The Excitement of Change

As I enter this new year, I am full of hope and excitement. Like I mentioned in Monday’s post, I’ve learned that leaning into the many curve balls in life, prepares you for success. It is often these unexpected changes that are, in fact, the serendipitous moments that stretch you and allow you to grow. So, why do we always seem to resist change? Partly, because it is painful. It’s painful to shed an old layer of skin. It’s like a sunburn, as we wait for a new, stronger layer to emerge. But it’s a necessary part of life. It’s the only way we can become the best version of ourselves.

I wanted to include an exerpt of one of my posts from last year. The inspiration came from an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. I caught myself rewinding the last 2 minutes over and over again to hear Dr. Meredith Grey’s voiceover talk about the concept of change. I’ve included it below:

“When we say things like, ‘people don’t change’, it drives scientists crazy. Because change is literally the only constant in all of science. Energy, matter – it’s always changing……morphing……merging…….growing……dying. It’s the way people try NOT to change that is unnatural – the way we cling to what things were instead of letting them be what they are; the way we cling to old memories instead of forming new ones; the way we insist on believing, despite every scientific indication, that anything in this lifetime is permanent. Change IS constant. How we experience change……..that’s up to us. It can feel like death, or it can feel like a second chance at life. If we open our fingers, loosen our grips, go with it, it can feel like pure adrenaline. Like at any moment, we can have another chance at life…….like at any moment, we can be born all over again”.

Remember, that when we can embrace change, we have a choice to reinvent ourselves. Like, Dr. Grey says, it can feel like pure adrenaline that becomes the fuel to push us forward. When we can expect that change WILL happen, we can begin to brew some excitement at the possibilities that lie before us. We get to choose whether we resist and stay wrapped up in our comfort zone, or we can choose to fly. This year, I’m choosing to see the world from all angles and embrace the unexpected. I hope you will, too!

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! 

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.

Happiness in the Blue Zone

Research shows that our inclination to be happy is only 50% dependent on our genes.  So what if you weren’t born with the happiness gene?  The great news is that the other 50% is largely dependent on external factors and circumstances.  It is true that we can’t control everything that happens in life, but there may be a way to lean into a happier life. 

New York Times best selling author, Dan Buettner has been gaining a lot of publicity recently with his new book release, THRIVE: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way. 

Buettner has teamed up with National Geographic to research some key happiness contributers and their relationship to longevity.  It has led them to areas known as the “Blue Zones”, where people are reporting a high level of wellbeing.  The team found that there were essentially six life domains, or thrive centers that were common denominators for life satisfaction.  They include the following:

1. Community – the places people thrived most were those that made them feel safe and those that provided opportunities to walk – cities that had large sidewalks, outdoor cafes, parks, and gardens (way to go, San Luis Obispo, CA! – noted to be the happiest place to live in the U.S.)

2. Work – Do you enjoy your work?  Do you work close to your home? Do you regularily take vacations?  Turns out that all three factors contribute to your wellness.

3. Social Life – I once read that you become the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with most.  If that were the case, wouldn’t you want to surround yourself with positive people?  Having a close knit of dependable friends is crucial for wellbeing, according to Beuttner.

4. Financial Life – apparently, the old saying “money can’t buy happiness” may be true.  According to the research, after the basic necessities of life are met (food, shelter, health insurance), money will bring about only short-lived happiness.  The key to long-term financial wellness is to “save mindlessly and spend thoughtfully”.

 5. Home – Creating an environment that is clear of clutter, planting a garden, and surrounding yourself with items that hold meaning to you will all facilitate a happy demenor.  Beuttner also recommends creating a room where you can engage yourself in challenging, yet meaningful activities/hobbies. 

6. Self – This takes us back to Monday’s post.  It is incredibly important to know your own strengths, values, talents, and passions.  Turns out that the people that were happiest in life knew what made them unique.

I think Beuttner’s book gives us a lot to think about.  It shows us that happiness is something that we can lean into by making a few adjustments in our life.  I can’t wait to read the whole book!

Bending One Branch at a Time

“The most rigid structures, the most impervious to change, will collapse first”.  ECKHART TOLLE, A New Earth

When I think about change, I think about a tree that, despite being rooted in the ground, has the ability to sway and bend its branches in all directions. The greater the winds and storms, the stronger those branches become.  So can all of us, if we make room for a little flexibility in our minds. 

I thought I’d end this week with a few questions for us to think about. 

