be you

The Importance of Pleasure (and the truth behind sugar cravings)

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Ever since the Love Rising podcast episode with Carli Jo  (listen to it here) I have been thinking a lot about pleasure and what it means, how I get it and why so many of us women struggle to experience and value it. 

I am not necessarily talking about sexual pleasure, although I'm also not not talking about sexual pleasure. The way we do one thing is the way we do all things. But for all intents and purposes we can just say we're talking about pleasure in a general sense. How much do we ENJOY our lives? Do we take pleasure in waking up? Going to sleep? In eating our food? In our body's movement? In playing with kids or pups? 

It's so funny how when something "pings" me, as the subject of pleasure did in our podcast conversation, it starts to show up everywhere. It's kind of like how you hear a word you've never heard before once and then you hear it everywhere. One of the lessons I've learned in the last couple years is to pay attention to these synchronicities as they normally lead me to healing breakthroughs or realizations. So.. as this synchronicity would have it, in my therapy appointment today, pleasure came up.

Without getting into too much detail, my therapist actually asked me, “where do you experience pleasure in your daily life?” 

And I stalled. 

I was left searching for a bit. 

When I did answer I said, "In yoga: when my breath, body, and mind, are all aligned." Once I can get my monkey mind to calm down and connect into the breath, yoga is a place that I consistently experience pleasure. There is a flowing grace that comes when you are internally present and aware of your body. There aren’t any stories going on in my mind; no threat of my phone buzzing or my computer dinging. When I know I am contained by the mat, the room, and the hour of time to just move and breathe and connect.

I am someone who takes the idea of pleasure pretty seriously already. This isn't the first time I've explored pleasure or flow. I've been wrapped up in that go, go, go lifestyle before and I know no matter what kind of success or astronomical levels of productivity you reach, if you're not enjoying it; it doesn't matter. So the fact that I have been so disconnected from my own pleasure lately is a little alarming and a great wake up call for me to tap back in to enjoying my daily life. Letting go of the masculine pushing/doing energy yet again and flow into that open receiving energy a little bit more. 

One thing that happens when I get pulled into that productivity equals worthiness mindset is that I start to crave sweets. And this totally makes sense. 

When we have a pleasure deficit in our lives we'll try to make up for it with quick shots of "junk" pleasure. Sugar, junk food, drinking alcohol, binge watching TV, etc, all these things give us the guise of pleasure and "taste" good at first, but leave us feeling disconnected and unfulfilled. Because what we really want is deep, juicy, wholesome pleasure. The pleasure that comes in ordinary moments of presence. The pleasure that comes from using all five of our senses in the present moment. 

I know that when I start to crave sweets or fall into my personal pattern of emotional eating.. I don't need more discipline. I don't need more "willpower", I actually need more slow, flowing, pleasure in my life. I need to turn inwards and notice the ecstatic pleasure of breathing, eating, BEING. 

If you find yourself always wanting ‘something sweet’ after dinner or having urges to go out and “let loose”, or just feeling generally ornery or lacking in enjoyment in life, in sex, in work; in everything; my invitation to you (and myself) is to go find something in everyday life that brings you pleasure and do it as much as you can. Try to find as much pleasure as possible in everyday moments. 

Find pleasure in savoring your coffee. Find pleasure in walking your dog. Find pleasure in driving to work. Find pleasure in eating your lunch. Find pleasure in the sun shine. 

Let’s all commit to more pleasure in our daily lives and I bet we’ll see some miraculous changes in our health and the health of the world.

What to Do When You Feel Out of Control

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I’ve been having one of those weeks where I’m feeling a little lost, a little out of control. I've been traveling for so long and now that I've finally got a significant amount of time in one place everything feels like it's going slow motion. Personally, there's been a slowing down. A refocusing. It's the feeling of a season change. Turning inward. It's melancholy, in a comforting way. 

In the greater world, there are so many things happening right now that feel out of control too. The flooding in Texas and the path of hurricane Irma. The earthquake centered in Mexico, of which the aftershocks woke me up in my bed in Guatemala last night (the date I’m writing this is 9/8/2017, just in case you're reading this later). The last two weeks I was visiting family in Montana and the wild fires left my clothes and hair smelling like a campfire for days. The smoke burning my lungs and darkening the sky.

To say all this in a way that lacks description but also encompasses the entirety I'm feeling is: It's a lot. A very easy time to fall into fear and depression. And when we feel like this, lost, overwhelmed and hopeless it can be really easy and comfortable to fall into the known mindsets of worry, scarcity, distrust, and lack. 

But, I made a decision a long time ago that I wanted to live a life from the other side of those constricting thought patterns.

I live a life that leaves room for the melancholy, hopelessness, and sadness but isn’t defined by them. I made a decision to be a person who Trusts. Even when it feels like I’m floating off into space without any anchor, I Trust that it’s what I need. To feel alone. To feel sad. All feelings are gifts, little guides, brining me home. 

Even when I feel like I’m spinning out of control, I am committed to releasing my grip even further, because who says spinning is bad anyway? Self-love is allowing the feelings, no judgment because we respect ourselves enough to know have feelings for a reason, to guide us towards what we need.  

