“If we never experience the chill of a dark winter, it is very unlikely that we will ever cherish the warmth of a bright summer’s day. Nothing stimulates our appetite for the simple joys of life more than the starvation caused by sadness or desperation. In order to complete our amazing life journey successfully, it is vital that we turn each and every dark tear into a pearl of wisdom, and find the blessing in every curse.”
― Anthon St. Maarten, Divine Living: The Essential Guide to Your True Destiny
Every time I sit down I am reminded of the choice I made to jump from a 40 foot high waterfall cliff into a 30 foot deep natural pool. Crossing the threshold of fear into trust can be both a terrifying and exhilarating process. I found myself at the precipice of the gushing waterfall that poured over the rocky edge with an inner outpouring of emotions that felt nearly crippling. Here I am, in Monte Zuma, Costa Rica with 2 friends and my wonderful boyfriend in paradise and all I can think about is jumping off of this cliff. I watch them go before Me. First my buddy leap frog jumps at the highest point of the cliff, and lands perfectly 40 feet below into what seems like a very forgiving nest of water, he sinks below the surface and then promptly comes back up with a smile on his face and beckons with both hands to follow his lead.
“Come on!,” He says.
“Ok!” Here I go. I walk to the edge right next to the place he jumped, there is no bush of branches and leaves on this side, but it is nearly just as high, maybe a 5 foot difference. With bare feet, a bikini, and a smile I look down and suddenly I smile no more. There is a visible piece of the cliff that comes out a couple of feet down from where I am standing. I am told that I have to tuck my arms straight along side my body and straighten my legs, point my toes, and land feet down to be safe. Thoughts come into my head of horrid outcomes, my foot slipping as I jump, a limb snapping on the side of that rocky ledge, landing incorrectly in the water which could apparently dislocate shoulders or hips.
“What if I hit this edge?,” I shout down.
“You would have to try really hard to do so,” He responds with a devilish grin.
I hear his words, and all of a sudden I realize I don’t trust it. I don’t have the nerve. My heart starts to race now every time I get close to the edge, my parasympathetic nervous system goes crazy. My mind WANTS to jump, I really WANT to jump, but my body will not let me. My legs begin to lock up, and then I start to shake. I better back off for now, so I walk back a bit and sit in the middle where it is safe, feeling utterly defeated. I thought I could do anything within reason. These past 5 years have been all about letting go and trusting the process. I trust that when I follow my dreams, God, the Universe, will absolutely provide, and I have been proven right again and again. I trust with all of my Being that when I TRUST the process, even though my path is a bit off of the beaten one, I am totally TAKEN CARE OF! However, standing on the edge of that cliff, I was humbled. Once again I had to trust my life to this new experience. Whatever I chose, I had to trust that it was ok. Looking back on the experience now, I realized if I were to jump OR not, I would have made the correct choice because of what I did before hand. I prayed, meditated, and paused. I left that day not jumping. I briefly made peace with that, but I had sheer determination to jump the following day, to show with my physical body that I Trust the Universe. I wanted to literally live by my mantra, “Jump and the net will appear.” It is funny how the mind will teeter back and forth sometimes when the ego is challenged.
Here I am again, after the strenuous hike up the side of the mountain, I am at the top of the waterfall. I’d like to give you more of a visual of what is around me. This is one of 3 water falls. The upper most is little, the second is medium, and the third one is deadly. All of the aforementioned action takes place at the medium fall. The back packers would jump from the base of the 1st to the second and most of the time they made it. The day before I heard rumors of 2 people dying from this cliff jump over the past 20 years. Not bad odds. However, I find out on this day that 10 more have died from jumping the base of the 1st to the 2nd waterfall pool and even though I normally would have taken this as a sign, I see several boys jump from this point before me for hours. Not many of them jump a second time, but they all land safely. Now my ego gets involved again. If they can do it, so can I. Thoughts start invading my head like, “You will regret this for the rest of your life if you don’t jump.” “You got this!” “You could die!” Suddenly I am reminded of another mantra I learned from my ashram, “God is with me, I am not afraid,” and another one, “Courage.” Everyone around me is saying, “JUST DO IT, DON’T THINK ABOUT IT!” When I thought about it, I would not do it, so I started to repeat my mantras. I walked to the edge. My boyfriend didn’t believe me when I said I was going to do it. Even though he did it the day before, he was to afraid to do it again. (He later tells me that he had a bad feeling about me jumping the previous day…) Again, all of these signs, big and small. Earlier in the day a wise voice admonished, “No, Alana, don’t do it. I have lived here 20 years, and I have not jumped, nor do I want to.” This was the owner of Los Mangos, the resort we were currently staying at. All of these signs seemed trivial in that moment. I said, whatever happens, “Pura Vida” which is a local saying in Costa Rica which translates to “Pure Life.” Here is to living pure life.
