Why this was the week I had to read Russell Brand’s birth chart, and I’m counting down to a big London launch…
I read Russell Brand’s birth chart. I kind of can’t get enough of him, and after watching the new documentary Brand: A Second Coming, which follows his personal evolution from addict to anti-establishment political commentator, I could no longer contain my curiosity about what kind of crazy-ass astrology the dude’s got going on.
And it’s all just SO there. With both his Sun and Mercury in Gemini, expressing himself with words is like breathing to Rus, and whether you agree with what he’s got to say or not, couldn’t you just listen all day long? Then, there’s his Moon, Mars, and Jupiter all in Aries. Oh man! This guy is massively passionate about ALL the things that turn him on. But yes, he needs sex, and lots of it, as well as total autonomy over his life.
Which doesn’t exactly peg him as marriage material – no surprises there – especially so when you also consider that both his Venus and Saturn are in Cancer. Yes, Russell loves (Venus) women (Cancer). Especially his mum (also Cancer), as the new documentary highlights. But perhaps his biggest karmic lesson (Saturn) is learning to express this in a way that works for both parties. With Uranus in Libra, he no doubt makes for a confusingly attentive/distant partner, and any long-term relationship will certainly be unconventional!
But most interesting to me, is Russell’s South-North Node journey, which falls on the Gemini-Sagittarius axis. Charting the path of Russell’s past life karma and cosmic destiny in this lifetime, the overarching theme is of a pure intellectual being. Russell’s Gemini South Node (past life karma) suggests somebody easily distracted with superficial things, spreading his many talents too thinly for them to have any impact. The Sagittarius North Node meanwhile (destiny point), is about finding a meaningful focus for his agile brain and unparalleled capacity for learning.
Since reading his book Revolution earlier this year, I’ve been thinking a lot about – well – “revolution” (which in turn, got me wanting to bust out this rad Isabel Marant sweatshirt from last year*). The standard dictionary definition is: “a forcible overthrow of a government or social order in favor of a new system,” which is a lot of what he talks about. But it strikes me that Russell’s focus on the concept of external revolution, is a reflection of the internal revolution he’s experienced in overcoming his ego-led addictions – to drugs, sex, and fame.
I see Russell’s journey this way, because since stepping onto my Numinous journey I’ve experienced a similar revolution inside myself. Different addictions, similar shift in worldview to incorporate a life that’s less about taking and accumulating, and more about sharing and being of service. Russell, thank you, you passionate, strange, addictive creature, for helping get the message to the masses.
*Yes, it it possible to live a more mindful life, and still get excited about fashion.
I’m counting down the days. Until the launch of a majorly exciting project I’ve been working on with Selfridges department store in the UK! For Christmas 2015 the team have created a mystical concept store the Astrolounge, featuring all kinds of cosmic gifting goodness. The Numinous has been on hand to help curate the product offer, as well as a super fun Shop by Star Sign selection for Selfridges.com.
It all goes live October 22 – which is also the date we’ll be launching THE coolest Numinous collaboration with on-demand t-shirt printing company YRStore. Keep watching our Instagram account for more teasers over the following week. You will NOT want to miss this!
Man it can get LOUD out there. Have you ever considered shutting down the noise and embarking on a 10-day silent Vipassana meditation retreat? Sarah McKinney shares the experience that left her “more integrated, and whole.” Images: Karolina Daria Flora.
I’d always been fascinated when people said they’d gone on a 10-day silent meditation retreat, in the same way I’m fascinated by people who tell me they run marathons, my usual reaction being: “That’s so awesome — for you.” But this past October, when one of my yoga teachers strongly recommended Jack Kornfield’s 37th annual spring Vipassana, something inside of me sparked, and I knew it was time for me to experience it for myself.
I’d been trying to “should” myself into establishing a daily seated meditation practice for a while, but couldn’t get it to stick. I’d rationalized that yoga was a moving meditation. I’d done maybe a dozen or so 30-minute guided meditations, and had sat quietly for five-minute meditations countless times.
