A Raw Account of Starting Over and Beginning to Trust

“Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth” ~Pema Chödrön

What does it take to rebuild trust?

Ideally one does not break it in the first place. But what if it is inevitable? What if in one way or another you let someone down? Then what? Is your foundation ruined? Your sheets soiled? Your garden dismantled?

No.

Do you know what really happens when trust is broken? It provides a creative opportunity for new life, for new growth, and new beginnings. It is a strange concept, but true none the less, that only when trust has been broken can authentic trust begin. Authentic trust is dynamic, deep, and pliable. It creates a foundation made not of rock, stone, concrete, or shoddy plumbing, but that of which holds the ocean, the mountains, volcanoes, and the sky; something that shifts, adapts, and changes. Something designed to meet the other exactly where they are, exactly as they are.

What does it take to rebuild trust once it has been broken?

My honest opinion:

Sweet relentlessness and devotion.
What does it take to trust someone who has betrayed you?

Forgiveness and the willingness to let go of all that you have known for the possibility that something could be new.

Moving forward into authentic trust does not mean that the other person is not responsible for their actions, but that there is a willingness from both parties to relay the foundation and take the time necessary to mend together with honesty and vulnerability. When we shed our labels, identities, and ideologies of who or what the other should be, we see there are no others, for the other is ourself. The people who have wounded us, betrayed us, and abandoned us are merely an aspect of our own shadow self. We spend our time delineating, dwelling, repeating, and fantasizing about the future or reminiscing about the past. Real love however, and real forgiveness, is here and now. All that we can remember or anticipate is merely a shadow of love. When we give into our true nature, we relinquish our need to be separate, to isolate, to judge, to be right or wrong. Let go today. Judge not today. For when we judge, we make another person wrong for thinking a certain way or acting a certain way.

The interesting part of this journey is that we are all God playing hide and seek with ourself, and when we find ourself, we realize there is no amount of abandonment or betrayal that could harm us.

So how do we begin again?

Trust, the absence of fear, and the willingness to let reality be new. 

“People get into a heavy-duty sin and guilt trip, feeling that if things are going wrong, that means that they did something bad and they are being punished. That’s not the idea at all. The idea of karma is that you continually get the teachings that you need to open your heart. To the degree that you didn’t understand in the past how to stop protecting your soft spot, how to stop armoring your heart, you’re given this gift of teachings in the form of your life, to give you everything you need to open further.” ~ Pema Chödrön

Pose of The Week: Hanumanasana

hanumanasanaModel: Lacey Grillos 

Monkey Pose

HANUMANASANA

“Hanuman not only gives us liberation, but he also fulfills our beneficial desires.”

~Krishna Das

Hanuman, the monkey king and son of the wind, teaches us the strength in surrender and devotion. We learn through surrender, the balance of holding on and letting go. When we come to this space, we can open ourselves to peace, clarity, and stillness in the heart.

Benefits of the pose:

  • Relief for Sciatica
  • Opens hips and groin
  • Engages abdomen
  • Improves function of vital organs
  • Stretches and strengthens hamstrings and thighs

Asana Break Down:

Begin kneeling on the floor with both legs slightly apart. Place one foot in front of you extended with your heal touching the floor. Sink into your hips, allowing your heart to move forward as your hands come to frame both sides of your extended leg. Slowly begin to extend your back knee behind yourself until both knees are simultaneously touching the floor. Once you have come into the split position, raise your arms over head and gently find length in the spine. Stay here for a few breaths. To get out of this posture, press both hands into the earth and slide your back knee under your hip coming into the initial position. Then repeat on the other side.

Variations:

Advanced:

1) From the split position, exhale and bring your arms down and fold your heart down towards your front knee.

2) From the split position, inhale and lift your back foot. Reach for your foot with one hand, open the chest forward, and tilt your head back.

Adjustments: 

1) Place a bolster or folded blanket underneath your pelvis or your back knee.

