Category Archives: Inspiration

Integrating Bali’s Beauty

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Bali was amazing beyond all words. I will never be able to describe the sense of peace and connection I felt there, and I’m so happy I decided to go. I am however, also very happy to be home!

I know that a big part of the reason Bali called me to her was so that I could soak up her energy and take it back to my side of the world. I had friends asking me to spew some Bali all over them when I returned, and I had the chance to do that when I facilitated two workshops at Spin Milk  http://spinmilk.ca/ the day after I landed.

At the Sacred Circularities workshops, we had a lot of opportunities to let go of whatever was no longer serving us to create room for whatever new energy we wanted to call in. My intention was to let go of any fears or negative beliefs holding me back when I’m teaching dance or movement classes, and just allow myself to be as creative and powerful in that aspect of my life as I’m able to be.  Well, the magic definitely worked!

When I was at Spin Milk, I felt myself stay confident and grounded throughout my workshops, even though thanks to jet lag, I hadn’t slept a wink the night before. I was able to be silly and have fun while I created a safe container for people to relax and explore movement, with and without a prop. After the workshops, people said they felt open, relaxed, peaceful yet energized and that their mind and body felt united. Hearing that made my heart sing and dance, cause that was exactly what I was going for! That was the kind of energy I felt when I took workshops there and I know that I held it for people here. Totally winning!

I’m so grateful for all the inspiration I received from all the teachers, space-holders, participants and even from the land itself. I feel that I’m able to connect more deeply with people I interact now, thanks to the depth of the interactions I had when I was there. I also feel I’m more aware of the impact of those heartfelt connections. In Bali, I felt incredibly present the whole time I was there. That’s something I’m also trying to bring home with me. Staying fully engaged and present when interacting with people has lead to so many meaningful exchanges. It’s been enriching my daily life in countless ways already!

The theme at the retreat this year was integration and I feel that’s exactly what I got out of the experience. I was able to  more fully integrate my body, heart and soul  and to integrate my talents and knowledge  more deeply into my being, letting them shine as brightly as they can. Thank you so much Sacred Circularities, Jaguar Mary, everyone who was there and everyone who was here supporting my journey. It was definitely worth it. So much love to you all and thank you from the bottom of my heart!

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Opening The Retreat

Yesterday I woke up about 6am, took my mat out to my front deck and practiced yoga for about an hour.

Here, you can kind of see the view I have, although my face is in the way.

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I felt so healthy getting up so early naturally. All it took was a 10 hour time difference to make me a morning person!

When I headed to breakfast, the restaurant was full of hoopers and I had finally met  a few people I only knew through our online community. I was invited to go to the beach with a group, but I felt like heading into Ubud to check it out and do some shopping. A lovely girl from Victoria came with me and we explored and tried to haggle our way across the main strip. I discovered I finally had a knack for it, after embarrassing myself in Greece so many years ago. Managed to get a few things, including an epic painting of Ganesh.

We spontaneously stopped for massages (10 bucks for an hour and a half, with ginger tea and fruit salad.) It was a pretty successful outing, although we didn`t manage to find everything we needed (I always wind up shopping for myself instead). But the company was fantastic!

The reception was around dinner time and was basically a meet and greet with a lovely fresh buffet. The juices and fruits here are to die for. I`m not usually a juice person, but there`s something about fresh squeezed juice in the tropics.

After we finished eating and mingling, we wandered to the main wantalon, a big beautiful covered, yet open air pavillion where most of the classes take place. There was a beautiful opening ceremony which I write more about here  in my official blog post for Sacred Circularities:

http://www.sacredcircularities.com/1/post/2013/04/welcome-sc-bali-2013-week-two-day-one-by-kacie-knight.html

 

 

 

 

 

HoopPath EarthQuaker! (Edmonton Throws Down!)

This weekend Jonathon Livingston Baxter taught his fourth Hoop Path workshop in Edmonton. You can see him hooping in the background, blissfully unaware he is being stalked by the T-Rexing  Snowzilla behind him.

Baxter has been hooping for over 10 years and maintains a daily personal practice where he hoops for about 2 hours.

2 hours a day for over 10 years, plus countless workshops and festivals. Now I haven’t done the math, but that’s a lot of flight time. Oh, I should also mention, he often hoops blindfolded.

Suffice it to say, he’s a hoop ninja.

During opening circle he posed the question ” Why did you come this weekend?”