But I knew that meditating in silence for hours every day, for 10 days in a row, would be like learning to swim in the deep end. I felt a little nervous, but also confident that I had the tools needed to process whatever thoughts or emotions might come up. And I was comforted by the fact that Jack’s retreat didn’t require 100% silence.
We were allowed to talk during three different meetings with teachers — one small group, and two one-on-ones, when they would check in on how we were doing and offer some perspective and advice. There was a brief Q&A period at the end of one morning and one afternoon sit each day, giving students the opportunity to ask questions that pertained to their practice. And during the working meditations we could exchange words related to our jobs.
We were also told it was okay to jot down some notes if we felt the need — particularly permissible during the Dharma talks every night, when the teachers would share various lessons from the Buddha. But we were told to avoid eye contact whenever possible, the point being to help us stay focused on our internal experiences. There would also be no reading or use of technology, and any kind of sexual conduct was disallowed.
I’d been warned that the first few days on retreat were often the most difficult — the “settling in” period, they called it. I’d assumed this was because people had repressed traumatic or abusive experiences from their past that suddenly rose to the surface, and I half-hoped I’d be gifted with something surprisingly dramatic and juicy. But instead what I experienced was intense boredom, impatience, fantasy thinking, planning, sleepiness, and intermittent frustration that there wasn’t more instruction given.
The teachers said they were intentionally keeping it simple to start us off, telling us to just keep coming back to our inhale and exhale, and our right and left foot, as we alternated between 45-minute sitting and walking meditation periods.
The walking meditation was not like walking for exercise, or even walking to get from one place to the next. The point was to maintain single minded focus — feeling the weight shift from heel to toe, or from the left to right side of our body, stopping if we noticed something in our surroundings to really observe it before returning to our footsteps.
By afternoon I could hear the cars zooming down the nearby highway and pictured myself running across the desert, yelling; “Save me! Take me away from the land of the slow, where people walk like zombies of the night!” I was entertaining myself — preferable to maintaining single-minded focus, apparently.
When the teachers would release us from sitting meditation saying, “enjoy your walking period” with their Buddha smiles, it felt mildly torturous. Like being told to go enjoy just one sip of wine, or one chocolate chip. But I practiced contrary action, and tried to do what I was told.
On the second day we began receiving more instruction — my thirst for guidance, quenched! During one of the morning walking meditations I became momentarily captivated by the most beautifully bright little yellow flowers growing on a tree, surrounded by soft white fluff. And then a few steps later, by a delicate purple flower growing out of a brittle cactus — the symbolism made me smile.
I sat on a bench during lunch, mindfully chewing and savoring the different textures and flavors per the teachers’ suggestions, and noticed that the Koi pond I was gazing at was particularly green — like a Matcha green tea latte. Looking up I observed a large bush covered in white flowers, and then another one with pink flowers. How had I missed all this the day before? I watched a tall narrow tree bend in the wind as I listened to the chirping birds, my hand clasping a warm cup of tea. I felt the weather beginning to shift.
My working meditation was breakfast set up from 6 — 6:45am. I was grateful for something to do. My working partner was a woman named Margo who I had an immediate affinity for. She was in her late 60’s and (I later learned) a poet, and a writing teacher. She had a son around my age and lived in San Diego with her husband — a man who’d been going on silent meditation retreats for decades. This was her fourth.
We’d occasionally break the rules and whisper to each other; “How are you doing?” Knowing she was having a hard time with the meditations too made me feel less alone. Margo felt like my version of that guy in Eat Pray Love who called Elizabeth Gilbert “Groceries” — she was my friend. Occasionally we would make accidental eye contact when passing each other on the grounds, and sneak smiles.
Throughout my entire life people have commented on how cold my hands are and my go-to response has always been; “cold hands warm heart!” But during the seated meditations I could feel my hands burning with heat as they rested on my thighs, and I remembered an energy worker telling me once that the hands become warm when you are in your body and out of the analytic mind.
