For quite sometime now, I have been taking steps towards living a life that is in sync with the things I believe in. To best explain what that really means is that, Ahimsa, one of the five yamas in the Eight Limbs of Yoga, states that;
"The word ahimsa literally mean not to injure or show cruelty to any creature or any person in any way whatsoever. Ahimsa is, however, more than just lack of violence as adapted in yoga. It means kindness, friendliness, and thoughtful consideration of other people and things. It also has to do with our duties and responsibilities too. Ahimsa implies that in every situation we should adopt a considerate attitude and do no harm."
A plant based diet seemed like a good place to start, but then what about the shoes? Clothes? Lifestyle? It didn't happen all at once, but it seemed like a natural progression. I started eliminating the things in my life that did not feel like Ahimsa. And the more I do it, the better I feel.
Shampoo was the first place I started, since it's the personal care item I probably buy the most. And slowly but surely, I am replacing the make-up in my cosmetics bag. Mascara is the first to go and I'm giddy to do it. I won't share pictures of how mascara is tested on animals, that's not my thing. But no animal should suffer simply because I want my eyes to "pop".
Bye, bye Cover Girl and your torturous ways and hello Pacifica! I found this brand while strolling the lanes of Target one day. They have a nice little section of products by them and carry several other brands that are cruelty free as well. I generally just google a name brand through Siri before buying it and ask if the product tests on animals. Before purchasing your next beauty item, put that cell phone to use! See if it loves Fido and Tabby just as much as we do. Xx
When I enjoy something, I usually jump all in. If it's music, I play the song over and over at full blast. If it's food, I eat it several times a week until I'm sick of it. And when it comes to tv shows, I pretty much bing watch until it's all over and then, not watch another show for months.
My latest love is the Fabulous Beekman Boys. I originaly watched a show of theirs a while ago, but I don't remember when or where. The boyfriend and I both had heard of the them, and on one lazy weekend, we decided that we wanted to watch it even if it meant buying it off Amazon. We lit a fire and sat back to enjoy a night of sweet couples bickering, business strategies and playful goats bleeting and getting trouble. This show is about a coulple from New York that stumble on to a farm for sale, while out apple picking one weekend. They fall in love with a place called Sharon Springs and the Beekman Farm that resides there. The Beekman Mansion is up for sale and the rest is history. They soon found themselves turning the weekend retreat into a full fledged business when they lose their jobs in the recession and wind up devoting themselves to not just living off the land they live on, but turning it into a business as well.
The sweetness factor lies in the goats. When they hire a farmer to help them along the way, he brings his goat squad with him and the idea to create goat soap and cheese is born. It's funny, it's informative and it's adorable to watch.
Spend some time with me and you'll soon learn that I am in awe of the world around me. I, very often, will have to stop and look, watch or admire things I see in nature. I marvel at the simple, crazy beauty of trees, flowers and the sky above. I'm hopeless in the fall! My girls will start to roll their eyes because I have to gasp or even stop at every beautiful tree we pass.
When looking at nature, I can't help but think of a quote;
"We are all the same, just different" - Dhali Lama
At first look, you can't deny that we all have a beauty about us, it's very easy to see because it's right there on the surface. But the longer I looked at nature, the more time I spend in it, you quickly learn that things are not always as they seem. Take these flowers for example, they look flawless at first glance, but if you look closly, you start to see flaws and slight imperfections. Parts of the petals are faded or have been chewed off by a visitor. And still no two petals or flowers are ever the same, each one is totally unique.
As for us, we can quickly glance at one another and see beauty on the surface, but the longer you spend time with someone, really getting to know them and observe, you will start to see those parts of their "petals" that are discolored or have been eaten away. Imperfections start to reveal themselves. We can see these flaws and attach ourselves to them thinking that this someone is less than acceptable, or we can realize that untouched nature can be the closest thing to perfection, if there exists such a thing, and even that is flawed. Beauty, real beauty encompasses flaws and all. We all walk around with parts of us missing, discolored at times, so embrace your flaws because they are part of what makes you perfect.
Perfectly Flawed, Flawed Perfectly
A few weeks ago, I went to the doctor and received a diagnosis that I had already prepared myself for. She confirmed my suspicions about having arthitis in both of my knees. And while I knew from the sounds I could hear in my joints when climbing the stairs or practicing yoga that what she said was definetly true, I was shocked and instantly angry. I have an active life! I work in the fitness industry! I take care of myself. I have plans for my future that do not involve tiptoeing around sore or painful joint issues. My doctor didn't seem to notice or didn't care about discussing what this meant to me or what to expect from this new body of mine. And I was still in a state of shock, so I didn't think to ask. How could this happen to ME? was all I kept thnking. I also heard a voice in the back of my head telling me to pull it together, this is not the end of the world. Plenty of people get ddisgnosed with arthitis every day. Stop your whining, right? But I couldn't help it. I felt those 3 little words repeating in my head.