Honestly, I didn’t have a specific answer like to improve my technique, or spend time with the community. It was just that I couldn’t imagine missing it. I had been there for the last two workshops (Open Air and Deep Water) and both were epic. I know that’s an overused word, but really, they were epic. Transformational. Mythic, even.

Spending a weekend in your hoop will always improve your hoop dance, but  this is a different kind of leveling up. Baxter not only gives techniques to work on, but he introduces us to ideas and forms that you can play with and explore, including very personal and archetypal concepts.
The technical focus of Earthquaker was footwork and folding (two of my favorite things)- which you can get a little taste of here:

The meditative focus of this tour is Earthquakes and rebuilding. He sees our Truth, the deepest, most authentic parts of us shaking down the aspects of our lives that no longer serve us (UnTruths) and destroying them! This may create momentary chaos, but allows us the space and freedom to rebuild a more stable and beautiful structure. He used the silly but apt metaphor of our Truth as The Incredible Hulk to explain it further on his website: http://www.hooppath.com/cms/2012/12/01/the-earthquaker-tour-details/

The EarthQuaker theme builds on the previous two themes of introspection through movement meditation and opening to our own personal truths. It’s also perfect timing considering the global shift in energy consciousness. Truth with a capital T is tearing down all sorts of old systems in the world right now and we have the chance to rebuild with integrity and far more awesome.

Another focus of the workshop was to build openness and trust.  On Friday night, we were all having a great time in flow (dancing our hearts out) but we were all looking down, lost in our own little worlds. He wanted us to engage with each other, so he had us make two lines facing one another and had us each stare into our partners eyes for quite a while. A minute or two at least. It was amazing and I know for many people, it was way outside of their comfort zone. I personally loved it. We switched partners three times and each time the beauty and peace in my partners eyes was astounding. I felt as though I could see the universe observing itself through my own eyes reflected in theirs. After that, the energy in the room shifted to suddenly being so much more open, free and trusting.

This is the kind of life changing stuff he throws in to the weekend as he whips us into baddass hoop-ninja shape.

This is why the thought of not attending didn’t even cross my mind!

All weekend, he kept mentioning that this year had the best vibe and energy of any Edmonton workshop to date and we could definitely feel it.

Our community has grown so much over the last few years, both in numbers and in sheer awesomeness. So many friendships have developed. When I looked around the room, I felt surrounded by love and awesomeness.

But it wasn’t just our community that has grown (both in size and awesome).

I mentioned in closing circle that a big part of why the vibe was so great this year was due to Baxter’s own growth as a person and as a teacher. The energy he was holding for us felt so grounded and centered, light and responsive (It was ninja energy really). He created a sacred container where we all felt safe enough to open to our own authentic personal expression and spirit through movement meditation and hooping. He said that someone had said the same thing to him, in similar words at every stop on the tour so far. That’s so rad, and such a beautiful thing. I’m glad that other people can really appreciate the energy he brings.

It’s inspiring!

When I teach classes or facilitate movement meditation this is exactly the kind of energy I aspire to hold for the room.

I could go on for hours about all the inspiration at the workshop, and all the breakthroughs I had hooping,  but I should also mention how much fun we had after class too! We’re pretty social creatures and love any excuse to party so we definitely took advantage of the weekend and spent a lot of time together: going out for dinner and drinks on Friday, there was the house party on Saturday night that featured Youtube videos of baby sloths, and our little pizza party  on Sunday while watching Ace Ventura Pet Detective. We capped it all off with a trip to the pool where we did a some hot-tubbing, and splashed about in the pool. No one even noticed when I almost lost my bikini bottom after diving in.

All in all, the whole weekend rocked my world!

Edmonton Hoop Path 2013
Edmonton Hoop Path 2013

Feeling Better And Owning It

Ahhhhh….

I feel soooo much better! I’m still a little stuffed up, but in comparison to how I felt this weekend, I feel amazing!

It always shocks me when I get my energy and happiness back after being ill.

When I’m sick, I’m generally pretty sad and mopey. If I’m not actually sad, then I feel flat and blah where nothing really feels that that good. I’m a pretty terrible patient. I whine, I wallow, I probably drive my husband nuts. I also feel like this is how it’s going to be forever. I can hardly imagine having the energy to do anything other than the basics needed for my survival.

When that energetic fog inevitably lifts, as it did this morning, things are suddenly so much better it’s almost comical.