And so I began using my hands as my barometer for how much I was “dropping in”, and allowing myself to feel. As that was apparently what we were here to do. “How does that feel in your body?” the teachers frequently asked, when students would share their various mind states, and laughably relatable neuroses. The goal was equanimity, which merely means to observe our feelings with a balanced perspective, to enable us to respond appropriately.
I was less sleepy by day three, but still pretty bored, and the fantasy thinking had been going into overdrive, carrying over into my sleep. I dreamt I was having sex with someone I’d though about going to bed with, and quickly thanked my subconscious for having taken note before realizing some old familiar feelings were present too— insecurity, performance, validation seeking. Leftover residue from a life so busily lived that not everything can be fully processed.
Lying in bed, I decided to envision how I’d like to feel having sex with this person — safe, comfortable, playful, fully in my body, ripe with desire, generously giving, the embodiment of “yes.” “Much better,” I noted to myself, as I reached down to my suitcase for some clothes, and then began my walk to the dining hall.
I was surprised that I didn’t miss technology at all, given how obsessively I tend to check it at home. Or exercise. We did have Qigong at 3:15 every afternoon, which gave us a chance to move our bodies, albeit slowly. It was taught by a German man named Franz Moeckl who was so charismatic that all the ladies started giggling the moment he appeared, and then again when he spoke. It became one of my favorite parts of each day, but after about 15 minutes I was still checking my watch — what’s next.
I came to enjoy the simple foods. No seconds. No desire for more. Though I did find myself hoarding a bit — taking an apple at breakfast in case I wanted it later, and one night I wrapped three dark chocolates in a napkin and slipped it into my bag, anticipating a future desire for sweetness, or simply something to look forward to.
I placed them in the freezer of the mini fridge in my room, and took some comfort in just knowing they were there — like an active alcoholic stashing bottles around the house, or a smoker who’s trying to quit but keeps a few cigarettes in a secret drawer, just in case.
I also discovered that one of my roommates was from Australia, due to her being an active sleep talker — it’s like her subconscious found a loophole and was going to town. She had full on conversations that began around 4am, and one morning I nearly laughed out loud when she blurted out in her thick accent; “Well yes, that’s a very large hemorrhage.”
As for the internal work I’d been expecting? On day five I was greeted with an onslaught of anger and resentment, and found myself intensely preoccupied with planning a conversation that I’d decided I needed to have with a friend about how I couldn’t show up and be authentically supportive of her recent decisions.
I explored every angle, and couldn’t seem to find a way to say it that wasn’t charged with judgment and righteousness. In the afternoon we were guided through a forgiveness meditation, and it became clear that the person I’d been planning to “de-friend” was actually an undeniable amalgamation of all of the wounded parts of myself that I’ve worked hard to heal.
She was all of my jagged edges and broken pieces hanging in a wind chime, clanging just outside my door. The walking instruction given was to silently say with each step; “I forgive you. Please forgive me. I forgive myself.” The anger dissipated.
By now I couldn’t seem to access the fantasy thinking anymore — I missed it, and even when I reached out for it, there were no hooks to reel it in. Instead I was left with a near-constant internal narration of my present-time experiences. A ladybug would crawl on my shoe and I’d hear myself say; “Today, a ladybug crawled on my shoe.”
The voice sounded a little bit like that of an older man, maybe Billy Collins or Garrison Keillor — someone with a lot of time on their hands, and a keen attention to detail. It kept me company, but was also kind of annoying.
I also found my mind frequently drifting to things I’d written — poems, mostly — or ideas for new things, based on what I was experiencing on retreat. I’d notice their presence and label them “reciting” or “writing,” letting them float away like clouds so I could return to my breath, or footsteps.
I mentioned this pattern to a teacher during one of my meetings and she asked me to explore how it might feel if I didn’t write about my retreat experience. Little daggers shot out of my heart; “No, I’m not interested in not writing. This is my first silent retreat — maybe next time,” was my response.
She asked me to explain why, and it really came down to a feeling that all of my experiences must be productive. Who am I, and what is my value, if I don’t have anything to show for it?
