3 Techniques to Permanently Shift Your Inner Dialogue

Real talk about self-talk: most of us are kinda cruel. Observe your thoughts about yourself even for 20 minutes. Write down the kind ones and the rude comments. Which list is longer?

Those uncharitable thoughts hurt us more than we realize

None of this is new information. We know this, but how many of us are actively doing something to change our inner dialogue? How long are we going to suffer through untrue assessments of ourselves and continue to allow the thoughts in our head to shape how we see ourselves?

We need to decide enough is enough and take a stand. Choosing this as our practice right alongside asana. Hell, above asana. This has to stop and the time is now!

Okay, cool, so everyone's on board, yes? Now, how to do fix this internal bug once and for all? We need a strategy. We might need several. The only place to begin is at the beginning.

Why are we addicted to thinking unkind thoughts?

I decided to do a little research on this. Not internet research, but old school asking individual people what their beliefs are about this incredibly important issue. Some of the answers may resonate, and some may surprise you.

  • We don't feel worthy. This can apply to anything from love to money, accolades, talent, success, travel, and even good health. When we don't feel we deserve it, the thoughts that prove us right just won't stop coming. It's like a thought avalanche is happening on a constant basis to ensure we continue to feel this way.
  • We feel pushed to challenge ourselves. By being hard on ourselves, we strive to do better. When we get too self-congratulatory, we rest on our laurels and think we're finished growing. Since we'll never fully actualized, critical thoughts propel us to constantly try harder. Hmm, not sure about this one, but more than a few people I talked to had arrived at the same conclusion. Seems like the same thing could be accomplished with encouraging thoughts....
  • We are afraid. If we try and fail because we convince ourselves we can do it, then we have to come to the unwelcome conclusion that we were kidding ourselves. If we fully accept our flaws and deficits and don't try, then we can't fail.

Okay, obviously the common thread here is THIS IS SAD AND WRONG. None of this is going to help us become the best versions of ourselves. Remember the first time you stepped on a yoga mat? Was it a shit-show? Yeah, me too. But I believed with practice and time I'd get better. And I did. So did you. We have to try and we have to believe we are worthy and no amount of criticism is going to help us live the greatest lives we can. So what does work? What actually will help us permanently change our inner dialogue to a positive tune and achieve the outcomes we really desire?

1. Daily Pep Talks

Pep means positive y'all. Personally, I think it helps a ton to come up with a pet name for yourself or a term of endearment you apply only to you. You can borrow mine if you can't think of one. I use 'cutie pie' because it makes me laugh and smile. When I catch myself in rumination mode, I stop and give myself this speech: "C'mon cutie pie, knock it off. You accomplish nothing but wasted time by spending yours on these thoughts. You are smart, talented, and loved. Go do something cool."

Or, you can build this into your first thing in the morning routine so you set the day up for success. "Cutie pie, you're going to have a fantastic day. You can see, hear, taste, smell, walk, talk and you just rolled out of an actual bed with sheets, pillows, the works. You have food to eat, things to drink, and interesting experiences to look forward to today. Go do good!"

2. Make a list

Build a list and keep adding on of things you love to do. Now go do one of them. That inner voice telling you unkind things can be silenced with action and participation. We all need a day to loaf around the house now and again. But for the most part, when we are engaged, active, and doing something we genuinely enjoy and feel good about, the critic inside takes a snooze. Start your list right now. There is no action too small not to cause a ripple. Walking your dog absolutely counts. Walking an elderly neighbor's dog is pretty great too. Everytime you think of something new, just add it. Don't do it mentally. Pen to paper, fingers to keypad, whatever works. But looking at your progressively growing list of activities that you love always gives you a directive when you're sitting on your sofa thinking all of the thoughts that pull you in a different direction than the one you really want to go.

3. Do something kind anonymously

If you've done this before then you know how delicious it feels. And I really do think that's the correct word here. It's a juicy secret that you're not bursting to share because it feels so good to be the only one to know it. Again, my life's mantra is no action is small. Get creative. Take a walk in your neighborhood and look for ideas. I offer many ideas on my blog on giving. But the anonymous part is really important because not needing credit or a pat on the back changes the inner dialogue to a soundtrack that reminds you that you're not just okay, you're wonderful.