I suddenly feel like doing the dishes, cleaning the house, firing off a few emails that I’d been procrastinating on.

I did my movement meditation for the first time in a few days (I gave myself permission to do absolutely nothing on my two days off), and I danced for almost two hours! It was such a relief. Whenever I spend a few days being lazy (resting), I fear that I’ll stay that way forever. I always forget to honor the ebb and flow of energy and the cycles our bodies go through.

I started my movement with some slow off body hooping with a mini hoop. My body found some interesting ways of moving I had never experienced before. Then, once I dropped the hoop, my core began to undulate and I was carried away with my hip shimmies! They’ve been a little rusty since it’s been years since I trained in Belly dance, but today they just vibrated right out of me. I was able to move and dance and figure-eight  while shimmying effortlessly, like never before.

I could feel all this movement clearing out stagnant energy from my second chakra.

I suddenly felt sexy and confident, infused with a gorgeous, seductive and sultry energy.

I was the embodiment of Shakti, the divine feminine creative power.

As I moved I felt this gorgeous sensual power run through me. I could also feel this energy running through all of creation.

I suddenly understood this cosmic power is mine to play with, to use, to create with anytime and all the time!

In the past, I’ve played with this energy, then put it back in its box.

I think I always felt like I was borrowing the energy and I had to give it back.

Today I realized its my birthright.

Time to own my own power.

I felt my goddess nature in a way that finally felt right. It wasn’t intimidating. In fact, it felt freeing.

I see now that I’ve always been afraid of this energy.

It crackles and sizzles with heat and oozes with sexuality. Sexuality, sensuality and eroticism are all integral parts of the creative divine feminine.

I suddenly felt no shame. No lingering doubt about the validity of sex as a tool for creation and manifestation.

It all clicked into place, and I danced and danced, feeling wild, free and beautiful.

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Love and Resistance

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I was at a hot yoga vitality class on Monday and we were doing a bit of breath work to start. The teacher asked us to set an intention for our practice. As we inhaled we would focus on our intention, expanding it within our core, and contracting the energy as we released anything no longer serving us with our exhale.

I chose to breathe in love, which I visualize as a gold or white light. I began by  exhaling that which is not love but that seemed kind of long and clunky. After a few breaths, I began to release resistance to love on the exhale. Breathe in love, breathe out resistance to love. A few more breaths  I wound up shortening it to simply breathing out resistance.

I felt tension melt away from my body and I found myself relaxed completely. Once I had let go of all resistance, the pattern spontaneously changed to inhaling love and exhaling love. Once the resistance was gone, love was all that was left. It was beautiful. It’s a feeling of perfect peace, like being home.

Starting the practice was challenging in my bliss-ed out state, but I was able to bring myself back to the breathing pattern often. It was a fairly fast paced and innovative class which made it harder to focus on breath, but the added challenge made it more satisfying to eventually lay back in shivasana, and just breathe in love and breathe out love, dripping with sweat,  head swimming, blissed -out on pure love and buzzing on endorphins, what a rush.

Since it was so effective at yoga, I tried incorporating this meditation into my day whenever I feel myself resisting. It was typically a resistance to the present moment, which is an incredibly useless endeavor.

Resistance to whatever happens to be just creates tension, which is felt physically, mentally and emotionally as stress.

Releasing resistance creates acceptance. Acceptance allows us to be perfectly present. If you stop resisting the present moment, you find peace. That doesn’t mean that you sit back and never take action if things aren’t as you’d like them to be.  On the contrary, it’s a powerful tool for effecting change.

Accepting the present moment just as it is provides illumination of just exactly what ‘is’ in that moment. This knowledge is powerful. It puts us in direct contact with source energy, (which is the vibration of love) and allows us to work directly with it. Once you start working with this energy, everything becomes easier. Seriously, life just gets better.

Releasing resistance to love means that you stop holding on to anything that is holding you back. It might be a pattern of behavior, beliefs you hold, or perhaps it’s fear;  fear of failure, fear of success, fear of being hurt, fear of being wrong, fear of being right. Fear holds all of us back in so many ways…. But as I kept writing out the word fear, it seemed to lose all meaning.

Once you let go of whatever weighs you down, you become limitless! With no resistance, no fear, we are suddenly weightless and free! Love comes rushing in to fill the space once filled by resistance to love and then that’s all there is.

