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Expressing Truth

What is truth? I believe truth is perception. Everyone’s truth is different based on their current perception, therefor your own truth can evolve over time. For example, I used to be Catholic and believe that was the only truth. That Catholicism was the only way to be. Sure, I knew there was good in other people but I believed it was the TRUE religion. Now, however, I don’t believe there is one true religion. I don’t really consider myself to be a part of any religion but I pick from different belief systems and live a life of compassion, empathy, and authenticity. I don’t think it is necessary to have a religion to be a good person. Your own truth can even change day to day based on your emotional state. You could wake up one morning feeling cranky and not really know why. But, if you go within and question it, step outside, or talk to someone about your feelings that truth can change and shift.

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How does one express their truth? At the core of all beings there is only one truth–love. So, how does one express love? Some express it by painting, some by writing, some by skateboarding, some by gardening, some by sports, some by yoga, etc. And then, there are layers within that love. Are you feeling reminiscent when expressing that love? Are you present and mindful when expressing it? Love has many facets. Truth, love, is truly about being authentic. When you are authentic, vulnerable, you are showing your raw humanity. This is the importance of shadow (or trauma) work because you will not feel comfortable or safe in your vulnerability and authenticity until you work through your trauma and heal old wounds. The more you do shadow work the more you are able to have your truth be expressed from an emotional state of calm, peace, joy, or gratitude because then you have more moments of truth that are of love rather than moments of fear.

If you go through a stressful experience you don’t really remember the details because that’s what stress does to our brains. For example, if you go through a divorce, bankruptcy, a death, etc. you don’t really remember exactly what was going through your mind because you were thinking thoughts of worry about things that would come to pass. Maybe some of these thoughts did manifest, but your truth was ever changing because of your perceptions from moment to moment in that situation. In the background of all of this there has always been a truth about you at the core, a drive within you that you wanted but maybe couldn’t pursue because of life’s circumstances. Eventually, when you got through these situations you were able to pursue what you wanted. This is another aspect of truth, another way love expresses itself. Maybe some of you have already started to pursue those dreams, maybe some feel that the dreams are dormant within you, but we all have those innate talents within us. Maybe we were told, “It’s impossible,” or “Your dreams are unrealistic,” yet there’s that nagging voice in your head pushing you to pursue those dreams. If truth is love then love can only express itself for your goodness so follow your truth. Express your truth, your love, in the way that suits you and only you.

Thanks to Amanda Gardiner of Intuitive Nature for her help and guidance in writing this blog.

Movement

These past couple of weeks have been quite interesting for me personally. I’ve literally been on the move with work (marketing, expanding, and growing–I’m so grateful!), moved homes (significantly downsized and minimized, which is freeing in so many ways), and made movement spiritually (meditating even more, reading more, and learning about manifestation and really going with the flow of the universe). So, this brings the question to mind, how does movement benefit our highest and best good?

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Movement allows for growth. When we are moving–figuratively and literally–we are in a state of allowing for change, which brings about learning and evolution. There’s research to back how movement benefits children in education, and it would prove true in adult life. Movement makes us more productive in the work force. No matter what the job is, it’s important to get up, get outside, and/or stretch. Movement in learning helps us process and retain new information. In researching spiritual practices, I will read, journal, and then get up for a walk. All the while thinking about what I’ve learned, and I find it “sticks” better than if I just read a book and don’t take time to really process it.

Just as it is beneficial to meditate and slow down for our minds and bodies, so is it to move and be active. According to Harvard Medical School, movement (exercise, yoga, walking) decreases the symptoms of depression. Harvard discusses the body mind connection and how movement can actually improve your thoughts and help you feel better.  So using movement in conjunction with slowing down in meditation creates a balance for your mind and body allowing you feel whole, happy, and restored. Personally, I love yoga and running. Running for me is very grounding, yet challenging. While yoga is challenging, yet meditative. I add these in with a morning meditation and an evening meditation (they can be as little as 5 minutes long or as long as 30 minutes), and I truly feel like a whole human being.

