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

Matcha Mamma’s Goddess Milk

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MATCHA ❤ The new love of my life is high in antioxidants, Vitamin B-complex,E, K, A and other trace minerals. It is also rich in polyphenols, chlorophyll, L-theanine and theophylline. The elements of matcha help to boost the immune system. The high antioxidant components help diminish free radicals in the body which allows the body to remain young and healthy looking. Matcha is a green tea which originates from Japan and has often been used for aid in diabetes, cancer, lethargy, and heart function.

Here, I have a delicious recipe for you which is full of such sweetness. The goddess milk is jam packed with highly nutritive ingredients that allow you to get that yummy, sweet taste without having to go on a sugar binge.

Ingredients

2 cups Rice Milk

1 tsp Spirulina

1 tbsp Matcha

A pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt

1 tsp-1 tbsp Honey

3-5 drops Stevia

Serves: 1-2

Place all ingredients into a cup, stir well and enjoy ❤

 

3 Ways to Improve Mental Hygiene

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It feels like the thoughts in my brain become extraordinarily more vicious as soon as I become conscious of them.

Several days ago, someone told me how in Toltec philosophy, they believe that there are etherial beings that act as parasites to our beings. Similar to the story of the two wolves, the parasite feeds on certain negative emotions that are particular to each individual, and thus puts us in situations that will create more of this emotion on which it can feed.

Truthfully, if I had to guess what mine was feeding off of? It would be sadness. Now, regardless of whether or not the Toltec philosophy plays to your world views on this point doesn’t matter. This conversation of habitual patterns and self-talk comes up time and time again in pop psychology.

We, as humans, have a tendency to have extremely negative self-talk. Things we would never say to any one else, especially someone we care about. What causes this type of behavior? Perhaps it is the “parasite” or the ego or our culture or perhaps that is just how the mind works.

Interestingly enough, I have been playing with the idea that my negative emotions are parasitic. That they do, in fact, harm and degrade my mental hygiene and feelings of self worth. By choosing to actively listen to my thoughts, I have seen that it is practically second nature for my mind to start thinking about negative things. Or, in other words, my mind continuously vacillates between the judge and the victim. So I have begun an experiment: Every time I start to think negatively, I actively replace those thoughts with something positive, with something that I am truly in love with, happy with, or excited for.

The effects have been extraordinary. I feel as though I am witnessing myself choosing to place the bowl of food in front of the good and kind wolf, watching the negative and sad wolf angrily fight me for its regain of strength. Another way to look at it, is that I have changed brands: At first, I was feeding myself with thoughts that engendered more negativity and now I have replaced those thoughts (or, at least, I am trying to) with thoughts that engender positivity. ❤

So what are ways that we can all do this? To keep our mental hygiene in check so that our thoughts don’t go running with the wolves, so to speak.

3 Ways to Improve Hygiene:

Floss Your Thoughts:

Become aware of what you are saying to yourself, especially when you are experiencing a trying situation and especially when you are not “listeninyou are enoughg”. What I mean by this is that our minds seem to be chatting to us constantly. Try to observe what you are thinking when you are not thinking of anything in particular. Soon you may see that there are lies you have taken for granted as truth, simply because there wasn’t active focus on your thoughts.

Brush Up On Your Positive Affirmation:

Run of the mill hippy-chick tip? Yes. Very powerful? Yes. I have watched my life turn around, just by having nice things I routinely said to myself. I like to pick one or two phrases that are my go-to positive thoughts. Keep them in your back pocket to say to yourself whenever you need. This will take your mind away from the negative thinking and give you the keys to positivity. Similarly to when people say “fake it till you make it”, telling your mind positive thoughts, sends chemical signals and responses that can actually make you a happier person over time.

Wash your Thoughts of Negativity:

One step beyond the affirmations is actually getting into your brain and consciously replacing a negative thoughts with positive ones. An example of this would be: “Wow, I didn’t do as well as I wanted to on that report, even though I prepared for it. I’m an idiot. I hate myself.” Catch yourself. Take a breath, rewind, cut, replace, repeat: “Wow, I didn’t do as well as I wanted to on that report, even though I prepared for it. I bet there are ways I could improve next time. I know that I did my very best.”

