Connecting head and heart.

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Overlooking Topanga Canyon during Moksha Festival.

Moksha: liberation. 

The shift began on Kauai in June, then continued on through early July, around the time I began questioning The Physics of the Heart. On a 2am whim, after returning home from a rare night out, I decided on living abundantly and doing something new and nourishing. I booked tickets to Moksha Festival, a yoga, ayurveda, and music festival in Topanga Canyon, California. I didn’t know where I’d stay or where it’d fit in my budget, but something told me to just trust the flow. When in California…

I found a yoga teacher’s discount (score!), then remembered an older brother-type good friend and past colleague lives in Topanga. I e-mailed him about recommendations on couchsurfing/camping. Turned out he and his lady were heading to Laguna Beach the very weekend of Moksha and needed a cat sitter. How’s that for divine timing?

Kicking back in Topanga Canyon nest

Kicking back in Topanga Canyon nest

My friend’s Topanga nest is of Topanga Canyon boheme tree house, sunlit, lotus fountain, saged-spicing the air goodness. What a nest to roost in the midst of a shift. If the festival wasn’t going on down the road, it would’ve been worth it to simply stay there all weekend!

Funny thing about the fest: I was more absorbed in the subtlies of this yoga thing than the movement. Yes, I practiced asana with some awesome famous teachers, but more so, I fully absorbed myself in the subtle, deeper knowledge thrown my way.

The Psychospiritual Basis of Disease and Healing, an ayurveda talk by Dr. Shiva Mohan, particularly struck me. From the moment Dr. Mohan began speaking, I was in full absorb mode. She’s dynamic, passionate, and one can just tell she is living what she’s talking about: ayurveda + connecting your heart’s intentions with your head’s.

We learn as we study yoga more deeply, whether it be through reading, yoga teacher training, yoga philosophy groups, or if we’re lucky, our teacher weaves it into asana: every life experience, past and present, has an energetic input. Each input leads to certain habits in the mind, or samskaras. Samskaras are our teachers, we repeat patterns over and over again until we catch ourselves and stop. In order to liberate ourselves from the samskara cycle, we must become aware of our irrational thinking.  Our tendency to succumb to stinking thinking based on our ignorance, ego, craving, aversion, and/or fear (avidya, asmita, raga, dvesha, abhinivesa).

I ate up every word of Dr. Mohan’s ayurvedic medicine talk. Besides a food mantra to keep us airy-type folks grounded and healthy (“warm, moist, cooked, spiced”), she said something so simple as time drew near that summed up the poignant talk.

To paraphrase Dr. Mohan: “Connect your head with your heart. Check what your head wants, check what your heart wants, pick the one in the heart and make your words and actions align in all chakras”.

English? Follow your heart, make a plan with your brain, and execute with your entire body and soul.

Further…

“Chant the Gayatri Mantra, long form. Each verse activates a chakra, from root to crown. Long form Gayatri Mantra. ”

I’ve chanted Deva Premal‘s shorter Gayatri Mantra over and over again, but long form? Hmm. So, after some research, and an e-mail to Dr. Mohan double-checking the validity of my findings, the long form was in my hands. I wrote it in my journal, and began singing it along with sun salutations on the morning sun-lit back deck of my Topanga Canyon nest. It’s been a daily song ever since.

Dr. Mohan, thank you for this reminder to knock it off with the samskaras, follow our hearts, act and align accordingly.

Om bhur

Om bhuvaha

Om Swaha

Om Maha

Om Janaha

Om Tapaha

Om Satyam

Om tat savitur varenyam

Bargo Devasya Dhimahi

Dhiyo Yo na Prachodayat

Kirtan and Yoga overlooking the Canyon

Kirtan and Yoga overlooking the Canyon

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Deep Thought of the Day: Energy

Reign in your energy.

Harness it.

Let it lose grasp with whom, with what, and where it doesn’t belong.

Then, let it flow into goodness.

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A deep thought and question on my mind has been how you, I, us practice viveka, discernment in Yogic sanskrit.

With a multitude of choices… whom and what to spend our time on…how does one best discern what to do with their energy? 

Deep Thought of the Day

Lead us from the unreal to the Real
Lead us from the darkness to the Light
Lead us from the earthly to the Eternal 

              – Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

Om Asato ma Sat Gamaya

Tomaso ma Jyotir Gamaya

Mrityor ma amritam gamaya

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$436.50 Flight Credit to…

As result of totally switching gears last Fall, I have a flight credit with Hawaiian Airlines for $436.50. It expires on September 4 of this year.

Grounding myself in tadasana, mountain pose, during today’s early morning sandy stroll before a juicy-full day, I visually absorbed the pure beauty of a school of dolphins and wetsuit-clad dapper dudes alike surfing the morning glass waves.

Contemplating the thought of an upcoming trip to the islands, an unfamiliar thought crossed my typically gypsy-footed mind:

I don’t need to go anywhere right now.

