Movement

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As I type this, I am exhausted – being five months pregnant and attempting to purchase maternity clothing at Ross with a four year old in tow can do that to you – in all honesty, I think what I eventually purchased probably makes me look like an overly tattooed cupcake…anyone seen the movie “Spy?” – yea…like her necklace…if not, google the necklace, you’ll get a chuckle.

Movement – to say we’ve been through hell the last year is an understatement – losing four – FOUR family members within ONE year can disrupt your lifestyle considerably. Two grandfathers, an uncle AND a sister – makes holidays seriously sad, and what’s more is our bodies are designed to hold onto the pain which our brains can’t process…so, there’s fibromyalgia times four, a massive upswing of stress hormones and a larger than normal desire to sleep. Grief makes it impossible to get anything done in a normal way. Waking up hurts, grocery shopping hurts. Even self-medicating, although fun and numbing for a moment…eventually hurts. In my case, I stopped moving. I went from working out six times a week, teaching two yoga classes AND teaching karate to only teaching the karate I needed to and pretty much sleeping as much as possible. I’m sorry, but my grief was just too much, breathing through my asanas hurt like being cut a part with a cheese grater…at some point, I stopped trying, stopped breathing, clammed up. It’s been tough. Even harder to keep together as a Mom and wife…forget friendships – I totally lost several of those over the course of the year – just couldn’t get out of the house!

One night as I was in a particular amount of nasty pain, I was sitting outside and contemplating, praying, asking for an end to this misery, I heard G-d say to me (yes, G-d) that he would heal me. That my world would feel as though it was ending, life as I knew it was about to completely upheave, but to trust…seriously, it was weird – amazing, but weird – time stood still, the world was silent, I felt dizzy, definitely G-d.

Three weeks later we discovered I was pregnant with our second child…and then, as happy as we were,  I literally almost died – no seriously – that first trimester was horrific – one things for sure, this kid is a fighter like the rest of her family – she hung in through a bleed, through dangerous dehydration, through strept throat, bronchitis, hyperemesis, heart problems and the fright of a very scared mommy, who was told over and over that because of her age and symptoms, it was unlikely she was going to carry her daughter to term.

So what happened? What kept me sane? Aside from the love of my husband and family, G-d gave me visions of all my ancestors before me – the women especially, who survived, pregnant, walking hundreds of miles after being freed from Egypt, the women who survive today, bravely taking merchant ships to America or other non-war stripped countries…sometimes giving birth in 112 degree wether, in shipping containers IN THE MIDDLE OF THE OCEAN…the women who survive cancer after having their breasts removed, their hair gone, their bodies ravaged by radiation…these were my heroines, part of the rope that held my exhausted and terrifying life-raft together through the mess of the first trimester – with my husband’s never ending support, and both sides of the family pitching in to help, we made it through, BUT I’ve only started to move again, as of the last few weeks…which is again, what this post is about – movement. The importance of it and why.

The “greats” say that yoga is in everything – I tend to agree – there is yoga and mindfulness to dish washing, slinging coffee, one’s work – basically, yoga equals “process,” and if we are mindful in our process or even lack of process, we are practicing yoga, but not all yoga is physical movement…thoughts are mental or energetic movement, but moving our physical bodies, well, that needs to occur in order to properly pump our blood, burn excess energy, level out our hormones and chemicals and most importantly, dump the mental baggage, the trauma that our bodies hold onto DAILY. Not weekly, not once in a  while – nope – our body needs literally to dump every day. Just like regular pooping, moving your body keeps things in good working order.

What I’ve learned, again…and will likely learn again someday, is that we humans  also need to move our bodies to stay sane. When we don’t move, we start to stagnate, and stagnant waters breed some pretty nasty pond scum…in short, if one doesn’t want to  become pond scum, one should at the very minimum take a walk somewhere.