 

So there you have it folks. Please feel free to comment or share bellow ❤ I would love to hear your thoughts, insights, and opinions on the matter.

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

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.

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. ❤

Pose of the Week: Triangle

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Triangle Pose

TRIKONASANA

Benefits:

  • Relieves stress & anxiety
  • Aids to back tension and pain
  • Strengthens thighs, ankles & knees
  • Stretches abdominal muscles that assist better digestion.
  • Good for sciatica, osteoporosis, & flat feet

Asana Break Down:

Begin in Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II), straighten front leg and extend forward, hinging your torso over your front thigh. Allow your front hand to find a block, shin or the floor. If your hands are placed on the floor, make sure your hand is firmly placed palm touching the ground or remain on your fingertips without compromising your thumb. Some people even like to allow their hand to free float by their shin or ankle, using their core muscles to maintain the integrity of this asana. Allow your other hand to reach towards the sky.

Next, we want to align the body by twisting deeper in the pose. To do this, imagine someone was pressing into your hand that is in the air and encouraging you to twist your lower ribcage forward. Head should align with the line of the spinal chord. Draw shoulder blades closer to one another and check your torso’s alignment over your front leg. Often, people will puff their chest forward and either collapse their ribcage or put their body dramatically off balance. Make sure the center of your torso aligns with the center of your front leg. Allow there to be a mirco-bend in the front leg so that you don’t hyper extend. Back hip muscle should descend down towards the ground. Allow the back body to lengthen. Take your gaze towards the sky.  ❤

Be Here Now

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Being is not knowing. I first heard these words from Harville Hendrix, PhD and it struck a chord in me. As a yoga teacher and someone who wishes to pursue a spiritual path I have found that spirituality has seasons. There are many days where I don’t want to practice yoga or I don’t want to sit and meditate. That’s just human. But knowing is not being. So knowing the Sanskrit of a pose and all of the minute mechanical movements of each asana, is not the same as showing up on the mat with an authentic, devotional heart. It’s not. I know because I have spent so much of my life living outside of the present that I have become so cerebral in my practice that I sometimes practice without heart. Knowing is not being. Yet, being is knowing. To show up in your life in each unfolding moment is a beautiful and challenging thing. Become what you seek. For what you seek is surely seeking you. It may not find you through the mind however, but through the heart instead. How do you become what it is you are seeking? I once asked this question through the lens of spirituality having seasons to a guru of mine. I said, “It seems to me like spirituality has seasons. Some seasons are abundant and I feel a deep connection to source and my practice. Other seasons feel depleted and I don’t want to practice at all. How do I continue to flourish when my practice is full and honor it when it is weak?” And he replied, “Spirituality is like a tree. It does not bare fruit in every season, but it needs to be watered every day.” Where can you water yourself more in this life? How can you become the most authentic version of yourself? 

Knowing is not being, but to be is to know. ❤

Pose of the Week: Downward Facing Dog

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Downward Facing Dog

ADHO MUKHA SVANASANA

Ego says,’ Once everything falls into place, I’ll feel peace.’ Spirit says, ‘Once I feel peace, everything will fall into place.'” ~Marianne Williamson 

Benefits of the pose:

  • Decreases Stress & Mild Depression
  • Wakes up the body
  • Stretches shoulders, hands, spine, & calves
  • Strengthens hands, arms & legs
  • Relieves insomnia, headaches, and back pain
  • Helps with digestion

Asana Breakdown:

I want to take you a little farther down this path than maybe you have gone before. Practically everyone has done Down Dog at least once in their life, but I’ve found a lot of people, myself included, don’t really know how to do it. I had been practicing it for about 7 years before someone showed me how to properly do it. Here’s what I mean: Begin in table pose, flat back, hips stacked above knees, shoulders stacked above ankles. Curl onto your toes and lift up your legs. And allow your hips to move both upwards and backwards. This is about as far as people usually go, but wait, there’s more! From here, Root down through the first three knuckles of your palm so that they touch the mat. Allow for an external rotation through the shoulders. By this I mean that your collarbones should move away from one another, and that your shoulders should physically turn outward. Usually, this compromises the tailbone and causes the chest to beam forward. Correct this by energetically wrapping your ribs into your sternum and tucking the tummy inward. Check to make sure you haven’t compromised your hips, continue to move them upwards and backwards. Now, for the final element of the posture: feel an energetic pull between both of your forearms as if they were moving closer together. Put all of this together and you, my friend, have yourself a downward facing dog!