I step off, with a small jump, and before I know it I plunge into the water… Then in rapid succession the following happens: My tail bone feels a sharp pain exploding upwards. Next, my back slams into the wall of water causing my sternum to bruise on the inside of my chest and leaving me unceremoniously winded. I can barely breathe. I can barely paddle. I am frozen beneath the surface somewhat helplessly as my survival instinct kicks in and I begin to paddle with one lifeless arm to the surface. One hand is on my chest and the other one is navigating through the water. I am terrified. What have I done? I reach the surface in so much pain, I scream to the top, “I am hurt!!!” I couldn’t believe it. I had seen so many jump before me. One was a drunk guy who did a triple gainer and landed with seemingly no problem. My boyfriend, who courageously leaped after an hour of fighting with himself and had nothing but exciting stories to tell after the fact. My friend who had done it at least 10 times between the 2 days with a cool smile and the grace of a professional high diver. All of these success stories and yet I got hurt.
My boyfriend rushes down the side of the cliff to my aid. I catch my breath and realize I did not hit anything solid except the water, which from that height feels like concrete. I thought that I would be free falling for a bit with enough time to adjust into the straight pike that I needed to land safely. According to everyone else I looked great going down. I bet I did. My first hand experience was quite different. I felt no free fall. There was no pause that I could sense between the jump and the water crash. I straightened as best as I could, but I believe the mix of the expectations I had of how I thought it was going to go and my utter surprise of how it actually did made for bad form. Now try to picture this in slow motion. I slightly bent my knees and rolled back a little, landing directly on the tail bone which delivered a fierce blow to my spine. Then I was thrust back from the impact landing second on the middle of my back compressing my chest and lungs, creating pain in my chest and loss of air. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to swim up to the surface because I could barely move. Luckily, I did.
Had I have listened to that calm voice that said, “Not today, not tomorrow, maybe never, this may not be in your story,” I would have avoided this crash landing. I was more relieved that I was alive. Nothing was broken. I would endure pain every time I sat down or did anything to cause irritation to my sternum. Hiccups made me cry. Yoga was a nightmare in some positions. Still, I had to find the positive so that I could go on. I DID IT! Would I do it again? Probably not. If I ever did it again, I would want to feel much more confident going into it. What does Yoga teach me? Acceptance, non-judgment, and listen… listen… listen….to your body, mind, and heart. I am actually not sure what would have been worse… the pain from my crash landing, or the pain my mind would have thrust upon me for not doing it. I am no longer beating myself up for not doing it, but my body is beaten up from doing it. Either way I get the experience of growth through pain… Haha, go figure.
When a challenge arises, we have an opportunity to MAKE CHOICES. All choices have consequences that are good and bad. That day I chose to not live in fear. What I realized was that a healthy dose of fear is meant to prompt a healthy dose of judgment. When I see a car coming, I do not step in front of it because I know I will get hit. This was a completely NEW experience, one that was unique to me. I painted the outcome through my thoughts, decisions, mind, and body. Had I of been more confident or less timid perhaps I would have landed better. Had I avoided it all together, I would have been safe physically, but my mind would have run rough-shot with me for who knows how long. If I would have landed perfectly, I would have written a different blog post. I landed imperfectly, and had a different experience, now I am sharing this with you, and that is perfect within itself.