I smiled when trying to imagine any of my family members doing this retreat. Particularly my Dad — a man who attempted to weed my Grandma’s entire front garden while we were locked out of her house for 20 minutes once. I sat on the front step and watched. He eventually looked up at me, both hands filled with weeds, and evaluated his work, saying, “Well, I’m not sure how much I’ve really accomplished here.” I responded, “But at least you kept busy, right?”
I tease them all for being so Type A. In our family, the question, “How are you?” is most often answered with a list of things you’ve done since you last spoke, followed by another one of everything you plan to do in the immediate future.
Both my parents grew up in households that were very unpredictable so they’ve created a pretty structured approach to life, and it’s worked well for them. I on the other hand, grew up in a household that was very predictable, so have been left craving less structure and more fluidity — the pendulum swings.
By now I was beginning to experience some pretty blissed out states — my body nearly always tingly and pulsing with my heartbeat. Like when you just wake up from a deep sleep, and just lie there, too peaceful to move. I could also feel a strange pressure in my forehead, like it was opening up and pushing dense material off to the sides.
I still refuse to call this my third eye, but I know enough about energy centers to understand that’s what it was —and that I was tapping in to that concentrated spaciousness, a dark expansiveness, the limitless sea of consciousness.
As the retreat began to inch closer to the end, and my excitement about returning home reignited my planning mind, the mantra I kept repeating to myself during the walking meditations was simply; “I love you. Keep going.”
One day during a sit I decided to kill some time by scanning my entire body, starting at my toes and traveling all the way up to my head, and apologizing for what I’ve put it through — the pounding, twisting, spraining, scratching, bruising, burning, devaluing, starving, pushing, prodding, betraying, withholding, criticizing, ignoring and abandoning — and then thanking it for continuing to be there for me. Tears welled up in my eyes.
The mindful eating was also very healing. Being able to really tune into my body and feel the various stages of digestion, I realized that I often misinterpret digestion as hunger — back in my life of busyness — and don’t wait for it to pass. But in meditation, I could sit with those sensations and feel them as they moved through me. I was eating plenty, but my body continued to feel lighter, healthier and more free.
We broke silence the afternoon before our final day. We were told to partner up with someone and take turns listening and talking for three minutes each. Apparently I had been developing a silent friendship with the woman to my left over the course of the retreat, because once we spoke there was immediate comfort. She was here with her husband, and was four months pregnant. She’d had a hard time, and wanted to know how it was for me.
I struggled to adequately articulate what felt like such a diverse and detailed experience. “It was good,” I started in with, “It felt like a detox, and a self-amends. It was very healing, and very challenging at times, too.” We chatted on a bit more and were then asked to sit in silence again, and to feel the buzzing energy in our bodies that the talking had produced.
We were allowed to continue talking during dinner that night, but then it was back to silence for the 6:30pm meditation, the final Dharma talk, and through breakfast the next day. After packing up our rooms we all met one final time in the meditation hall for a closing ceremony — the teachers each giving us some advice on how to have a smooth re-entry, and keep our meditation practice up.
We were each given a red string, and asked to tie three knots in it — one to represent where we take refuge, one to represent compassion, and one to represent a promise we were making to ourselves. We then partnered up to tie them on for each other, and exchange a blessing.
Before heading back to Los Angeles I asked someone to take a picture of me standing out in the desert, so I could have something visual to remember the retreat by. I had the same dress on that I’d arrived in 10 days prior, but the woman wearing it felt different — more integrated, and whole.
I realized after driving away that I’d left the chocolates I’d taken from the dining hall in my room’s mini fridge. I guess I found the sweetness I expected to crave somewhere deep within myself instead.
Sarah McKinney is a poet, entrepreneur and songwriter, and the founder of Amp, an online directory of sustainability resources. She lives in Los Angeles. Follow her @sarahmck
For a full diary of retreats at Jack Kornfield’s Spirit Rock Insight Meditation Center click here.
If turning on to your spiritual journey is often described as the process of “waking up”, lucid dream coach and Hay House author Charlie Morley explains that actually we can reach the same higher state of being by…going to sleep. He explains all to Lisa Luxx.