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Moving homes, spaces, etc. is also beneficial because it allows you to start anew. I’m not suggesting everyone drop everything, move out of their homes, and start over. If that’s available to you, great. Moving allows you to purge things you no longer need. But, you don’t need to move homes in order to purge. Donate old clothes, old furniture, etc. to your local thrift store or charity. If you cannot move physical homes, you can move your space around. Look into Feng shui and how you could move your furniture within your current space to feel at peace and renewed. Sometimes moving a chair to the other side of the room is all you need to feel better, to feel more at home. Whatever works for you, create your space and move so you can have more mental clarity.

Movement is as powerful as resting. Movement keeps our minds sharp, our bodies, strong, and our spirits alive. Keep calm and balance it with movement.

Healing through Yoga

For the past couple of months things have been busy, which is amazing, but it can be difficult to find that time for myself. I know I’m not alone in this. Whether married, single, gay, straight, bisexual, woman, man, or transgender we all have responsibilities that can cause stress and even manifest into pain or illness within the body.  Personally, I’ve found yoga is a wonderful way to heal and to become centered in order to focus and feel well within my body.

There are many reasons why yoga heals. Yoga helps you focus on your breathing. When you are focused on your breathing, you become more in tune with your body allowing your mind to rest. When you set aside time for a yoga practice you’re saying, “Yes,” to you. You’re giving yourself care and love, which better allows you to care and love for those around you. When you practice balance poses the poses take you out of your head, similarly when you focus on the breath, and center you in your body. Yoga also strengthens your body increasing flexibility, muscle tone, and overall breath work.

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Yoga is also meditative. When you go through a yoga practice you are in a state of mindfulness (completely in the present moment) because you are focused on the breath and the movement in the poses. Meditation has many health benefits including decreased anxiety, decreased depression, and lowering blood pressure to name a few. A yogic meditation is wonderful in healing the body because you’re working your physical body to stretch, tone, and strengthen, as well as your mental state to relax, enjoy, and let go of worry.

Some wonderful poses to help with healing the physical body as well as your mental state include chair pose to strengthen the quadriceps, the trapezius muscles in the back, and the shoulders. Chair pose also reminds you that even though there is discomfort it isn’t permanent and when it is over, you feel better. Forward fold is wonderful for alleviating anxiety and opening up an imbalanced third eye chakra. Forward fold decompresses the spine and calms the mind. Downward facing dog (or down dog) is a wonderful way to increase blood flow to the brain helping with cognitive function and anxiety. Warrior II is wonderful for strengthening the legs and shoulders, as well as increasing circulation. Pigeon pose is another wonderful pose that can be challenging because it is a hip opening pose, but it also is a way to melt away tension. When you sleep your pigeon (fold forward over your bent leg) you become one with your breath and allow tension to leave your body, specifically your hips. Corpse pose is known as one of the most difficult poses in yoga because you are in stillness and quiet. This is a pose where your mind can run away, but through practice you can learn to accept that stillness. This final pose after a yoga practice is meant to aid in relaxation and calmness. It can be hard to rest after a difficult class, but it trains you to be in a true state of awareness–awareness of your breath, awareness of your body, awareness of the present. These are just a few examples of healing yoga poses, but there are many other poses to aid in healing.

Thai massage, or Thai yoga massage, is a wonderful way to work on healing as well. Thai massage is meditative, relaxing, but it also works into the connective tissue of the muscles and clears out stuck energy that can cause pain physically and mentally. Many of the stretches done in a Thai massage mimic the stretches done in a traditional yoga practice because Thai massage has roots in Hatha yoga. These stretches aid in flexibility as well as relaxation. I not only offer Thai massage in my practice to help facilitate healing in my clients, but I also receive my own Thai massage because the benefits show in my body. Thai massage helps me stay strong, grounded, and better able to be a business owner, mom, and member of society.

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Yoga is a wonderful way to connect with your body and spirit. It is healing for the mind and the physical body. When I first started practicing yoga at 17 years old, I couldn’t touch the floor in a forward fold, but now I can flatten my palms on the floor, and I can even get into crow pose. Some days my balance is off. Some days it’s difficult to go to the studio, but I keep going because when I do, I feel rejuvenated. It is the best workout for your body and soul. So many studios offer beginner classes and there are online options if you want to start at home. I would highly recommend yoga to start your healing journey. Love and light to you all.

