Thursday, August 22, 2013

Ichiro Is My Hero....

photo credit: Debbie Wong

 "Suzuki Reaches 4,000 Hits As Yankees Gain in Playoff Race"

These were the headlines that hit me when I opened up a copy of the New York Times this morning.  I had already watched the game on ESPN the night before.  Now for some of you this may seem like I'm totally running in the other direction with this post since it's regarding sports and all but it really goes beyond that. I've watched Ichiro languish, so to speak, in Seattle with the Mariners. I was a little surprised and honestly felt a little betrayed when I found out he switched teams- especially to the Yankees. (I'm not a huge A-Rod fan.....) but really once I thought about it, it made sense. He wanted to be part of a winning team after all he played for the Mariners for 11 years. He did his time and he tried.  So now those of you that aren't sports fans are saying, "Get to the point already."

Ichiro Suzuki exudes himself as a very humble man. (point #1)  Maybe it's his Japanese culture, I'm not sure but he definitely is the opposite of A-Rod. He expressed he was quite surprised  when his teammates poured out from the dugout to embrace him, forcing the game to be halted for several moments. He made attempts to stop the celebration but heck it's the Yankees and frankly the Yankees do whatever they want.

The second thing that struck me is when they conducted his interview. He addressed the press in his native tongue, in Japanese. he used an interpreter.  He is very proud of his heritage.  His impact to his homeland I can see being phenomenal.  He didn't try to fit into American standards and speak English, not that he can't but he was true to who he is and he's very comfortable with that. (point #2)

Of course I don't know him personally but what I see of his demeanor in the public eye, looks good. Humility and a strong sense of self. That is a good role-model!

photo credit: Debbie Wong

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

a self-made 12 step program for living an authentic life....

Photo: Tumblr.com.
Photo: Tumblr.com.
Troublemakers...copied blog via Tanya Lee Markul (one of my favorite bloggers- she adeptly puts into words about living an authentic life) 

Let us commence with a few wise words from Mr. Timothy Leary:

“Admit it. You aren’t like them. You’re not even close. You may occasionally dress yourself up as one of them, watch the same mindless television shows as they do, maybe even eat the same fast food sometimes. But it seems that the more you try to fit in, the more you feel like an outsider, watching the “normal people” as they go about their automatic existences.
For every time you say club passwords like “Have a nice day” and “Weather’s awful today, eh?”, you yearn inside to say forbidden things like “Tell me something that makes you cry” or “What do you think deja vu is for?”. Face it, you even want to talk to that girl in the elevator.
But what if that girl in the elevator (and the balding man who walks past your cubicle at work) are thinking the same thing? Who knows what you might learn from taking a chance on conversation with a stranger? Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle. Nobody comes into your life by mere coincidence. Trust your instincts. Do the unexpected. Find the others…” 

Scary beginnings, sad endings and all the meaningful stuff in between.

I’m thinking about getting out. I’m antsy and have itchy feet. I’m gonna do it. But it takes time, right? I mean, I can’t just up and go, change or do — or can I? Can you? May I?
For me it’s not really about getting away or going on some worldly exploration, at least not right now. I just want to go deeper into the experience of an authentic life — right now in these shoes or better yet in bare feet.
So, what’s the formula and how I do I put this secret into practice?
I’m up for anything. A new dance step, a more confident voice. I’ll even brush my teeth with my less dominant hand while sending sentiments of love to all the lefties of the world. I’m ready to detoxify, love-ify, sanctify, practice, apply and fulfill with a conscientious and diligent attitude — the padawan’s ageless steps for living an authentic life.
Are you with me?
(A few more ponders, question marks and little corporate digs: How do we get real, step out of the matrix, the simulation, the computer programming? How do we escape The Truman Show? How can I be sure my values are my own? How do we leave our mundane routines yet still survive? How do we stop Dow, Exxon Mobil, Wal-Mart or The Coca-Cola Company from dictating our lives? By the way, do people still believe that Hershey’s is actually chocolate?)
Photo: Tumblr.com.
Photo: Tumblr.com.

I recognize the loop – I’ve just been going round and round and round. 

