Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Finding Your Balance: Looking at Life as a Balancing Act.

http://media-cache-ec4.pinimg.com/736x/52/65/dc/5265dcc141366c6750c4c3db19ca695a.jpgThere is a beautiful saying that goes like this: "In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me lay an invincible summer."  Why do I love this quote so much? Because it holds true for so much that we experience in life. The concepts of Yin and Yang (originating in the Chinese culture) say that in life, we have everything and nothing lies exclusively. Happiness is not without sadness. Day is not without night. And so forth.

Oftentimes, we find out greatest happiness through our greatest struggle. Why? Because our struggles make us stronger and wiser. Perhaps this calls for us to re-frame our idea of struggle. When we are going through a tough period of time we want to isolate ourselves, we feel embarrassed and weak, that we aren't deserving.

Let's rethink our dark times. They may be the experiences that shape us into our greatest selves. For in darkness we find light. And in vulnerability we find our greatest power. Why I say this? Because I have experienced it.

If we look at our lives, we see everything. Life is whole when we let go of judgement and simply see what is. When we acknowledge and embrace all of our emotions, each life experience. For every experience gives us the opportunity to become more, to grow and to expand our consciousness.

The key then, is balance. I was listening to a radio show a few days ago that explained ways that we can become more balanced, ways that I have practiced in my own life.

It is important to find time for ourselves. Time to recharge, reflect and refocus. Eliminating toxicity in our lives is also vital. Choosing not to spend time with people who suck out our energy. Learning to say "no" may give us more space to say "yes" to what we really need. Our energy is precious and we cannot live our lives according to the opinions and expectations of other people.

I have learned that finding balance also means asking for help. We are put on this earth together, to connect and help each other. Asking for help is a sign of courage and self-respect, not weakness.

With these practical strategies in mind, I have also realized that balance is more than just what we do. It is a mindset created from the thoughts we think. It is a state of being, a state of inner peace that we find through looking within. Through facing who we truly are. 



Monday, 27 May 2013

Simplicity and Freedom: Having Less to Become More

The past few days have been a time of preparation: for travel and for a change in living space. I have never done packing for both at the same time! All very exciting, but also tiring. I have definitely learned the value of finding balance, especially during this time. Taking the time to just be and breathe. For "life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain." It's about learning to dance and play through our lives,  in whatever the time we are experiencing is giving us.

As I've been packing, it really dawned on me how we often allow our stuff to limit us, and without even realizing. I have felt such freedom while traveling- a big part of this feeling comes from the fact that I am not attached to many things. I have the space to live in authenticity. To base my decisions only on inner desire, with no attachment to an external condition. And what I have realized, is that we can live this way all the time.

It is simply about mindset: to know that regardless of what we have around us, our value is in who we are and not what we have.

We get attached to the things we have, as if they are a part of us. But really, the things we own has absolutely no relation to our value as human beings.

Our things take up our physical space, but also our mental space. We tell ourselves that "perhaps one day I will use this for something." The problem with thinking this way is that we can say this about anything we own. We can justify just about anything with this statement.

Instead, let us ask ourselves if the things we have are serving us right now for who we are right now. We are constantly evolving. The things we used to have may no longer serving us, for we have grown. We are stronger and wiser than we were a year ago, a month ago, a week ago. 

When we allow our environment to reflect our inner world, we experience more alignment, more peace. Letting go of old baggage fills us with more energy. 

What do you prefer, carrying old baggage or having more energy?

The longer I live, the more I realize that simplicity is more than just being a minimalist with the things we have. We can simplify our lives by becoming aware of the people we spend our time with and energy on. We really do "become like the five people we spend the most time with." 

It is important to become aware of the people in our lives and how we feel with them. Who is inspiring, supportive and positive and who is bringing us down? Saying no to the "energy vampires", the people who take away from our happiness, can be one of the best decisions we make. For as long as we waste our time with the wrong people, we are limiting our own growth and freedom, as well as our ability to become stronger so that we can contribute to others. 

Simplicity is a process, and it starts with awareness. Let us be aware of the truth and "change what we can, accept what we cannot and have the wisdom to know the difference." (The serenity prayer).



Sunday, 26 May 2013

The Power of Gratitude + My Story

 Gratitude has the power to change lives, to transform our perspective and make us feel happier. When we notice that which we already have and that which we already hold within us, when we notice our unique gifts and inner resources, we realize that the key to success and happiness is already within us.

Yes, life can get stressful and chaotic. It is easy to become consumed by all the problems we have yet to solve, all the goals we have yet to achieve. We put pressure on ourselves and expect ourselves to find solutions quickly, and when we don't we become disappointed. All of this thinking focuses on the lack of and the future- what is still yet to come.