 

Lessons From Movement Meditation Challenge (How This Challenge Changed My Life)

I challenged myself to do a movement mediation every morning for a week.

I had no idea when I accepted said challenge I would be taking on something so life changing and monumental! The second day of in, I wrote this post ‘I didn’t expect so much Awesome!’ http://wp.me/p32wA4-3x

Unlike the junk food challenge which ended exactly seven days after it began, this challenge is going to be extended indefinitely.

It transformed almost immediately from a challenge into a practice, and I can’t imagine starting my day without it already.

Every morning practice has been different. Sometimes I spend a lot of time just shimmying, stretching and breathing into any places in my body that are sore. Sometimes I wind up rolling around on the floor and there were a few times I wound up incorporating my hoop.

Whenever I am fully absorbed in the movement, in flow- my mind seems to quiet and open to messages from my inner wisdom and from the universe. I received a lot of affirmations and inspiration. There were also many messages about opening to and embracing the divine feminine. I spent a lot of time sending love and gratitude to my body when I was moving and stretching. I found that when I touched my skin as I danced, gently tracing my body with hands and genuinely appreciating the beauty of my spirit’s  earthly container I would fall deeper into a joyful and peaceful ecstatic meditation. It was the kind of blissful union of mind, body and spirit that breaks the heart open and spills love out through the world.

I did notice that it was much harder to have the transcendental meditative experience if anyone else was around. I’m a little too self-conscious and easily distracted.  I don’t have a private space yet, but I will in a few months, so it was easy to accept that on mornings when my stepdaughter or husband were around I was going to spend more time stretching and grounding into my body rather than dancing in ecstatic union with the divine. Either way, it was still a fantastic way to start the day!

Going to bed knowing I will have that time to myself in the morning to process whatever I need to process lets me sleep more easily. My body feels better, more open and less stiff. I spend a little time stretching now every day, instead of just thinking “I really should stretch later!”

I also find that I am far happier, more centered and grounded throughout the rest of the day. It’s not like this is shocking, I suppose I expected that, but actually feeling the difference it makes to my mood and to my stability is incredible. I also feel far more creative and excited about life! I am super grateful that I am finally in a place where I am ready to commit to having a daily joyful movement practice ’cause it really is so much awesome. What’s even more exciting is that I know I’m just scratching the surface, and that there will always be more to discover and ways to go deeper and deeper, with more to discover!534254_354664434622396_1395651147_n

Do What You Love And The Rest Will Follow

Spiral Galaxy by rommudoh cc by 3.0
Spiral Galaxy by Rommudoh cc by 3.0

Every life story spirals inward…

This is the story of the circuitous route I’ve taken to be where I am at this present moment and why I’m exactly where I should be.

Growing up, I always assumed I would have a white collar career, probably in academia. So how did I wind up working as a waitress at the age of 30, and why is it exactly what I want to be doing?

I  knew I wanted to teach… I’ve always felt like I had a lot to share with the world, but I don’t have the patience for young kids or teenagers so I thought I would wind up as a professor. Since I was fascinated by pretty much everything, I wound up studying Social and Cultural Anthropology (the study of man). Anthropologists study anything and everything to do with mankind through a particularly reflexive and qualitative lens- often through direct participant observation. Modern Anthropologists take care to understand how their personal perspective influences the way they see the world.

About halfway through my undergrad, I realized that as much as I loved the idea of academic research, writing and teaching, the politics of academics were not for me. Being a professor was out but I did know that I really wanted to help people in some way and wanted to make a difference in the world.   I looked at doing my masters in Social Work, and to accrue the hours I needed to apply, I began to work at The Distress Center in Calgary, first as a crisis line volunteer, then as a supervisor, training volunteers to answer calls. The same month I collected enough hours to apply (450 hours), they changed the requirements to over 2000 hours in a related field, which is basically 2 years of full time employment, so I scrapped that idea. I wasn’t invested enough to devote that much time to it.

Around the time I graduated, I was promoted at the dinner theatre where I worked throughout university from Box Office Manager to Operations Manager. It was amazing experience. I learned so much, including how much I love hosting and entertaining people, and making sure they have a great time, but it wasn’t what I wanted to do forever.

I thought travel writing would be an ideal way to use my degree and I had always had quite the wanderlust, so I started looking at booking an around the world trip. I wanted to go on adventures and blog about it, write travel articles and maybe a book one day. I spend a lot of time researching the logistics and lost myself in reading travel memoirs.

