trust yourself: everything you need is within you

listen to the wind, it talks. listen to the silence, it speaks. listen to your heart, it knows. – native american saying

good evening, friends. i hope that you have had a good weekend. here, in my little corner of the world, i am feeling satisfied + peaceful after sneaking away with my love to atlanta for about 36 hours to refocus + recharge with some good friends (more to come on that on tuesday!). but, now, i am focused on winding down the first week of my meditation mondays series – and it feels pretty good.

me. right now. as i type to you.

me. right now. as i type to you.

last monday i started this new series, and i challenged myself (and you, if you are so interested) in taking a little vision quest journey, as native american children have done in the past. i’m not sure if they still practice this today, but i sure do hope so. in any case, my meditation on monday introduced us to the idea of taking our own quest throughout the week = taking some time to just be + listen to our souls. a chance to reconnect with ourselves + discover to what the universe may be calling us to next in life.

for me, there has been no clear message slapping me in the face this week, rather lots of little things, that, had i not been deliberately trying to slow down + pay attention, i would have totally missed.

once again, my soul reminds me that i am a writer. that all i want to do is write + travel, and travel + write. and, even as things are changing right now in my life (more to come on that at a later date), i am reminded once again to stick to what my soul says.  scary and uncertain as it all may be, my soul knows me.

friends atlanta walking avondale lake autumn

now, before i let this vision quest thing go and prepare to move on to next week’s meditation mondays theme, i want to address something that we all often struggle with: guilt!

all this talk about the soul sounds a lot like me, me, me, me, me! egocentric. self-centered. selfish. but, my friends, it isn’t. not when you focus on yourself in the hopes of growth + transformation. now, only thinking about what we want next or what we want now, is one thing. meditating and turning inward is something completely different, i believe. something that is necessary in order to remain aligned + attached to our soul – because when we do that, when we attach ourselves to our true inner soul, then everything that flows out of us is done with love and compassion. therefore, when we go on a little quest to discover our personal legend or our calling at this time in our lives, then we are seeking ways to be true to who we are, which, in turn, makes us better people – who then make a difference in the world.

the native americans have a belief that life can be described as 4 concentric circles, with the first and inner circle being our self. the next one, our family and community. the 3rd one, the animals + the earth + all of humanity. and, the last one, spirituality. this is freaking genius, i believe.

native american values life

this is my little image that i created to show you what i mean. life begins at the center – at discovering who we are as unique individuals. but, we expand outward. in fact, everything in life is fluid, flowing back + forth through all of the circles, crossing lines, all connected and affected by one another. and, yet, unified as one circle. how beautiful is that?

this week, we went on a quest, a personal journey. starting tomorrow, we will begin to meditate on the next circle – family + community. using who we are, how do we impact those that are closest to us? what do the native americans have to say about the importance of family + community?

but, for tonight, i want to leave you with a bit of music from my native november playlist (see the left column for a link) for inspiration. listen + ponder. and be secure in who you are. you have everything you need within you:

light + love. xx

see you tomorrow for a new meditation!

nesting day.

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i’ve got nothing special planned today – which is always a good thing in my world. it’s really gray outside. drizzly and chilly. and the hard rain, with possible thunderstorms, is on it’s way. so, i’m gonna hunker down on my sofa and read some new magazines. of course i’ll sip on coffee. and perhaps do some writing. but, we’ll see about that. in a little bit, i’ll light my autumn candle and fill the apartment with the sweet smell of spices and cinnamon. there will also be blankets involved, and definitely some comfort food, like a grilled cheese sandwich or swedish pancakes. oh, and some netflix time too. can’t forget that.

life is moving at warp speed. my days are filled with activities, meeting people, driving around town, exploring new places, spending time with my brother, and writing. and i get to share this life with the woman that i love, my inspiration and my everything. i couldn’t ask for anything more. truly. i have never, ever felt so content and at peace.

so, today, i am going to slow down and simply bask in that peace. it is international peace day, you know, and this is how i am going to celebrate.

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you see, i believe that to be peacemakers, we have to live as peacemakers ourselves. that does not mean that we have to board a plane and go work for the peace corps, though we can do that – and that would be awesome. what i believe about living as a peacemaker is more simply than trying to be like a saint or a guru that has achieved enlightenment. it means to live a life of peace in our every day lives, to  get to know ourselves from deep within, to work on ourselves, and to try to be true to who we are deep within our core – and that includes following our dreams and having the courage to acknowledge who we are, what we want, and how we have been created to use our own unique gifts. we were not made to follow a crowd, but to simply be who we are – and each of us is magnificent, beautiful, and amazing. each of us is already a powerful peacemaker in the making.

inner peace, enlightenment, contentment, happiness, whatever you call it, is already within us. nurturing our inner life will only lead us to live lives filled with deep peace. if we turn inward, if we explore our inner light, our inner soul, our inner truth, and then have the courage to follow it, we will exude peace in our daily, outer lives. others will see it and feel it. and that, my friends, i how we teach peace.