After five months of modified bed rest and SERIOUS nausea and vomiting (and food poisoning) I’ve started moving again. It started with a quarter mile walk to Starbucks…that tuckered me out! BUT, the last few weeks I’ve finally gotten back into my yoga practice, slowly and with MUCH laughter and acceptance (but much laughter) at my new pregnant body and ridiculously large behind (carrying a girl, so I guess Im storing milk fat in my bum…yay!) I am moving again. Some mornings it’s only a five minute mini-vinyasa flow through a modified triangle series – some mornings there’s a bit more, like today, I was amazed I could still get into “Tree” and “Royal Dancer” – it was a little wobbly, but it was fun and again, the laugher helped. I look at it this way…if I’m able to consciously breathe and focus on my body and unborn kiddo for even five minutes, that’s powerful. I’m finally taking my own advice – the advice I would give to anyone who would listen when I was teaching – five minutes of exercise and just plain MOVEMENT and breathing goes a LONG way towards building a healthy and humorous relationship with your body…I’ll thank myself in the end, I know it🙂

Anyways – I hope you give it a shot – find something, ANYTHING – dancing, yoga, swim, biking, hiking, sex (yes, it counts), soccer, baseball – find something you can move with and try it….because you don’t want to be pond scum either.

XO!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Little Things…

 

Temple WIthinIt’s been a while – I’ve been living, loving my family, breathing, fighting, reflecting, growing, changing…it’s called life! I finally feel strong enough to start writing and sharing again, so here goes….

 

 

 

 

The little things –

 

Doing some soul searching – realizing that it’s not about the “breaths you take OR the moments that take your breath away” – it’s the little things that make up life and no matter how enlightened we think we are about “global” issues, the fact remains that if we as individuals continually erupt at one another about the little things, and if life is MADE of these little moments, then by being overly reactive, our lives are going to attract nothing but anxiety and chaos and disappointment, both in ourselves and each other.

 

Think about the little things that drive you nuts – think about all the times you blow up at someone and then apologize. Think about how many times in a day you allow your good feeling to skyrocket and dip and skyrocket and dip JUST because you got a good parking spot – YAY!!!!! Or someone cut you off while driving – &*&*S!!!-  Or someone sent you a nice text – YAY!!!! Or someone took something you said poorly – *meep* – these are all little things that add up to either a good “day” or bad “day” right?

 

Tony Horton said that we can only control two things in life – One is what we put in our “face hole” (that’s Tony) and Two – how often we exercise…but I think that with consciousness and some personal honestly and willingness to change, we can, over time, ALSO control and change our reaction to our environment….how we respond to the “little” moments.

 

For example – today I stepped in dog crap – barefoot! WOW! You know what I did? Cussed, laughed, washed it off and moved on. I’ve decided to find it funny when “life” tries to mess with my zen. I’m making the conscious decision to laugh in the face of fear, or dog poop for that matter AND, I’m not going to worry about what someone else thinks of it!

 

I’m going to share my bliss, speak my truth, walk my walk, eat my peanut butter, kiss my husband, kiss my kid, teach what I love and get ON with it. When someone tries to interrupt that flow I’m going to laugh, take note, BE KIND and move on. That is the goal. I may end up cussing up a storm and throwing a fit too – BUT this week, I’m going to give it my best. I will remind myself that hardly ANYTHING is intentionally personal, and that I’m grateful to even be alive enough to experience life as it is, the “good” and the “bad”.

 

How to Water Your Own Grass

Often times, the grass seems greener on the other side of the fence. Whether it’s figuratively or literally, feeling as though someone else is more successful than you or having a better day than you, no matter how “enlightened” you may be, can make for a dull moment or two. It can also introduce you to a valuable lesson.

When we lived in an apartment, I was often agitated with the lack of space and light. On walks I would get wistful, wanting a house of our own, drooling over other people’s gardens, however shabby…sometimes I would get downright depressed!  After a couple of years of wishing we had more space and could grow our own herbs, and with my distaste of situation growing, I finally prayed and heard the message that enough was enough. I was driving myself and my husband crazy with envy and the feelings of inadequacy. In a “fed up fit,” I took my own advice and cleaned our threshold. I also went to the garden store and bought mint, a container and organic potting soil. It was time to stop waiting for the day when we would move to have the things we wanted; instead it was time to make some greenery happen where we were.