Around the same time,  I began having some incredibly deep and inspiring spiritual experiences… The awakening of my Kundalini energy at age 25 seemed to shift quite a few things around in my life and I remembered that my soul work was  in holistic healing. I didn’t see myself as a healer, so I figured I would work in administration and support… Funnily enough, I had made plans to found a holistic healing center at age 14 that I called Synergy Wellness, and then promptly forgot about it until then.

My interest in healing lead me to have some healing work done on myself. I began learning how to work with my intuition, and divine guidance. With this work, and some past life exploration  the fears that blocked me from wanted to actually be a healer myself were dissolved in light and I began to explore my options.

In October 2008, I decided to enroll in the Holistic Health Practitioner program at Grant MacEwan in Edmonton. It seemed like a fantastic coincidence that the intriguing fellow I had met that summer lived in Edmonton, and I had quite a few friends there as well. I was afraid that he would think I was moving there for him, even though we had just met… When I gave my notice to the theatre, my boss said I was moving to get married and have babies, not to go to school. I was so insulted I fumed for weeks. How dare he accuse me of moving to another city for a man? I really should apologize to him and let him know how right he was. After I moved to Edmonton, I realized the program wasn’t exactly what I was looking for and withdrew. I also realized the program was the universe’s way of moving me here far earlier than I would have otherwise.

I had taken a job as a server, thinking it would suit me well as a student. Then I realized serving was way more fun than managing a restaurant, so I didn’t look for other work. The money and hours suited me and I loved having so much free time to explore my new city… I was meeting so many amazing people and my relationship was going well. I felt a little stuck though… There were so many things I was interested in, I didn’t know where to focus.  I started to do my own research into different healing modalities. I learned about crystals, energy medicine, past lives and  I read voraciously about any topic that interested me. I considered taking so many  different training programs!  I thought very hard about becoming a hypnotherapist or life coach…  Then I discovered a fascination with pregnancy and birth and trained as a Doula… I loved the holistic approach, but realized the hours (on call 24/7) weren’t for me, even though I came to understand that supporting women through the birth process has an incredible impact on the physical, emotional and mental well being of the whole family!

I went on a soul adventure in Sedona and connected with my own ability to channel divine information and to share it… I came back inspired to write and began my first blog http://bringingyouohm.wordpress.com/ .

Then I broke my foot walking out my front door one February day. I was laid up for 2 months…. It was both the worst and the greatest thing that ever happened to me. There were so many lessons learned, which I have written about here:  http://wp.me/p12dXx-4v, but the two biggest ones were 1) I NEED to move and dance to be happy, and the other was I need sacredness in my life. Really, they’re two sides of the same coin, since movement  is my favorite way of connecting to the divine.

Once I discovered hoop dance, I had an excuse to dance all the time. The more it danced  it seemed, the better my life became. The more I danced, the happier I was. Every time I tuned into guidance from spirit, or my own self the message was he same. Keep dancing!!!

Eventually I realized this was my soul work; to dance and to facilitate dancing and connecting to spirit. It’ a holistic way of helping, healing and teaching just like I imagined.

So I kept on working as a server, where I’ve had the chance to practice spreading love and light in service to others while making as much money as I used to working only 25 hours a week. I’ve had the time I needed to learn about sacred movement and train as a conscious dance facilitator. Every thread of experience  and education I’ve had that seemed so unfocused is being woven together as I begin to develop classes and make plans to open a small studio (that wellness centre I dreamed of). I even plan to teach prenatal dance classes, weaving in more of my interests to the tapestry.

Everything is coming together in joyful movement, spinning all these separate ideas and experiences into one.

I’m so grateful for the words of wisdom shared by my parents when I was overwhelmed with choices in University.

They said ‘Do what what you love, and the rest will follow!’

Truth and wisdom right there folks, and that’s how I wound up right here, loving my life and living my dream.

Wasn’t Expecting So Much Awesome!

NASA , ESA and H.Richer(UBC)
NASA , ESA and H.Richer(UBC)

When I woke up this morning I was more than a little annoyed at myself for setting up this movement meditation challenge.

All I wanted to do was settle into my normal day off routine of drinking jasmine green tea and eating breakfast while catching up on whatever happened online while I was sleeping.

