I’ve heard it said that it’s hard to heal in the same environment where we get sick and that the most effective way to dislodge anything that feels stuck, stiff, or stagnant is to physically move to a different location.Read More
What I love about the internet: everything belongs here and there's a sense of gazing back at our own minds. Both our wisdom qualities and our neurotic qualities are reflected here. Heightened, Even.Read More
When we understand that our relationship to our circumstances -- not the circumstances themselves -- is the pivotal piece in the equation, we can crawl out from under the pillow-fort of “no bad vibes” and get curious about our relationship to ‘unpleasant’ instead.Read More
Three fun facts that I know about the “gut”:
• The acid in your stomach is strong enough to burn your skin. (woah.)
• Up to 90% of your serotonin (ie: the chemical responsible for feelings of wellbeing and happiness) is produced — not in your brain — but in your belly.
• Your “Gut” is a wonderful analogy for all things ineffable that we feel but cannot measure. Intuition. Instinct. Sixth Sense. Butterflies.
(Okay, that one is an opinion, not a fact.)
I also know that I’m super excited to invite you to the Trust Your Gut Summit produced and hosted by the delightful and insightful Melissa Patruno, CHHC and featuring 21 presenters (including yours truly) on “GUT” topics ranging from the medical to the metaphysical and all things in between.
Melissa knows a thing or two about taking a multi-dimensional approach to healing:
In her early 20s, she was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition, ulcerative colitis, anxiety, and depression. Doctors told her she had to be on medication for the rest of her life, but her gut told her there had to be a different way.
She knew, deep down, that there was a different approach to her diagnoses, and after tons of research and practice, effectively healed herself.
Which, in my eyes, makes her the perfect person to be hosing this summit — because she knows exactly what she’s talking about, not only as a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, but also through her own direct experience.
In this summit you can expect topics such as :
• How to live an authentic life by learning to trust your gut.
• Reasons why you can't lose weight and are always short on energy--- and what to do about it.
• Which foods create which symptoms -- from anxiety and skin conditions to weight gain and chronic illness --- and which foods nurture your wellbeing.
• Tools for MORE energy, less anxiety, and healthy weight (without medication).
--- As for us, we jam on meditation, the relationship between self-awareness and self-trust and learning how to identify potentially harmful inherited narratives.
You know, just a nice, light afternoon chit-chat.
The Trust Your Gut summit begins next Monday, May 22 and runs through June 1.
I hope to see you there!
What if we treated our ideas like tender little saplings that need the fertilizer of quiet tending, quality input, and consistent scratching at the soil... rather than quick bits for public consumption?
One of the greatest urban legends about meditation is that our experience should be all bliss, butterflies and serenity with no thoughts and a calm mind. While that *might* be your experience, the other 99% of us will probably encounter things like tight hips, unwanted distractions, strong emotions and a busy mind in meditation.
This is not only common, it’s wonderful. Because the kicker is that this is precisely how we develop a calm and spacious mind over time.
Our purpose in meditation is not to get rid of thoughts and distractions, but rather to become a bit more intimate, aware, and accommodating of them when they do arise. With practice, they become less charged, less of a problem. And we in turn become less reactive when challenges (big and small) arise off the meditation cushion.
If your mind is busy in meditation, trust me— you’re doing great. The practice isn’t just about fleeting serenity. This is where we learn to hold our seat.
---- Via MNDFL Meditation :: Wind Down Wednesday
Image :: Eugenia Loli
“If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation”.
—Don Draper :: Mad Men
A few weeks ago I was swimming in the deep end with a client of mine who was preparing to launch her new business.
She’s a self-aware and savvy artist who lives in the Bay Area— which is basically a tech-startup boomtown. It’s an ideal location for her, and her biz— which delivers her experience and enthusiasm for creative expression into startup company culture.
These are small companies with big potential that rely on being consistently, prolifically creative in the innovation jungle.
At face value, her vision is spot-on. She lives in the ideal location. Has a brilliant business plan. Arranged for the gorgeous confluence of doing what she loves, for those who want and need it.
But that afternoon there was still one big albatross, hanging doubtfully around her neck.
“Who is going to take me seriously?” She said. “I’m only 24.”
Damn those albatrosses.
They’re like bad reviews that we write for ourselves before the production has even begun.
Sometimes our bad reviews assure us that we’re too young, or under qualified. Sometimes we don’t know enough, or we’re under-prepared, or past our prime, or don’t belong, or too flighty or undisciplined, or it’s because we’re a Sagittarius, or Scorpio moon, or really what have you.
It’s an anticipatory move. A maneuver of protection at best. But one that stifles our most sincere impulses before they ever see the daylight.