Almost two weeks later, we moved into to a house. In a million years however, I would have never guessed we would move “right next door.” Literally, the family of six, of whom I often had “grass is greener thoughts” simply moved out. We called the landlord before the moving van pulled away and within three weeks became the new tenants.

From a small apartment, with hardly any windows to a three bedroom house, full of windows and a basement, we felt like and still do feel like kings. Aside from much more breathing room, we inherited one grassy, almost dead lawn and three dying rose bushes.

The previous family not only had four wonderful children, but also one energetic Chocolate Lab. This dog loved “her” kids, however try as our neighbors did (many times a year) to have a pretty front yard, Coco the Lab was intent on keeping it a dirt palace. Slowly over the twelve years they lived here, the yard fell into disarray. The dirt became hard, the plants shriveled and because there was no energy being put into it, the garden became distraught.

Just before we moved in, the landlord, in efforts to make the place look more attractive had put down fresh grass. Unfortunately, years of being an abused garden space meant the grass was having trouble taking root. When we saw this happening, we remembered plants are like people….emotional; plants NEED encouragement, and love, and energy and coaxing. As much as water and sunshine, you’ve got to treat your plants with respect and compassion in order for them to grow, especially in a harsh environment.

The first order of garden business was to open some verbal and non-verbal dialogue. Throughout the day, while moving, we started talking to our grass, stroking the dead rose bushes, clearing out the cobwebs, trimming the dead branches, whispering, listening, and watering. Honestly, overnight there was a massive change. Within days the roses started blooming, and out of dead, gray limbs shot green, vibrant new tendrils. The grass took firm root and became downright “wooly.” All variations of toad stools came popping up as well! At night we can  almost hear it growing, sighing in the hot summer evening, basking in its new-found energy.

My point here is, when I finally got wise to the fact that I needed to concentrate on the blessings of our own “garden,” change…profound change happened in our lives. Accepting and being grateful for our situation, making the best of it and letting go of envy in the process, meant we were able to let in more Light to our “life-garden”.

By doing something constructive with what we were given, we proved to the universe we could handle even more space with which to create more joy and more healing.

The garden, much like the hundred year old house we moved into, is still a work in progress; however the lesson is the same: If you feel the grass is greener elsewhere, water your own “grass.” Start small, and have hope! Who knows how big your “garden will grow.”

 

 

How to Let Go

It seems these days our Facebook and Twitter feeds are full of good advice. Phrases such as, “What other people think of you is none of your business,” grace our daily social media headlines and are “liked” by thousands. Every day people quote Rumi, Paramhansa Yogananda, Rabbis, Priests, Poets, Writers, Artists, and on and on. Daily, I get the message to “Let go and leave be,” a favorite saying of my late Grandmother. This onslaught of the positive recycling of inspirational messages is a fantastic movement and reflective of what I believe to be our generation’s sincere desire to bring about peace, minimize drama and awaken consciousness. Sometimes though, these “positive” messages begin to sound the same and lose their luster. It is my belief everyone wants to hear and apply “good news” to their lives, but gets frustrated with not knowing how. In order to “Let go”, “Dance like no one’s watching” and “Seize your future now,” you have to know where to start!

Here’s a simple exercise which can help you today and every day, identify the causes of stress and anger in your life and begin to DO something about changing how you react to them.

Grab a piece of paper and writing instrument and breathe.

Take a deep breath through your nose, and exhale out of your mouth. Take about three of these nice deep breaths, exhaling each time, and relaxing more with each exhale. Ok. Now I want you to think of what is causing you the most stress, drama, anger and frustration in your life right now. Write it down. If there is more than one circumstance or person causing you stress, make a list in order of their appearance in your thoughts. Also, I don’t want you to feel guilty about it. Don’t talk yourself out of identifying and owning what is causing you stress. We must be honest with ourselves to affect honest to G-d change in our lives. Also, write down any body parts which feel icky when you think of your stresses.

