Meditation 4/27

 Backpack Meditation

(Pulled from #30 of Miracles Now by Gabrielle Bernstein)

Sitting in easy pose, bring together your thumb and index finger. This mudra brings forth power of knowledge. 

Breathing correctly: On the inhale your stomach should expand. On the exhale, it should contract.

Breathe in for eight breaths (through your nose) and out for one (also through your nose)

You will experience serenity and peace mere moments after beginning this practice. Begin with 1 minute of practice and increase every day until you reach 11 minutes. 

The beauty of this meditation is that it can be done ANYWHERE. Just throw it in your spiritual backpack.

Sat Nam!

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Are You There, Kayla? It’s Me, Kayla.

Anyone who frequently meditates knows that thoughts are bound to come up at certain points in a session. This isn’t always guaranteed. Some days, you could really be focused on the light and it isn’t an issue. I find that when I am struggling with little hardships, they surface frequently. I had a friend tell me that she lost her license. Every morning, the MVA by her house is packed and she can never make it through the line. In her meditations, she constantly hears everyones number being called except for hers. That is an inconvenient and stressful situation that will pop into your head, whether or not you’re in a meditation, until the problem is taken care of.

In the past couple of days, I have been struggling with car troubles. Since I am physically stranded at my house, I have felt stranded in my head. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely need these couple of days on lock down to map out some events that will take place over the next couple of months. In fact, I am thankful my car broke down at this specific time, it’s likely that I would have kept pushing off some of these tasks.

In my meditation today, I was feeling far away from myself. I didn’t feel like Kayla. Without even analyzing WHY I didn’t feel like Kayla, I started recalling random events of my life that took place in the spot I was meditating (my living room) hoping that this would help me  naturally and comfortably recenter. I started with the events furthest away and worked my way towards this year, this month, this week, today. Here is my sequence of memories (which i find more than entertaining)

2002- I came with my mom to the home inspection when we first bought our house. I remember standing in this part of the living room staring outside of the giant glass window.

2002- A couple days after the inspection, I had broken my arm while climbing a tree. I was sitting in a recliner chair eating cracker jacks.

2005- A couple of friends came over for a sleepover, and one of the neighborhood turds threw an egg at the giant glass window. We were freaking out.

Every year- My hyper-ass dogs was having one of her episodes, came ripping into the living room and knocked over the fake tree that used to stand tall in this corner. 

So on and so forth, you get the idea.

Well I noticed that my neck was holding a great deal of tensions and with every memory I recalled, I was pulling my head back more and more. It took coming out of this trip down memory lane to even realize how much tension I was holding. During an exercise to bring myself closer to…myself, I was fighting it without realizing it. At that point, I realized that I was the only one holding myself back. I was then able to get in touch with my core desired feelings and truly detach from my stressors. 

I frequently forget that taking that extra moment to be aware of what your body is doing, can make all the difference in the world. You might spend minutes, hours, or days trying to figure out what the hell is up with your mood. We don’t have to search as far as we think we do. Not to sound cliche, but the answers are inside of you and only you. 

Why search outside yourself for clarity?

 

No Finish Line In Sight

A lot of good things are happening in my life right now. This thought keeps surfacing: way to good to be true. False, it’s all way too good NOT to be true! Anyone on a spiritual path knows that it is not as easy as it sounds. Sure, getting enlightened sounds like a great destination, but what a lot of people don’t pay attention to is the amount of fessing up you have to do. For months, I was naive to being authentic. I assumed that if I was more aware in the present moment, I was being authentic, even if I was avoiding my most recent argument with my mom. Id say “well I’m fighting with my mom but it doesn’t matter because i’m in the moment, wow I’m one authentic ass bitch.” No, girl. Just no. 

Point is, I’ve admitted a lot to myself about the presence of my ego and have worked as hard as humanly possible to address every nook of bullshit that lives in my soul. (it’s a never ending journey, by the way.) Worked through a lot of issues swept under the rug and sported ugly cry face for a good long while, Kim Kardashian style. 

That being said, I know I deserve every ounce of success I am experiencing now (both personal and professional). I’ll admit, I had a mini mental dance party to congratulate myself for being a straight up boss. BUT. I am making it a point to continuously check in during this process. It’s necessary to remind ourselves that this isn’t the finish line. I’m not saying “don’t get too hype” just know that the hard work never stops. The universe doesn’t say “Congrats, playa, you made it, enjoy your life, you’re free to go!” There is always more to learn. Basically, I’m trying my hardest not to get cocky. Just because I know a lot about metaphysical tools and how to apply them doesn’t mean I’m at a cap off. There is always more to learn. This shit is free and abundant.

