The Freedom in Love

As we approach the weekend, think about creating love in your life by exuding it from within. When we can feel it within ourselves first, it is easy to notice that it exists in every place, every experience, and in every breath. There is freedom to go in any and all directions when you carry love and compassion in your heart.

May today there be peace within.
May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others.
May you use the gifts you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.

It is there for each and every one of us…….

-Mother Teresa

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Warm Holiday Wishes

I wanted to take this moment to extend my warmest wishes to all my readers and their families for a happy holiday season.  I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to create this site in 2011.  You have all given me so much inspiration with your visits, comments and support to keep the Wellness Kriya site alive!  My hope is that it has been a little sanctuary to visit – a place to be inspired, motivated, and empowered to live your life with the highest wellness quotient.  We each have tremendous strength within us to navigate through all of life’s challenges and enough grace to relish in the goodness of it.  

For 2012, I challenge YOU to take risks in your life that expand you further than you thought possible, fuel your soul by exercising your mind and body, live authentically in the present moment, know that change is inevitable, and learn to embrace it by letting go of all that does not serve you, believe in spirit and be encouraged that something larger is working on you, through you and for you, be grateful for all that flows into your life.  May your lives continue to flourish in unimaginable ways!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You! 

Living In Between the Answers

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. 

Do not now seek the answers which cannot be given to you, because you would not be able to live them.  And the point is to live everything. 

Live the questions now.  Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”   -Ranier Maria Rilke

I first heard this quote read by my yoga instructor at the end of one of our sessions.  It got me thinking about how much we try to make sense of things that happen around us – especially, when they involve pain and suffering. 

We spoke Monday about learning how to ride the wave of our lives.  How do we navigate through the inevitable turmoil, stress, and pain that are part of the natural wave?  What can we do to nurture ourselves as we move through the challenges?  I came up with a few strategies.

1.  Take a moment.  Give yourself permission to feel what you’re feeling.  If emotions arise, let them come to the surface, instead of pushing them down.  Take time out of your day to be still – even if it’s only for a few minutes.  Too often, we try to fill our days so we don’t have to feel, when in reality, giving our emotions the space they need, will help cleanse the mind. 

2.  Move your Body.  We all know how closely linked our minds and bodies are.  During times of high stress, exercising is a great remedy.  Maybe you take a walk outdoors and breathe in some fresh air.  Perhaps, you sign up for a yoga class.  Maybe you recruit a good friend to be a running buddy.  Make some form of exercise a priority.

3.  Find Support.  Remember, we can’t go through life alone.  Lean on the people in your life that you trust and who have your best interest at heart.  Share your feelings, and allow them to be your safety net.  Often, we will find that those closest to us have gone through similar circumstances and give us solace that we are not alone.  Sometimes, that’s enough.

4.  Focus on Gratitude.  This is such a powerful tool to help us through any tough time.  Remind yourself of the things that are going right in your life (and, I guarantee, there are MANY).  I have a gratitude journal that I keep.  You may want to start by writing 5 things you are grateful for when you first start your day or before you go to bed.  There will soon be a shift in your perception.

5.  Feed your Soul.  There are many different ways to do this.  Give your soul the love it needs.  What are the simple things that give you pleasure?  Maybe it’s taking a warm bath or booking a massage for yourself.  Maybe you relish reading a good book on your couch.  Perhaps, you spend some quality time with your spouse or kids cooking a meal together.  How about that painting class you’ve been meaning to sign up for?  Whatever it is that brings you some small level of joy, provide it to yourself. 

6.  Accept Where You Are.  This is challenging for many of us.  We want so badly to be out of our circumstance.  But when we can fully embrace this time as just part of our journey, we realize that the wave never stands still.  It is always moving forward, as we will, too.    

Can you create some space to live between the answers?  Can you live and love the questions that arise? 