we teach peace by being peace.

i must admit to y’all, there is nothing like some good ole raw, honest, genuine bluegrass/folk rock for a rainy day to bring me to a place of deep peace. right now the darkness is closing in, the rain is  pouring down, and i have this video on repeat. these guys always touch my soul with their music & their lyrics. i cannot describe it, but i feel whole. grounded. well, simply peaceful. so, curl up somewhere for a few minutes and take a listen:

“we came to leave behind the world a better way” ~ the avett brothers

today, i am not going to march in any peace parade. or go to any protest. or take part in any community peace anything. i could, this is asheville, you know. hehe. instead, i’m staying home. i am going to let all the peace that is within me settle and soak deep into me today. i am going to nest. and i am going to nurture this peace that i feel, and listen to that still, small, quiet voice that whispers to me to simply be.

for me, today, peace begins at home.

“His ambition was not to become wealthy or to be well known, an image which society for some reason dictates each individual should prescribe to, instead his only ambition was to be at peace with himself, if he could achieve that than anything else he might need would follow. From now on he would question all things in life, but especially the rules and regulations of all authority institutions; he would take nothing on face value and only would accept what he personally knew to undeniably be true.” ― Andrew James PritchardCharnel House

sending you wishes for a calm, restful, peaceful weekend.

be your own superhero.

i came across some new music . again. and you know i love that. right now i can’t remember how i found this chick, but i think she’s rad. and on top of her talented song-writing (which she has done extensively) and awesome musical ability, she’s funky and unique. she is her own person. goes her own way. does her own thing. plays a ukelele.  and is true to herself. and you know i reaaaally love that.

on top of all that, she’s freaking smart. or has smart values/beliefs.

here is one of her songs that i’m diggin’ right now. it’s all about being free. living life.

it may be a regular tuesday for you. it may be a day when something incredible happens. or it may be a day when your world feels like it’s falling apart. what i do know, from deep within my soul, is that no matter what, you are loved. you are worthy. and you are  a beautiful, unique person. discover yourself. claim the life that you want. dream big. and always hope. and remember that you are your own superhero. so live your life to the fullest, exactly as you want to live it! be proud of who you are!

“I think everybody needs to find out who they are and who their, like, inner superhero is, or who you like to be. The world would be a better place if everyone was doing what the hell they wanted to do and being who they wanted to be.” ~LP

keep on flying high. peace.

long time sun: the yoga in me.

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i planned on writing this morning, but instead i followed my love to an appointment she had. nothing like plans changing, huh?

except it was a good thing. a really good thing.

you see, i love yoga. you may know that. it’s been something I added to my life about a year ago. i’d wanted to practice yoga for many years, but i guess the time was never right.

anyway, i knew it would be something great for me. right up my alley. and it is. i am meant for yoga. if you don’t know, there are many, many, many types of yoga… and i know nothing about them really. only the one i practice: kundalini.

kundalini yoga is quite relaxing and physical at the same time. there is a really good balance between silent, deep breathing (meditation, one could say) and physical movement (which kicks my ass). and the movement is not always slow. it’s a really good type of yoga for those of us who cannot shut off our brains and need to do more than just sit there in silence.

so, i’ve found a home in my yoga practice. and i’m pretty sure it’s a long term commitment. i can’t imagine not doing it, and i crave even more time.

but, what does all that have to do with today’s changed plans?

well, when i sat down in the waiting room to wait for lina, i saw that a little candle was lit. cozy, i thought. and then i got got up & saw some tea bags, hot water, and mugs. and i thought “perfect.” then, i saw it was yogi tea, which made me think of yoga. so, i decided that i would spend my time in the waiting room sipping tea, listening to meditative music, and just breathing. suddenly, i realized that this trip with my love to her appointment was a blessing in disguise.

i plugged my headphones in my ears and searched for a song, when I remembered one particular song that my yoga instructor uses every week. at the end of our yoga pass, we have a fairly long resting time on our yoga mats. our instructor guides us in a meditation to relax our body & mind, and to let the the energy and feelings from our yoga soak into our body & mind. this is a very relaxing and wonderful time… and i have been known to fall asleep during these 15 minutes. oops. hehe.

as i sat alone in the waiting room, i searched for & found this particular song on one of my playlists. i closed my eyes, turned up the volume in my ears, and began breathing. in and out. deep & slow. my mind was focused only on the lyrics of the song. they are so beautiful, so peaceful. i felt such a sense of calm, and of being completely grounded. completely connected.

you know, not all of us need to like yoga. not all of us need to practice saying long prayers, or chanting, or whatever else. but, it is important to slow down. it is beneficial to take a few deep breaths. it is inspiring to connect with God, or with the Tao, or your self, or with fellow humans. for me, it doesn’t matter if you do it by listening to God, or emptying your mind, or making some yoga poses, or taking a long walk, or reading a book. i find God in the midst of everything and everyone.  and i highly recommend trying to live a balanced life – something i am not always good at, but that i keep struggling & trying to do. and of course, i highly recommend being completely silent too. time to face yourself, to hear your inner voice, and your heartbeat. time to connect to the divine image within you.