Gotta check myself before I wreck myself. 

 

 

Posted in OM

Meditation 4/7/14

Breath of Fire

Practiced in Kundalini Yoga, Breath of Fire is rhythmic breathing that will give you an asinine amount of divine energy and recharge you, whether you do it for 1 minute or 5 minutes.

DO NOT PRACTICE Breath of Fire if you are on your period or are pregnant. You can do long slow breaths and still reap a lot of benefits. The power of breath is an AMAZING tool.

How to use Breath of Fire
With your mouth closed, start moving your diaphragm rapidly in and out.
Picture there is a balloon inflated in your stomach.
When you inhale- the balloon expands
When you exhale- it contracts
Rapidly pump your navel
It should sound like the rapid panting of a dog.
Be sure not to switch the rhythm of your break… you could pass out. You will be able to tell the difference.

I practice breath of fire for 3-5 minutes everyday, multiple times a day. This does not have to be you. After a simple 20 seconds of doing it, you’ll feel more relaxed, energized, and at peace. If it is your first time, aim for 60-90 seconds.

Happy Meditating!

Posted in OM

Confession Time

The past month or so has been very eventful. I’ve been making moves in my professional life, getting over some personal trauma, and adjusting to social change. I have a confession. I have been avoiding myself. I have made the conscious decision (multiple times) to NOT sit down and tune in to myself. Lets say you have a really rough day at the office, and on top of that your boyfriend/girlfriend breaks up with you. You have issues in the two core sections of your life. By the time you get home, it seems appealing to just “sleep it off”. Well… I’ve been “sleeping it off” for the majority of March. The fact of the matter is, I’m going through a lot of firsts and it is overwhelming. I know that all of these changes will come up in my meditation, and I’m a firm believer that we have to get UNDER the issue in order to get OVER it. Experiencing pain, will help you heal. I’ve been straight up afraid of facing the coping process. Straight up afraid.

*Lets rewind a little bit. About two years ago, I connected with a woman on twitter (we’ll refer to her as Blake). I used to call her radio show and we clicked instantly. We talked every week and once she left her show, we stayed connected through social media. We got into a pretty deep conversation one night and she decided to send me “The Secret”. It was here within 2 days, I finished it in one. It changed my life and jump started this awakening.*

Well, this ridiculously random and authentic relationship finally bloomed earlier this week when we met in person. It couldn’t have come at a better time. The emotional roller coaster I went through for the couple of days we spent together really brought me to my “Cap off” of how long I could avoid myself.

I was bouncing between anxiety with work, overwhelming happiness with Blake, and the elephant in the room that I had not meditated and “checked in” for over a week. It sounds subtle, and don’t get me wrong, I am very blessed to have these issues. After a while, it weighs on your heart. By the end of the week, I couldn’t avoid that pillow anymore. I sat my ass down and felt everything. I will admit, I spent about 20 minutes in silence trying to decode my feelings. I tried making sense of every microscopic detail in my life until I finally admitted I was just plain confused. At that moment, I felt a rush of wind roll under me and I literally felt weightless. Cue waterworks. I then surrendered to breath of fire then listened to Shake It Out by Florence and got down with ego eradicator.

Here I am laughing at the thought of me avoiding my meditation just because I knew some shit was going to come up.

A couple of key things I will keep in the back of my head to avoid this issue again:

Stay connected with nature

After my meditation I went outside and it felt like it had been the first time i had actually been outside in weeks. Take the extra time to feel the wind, hear birds, and don’t judge the rain. Simply take the time to experience the natural aspects of the world around you, move with the chaos. 

Stay inspired

Do what you love. Allow yourself that down time to catch up on Scandal, listen to more Beyonce, go for a walk, take chances in new environments. If we were meant to stay in one place we would have roots instead of feet.

Know who’s down

Remember that the company you keep is a direct reflection of you as a person. You want people around you who are going to lift you higher. Blake consistently brings me back to myself and I feel more authentic in my life when I am around her. She is someone I can really coexist with. Know who is going to weigh you down and who is going to help raise your vibration. 

Allow yourself to feel

You can’t get over anything til you get under it. Pain can be your friend. It’s all an opportunity to raise your spiritual street cred!