 

“Be the Change…”

Mahatma Gandhi said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” But, what does this really mean? Can it mean something different to everyone? A few weeks ago I wrote a blog on change and how switching your perspective on change can help you ease into and accept changes that come your way. So, I believe Gandhi’s quote probably means something a little different to everyone with an overarching similarity. That being, we know in order to create a better world we must change from a judgmental, ego-based state to a more compassionate, loving state.

In changing yourself, you change the world around you. What this means is that when you start showing yourself love–taking care of you, setting up boundaries to know yourself, and you start being authentic around those you love (and even strangers) without putting on a mask for fear that people will not like what they see underneath, your world becomes kinder, more compassionate, and positive. This automatically has a ripple effect outward. For example, you are at the store in line to checkout, and the person in front of you is slow, talking to the cashier, counting out the exact change down to the penny, and you know there is somewhere else you’ve committed to be in about 10 minutes. You could choose to be passive-aggressive and sigh letting the person know you’re displeased with the time, or you could go inward. What about this is irritating? What feelings does this bring up for you? When you’ve answered those questions you’ll find it’s not the person in front of you but your own trauma (“a distressing or disturbing experience,” basically anything that made you feel unsafe at some point and time). This will allow you to feel compassion to, not only the person in front of you, but also to yourself. You will feel a sense of peace wash over you and know that no matter what you are okay in this time and place. You are still here. Nothing is wrong. No matter where you need to be in that 10 minutes, you will get there and everything will be all right. When the person in front of you finishes and walks away it’s your turn. You can now smile at the cashier who smiles back. You never know who needs that smile. That smile can help someone’s world. That smile will ripple out. Your acknowledgment of your feelings ripples out in a positive way, which, even though it seems insignificant, adds to creating a kinder world.

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A part of us all know that we need to “walk the walk” when it comes to healing our world and helping all beings. But, it’s easy to get lost and caught up in our lives. It’s easier to sit back and browse through Facebook (I’m just as guilty) rather than stand up and take an active role in that change. Or is it? Again, “[being] the change” can be something that starts small and evolves into something more–helping someone carry their bags to the car, going out into nature to connect with the earth and remember your roots and your divine self, raising children with unconditional love, voting for justice, and even affirming love for yourself and the world in its entirety. Being the change can definitely grow into something bigger–you run for office to help those who need help, you become and activist, you study philosophy and really apply those principals to your everyday life.

In my blog on time, I talk about looking at each moment as an opportunity for growth. This applies to “being the change you wish to see in the world” because change, evolution, is growth. When you make a conscious decision everyday to live in a compassionate, loving way you are growing and you are being an example to others around you. Be that loving being you are at the core. That love is the true change that will facilitate healing needed on this planet.

The Heart and You

Two weeks ago I had a fabulous yoga practice at my yoga studio, Flow Yoga Studio in Arvada, Colorado, that was centered around the heart. Not just the figurative heart (the heart that expresses love and compassion), but the physical heart too. The instructor, Brooke, had us focus on how amazing our hearts are–physically and emotionally. She had us go into a state of gratitude for all our hearts do for us. So, I wanted to bring that beautiful gratitude of the heart to you and focus on its wonders and what it does for us. I want to focus on the physical heart and the emotional heart.

The physical heart is truly amazing. When you stop to think about all the things the heart does, it is easy to be grateful for it. Here are some amazing facts about the heart:

  1. The heart beats about 115,000 times in one day. That’s 41,975,000 times in one year.
  2. Your heart pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood every day. That’s 730,000 gallons of blood pumped in one year.
  3. A woman’s heart beats slightly faster than a man’s heart.
  4. If the blood vessel system were to be stretched out it would be over 60,000 miles long.
  5. The heart has its own electrical supply and will continue to beat when disconnected from the body.

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Just looking at these few facts about the heart makes you stop and think. Our hearts work for us all of the time. They never stop–not while sleeping, working, or playing. The heart beats no matter what–whether we are happy, sad, or indifferent–and will continually beat until we expire. What a big job for an organ no bigger than the size of your fist. How wonderful it is that we have something that always works for us and we don’t even have to think about it. This is where the state of gratitude is important because even though we aren’t actively thinking about how to make our hearts pump, we need to actively thank our hearts and bodies for all of the amazing things they do. Without our hearts we would not exist.