Good. Now I want you to think of what you need more of. Whether it’s money, or time or love or better parking spots, whatever materialistic, spiritual or physical needs you have today, write them down.

Finally, I want you to write down everything you would like less of. Perhaps it’s stress, or judgment, or drama or weight or bills, or people. I want you to be honest and clear about everything you would like less of in your life.

Now comes the fun part.

Look at your “stress” list and determine if anything is causing you drama because you wish they or it would do or become something else.  Most of the time, people who cause us the most stress, do so because we wish we could make them behave differently. The same philosophy goes for situations. This is what I want you to do about it.  For every item on the list who is a person, I want you to pray for their happiness and joy. Yes. Think about it, do happy people stress you out? So the happier our family and friends and “enemies” are, the less drama from those people in our lives right? Ok. Pray in your own way very simply for their happiness and joy. Now, often times, especially in the work environment, it is easy to get resentful and angry at our peers or resentful of the fact that we must work so hard at all. This is an example of a situation which may be causing you stress. For your situations, I want you to pray as well and ask for your heart to be opened and to be rid of entitlement and righteous anger. Letting go of righteous anger is the most powerful act of creating positive energy a person can do for themselves and it rids us of the need to control uncomfortable circumstances.  Now, cross it off your list. Finally, pray for your body. Ask for it to let go of the responsibility of carrying stress and ask for joy and happiness to replace those icky feelings. With each crossed line you commit to being done worrying about these things. If you have to do this daily, do it daily. Learning to let go and be positive takes practice and prayer. A note on prayer – I believe in prayer without needing to believe in religion. I believe prayer to be a form of meditation and not only reserved for church or synagogue attendees.

Ok. Now I want you to look at the list of what you need and what you need less of. This is a good list. If you need less of anything, it means you already have abundance in your life; you simply need to direct the abundant energy into the areas which need more. Suspend for a second your belief in positive and negative energy. Think of energy as just “energy” until it is defined by the observer. You, being the observer get to change the polarity of the energy in your life and in your lists with your intention, again, prayer. Keeping this train of thought, I want you to pray that your list of needs receive and be receptive to receiving all of the abundant energy of the list you want less of. I want you to imagine the energy of one list going into the other and trading places. There, you’ve changed the polarity of your energy! Again, this can be a daily practice, a practice which will eventually lead to the habit of channeling nothing but abundant energy into the areas of your life which need it!

Now I want you to do something super fun. After you’ve done the exercise and you have your list and it has got pencil or pen marks all over it and you’ve prayed and meditated and contemplated, I want you to destroy it. Yep, via fire or tearing or tossing or flushing, I want you to crumple it up and let it go.

By throwing your list away, you are literally “letting go.” You have done your work; you have done all you can for yourself and those people and situations on your piece of paper. Since you’ve now done all that you can, I want you to give yourself permission to step away from your stress and lacks and desires, and go about your day and enjoy those positive social media newsfeeds even more!

By being honest with what brings us joy and anxiety in life, we can honestly affect conscious change within ourselves thereby creating inner peace, which is the only way to bring about peace on earth; one amazing person at a time, from the inside out.

Destination Meditation

Meditation. The word “Meditation” makes me think of the word “Hawaii”. When I hear the word “Hawaii”, I think of an island paradise full of tranquil sunsets, fruity adult beverages, relaxing in crystal blue, warm waters….ahhhhhh…I want to be there; I want my family to be there, I want everyone I love to be there. Then my thoughts become “rational”, reminding myself Hawaii is a place our family will visit “one day”, our schedule is too busy to plan for a tropical vacation, there would be a giant headache traveling with our baby, it’s too expensive….and finally, my thoughts rest in acceptance, knowing Hawaii is nowhere I’m going soon.  Instead of planning a trip, I placate myself by admiring pictures of tropical vacations on Groupon.