Searching for the Wave

In life, there are always ebbs and flows.  Just as the ocean waves have peaks and troughs, so do our life circumstances.  We all have stressors in our lives and situations that can bring about pain.  They could be physical discomforts, such as stubbing your toe or living with chronic back pain.  They could involve emotional upheavals, such as the end of a relationship or a painful past that you have yet to face.  There could be financial turmoil or the death of a loved one that prompts you to question your spiritual beliefs.  

Many people in my life have recently gone through life-changing circumstances, including myself.  The questions are always so similar.  How do I get through this?  What is this supposed to mean?  Which way do I go?  I was counseling someone the other day on moving through the pain.  I’ve learned that the only way out is through.  That literally means being present in full form, taking one day at a time, one step at a time, one breath at a time.  It doesn’t mean that you have the answers, and most likely you won’t for some time.  It means that you just take the next step in the right direction.  That might mean that you commit to getting out of bed every morning, and that’s it.

They say that out of pain comes growth and transformation.  It’s difficult to believe when you’re in the midst of it all.  However, for many, it is a pivotal time in their lives.  It may be the first time that they reflect or ask questions of themselves that they couldn’t have imagined asking.  It involves exercising the mind in a completely different way.  It may feel sometimes like you’re walking directly into the fire.  Elizabeth Lessor, author of the best-seller, “Broken Open”, speaks about this beautifully in her book.  When we begin to take the next step in the right direction through our pain, we will eventually begin to feel subtle rises in our soul and in the wave of our lives.  **Check in Wednesday for some tips on navigating through stressors and painful times.

Deepali’s Piece of Wellness:  Think back to a time in your life that you were in pain – physically, emotionally, or mentally.  How did that shape who you’ve become today?  Was there anything you learned from it?  If you’re in the midst of pain, can you tune into your breath, if only for a few moments?

More Life Lessons from an African Safari

No other place in the world has brought me such a feeling of closeness to life and the earth as when I was in Africa.  There was a feeling of connectedness to land and life in its beginnings.  It was the simplicity with which all creatures lived their lives.  Being on safari, I learned a few lessons from several of the animals.   *Click on the pictures to obtain larger images.

1.  Zebra.  I remember a pair of lions that were crouching in the grassy brush, plotting an attack on a herd of zebra.  They each scoped out a different direction.  I had to put my camera down and trade it for my binoculars to observe this rare opportunity.  To the dismay of the lions, the intuitiveness of one of the zebra pulled the herd in another direction and they all ran off.  There was no way for the zebra to actually see the lions from where he stood.  He just sensed it as I saw his ears twitch, his body contract and his face become more alert.  The lesson:  Don’t discount the power of your intuition.  Sometimes, that is the only guidance you receive to make a smart decision.

2.  Lion.  Though the example above showed how intuition can help guide one species, it shows the perseverence of another.  I doubt the pair of lions decided after that defeat to give up hunting.  Once again, it is survival of the fittest.  They must continue to try again in order to live.  The lesson:  Success only comes from perseverence.  Failures are the catalyst, or the fuel, that we can use to our advantage if we choose. 

3.  Cheetah.  The cheetah is a solitary animal, meaning it hunts and gathers on its own.  Though it is one of the fastest animals, it is also the most vulnerable.  If it gets sick or injured, it will likely starve to death.  The lesson:  You may think you can fly solo in life, but allowing others to lend a helping hand on your journey can make the flight smoother.

4.  Elephant.  The African elephant is the largest land mammal in the world.  When I looked into the eyes of these soulful creatures, I saw peace.  They are herbivores and pretty much stay out of the way of other animals.  And because of their size, they are rarely preyed upon.   Despite weighing between 6-7 tons, they walk quietly and are not aggresive animals.  The lesson:  No matter how powerful you are (literally or figuratively), true respect is earned through humility.