Lucid dreaming is the coveted state of being able to navigate your way around your dreams, like playing in the virtual reality of your own esoteric landscape. Which can be shed loads of fun. For example, Charlie Morley got seriously into lucid dreaming when he was 16, and revelled in the opportunity to have loads of sex and be awesome at skateboarding. But alongside the obvious kicks, lucid dreaming can be used as a technique for enlightenment and even as a preparation for death, while he says one of its key side effects is increased kindness in your waking life.
I sat down with Charlie at the Hay House Ignite event in London for a lesson in the hows and whys of lucid dreaming.
So how do we begin training ourselves for lucid dreams? There’s no quick way to learn lucid dreaming, but there are ways to help your mind move towards the lucid dreaming state. The first is to start remembering your dreams. Keep dream diaries to work on your dream recall and start to get to know the territory of your dreams. Eventually you’ll begin to recognize that territory when you’re in it, and go “aha, I’m in a dream right now.”
What if you’re one of those people who never seem to dream? Our dream world is behind a sliding door, not a brick wall. Those people who don’t remember their dreams simply need to ask for a dream before they go to sleep. Try repeating this; “I remember my dreams and I have excellent dream recall.” Present tense affirmative works like any good hypnotic suggestion, so say that right before you go to sleep and you’re going to have much more vivid dreams that night.
But the work we do to train ourselves is done during the day? There are more difficult practices such as falling asleep consciously, and a lot of people try going straight to that but they miss the lazy man’s option. That is to train your mind in the waking state so that the mindfulness muscles are so strong and so flexed that when you go to sleep at night lucidity will dawn naturally.
How does working our mindfulness muscle translate in our unconscious mind? It’s all about awareness and recognition. If you spend your whole day walking around going “could this be a dream right now? Can I see anything dreamlike right now?” you’ll do the same thing when you’re asleep. In a dream you might ask yourself; “can I see anything dreamlike right now? Oh, there’s a pig flying through the sky! I’m in a dream!” And boom. You become lucid.
What is the relationship between lucid dreaming and dying? Within Tibetan Buddhism, lucid dreaming is used as preparation for death and dying. It’s because of a concept called “the bardo”. A Sanskrit word meaning “in-between,” the idea is that don’t just die and are instantly reborn, rather you enter this in-between state, which occurs when the mind stream separates from the physical body at the point of death. The mind stream then flips inward on itself and experiences its own projection. Which is not dissimilar to what happens when we dream.
If you can train yourself to recognize the dream world consistently by having lucid dreams, then at the point of death you might be able to recognize the death process. So rather than going “aha I’m dreaming, great I can fly!” you can go “aha, I’m dead.” If you can have the presence of mind to realize you’re dead, you’re experiencing the mind beyond the limitation of the physical body, and as separated from the Self. So you’re experiencing the raw nature of mind. This opens up the potential for full spiritual enlightenment at the point of death.
Wow. So, what changes should we expect to manifest in our waking life through lucid dreaming? It makes you aware of your own projection. So in a lucid dream you literally recognize that what you thought was real is in fact a projection of your own mind. Lets say that you’re having a dream that you’re the Queen of Egypt – you totally believe you’re the Queen of Egypt, right? In a lucid dream you recognize that you’re not the Queen of Egypt; you’ve woken up to the fact that what you believed was real is in fact the projection of your own mind. So you’ve trained your mind to see the difference between physiological projection and the reality of the situation. In the daytime state you might be projecting onto someone you’re in conversation with, arrogance for example, and then you’ll get this moment of lucidity. It’ll taste like a lucid dream – it’ll be a sudden realization.
Which makes you a more compassionate person I guess? I spoke to my teacher about this and he said; “Soon you’ll get to the point where you’ll recognize a projection before you do it. This is when you really start to open up to compassion.” 99% of the times we’re mean to each other is because we’re projecting onto each other. It’s very rare to meet someone who is actually a nasty person. Usually it’s the fact that we’re so unaware of our projections that we project our darkness on to others without seeing it in ourselves. If we can start to see it in ourselves before we project, we start to open up to more feelings of kindness.