Trust has become a way of living for me. I have jumped off of many metaphorical cliffs in these past few years with nothing but sheer determination and success. This cliff was no different. All jumps require confidence, intuition, physical awareness, proper timing, and faith. Even though the Path may not be what was expected, perhaps a bit bumpy and painful at times, we will always learn soul lessons if we require the patience and awareness to listen to them.
Everyone’s journey is different. We all have choices. Paint your destiny. Follow your heart. It is not without hurdles, but the experiences will expand your horizons always. It is all a learning process that brings forth growth.
Thank you for exploring my “Explorations of Self,” with Me!
As always with love,
E-RYT, CYT, Wellness Supporter & Freelance Writer
My site is now live, go ahead and check it out at www.AlanaRoachYoga.com!
Money. Just seeing the word can bring sensation into the body and some thoughts into the mind immediately for most people. How we see money has impact on our lives.
I grew up being taken care of, so don’t get me wrong. I always had a roof over my head, food in my stomach, education, loving parents, clothes, etc. I am SO grateful for that. With that out of the way, I’d like to continue and say, what I was told about money through media on radio and television and adults what that it meant success. Those people that had it were rich maybe famous by our standards, political leaders, maybe upper middle-class at the least, but what was constantly repeated to me was that, “Money doesn’t create happiness, those people are empty.” I heard this repeated AGAIN and AGAIN. On the flip side, those who were living in apartments in an upper middle class town at the time , like myself, and those who had welfare, those who were homeless, those who lived in the ghettos, whatever it was that straight out said, and I repeat, “You are poor.” I was told many things about this class of people growing up. “Poor people are God’s chosen ones, they are going to heaven.” “Poor people are less then. Lack more. Suffer more. Aren’t good enough to get more and never measure up. Un-deserving and un-loved. Trash.” You get the point. SO, you can IMAGINE that I had some really misconstrued views of money right up through my late twenties.
Woo! So, with ALL of that said. Guess what? I have found… that all of it… it.. drum roll…
A matter of perspective and that depending on an individual’s perspective, this will directly affect the way they receive or block Abundant Living.
Abundant Living is truly a way of life which I have found incredibly satisfying. It spawns from gratitude. It requires some un-doing. It takes some Self-Work which means Action! Action which I have taken and I can report to you has completely freed me from those chains of old-thinking. Money is neither good or bad. It is ENERGY! It just is!
1. Gratitude list
Gratitude lists on a daily basis which I recommend writing for the first year to really get it into your habitual practice is the very first step on this journey. I have been doing this for nearly 2 years and the results of this ritual are that I embarked on a Path/Career that I am TRULY in love with, my personal and professional relationships are wonderful, and I live Abundance in health,wealth, and happiness on a daily basis. Does this mean I never have sad days, sick days, bills, arguments, etc? No, but what it does mean is that I find gratitude in the sad days, I will have miracles in how my health is taken care of on those sick days in how I think and treat my body, I pay my bills on time and I have money left over AND in savings (Money left over and in savings was not the case before these two years of Gratitude Practice), my arguments are constructive and reflective, and I receive abundance from my Dream opportunities in Career and Service work (They go hand and hand with me), Travel, Relationships all the way to mechanical and computer repairs.
2. Releasing Ancestorol Chords That Could Be Impinging on Your Ability to Receive Success
For me this meant going to see a Shaman, Breath-worker, doing Yoga, Meditation. We all have energetic chords to our parents, grandparents, perhaps their grandparents, past life ancestors. If we do not put in the work to release these chords, we can continue to live our their Karma, causing energetic blocks in our lives.