 

 

 


amethyst guided meditation|yogi surprise

Utilizing Amethyst in a Guided Meditation for Contentment

Many of us love various crystals for their vast and intensive properties offering us anything from the attraction of money, healing, and protection to enlightenment, love, and creativity. We believe in their power and they've become an integral tool for our yoga and meditation practices.
Amethyst is one of the most interesting and potent stones on earth. I remember being very envious of my sister growing up because she was lucky enough to have amethyst as her birthstone. The deep purple hue is dazzling and as a child, I associated it with royalty and beauty. It's shine and magnetic energy are seductive in a way that makes it difficult to shift your eyes elsewhere.
Beyond its beauty, amethyst holds space for something many of us consider intangible: contentment. 
 
Amethyst shares its shade with our crown chakra, making it a conduit for the obtainment of enlightenment. And isn't this the path to contentment?
When I think of people I would describe as content, few of them are extremely wealthy, not monetarily. None of them are famous or super-models. Only one of them holds the title CEO or President. And when I think of their energy, it's always purple. And I can't get enough of them. They have the kind of wealth I hold so dear: gratitude and genuine appreciation for the present moment.
Amethyst has long been considered a crystal that holds the ability to calm the mind and encourage a meditative state. A calm, focused mind is much more inclined towards the state of contentment than an overactive and distractive one. Contentment means you feel whole, complete and satisfied with what you have. It doesn't mean you don't have goals or pursuits. It just means you can be present with what is without believing you should have more or be more right this moment.
How can you use amethyst to bring you closer to contentment? Simply being near it and thinking of your association with contentment is a beginning. But there's a more connected way to utilize its power.
A Guided Meditation Starring Amethyst
 
This meditation can last anywhere from 5-15 minutes. Best time of day is in the early morning so you can feel the lasting effects throughout the day.
Light a lavender candle and place tea lights in a circle around your meditation space. Lay down. Consider using props to make your body as comfortable and still as it's capable. Place an amethyst stone first at the base of your throat, right at the center of your clavicle. It all begins with communication, and our throat chakra is the center for fostering communication and bringing it into balance.
Begin by creating a visual room in your mind. Picture the lighting, temperature, size, and features. Begin building this space so that it offers you all you need to feel content. Maybe it's you and your dog, a book, a bathroom, and a glass of wine. Or perhaps it's all of the important people in your life, music, food, comfortable furniture, art, and laughter. Only you know everything you need to be content. Fill the room, don't hold back. Keep adding until it feels completely full.
Spend Time Dwelling in this Space
 
Really live and breath in this space. Drink it in.  Now that you've added everything and everyone you feel is necessary to feel content, begin to notice what you can subtract and still feel that same level of peaceful calm and happiness. Subtract until you are down to the only things and living creatures you need to sustain this feeling. Breath deeply into that sensation and move the amethyst stone to the center of your third eye. Keep breathing, visualizing, experiencing, and cultivating this all-encompassing sense of contentment.
You've now created your own mental living space that embodies contentment. You can visit and revisit anytime. It's always with you, waiting to console you any moment you feel out of whack or unsettled. It's yours.

Three Practices to Help You Find and Keep Stillness

Does being still require an exquisite landscape to study and absorb? I really hope not because a mountain view or ocean scape are simply not always accessible.

Stillness is a state of mind

If we accept this to be true, we can maintain stillness in a crowd or while with our families. We can find it while engaged in a conversation or during our yoga practice. Stillness doesn't mean we can't be moving or interacting with others.

"In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you." ~ Deepak Chopra

This sounds marvelous, Deepak, but how do we actually do this? Is stillness something we can practice?

Thankfully the answer is a resounding yes. We can practice stillness just like we practice everything else. But it's the willingness to cultivate it that might scare some of us. It doesn't feel natural so therefore, we decide we can't obtain it. But we absolutely can and the rewards are so worth it.