The central nervous does control things like our hearts, digestive processes, cell regeneration, etc. But, there has been over 40-years of research into the Heart-Brain Connection, which has found that the heart actually sends more signals to the brain than the brain sends to the heart. This influences emotions, memories, attention, and problem-solving. The heart has even been found to have its own “brain” in which there are 40,000 separate neurons that “give the heart the ability to independently sense, process information, make decisions, and even to demonstrate a type of learning and memory” (Heart-Brain Connection). It’s also been found to release its own hormones that are found in the brain as well. There is also research showing how the heart relates to and controls emotions. So, our physical heart really is connected to that figurative heart of which we speak when talking about love, emotions, etc.

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Our (figurative) hearts also have an important job. It’s at this center where we focus on love, compassion, and empathy. When we love someone or something we release oxytocin, which helps us feel calm and at peace. This is called the love hormone because it gives us that feeling of elation and joy so often associated with love. Yes, our hearts can break, but when healed they can absolutely love again. Hearts heal and we learn from that break and pain in order to be stronger, better humans. So often we give much more of our hearts to others than we do to ourselves. This could be because we either feel guilty, selfish, or wrong when focusing on ourselves. But our hearts need to be nourished with self-love as well because eventually the love and giving will fade into resentment and anger. How can you show yourself love? What have you learned from your heart, your love, your experiences that can help you grow and feel good in who you are and what you are doing? How can you show gratitude to your heart and yourself? By focusing on you and what your needs are you are better able to give, as well as receive, love. When giving and receiving love, remember, you release the hormones that counteract the stress hormones causing you to feel calm rather than anxious. So, love really is good for your body as well as your soul.

A heart-centered meditation:

Breathe into your chest. See the breath surround your heart’s space. See the breath wrap around your heart as thought the breath is giving your heart a hug. Feel the heart in your body. Feel it pump against your chest. Take a deep breath of gratitude in and wrap the gratitude around your heart. As you exhale continue to feel your heart within your chest. With each inhale give thanks to this little organ. With each exhale feel the heart continue to beat for you. Now, focus on the love you feel from your heart. See that love extend out to your family, friends, and even those you don’t know. With each beat, see that love shine from your heart. For when you send out love you receive it back even stronger. Feel peace, joy, and harmony enter your soul with each inhale, and with each exhale breathe out love. Continue to breathe, knowing your heart is working for you–it’s pumping life giving blood around your body, and it gives you the capability to love, to feel, and to be compassionate. Sit with the heart for as long as your can. Then, when you are ready, thank your heart for all it does and have a beautiful day.

Health and Wellness for You

This week’s blog is from guest writer Sheila Olson:

Health Habits Start at Home

With everything that we have on our metaphorical plates today, it can be difficult to find the time to focus on our actual plates and the things we put into — and how we use — our bodies. But we don’t have to let our health go to the wayside. If you make health a priority, it becomes easy to incorporate healthy habits into your daily routine. And it starts from the moment you wake up.

Morning chores

Your fitness routine isn’t strictly dictated by your in-gym activities. You will be more motivated to take care of yourself if you start as soon as the alarm sounds. When you first wake up, take the time to stretch out each of your muscle groups, which have been resting through the night. Get up and make the bed before sneaking in 10 or 15 minutes of cardiovascular activity. Eating a healthy breakfast will also help you start your day off right. If you feel as though your mornings are hectic and void of time to focus on you, set your alarm 45 minutes early during the week.

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Once you are up and out the door, you still need to focus on your health. While it may seem tough, you can do this at work, too. If you work in an office, get up from your desk once an hour to keep your muscles and joints from feeling fatigued. Eat a light lunch and, if possible, use part of your lunch break to take a quick walk after you eat.

Hydration nation

In addition to the food you eat, the amount of water you consume will also play a part in your overall health and wellness. A general rule of thumb is that most adults should strive for around 64-ounces of water each day; you’ll need more if you’re larger, work a job that requires physical labor, or sweat often. You’ll also need to up your fluid intake if you have a particularly strenuous workout. Anytime Fitness explains that our bodies must be properly hydrated in order to function correctly.