For a visual break down check out my youtube video: https://youtu.be/Zn3-XJlBltU

As always, leave any questions or comments bellow! If you have a request for the next pose of the week let me know! ❤

Sources:

“Downward-Facing Dog – Adho Mukha Svanasana – Yoga Pose.” Yoga Journal. Cruz Bay Publishing, 28 Aug. 2007. Web. 16 Oct. 2015.

How to Move Forward: An Open Letter to Finding Comfort in Discomfort

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They say that the two of the most stressful things a person can endure are moving and the loss of someone close to you. On September 7th of this year my grandmother, a women whom I loved dearly and will miss eternally passed away. The grief still unfolds new for me everyday, unveiling a new layer of knowing the absence of her presence. Each day it becomes more clear that I can’t pick up the phone to call her, that I will never hear her Brooklyn accent, eat her roast beef, ride with her in the back of her cherry red car, or share my life with her. She was the most amazing listener and the dearest of grandmothers. When she passed, our cousin who lived near her said, “I want you to know that even though you live so far away, she breathed you everyday.” I remember hearing that and thinking to myself, “Wow. What a sacred thing to breathe someone.” To breathe someone, to know that no matter the distance, no matter the situation you are loved by one another. You are held by one another in a way that is as permanent and as impermanent as the breath.

In the coming weeks, I signed a lease with my boyfriend, Josh. We ended up in a beautiful little apartment right off Main St. I knew that it was because of her that we got the place. I just had a feeling: The odds of a college student with no credit and a mother as a second reference with a post-grad swamped with debt made us unlikely candidates. Yet here we are.

The idea of moving in together was not a new one, nor did it come into play silently without any debate. Very early in our relationship I decided moving in with Josh was something I wanted. For eight months I continued to nudge and ask for this move. Finally, Josh said yes. He saw part of him wanted to pursue our relationship in this way and that he needed to get away from his current living situation.

I have never lived with a partner before. Needless to say, everything feels entirely new and not entirely how I thought it would be. Everyday since we’ve moved in I have felt heavy in my heart, feeling as if I broke something that didn’t need to be fixed. I have yearned and yearned for my old room, my old house, and my old roommates, simply for the fact that they were familiar. Last night, my partner looked at me and said, “When are you going to arrive? I feel like I have been living here a week and my roommate hasn’t showed up.”

Crushed by my self guilt and the notion that I am letting him down, I recalled a conversation I had with my mentor earlier that evening. With loving eyes and little detail of my situation she said, “Expectations take you out of the present. You cannot find happiness where expectations lie. Furthermore, you’ve signed a year-long commitment with this person so you need to give it your 100%. By the time your lease is up you will know what you need to do.”

All of this leads up to writing this post this morning. I flashed back to the moment another yoga mentor of mine told me in the most arduous of poses, “This is life, right? It’s so painful and uncomfortable, but it’s all about how you approach it.”

So yes, happenings like death and moving may be some of the most stressful things one can endure, amongst many others. However it is not our circumstances that define our quality of life, but the way we choose to navigate them that counts. I noticed, the most painful things require a great deal of adaptability, for it is great change, I believe, that haunts us most in this life. Still, each day is a choice to stay in Duhka (suffering) or find Dharana (contentment). Finding contentment is a continual practice, one that takes conscious and undivided effort. It begins with showing up in the midst of discomfort and knowing that is shall pass. Knowing that change will change again and it’s all about how you approach it, so you may as well enjoy the ride.

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Dedicated to Shirley Klein Harwood