3. Positive Thinking and Speaking
I watch my thoughts and speech today. I believe that what we think repeatedly and say repeatedly have energetic vibrations. What are we really putting out into the Universe? I am not saying that we cannot have negative thoughts, but once we do, are we massaging those thoughts or implementing gratitude and positive thinking once we become aware of it? Are we constantly saying self-deprecating things that come from a space of insecurity and lack? If we are, it is something to look at. If I have negative thoughts, I make a gratitude list, even for the negative thought for bringing me to what I am grateful for! I try not to say anything negative today, and if I do I replace it with 3 positive things. I write and say positive affirmations. Sometimes I do Positive Thinking and Abundant Living meditations. All of this creates Abundant Living!
4. Trusting God/Universal Spirit.
Yes. Trust. This is an all-encompassing detail. My journey into trusting God started about 5 years ago. It has been a journey. It has taken time. It is worth it. I recommend the book, “The Shack.” Through my process which is unique to me, I have discovered that I can rely upon my God for everything. Every little and big thing. When I trust more, I receive more abundance. I have to continually let go of my control and my fears because when I do, the God of my understanding introduces me to the life that was truly intended for Me.
Here is a story on this. My car was on it’s second trip to the mechanic in 2 weeks. The first trip I had all the money for and plenty left over. The second was very unexpected, but the beauty of it for me was that I did not panic. In the past I would have. Everything unexpected would have thrown me into a financial panic. I would have been ridden with worry and despair. However, THIS time, since I have been practicing Abundant Living, I felt a calm presence guiding me and I Trusted that everything would be just fine. I didn’t even know if I had money to cover all of my expenses in this second trip, but I KNEW from the depth of my Soul that I would be OK. So I go to pick up my car from the mechanic, I ask him how much it was (I had an estimation of about 150-200 on the phone which I barely had in my checking and with a smile on my face that was genuine… the mechanic looks at me and says, “You don’t owe me anything.” Miracles in my life today that continue to show me that I live a life of abundance. I open myself up to all avenues of abundance and TRUST it to flow to me and they do in ALL ways. I drop the expectations of how the abundance with flow to me and then I open up to all of the ways that my Creator wants to take care of me.
5. Money is Energy, Give Freely, Receive Freely.
I said it before. Money is neither good or bad, it is ENERGY! Abundance is also energy. When I view money and abundant living in this way, I drop the expectations of how the abundance with flow to me and then I open up to all of the ways that my Creator wants to take care of me. When I do a service or get a service, I am receiving or giving energy back in exchange for the energy put out. If I am putting out Abundant Energy, the Universe will send Abundant Energy back my way. One of my favorite affirmations for this is, “I live in Abundance, free from want. I open myself up to Abundance and I am taken care of in ALL ways. I have all that I need and more in health, wealth, and happiness!” Remember, I live a simple life. I am grateful to that. I feel abundant and I AM that. I could be an Abundant Being whether I lived in the woods or in a mansion because I my soul is at peace when I live this way. Sharing in the Abundance is what life is all about. Whether that is abundant conversation, bounty of food, services, money, intelligence, wisdom, and LOVE!
With love always,
CYT, ERYT, Reiki, Wellness Support and Free-Lance Writer
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I am inspired by Frank Ocean’s recent blog post where he wrote a letter to Himself 5 years ago. You can find it here. This is someone who followed their heart. This is what I try to do myself. In spite of what I grew up hearing about what, “I should do,” or what, “I was capable of doing.” I am following my heart.
So, today I am going to write a letter to myself 5 years ago, Feb 9, 2009.
I want you to know that everything will be okay. You are going to be moving back home with Mom in a couple of days because your drinking has gotten really bad again. I want you to know that after you move out of Dad’s, He will go through one of the roughest periods of his life but it is a blessing in disguise because He will end up being taken care of. None of it was your fault.
You will get sober this year on May 29 from drugs and alcohol. No matter how bad it gets, I want you to know that your pain will benefit others through helping them get sober eventually. Your eating disorder will not control your life when you get sober, because God blesses you with a Miracle to stop the compulsion to control your inner world through abusing yourself in these ways. You will help many people in this area as well. Spirituality is going keep you afloat through all of these changes.
This is you on your first year sober! This celebration is for you if you don’t believe Me!
and then on your second year of sobriety!