I want to live in a world where qualities like trust, acceptance, joy, space, allowance, are the default. Where challenges are seen as learning experiences that sharpen our minds, strengthen our characters, and stretch our hearts. Where we see difficult emotions as a sign that we need to do the difficult work of slowing down, turning inward, and giving ourselves space. And how to do we make changes in the world? We “be the change we would like to see,” as Ghandi says.  

So in the midst of a challenge of feeling out of control, let’s not harden our shells, or tighten our grip, but let the change come. Let’s focus on what we CAN do, not what feels impossible. Let’s focus on what is being washed away and let go. Let’s realize that for all new seeds to germinate and bloom there must a period of sowing. 

So let the change come. 

Let the falling away happen. 

Hold the change that's happening like a delicate flower in the palm of your hand, with tenderness, with respect, with love, until it's ready to be released. 

You are always more than enough. I believe you. You can let whatever difficult change is happening to you right now, happen. You can let the world hold you. Soften into it. Blur around the edges. Be swept away. 

As we meet our challenges with love, allowance, and tenderness, we meet ourselves with the same qualities, and self-love changes our lives and we change the world. 

How to Use the Eclipse for Your Own Good

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Have you been feeling that eclipse energy? 

Maybe you’ve been feeling a little on edge? A little more emotional than normal?

A solar eclipse creates pressure. Necessary pressure, in our inner life as well as in outer society. A pressure that births new beginnings and change. This same pressure, pushes up old patterns, beliefs and sometimes, ugliness to the surface, to be healed and let go of. 

As Sonia and Sabrina Choquette say, ““A solar eclipse creates pressure to our inner and outer worlds. Scientifically, the solar eclipse creates a higher atmospheric pressure called the Atlas’s Effect. Pendulums behave differently as our air pressure is slightly elevated. Historically a solar eclipse has had a profound emotional and psychological effects on human beings. Astrologically speaking, a solar eclipse energy will trigger many of our subconscious fears as it awakens our souls' growth.” 

Yesterday (8/17/2017) I was feeling kind of off. The only way I can describe it was it felt like I was kind of humming inside my body. Nothing that would stop me from going about my daily routine, but a slight humming. Kind of how you feel after chanting, or a deep meditation or an awesome yoga class. 

I’ve had this feeling before. It’s a familiar kind of ‘off’, and pretty enjoyable really, but it is normally accompanied by something unpleasant or a period of forced introspection. I’ve come to view this humming feeling as an invitation to accept a “leveling up.” It’s the way my body lets me know, “OK. We’re going to rework some things, and it’s might have to get real.”I guess I think of it as my physical form is being invited into or to use a new frequency, a higher vibration. 

And today (8/18/2017)… I am sick. It's a shaky, achy, headache-y, kind of sickness. My whole body hurts and it is definitely making me stop my daily routine. I’m writing this in bed while lying down. It feels like being dizzy or carsick. Almost like this new frequency, I’m being invited into is giving me motion sickness. 

If this idea of “frequency” and “vibration” is new to you, I know this might sound kind of cray-cray. In the words of my husband, “Personally, I don’t connect with the idea that a solar eclipse has anything to do with someone feeling sick.” (do you see what he did there? He’s such a good communicator : ) ). 

That’s OK. I understand that sometimes these things are beyond the realm of understanding and/or belief for some people, but my point with this story is that we can use the extra pressure in our atmosphere and inner worlds for positive change if we chose to. Freedom is in the choice. This energy, pressure, event can give us a little extra push to make the choice to let go. To heal. To release. To change. 

Maybe you are super tuned into this high-pressure energetic time and you’ve got your sage bundles, crystals, journaled intentions, essential oils and meditation cushion all ready for the eclipse. Or maybe you have entirely different ways to celebrate it. Cool. It’s all good. 

Either way, right now, I invite you to get a little introspective about the last few weeks. Have you felt more intense than normal? Maybe sad, upset, angry, frustrated, sick? There have been some outrageous and ugly things happening in the world, but these horrendous acts have also been met with a huge upheaval of kindness, love, and life-affirming action. Have you been swept up in that? Do you feel the intensity? 

So what do we do with this intensity? This extra emotional charge? 

We hear the invitation to slow down. We start or restart our meditation/contemplative practice, or add a few more minutes on each day or second meditation. We hear the invitation to check in with our internal world and make sure that we’re on a path that brings us joy. We allow the feelings to come up without judgment so that they may be processed and let go. If we get sick we see the message in the sickness, “Slow down. Take care of yourself. Rest.” Maybe we go to a special yoga class. 

You may find that it’s more likely for you to have deep conversations with people during this pressed time. We can open ourselves up to totally new and previously unimaginable solutions to problems. We break down some of the self-imposed conditions and experience fuller and more complete joy. 