As I was turning on the music (Bass Yoga vol. 1 -by HumenNature) to start my half hour practice, I actually said to my husband “I think I’m gonna hate this!”

I was stiff, sore and wanted nothing more than to stay in bed and be lazy. It’s C-41 outside, and I could feel the cold seeping in from the windows. The living room was chilling and seemed unwelcoming.

I stood barefoot in the center of the room, bundled up in sweats and a bunny hug, hood up- shielding me from the sun and the cold. I didn’t feel like moving at all, so  I closed my eyes and listened to the music, which opened with a soft and droning synth, and the sound of the ocean. It drew me into myself, and my breath deepened. The first long notes of the flute touched me  and I felt a deep yearning… A desire for comfort and connection. The melody lifted me away, out of that feeling and into something more like curiosity. I began to move, almost imperceptibly at first.

My attention was drawn to the cold stiffness in my hips, and I rocked them, swaying in a figure 8 pattern, holding my hands to my heart. The movements were smaller than I have ever made, it almost felt like I was merely imagining the movement, but heat started to gather in my muscles and they began to relax. The figure 8 my hips were drawing with their movement grew larger and my hands began to float upwards, rolling and twisting, gathering energy and bringing it back down to my core.

Everything felt deep, slow and easy. I had dreaded moving vigorously so early in my day and a flood of relief washed over me when I realized I didn’t have to. I could spend the whole time rocking gently side to side if I wanted. My movement meditation had no rules and once I surrendered my expectations of dancing and stretching, I could simply be present in my body and see how it guided me.

I spent quite a bit of time with these quiet, small movements; rolling my shoulders and chest with my feet planted firmly to the ground. As I warmed up, I moved more freely and played close to the ground as well as up on my toes, reaching for the sky.  I moved and swayed, stretched and dance. The pace of movement was languid and relaxed.  When I looked up at the time, I was amazed half an hour had already passed.  I considered continuing on but chose hop in the shower and reflect on the experience. Not to mention, I was getting hungry.

When I stopped I felt energized, grounded and at peace- completely ready to face my day. I was also incredibly excited to try it again tomorrow, because not only did it feel fantastic, but because I had so many flashes of insight-  Ideas that are going to guide this project and create new ones as well. The whole thing was inspiring, fun, joyful, uplifting and made my body feel amazing. I felt more present and aware than I ever do that early in the day. Those 30 minutes exceeded my expectations in every way and I’m so grateful and happy it actually brought a tear to my eye.

I’ve spent so much time knowing how important movement is to me personally, and years ago  I vowed to cultivate a daily practice, but hadn’t had the courage or discipline to start (or perhaps I just wasn’t ready). I knew intuitively it would be a powerful tool, but I was blown away by its potential today. This is a game changer.

It’s going to change me.

I’m not exactly sure how, but I can feel it coming.

I feel open and ready to receive all the wisdom and gifts this practice is going to bring, and I’m so excited. I never thought I’d be jazzed about getting up early, but I’m looking forward to tomorrow already. Just thinking about it has all the cells in my body literally radiating with joyful excitement. It’s a crazy buzz and this is going to be a crazy ride.

Love falling for the Sky by Ventry cc by 3.0
Love falling for the Sky by Ventry cc by 3.0

Radical Self Love

I figured it was time to explain the subtitle of my blog, Radical Self Love.

Now, it’s not quite as kinky as might sound, but it definitely deviates from social norms.

It’s about loving one’s self completely and utterly, even as society inundates you with messages that you need to change. To be more, to have more, to do this or that. Radical Self Love rejects all the messages from the world that say you are not good enough!

Radical Self Love means knowing that you are enough.

You are perfect in your imperfections and you don’t have to be anyone other than who you are.

It doesn’t mean you stop trying or striving to learn and grow as a person. It simply accepts that wherever you are in your evolution is where you should be.

For me, it means I have to stop being so damned hard on myself. I have always held myself to a very high standard. A standard so close to perfection, I inevitably fall short again and again. Every time I did, I would condemn myself to angry and hateful admonishment. I said the most awful things to myself.  I would never, ever speak like that to another person. But I saved all my compassion and understanding for everyone who wasn’t me. I called myself a fat, lazy stupid bitch more times than I care to remember just for being human.
The whole time I was being awful to myself, I was growing in my spiritual understanding. I came to recognize that the source energy underneath everything is love. I could feel the radiant love it all and loved everything right back. I had countless transcendental experiences where the love swept over me and the illusions of separation dissolved. With this oneness came unbiased, undefined, unending love. I felt the love sweeping into the darkness, the shadow sides of life and I began to understand them to be an integral part of the experience we are choosing to have.