References:

http://www.artofliving.org/us-en/yoga/yoga-poses/hanumanasana-monkey-pose

http://www.yogajournal.com/pose/monkey-pose/

Meditation for Changing Your Thought Patterns

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Our minds are constantly going — the chatting never seems to take a breath. Often, this continuous garble will say things to ourselves that we aren’t even consciously recognizing. A thought comes in, it gets stored, and we never have time to consider if that was something we truly meant or wanted to be thinking. This pattern of the subconscious mind leaves us high and dry in a moment of crisis because now our unwarranted thoughts have free range to say things like: “You’re not good enough.”, “You are not worthy.”, “You deserve what is happening to you.”, and so on. We all have this pattern due to a lack of mental hygiene. So for today, I offer you a way to sift through your mind and give it a little pre-spring cleaning.

If you’re anything like me, you may find when you come to sit in meditation, your mind immediately wants to speak louder. This is why many yogis practice asana first — to tire out the mind. So this meditation can be approach in a variety of ways: 1) perform an asana practice, the physical meditation I am about to describe, and then sit quietly for silent meditation, 2) skip the asana, dive straight into the physical meditation, and then go into quiet mediation, 3) dive right into quiet mediation, mentally going through the physical mediation.

PHYSICAL MEDITATION 

What you need:

  • A piece of paper
  • Colored pens or pencils (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Lighter

Begin by taking your piece of paper and writing down the negative thoughts you find yourself thinking when you come to sit an meditate or feel in your day to day life. Begin to cut them into long strips. Take a moment to sit with what you have written. Perhaps examine how truly and deeply you feel that way about yourself and a moment that made you feel that way.

Now, take those same strips and on the other end of the paper, write the inverse of your statement. An example would be that if you wrote, I am not good enough, change it to I am good enough. Beautiful. Take a moment for that to sink in. Ponder the possibly that this is very true and what is on the other side of the paper is false. Take a moment to think of times where you felt this way. Notice the shift in your brain and body. How do you feel?

The purpose of this meditation is to consciously sift through your thoughts. Now, look at these pieces of paper and actively choose which ones you want to be thinking, what you want to take as true. Cut the paper in half, dividing the two thoughts. Take the thoughts you choose to discard and place them in a container or outside where it is safe to burn. Symbolically, you are consciously making a choice of what you wish to think and what you choose to let go. LET GO. Take those negative thoughts and release them, with love and kindness, for they are teachers, too.

With the remaining strips, the ones you are CHOOSING to think, sit with them in a comfortable, cross-legged position. Close your eyes and hold these affirmations as truth. Begin to place these truths in your heart. Sit here for at least 5-10 minutes. And just feel what it is like to know you are these things, you are worth these things, and the only one who can choose to make you feel this way is you.

❤ Namaste

Please feel free to leave a comment bellow, leave feedback, and tell me what you think!

Happy Valentine’s Day

The Silver Lining in Darkness

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I have to apologize for being absent the past few weeks. It seems that life has taken a turn into a mode of crisis. Many people take winter in as a time reserved for deep reflection and introspection; a time of hibernation; to rejuvenate so we may plant new seeds in the spring. The parts of us that no longer serve us have reached into the earth causing us to draw inward.

As I have begun to dig deep into my roots during this winter season, I see that I have delved deep into the shadow self. The solstice seems to mark a time of completion. I look upon my year knowing I have spent many of my days wrestling with the shattered parts of me I would rather not address. Like a steady stream under the darkened sky, I reflect a water that is blackened, but I am not black. The sutras ask us to be like a diamond: reflecting the colors of that which is around us, without attaching or defining ourselves as that color because as soon as the color is taken away, we will find we remain a diamond; pure, clear, and brightly shining.

As the days get shorter, colder, and the sky begins to fill with snow, I find myself in a place of reflection for this past year. In honor of the solstice, I took the opportunity to set my intentions for what I would like to cultivate in the coming year, 2016. After writing all of my thoughts down on paper, I found what I need the most is forgiveness.

As we all delve into our shadow self, the need to judge, the deflect, and project our problems elsewhere arises. I encourage you to find what needs healing in your life during this time and take an action step to heal it. If you need to forgive someone, do it. If you need to let go of something/someone, do it. If you need to stand up for yourself, to hold your ground, do it. Whatever medicine of the spirit you find yourself looking for, don’t withhold it from yourself any longer.

