Category Archives: Changes

On Health Problems

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For the last 3 years, I have been dealing with some frustrating health issues (that probably started way before then and that I won’t get into now). It’s not serious, but I don’t feel good and over time I believe it could affect my quality of life. In some ways, it already has.

I’ve spent thousands on health care practitioners, testing, and supplements not covered by insurance. I completely changed my diet. I’ve fasted. And I have been on a diet so restricted I couldn’t even eat lettuce, let alone try to eat out. I suddenly gained weight that I could not lose. And while some things have improved, most issues persisted.

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I felt betrayed by my body – like it was a stranger. I was also quite hard on myself. I did yoga all the time, meditated, ate healthy, and exercised. What was I doing wrong? To make matters worse, in the yoga world, I had come across philosophies that implied that health problems are personal deficiencies. Like my health issues are really a reflection of the state of my soul.

On the fence between continuing to search for solutions and accepting that I may not ever feel better, I purchased the book The Loving Diet by Jessica Flanigan. The Loving Diet does recommend specific foods. But more importantly, what Flanigan recommends is love.

She recommends a radical love: cooperating with your illness and loving your negative emotions. Avoiding “againstness” is key. Rather than trying hard and fighting your illness, you should work with your illness and even love it! It is better to simply show up and trust your life.

With this perspective, illness can be an opportunity – a way to wake up to something in your life. It is here to teach us, not to punish us. Time will tell, but I’m pretty sure my health issues are here to teach me to be more kind to myself (which is very different from trying really hard to do what I “should”).

I’m going to give it a try. What’s the harm? Doesn’t the world need more love, anyway?

Finding Peace

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It is hard to know what to do when a tragedy like Orlando happens. Even if you do not know anyone who was affected, we are all touched by it. You may feel a mix of empathy, anger, outrage, and hopelessness. You may wonder where we can be safe, what will be next, what can I do, what will it take before things change?

As we begin the process of mourning as a country, as individuals, I would like to offer a suggestion for a small thing we can each do. I think one of the best ways we can honor those who have died is to contribute to creating peace.

I once heard the Dalai Lama speak about peace on the national mall, in front of the Capitol Building. He said that peace in the world begins with your own peace of mind. When we are at peace with ourselves, we spread that peace to those around us.

When our actions and words are aligned with this place of inner peace, others will respond in kind. And then they spread that peace to others around them. Creating change in the world begins with changing yourself.

How do you find inner peace? It is a continuous process of cultivating mindfulness and self-compassion. Yoga and meditation are tools that can help, especially restorative yoga.

Try this simple meditation:

  • Close your eyes and take several deep breaths
  • With your eyes still closed, look down and imagine that you can turn your eyes inward
  • Turn your internal gaze to your heart. Sense your heartbeat, feel it in your chest
  • Then, listen. What does your heart need? Does it have a message for you?
  • When you’re ready, return your gaze forward and take several deep breaths.
  • Open your eyes.

Whatever approach you take to finding inner peace, the key is really in prioritizing your own mental and spiritual health. It may seem frivolous or unproductive to spend time doing “nothing,” but to put it into perspective – the world depends on it.

4 Ways to Get Settled into a New Home (That Don’t Involve Unpacking)

IMG_2578Some of my feng shui tools

A little over 6 months ago, I moved into a new house I had never seen in person, in a new state. My boyfriend and I discussed doing a personal ritual to consecrate the house as ours and honor our new start together. But the day I arrived, things started to go wrong with the house. Soon, we got so busy with repairs, insurance claims, and unpacking that we forgot about our plans.

Moving is one of the most stressful things we can do. Our homes are more than places to live – they are our refuge. Homes are containers for our growth, where we recharge, and where we spent time with the people we love the most. Moving to a new home, then, can make you feel unsettled, disconnected, like something is not quite right.

Creating a ritual for your new home can help you feel more settled. Here are some tips for initiating a new home:

  1. Perform a clearing. According to the ancient practice of feng shui, homes absorb energy from the people who live there. A clearing will help to remove this energy and instill your intentions in your new home. There are many ways to do this. The simplest clearing consists of opening up the windows and burning sage throughout the house.
  1. Declare your vision for your new home. Walk through each room in the house and declare your intentions for that room. For example, in the kitchen, you may intend to nourish yourself and your family. You may envision building relationships with family and friends over meals together in the dining room. You may also use this opportunity to make a fresh start and consider what you’d like to leave behind.
  1. Bless your house. Find a blessing that speaks to you and read it out loud. This can be done in conjunction with a clearing or other activity. I love John O’Donohue’s blessing, For a New Home.
  1. Make it yours. Clean it, fix it, make it the way you want it! Paint with love. The more energy you put into making your home the way you like it, the more it will actually feel like home.

Eventually, I found a feng shui practitioner to perform a clearing with me. We wrote our intentions and did a small fire ritual to say goodbye to what we’d like to leave behind. Our house already feels more peaceful and just more ours. Acknowledging and honoring the change that comes with moving with a ritual can make a big difference in how you feel when you’re at home.