It keeps going, this May you will have 5 years sober!
Yoga is going to become a great provider of peace for you and eventually others through you. You will find a studio that feels like home in late summer of 2009 and it will feel like this is what you have been searching for your whole life. You are going to be a Yoga Teacher, but first you will practice often for 3 years until you meet the Woman who will train you on how to teach.
You will run a half marathon and then a full marathon in 2011.
You will make friends that feel like family and eventually move out of Mom’s, never to go back because you have finally learned how to take care of yourself. There is a lot of help along the way, but you are going to really do it this time. Yes, you finally get a car and will see that it was in the Plan to get your first car at 23 because you probably would have died or hurt others otherwise.
You will get your heart broken three times over the next few years. The first one you will realize was for the best. The next two will be by the Man that you are going to end up with in 5 years, madly in love with. He will break your heart so that you can learn how to love Yourself and God first. So don’t worry, keep working on Yourself and it will all work out.
You will travel the world. Yes. So when you get your passport for, “No reason,” in a couple of months, know that there is SO MUCH REASON. You will spread Joy all over the world, because it is your PURPOSE to do so. You will show others that, “Following your dreams,” is more than just a saying; it is a way of life. You will grow into an incredible woman. Your Mom and Dad, your friends, community, and life-partner will love you for just being You. They will be incredibly proud of all that you accomplish. You will find the courage to go after your dreams of teaching yoga, traveling, and writing about it every step of the way. You will find the courage because God will lift you up everytime you find it.
You’ve made it, Alana.
So wipe those tears off of your face , everything is going to be OK.
With much love,
You, 5 years from this moment. Feb 9, 2014.
This is YOU NOW!
This is from one of my favorite books “The Four Agreements”. I try to live by these principles. Key words are “I try!”
“1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.
4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.”
― Miguel Ruiz
Sound like a lot? It totally is. I understand. The first time I read through this book, I merely skimmed it. Skimming it was enough to know that I had some serious self-reflecting to do. Since then I have grappled with how much I bring up other peoples names when they aren’t around, how often I assume, take things personally, and finding balance with always doing my best. I have gone through intense training in these areas at a “Spiritual School” where these were practically mandatory and I failed to meet the mark every day, 365 days and counting. What I have come to find is, I am definitely human. I believe it was eloquently put once that we are , “Spiritual Beings having a human experience.” I resonate with that quote because when I read the 4 agreements, they resonated with me on a deep Soul level. I am getting to know these agreements on a very personal level and I can finally say after many years of knowing of these things, I am starting to make SOME progress. It is progress, not perfection. I highly suggest this book. It is a short read and you can pick it up when you feel like it as every page is filled with enlightening words that will fill your mind for years.
Let me know if you have read this book or if you have had any experiences with these principles.
RYT, CYT, Reiki, Wellness Support and Freelance Writer
I am inspired to write about something not talked about every day. For the past few months I have had the subject of aging on my mind. Aging and death are both subjects are very taboo in this culture. We are doing everything possible to stall the aging process. Between cosmetic surgery, the latest under eye cream, that new fad diet, sports car, or whatever it is that inevitably fills us up for that day but leaves us feeling empty and full of fear yet again. We grow older every day, and we are all going to do it someday, die.
About 4 years ago, on Thanksgiving, I was given the gift of looking at this with open eyes and an understanding started to unfold for the very first time. Only a few months after I got sober from drugs and alcohol, a good friend of mine, overdosed on heroine after being clean for over 5 years. I couldn’t believe it, I was devastated. He was so intelligent, handsome, kind… how could this happen? I remember finding out on Thanksgiving. He died alone, in his apartment, from a heart attack. He had just moved in, so his apartment was bare except for his mattress and some clothes, and pieces of paper he had scribbled on with bible verses. Can I share one with you…?
(4) He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There won’t be death anymore. There won’t be any grief, crying, or pain, because the first things have disappeared.” (5) The one sitting on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new!” He said, “Write this: ‘These words are trustworthy and true.'”
