Is it safe to travel overseas? What about going to concerts, football games or attending parades?
News networks and social media feeds lead with whatever bleeds and that constant barrage can make one believe that now where is safe. Terrorists and lone gunmen on the loose making us think twice about stepping outside the safety of our homes.
I am thinking about these things especially as I will be traveling through international airports, visiting bustling cafes, sightseeing historic places, traveling on subways and in taxis in multicultural cities.
But this is not a time to let fear cloud our judgment.
Instead, it is time to get on the good foot, to get things done. It is time to be mindful, conscious decision-makers. Asking ourselves: where do I want to be? Where do I need to be? How do I want to conduct myself? How do I want to move through the world? What are the principles that I want to live by?
Conscious decisions and questions are never more important than when traveling. I ask myself: Where am I called to visit? How do I feel? What energies can I bring to the cities, planes, and subways that I travel on?
As I get ready to travel, I prepare my mind, body, and soul to meet family, friends, and places that I want to connect with. I bring with me my enthusiasm and gladness. I bring with me the possibility and an abundance of light.
I ask my inner voice what focus/vibration to hold as I travel. I close my eyes and listen deeply. I breathe into my body as my senses settle down. I wait until I can feel a little whisper of a vibration. I feel pulled by a profound calm. It is refreshing as a fresh pool of water in a green, green forest. I move closer to this calm and dive into it. It feels so quiet and still. I sense The energy begin to move in my body filling it up. It is teaching me how to be as I move in airports and cities.
Once I feel the energy plump me up I open my eyes. I feel clear and present. You can do this exercise too before the beginning of any endeavor. It will create a laser beam focus and how and where to direct your energies.
Oh wait there’s an elephant in the room – fear.
We can work with fear just in the same way as the above exercise. Let’s try it together so that you have it down before you travel or for when you feel the jitters in your daily life.
Take a deep breath into your body and close your eyes. Allow your awareness to turn inwards and then ask your body where it is holding fear.
You may feel it or sense it. It could be your stomach or your foot – just take the first place that comes into your awareness. What does the fear feel or look like? Again, allow yourself to know it – become familiar with it consciously so that you can recognize it.
Now ask that place in your body what color or colors does it want to release the fear.
Take the first color(s) that come into your awareness and imagine it coming from the universe directly into the body part that is holding the fear. Imagine the color(s) dissolving the fear. Take as much color as you need. You may feel a shift or a tingling sensation.
Once it is cleared take a couple of deep breaths and open your eyes.
So, let us travel mindfully in our lives at home and abroad, knowing that we can bring awareness and optimism into any situation. We can bring good wherever we go and wherever we are.
One last detail- It helps to know the facts. The news narrative may not always accurately represent the situation. Statistics show that we are safer now than in decades past. Much safer.
How do you like to prepare for your holidays? Has traveling changed for you in recent years? Are you more cautious? Do you fear terrorist attacks? Share your thoughts with us.
“I feel envious of my friend who is successful. It’s not her money, or her job or her husband that I want. It’s that I don’t get to do what I am good at. I have skills that I never get to use. I spend so much of my time doing stuff that I don’t want to do, being someone I am not. Saying yes when I want to say no.”
My friend was talking out her frustrations. She wasn’t seeking sympathy or pity, just clarity. She wanted to gain insight into what is blocking her success.
She arrived at: “I have skills that I don’t get to use.”
I listened to her intently and could feel her frustration deep in my being. I know that frustration, I thought.
Have you ever felt that way? Not being able to do something you are good at or doing something you are good at and not being compensated for it accordingly?
I had been listening to my friend’s recorded voice memo. She lives overseas and between international time zones, work and kids, we don’t get to sit and chat as we used to. So we record voice memos on our phones and send them to each other.
As I finished listening to the recording, I started thinking about the frustration she had articulated so well: “having skills that I don’t get to use”.
A few thoughts went through my mind: “There are no guarantees in life. Not for anything. Hard work doesn’t guarantee wealth. Being good doesn’t guarantee a life free of suffering. Marriage doesn’t guarantee a long, fulfilling relationship. Health doesn’t necessarily equal happiness.”
“Having skills doesn’t mean you get to use them.” Boo.
So, what can we do with all that love, hard work, skills that want to bust out to brighten our lives and jazz up the world along the way? What can we do with all that desire to exercise our muscles that make us who we are?