Don’t judge yourself

ITS OKAY TO FAIL. You’re human. If you fall off the saddle, fuck it. Rip the saddle down and hop back on, it’s your life. 

Don’t sleep it off

In realtionships they say “never go to bed angry”. Your relationship with yourself is the most important connection, so whats the difference? Don’t go to bed mad or uncomfortable with yourself. Take 5 minutes on the pillow, not only will you fall asleep almost instantly, you’ll wake up feeling like you and yourself resolved that fight last night.

Satnam!

 

Who Knew Fear Could be Sexy?

I hit up a new meditation group today that had about 30 people in it. Aside from post-practice savasana, this is the largest group i’ve ever participated in that is strictly meditative. One woman has been in the class for 2 years and decided to teach a mini lesson on the benefits of Insight Meditation and using Metta as a tool throughout your day. She transitioned into a testimonial about her battle with anxiety and disapproval. While speaking, her voice was shaky, she was fidgety with her hands, and could only say 5 words at a time. 

Her nervous mannerisms continued through the 20 minute discussion. At the end she paused and said “I’m am riddled with anxiety and fear 80% of the time, but it’s who I am. I still go to my meditation classes and work on my awareness, after all, I did start at 100%. I am thankful for my fear. It is the only thing that saves me.”

Her favorite quote is: “Fear is my only courage” -Bob Marley.

Just because we are aware of our flaws, does not mean we need to experience guilt, pain, and disapproval. She has been fighting her anxiety for years. She knows it’s there, she has accepted that it’s there, and every couple of months her level of fear goes down. When we face our flaws and fears head on we are able to truly welcome it, work with it, and move past it.

A course in miracles says “Do not judge ego with ego.”

My personal goal for this week is to change my perception of fear. Welcoming it rather than pushing it away, will open you to a permanent change. Simply pushing fear away is similar to a bad break up. If you straight up kick it out of your head and heart, it’ll keep crawling back.

Forgetting the Answers to the Test

I admit it. I cheated. I cheated hard.

Going into week 5 of pale, I was feeling very unmotivated and, to be perfectly honest, frustrated with the lifestyle. I know what you’re thinking… “If you aren’t feeling it.. stop.” It goes beyond me “giving up on myself” or “being a quitter”. I genuinely feel good when I stick to this lifestyle, even though it is hard as hell. I have more energy, am sleeping better, can actually taste food, and (my personal favorite) I’ve got a vegetable glow! My point is, paleo is the shit.

I had a very different attitude this morning. Working at Starbucks is always difficult because there aren’t many paleo friendly options, besides a banana and like.. black tea. So, I usually bring my own lunch. Realizing halfway to work that I had nothing to eat for my shift, I got frustrated and thought I would hit up Wegmans since I was a little early for work. Overwhelmed with frustration and the constraint on what I could and couldn’t eat, I tore into the parking lot of, yup, you guessed it… McDonalds. WTF?!? I got a grilled McWrap without the sauce, thinking I was REALLY doing something clever, or as I like to say: “Being smart about being stupid” when really, in the back of my head I thought “No bitch, processed food is processed food.” As I ordered my food- regret. As I ate my food in the parking lot at work- regret and disgust. As I clocked in for my shift- regret, disgust, and immediate fatigue. I quickly reacted to the “food” physically and emotionally. I had cramps in my side, my heart was like Travis Barker on acid, and I was straight up disappointed with myself. I let this shit go on for about two hours, trying to maintain a happy attitude. Finally, on my break, I had to steal away and do some chanting and hit myself with some SERIOUS forgiveness. That took care of my mental flaccidity. After more chanting, a quick ego eradicator, and taking the time to fully breathe into my cramps (aka feeling the damage I did) I felt like myself again. I’ve learned that there is a huge difference in the process of forgiveness when you allow yourself to feel. We can’t get over anything until we truly experience the effect it has on us. Bring it up, let it go. Anddddd…. back to miracles. I swear, I went back to work and the next call I took was one of my favorite regulars, Davil. She comes up to the window, I hand her her tall cappuccino, and she goes “Hey Kayla, how’d you like to come work at a sports bar that my husband and I are opening.” …….. HA.

Today I got tested, hard. I forgot the answers and let ego take over my being for a while. Finally I got my act together, turned to my inner voice, and it said, “be still, slim… vibrate with the cosmos and the cosmos shall clear the path.” And by the grace of Yogi Bhajan.. that’s exactly what they did. The more we become aware of our connection to the universe, it won’t feel like work to seek help in times like today. At a certain point, it finds you, drags you to a bathroom, and makes you chant LOL.