Know that there is a silver lining in the darkness. What you are searching for in the new year can be created.

Pose of the Week: Peaceful Warrior

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Peaceful Warrior

SHANTI VIRABHADRASANA

“There is no path to happiness. Happiness is the path. There is no path to love. Love is the path. There is no path to peace. Peace is the path.”

~Dan Millman

After the incredible amount of violence this week, it only seems fitting that the pose of the week would be peaceful warrior. I love that traditional yoga often centers around the warrior postures. It reminds us, we do not need vengeance to be strong. We do not need to inflict pain upon another to be triumphant. It reminds us that we do not count our victories as the number of wars have defeated on the battle field, but rather the amount of wars we have overcome within ourselves.

My heart goes out to those suffering right now at the hand of another. I feel so removed from that reality, I can only say this: The war stops externally, when the war stops internally. Peace is a choice. And it is possible. Do not lose faith. Do not lose your smile to grief. Draw inward and we will be triumphant. ❤

om shanti om shanti om shanti om.

Benefits of the Pose:

  • Strengthens the Legs
  • Stretches abdominal muscles and engages core
  • Stretches and supports the lungs
  • Opens Chest & Shoulder
  • Opens Heart

Asana Break Down:

Come into Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II), check your alignment with the front ankle. Make sure it is in alignment with the arch of the back foot. The back foot should be flat at a 45 degree angle. Bend deeply into the front knee. Make sure your front knee does not go past the front ankle. Draw the thighs together, squaring the hips, as if they were being pressed between two panes of glass. Arms should come out directly from the shoulder blades. Turn the hands towards the sky and bend backwards. Back and highly presses into the back leg. Most of the strength is being drawn from the core; the weight is not on the back knee. Open the chest and the heart lifts and spreads. Front arm comes over head, gaze comes towards the sky or the thumb.

 

Above, I have a chant you can say out loud or silently to yourself, either in this posture or sitting quietly. Om shanti translates into “om” the divine universe and “shanti” translates to peace, as a phrase it means may the divine creator, energy, and wisdom grant eternal peace to all things.

Yes And…

Through Back to 2013 when my roommate helped me put together this beautiful video for my final in my Yes and…Improv class my freshman year at Ithaca College.

It was an amazing experience, the class was centered around the reading of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Julia recently gave a talk at the Health Coaching program that I am in and it inspired me to share this video with you all.

Hope you enjoy ❤

Pose of the Week: Dolphin

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Dolphin

MAKARASANA

Benefits of the Pose:

  • Relieves mild depression, headaches & back pains
  • Helps to calm the mind
  • Relieves symptoms of osteoporosis
  • Strengthens shoulders and abdominals
  • Stretches Hamstrings
  • Opens Heart
  • Preparation for forearm balance

Such a beautiful posture, amazing for alignment and strengthening the body to prepare for forearm balance. To get into this posture, begin in table or Adho Mukha Svanasana (Down ward facing dog). Once you have come into alignment in your preparatory posture, come down to your fore arms. Hands can come together into prayer, lay flat on the floor, or gently be clasping one another. If hamstrings are tight, you may take a bend in the knees. Otherwise, root though your ankles, allowing them to press into the floor. Allow the collar bones to lift and spread as shoulder blades draw near one another, chest beams towards the knees. Head hangs heavy. ❤

Please feel free to leave any questions, comments, or recommendations bellow.

A Change In Perspective

  

“Yoga is the uniting of consciousness in the heart. 

The lotus flower has long been a symbol for the unfolding of spirituality. It is one of the most elegant illustrations of the meshing of our human and Divine natures.  

The lotus seed is planted and grows in muddy waters, below the surface of the lake, far from the light. Though the light is murky and clear, the flower blossoms by drawing energy from within. As the bud passes through the muddy waters, it lifts its face to the sunlight and finally emerges. Miraculously, not a trace of soil remains on the flower. It lives in the mud yet it is not affected by it….

Yogah Citta Vritti Nirodahah. Yoga is the uniting of consciousness in the heart” (Devi 16).