5.  Leopard.  We were lucky to see leopards on our safari, as they are usually camouflauged in trees in a distance.  They use trees to their advantage, as they are able to see an aerial view of the surroundings below.  They can take inventory and decide when to make a move.  The lesson:  Have a vision, do the research, and then act.  Your life depends on it.

I think animals have a lot to teach us.  So many of our wellness concepts are interwoven in them.  We may be more advanced from an evolutionary perspective, but sometimes there is much to learn from our primal predecessors.

A Lesson from the African Animals

“Jaambo” to all my readers!  I can hardly believe I had the opportunity to visit the amazing land of East Africa last month.  This was an experience like no other I have had in my life.  By far, the best part of the trip was being on safari – being a voyeur into the lives of hundreds of animals in their own habitat.  I remember sitting in a 15-seater plane, flying over the magestic Serengeti, looking down at one of the largest game reserves in Africa, extending from Northern Tanzania to Kenya.   

It is an indescribable feeling to watch animals living within their natural environment.  There is a sense of peace and calm as the wildebeests gather around the water hole, the giraffes stretch their long legs with a dainty gait, a baby elephant nurses, a sleeping leopard rests a paw off a tree branch.  One of the things we know about animals living in a shared enviroment with other animals is that it is all about survival.  In order to survive, or should I say thrive, in their environment they must pay attention.  They have to take heed to all the  signals around them all the time.  They must be present to what is happening in the moment – all the time.  Without being present, they could lose the opportunity to find food/prey or, rather be the one preyed upon.  Without using their natural instincts, they would lose direction during a migration.  Without paying attention, they might never learn to be self-sufficient and, in turn, teach their offspring how to survive.  Animals must be present to what is before them in order to adapt to life.  Humans are no different.

I noticed on my safari that life for the animals is a series of present moments strung together – after all, isn’t that what it should be?  Although as humans we are not forced to always be in flight or fight mode from being preyed upon, many of us live in a constant state of stress which can mimick the same response in our bodies.   We do this when we spend time analyzing and re-analyzing the past, bringing it into our present day.  We do this when we refuse to accept what is.  We do this when we resist that people in our lives are anything other than who they are.  Why do we do this?  Because we don’t have the answers we need.  Because we long for something that is “long gone”.  Because we identify with some form of ourselves that we miss.  Unfortunately, what we really miss are the opportunities that lie before us today.  As cliche as it is, we truly only have the present moment.  Animals know this on a very raw, visceral level.  Their lives depend on it.  In many ways, so do ours.  **More life lessons from Tanzania on Wednesday!

Deepali’s Piece of Wellness:  This week, give yourself permission to be aware of your surroundings and utilize all your senses.  Where are your instincts leading you?  Can you trust them?  Challenge yourself to be present and awake this week.

The simple pleasures

The other evening, as I stepped out of my home to take a jog, I noticed a beautiful sunset through the corner of my eye.  It wasn’t just any sunset – there was a radiance of bright, orange hues illuminating the sky, and the sun appeared unbelievably large with a wavey outline over the horizon.  It was as though it was just sitting on the grassy area behind the trees.  I was only able to catch glimpses of the rays from where I stood, so I turned toward it and walked closer.  I had to cross a busy intersection and take a turn around the path to make it through the trees.  When I got there, just a minute or two later, it was gone.  The sun had set, and the sky immediately began to turn shades of pink and purple.  I was still in awe of how beautiful it had looked and was happy I got to experience it for a brief moment. 

How quickly moments pass us by.  When we pause and appreciate the beauty of a moment, we drink the juice of life.  Don’t be in such a rush.  I tell myself this, often.  Remember, to use the six senses we have (I consider “intuition” our sixth sense!).  What can you sense from your ability to see, hear, smell, touch, taste, and feel in the moment?

Being present means showing up….as in NOW.  It’s not about carrying around our heavy baggage from the past.  It’s not about constantly lunging forward to the next best thing.  It means NOW.  Take a moment today to pause……savor the simple pleasures.