I’m sure you’ve heard someone else’s broken record declaration of he said this, she said that, that’s the reason why I’m doing this or why I can’t do that, but I’ve realized that the real question is: can you hear your own broken-record-speech?
How do I turn it off? It’s hurting my ears! 
Once I heard my own quadrupled platinum recorded compilation of what ifs, buts, ands, and incessant blame — that frighteningly keeps on playing even without batteries or electricity — I found that all signs lead back to one place. Yes, it all circles back just like a boomerang to Me.
I’ve also recognized that this self-depleting album comes with a range of multiple-choice reactions: A) Secret denial B) Find it repulsive and resort to self-deprecating behavior in order to bury it and not admit to it and C) Don’t know what to do about it so procrastinate and do nothing — enters: mind-numbing self-medication.
Who’s in charge of the life preservers?
The good news is, there’s actually an option D) but you have to really, really want it. It is: Figure It Out.
Photo: Tumblr.com.
Photo: Tumblr.com.

R.I.P. Old Self. You Served a Great Purpose.

As much as I love original recipes, formulas and programs, I often find that along the way, and after much experimentation, failures, tantrums and tears, I have to write my own. I feel that in a way, all of these books, teachers, scholars, gurus and Universal Principles want us to do just that. Through their own sharing of wisdom, experience, and love, they want you to discover your own… dance with me?
So, here are mine. My 12-step program for living an authentic life.
Step #1 – Do You.
Have no apologies for who you are. If you fit in, great. Perhaps you found your tribe. If you don’t fit in, don’t beat yourself up about it. If you feel like the people around you aren’t speaking your language, perhaps it’s time to explore new flocks. Be brave and true to who you are — wearing unnecessary masks just to fit in or avoid facing the reality of YOU can make life feel hopeless and imprisoning! Even in a crowd of faces, it’s easy to feel lonely if we aren’t being ourselves and if the people around us don’t appreciate who we are.
Take back your right to be you in front of everyone and in every situation. When you are yourself, you not only invite others to do the same, but you become a bright watch tower for the people you’d wish would find you.
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir
Step #2 – Let Wildness In.
Stepping into the wilderness does wonders to the vibrational energy of our bodies and our nervous systems. There’s a subtle reassurance that everything you need to know, you already know and everything you don’t know may eventually be revealed in time without struggle and without desperation.
The wilderness strips us of competition and comparison and invites us into a state of peaceful awe. It also offers a reflection of our individual relationship with life versus being just a mere part of the human race. Who are you without people? You may just find this answer in the wild. It’s powerful medicine.
“When you get the blanket thing you can relax because everything you could ever want or be you already have and are.” – Bernard Jaffe, I Heart Huckabees
Step #3 – Hear the Voices.
Open up to your life’s purpose and your heart’s deepest desires by listening to the voices inside of you. There’s a lot of dialogue going on — some incessant, some nonsensical — but if we learn to listen more sincerely, we’ll discover that a deeper, all-knowing conversation is happening. It takes practice to hear this guidance as it takes practice to hear your heart’s desire, to trust your gut and to listen to your intuition.
Pay attention to the whisper and the serendipitous moments that remind you of what’s important to you. Keep listening and keep following the signs. You have the ability to live a life that’s true to who you are and a life that you really want.
Listen like your life depends on it.
“Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts.” — Rita Mae Brown
Step #4 – Take the damn risk already.
Make choices that put yourself first — above everything and everyone else, even those you love and cherish the most. If you don’t take care of yourself, if you don’t do what is best for you, your relationships will eventually suffer. Trust in the fact that doing what is best for you is best for everyone even if it doesn’t feel like it at first. Sometimes sacrifices have to made. People will get hurt and there will be losses, but the rewards gained from following your heart are absolutely everything in comparison.
Do something difficult for no other reason than that you like to do it.
Photo: Google Images.
Photo: Google Images.
Step #5 – Believe.
The secret formula: Believe in yourself and people will believe in you. Don’t give up due to predefined perceptions and limitations of yourself. Don’t give up because of the perceived effort. Millions of people give up before they even get started. They fail to realize their potential and give up as soon as they reach the first hurdle. Why? They don’t believe in themselves.