Is there a way to bring that clarity of the bardo into our daily life? You’re talking about is that which isn’t constrained within this contained vehicle of me. And yes it is in us at all times. In a lucid dream you see that you’re everything. If I dream about you tonight, I know it’s not you, it’s my projection of you. So I realize that whatever you represent to me has come into my dream to communicate. If we can apply those same contemplations to our waking state we can enter that numinous space while we’re awake, while we’re doing the washing or going to work, or sitting next to the guy on the bus with BO. We can realize that this is available at all times, if we could only step out of the self and into something bigger.
If you can do whatever you want in a lucid dream and reach a higher state of being, surely waking life becomes dull in comparison… Lucid dreaming helped me wake up to my potential and see how much more I could be doing with life. In lucid dreams you can fly through the sky, walk through walls and hug your demons. The next day is different. Because you think; “maybe I can fly through my own limitations, maybe I can walk through the wall of my own arrogance, maybe I could embrace the demons of my phobias or my relationship issues in the waking state.” The lucid dream becomes a rehearsal for waking life. It’s not that you want to stay asleep all day. After a lucid dream you can’t wait to wake up and put it into practice.
If you are what you eat, the same can be said for what you speak – this is the all-empowering philosophy of NYC fitness guru and motivational speaker Patricia Moreno. She shares an inspiring podcast on making 2014 the year you become the Master of Your Mouth, and explains how this will help you create the life you are here to live. Portraits by Sumner Dilworth. Styling by Victoria Case. Hair and makeup by Takako Yamamoto.
LISTEN TO PATRICIA’S INSPIRING PODCAST FOR THE NEW YEAR HERE:
The philosophy that you are what you speakis key to Patricia’s teachings as a fitness professional. Her cult workout, intenSati, begins with a ten minute sermon on our attitude to the challenges we face in life – the idea that each and every one, be it a cardio drill that feels like it’s going to rip your lungs out or a difficult relationship with your mother, should be embraced as a powerful agent for change. That living in your comfort zone is like denying your soul it’s chance to evolve.
Recently, she’s been taking this message out of the studio and into the wider world – she even gave a TEDx talk last summer on the subject of Living With Positive Discipline. Here she explains why we self-sabotage, and how talking ourselves into our personal power becomes its own spiritual practise.
WHO HAVE BEEN THE MOST IMPORTANT TEACHERS ON YOUR PERSONAL JOURNEY AND WHY? Lauren Zander, founder of the Handel Method, played a big part in helping me understand the power of personal integrity. When I started coaching with her in 2004 I learned something that to this day is the single most powerful lesson I know; the ability to keep my word to myself and get myself to follow through on what I say I will do as well as tell the truth and be transparent. Most recently I have been studying under Dr. Joseph Michael Levry, who has a PH.D in metaphysics and is the founder of Naam Yoga. In the shortest amount of time he has made the biggest impact on my life. He’s mentoring me on evolving the intenSati method in ways that will significantly improve the results people will see from participating in my classes and workshops.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON WAYS WE SABOTAGE OUR OWN PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT, AND WHY? I believe that we sabotage our efforts unconsciously. When we decide we want to lose weight, start a new business, have more success etc, we are making a conscious decision to change. Usually we want to make these changes because in some way we are suffering, or we feel we don’t have enough of whatever it is we say we want, so we set a goal for ourselves. Pain is a great motivator. After we get inspired to set a new goal and we take action and we feel better, because taking action and actually doing something about the so called problem relieves some of the tension or suffering. But then we drift back to our old unconscious habits, the habits that got us where we are in the first place – overweight, struggling or unsuccessful in some way.
The way to create positive and lasting change is to work on a physical, mental and spiritual level. We often focus on making physical changes, which is only 10 percent of who we are. Unless we add mental and spiritual exercises to evolve our whole self we will find ourselves in an endless cycle of two steps forward two steps back. Adding meditations, visualizations, affirmations, prayer, forgiveness and gratitude practices to your action plan will insure that you affect the shift you want in your total being.