When we take a moment to come to the present. To observe our own being in meditation or stillness, we realize that we are filled with and surrounded by abundance right now.

We live in a world where happiness is objectified. We think that we need to get something in order to be happy. But happiness is not defined by a set of conditions, nor is it attached to any. What is it though, is a state of being that yes, can be achieved in the presence of certain conditions, but more importantly, can be found within us at any point in our lives.

For me, it took a breakdown to realize what life is really about, what is really important and that what is important has always been and is within and around me. Breaking down made me feel like a failure, like someone who was giving up. But really, 2010 was the beginning of a new life for me. It just took a little while for things to get better. Beginnings are often hard, and we can lose sight of how good they are in the long run, but they really are good. I can assure you.

Life is full of new beginnings, changes and shifts, but 2010 presented me with a beginning that I was not exactly prepared for. It was the first time in my life that I felt out of control. The more of life we experience, we know ourselves better and we learn more. We learn how to deal with situations and we gain confidence. So yes, while we will continually experience shifts, changes and new beginnings, we also gain perspective and learn how to better approach the situations that we are faced with.

Gratitude makes us realize that we are enough. That we have enough. Gratitude starts with awareness. Whether we write a list of what we feel blessed to have or if we are simply noticing what is making us feel good, this is practicing gratitude.

I really love the phrase, "the world is your oyster." Gratitude causes us to see this truth.



Friday, 24 May 2013

Happiness is Right Now: Make Love to The Moment.

There is nothing more real than this moment. This very moment holds the most power of aliveness and authenticity. The past is memory and the future is yet to come. The greatest opportunity for impact we have is in our hands in this moment.

Sometimes we get caught up in the idea that happiness is attached to big things- to money, status and material possessions. That we need to achieve big things to find happiness. We look outside ourselves for it, as if it were some object to chase after. "One day, when I have ____ , I will be happy."

The truth is that we don't have to go anywhere to find true happiness. Only within our hearts. It is not attached to a condition, it does not rely on something that we need to get.

Happiness does not judge. It does not look at what we have or don't have. It doesn't care about perfection. It just is. And sometimes we must look within to find that happiness is something we can feel now.

With the courage to venture within, we know ourselves. And when we know ourselves, we know how to live.

Happiness starts from the journey within. It starts with the patience and courage to look within, to ask ourselves the burning questions about how we feel and what makes us happy. Are we living for other people or are we staying true to our authentic selves?

We can plan for the future, but living is in the moment.

This year I really realized that the realest human connection happens in the moment. How soul satisfying it is to experience life in each others' presence (the word presence derives from the state of being present). To be able to share our happiness with others and appreciate theirs.

One of my favorite movies, "Into The Wild" describes exactly this. That happiness as something that becomes real when it is shared. I could not agree more.



Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Why We Hold Back Our Feelings.

I watched my favorite TED talk today by Brené Brown called "The Power of Vulnerability"- lets just say that her words touch me quite profoundly. In this post, I want to bring out the topics of emotion and vulnerability.

 We so often hold back our feelings because we think that if we express them, we are weak. That if people were to know just what is really going on inside, in our hearts, they will think less of us. So we silence, we pretend, we hold back on the truth.We build up walls that suck out our energy, and at the same time stuff down our potential for creativity and growth.

Through experiencing and reflecting upon my own life, I have realized that there is a whole picture to embrace. We cannot possibly embrace true happiness without embracing pain.

We have learned to put labels on our emotions, as if they were items in a grocery store. "This thing is good, this thing is bad." The thing is that emotions don't work like that. They aren't selective. We can't go about feeling authentic if we only expect happiness and that other people see our life looking like a perfectly wrapped present.

Perhaps one of the greatest risks is exposing ourselves for who we truly are. This way of being is paved with uncertainty and risk. But if I have learned anything this year, it is that this is most worthwhile risk of all. To be who we truly are.

Exposing our vulnerability is one of the most courageous and powerful things we can do. It is the basis of human connection. How can we expect to understand each other and experience real connection if we are avoiding how we really feel? Embracing vulnerability means asking for help. It means saying, "I'm sorry." It's stepping into the arena of life and getting messy, even though there are no guarantees. It means saying no to something that has drained our energy and taking the step to doing what will make us happy, even if we feel scared and lonely. It means having faith in the face of uncertainty.

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, its about learning to dance in the rain."

Dare openheartedly,


Saturday, 18 May 2013

When Times Get Tough, Stay Connected.