  • What change(s) could you make that could potentially bring more excitement, growth, and opportunity into your life?
  • What is the last major change you made in your life?  Was it a scary?  Looking back on that change, has it been beneficial?
  • How have you handled unexpected changes in your life?  How did those experiences shape you? 

Have a great weekend!


7 Ways to Embrace Change

If you’ve ever resisted change in your life (I know that I have!), you’ve likely chosen to as a result of fear – fear of uncertainty.  Change is scary, even if it’s change that you’ve been seeking.  It’s even scarier when you haven’t expected it and your life is turned upside down.  There are many of us who let our fear of change trap us into a life that is unfulfilling and unhappy.   As a result, we are not really living, but rather staying tight in our buds. 

Arina Nikitina, in her blog, talks about an acronym for F.E.A.R. which really spoke to me.  It stands for False Evidence Appearing Real.  We create this “evidence” in our minds to keep ourselves from going with the flow.  We lose sight of our goals and, thus become immobile.  If you want to overcome your fears and learn to embrace change, Arina gives a few great tips.  I’ve added hers, along with some of my own from experience.

1) Stop and take a Moment

When change is unexpected, it is oftentimes traumatizing.  Take the time to breathe and nurture yourself as you process through what is going on.  Nothing has to be done right away, and actually sometimes it’s best to sit with it for a while.  That little bit of time can allow you to create an action plan for next steps.

2) Take small steps 

Create short-term goals first.  They should be attainable and specific to you.  Write them out and review them daily, so they become a part of your subconcious.  You have to be willing to create shifts from the inside before they can arrive on the outside.

 3) You are your own worst critic. 

Remember, no one judges you with the intensity that you judge yourself.  Often, you fear this false judgment as you seek approval or wonder how you will be perceived.  No matter what change is happening in your life, you have to be true to yourself.

 4) Stay positive and focused.

Envision positive changes and expect them to show up.  You must continue to do the work and be focused on the direction you want to go.   If you’re not sure, keep asking yourself until you get the answer.  It will eventually come.

5) Accept failure as part of change

Things do not always go our way. We will fail. It is not the failure that we should focus on but what we learned from the experience. Change your mindset to look at failure as an opportunity to grow and to learn.  The most successful people have used their failures as expected stepping stones to climbing their ladder.

6) Allow change to happen.

After you have done all that you can within your control, you have to surrender. Sometimes, there’s no other way but to step aside and allow things to happen.

7)  Know in your heart that change WILL move you forward.

There is a lot that is unseen, unknown, and uncertain in this world.  It doesn’t always make sense.  But in the grand scheme of your life, there’s no doubt that change will always transform you in some way.

From Caterpillar to Butterfly

If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.  ~Author Unknown

A friend of mine gave me a beautiful card last summer when I was going through some transitions in my life.  You may have read it somewhere before, as well.  It stated, “Just when the caterpillar thought its life was over, it turned into a butterfly”.  I thought it to be such a fitting analogy for life.  It got me thinking about the 4 stages, or transitions, of the life of this intricate creature from caterpillar to butterfly.  In order to eventually arrive at the stage of butterfly, the caterpillar needs to change – not just change, but it has to embrace this change.  There  is a difference.  Imagine if the caterpillar resisted the inevitable fact that its purpose IS to change.  What if it stopped eating and thus failed to expand enough to have the strength to build its cocoon?  Change was part of it’s DNA whether it liked it or not.  If it did not morph into who it was supposed to become, it would die.

As I stated in one of my earlier posts, change is truly the only constant in our lives.  Do we all struggle with change to a certain degree?  Absolutely.  But, like the caterpillar-butterfly, change WILL happen whether we want it or not.  It’s how we handle it that will determine the outcome of our lives.  It can either happen to us without our knowledge or we can actively seek it.  Either way, it happens for us.  It gives rise to opportunities that we can’t yet see.  Through the caterpillar’s struggles, it develops wings. We can also find that, through our own struggles, we will develop new skills and be engaged in a world we never thought possible. 

In our lives, we are constantly morphing and changing.  Sometimes, that process is painful, like a sunburn, as we shed our outer layers to give rise to a new a skin beneath.  This happens on a physical and mental level.  It is a necessary process that is embedded within us, allowing us to grow.  The poet, Nikki Giovanni says, “Embrace the change, no matter what it is; once you do, you can learn about the new world you’re in and take advantage of it,” she says. “You still bring to bear all your prior experience, but you’re riding on another level. It’s completely liberating.” 

Riding on another level……isn’t that the truth!  Remember, a butterfly can see the world in a way that the caterpillar never would.  By embracing change, you can, too!