The idea of meditation as a personal practice, for most people, invokes the same emotions as how I feel about Hawaii. Most people I talk to WANT to meditate, they are curious about meditating, they KNOW they need to meditate, their doctors have told them they need to meditate, they ENVY people who meditate….but…they don’t feel they have the time, the space, the patience, the energy, the incense.

They don’t like images of Buddha or the sound of gongs, or they don’t want to be labeled as “One of THOSE People”.

They want to try it, but only after the kids are asleep and the dogs are walked and the kitchen is clean and the laundry is done and they’ve brushed their teeth…

Here’s the reality. Meditating doesn’t have to be something you only practice when the house is quiet and everything is perfect. Meditation doesn’t “cost” a thing. You don’t need a special space, special music, special outfits, to be a Buddhist, or to like yoga. You don’t need a Groupon pass to study “unlimited” meditation for a week in Beverly Hills. Here’s the REAL surprise. You can meditate anytime, anywhere with or without gongs.

Just for you, I’ve chosen three methods of meditation which don’t require a certification or smelly candles to investigate.

Mindful Meditation: The act of meditation which only requires you to be “mindful” of what you are doing. Doing your chores is an excellent activity in which to incorporate this style of mediation. If you are sweeping, you can practice mindful meditation by observing the sound of the bristles as you sweep, taking note of the feeling of the broom handle in your hands, watching the dust and the dirt swirl in “ballet” clouds. By practicing mindful meditation, any menial and usually annoying task can be transformed into an opportunity to relax, breathe, study and accept. All good habits to build! Try it at work the next time you need to file something!

Observational Meditation: This form of meditation requires a comfortable space, the ability to keep your eyes closed and your ears open. As you sit in silence with your eyes closed,listening to your environment, your only job is to allow your mind to drift and travel WHEREVER it wants to go. Your challenge is to “observe” your thoughts without emotional judgment. You simply allow your mind to wander and as the observer, you observe! Start with a five-minute session and build from there. At first, time goes slowly and the process can be uncomfortable. I find it best to allow it to be what it is, take note and preserver. You can learn a lot about yourself with this style of meditation, and again build good personal habits such as learning more self-acceptance and patience.

Ask the Question: I like to practice this form of meditation while I am in Shavasana, or “Corpse Pose” at the end of yoga class. Lying on my back or even in “Child’s Pose” or “Lotus” (Half Lotus in my case), the idea is to pose a question to your subconscious mind and allow the answer to surface via whatever symbol or memory your mind decides to give. An example may be to ask for guidance in a relationship or perhaps your professional life. While you are relaxing, you concentrate on your breath, attempting to make your inhalation and exhalation the same length in time. While lengthening each breath listen to the sound of the air (life) coming in and out of your body – THIS IS YOUR OWN SOUND, no one else has your breath, isn’t that fantastic? Allow your closed eyes to look “past” your eyelids into the black. KEEP BREATHING. As you breathe, allow colors against the black of your eyelids to begin to glow (sounds crazy but it works). Think of your question and breath this way for as long as it takes for you to get a sense of the symbol or message your subconscious is trying to send you. DON’T throw away a “silly” symbol or memory. If you think of a rubber ducky, you need to think about what the image represents in your life…there is always an answer to our deepest questions. This form of meditation teaches us to follow our breath, to listen to our inner voice. Some people use this as a time to pray and listen for G-d’s voice. You can take five minutes or five hours. The importance is in your effort. The habits you build are lengthened, relaxed breathing (good for your heart), self-confidence and self-appreciation as well as the assurance you are NOT alone when searching for answers to the hard questions.

Tip: In whatever form of meditation you decide to try, try not to judge yourself. Starting something new can feel strange, even uncomfortable. Allow yourself to feel how you feel. Your comfort and discomfort are all discoveries you are meant to make on this journey.