IT'S NOT FAIR
IT'S NOT FAIR
IT'S NOT FAIR
I went home and started my reseach and quickly had a slew of questions I didn't have the presence of mind to ask at the time. I stepped away from the web when I had my fill. I didn't want to learn everything all at once. I could only handle a little at a time. I knew this much, theres no reversing the damage an there's no cure.
That night, I listened to an audio book I had already started. The Universe Has Your Back - by Gabrielle Bernstein. She shared some pretty powerful intentions and spoke about trusting the path that's been laid out before you. I decided that the next morning, I would wake up and start my new path...with trust. I would change my morning meditation to reflect my ablilty to have faith, to love my body just as it is now and to let go of expectations.
In the morning, I woke and got down to the floor where I normally meditate. I grabbed my mala beads and started...
When I was done, I practiced on my mat, repeating the same intention;
Afterwards, I started up the audio book again and hopped in the shower. As I was brushing my hair out and listening to the book, Gabby spoke about sending yourself love and healing and finding a place of peace. Just at that some moment, my mentor sent me a text. I received the notification and looked down to read it. It said, "I am sending you love and peace this holiday season" My jaw dropped and I froze on the spot. I paused the book and just stood there for a moment. The universe was indeed sending me a message. I knew then, that everything was going to be ok. My life was not ruined. I needed to let go of my fear and love who I am, arthitis and all. Any goal that I had set is still possible.
I felt a need to somehow symbolicly mesure this moment, so I got the Sharpy out, wrote these two very powerful words on my knees and meditated again.
I TRUST IN LOVE
I TRUST IN LOVE
I TRUST IN LOVE
I learned when I was a teenager, when I continually had trouble with my shoulders dislocating, that My sockets were larger than they should be. I was sent off to physical therapy and told that going forward, I if I had trouble, I wouldhave to keep the muscles surrounding the joint strong enough to hold it all in. The problem with that is, the muscles tend to get over used and then enflamed.
I't s a catch 22. Leave the muscles alone and the joint slides all over, possibly dislocating, strengthen them and risk inflamation. The answer is TUMERIC! Along with ginger, pineapple celery and anything else that has anti-inflamatory benefits. It's been fun discovering different ways to use the spice. You can pretty much put it in anything from eggs, to soups to salad dressing. The downside is that, well, all my food is yellow.
My point is that food is medicine. The food that we eat is meant to nurish us and heal us.
A little boy, just seven years old has taught me much.
I received news this Thursday that a little boy, Chris, who had been fighting a fierce battle with Neuroblastoma for over two years, slipped away and left this world. I do not mean he is completely gone, because I believe everyone we love lives within us. I feel the memories we carry, the moments we shared and the lessons we learned from each other, are a living memory we carry on.
When I found out Chris was ill, and with time, his battle became more intense, I found myself struggling with anger and the need for answers. As I sent this question out to the Universe, over and over, I eventually heard my answer. And this is what it said;
We started as souls, spirits or angels, whichever word you choose. And we saw our life spread out before us. The hard times and the good, the sickness and the celebrations. We saw the people we would love or hate. We saw missed opportunities, failed relationships, trauma and pure joy. And then we chose, very intentionally, our life. We knew, before we arrived, the impact we would have on others, the people we would meet directly, and those who were affected by the work we did. We knew how it would all end, but we chose anyway. Each life has a purpose, a message, an intention. When we hold onto the anger, we are blinded and can’t see the gift that life has given us.
This is the only belief that gives me peace, and takes me away from hopelessness and hate when I see any life suffering. This belief was confirmed when Chris’ mother wrote about the same belief. That her son, from the beginning, knew to live each moment with such intensity because he only had four years before being diagnosed.
Chris has also given me great perspective. Many times, over the last 2 years I have felt my life was at its worst, but then I would hear his mom’s stories about his incredible strength and his hope and I would realize my life is good. If a child is called upon to send us a message, I would not take it for granted for let his suffering be in vain, I would count my blessings and live a life as he once did…..fierce intensity, careless curiosity, and pure joy.
I ask you to listen for the messages others’ lives have sent you, to not take yours for granted, and to live with fierce joy and love.
“people come into our lives for a reason, bringing something we must learn and we are led to those who help us most to grow if we let them and we help them in return” Glinda, The Good Witch of The South