I’m pretty darn content. My life is bursting with the simple pleasures that keep Beach Girl Abroad happy: family, friends, community, sharing my passions with the world through teaching yoga and writing, enough space when I need it, intellectual stimulation, daily communion with nature and it’s expansive ocean only a block away. I’d say I’m on a good path towards santoshacontentment as described in Patanjali‘s Yoga Sutras.

A warm, strong Santa Ana wind kicked up during my block-long walk home, gusts not unlike the warm Fall tradewinds that’d breezed along my skin in on Oahu, Maui, and Big Island. Ah, the perfection of a California morning like today’s. On a day like today, I don’t particularly feel like going anywhere.

…hmmmm.

The wheels are turning.

One last island, Kauai, that I’d left unexplored.

Oh, and my birthday is coming up during the first week of June 😉

Unexplored Territory: Kaua’i

What a nice way to feel.

Just the possibility of taking a trip.

Getting quiet and listening to my intuition on how to proceed from here…

Aloha.

xoxo

Beach Girl Abroad

What’s on Your Life Plate? A 45-45-90 Triangle

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Last night, I was blessed with quite the insightful dream.

 

This weekend, I found myself calling out another girlfriend for her non-stop motion, then caught myself realizing what I really needed to do what check in with the RPM of my own wheels. After all, I’d written last week about how when we see someone else’s darkness or flaws, oftentimes it’s a mirror reflecting a similar issue in ourselves (works the same way with their light and beautiful side, by the way 😉

I retired to bed by 9:15pm last night, asking the Universe to send me a dream for clarification regarding my life plate. What can I handle right now? How much can I do without losing focus, burning out, or squandering precious time family and social relationships right here, right now?  We talk frequently about what’s sustainable for the planet; what’s sustainable on a personal level?

Interestingly enough, an intuitive friend in real life made a cameo in my dream world. As I attended some sort of outdoor dream wedding where guests wore bikinis, sundresses, and board shorts, my friend appeared. She didn’t say a word, but passed me by with a brief smile and left in my mind the image of a typewritten “45 squared-45 squared- 90 squared”.

After jotting down notes from the dream, the puzzle of dream images started to piece together. The trigonometry that’s been so crucial in my study of physics lately came to mind. A 45-45-90 degree triangle has two legs of the same length while its hypotenuse is a little longer. One big angle with two smaller angles of the same size. Find any side of a triangle by using the Pythagorean Theorum: A squared + B squared = C squared. Each angle and leg affects the other angles and legs of the triangle.

Metaphorical Triangles have made their way into my life as well lately. A love triangle or two, yes (just say no!). More relevant, however: a friend of my Father’s mentioned last week (in real life) that it’s best to have three things going on in your life, on your ‘plate’. Any more than three, we discussed, it’s simply difficult doing anything well and your relationships tend to suffer. Any less, well you just aren’t applying yourself.  A life triangle of sorts; A trio which belongs on one’s Life Plate.

So, I drew out a little 45-45-90 triangle, symbolizing my ‘output’ in the world. At 90 degrees, I wrote in my largest focus: school. The other two angles, each 45 degrees, get equal attention, and luckily in my case, overlap: “work” and “creativity”: yoga and writing. All support one another, forming a nice little triangle to fit on a maneagable, stimulating, well-rounded, yet not overtaxing life plate.

Dreams are such blessings; I encourage everyone to scribble even a few words upon waking to stimulate dream recall. The subconscious has much to tell us about ourselves, and I think it takes getting to know yourself well enough to know what should–and should not– make it into your triangle. That is, if you are a triangle person. Perhaps you are one of those people who can fit a square or even a hexagon onto their lifeplate…

What’s up on your triangle? What’s your 90-degree focus, and what are your 45-degree angles supporting it? Or are you balancing a square or hexagon on your plate? Maybe you’ve chosen one focus, a circle? Please comment below, would love to hear your thoughts!

Be. Here. Now.

“This is the reason I’m back here. Now, I get it.”

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I’d left so much of myself here. I’m tied here. My past is here,

the happiness and the pain.

And I’d irresponsibly left it in a storeroom.

I’d traveled here and there, and everywhere, all the while

out of sight, didn’t necessarily mean out of mind.

Sifting through the storage unit, I was dutifully listening to the wonderful Hay House Radio App (download it, it’s free!), when opening a random box stopped me in my tracks. Opening this box was like opening a box of treasure.

I kid you not, gold light seemed to spill out upon opening my cardboard box of treasure…

It seemed I’d stumbled on a box of “me”.