I hope you try one or several of these types of mediation. It is simply a way to connect your breath with your body, your heart with your mind and become more conscious of your actions. Simply becoming conscious of your breath and offering equal inhalation to equal exhalation, will slow your heart, help you relax, live longer, recover from surgery, improve social and business relationships, improve your golf game, your martial arts and maybe get you to your “island vacation” sooner than later!

Be Nourished with Intention and Gratitude

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When I was in yoga teacher training my Yoga Master trained us not only to breathe with intention and consciousness throughout our yoga practice, but also to eat with the same intention.

He suggested if we felt like eating, to do so while fully engaging our minds and our hearts. If we drank water for example, we should not just gulp it down, instead, we should give thanks to G-d or the Universe or whomever you give thanks to, for such a wonderful creation, meant to quench our thirst; to think about the healing properties of water, both in the physical and mythological sense. He went further to suggest, if we ate with intention and our whole heart’s desire, then what we ate could only benefit us, not hurt us. Even something fatty or sugary, if taken into the body with thanks and joy, could not hurt us, in moderation.

His perspective is people retain fat and water because of their emotional connection to the act of eating or imbibing. For example, if you feel guilty about eating a piece of chocolate cake, you are going to carry the guilty energy with you. You will fulfill your own destiny of weight gain simply because you believe it to be true, even if your current diet is “clean” and you get plenty of exercise. The same goes for wine or anything in life you’ve been told may be bad for you. If you believe broccoli is bad for you, then you will have a negative experience with this vegetable. Goodness knows I do! I don’t like it, never have and every time I eat it, I experience a negative result. It doesn’t matter how many doctors or nutritionists tell me to eat it, because I associate it with a “bleh” face, I just can’t eat it.

The Native Americans believed food was meant to be “taken” (Note, I use the word “taken” and not eaten, in order to denote the importance of viewing food as more than just mindless eating, but instead as if it were medicine) with consciousness. They prayed before they ate meat for example, thanked the carcass for its spirit, and asked for its spirit to nourish their bodies as well. They thanked their gods for the harvest, thanked the earth for its energy, which they knew they were taking in to their bodies in the form of bountiful fruits and vegetables.

For me, the practice of maintaining intention is important, as well as giving thanks. Goodness knows if our hearts are not in what we do, what we reap in life is half of what we sewed. It is a lot easier to be conscious of our intentions and stay in a state of gratitude when we are in a yoga studio, taking karate, sweating at Crossfit or concentrating on the greens. It is a lot harder to maintain this level of consciousness and gratitude when our minds are not required to by our teachers or colleagues and we are adrift in the “real world” of eating out, rushing through a Starbucks line or struggling to get dinner on the table in time for our loved ones.

Here are some easy ways for you, the real person, to enjoy eating while maintaining healthy, positive gratitude and intention:

Doodle on your bottle – That’s right – if you drink out of plastic water bottles or Starbucks containers, take a permanent pen and draw peace symbols on your drink! Hey – if monks can meditate on water and change the molecular structure of H2O – so can you. It works, and besides, it’s a conversation starter. For more information on blessing water http://www.whatthebleep.com/crystals/

Take time to give thanks. A simple prayer my husband uses often does the job nicely. Just take a minute before you eat, to ask for a blessing on the hands which prepared your meal (or picked your grapes or whatever). You don’t have to be an elaborate pray-er or religious zealot to simply wish the people responsible for bringing your food to you some good cheer. I promise, the flavors in your meal will be brighter and the sweetness all the more!

Question for you, do you know where your meat comes from? Did you know there can be as many as a 1700 different steers in a pack of ground beef (a History Channel fact)? Now, I AM a meat eater. I am not trying to denounce the taking of meat, BUT, I think it is important meditate on the energy you are receiving when you eat various meat products. Just take a minute to thank the animal (or animals) for their energy. You don’t have to be Native American to enjoy the benefits of the creative and vigorous energy from red meat, the calming energy from fish – I’m not sure about chicken, but you get the idea. Just say thanks, see how you feel.