i believe we have all been created with equal worth. each of us possessing certain gifts, passions, talents. each of us lovable, beautiful, unique people with something to offer to this world. for me, yoga, prayer, and meditation are the things in my life that connect me to my soul – to that piece of God, of light, of love,of mystery, of divinity that is within. they are the means by which i am reminded of who i am – where i have been, where i am, and where i am going. they are the sacraments that allow me to slow down & remember that i have a purpose, a calling, to be authentically me. to live my life filled with carefree passion and love. this is where my dreams are born and the courage to follow them is inspired. this is where i find joy and more reasons than i can count to celebrate life.

i invite you, my friends, to take a few moments and listen to my little yoga song. it’s my benediction to you. let the words soak in. accept it as a blessing, and allow yourselves a few moments to just be you.

now, my dear readers, i bid you goodnight. and i send you sunshine, love, & peace. sat nam.

you know what saturday’s are for? they’re for dancing!

ok. i just had to. i known that there are things that go viral on the internet. some are real, some are fake, some are cute, some are weird. and some (ok. many) of them i find annoying. but, no matter what the following video is, it is a message to all of us to live life. to make things happen. to get out there & enjoy the moments that otherwise are slipping by. so, it was worth my time watching.

now, my heart was stolen by this video for many reasons:

  1. it highlights a super cute kid
  2. it has a positive, fun message
  3. it’s creative
  4. it highlights my absolute favorite poem EVER
  5. it has good music in the background
  6. and, at the end, i felt like dancing

so, i’m gonna turn up the music today & dance around my apartment. and then, i’m gonna go celebrate the birthday of friend with bowling, dinner out, & a little bit of party party. and, now, i leave you with this video as your inspiration for saturday – for all of life! make it happen!

at the beginning of the year i decided that my word of the year would be carefree & i wrote about what that means to me here. while i’m remembering to let my  spirit be wild & free every day, and to find the adventures hidden in every day, this video reminded me, once again, to keep at it! there is so much for which to be thankful. so many beautiful moments. so many adventures. and so many possibilities. and, i must say, i have found a new, energized spirit within me in 2013. something has been set free. something is growing. and it feels amazing! yep. i’m here to celebrate. every day.

now, let’s dance! peace.

wastin’ time.

of course i would totally agree with everything john lennon says, since he is one of my idols; but this quote is especially great. i have had my share of moments of feeling guilty for not doing one thing or another. i beat myself up for seeming to be so different from other people. sometimes i still feel like i’m on the “outside”, like there is no one else really like me. but, then, i remember that being me is exactly who i am supposed to be. and perhaps it’s a good thing that i’m not exactly like everybody else. and it’s ok that i seem to be a “time-waster” instead of a type-a, go-getter personality. that just doesn’t jive with me. i take life at  a much slower pace.

you may call me crazy, or lazy, or whatever; but i am much more comfortable, at ease, at peace, and inspired when i sit, reflect, read, chat with a few people, drink a glass of wine or coffee, sit in a park & people watch, stare out the window, listen to music, go to a museum or a concert, meet over a beer at a pub, hang out in bed reading & writing all morning… you get my drift. i am made this way. it’s who i am. for some people, i suppose it seems that i waste time. but, no one knows all that is going on inside me. i admit that i would love to take lina & zola, and go sit in the woods every weekend to recharge – write early in the mornings, take long, slow walks, build fires & sip wine, have a few visitors every now & then. i am a nature-lover. a hermit. a dreamer. but, i am me. and the reason that my time is not wasted is because i’m busy inside, working with my soul. when i waste time, i am in the midst of dreaming, imagining, connecting, creating. of course i would love to create something like my sister-in-law’s plates, bowls, and vases (she’s a potter); or be like lina, creating music with her voice. i don’t create something tangible to sell, or have the talent to entertain & touch people through music. honestly, sometimes i feel like i can’t really do anything well, except be alone. and then i remember what being alone produces in me… inspiration.

now, i am not saying that i wish or even could handle being alone all the time. i like being alone, or in a small group, but i need people too. i need the balance, and perhaps i need it a little more than usual. though i don’t even know if there is a “normal” amount of alone time. simply put, i must balance out my crazy days with some lazy days. and when i do, my life flows so smoothly.

all of this to say, we are all created differently; and while at times we may just want to fit in, more than anything, it is important to be true to ourselves. authenticity before popularity. so, i embrace john lennon’s words on not wasting time. i waste time, but that time has not been wasted. besides, just being is necessary in order to really do anything.

quote of the day:

“one person’s craziness is another person’s reality.” ~ Tim Burton

by the way, wasting an hour & 15 minutes last night at my yoga class was most definitely time well-spent! loved it. so, my dear friends, find your way to waste some time this weekend! enjoy the moments!

peace & rest.