BECOMING THE ‘MASTER OF YOUR MOUTH’ IS A BIG THEME FOR YOU. IN WHAT WAYS (USING WHAT WORDS AND PHRASES) CAN WE EACH BECOME OUR OWN GURU? The quality of our life is directly related to the quality of our thoughts. The more time we spend complaining, talking and sharing about what’s wrong, what we don’t like, or what is missing from our life, the more time we are spending in a state of feeling lack, unsatisfied or like a victim of life. “Sati” means “mindfulness,” which is the basis of all my teachings, the idea that making conscious choices and exercising the power we have to choose what we think, say and do.
It is easy to be negative, to complain and to be pessimistic. First of all it gets us off the hook of having to take any action and possibly failing, getting uncomfortable or facing our fear. We have to train ourselves to wake up to our power and realize that that we have thoughts, but that we are not our thoughts.By relating to our thoughts and our words as powerful and life changing we can use our words to transform our life instead of using words to describe our life.
WHAT ELSE IS IN YOUR SATI WARRIOR VOCAB? Be grateful for what most people take for granted. This is a big theme of intenSati and Sati Life teachings. When we become more grateful we realize how blessed we are with what we already have. How often do we stop to realize what a miracle and blessing it is to simply be alive? The Dalai Lama teaches that to have a human incarnation is very rare, and just contemplating this will help us value life more.Most of us spend more time wishing things were better, wishing we had more and in the process we forget to start by appreciating and using what we have.
IN WHAT WAYS DOES THIS BECOME A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE? I believe everything is a spiritual practice – because we cannot separate the physical, mental and spiritual parts of ourselves. When we expand our awareness of ourselves and see that how we do anything is how we do everything, we can make buying groceries and doing dishes our 9-5 spiritual practice, by doing it with the intention to serve others, to be present and appreciate being alive.
HOW DO YOU SHARE THESE TEACHINGS WITH YOUR KIDS? Our kids do what we do not what we say. They learn by copying our behavior, our words, our expressions and our choices. As we change how we interact with life, each other and the world we are showing them, and that is the most powerful way to teach, by being the change we want to see in our children. One of the most powerful things I heard in regards to raising our children is that our voice becomes their inner dialogue. When we are constantly pointing out what we don’t want them to do, what they are not doing enough of or what we are disappointed in then their inner dialogue becomes a recording of that. Point out what is right with them, what they are doing well, what options they have and, most of all, make sure they know on a daily basis that they are loved no matter what. Never assume they know you love them, tell them and show them.
WHAT WILL BE YOUR BIG MESSAGE IN THE COMING YEAR, AND WHY IS THIS SO IMPORTANT TO YOU? I have declared 2014 the year of being a Messenger of Love, and devoting ourselves to being of service. If each one of us takes on being of service in small and bigger ways, in one year we would see a significant change in the world. Being of service to me begins at home. Instead of wishing your husband, wife, child or parents would understand you more, help you more, love you more or give you more, focus on what you can do to make their daily life better. Do the dishes more often, say I love you more often, show your appreciation on a daily basis, and go out of your way to make life easier.
Then expand that to your community, school, gym and work life. Look for opportunities to volunteer, help out a co-worker, motivate a gym friend, help someone with homework, uplift and acknowledge others daily. Then focus on how you can use your talents and gifts to help on a bigger scale. How can you serve more people with your business, how can your work serve more people on a regular basis. What difference do you personally want to make in your world?
This is important to me because my teachings are about how to live a life you love in a body you love. The access to this is by being loving, grateful, compassionate, kind, generous and authentic. When we are focused on being of service, we are looking at what we have that we can give, and so we are fulfilling our soul’s work and divine mission to make the world better a better place– because here we are! Our service is the price we pay for living on the earth and it is what will lead to us all being more fulfilled. At the end of our life, the difference we made in people’s lives is what will matter most.