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Sabotage stress

Your stress levels can really affect your workout. If you’re stressed, you are likely distracted and not focusing on your end goals or, more alarmingly, your safety at the gym. Stress can also cause you to forgo your fitness routine altogether. But exercise is important to your mental health. According to the American Psychological Association, exercise may actually help the brain cope with stress but you have to learn how to circumvent daily stress before you can get the point where you’re ready, willing, and able to hit the gym. Relieve stress at home by eliminating clutter and sticking with a set routine each day.

Healthy alternatives

Engaging in a healthy exercise plan is a great alternative to other activities, activities which may put your health at risk. For example, if you are in substance abuse recovery, an exercise program can help you bypass relapse temptations and heal from the inside out. Likewise, if you have an eating disorder, you may find that you receive the same level of pleasure from a quick jog as you get from overeating. A word of caution, however, as healthy as exercise is, be careful not to overdo it. Dr. Joseph Mercola explains that exercise should leave you feeling energized and your muscles should recover within just a few days after an intense workout. Feeling overly-fatigued, sore for multiple days, or experiencing insomnia are just a few signs you need to take things down a notch.

Regardless of your fitness strategy, it’s important to pick activities that you enjoy. Don’t force yourself to trudge through activities at the gym if your heart says hiking is the right workout. Though it may seem impossible, making a few changes, such as waking up early, decluttering your home, and drinking plenty of water, can help you kickstart a lifestyle of health and wellness.

 

Changes

A dear friend of mine suggested I write about change and how to embrace it. I thought this was fitting since we’re coming into a new season, we’ve been in the throws of a new year, changes within society, and personal changes we all feel throughout the days, weeks, months, and years. This is going to be a little more raw, a little more personal, and way more to the point.

So, how do most of us view change? I’d say the majority of people view it as a negative and most are resistant to it because we are creatures of habit who become comfortable in our daily lives. If something comes along and “threatens” that way of living we immediately hide and cower from it. We fight it to the death. Sometimes we are successful in resisting change. However, some change is inevitable and we lose that fight. If we are completely against it, the shift into a new way of being is painful and difficult. If we realize it is inevitable and there is no stopping it and begin to go with the flow, the change is less shocking to the system.

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So, how do we let go and embrace inevitable change? How do we come out of our comfort zones and accept the shifts happening within our lives or within the lives of our loved ones? I talked about changing perspective last week in my blog about time. Perceptions of change, like time, vary from person to person. There are those who embrace change and allow the wind to carry them where it will, though I think people like this are a little more rare especially when we look at the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. We all like our routines and habits to be just so. When there is a shift that occurs we can start to feel anxious, angry, or even sad. The act of letting go can be more difficult. But letting go can be freeing, healing, and necessary to accept the changes we may be encountering. When you let go you’re stopping your brain and saying, “Hey, this is no longer necessary, let’s do something else.” Sometimes it takes one time to stop the brain and become conscious of our thoughts, while other times it takes way more than once. But, being aware of your thoughts and resistance to change puts you in a state of being in which you can start to ebb and flow and allow the shifts to carry you away. When you allow this you start to experience new things, you experience life in a different way, your perspective has shifted.

In last week’s blog I spoke about the seasons and how we want to move from one season to the next, or not allow the next season to come into our reality because we’re happy where we are. For me, this is Fall. Fall is my absolute favorite season. I enjoy the leaves changing to their brilliant colors. The changes in the temperatures in the mornings and evenings–there’s a crispness to the air, a slight chill. The pumpkins. Though, come November when the trees become more bare, the chances for snow increases, the stress of the holidays come upon the country (literally!), I begin to resist the inevitable change into winter. I start to dread the long winter nights, the cold, driving in snow, you get the gist. But, I come back to the knowledge that winter is temporary. It comes and goes as always. Some winters are more mild than others, and I’m grateful for that. It’s fun to look at my son and see the wonderment in his eyes as the snow drifts down and all he wants to do is play in it–build snowmen and throw snowballs at me. It’s a great reminder to look at children and see how they (usually) accept change with a carefree heart. Sometimes they dislike it but overall they live in the moment and take things as they come. Life is more wonder than anxiety when change begins to take place. They accept it and simply stay in their state of being. As long as they have those they love around them, the change is bearable.

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So too must we live in the moment. Like children, we need to accept that some change is inevitable but we’re always okay. Anyone reading this blog right now is going through some sort of change–minor and/or major–but you’re still here, you’re still alive, and you’re okay. Change happens. It doesn’t have to be a negative thing. It’s an inevitable occurrence that can take us by storm or can take us for a fun ride.