What feeds you? Draw a line down a piece of paper and on one side list what you feel nourishes you physically. One the other side, write down what nourishes you emotionally. Take a look at your list and see if there are any correlations. For example, do you get a feeling of “love” when you eat chocolate? Are you looking for excitement in a bag of chips? Learning to examine your emotional and physical “food” can help you determine where your challenges live in terms of emotional or overeating and when you are replacing one kind of “food” with another. If you are bored, try to go DO something instead of EAT something.

Everything in moderation. If you’re going to drink, drink! If you’re going to eat, eat! If you’re going to have dessert, make it the best dessert you can afford, with the best ingredients. Truly enjoy, without guilt, what you take into your body. It takes time, but eventually, with moderation, you can experience freedom from emotional attachment while enjoying your meals. You will stop retaining as much fat and water than ever before. Your stomach will even start digesting better!

I hope this has given you some “food for thought.”

Until next time, here’s to your health and may G-d bless your hands the next time you prepare a meal.

 

Clear Space in Your Home to Clear Space in Your Mind

Before I met my husband, I didn’t give the environment I surrounded myself with much thought beyond its function.

Furniture never matched, socks were never organized, I had old pictures hanging around of places and times I didn’t enjoy remembering. I kept clothing forever, even if the garments themselves didn’t fit me correctly, or perhaps had a tear. I would keep objects even if I didn’t really like the person who had given them to me, you get the idea. Plants used to die when I kept them! I never, EVER, dusted.

Why did I live this way?

I was a student of The Arts of course! I was in training day and night for either Yoga or Kenpo Karate, and in my free time, I wrote, I shopped, I ate, I went out, I didn’t have time to devote to nurturing where I only “slept”, I was busy being “free” of my materialistic world…in other words, I didn’t realize what a slob I had become. Oh sure, my rooms were clean,  but I was never happy in them (they were too cluttered), nor did I realize until recently how the energy in one’s home symbiotically responds to the one living there! If your home is unorganized, you are going to be unorganized. If your possessions carry bad memories then you are going to create and dwell on negative emotions. The reverse is also true.

I thank my husband, who taught me it wasn’t a waste of money to actually BUY organization tools for the home. Once he got me comfotable with organizing, I began to enjoy being home more (because I was nolonger clausterphobic), and my creative energy actually began to grow. The more I let him help me to give away the things I did not like, or were too old, the more creative, new LIGHT came into my heart. The more I allowed myself to admit when I didn’t like a garment and why, the freer I actually became from the negative energy I was bombarding myself with EVERY TIME I SAW THAT OBJECT!

When we clear space around us, we allow our minds to let go of negative attachment. If you give away (or perhaps fling as hard as you can) something someone gave you, who hurt you, you are also giving away that memory. You are saying, “Thank you, but I’m done with that now.” Clearing space in our dwelling allows us as humans to “move on”. So does in fact clearing your space of negative symbols.

How many of us martial artists and artists in general have “less than positive” symbols all around our house? Pop culture right now bombards us with skulls, crossbones, little morbid dollies, dark images of vampires, etc. and we purchase items with these symbols on them and we wrap ourselves in images of death!

We martial artists are also notorious for practically hoarding weapons and books on combat, war, etc. I am guilty of it as well. When we babyproofed our house recently and I had to find a more “suitable” place for our swords, I laughed to myself wondering how many parent’s babyproofing regimens involved putting swords away…my point is, although these items have meaning to us, the books, the weapons, the pop culture, we need to be more conscious of how MUCH of it we are surrounding ourselves with, and what kind of message we are giving ourselves. Every time our eyes pass over our bedroom, our bathroom, our kitchen, our porch, what we see imprints the energy of objects and art on our brains.