If you don’t believe in yourself you will end up throwing away your creativity and ideas. On the other hand, if you believe in yourself, you will no matter the outcome, find success even in what you perceive as the greatest of losses.
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” — Anais Nin
Step #6 – Use your body and love who and what you are.
It’s never been about the symmetry of your face or your body. It’s about the light that shines from within.
Have you ever witnessed a person that has been in a tragic, body deforming accident who has come out stronger, more compassionate and yes, even more beautiful? Their light shines so bright that after just a few minutes, you don’t see their asymmetry anymore, you simply feel and connect with their light.
If you see yourself as mere looks, if you believe your worth is merely skin deep, others will see you and judge you the same. Aren’t you more than that? Remember, no matter what you do, your looks will eventually fade. What will remain is the fire that burns within. Stop smothering it with delusional judgements and superficial shape chasing. Stop holding yourself back from life because you don’t believe you look good enough.
Self-love exercise: go look in the mirror and tell yourself: You never ever were more beautiful than you are right now. Believe it.
Use your body in every way that you know how. Allow the intelligence of your vessel to reveal and share with you the secrets of the Universe — the secrets of You.
Step #7 – Defy your genetics.
Evolve from the base point you’ve been born into. Don’t allow the limitations of your parents or their parents deter you from your path. See it all as potential to evolve your bloodline, your genetic makeup, your life to a place where neither you, nor your ancestors, have ever gone before. YOU hold the torch.
If you are the black sheep of the family, be grateful. The path can be lonely, but know that you broke free. Celebrate this freedom.
You are the architect of your existence.
Step #8 – Integrate into wholeness.
Accept all parts of your life. All parts. This is one of the deepest healing elixirs you can ever offer yourself. Allow it all to integrate — your mind with body, your body with spirit and your entire being with all of the experiences of your life. Accept your irrevocable wholeness. When you accept what has been, what you thought was and what is, you loosen your grip on delusions, limitations and stale beliefs that hold you back. What’s left? Space. Space and room to expand into the shape you are naturally, wholly and fully with a deeper sense of truth, wisdom and compassion.
Step #9 – Paint a spectrum of love for all.
Serve and be accepting of others — of what they want to create, what they want to be and what they envision. Remind them to do everything it takes not to fail. Remind them that the bad that comes along with the good is the journey and the most beautiful, most fulfilling experience anyone could ever have. Offer and support a new way of living, thinking, creating, even working — listen and be open to the ways of others.
Have conversations that make you smile and ponder. Offer solutions that bring us closer together versus farther apart.
Step #10 – Take the time to do nothing.
Clear the slate. Erase the chalkboard. Wash it all clean. Don’t do anything. Just let everything be as it is. No matter how it is, no matter what your mind is screaming or what confusion you have in your life, for a few moments or as long as you can each day, let it be. Doing nothing and sitting still, helps us recognize all the ways in which we don’t let go. Explore the profound, beautiful simplicity and subtlety of doing nothing… and all the challenges it endures.
In the most simple instruction from Andrew Cohen: take a seat, be still and don’t do anything.
In the words of The Beatles: Let it be.
Photo: tumblr.com.
Photo: tumblr.com.
Step #11 – Seek connection versus perfection.
Living an authentic life stems from your ability to be self-aware and genuine in the ways in which you express, react, dance, share, create, listen, etc. — in other words, how you connect with yourself and the world around you. Authenticity also heightens from your ability to be aware of when you are being and/or reacting inauthentically.
Being authentic develops a connection with who you truly are, your real essence, and liberates you from the superficial pressures and expectations of always trying to be perfect.
Step #12 – Recognize that you already have everything you need to be you.
Clear away the small minded and limiting ideas of who you are that keep you bound and feeling small, hopeless, even unworthy. You already have everything — everything you need to be you. In the present moment, you have very clear goals. There is much to be done as you are right now.
Discover the clearing, discover the openness and the deepest part of your own Universe. Tap into your unlimited energy and passion to follow-through.

**

Living a life of authenticity is a path of personal evolution – and as with any journey, it’s up to you.
Thank you and I love you.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

What do you use to quantify your self worth?