More questions followed that train of thought: do we get to grow the parts of us that we want to grow? Will we get to bear fruit that we dearly wish to share with others?
The answer is yes. But it may not look like what you think it will look like or happen when you want it to happen.
So, in the meantime, this is what we do.
We can use that love, that hard work, those skills and apply them to our daily lives, at work, and at home. Instead of hoarding them, we spend them. Let me give you an example of this.
My grandmother started this and now my parents follow in her footsteps and in my own way I am following her example too. You see, when my grandmother attended the gurudwara (temple) she would clean/brush the shoes of the worshippers with her headscarf. I remember watching her do this and wondering to myself: why is she doing this? She’s not really cleaning their shoes, so what is she doing?”
My parents attend the same gurudwara and they clean the bathrooms as part of their seva (selfless service). They could work in the kitchens or sweep but instead, they choose to do this task – one that most people avoid.
And now me: Although I do not currently attend a gurudwara or have time to do any charity work, I do clean and prepare our rentals for new tenants. As I scrub, sweep, and mop, I have the feeling that I imagine my grandmother had: gratitude for being able to be of service, to create order and beauty, to be able to unharness oneself of life’s burdens through the simple act of work. Any work.
I feel a tremendous sense of peace and joy. In fact, I would like to feel this way no matter what I am doing, whether writing a blog post (hello love!), working with a client, making dinner or cleaning up after my dogs. To accomplish this, I focus on how grateful I am, to be able to be do anything and everything that comes my way.
It has taken me many years to reach this point. I can still recall trying to avoid all cleaning work in my youth. Back then, seva seemed like such a waste of time. Because of those memories, I know that this method of finding fulfilment is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.
If you don’t resonate with the above approach, let me ask you this: if you were using the skills that you have and utilizing them fully, how would you feel? What kind of people would you spend time with? What time would you go to bed and wake up? What thoughts would fill your mind? Would you have time to go for walks? Would you have time for leisurely lunches? How would your life be different?
I ask these questions because I want you to open the door wide and think about what that life you seek looks like.
Pare away the outer shell of the what it is that you seek to do and dive into the feelings you wish to feel. Is peace important? Are you wanting to taste excitement? Unlimited joy? Connection? Sense of achievement? Keep asking yourself: what am I really seeking to feel/experience.
Once you have honed in on these feelings you can start taking the first steps towards creating the proper environments for you to grow and prosper in. For example: if a sense of achievement is important to you or you want to feel like you are making a difference then seek ways in which you can experience that. Big and small.
Here are some suggestions:
- Search online for a job position that would be the perfect job for you. Do you meet their requirements? Do they meet your requirements? Keep looking. Keep refining your search
- Work with a charity – selfless service is very rewarding and helps to create momentum in anyone’s life
- Explore your skill set. Is it current? Could it do with an update?
- Do something purely for you – something you love. Pottery, photography, hiking. Something that will reawaken your passions.
- Value how you want to feel. Pursue that.
There are many ways to deal with frustration and disappointments and my sense is that the when we enquire about what we want, we will always land on the shores of our feelings. Love is a feeling. Feeling safe is a feeling. Success is a bundle of feelings. Feelings reside in us and we can activate them, cajole them, warm them up and engage with them and when we do that with awareness and focus the return we get is beyond our wildest imaginings of happiness and fulfilment.
We become free.
Have a great week, my friends. Are there frustrations keeping your joy under lock and key? Bust out and share your story with us. Please share this post with anyone struggling with disappointment or just needing a reframe for events in their life.
*art by Banksy
My Birthday and Tony Robbins
On the road, my favorite way to spend a birthday. I am currently adventuring with my family, following my heart, following the forgotten roads into the deep wilderness and desert oasis of New Mexico.
The long drive and open spaces give me the time and tranquillity to think and reflect on aspects of my life like the day of my birth, the purpose I want to engender, and the many transformations that have brought me here. The following are some of my thoughts from the last few days.
“Whose love did you crave more growing up?” asks Tony Robbins in the new documentary out on Netflix, “Tony Robbins. I Am Not Your Guru.”
“Your mother or your father?” Robbins is asking a young 19-year-old woman at his Date with Destiny seminar. But I answer the question for myself.