Time and Time Again

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been inspired to discuss time on my Facebook Live videos, and I’m realizing that’s my intuition telling me more people need to consider time and how it’s viewed. I’ve said in my videos that we cannot control time, but we can control how we perceive it and how we react to it. This is the key. I hear people constantly saying things like, “Where has the time gone,” “Time is at a snail’s pace,” and “Time flies when you’re having fun.” I’m guilty of this as well. Many times (ha!) there is a negative connotation behind how we perceive time. It’s either going too fast or too slow.

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But, what if we looked at time as a moment by moment opportunity for growth? What if we were able to be more present rather than constantly living in the past or pining for the future? So many people look to the outside world for happiness, but happiness is truly found within the self. It seems when we say, “I wish I had the time to do x, y, z,” or “If I could go back in time I would do (blank),” we’re looking to time to make us happy and heal us. While I do believe time does heal, I don’t believe going back in time or speeding it up heals. No, we need to use time to our advantage–to heal, to be present, and to experience life to its fullest.

Look at the experiences that make time slow down, or you even lose track of time. Massage is a wonderful example. So often I have clients lay down on my table for a 90-minute session and when I ask them how they’re feeling at the end of a session and to take their time getting up, 99 times out of 100 they ask, “Oh, is it over already?” Yes, yes, it is. In an instance such as massage, yoga, or even meditation your brain gets to a state of slower brain waves. There are 5 states of brain waves–alpha, beta, theta, delta, and gamma. Theta waves lower stress and anxiety and activate healing. But theta are only activated during deep relaxation. When you reach theta waves you lose track of time; it becomes irrelevant. Beta brainwaves are active in our waking state, so you’re more aware of time and the tasks you need to complete in that time. In a beta brainwave state you are fighting against that clock, working, cooking, running errands, etc. Before you know it, your day is gone and you’re left wondering where the time went. This is where it is important to stop and really take stock of your presence and awareness. Either go to yoga, get a massage, or do a meditation to get your brain into a state of relaxation and theta waves to heal and let go of trying to control time and worrying about time.

As one person loses track of time, another can be perceiving time in a completely different way. Looking at massage again: my client is on the table, relaxed, most likely in a theta brainwave state, and not having a care in the world about time. While I, the massage therapist, am structuring the session and looking at the clock mapping out in my brain what parts of the body to hit (especially if there are specific requests made by the client) within the allotted time frame. My perception of time is completely different from that of my client’s. Now, there are some sessions where I map everything out and I look at the clock and think, “Oh dear lord, I only have five minutes left!” I then wonder where the time went and work to finish up without making the client or myself late for whatever is coming after the session. There are other times when I map it out, look at the clock and think, “Huh…I still have 30 minutes left…why has time practically stopped?” There are two different perceptions (mine and the client’s) of time in the same place. So really, time is in the eye of the beholder. It means something different to everyone even in the same place.

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Time isn’t something you can control. You know you are a present and an aware person when your concept of time starts to dissipate from your focus. What I mean is, when you are able to appreciate each moment to moment without focusing on the time factor but rather the experience, you are a present and grounded person. This takes practice, don’t get me wrong. Remember, I’m a massage therapist, my whole job is about time! But even for me, I can practice presence too–each moment I work on the client is a moment to facilitate healing. Instead of looking at your watch or phone when at the playground with your child, be there for him or her. Play and watch. If you have somewhere to be and need to leave the playground in a half hour, sure, set the timer, but then leave it alone until it rings. There’s no need to constantly look at the clock. This will allow you to be present with your child. When the timer goes off move onto the next task, but again, moment by moment. There’s really no need to rush. Rushing against inevitable time causes stress, and you release hormones of fight or flight. Yes, we do have responsibilities and I’m not saying to blow off time, but to look at it differently. Work with it. Sure plan, but know that sometimes plans change and time will keep moving. It’s okay. You’re here. You’re safe. You’re moving through time exactly how you need to be right in this moment.