The Voice

Every month Gabrielle Bernstein hosts an awesome google hangout on herfuture.com for me and my amazing soul sisters. Tonight she had life coach, and business expect Marie Forleo on (who I LOVE)…

One thing in particular stood out to me.

Making decisions.

This can be micro or macro decisions.

Marie says “If it’s not a hell yes, its a hell no”

Amen to that. BUT. I and many other people struggle with distinguishing between the hell yes and the hell no. At a certain point, I tend to over think a situation and can’t tell what is real and what isn’t. Their advice? Sit down with yourself, whether it be in your meditation or in simple thought. Ask yourself “Is this right? Is this the path I am meant to take? Should I take time off from school? Should i look for another job? Should I call that guy?” Be present of your being when you ask yourself one of these questions. If it’s a hell yes, you’ll feel a small glow or sense of pressure expand inside of you. If it’s a no, you’ll feel it contract. These two actions can be super similar so really listen. 

It is an intense power to not only be able to listen to yourself but to be able to SPEAK on it. Our voice is the most valuable thing we have. We can’t stifle our truth. Our voice is a blessing. We must use it in honor of those who can’t find it, and worse, who CAN’T use it.

Satnam, y’all!

Transition, Smansition

Do me a favor, look up “transition period” in the dictionary. Does my hair look okay? Hopefully it looks better than my picture next to the “hot mess” defintion…
Lately, I’ve felt like my life has been one big transition period, which in all honesty… it is. The only different aspect is that a couple of months ago, I felt guilty for it! Since I’m taking a semester off of school, I have king-sized chill time. Aware that I generally suck when given too much free time I extended my work availability, started reading more books, meditating more, opened myself to bigger groups of people, the usual. I’ll be real, I’ve occupied myself with less constructive things in the past.

Anyway, all of these components put together = an actual life. Sweet, I can cross that off of my list of things to work on.

Moving into week #2 of my new Paleo lifestyle (holy oxymoron) I’m starting to feel the effects of clean eating. I’m not as tired, feeling clean, and am obnoxiously happy. What they don’t tell you about mixing Paleo with frequent meditation is that you’ll act like animal from the muppets… about everything. Very enthusiastic way of life going on here… can’t tell if I’m impressed with my dedication or scared of my behavior.

Eiher way, I have a new outlook on this whole “transition period” thing.

I feel like I am practicing the essential tools to live a happy and fulfilled life, minus the career and steady income (lol). Some might argue that a life without those key aspects is not a life. I have nothing to say to those people.
I know that because I have so much time to feel out my life now, I am expected [by myself] to live a productive and abundant lifestyle when the time comes to transition [once again!] into a career. It’s like I’m training for the race (of life)– as corny as that sounds. Once it starts… I’m all in.
“You can be impatient AND trusting at the same time” – Danielle LaPorte

Am I Being Overly Present?

As I sat down for my evening mediation, like I do every day, there was an overwhelming desire to retain. I had a ridiculously long day and wanted nothing more than to decompress and set myself back at zero. As little details of my work day began to drift off, I felt that wave of calm and peace and a voice speaking on a tool that I could use while going into my late-day Sadhana. I immediately  started looking for a pen and paper to write it down so I wouldn’t forget. As I walked back over to my zen space, it felt cold and unwelcoming. Every time I sit in this sanctuary to be still, there is an essence of warmth and comfort, so I am able to clearly identify when there is a shift in spirit. It was in that moment that I realized that I walked out on my practice to record my miracle. 

Sometimes I can feel like I am too aware of miracles. I realize that they are taking place and run off to document it. In doing this, I have cut off the message that I’m blessed with in the first place. What is the point? I’m really HALF witnessing miracles! I’ve been giving myself spiritual blue balls…

I then walked away from any form of recording for the remainder of the day. Being truly present, is allowing these miracles to happen without any third party record. What you are meant to remember, you will remember. 

 If you have this issue, don’t beat yourself up about it like I did last night. Simply ask for help to let the desire to be overly-present go. Set this intension for yourself when going into your practice for the next couple of days. That’s what I’ll be working on!

After all, Yogi Bhajan says “It is not something which is done to please somebody or to gain something. Sadhana is a personal process in which you bring out your best.”