We have so many gauges we can buy into:


  • Likes on your Facebook page
  • How many friends or followers you have on Facebook
  • Likes on your latest Instagram post
  • Dollars in your bank account/savings account/IRA/401K
  • Credit score
  • The amount left on your student loans/house payments/car payments
  • The number on the scale
  • The number of social events you attend in a season
  • The of children you have
  • GPA
  • The number of colleges you've attended
  • The letters and/or numbers after your name
  • The zip code you live in
  • The number of rooms/bathrooms in your house
  • The number of clients you have
  • Your acquisition/retention numbers
  • The number of miles you run/swim/bike/paddle
  • How many yoga poses you can perform
  • The number of pounds you've lost/bench pressed


Photo credit: @kenindianamerican   (Instagram)
The list could go on endlessly but you get the point.  When we look for self-worth, we want to quantify that in a value, we tend to think when we reach that point it defines us.  We may even go so far as to say we have reached "enlightenment" or have moved into an understanding of light. In the journey it is so often asked of us to trust the move into lightness but if this is really a journey it's not only about the light it's about the dark-- about not only trusting our lightness but our heaviness.  It is not what we have that quantifies our worth but at finding at what that is. We have to look at our darker side to find what really matters and where the light is. This poem written by German poet Rainer Maria Rilke expressed it in these words.

How surely gravity's law,
strong as an ocean current,
takes hold of even the smallest thing
and pulls it toward the heart of the world.

Each thing--
each stone, blossom, child--
is held in place.

Only we, in our arrogance,
push out beyond what we each belong to
for some empty freedom.

If we surrendered
to earth's intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.

Instead we entangle ourselves
in knots of our own making
and struggle, lonely and confused.

So, like children, we begin again
to learn from the things,
because they are in God's heart;
they have never left him.

This is what the things can teach us:
to fall,
patiently to trust our heaviness.
Even a bird has to learn that before he can fly.


So if you want to fly, explore what makes you heavy and then--  FLY!


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

VOTE FOR ME!! VOTE FOR ME!!!

Photo credit: @easyeastsales

I work for a couple magazines, both that are sister publications.  In the time in which I have been involved with this industry I'm amazed at some of the things I see; for instance one of the other magazines (not our publications but another publication altogether) has an award ceremony where people in the industry are nominated as "top xxx" of the year (I don’t wish to go into details or point fingers). Then these people go forth and ask everyone to please vote for them.  Now I have an issue with this, especially as I deepen my practice on and off the mat.  It's not like these men and women are kids.... in high school.... these are GROWN men and women in the industry but it leaves me feeling like we're back in high school. VOTE FOR ME! VOTE FOR ME! Not to mention these are people who I would think have balance in their lives especially since this industry is based on water and balance. It's a lifestyle but they are still missing the mark.  It makes me realize that people are so very insecure and unsure of themselves that they need other people to feed the fragile ego that they have.  What does this accomplish for them? Does it help them in anyway? Do they help others? I have seen how they try to portray themselves in front of the camera so to speak but I know them beyond that and its shameless and sad really.

When I truly started my practice in yoga whole-heartedly it was out of a sense of complete brokenness. I had self-destructed and was desperately trying to put the pieces back together to show that I was whole again. Everything was extremely painful. The strength I have on and off the mat and the space that I've created in my body is a result of a lot of hard work, mostly a lot of letting go.  We hold so much emotion in the body. Practicing yoga is releasing and that is why it is so difficult! Not because we move in different ways or inhale to lift this and exhale to lower that, but because it causes us to be still and mindful and look at WHO we really are. It's not just scratching at the surface of what you don't want to see; it's unveiling all the fears and judgments you have about yourself buried deep inside. It's connecting to what's really true.

And yes, along the way I might pick up some strength and flexibility and ACTUALLY be able to hold paperclip pose longer then 30 seconds- this is a bonus. It's not why I keep returning to my mat every damn day. It's not the purpose of my practice.

When I move deeper into a pose and then push deeper still I move deeper into self-love and self-acceptance. I build my strength to balance steadily in whatever pose I'm in and I build strength to face whatever the world throws at me and when I release that tension from whatever part of my body is holding on to it, I release fear, frustration, sadness and my ego. I have the realization that I have nothing to prove... to anyone. And when I learn to surrender on the mat, I learn to surrender off the mat, to surrender to the present moment. That it is not wholly about me but about others and being mindful. This is the practice. 