Look at the earth. Seasons come and go. The earth is a great example of how to move through time, work with it, and let go. So often we want it to be the next season or a different time of year, wishing away our time because it’s too cold or too hot. How can you look at this differently? Mother Earth is a wise teacher. Winter is a time to go inward and reflect. It’s a time for solitude and preparation for the busy months of spring and summer. It’s a time for rest. Instead of wishing winter away because it’s cold, look at it as a wonderful time to be cozy with yourself. Spring then teaches us life begins anew. Time lengthens for us in a sense as the days start to grow longer and warmer. Life picks up with a renewed energy because warmth is coming, seeds in gardens are planted, and outdoor play comes to the forefront again. Summer is a time for community, abundance, and fun. Summer is the time when we have get-togethers outside, play with friends, start to see the fruits of our gardens and trees, and have fun into the evening because it’s warm and refreshing. This time is one of happiness and joy. Usually, we are okay with time going slow on those lazy summer days. Often, though, time slips away because, like in the theta brainwaves, you’re enjoying yourself and are more relaxed, so time becomes irrelevant. It’s okay though because Fall teaches us about letting go and how to prepare for that time of inner work, which also can bring peace and happiness. The trees let go of their leaves, the last bit of harvest comes from our gardens, and a chill enters the air. It’s a beautiful time of year though–colors, morning frosts, and pumpkin flavored everything! The seasons are our teachers. Each season offers a lesson in time. When you’re feeling warn down, or like time is slipping away, or wishing you could go back to a different time, stop and focus on the here and now. Where are you? What are you doing in this moment? Do you like what you’re doing? If not, what can you change in this moment? How can you react to this moment differently? The moment is happening, that you cannot change, but your reaction is well within your control.

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Life is nothing more than one moment to the next. When you string those moments together in a linear fashion, you have a past, present, and future. Each moment inevitably passes. You can choose to enjoy the moments, miss the moments, regret the moments, or simply be in the moment. The choice, the perception, and the reaction is yours. I challenge you to be present and live each moment to its fullest.

The Crown Chakra

We’ve come to the final chakra in this series. The crown chakra, Sahasrara (Sahasrāra), is located at the top of the head and corresponds with the color violet. It takes the shape of a 1000-leafed lotus flower. This chakra connects us to the universe, our divine selves. This chakra helps us find unity with all and interconnectedness with every being. There isn’t intellectual knowledge associated with this chakra, but there is joy and peaceful feelings toward life. When in balance this chakra connects us with higher consciousness, is limitless, brings about bliss, and offers presence or awareness. When imbalanced a person can feel disconnected from spirit and cynical, disconnected from the body and living in the head, obsessed with spiritual matters, and closed-minded. Some ways to heal and keep the crown chakra in harmony are:

  1. See purple – The color violet is associated with the crown chakra. When you close your eyes and focus on violet this automatically brings awareness to this energy center. You can imagine purple light filling up your head and even see that light extend from your head to the universe to connect you to the divine, to your oneness and the oneness of all. Wearing purple is another way to bring awareness to this chakra. You could also wear or carry purple crystals like amethyst or fluorite.
  2. Meditate – Meditation greatly affects your crown chakra because it connects you to your higher self and power. Meditation is a way to calm your racing thoughts and sit in stillness and love. This stillness and love allows you to become one with the universe. Meditation is healing for the mind and body, both of which can be negatively affected by an imbalanced crown chakra.
  3. Use essential oils – Wonderful oils for the crown chakra include frankincense, neroli, rose, and vetiver. All of these oils are calming and can help ease your mind. An overactive crown chakra can lead to feeling disconnected from your body, therefor using a soothing oil can slow down the chakra and bring about peace. Diffusing is a wonderful way to absorb the benefits of oils or putting the oils in a carrier oil (fractionated coconut oil or jojoba oil) and applying it to the bottoms of your feet and the base of the skull can bring about that ease.
  4. Practice yoga – Yoga is balancing for all of the chakras. One pose in particular is wonderful for the crown chakra because it is a meditative pose. Savasana, or corpse pose, is normally done at the end of a yoga practice. This allows your body and mind to reap the benefits of yoga, but it also allows you to meditate. And, as mentioned above, meditation connects you to the divine. Other poses include tree pose, half-lotus pose, and head stand.
  5. Receive Reiki and/or massage – Yes, here I am again, but reiki and massage both put one into that meditative state. When you are in a meditative, relaxed state your brain waves slow down and that is where healing can take place. So, again, meditation is the overarching theme in healing the crown chakra and keeping it harmonious. Reiki moves energy that is stuck and massage helps relax the muscles that may be holding onto that stuck energy. If you are feeling imbalanced in your crown chakra ask for a head and neck massage because that’s where the energy would be stuck regarding a crown chakra.