I can’t help but think that maybe, just maybe, sometimes what we consider to be our biggest flaws or detractions, have the potential to be our greatest assets in disguise.
That perhaps it’s not a matter of concealing our perceived flaws, or working extra hard in spite of them, but rather changing the slant of the conversation we're having about them.
Flipping the script. Seeing new views.
Finding the asset in the albatross.
I had this experience on a recent trip to New Orleans, where my cards were read by a Congolese voodoo priest (what a bizarre sentence to write), who began by telling me that I was “a sensitive, empathic intuitive” that is a “sponge” for the energy around me.
My first thought was that this might be my threshold for “woo-woo”. My second thought was that he was dead on. And my third thought was “Well, crap.” He was basically saying that I’m totally ill equipped to live in this world.
The conversation I was buying into is that our culture is too fast and hard for sensitive people. The premium is on extroversion, cynicism, and competitive ambition, which means that a sensitive little spongelike creature such as myself is basically an invertebrate out of water. Crippled for survival. Roadkill on the highway of life.
My fourth thought, though, was a new conversation.
That yes. I am a sensitive being. And frankly, I’m better for it. These are exactly the same qualities that fortify my ability to do what I do. To be a perceptive coach. An instinctive meditation teacher. An empathetic friend. To give a genuine and sometimes heartbreaking f*ck about our planet and the people who live on it. To revile against oppression in it's insidious forms, while also striving to have understanding for those who oppress.
Crippled for survival? Psssht. Please.
One message, two potential conversations,
The first says “flawed and faulted." The other says “blessings and assets”.
In the case of my client, one quick Google search revealed that the median age of all tech-startup founders is 24. After college.The golden number. Which meant that not only was her age not a detriment to her ability to be taken seriously, it was actually an asset.
Her clients are her peers. Her relatability is a boon.
As for not knowing enough? It also means you have the gift of Beginner's Mind.
Inexperienced? There's a lack of baggage there. It means you're not stuck in your ways.
Past your prime? That prime is old news, anyhow. But I bet you learned a TON about what a new "prime" feels like...
A few days ago I walked past a coffee shop in the West Side that proudly displayed a chalkboard inviting patrons to "Come inside and have the WORST cappuccino that a guy ever had on Yelp."
It was a brilliant display of taking a bad review, and changing the conversation.
I laughed to myself, took a photo, and went in to try it for myself. I couldn't resist. I was charmed. Curious. And the cappuccino wasn't half bad.
Our own "bad reviews", our albatrosses, are probably more flexible than we believe them to be. When we look for the assets within them, we have an opportunity to change our view.
When we change our view, we have agency to own our stuff and change the conversation altogether. And on the other side of that?
The sweet sweet freedom to invite others inside.
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED 10/2/15 ON SONIMA.COM
In this moment, it’s early autumn in New York and the weather presents itself as an invitation to be easy. The sensation of moving freely, without layers, makes me feel intrinsically more connected; there’s no barrier between my environment and my skin. This is a sweet time of year, an easy season to inhabit, with Indian Summer days that seemingly stretch through forever.
Of course the calendar reminds me otherwise. The sun is setting much earlier now, and the warmest days of the year have passed.
One of the hardest natural laws to reconcile is that everything is subject to change whether we want it to or not. Autumn turns to winter and winter turns to spring. The Law of Impermanence is everywhere and the seasons just stand up to testify.
I would guess that by the time we’ve hit adulthood, we’ve all felt the truth of impermanence in a million mundane ways. Job situations break down. Love affairs ignite and fizzle. Even our own bodies change, eventually becoming weathered and time-worn. I have bottles of eye serums and face creams that promise to exonerate me from this rule, but at 33, those first few unruly grey hairs tell it to me straight. I can prolong, postpone and deny the inevitable, but what comes to pass does not stay.
This is often presented as the “bad news,” or fodder for an existential crisis. I’m reminded of a video that was circulated recently of a young girl who realizes her infant brother will grow up, and quickly begins to connect the dots to her own mortality. Her breakdown at the realization is touching because we’ve all been there. The tenuous nature of things can be a difficult pill to swallow.
When impermanence is served as the “good news,” it’s often as a salve in difficult times. This too shall pass. Time heals all things. When one door closes, a new window opens. Even heartbreak changes.
However, I can’t help but wonder if rather than “good news” or “bad news,” impermanence is simply “the news”—the way that we generally accept that organic matter breaks down, without artificial preservatives. As Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron reminds us, “That nothing is static or fixed, that all is fleeting and impermanent, is the first mark of existence. It is the ordinary state of affairs.”