The past few months have been a time of great change in my life. I have learned to find balance in times of chaos. Change is uncomfortable and we often do not see that most of the changes we make in our lives have positive intention. Because change can be so overwhelming and draining, we do not see the benefit until things have settled.

Some changes involve letting go of comforts we held on to for too long- a relationship we thought would work out, a job that no longer gives us what we need. We let go of what we know because it doesn't make us happy and if we don't try something else, we may never know what will. We step into uncertainty with courage.

When we feel overwhelmed, we often feel a need to escape, to get away. "How will I possibly be able to handle all of this?" we ask ourselves.

And instead of expressing how we feel and asking for help, we keep our emotion bottled up.

What I have learned is that it is during this specific time of feeling overwhelmed that we must have the courage to face, open up and be open to receive support and connect.

Maybe we were conditioned in the past that being a "fighter" is the right way. That we must push ourselves to fight through our struggles on our own. I can say that this way of being is wrong. Why is it wrong? Because it simply doesn't feel good.  

Feeling alone therefore can be directly caused by our beliefs around how we should react to life's
events. We may isolate because we feel it wrong to express our emotion and allow the world to see our most authentic selves. That crying, showing vulnerability, is a sign of weakness.

But really, our power lies in our vulnerability. There is nothing more powerful that allowing our truth to be expressed and shared.

So let us open up to each other as our most authentic selves. We were put here on this earth together for a reason. To connect with each other and create on this basis.


Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Are You Being YOU? - Live Your Truth.

We have all worn masks. Some masks are heavier and some not so. Whether we are in a job that we hate and we pretend to like it, or we are simply smiling our way through a rough day, we are still wearing a mask. Some masks are temporary and some are not. Its the ones we wear without awareness, the ones that we mistake for truth, the ones that we allow to become our reality that make us feel unhappy and stuck. These masks stop us from becoming more of who we truly are and embracing the changes that will allow this to happen.

The heavier the mask, the more energy we waste. And the more energy we are putting into being someone we are not, the less energy we have to be who we truly are.

When we wear a mask, what we are really experiencing is misalignment between our external and internal world. The things we say and the way we express our emotion is not in alignment with what we are really thinking and feeling.

Taking off our mask takes courage. It's not easy to become who we truly are. There will be challenges.

I have dedicated my life to uncovering my own authenticity and I can say with all my heart that is has been the best decision I have ever made. It has distinguished my understanding of how it feels to exist and how it feels to be alive- the difference is life-changing. It has taught me patience and to trust in the journey of growth and self realization.

Being authentic starts with the decision to be authentic. From there, we peel the onion. Imagine an onion- each layer we peel off, the more authentic we become as we come closer to our core.

The only way we can move forward is by acknowledging that which is in the present. And sometimes we don't want to face what is present because it is painful or scary. But in resisting, we are also resisting our growth and happiness. Happiness carries a different meaning when it doesn't hold the baggage of unexpressed emotion.

Life's cycle is whole. We are human and we are meant to experience the whole range of emotions. Acknowledging each experience for what it is creates freedom- the sensation of freedom itself as well as the freedom to be who we truly are and experience all that we are capable of experiencing.



Sunday, 5 May 2013

Time to Just Be.

http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/c8/6e/12/c86e129727588d9848a6600e34626e03.jpgLife can get busy sometimes. With work and other commitments, we find ourselves running on overdrive, feeling drained both physically and mentally. We forget to slow down and just breathe. To take the time for ourselves to recharge, reflect, reconnect, play and enjoy Spring.

When we are constantly in action, it's easy to forget to check in with how we feel. It is easy to get caught up in the idea that there are things we have to do. But really, if we decided to take a break, what is the worst thing that can happen? 

There is great value in taking time for ourselves. Making time to recharge and reflect allows us to become strong and focused. When we do return to work or a busy schedule, we feel renewed and our strongest, most grounded selves. We make better decisions.

Society often undervalues the importance and benefit of spending time alone. What I believe is that time alone can be an incredibly positive and enlightening experience. Of course it is important to spend time and share our experiences with people who we connect with- deep and supportive relationships are very soul satisfying. But who says we can't enjoy some time in solitude? Being alone without social and technological distractions gives us the space to think and connect with our truest selves.

"We have the power, within a single day, to transform our lives."
In one day, we have the ability to recenter, refocus and become grounded, despite what the days before looked liked. 
I am a firm believer in planning and creating goals for ourselves, but there is also a certain magic found in allowing the day to unfold. In letting go and being spontaneous. In allowing opportunities to unfold. In being open to what the moment has to offer us.