The crown chakra is the chakra that connects us to our divine state and the divine as a whole. This is the chakra that reminds us we are divine and pure. Often, we forget our inner purity, but when harmonious, this chakra brings that purity back to the forefront so we can practice true awareness, love, and connectedness to all. I hope you enjoyed this 8-week series on the chakras. Remember to always check in and make sure you are harmonious in each chakra. If even one is off, your whole self will feel unstable.

The light and love in me honors the light and love in you. Namaste!

The Third Eye Chakra

We now come to the sixth chakra, the third eye chakra, or Ajna (Ājñā). This chakra is located right between the eyebrows and takes the symbol of a two-leafed lotus flower. Its corresponding color is indigo. The third eye is said to be a person’s sixth sense, center of intuition, and signifies a person’s subconscious. This chakra also governs the pineal gland, imagination, memory, and vision. This chakra is our insight into the mind as well as the universe of which we are all a part. When in balance the third eye chakra puts both hemispheres of the brain into “synchronicity“–creativity is in harmony with logic. When out of balance this particular chakra can cause anxiety, migraines, depression, high blood pressure, judgment, and lack of intuition among other things. Here are some ways to bring harmony into the third eye chakra:

  1. See indigo – This is the color of the chakra, so lighting a candle of this color, wearing indigo, or simply closing your eyes and seeing this color in your mind’s eye is a great way to bring harmony back to this particular energy center. This can help relax you and allow your chakra to heal.
  2. Crystals – There are several crystals that can easily bring harmony back into your third eye chakra. Fluorite stones cleanse and bring positivity to your chakra. Shungite stones neutralize energy and allow you to heal emotions and your energy. Lapis connects a person to a “higher truth” and brings awareness to your third eye chakra. Amethyst is known to enhance intuition. You can place these crystals near you while meditating, wear them, or keep them next to your bed while you sleep to bring positive energy into your subconscious.
  3. Essential oils –  Some essential oils that can help bring harmony into the third eye chakra include frankincense, sandalwood, clary sage, vetiver, and patchouli. These can help clear your memory and bring back a sense of spirituality and connectedness with your inner divinity.
  4. Practice yoga – Yoga, as with each of the chakras, can bring harmony into this chakra. Poses that allow you to touch your third eye are essential because this is stimulating and harmonizing to this energy center and helps with healing. Some helpful poses include standing forward bend (this taps the third eye, which brings about awareness and allows blood to flow to the third eye), head to knee pose (seated forward folds relax the third eye and allow blood and oxygen to fill up the third eye to bring about healing and activation in this chakra), dolphin (it brings a sense of balance and can help alleviate stress–a symptom of an imbalanced third eye chakra), and child’s pose (this pose allows the forehead to tap the floor and release negativity and accept positivity from the earth).
  5. Massage (strikes again) – We all know by now I’m going to recommend this and, again, it’s because there are benefits. Massage can help heal headaches and manage that pain. Migraines and headaches are associated with a blocked third eye-chakra so receiving massage to help alleviate your headaches can in fact open up this chakra. Since massage is meditative it can help eliminate depression and anxiety since you are in a calm and relaxing state. This can help your third eye chakra come into harmony. If you feel you have a blocked third eye chakra, shoulder, neck, and head massages are what you would want your therapist to focus on.
  6. Meditate – The third eye chakra is your sight into the universe. It’s a way to see and feel the energy of Spirit. Meditation allows your third eye chakra to open up and allows you to see the messages the universe has for you. Close your eyes. Breathe. Allow the breath to come into your stomach, through your chest, all the way to your forehead. Hold it at the top and then exhale. See the indigo light surround your head and flow out up to the stars, the planets, the universe. See where it takes you. Listen. Stay quiet. Breathe.

Have a wonderful, light filled week. Remember to listen to your intuition. When you practice listening to your intuition you’re opening your third eye chakra.