The Rewards of Finding Stillness

  • Happiness. Stillness helps us find calm. Our nervous system responds in a positive way. We move from a baseline of agitation to contentment and we spread this to others with our presence and state of mind.
  • Increase in energy. It's just like when you get enough sleep and you feel full of vitality. Stillness and meditation can help us acquire energy by assisting us in replenishing the wells that have become quite depleted.
  • A more connected relationship with ourselves. Think of someone who typically seems very confident and self-possessed. That could be you. Stillness provides clarity and allows our truths to rise to the surface. Once we connect with who we really are and cease hiding from what is, our confidence grows. By knowing ourselves better we calm down because we are no longer uncertain or confused about who we are and what we stand for.

Doesn't this all sound grand and illuminating? How could we not want these rewards? It's a matter of figuring out how to actually achieve this state of mind and not run away from what we learn. It's dedicating to this practice the same way we are committed to asana. So where do we begin? Deepak has a few more ideas about this that are worthy of contemplation and can serve as a starting point for the practice of stillness.

"We can actually accelerate the process through meditation, through the ability to find stillness through loving actions, through compassion and sharing, through understanding the nature of the creative process in the universe and having a sense of connection to it. So, that's conscious evolution." 

He makes it sound so easy. And maybe, eventually, it actually is.

Here are a few practice ideas to help you experience the often seemingly elusive state of stillness.

1. Do something for someone without telling anyone about it.

Not only is taking anonymous action a little bit like being a superhero, but it feels so gratifying to offer a kindness without needing credit. No action is too small. Placing a bottle of your yoga buddy's favorite essential oil in her coat pocket without a word or note. Leaving hand-picked flowers on your neighbor's front porch. Making a donation to charities you revere and believe in. Recommending someone for a job without telling them you did so. Paying off a debt for someone whom you know is unable to do so themselves. The list goes on and on. Make your own and take action. It will offer you the gift of giving without expectation of receiving in return. It will shift your sense of give and take and help you focus more on not what others do for you but all you can offer to the world.

2. Take the time to listen to another and stay with their words.

Conversations always require a back and forth. But it's the way we choose to conduct the dynamics that award us a sense of stillness. If you've ever experienced a conversation where you were more focused on what you wanted to say in response than in what you were hearing, then you've felt the frustration of not being present and ignoring the opportunity to learn. Listen to another. Really hear their words and digest them. Ask questions to keep them talking and sharing. The delight that comes from focusing on another expressing their ideas, views, feelings, and outlook brings a delicious sense of being present for another. The unrest that comes with focusing on being heard versus really hearing will go away.

3. Sit in silence with another person

We don't have to meditate on a mountaintop in lotus position. Being with someone else without having a dialogue quietly drinking in their energy and allowing them to share in yours will offer profound feelings of being close and interacting with our subtle bodies. Breathing together and having a shared experience without words offers a connection that goes beyond what we think interaction should be.

I hope you find some moments of stillness today. You deserve them.

 

 


rituals home practice|yogi surprise

Developing Rituals to Enhance Your Home Yoga Practice

Spend a few moments describing your personal yoga practice to yourself. Write it down if you're game for that. Or do this exercise with a friend. What are the non-negotiables? Do you absolutely require a mat and bolster? Inside or outside? Do you bathe first? Is time of day important? Our personal practice gets to be all about us and the rituals we involve are what make it both special and consistent.

A friend of mine practices every day at 6:24 a.m. This is the time she was born, so she practices at that time to remind herself that she is, every day, again reborn and the world of opportunity and exploration lay in adventurous wait for her.

Rituals keep us grounded and connected. They shape our sense of self and honor our singular perspective on the world 

 
Rituals can be actions you take or involve touchstones and symbols. I have a regular student who comes to class twenty minutes early so she can claim her spot and set up crystals at all four corners of her mat. One rose quartz to remind her to be loving. One green jade to help her focus and build mental strength. One citrine for self-confidence and one malachite for courage. She meditates as others filter in, ignoring the noise and bustle to prepare herself for the journey she's about to embark on.

Rituals can bring your yoga practice to the next level 

 
They give everything just a little bit more texture and meaning. Say, for instance, you and your kids walk up to the local bagel shop to buy breakfast every Sunday morning. The owners know your order by heart, and it's a ritual within itself to take this walk together every Sunday for sustenance. Adding in a few rituals on the walk can give this practice even more meaning. Stopping to play with a neighbor's dog, naming the trees and thanking them for existing, or even playing a word game contribute so much to what could be a routine walk to and fro.
When we practice with intention and go the extra steps to cultivate meaning into our every action, we discover uncharted territory each and every time we come to our proverbial mat.