I am happy to report a change in my life. For the past two months or so, everyday has seemed to bring new horror and drudgery, leading me into the shadow-self. It didn’t take much, just a few changes and suddenly I was able to see the beauty around me and the amount of abundance I have to be grateful for.

There were so many people I encountered in the last two months that were so blissful and grateful for the life they had. I saw them and thought to myself, I want that kind of bliss and contentment. It’s hard to feel happy all the time or even grateful for one thing in your life. Yogis are often painted as figures who see the world in technicolor all of the time because they are supposed to have some mystical secret told to them by the yoga gods, but that’s not true. Yogis are human, just like everyone else. We each have the opportunity, like the lotus flower, to be affected by our circumstance, to blame what has come before. However, we can also choose to see each day anew and gather strength from within. Instead of looking at all of the mud we are surrounded by, we can take our gaze to the sun; to the infinite.

So today I shed gratitude for all of the circumstances of my life, they bring to to new depths and new challenges, but they also bring me to new heights and new joys.

“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”

-John Lennon

Pose of the Week: Upward Facing Dog

Photo Credit: Lily Russo

Upward Facing Dog

URDVHA MUKHA SVANASANA

Benefits of the pose:

  • Strengthens arms, shoulders & wrists
  • Stretches spine, lungs & shoulders
  • Tones stomach muscles
  • Helps relieve mild depression and fatigue
  • Opens chest

Asana Breakdown:

To get into this pose, begin in low cobra. Firmly press your hands into the ground as your arms lengthen. Draw shoulder blades onto the back as the collar bones begin to lift and spread. Feet are together, big toes touching, tops of the feet touching the ground. Hips, thighs and shins are off the mat. Chin can gently tilt towards the ceiling.

Sources:

“Upward-Facing Dog.” Yoga Journal. Cruz Bay Publishing, n.d. Web. 5 Nov. 2015.

Mistakes: A Step In The Right Direction

It is a misconception to think any one of any stature is ever free from the capability of making mistakes. Mistakes can arise from even the most sincere intention or the smallest lapse in judgement. The importance of mistakes is that they give you feedback and new direction.

Growing up, I was a girl who strived for perfection and deeply criticized myself, my worth, and my merits if I did not meet the impossibly high standard I had set for myself. Interestingly enough, I did not have parents who pressured me to act this way nor was anything else in my surroundings urging me to do this to myself. It came from with in. This unfathomable fear of being wrong. I would say today I can at least pat myself on the back for not being a perfectionist, but I still do strive to answer the question, “What is the most right?”.

I remember this summer, I briefly took a job as a barista at my favorite coffee house. I really had no business being there, however. I knew nothing of coffee, nor did I even drink it myself. On one of my first days, I kept making a series of mistakes that lead to lots of spilling and clean up. I was so embarrassed, but relieved when I apologized to one of my co-workers who replied, “That’s okay. Mistakes are where life happens.”

Even recently, when I moved in with my partner — a move I may not have truly been ready for in my heart, but quickly learned to adapt to — he said to me a quote of similar nature: “Mistakes are unavoidable so you might as well have fun and enjoy the ride.”

Naturally, the part of my brain that has in some way or another programmed itself to strive for perfection was being overrided by the notion that a mistake could possibly been a good thing.

Mistakes are bound to happen. They hurt ourselves and they can hurt others, but they are ultimately how we learn, where we grow, and are what makes our journey unique. I recently lost a job I cared about deeply for a careless mistake, a mistake compatible to that which you make on a math test and think to yourself, “Really? I can’t believe I forgot to do that!”. It’s with a heavy heart that I step away from there, deeply regretting my actions. But I’d like to think that nothing happens without reason. Even mistakes. Yes, even mistakes are divinely orchestrated and can lead you to exactly where you need to be.

This post isn’t to say that you should purposefully make mistakes, but, perhaps, when you do make them, give yourself some room to breathe. Give yourself permission to mess up because that’s where life happens. When you find yourself in the midst of self-ridicule try to change to tone to one of self-compassion and have a little faith. Even though, you may feel deeply sorry for your actions, trust that all is as is because the universe is as is. And, ultimately that it will be okay. Have trust in your actions and faith in your merits. ❤