John the Apostle, Revelation 21:4-5
I remember that they read this at his viewing, and I broke out into tears, because I now knew that he knew he was going to die. I do not think he planned it this way, but I do believe that when it is our time to go, whether it is of natural causes or not, it is time. However, when he died, at the age of 32, I was heartbroken. In the past, I thought of death as something that happened. When He died, it made it more real. He was a mirror into my own youth, and into the reality that it could happen at any time. I would miss Him. I started to ask questions to the unknown and to explore emotions that until now were uncharted territory. “This wasn’t fair, was it? Why does this have to happen? I am angry, I am sad, I feel him as if he were here. When I pass away some day, will we be brought back together? I know no matter how many times I look at his pictures and call his number he will never pick up, and I will never hear or see him in this physical form again. Would I? It all seemed so sad.
…While I was in the initial shock of the news on Thanksgiving, I remember sitting in a friend’s house who was keeping me company while I mourned… They went to shower and get ready. I remember plopping down on a wooden chair that I had pulled out from the kitchen table. I began to cry again, tears rolled down my face, but I did not let out a sound. As I sit there, I kept thinking of his beautiful smile, and all of the wonderful moments we spent together, and it made me cry even more. Then something a bit surreal and magical happened. As I sit there in a pool of my own tears, I started feel the energy shift inside of me and all around me, tingles rose up my spine and I couldn’t help but smile, and as I open my eyes I could almost hear him say, “I am fine, I love you,” and as I turn my head, there on the refrigerator were alphabet magnets on the refrigerator I sat next to, that read, “I will always love you.” Even though I knew that this must have been my friend’s Daughter writing her Father a message, I also Knew, in the Depths of My Soul, that this was His message for me as well. In that moment, call me whatever you want to, I Knew, that this was not the end for those who live in the physical. He was fine. There was life after death, or whatever you want to call it. I know now that was my friend’s gift to me. From his death, I gained a true Soul awareness of Eternity. I was so grateful for this. In that moment, everything became so clear, I was no longer feeling at loss, but at more of a gain in that, He was now happy and a part of Everything.
Since that time, much has changed in my life. I am now over 4 years sober, I have a mission and a Soul Path that I am in passionate love with, as well as a wonderful soul mate that I live with, a beautiful relationship with my friends, and family… I mean, life has gotten really, really, good. It’s reall, really, REALLY great. I have things that I have become attached to, and as the Buddhist’s will tell you, attachment leads to suffering. I always understood that on a cerebral level, but I am starting to explore it in my heart. About 4 months ago, that topic of death started to come up again. Not because anyone close to me died, but because I am getting older. I am the age that my mom was when I was 1 year old . That blows my mind. I look at her and I see this beautiful woman that has lived a few decades since then, and it is inevitable that she too, will parish one day. The same goes for every single person I know, and every single person in this world. All of a sudden I am like really understanding that in order to live, we must die eventually. So when my friend passed away on Thanksgiving, I got the understanding that we Live after we die, but now I am coming to terms with that in order to do that, we will go through the process of shedding this physical form. So here we are, back at the subject of death. Did you know that Buddhists speak of death in a very casual way? That is what I wish to do here. I don’t wish to sound morbid, or to upset anyone reading this, but to rather come together and just talk about it. I love that. I wish it were something that was easy to talk about for me, and this is my effort to do so. I believe that at this time on my Spiritual path, I am meant to be accepting of it. Now more than ever, because as my life gets better, the more and more I wish to stay just as I am, and the problem that this presents is that the Universe, all of it, is always changing. If I refuse to look at this inevitable change, I will become a person who is in denial, and before I know it, I am subconsciously acting out of a place of fear. I don’t want to live my years in a state of denial or depression about aging. I wish to embrace every day fully, as I get older, every single day. When I accept that this too, shall pass, there is no living in the future or the past, there is only this present moment at hand. That is all we really have here. When I am Present, I am at Peace.