Where to start? 

 
Start by developing a 'Let's Begin' ritual. If you plan to practice in the morning, choose something you do immediately upon waking up. Perhaps you write down your gratitude list. Or maybe you dry brush and lather in sesame oil, and then cleanse. Enjoy and combining that ritual while practicing the niyama of saucha, purity is an incredible way to place yourself in the frame of mind to be the most receptive version of yourself.
You could choose to do a guided meditation or mudra practice. Choosing rituals that speak to your heart will provide you with a consistent way to signal to your brain that it's practice time and it's the priority. Rituals are a form of self-care. Take the time to take care of you.

Maintenance

In combination with your let's begin ritual, choosing a specific place to practice helps too. Setting up a practice space in your home by creating an altar for yourself is a lovely way to encourage your continued practice each and every time you encounter that space. If you have the luxury of an entire room available to you, foster the ambiance with candles, essential oils and incense, props, and perhaps a book from which you can go to any passage for inspiration.
Three books to consider:  The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz, The Fire of Loveby world-renowned yoga teacher Aadil Palkhivala, and Pema Chodron's  Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living.  You really can't go wrong with any of Pema's books.
If you love practicing outside when the weather allows, identify an alternate space that feels harmonious and conducive to your practice. You can travel there with your touchstones for continuity. The old saying, 'Wherever you go, there you are' comes to mind. Bring your you-ness no matter where you choose to practice.
Writing this has inspired me to further develop new rituals of my own. Just like us, the practice morphs constantly. But rituals remind us of the pillars and tenants that will always be near and so very dear to our hearts.

It Feels So Good to Give

Don't you love a win/win situation?

I sure as hell do. I seek them out and aim for that mathematical equation to make up the majority of the circumstances in my life.
Everything can't be even. Sometimes you are simply the receiver. When it's your turn to give, the only pay off might be that you feel good about what you're doing and offering. And that's most certainly no small thing. In fact, I believe it's the entire point

It feels incredible to give to others. The giver benefits as much if not more than the receiver

 There is no shortage of ways to give. Giving is ubiquitous and everyone has something wonderful, helpful, and insightful to offer. It's so cool that the way it works is the more we give, the happier we are. Win/win baby!
When we feel a deficit in our lives, often the inclination is to feed the well. And it's a great instinct. The distinction is in how we go about doing that. We inherently know we've made a great choice in the way giving makes us feel. If you feel good, super decision. If you feel uncomfortable, regretful, begrudging, insincere, or anything along those lines, the motivation for giving comes from a place that's not genuine or honest. Have you ever given an insincere compliment? So have I, and it felt icky. The motivation was manipulative, and that's never going to do anyone any good.
Let's further discuss motivation.  It's always the launch pad from which we give. Each time we chose to give something to another, checking in with what exactly propelled us to do so is a useful strategy. If the motivation comes from a loving place, we again arrive at a win/win finish line.
Many of us consider our dharma to be of service to others. That's one of the most beautiful ways to provide love to the world.
Looking for ideas on how you can give today? Here's a not so short list to jump-start your day and feed the well that provides us with balance and a sense of connection to others.
  • Offer someone a ride to work whom you know doesn't have transportation.
  • Buy art from someone selling their creations on a street corner.
  • Call a friend whom you know struggles with finding childcare and tell them to name a date they'd like you to come over and babysit.
  • Give that friend who loves handcrafted soap some handcrafted soap.
  • Tell someone whom you admire the reason you look up to them.
  • Hug at least 10 people today.
  • Listen to a stranger who really needs to be heard.
  • Volunteer at a shelter, even if you only have an hour.
  • Purchase a book you love and give it to someone whom you think will benefit from reading it.
  • Move your mat in a crowded yoga class to offer space for a late-comer.
  • Smile at everyone.
  • Text or call someone to tell them you're thinking of them.
  • Invite someone to see a concert with you, your treat.
  • Buy a broke friend lunch.
  • Give blood if you can.
  • Offer to walk someone's dog if they have to work late.
  • Offer to dog sit for a loved one who doesn't feel comfortable with just anyone taking care of their baby.
  • Basically, do something that involves helping dogs or any other animals.
  • Braid someone's hair for them.
  • Paint a friend's nails.
  • Give someone your favorite crystal and tell them why it means so much to you.
  • Remind someone they are loved.
  • Teach a class for a sick yoga teacher looking for a sub.
  • Give a friend some incense to infuse her new apartment or home with a glorious scent.
  • Bake someone a cake.
  • Make someone a mala bead bracelet.
  • Help a stranger who dropped their belongings pick them up.
  • Dispose of liter as you see it on your walk today.
  • Buy the person in line behind you a coffee or juice.
  • Send a card to a loved one.
  • Visit with sick kids in the hospital.
  • If you're gifted with a lovely singing voice, sing for someone today.
  • Help someone move.
  • Buy someone a gift simply because you saw something you knew they'd like or that they need.
  • Check on a sick or injured friend.
  • Clean the bathroom so your partner doesn't have to.
  • Donate clothing you no longer wear or need to Goodwill or some similar organization.
  • Laugh. It's contagious.
  • Make someone else laugh.
  • Offer advice and wisdom if it would be helpful to another.
I could keep going, and I bet you could too. Make your own list and enjoy knowing you will positively impact someone today. Enjoy how that feels and own the knowledge you have so much more to offer than you probably realize.

