enhance all of the wonderful things we find that are working for us.

So how exactly do we do this? We start by being honest with ourselves and taking note of what is working in our lives and what isn’t. If we find an area that we consistently feel frustration or anxiety, we can be pretty sure we have some work to do there. As with any detox or deep cleanse, there is a period of discomfort while the old is moving out and we see what actually fits and feels right for ourselves. It is a time to be supportive and nurturing of ourselves. Wholesome foods, gentle exercise, periods of meditation, journaling, quiet times in nature are all great practices to help you ease into better thinking. I went to the beach this morning to put my toes in the sand. Realistically, I didn’t have that hour to spare, but knowing everything that is going on inside of me, I felt that I needed it. Because I took the time for myself, my day went much smoother than expected. I felt grounded, supported and ready to take on the tasks at hand.

I’m not sure where this spring cleaning will take me, but I am sure it will lead me closer to peace. I understand that the process of spiritual growth is a process of letting go, over and over. I don’t need anything more than I have to make progress here, but I do need to continue to strip away at what holds me back from becoming my highest potential.

Nutritional tip #7-detox. If you are new to detoxing or aren’t interested in making huge changes right away, start simple. Try to make small changes for 3 days. Eliminate alcohol, sugar, and white flour. Drink extra water. Incorporate more veggies-especially leafy greens. If you feel like you could handle a little more, lose the meat and processed foods. This is a great start and can be done without causing any stress on the body. As stated above, during any detox or cleanse, be gentle and nurturing with yourself.

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