Posts in wellness
Ahimsa

In the yoga practice, ahimsa is one of the five Yamas, or moral vows. We tend to think of nonviolence and how it relates to beings outside of the self: eat plants not animals. Don’t hurt other people. Be kind and compassionate in thought, word, and action. This basic social contract is incredibly important in creating a world in which all beings can thrive. But what about ahimsa in relationship to the self? It’s hard to take the concept of ahimsa and turn it reflexively back on the self especially when so much of the harm we do to ourselves we rationalize as beneficial. “If I just push hard enough, it will be worth it.” Let’s unpack the three main categories of violence towards the self and how we can practice ahimsa to create a better relationship with our very own souls.

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What I Wish I Would Have Known

Like with all things you do for the first time, there have been a ton of learning opportunities. Failing has been the best teacher in compassion and empathy. I am a perfectionist my nature. So, doing things wrong irks me at the deepest level. The learning curve has been steep. Almost everyday is filled with things I don’t know, lots of mistakes, some sort of failing. I have learned so much about myself and the ways in which I can grow as a person from the consistency of new experiences. And while that’s all well and good, there are a few things I didn’t anticipate. In the hopes of smoothing out the already complicated transition of moving to a new city, I give you all the things I wish I had known before I made the jump across the country

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When All the Normal Things Don’t Work

It is not possible for all of life to be completely wonderful and effortless all of the time. The contrast between each high and low is what helps us conceptualize and appreciate the difference between joy and despair, healing and hurting, fully realized awe and detachment. Yoga and meditation are incredible powerful tools because they allow to gain some, if not all, of our agency back from circumstances that seemingly have swallowed us whole. With a healthy perspective and a non-attachment to feelings and thoughts as our identity, we gain freedom from feelings and reclaim our ability to manifest the lives we deserve.  

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Rumination vs Reflection

As I’ve been journeying through this brave new life in Los Angeles, I’ve gained plenty of time to reflect on the circus that has been 2018. Not one single part of it has been easy or effortless.  All of it has been entangled with hard choices and even harder feelings to manage. I’m human and I’ve made a ton of mistakes. There is still so much I have to learn in the ways of empathy, compassion, forgiveness, kindness, what it really means to love another human. By far, the biggest discovery I’ve made is confusing that I’ve been confusing ruminating with reflection. Both of these elements are looking back at the past. Our reflections can easily get hijacked and turned into rumination. How can we then steer ourselves back towards balance and growth?

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Lessons from East to West

I’m grateful that I have an extra time to reflect on this whirlwind trip back to the city. It is way sooner than I anticipated. My leaving felt like getting into a huge fight with a significant other and promptly breaking up. It felt like a messy and emotional door-slamming drama, something that is remarkably challenging to come back from. I felt utterly torn apart and beaten down and almost irreparably broken. Coming back before I thought I was ready brought into sharp focus all of the ways in which I am truly thriving in my new LA life that I have built from the ground up with hard work, consistency, trust in myself, and some magic from the universe. A month later, this is what I have learned from relocating with no expectations, just some desires and emotions and baggage (of the literal kind). 

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Unfilled Time and Space

I firmly believe though that right thing for you will always happen at the precise moment when you make space for it. No space means no space to fill. I came out to the West Coast with nothing but space and time. It was that freedom that allowed me to rebuild a life that is sustainable and thrive-able. That doesn’t mean there are not challenges and fluctuations and friction.  These qualities are inherent in growth. It does mean, however, that generally I cry less from frustration and more from joy. Give yourself space to be with yourself. You will thank you.

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Long Term Gains

On one of my last days in the city, I was spending time with my teacher and mentor and friend. In his sage-like wisdom, he casually said of course you need this feeling you have now or else you would have nothing to compare the joy to. It is the same with the idea of wins and losses. We have to have both. We have to know both intimately. But what doesn’t work is being dragged down by the weight of the losses and the sorrow. I was in the space of letting myself be dragged down. I decided to leave the circumstances that were holding me down and build a path towards okay using these four strategies. 

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Make It Work

On our drive back form Big Sur, we started down the PHC, watching the sunset, the rolling hills, and the expansive ocean slip by. Nate turned on The Joe Rogan Experience.  I was half asleep because of my carcolypsy, the 30 miles of terrain we covered, and the epic game of Ultimate we joined in on after making some new friends on the beach. In a moment though, I shook myself out of my half-sleep to follow the threads of logic in the conversation between Joe and Jordan Peterson. Here’s the thing that hit me hardest, that shook me awake: we have to “find a way of being that works even under the direst of circumstances”.

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