comfort zones

4 Signs You Seriously Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

How can we get out of our comfort zones, you ask?

David Lee Roth, formerly of Van Halen, said it best: "Go ahead and jump, JUMP."
Ah Dave, if only it was just that easy. Sure thing, just jump in, go for it, take a chance. Sounds sublime, but stepping out of our comfort zones really isn't so easy for most of us. Um, they're called comfort zones because that's what they offer us and we dig that.
We've heard it hundreds of times. Getting out of our comfort zones is scary, necessary, hard, exciting, and it's the well-worn path to growth. We got it. We understand. We've even experienced it whether we tried to or not. Having to move for a job. Dealing with surprising health issues. A long-term relationship that ended abruptly. An exciting, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that scared and thrilled us. And sometimes we make the conscious choice. Anything from going to a Muay Thai class to eating blowfish. We know it helps us and it makes life more exhilarating. But how, HOW do we not just make friends with getting out of our comfort zones on the regular, but genuinely embrace the action? How do we move past the resistance that sends us in the direction of the things that feel safe, easy, and yeah, comfortable?
About 8.5 years ago, I chucked my very cushy life in Atlanta, sold my condo, quit all my yoga teaching jobs, left amazing friends, and moved to Columbus, Ohio with no job or actual plan. My pat response was because I wanted to live near my family. (But not too close. They live in Cincinnati.) The real, true, compelling reason was that I needed and craved change in a serious way. That leads me to the first way to find the motivation for side-stepping comfort zones.

1. Acknowledge When You Need a Big Change.

When we get into ruts and we're truly not happy, we'll manifest change. Even if it's not a conscious decision, we do things to make it happen. Most people have worked a job they really dislike. But they stay because it's a steady paycheck with health insurance and they don't know where to begin looking for the next gig. Plus interviewing and CV updating suck.
They have dreams of becoming an entrepreneur, but it seems too daunting so they continue to play it safe. Then, a new boss takes over and he's a nightmare. Suddenly, this barely tolerable job is no longer acceptable. What was a comfort zone has ceased being one and all of the sudden, the motivation is jumping up and down on your lap. You find the time to update your resume, network, and figure things out. Now that dream of launching your own company seems like the exact right thing and now is the time. Needing change is incredibly provocative.

2. Boredom.

Oh yeah, this is a big motivator. Have you ever felt so bored with life you were downright angry about it? We require stimulation to stay inspired and excited about life. If we get bored enough, there's typically a breaking point where we can't stand it anymore and it catapults us to running from our comfort zones. We begin searching for an incentive, so we find it. Boredom leads to exploration. Exploration leads to new ideas and experiences. Boredom is the great creativity impetus. Try going a full day without your phone, laptop, TV, magazines, or even books. Search your own mind and open up doors you didn't even know where there.