No one can do it for you-- you are going to have to do the work yourself but it's attainable right here, right now and you can't get it because someone else voted for you. Don't hold back. You alone can make the difference.

Maturity is not when we start speaking BIG things, it is when we start understanding small things.


Monday, August 5, 2013

No One Owes You Anything....

I just recently discovered Harry Browne. According to Wikipedia, Harry Browne (1933 - 2006) was a free-market libertarian writer and investment analyst who was the Presidential candidate of the United States Libertarian Party in 1996 and 2000. He was also the Director of the American Liberty Foundation. Now I'm not sure what kind of man Harry was outside of  what I've read about him but he wrote the following letter to his then nine-year old daughter. The letter was dated December 25, 1966.  I do not know what others think or will think of this letter but frankly for me it is a thought provoking reminder of expectations I attach to people, outcomes and situations and the potential blame we assign when we don't receive what we have desired.


Harry’s letter to his daughter:

It’s Christmas and I have the usual problem of deciding what to give you. I know you might enjoy many things — books, games, clothes.
But I’m very selfish. I want to give you something that will stay with you for more than a few months or years. I want to give you a gift that might remind you of me every Christmas.
If I could give you just one thing, I’d want it to be a simple truth that took me many years to learn. If you learn it now, it may enrich your life in hundreds of ways. And it may prevent you from facing many problems that have hurt people who have never learned it.
The truth is simply this: No one owes you anything.

Significance

How could such a simple statement be important? It may not seem so, but understanding it can bless your entire life.
No one owes you anything.
It means that no one else is living for you, my child. Because no one is you. Each person is living for himself; his own happiness is all he can ever personally feel.
When you realize that no one owes you happiness or anything else, you’ll be freed from expecting what isn’t likely to be.
It means no one has to love you. If someone loves you, it’s because there’s something special about you that gives him happiness. Find out what that something special is and try to make it stronger in you, so that you’ll be loved even more.
When people do things for you, it’s because they want to — because you, in some way, give them something meaningful that makes them want to please you, not because anyone owes you anything.
No one has to like you. If your friends want to be with you, it’s not out of duty. Find out what makes others happy so they’ll want to be near you.
No one has to respect you. Some people may even be unkind to you. But once you realize that people don’t have to be good to you, and may not be good to you, you’ll learn to avoid those who would harm you. For you don’t owe them anything either.

Living your Life

No one owes you anything.
You owe it to yourself to be the best person possible. Because if you are, others will want to be with you, want to provide you with the things you want in exchange for what you’re giving to them.
Some people will choose not to be with you for reasons that have nothing to do with you. When that happens, look elsewhere for the relationships you want. Don’t make someone else’s problem your problem.
Once you learn that you must earn the love and respect of others, you’ll never expect the impossible and you won’t be disappointed. Others don’t have to share their property with you, nor their feelings or thoughts.
If they do, it’s because you’ve earned these things. And you have every reason to be proud of the love you receive, your friends’ respect, the property you’ve earned. But don’t ever take them for granted. If you do, you could lose them. They’re not yours by right; you must always earn them.

My Experience

A great burden was lifted from my shoulders the day I realized that no one owes me anything. For so long as I’d thought there were things I was entitled to, I’d been wearing myself out —physically and emotionally — trying to collect them.
No one owes me moral conduct, respect, friendship, love, courtesy, or intelligence. And once I recognized that, all my relationships became far more satisfying. I’ve focused on being with people who want to do the things I want them to do.
That understanding has served me well with friends, business associates, lovers, sales prospects, and strangers. It constantly reminds me that I can get what I want only if I can enter the other person’s world. I must try to understand how he thinks, what he believes to be important, what he wants. Only then can I appeal to someone in ways that will bring me what I want.
And only then can I tell whether I really want to be involved with someone. And I can save the important relationships for those with whom I have the most in common.
It’s not easy to sum up in a few words what has taken me years to learn. But maybe if you re-read this gift each Christmas, the meaning will become a little clearer every year.
I hope so, for I want more than anything else for you to understand this simple truth that can set you free:

No one owes you anything. 

What do you think? How did this letter make you feel? Leave your comments below.

For a child who was afraid of heights in a matter of one day
accomplished the talent of ascending and descending freehand bouldering.
photo: Lucy Lucille