In the past few months, I have had random chats about aging and death. Here are some of their thoughts on this topic.
One was with a 60 or so year old rock climber. It very naturally came up as we talked about travel and nature. He very casually spoke of death and said it was something he thought of all the time. He said to me that the Buddhist say, that if we reach the highest state of Consciousness, that we return as a Tree. Trees in Buddhism are perfection. I have been contemplating that one ever since, I am not sure I am ready for Tree-Ness… but, perhaps that is so.
My friend who is also a yoga teacher, tattoo artist, sailor, internet marketer, you name it, was over for New Years Eve. A couple of us stayed up late, and this topic came up. As the 3 of us sat there, chatting about death, he said that he got the chance to live with a man who was dying. He rented this man a room in his house so that he could die in peace. The Man and He talked about dying often as the Buddhist do, and when he did die, it was very peaceful because they both accepted that this was going to happen. By the time it happened, he said, the Man was so ready, that he looked happy about it. My friend said that, whatever ends up happening after death, He is sure that it will be incredible, because we have a God that would have it no other way.
He also spoke of a Zen teacher who would do a long chant while with her Sangha (Spiritual Community) and at the very end her words were, “Don’t waste time.” This is what sits with me today. “Not wasting time.” I feel very confident that I am here to fulfill a purpose that was given to me before birth, perhaps many births ago. I can chose to follow this Path of Seeking and Spirituality, of Love, Presence, Discovery, and Peace, or I can chose not to.
What are your thoughts on aging and death? I am open to ALL beliefs, I believe it is important that I and We stay teachable, open. I respect your beliefs. Remember, we don’t have to agree on everything. That is what open communication and discussion is all about. I ask that you respect each others beliefs on this thread as it grows, with love, peace, and good faith.
Finally, I leave you with a quote that my dear friend who passed on Thanksgiving Day left on his Facebook… “If you surround yourself with beautiful things, you become the things that you see.”
Be the beauty that you inherently are. All you have to do is look in the mirror; it has been there all along. Every day, from the day you were born until the day that you leave this body, you are perfection, and please don’t miss an opportunity to embrace that and share it with others. You have a unique purpose that is Yours and Yours only. Tap in to it. Don’t waste time.
E-RYT, CYT, Wellness Promoter and Writer
Check out this article on the process of aging and death from a Buddhist perspective ,“Once there is a deep acceptance of death, life will happen to you in enormous proportions.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sadhguru/death-spirituality-_b_1409625.html
I love you. That is the one expression that sums it all up for me. I love you. I feel it every time I read an inspirational quote or look at the sunlight creeping through the blinds or hear a distant breath in a yoga class…hahhhhh I love you
It is what unites us and what we have in common. The spark of love in each and every one of us is the same spark that lights up the lovers eyes, the babies first smile, the sun and the moon. I feel this every time I meditate. Yes, meditate. You have heard it a time or two in yoga class or in your local news paper. Meditation is as old as the ages and yet it is something that we as a society are just starting to embark on at a massive level. Meditation groups are popping up all over the world to create World Peace and a Higher Level of Conciousness that vibrates on… you guessed it, Love. The love frequency is one that is radiant and all plentiful. It is what keeps us striving for that next thing. That thing we can’t even quite put our finger on. Often times that thing becomes masked with accomplishment, addiction, and fear. What are we chasing really? Have you ever thought that the thing you were chasing would make you feel inextricably whole or complete only to find that once you accomplished it you felt ok but it wasn’t enough, sometimes it made you feel even worse. Why is that? How is that possible? But is so, so you move on to the next thing. Or perhaps you failed to accomplish that which you desired the most? You felt defeated, lesser than, unmotivated to move through it, and so you reached for something that made sense in that moment, a snack, the bar, a companion, only to feel guilty about it after.
That unrelenting reaching for has driven me to a point of questioning. What is the point, I would say? What is the point the this life thing? I had used up my addiction and failed to love another human being properly in my teens and early twenties, and then in my mid twenties I was addicted to accomplishment. I thought if I were perfect then I would happy. I spent the first half of my life in a place of self-abuse and ultimately feeling defeated, to spend the later years trying to make up for lost time to also feel some what defeated.