3. Meeting an Influencer. 

Think back on the last time you met someone who just simply blew your mind. Do you remember the giddy sense that something was about to happen, just because of a specific conversation with a wise risk-taker who took no shit but also amplified kindness and well-being? They don't come along every day, but holy unicorns must be real, this particular person set you on the trajectory of stepping right inside the first hallway leading to your best life.
They either said something or asked you just the right question to get your thoughts piecing together, leaving you wondering how you didn't put together this jigsaw puzzle some time ago. Influencers are powerful folks, and we all need them to help us figure out just how to reach that once seemingly unobtainable light switch. Anytime you come across someone who causes powerful positive thoughts and feelings to bubble to the surface, pay attention.

4. All signs point to something else. 

Have you ever read The Celestine Prophecy? It's been a minute since I did, but one big take away I do remember is to pay attention to signs and that there are no coincidences. Let's say you've always been really into candle making. It started as a hobby and was something you'd make for friends as gifts. As your skills developed, your candles got progressively more intricate in design, scent, presentation, and lastability. It slowly grew into a career goal, but you felt uncertain if you could actually make a living at it.

But then, you meet the organizer of a huge festival happening in your city and she mentions the types of vendors she's still looking to land. Candlemaker is on her list. Do you tell her you make candles or stay silent? You say nothing because you don't think you can produce enough all by yourself by the date of the event. Later that night, a friend asks you if you'd be willing to teach her your craft. These signs, even when they're obvious, can go ignored if we feel too resistant to getting out of our comfort zones and too uncomfortable about putting ourselves out there.

Comfort Zones Are Developed. They Weren't Always Comfortable.

When we come to the understanding that some level of discomfort is just a natural part of it, we can embrace it and know we'll move through it. It's temporary. Try that as a mantra the next time you explore blurring the boundaries between comfort and discomfort. It's temporary, and I'll move through it. Seek out the discomforting situations to enjoy the treasures waiting for you on the other side. Have the very best time exploring this!

Not Cooling It: The Doshas, Featuring Fiery Pitta

Do you know much about the Doshas? If that word 'Doshas' doesn't ring any bells, they are the three systems in our bodies that make up Ayurveda, "the science and knowledge of life." Ayurvedic practitioners treat symptoms with nutritional and lifestyle changes versus medication. Take this quiz to learn more about the three Doshas: Pitta, Vata, and Kapha, and where your imbalance lives. Each of us possesses all three, and we all have a predominance in one, sometimes two, of the Doshas.

The point is to know ourselves better. When we gain knowledge, we acquire tools that allow us to see things differently and, therefore, make alternate decisions based on this new information.  Once you learn where your predominance is, you might decide to not add hot sauce to everything or maybe you'll commit to getting more than 6 hours of sleep each night.
If you learn you're predominantly Kapha, it may reinforce to you things you already knew about yourself while also alerting you to the pitfalls if the imbalance becomes too great. Kapha characteristics include warmth, nurturing, high energy but manifested in a slow, steady pace, laid-back nature, loving and affectionate, forgiving and non-judgemental. Damn, I wish I had more of these characteristics. When Kapha becomes too abundant, it can lead to depression, possessiveness, sedentary living, and a host of physical ailments such as respiratory and digestive issues.
Vata characteristics include creativity, lively and humorous personalities, quick to learn new things, but also quick to forget, flexible, energetic, love of excitement and new experiences, joy, and enthusiasm when the Dosha is in balance. When it's not, impulsivity, difficulty with circulation in the hands and feet, irregular moods, and anxiety and fear when faced with stress may surface. I know this Dosha inside and out because I'm about 75% Vata. My impulsivity has both served me well and gotten me into plenty of trouble over the years.
And Pitta, quick-witted, excellent ability to concentrate, confident, assertive, passionate and romantic when in harmony. When Pitta is out of whack, irritability, demanding, bossy, and impatient qualities become more predominant.
But the Pitta Dosha is known for its fiery disposition and that fire and passion make things happen.
Qualities that we might tend to view as 'negative' have their positive sides. We can so easily zero in on, "Oh, I'm so Pitta and that's why I lose my patience so quickly. I'm doomed." Nope, not doomed, just perhaps uninformed about the various ways you can take that quality and mold it into something that looks less like impatience and more like productivity. The characteristics that we think we should change often are the ones that propel us forward. Impatience might lead you to not waiting for the right time, but jumping in and making your dreams come true. It could look like finishing college in 3 years. It can manifest as having babies at a younger age so you can have the energy to travel the world with them once they've grown up.
Being demanding can make life hard on others and on ourselves, sure. But it can also promote excellence, success, achievements, and incredible outcomes. Having a demanding quality to your personality doesn't mean you can't both be demanding, kind, and supportive. I had a boss many years ago who was incredibly demanding of herself, but she also got right in there with us helping us meet those demands. She knew how to motivate us to set the bar higher and we all benefited from this.
Take that fire and don't cool it too much. Yes, strive for balance, always. But given a chance, that fire you feel may just be the thing that leads to realizing your life's greatest passion.