I invite you to use this extra energy in the cosmos and in you to “level up.” To experience greater and greater clarity. To allow the time and space that it takes to rearrange your inner world with the knowledge that when we’re open to healing our inner world, we heal our outer world as well. Send your roots down deep, so that you can rise up strong. It may be a bumpy ride. But, this is what healing looks like. 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Ways to Change Your Bad Attitude Right Now

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As you know if you’ve been following me I'm traveling around the world to write a book and experience true life by design. It’s been amazing. It’s brought on so much gratitude and heart opening and love. But, it’s also been a huge ongoing lesson in stepping out of my comfort zone. Right now, I live outside my comfort zone. 

This past week we’ve arrived in Guatemala, which will be our home base until January 2018. Since my husband already speaks Spanish and I would love to learn it, and since this will be our home for a significant amount of time I decided to sign myself up for Spanish school… 4 hours a day, for three weeks. On top of that, we also decided to live with a Guatemalan family for three weeks so we can be truly submerged in all things Espanol. 

Now, let’s talk about comfort zones. 

As someone who has been obsessed with personal development for the majority of her life, I am pretty comfortable being uncomfortable. You can't develop personally unless you’re willing surrender your ideas about what is and what isn't, and put faith in things outside your current perceptions. Give me lots of meditation practices to do, I’m on it. Tell me to change my limiting beliefs, I know exactly where to start. Put me in a cramped bus in Africa with only standing room, no problem. Put a chicken on my lap and five screaming kids around me, I'll laugh. If, to get to the next level, I need leap into the unknown, I can do it, it won’t always be easy but I can do it. I dig adversity and I know to grow you have to face it. 

However, there is one thing that still makes me super uncomfortable and brings up oodles of resistance and excuses, and that is a situation where I can’t say what I want to the people around me. Sure, it’s OK if I'm checking into a hotel and the desk clerk doesn’t speak English, in this case it's pretty obvious what needs to happen, give me a key and a room number. I don't mind too much trying to explain to a taxi driver in a foreign country where I need to get to. Pull out a map and point usually works fine. But to not be able to communicate with the people I see day after day because I don't know how to ask questions or tell them they look nice, or that I enjoy the food they cooked for me, gets me all sorts of bothered and frustrated. 

So… as you can imagine attending these Spanish classes and living with a family that speaks only Spanish has been something that has the potential to get me really, really uncomfortable. And when I get uncomfortable to this extent, I tend to make excuses as to why it’s 'too hard.' I watch myself starting to develop a shitty attitude toward the whole experience because it becomes everything else’s fault that I don’t feel good. 

I think we’ve all experienced this phenomenon, right? 

It goes like this: We’re upset because things aren’t going the way we would like them to, so we project that out onto the situation and blame the people, the place, or just the whole situation itself for the way we feel. 

But the truth is, we are responsible for the way we feel in any situation. We get to decide how to react to ANY situation that comes our way. We are not victims of this world. We are creative and powerful beings of star dust that get to decide if we will place our loyalty in LOVE or FEAR, during each and every moment. 

So when we are truly struggling to keep our creative power in mind, when the situation is so far outside our comfort zone that our normal methods of bringing ourselves back to the truth don’t work, I’ve come up with 5 things we can do, right this moment, to shift our attitude from one of negativity to one of positivity.  

1. Change your perspective.

I mean literally change the way you are observing the world. Lay on the ground, get a horizontal perspective. Do a handstand against the wall, see the situation upside down. Do a summersault, see the world turning. Spin around in circles until you fall over, see the world spinning. Just do it. It works! 

2. Take a power pose.

In the same way that our thoughts can change our physical body, the position of our physical body can change our thoughts. So if you’re feeling all closed off and salty, stand in a pose that opens you up and makes you feel connected for 5 mins. One of my favorites is seated on the ground with arms and face open toward the sky, receiving. You could also stand with feet wider than hip distance apart, hands on hips and a big fat smile on your face. 

3. Go outside.

If you’re feeling like everything is too hard and everything is just not fair, just go take a walk around the block. Get outside. Even better yet, take your shoes off and let your feet touch the earth. Everything seems a lot less hopeless and frustrating with the sun on your face, earth under your feet, and the wind in your hair. 

4. Just Breathe.

Take 10 deep breaths. Like really, really deep breaths. In through the nose, filling up the lungs from the bottom to the top, and out through the mouth. This may sound like an overused one, but that’s only because it actually works. When we breathe deeply and our diaphragm presses into our intestines this signals to our brain that nothing is wrong and that it is safe to go into the parasympathetic nervous system response (rest and digest). Which means we can think more clearly and more lovingly. 

5. Recite or write down three things you are grateful for

Gratitude is the gateway drug to joy. It's a prerequisite of a happy life. When we bring attention to what we are grateful for it immediately changes our outlook. 

BONUS!

If none of the above work for you and you’re still feeling like your attitude is sucky just stop doing what you’re doing and come back to it later. If you’re all crabby your style is most definitely cramped and you’re not doing your best work, being nice, or bringing good vibes to whatever it is you're working on experience. It’s perfectly acceptable to go take a breather. Change what you’re doing. Watch some Game of Thrones. Eat some dark chocolate. The key is ENJOY what you take a break doing. Don’t take a break and then feel guilty for taking a break. Come back to your frustrating work after you’re feeling less up the wall. 

Leave a comment and let me know if you tried any of these are what you experienced.. 

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