“Good question, Tony. I would have to say, my father. I had to be very vigilant around my father. I had to watch what I said and somehow anticipate his moods so as to avoid setting off his anger.”
I ponder the question a while longer and realize to what extent that shaped me. How it has affected my life, especially my relationship with men and authority figures.
It’s a good enquiry for me and I know I am going to chew on it for a while. It’s not an especially new revelation but rather the realization that I am now more ready than ever to drop this behavior and to act differently. I am ready to be free of the trembling I feel when I stand up to authority figures or bullying types. It’s funny how we can know something and not act on it. The fear we felt as children keeping us in lockdown.
I want to take a moment to draw further distinctions between knowing something and not acting on it. Knowing might be half the equation, but there are many reasons why we may not choose to do anything about it. We may not always act on something we know because sometimes:-
- there are other aspects of our lives that occupy our thoughts and actions completely.
- the knowledge comes in as fleeting thought and is gone before we can grasp its true potential.
- we just don’t have the support system or the desire to dive into a life changing transformation at the time
- we know it but are afraid of the consequences a change in our behavior may cause.
- it is easier to stay being the way we are.
But then something happens and the pieces fall into place. Parts that kept you distracted no longer hold your attention, people you once feared cease to be so intimidating and all the judgment that stopped you from being you, evaporates because it doesn’t hold a candle to the passion moving you towards your freedom.
I only caught a few minutes of Tony Robbin’s documentary, but it was enough to remind me that I was through walking on eggshells around the strong personalities in my life. I had known this. I just needed a little push to own it.
If you know my story, then you know that I cover my body from head to toe because of the burn scars from an accident 6 years ago. Whenever I go to the pool or to a river or any bodies of water, I wear sun protection gear from top to bottom. Part of the reason is to protect my scarred skin from the sun rays and part of the reason is that I have been afraid of being pointed at and/or pitied by others. But wearing the head to toe gear makes me feel just as self-conscious.
I hate feeling self-conscious. So, I did what I have been afraid of doing for 6 years. I wore a bikini for the first time at the Ojo Caliente Hot Mineral Springs Spa. Being there with family and feeling their love helped me to finally let go of fearing other people’s judgement about my skin and more importantly my own judgement about my skin and the story that I have been carrying.
This is a big win for me. I feel as if I popped into 48 as myself and that is thrilling.
Where are we heading?
I will be voting for the first time here in the USA and boy, is this a good time or what? Our votes matter.
I feel love. I feel it in every single cell and breath of my body. I feel it melting out of my bones as giggles of gratitude. I feel this love sending out love beams to the stars, snakes, rivers, and the atoms dancing on my skin…
.. I think feeling love, filling up with love is the first miracle to perform. If we can do that for ourselves then we can love others. Truly loving others is a magnificent miracle of life.
There are many roads to travel whether in summer or winter (my southern hemisphere friends), inwards or outwards, long journeys or short, spinning or standing still, alone or together.
Always, always we travel on.
May your journey be enlightening and delight-filled, may it be soothing and deepening, may you discover that you are gorgeous in many ways than one. May your journey be yours.
Thank you for reading my musings and please feel free to share them with anyone you think would benefit from these conversations. Tell me what’s on your mind. What’s real for you in your current life? Add your thoughts to the comments below.
As I look at the carnage and intolerance of current events, as anger, fear, and helplessness take their toll on all of us, I am forced to look back at our collective history and wonder if we have changed at all. It is hard not to conclude that we are living in dark times.
Some days my heart really hurts and I think, “I don’t want history to repeat, again.“ It would seem that almost everyone else I’ve spoken with, is having similar thoughts and feelings.
So, what can we do as the anger, fear and helplessness writhe within us?
I say we continue to evolve and learn.
We must learn from the past. We must also learn to do things differently and this time, we must cast a wider net over what we care about. One that includes all life under an affirming maxim such as, primum non nocere- first do no harm- and we must let it guide all of our actions.
If we want to be able to look back to this time and be able to say: “Oh that’s when things began to change. There was a real shift in people’s behavior and consciousness. That’s around the time I started loving more, caring more and including more. I became fearless” then these are only a few of the things which we must do.
What changes in our collective consciousness are we going to need to make in order to birth a kinder humanity? One which doesn’t war in ceaseless, repeating cycles of injury and retribution? One which doesn’t commit terrible atrocities and crimes against itself, against nature, against our planet?