Celebrating Failure 

I love to fail. No, now c'mon, that's not exactly accurate. But I do genuinely feel it's merit and it's not something I shy away from. What, exactly, is so profoundly scary about failing for you? We know that failure offers valuable information. There are memes galore about fear of failure and how it's the number one thing that holds us back from greatness. So why do we try so hard not to fail and regard a specific version of success as the only acceptable outcome? If I try and fail, then.....what? The sun ceases to heat the earth? All the good you've ever done becomes undone? Is there not something so beautiful about just trying things out and not attaching to the outcome?
When is the last time you did this? What happened? Are you glad you tried, even if it didn't quite work out the way you might have envisioned or hoped for?
A friend of mine bought a very popular boutique a few years ago. By most people's definition, she was a big success. She tried her best. There were certain things she liked, but too many that she didn't. And once she understood she probably shouldn't be crying every night or dreading the incessant demands that being a business owner brings, she landed on the decision to close the doors and follow that persistent voice in her head......she wanted to teach yoga and travel the world.
Being tied down to a brick and mortar establishment wasn't the path for her. She is so very happy now and free from the wonderment and regret that may have plagued her had she not ever tried. 'What if?' and 'Should I?' can follow us all over the globe, begging us to live in regret. Trying and failing and having no expectations other than hope alleviates the burden of an antiquated definition of success. Trying IS success. And failure should be celebrated because it means you fucking gave it your all.
Let's celebrate our failures! I'm talking throw a parade and invite everyone you know celebrating. You tried, I celebrate you for that. You showed up, I cheer you on for making that choice. You keep going after your goals and allow failure to lead you in the direction you're ultimately supposed to go, hurray! You see failure as a necessary and natural part of the process of figuring out your passions and life's purpose, Every YES!
I love the term 'falling ass-backwards'. So many of us can laughingly relate to the head-scratching state of the happy life we're living and confusion over just how we landed here. Spontaneously signing up for a still life painting class and bonding with the handsome painter next to you over just how horrible you both are at delivering paint to a canvas offers a glimpse of your vulnerability and confidence to try new things without needing to excel. As a result of trying something new, you find the most loving relationship of your life and you wind up moving with him to an alpaca farm in Peru. Your reaction to failure spoke so highly of your character and ability to enjoy and learn things for the sake of having fun and understanding that we won't be automatically excellent at everything on our first try. We have to be willing to try and fail to create such a powerful opportunity to experience this deeper layer of our psyche and share this part of ourselves with another person.
Again wraps around the question, 'Who would you be if you knew you couldn't fail?' I'm going to pose a different question: Who would you be if you celebrate all that failure brings?
I know the things that have come easily to me in life are the things I'm most prone to take for granted. But the hard-won stuff, that I own because I earned it, and didn't give up or get so discouraged I convinced myself it wasn't worth my time to stay with it? That stuff is why I love myself.
Does that mean we should never learn from our failures that the answer is to quit? Hell no! That's what trial and error are all about. It opens us up to close the door on one thing to pursue another exciting option. That's basically the entire premise behind dating, right? If one relationship doesn't work out and we give it the power to question our ability to love and be loved, we cease to remain open to that wonderous big love that will come our way if we don't block it.
Go out and try something new. But this time, bring the mindset that maybe you'll be good at it, and maybe you won't and that's not ultimately what matters. Trying is success. Enjoy your day.
By Lara Falberg

The Low Down on Dharma: 5 Questions to Ask and Answer to Own Your Passion

An inquisitive mind is a busy, active, reaching mind who loves to solve mysteries and develop destinations. Determining our dharma only asks that we continuously seek our deepest understandings of ourselves and what drives and impassions us.