Who I was before all of ‘this’, before the gypsy travelling, the yoga trainings and teachings (when I packed this box, most likely in a hurry before hopping a plane to Seoul, I’d recently become a devotee of Bikram, but didn’t even know what a Sutra was, knew I loved the chanting music played at Bryan Kest Power Yoga but no idea this devotional chanting is named ‘Kirtan’, and thought Ayurveda was some kind of mystical shampoo)…

The energy of the box encompassed “me” before travelling, just an early twenty something from California who loved collecting bikinis and laying out on the beach, exploring the Santa Monica and Channel Islands Farmer’s Markets, spending a day wine tasting in Downtown Ventura or Paso Robles, refurbishing furniture from thrift stores into Beach and Shabby Chic and listening to Classic Rock, dayhiking in Malibu…a young and somewhat naiive me… a ‘me’ before a massive love and heartbreak which would rock me to the core. The aforementioned which was the very impetus to make me question who I am, my reactions, how I relate to the world, get back to my roots and what makes me tick, and most importantly, teach me how it feels to be human and love. Love and the sheer pain of losing it–and I would never take this feeling back for the world. Anyways…I digress…the treasure box…

Although none of my friends would remotely call me a simple person, I have to say, this box encompassed a simpler time. Even my signature vanilla perfume was at the top of the box, along with a framed tear out from an inspiring book which quoted, “Every Day is a Good Day“.

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Treasure Box.

I had to revisit. Remember who I was. Remember how present, or not present, I was in each chapter of my life. This “letting go” couldn’t have happened in Hawaii, Asia, or elsewhere. I realize that now, it’s time to fully be here and live my life. The message is loud and clear. It’s come from so many sources all along. I’m heeding the advice now.

Live my life. Be here now. Be fully present where I am now.

And today, it’s letting go of my past by clearing out what’s mine in the store room. Old photographs, knick knacks, clothing, stuff. Most things are neutral, others bring joy, and some hold painful memories. Especially satisfying is getting rid of these things that leave even an inkling of an ‘ick’ feeling; keeping little scraps of things that give a ‘good’ feeling and select photos worth adding to the scrapbook reminds me how connection and love make the world go ’round (even when I feel like disconnecting for a bit to go in introvert mode).

Oh, and definitely keeping a few bikinis 😉

Hosting a yard sale this weekend, wish me luck!

Remember, out of sight does not necessarily mean out of mind, whether subconsiously or conciously.

What have you not let go of, and how may it be affecting you? I want hear all about it! Leave comments below.

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A Little Bit of Inspiration Lately, says the Universe

photo @ Kalani Oceanside Retreat, Pahoa, Hawaii.

..you know when you just know…

you’re no longer where the universe wants you to be?

“Okay, your work here is done, 

the lessons you needed to learn are learned.

you met who you need to meet.

that little part of your soul is healed.

yes, I did hear you pray.

and here is the next step”

 

An itch in the bones, 

a sudden burst of energy, 

a sudden desire to start downsizing, 

clean out the closet, give things away…

it’s been brewing about a month now…

no longer feeling like hermitting in Lanikai…

suddenly thrown into limbo 

just when I thought things were settling into a nice little routine…

feeling like going out into the world and doing something.  

something.

something sustainable.  something fresh.  

something where you don’t need much but some good people, 

knowledgable people to learn from,

nature, 

and ono grindz (that’s Hawaiian for “good food”).  

  yes yes.  that’s where we’re headed… 

 Amid the limbo, I randomly hopped on a plane for a week of feeding the spirit at Kalani Oceanside Retreat, 

an intentional community off-the-grid on Big Island,

where one year ago participated in a one month intensive training that I’m sure has changed my life, 

yoga practice, and course to the most positive…

 Surprising a dear friend from last year’s training, Winnie, 

who I found out just a couple days before was visiting Kalani from far far away on the mainland,

 I just knew I had to go…again, in my bones…

and with a synchronistic week off work, originally intended for Kauai,

I rerouted straight to off-the-grid Pahoa.

(we proceeded to camp in the Kalani jungle together in a tent with wi-fi, giggles, 

and of course very serious discussion us yogis tend to have), 

photo @ Yoga Sutras Philosophy Discussion

Sadhana Pada (2nd Chapter)

“Action Plan” for breezing through life as a yogini

(go ahead, read it!)


…hung out and participated as a fly on the wall for six days of asana and philosophy with my teachers 

and their new class of 20 amazing souls (mahalo Alicia and Oliver!),

 Painted, swam, and just talked story with our teachers’ daughter, the coolest 4 year old ever and def the lil’ sis I always wanted…

learned a bit about the aina (land), plants
permaculture, and aquaponics from Horticulture specialist, Barcus, @ Kalani
leaf from the Autograph Tree

As this shift is happening, a wonderful gift from my little Bro 

–who’s not so little at 6’4 and built like a linebacker 

and will indeed kick your ass if you mess with his sis 😉 —

popped up on my Facebook wall.  

It indeed came at just the right time, a reminder of where we come from 

and to risk following your heart, your dreams, speaking your mind

to communicate authentically

to persevere

to dream

to not just try, but do

no matter what adversity…

and 

that everything always works out…