Deepali’s piece of wellness:  Don’t be afraid of change.  Use it and let it steer your course.

Belief in Spirit

Every year millions of us blow out our birthday candles and make a wish.  We pray for a loved one in the hospital.  We have those visceral signs that guide us in making big life decisions.  The common denominator in those instances is that, for most of us, we believe there is a power outside of us that is accessible through hope, faith, or prayer.  Be it God, the universe, or a higher Spirit, we feel a sense of peace when we hand over many of our trials and tribulations over to something greater than ourselves.

Our spiritual wellness encompasses the deeper part of who we are – it encapsulates our core values and beliefs, our life purpose and the meaning it holds for us.  That awareness we have brings us closer to the divine “higher” power we believe will carry us through.  In essence, it lives within us.  Studies have already shown the benefits that spirituality plays in our lives.  Those that practice accessing the deeper parts of themselves and believe that the Universe/God is on their side, have been noted to have reduced stress and lower blood pressure.  I think it is definitely a contributor to our wellness quotient.

I know that lately I have attempted to access my spiritual energy and reach for guidance from the Universe.  I am having to make some big life-changing decisions and have been in a frenzy about it.  There are inevitable fears, doubts, frustration, and resistance.  I’ve been forced to ask myself some difficult questions.  Chatting with some good friends over ice cream last night, I was reminded of  my ability to choose my thoughts.  Negative thoughts often brew negative outcomes.  It’s that simple, self-fulfilling prophecy, or the Law of Attraction.  Why not be excited at the opportunity of something new and live in the light of the life ahead?  How would that change the perception of my reality?  I know that by silencing my mind, through yoga/meditation/prayer, I will be able to find the answers.  I just need to trust and take heed to the signs that will present themselves around me.  And I trust that you all will, too!  ****More on Spirit Wednesday!

Deepali’s piece of wellness:  Believe in a power greater than your physical self…..there is more to you than meets the eye!

Change IS the only constant

I’ve gotten back into watching Grey’s Anatomy on Thursday nights.  This has been a decent season.  There was one episode several weeks ago that I luckily had DVR’d.  I caught myself rewinding the last 2 minutes over and over again to hear Dr. Meredith Grey’s voiceover talk about  the concept of change.  I’ve included it below:

“When we say things like, ‘people don’t change’, it drives scientists crazy.  Because change is literally the only constant in all of science.  Energy, matter – it’s always changing……morphing……merging…….growing……dying.  It’s the way people try NOT to change that is unnatural – the way we cling to what things were instead of letting them be what they are; the way we cling to old memories instead of forming new ones; the way we insist on believing, despite every scientific indication, that anything in this lifetime is permanent.  Change IS constant.  How we experience change……..that’s up to us.  It can feel like death, or it can feel like a second chance at life.  If we open our fingers, loosen our grips, go with it, it can feel like pure adrenaline.  Like at any moment, we can have another chance at life…….like at any moment, we can be born all over again”.

I thought this was beautiful, and very true.  Why is it that we resist what IS?  I am guilty of this like 99% of the population.  But I do strive to go with the flow……to avoid fighting with myself and paddling upstream.  It’s so much easier to let go……but letting go, often DOES mean to let something in you die, in order to give birth to something else.  And, like Dr. Grey stated so eloquently, we can either keep focused on the death or feel the adrenaline from experiencing a new life.

My first post…….

Welcome to my blog!  I’m very excited to begin.  When I thought about the title I would use, I thought about what the word “wellness” meant to me.  It’s certainly the buzzword all over town these days.  Being of East Indian descent, I wanted to use a word from the ancient language of Sanskrit to describe how wellness pertains to all of us.  The word “kriya” fit.  Kriya literally means ‘the action of the soul’.  We are all on this journey to live our fullest potential – from the aspects of mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. The soul is always evolving……it is, therefore, always in motion.  In yogic terms, this starts with our breath.  The wellness kriya, to me, is the process by which we all strive to become more of who we truly are…….that perfect, authentic self that  lies deep within us.  We accomplish this by engaging and incorporating 7 actions  – the ingredients that I feel make up, what I call, our wellness quotient.  Those seven kriyas are:  Exercise the Mind & Body, Take a Risk, Feel Gratitude, Be Present, Believe in Spirit, Embrace Change, and Let Go.  Living our lives with these actions in mind will increase our wellness quotient and allow us to follow our truth.  Each week we will look closely at one of these categories.   My purpose is to empower others to believe in themselves and to provide teaching tools for unleashing their true potentials.  Let’s start peeling down the layers and get to the core!