While various religions and philosophies embrace and utilize the concept of dharma, there is no definitive definition. The overall idea is that our dharma is our passion and the reason we exist. Heady stuff, but most importantly, it's the most exciting knowledge we'll ever gain.

Not certain what your dharma is? You are far from alone, and we want to help! Asking questions, owning the ardor and zeal we feel for certain things and people, and trusting our truths are how we land with feet firmly walking along the path we're meant to follow and love.

If you've already developed an understanding here, these questions and answers many coax an even more extensive and heartfelt commitment to your passion.

It's crucial for each of us to understand our dharma is not necessarily how we make money, nor is it anything anyone can determine outside of ourselves. No one knows you the way you do. And this is the very best news. However, surrounding ourselves with others who seek constant growth and a deepening understanding of themselves and why they live the way they do will only light up our own paths with more luminosity and vivid comprehension. We need our mentors and examples of living dharma to propel us towards our own.

Grab a pen and paper or your laptop and get down with starting right here, right now. No moment of meditation or contemplation is a wasted moment. Can you feel that growing giddiness in depths of your spirit? Let's get going.

 

  1. Where is your very favorite place in the whole world and why? If this answer came to you in a nanosecond, cool. Now, why is this your favorite place? What feelings or opportunities does this place evoke?  If you're not sure, that's also quite amazing news. It means travel and exploration are your dharma right this moment. That doesn't necessarily mean you have to get on a plane or pack. It might mean your journey is a book you've never read that will introduce you to concepts and beliefs you hadn't yet considered in this life. Or, perhaps it's dusting off your yoga mat and exploring breath, movement, and your inner teacher's voice.
  2. What's the one thing you want to do every single day without question? Omg, I LOVE this question. I didn't use to love it because I didn't have an answer. Now I know it's to teach yoga to eager, willing, and passionate students who come to their mats to feel. If that one thing for you is being a parent, for example, each day offers singular thrilling moments, teaching opportunities, learning possibilities, and so much joy. Whatever it is, don't let a day go by without experiencing the thing that gives you purpose. If you're not yet clear on what that is, again, this is a big opportunity. Not yet knowing means each day offers you the chance to try things you're interested in and curious about until you have that lightbulb moment of, "Oh. Yes. Here it is." It's intoxicating. Keep looking.
  3. What moment made you so uncomfortable that it propelled you forward? See, we kid ourselves sometimes and convince ourselves that discomfort is bad. That's empirically untrue. When we embrace and revel in our discomfort, our truths come to light. Even really wonderful feelings can be so powerful that they cause us unease and we question what that's all about. It may be that abandoning one identity so another layer of who we are can be revealed is the only way we cut the bullshit. Honesty is often coupled with discomfort, so look for those awkward moments and run towards them to find out what they offer.
  4. What were the three most compelling takeaways you learned from your biggest growth spurt? We're not talking growing five inches in six months here. Growth and wisdom come at all ages. When it happens, we change. And everyone and everything around us changes too because we are different. Write down your lessons and where they took you. If it hasn't happened yet, oh, it will. Welcome it and bear witness to how your life shifts to accommodate the new you.
  5. When did the Universe speak so loudly you had no choice but to listen? Synchronicity is a compelling force. Signs are everywhere, especially when we are really tuned in and alert. Stay vigilant and don't ignore the obvious signs all around you leading you in the direction of passion, purpose, and deep contentment.


It doesn't matter what anyone thinks or what everyone wants for you. What drives you? Where do your wisdom and insight lead you? Own it or find it and enjoy the experience of discovery. Enjoy the ride and be true to you. Dharma is your destiny when you are willing to walk with it. We are so incredibly excited for you.