I also came to know the essence of God within me; the same light and love- the source energy that resides within all of us. I started to remember who I really was. A spiritual, eternal being having a human experience, the universe, experiencing itself.

But I still sometimes treated myself like garbage.

The idea of loving myself as completely as I love everyone else didn’t occur to me until recently. I thought that in order to be a good person, to grow and evolve my soul, I had to be hard on myself. No one else would be, so it was up to me. The unconditional love I had only extended outward. The love I saved for myself was conditional.

Eventually, I started to connect the dots. If we’re all one, and all is love, then I must be as worthy of the loving compassionate kindness as every other being in the universe.

So, I decided to love myself as hard as I could. To strip away all conditions and love myself anyway.

It was a radical thought.

I also realized that to love myself fully, utterly and completely, I have to honor myself as well. I have to listen to my body as well as my heart and soul. I can’t ignore all the guidance I receive. I have to respect myself enough to believe that the messages I get from my body and my intuition are correct and wise. The project I’m working on this year, to listen to myself and my inner wisdom has made it much easy to honestly love myself. There is no dissonance to overcome, no loving ‘in spite’ of something… It’s all one love.

swami stream cc by 2.0
swami stream cc by 2.0

Radical Self Love is a radiant love.

It is compassionate, understanding, forgiving, peaceful, respectful,  joyful and divine.

It is steady, ongoing, inexhaustible, patient, present and kind.

It means listening to all aspects of the Self- body, mind and soul.

Being gentle with yourself.

Trusting yourself and the universe to fully support you.

Surrounding yourself with people who love and support you and removing yourself from negativity.

It means taking  care of yourself with proper feeding, watering, sunlight, exercise, fresh air and whatever else your body asks for.

Nurturing your abilities, and allowing your creativity to flow.

It means you are enough. You are perfect, even in your imperfections.

It means remembering and celebrating your divine nature.

It means you are free.

My Greatest Ideas… In Bed.

I’m an idea person, not a detail person.

I have spectacular, amazing and world-changing ideas all the time!

The only thing is that  almost all of them happen when I’m laying in bed, trying to sleep.

From theoatmeal.com
From theoatmeal.com

The rest come to me when  I’m doing the dishes or in the shower.

I’m sure this is the case for a lot of us. I’ve heard a lot of people mention they do their best thinking on the John.

When I’m doing dishes, in the shower or laying in bed in the dark, my mind is free to roam anywhere it likes. During the rest of my day, my mind usually focused on whatever task is at hand. Even if I take some time to out to quietly mediate, dialogue with my body, or commune with the universe,  I’m directing my attention at somewhere in particular.

My laser focus  (haha, not really, let’s just call it mindfulness)  when I’m paying attention to tasks at hand, coupled with my habit of distracting myself at most other times (typically with books, the internet, Netflicks, hooping, arts and crafts or talking on the phone to my sister) doesn’t leave a ton of time for my mind to just be creative and wander.

I suppose my subconscious is  busy processing everything throughout the day, but it’s only when my mind is relaxed and not focused on any one thing in particular that all those grand ideas surface. There have been a few times lately when I’ve needed to get up from my bed and furiously scribble these ideas in the dark (hopefully legibly enough to read them in the morning) so I could relax and put them out of  my mind. I’ve also had a few killer ideas lately that have been so exciting that I just couldn’t fall asleep for hours. Fortunately, I woke up the next day feeling as rested and refreshed as I would have if I was sleeping deeply the whole time.

I know some people might advise me to make time before bed to let my mind relax and wander so when it’s bed time I could just fall right asleep. It would probably be better sleep hygiene and it’s not a bad idea, but I am a creature of habit and I really love my hour or so at night cuddled into my blankets where I can do some free range thinking. I’ve actually  built a cushion for it into my sleep schedule: I usually reserve 9-10 hours for “sleep”, although I rarely sleep for all of it. I just spend a chunk of it dreaming, while I’m still awake.

I guess it’s also a good thing I don’t have a dishwasher. It would rob me of my other greatest opportunity to think freely, let my mind wander and play.

When do you have your greatest ideas? In bed, driving down the highway or on the John?