I really began to understand this, when our daughter’s nursery became my favorite place in the house. It is bright and airy, with happy images and soft decorations. I started thinking, that if we weren’t allowing negative imagery in her room, why was it in our’s? Why was it ALL over our home? Slowly, and over the months while we were pregnant, we gave our home a face-lift. We managed to balance our love of martial arts with our love of yoga and keep the most positive artwork of the two. We changed our room into a sanctuary, put everything in white and silver, the nicest sheets we could afford, clutter-free. We even brought softer lighting into our living room and took down harsher, older artwork. In the process of “cleaning up our act” we became more conscious of how our “normal” purchases were affecting our home-energy. Now, we ask ourselves before we buy something for our home or to wear, if it will serve us. Will it be a positive reflection of who we want to be? Will we be happy with our daughter being exposed to it. Because of this new way of thinking, we’ve maximised our positive energy flow in just under a year.

By no coincidence, our bank account is healthier too, as we are now conscious of ways to enhance our positive living choices, versus accidentally sabotaging our positive energy flow (and thereby our cashflow) by allowing our environment to be an unhappy, dissatisfied place.

Here is a list of things you can do to create more positive space in your home TODAY so you can experience more Light and positive energy within.

Sweep and clean up your porch (even if you live in a crummy apartment, your threshold IS important) It guards the energy you bring in and take out of your home. Keep it clean and clear!

DUST! Get old skin cells (old energy) out of your home, and out of your breath! Swifter refills are my favorite. I hold them in my hand and dust three times a week. It only takes a few minutes and makes such a HUGE difference in your health and overall well-being.

Look around your living room and make a note of where your eyes rest – if you notice you are not happy looking at certain objects or art, take them down or give them away. Even if your Great-Aunt wanted you to have it, you don’t need to look at it anymore!

If you have dark-colored sheets in your bedroom, especially RED, change them to white or another soft color. Red creates fire-energy in the brain, great for brainstorming sessions, bad for sleep!

Go through your closet. Be honest with yourself about what you like, what you don’t and what you feel good in and get a friend to tell you honestly what you look GOOD in. Seriously. I thought I looked great wearing a modern leather fanny pack…I didn’t. Even if you don’t have the money to replace your items, odds are, you will after you follow these steps and will at least feel in control of something in your life, which will boost your self-esteem, something money can’t buy.

GIVE AWAY – Goodwill, Salvation Army, people ON THE STREET . One winter I handed out warm clothing I didn’t want anymore to the street kids in Pasadena personally. It cleared my closet and they got warm. Everyone won.

Pictures of your past – If you have pictures of yourself or people which call up nasty memories, it’s time to take those pictures, throw or put them away and make new memories.

ORGANIZE – if/when cashflow permits, get thee to Big Lots, Target or SOMEWHERE and spend some money on organization tools – bins, labels, file folders. In another post I will discuss the nature of money, but I promise, money comes to people who are organized.

Change your screen saver on your phone and computer to something serene, happy or joyful – again, what we look at regularly affects us positively or negatively so don’t be afraid to tip the scales in your favor!

I hope these tips help you experience some relief from chaos in your life. Remember, it’s OK to give something away, it’s OK to change the color of a wall, of your sheets, it’s OK to have clothing that is in good repair, in other words, it’s OK to feel great in your environment and to admit when you don’t!

Enjoy!

And P.S. My plants nolonger die🙂

The Temple Within

Welcome to The Temple Within. Here you’ll find articles, videos, and links to advice on how to live with more positivity in your life. This includes how to clean up your diet, your dwelling, how to invite more positive change in your daily routine and how to minimize chaos.

Sometimes it’s hard to maintain a sense of “inner peace” when everywhere you turn, your environment seems chaotic. Most people don’t wake up in the morning asking for chaos, but it seems we all get a large dose of it whether we want it or not! From the moment we wake up, to the moment we finally sleep, we are bombarded with polluted energy and air! It’s hard to be a healthful person when our daily choices are so influenced by unhealthy temptations.

I hope through sharing my own experiences, I can help you to connect to the Light more and bring it with you wherever you go, minimizing the effects of a polluted world in efforts to enable you to cultivate your own temple within.

Love and Light,

Brit