That is when I found meditation. It started as a suggestion from a group of friends in 2008. Meditation and prayer are the answer to your problems. Well, I had been praying my whole life to some far off God that supposedly judged everything I ever did. I prayed for mercy on my soul and I prayed in times of need. I rarely ever prayed to be open to learning about why we are here, or for someone else, or to listen for loving guidance. I definitely never did a prayer of gratitude for that which I had in my life at that moment, which is always bountiful. But like I mentioned in the previous paragraph, I felt defeated. I was willing to listen to suggestions if it meant peace of mind and serenity. I learned how to pray differently. I started to pray for others, make gratitude lists, and pray for something bigger than me to guide me. I view the Universe as being bigger than me (Pretty easy, right) and I feel that it is a magical Co-Creator of incredibly possibility. The God I once had started to evolve into something greater. It started to be everything. It was me, it was you, it was the sun, moon, sky, mountains, good, and the bad. It is that for me today. I was told that praying is only part of the equation. Praying is to speak to God, but to meditate is to listen. Listening was not one of my strong suits. I spent a lot of time in self pity, of busy-ness, of distraction, but not in listening. But, again, I felt defeated, so I was willing to give it shot. It started with a few minutes a day. I would go on youtube and find a beginners guided meditation video, plug in my head phones, sit still, close my eyes, and listen. I felt different immediately. Truly, I did. A seed of serenity started to become nourished by this speaking to and listening exchange. I was having a conversation of the mind, body, and Spirit. It was a revelation. It took discipline. There were days I did not feel like meditating. Prayer was easy to rush through on those days, but meditating meant I had to sit still. I did it though, even if it was for only a minute, because I thirsted for that serenity. I needed it like one needs water in a desert. Something bigger than me beckoned.
It has been over 4 years now, and I still have this Mind, Body, Spirit conversation. I pray and I meditate on a daily basis. It has developed, it has changed, it has GROWN significantly over the years and my God is always revealing more to me all of the time. Just when I feel like I have learned the current lesson (I feel as though we are always in a state of learning here) I am shown that I know nothing because my God has gotten even bigger. That lesson that I thought I learned has an underlying current of truth that I just started to tap, so I must go deeper. Over the years, I have discovered that beyond the seated mediation, there are many ways to meditate. Yoga for instance, is a moving or still meditation. We are uniting or yolking the mind, body, and Spirit with the attention the breath and body. We leave the studio or place of practice feeling as though something has shifted within us, because we have created time for it to shift. That is what meditation is for me, it creating time by giving time to still the mind. There are walking meditations in Buddhism where you walk very slowly, perhaps in a grassy field, and pay attention to every shift the foot and earth make together, in unison. The awareness goes from sensation to sensations very slowly as though it were the only thing that were in existence. You leave walking meditation feeling a sense of peace because again, the mind, the body, the Spirit have been united through this attention to the presence. One of my favorite spots to meditate is in a warm salt bath with lavender. I listen to a chakra tuning meditation while rested in the warm water, close my eyes, and use my Ujjayi breath for about 15 minutes. Every morning before I step out of bed, I create space of about 30 minutes before I need to get ready for my first class or event of the day if I have any so that I can plug in Theta binural beats (Theta waves are the brain waves Tibetan Monks go into in deep meditation) and do a laying down mediation. No matter what, I create the space. I believe that the attention to the space is what matters. The Universe notices when you’ve practiced, no matter how long the practice is. It is just the fact that we are taking the time to listen to that calm, gentle Guidance.
Create space in your life to Listen for You. When you take care of you, you take care of the World. Just sit back, relax, and watch where your journey with meditation guides You.
What are some of your favorite ways you like to meditate? If you would like a guided meditation with Alana Roach Yoga, please email me at AlanaRoachYoga@Gmail.com.
E-RYT, LD, Reiki, Wellness Coach and Writer