Maybe it’s as simple as recognizing the equality of all sentient life forms? There is more than enough evidence to suggest that we need to start looking at all life through a different set of eyes.
Here’s some of the evidence:
A donkey lies dead as other donkeys bray and gather around him. They are mourning their friend.
Pigs solve puzzles by differentiating between colors and shapes.
Zebra fish feeling pain.
Plants learning from experience.
When we imagine a better world, I would like to think we could include animals, plants, mountains, skies, oceans and the stars.
Maybe one day we will learn that clouds respond to our thoughts or that oceans transmit deep intelligence to us. Maybe we will learn large bodies: clouds, oceans, mountains or planets and the smallest of the small, can teach us. We can learn from viruses and atoms.
Thus far we have included so few of our fellow travelers as being worthy of our kindness, our listening, our thoughtfulness. Maybe, in these days of turmoil and uncertainty, we could look to the truer qualities within ourselves to include and protect all of life, not just our loved ones, our tribes, our people?
All of life is sacred. Are You Willing To Think Bigger and Not Just Differently?
Who or what would you protect from harm? Do you think you can call the rain? What does a bigger, better world look like for you? Share your thoughts and ideas with us we would love to have a discussion about this with you in the comments below.
Sources Donkies crying https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMU6CrlbfVk Smart pigs http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3122303/Move-Lassie-IQ-tests-reveal-pigs-outsmart-dogs-chimpanzees.html#v-4123294280001 Zebra fish http://www.appliedanimalbehaviour.com/article/S0168-1591(03)00113-8/abstract?cc=y= Plants https://www.deepdyve.com/lp/springer-journals/experience-teaches-plants-to-learn-faster-and-forget-slower-in-0ZgFoH4IWe
At the beginning of this year, I committed to doing a restricted calorie day, once a week, as part of my drive to get healthier.
On my fasting days, I limit myself to 500 calories and experience a wide range of uncomfortable feelings. From self-doubt to impatience and frustration. All the while, the ever present pangs of hunger feed those negative emotions.
However, I counteract the negativity with self-encouragement, reminding myself of my many good reasons for doing this.
- Reset my immune and nervous system
- Give my body a break
- Rewire my brain and body’s hyper alert nature
Each time I fast I learn something new about myself. Much like an athlete measures faster times or better endurance, with each passing session I am able to gauge subtle improvements in my being. For example, in the early days, I thought about food from the start of the day until the end of the day. I would encounter waves of mild panic as each meal time, snack time, or break time would arise. I thought that I just had to get through the day and that would be achievement enough. My focus was all on me and my survival.
Now, almost 7 months later, if a thought about food or hunger comes into my mind during my fast, I don’t judge it. I notice the familiarity of that thought and take a deep breath. I breathe into the fullness of me, the fullness of my consciousness and smile back at the hunger feeling or thought, embracing it.
Being in this, self-imposed state has made me think about things outside myself, as well. Hunger forces one to think about those in an even worse state. I think of the homeless, refugees and those facing famine and I wonder how they cope with not knowing when their next meal will be.
This simple practice has shown me just how easily I can lose my focus and good intentions. How quickly I tumble into the fear and desperation that hunger brings on. I see that I am still attached to scarcity consciousness and how that halts me from sharing with others.
Because of this simple exercise, I feel the truth of this adage: “What happens to you, happens to me. If you are hungry, I am hungry.” I know what it feels like to be hungry by choice, for a day, and I know what a difference a meal or a few words of encouragement can make.
Each time I fast, I am brought closer to taking actions that bring me into alignment with what I know to be true.
Each of us, individually, can end the hunger of a few in our local area or nationally and internationally
. We can invite someone to share a meal with us. We can give to a food bank. We can make care packages for those seeking shelter. All of us, together, can end it for good
This July 4th, will you join me in feeding someone? It can be a friend in need or a stranger, even a refugee. By feeding someone who is hungry, we free them of fear. That is a freedom I want to be a part of creating.
How about you?
Happy 4th of July, America. May we all get to be free.
If you would like to donate a meal or would like to get involved with ending hunger, please take a look at these organizations.
Stop Hunger Now
Share Our Strength
Meals on Wheels