When you are aware of your beliefs and thoughts about success and happiness, you can begin to shift your experience from living as a reaction to life toward creating your own highly successful life. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.”
Take a moment to consider the possibility that success and happiness are not what happens to you, but what you get to choose in every moment of your life. You are unique, and the choices you make are infinite. This is why it’s important to have a clear vision of what happiness and success look like. Then, you must commit and hold yourself accountable to the required actions needed to create the life you really want.
One of the first actions you can take is to begin practicing impactful behaviors that will help guide you toward achieving your vision. Here are five practices that can be incorporated into a morning ritual or become part of a new daily practice. Try one or all of them, and see the difference it can make toward increasing happiness and success in your life.
1. Meditate You don’t practice meditation to get better at meditating, you practice meditation to get better at life. The opportunities that present themselves to you outside of meditation prove meditation is working. Meditation is the one way to access the Self, who you really are—the energetic being within you. By cultivating a relationship with the Self (your essence) through meditation, you stay connected to the attributes of the Spirit, which are peace, calm, and joy, to name a few.
The practice of meditation is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. Meditation is more than sitting down and closing your eyes. If you have never meditated or wish to deepen your practice, seek out a teacher in your area who can guide you. Thanks to technology, there are also meditation apps that can be downloaded to your computer or phone, which provide ways to learn from the comfort of your own home. Here are a few to check out:
The Ananda App The Mindfulness App Insight Timer Calm Muse
2. Detach from the Outcome It’s common to attach yourself to outcomes in an automatic and seemingly unconscious way. Notice where in life you are attached to the way something “should” be, whether that’s with people, circumstances, or yourself. By noticing when (not if) you are attached, you can consciously choose to detach, which frees you to:
Be your true self Say what you truly feel Allow others to be themselves Detachment is freedom. This freedom is the “not knowing” or the field of uncertainty marked by:
Magic Mystery Adventure It’s human nature to want to know how things will turn out. But, if you already know the ending, that’s no fun. Let go, detach, and enjoy the flow. Be surprised by what the Universe has in store, and delight in something even better than you could have imagined for yourself.
3. Move Energy from the Body Over time, the body can accumulate stress. This buildup can lead to experiences of “feeling stuck” or “dis-ease” in the body. Thus, it’s important to have a regular practice in place to eliminate trapped energy from the body, allowing layers of stress to be released and restoring your body to a healthy state.
There are many effective ways to move stale energies out of the body and create space for the new, including:
Yoga (asanas or postures) Pranayama (breath exercises) Running Toning (using sound to remove blockages in the body)
4. Seek Out Laughter The Laughing Buddha is a symbol of abundance and happiness. Having this statue in your home or place of business is said to bring prosperity and good wealth, while also reminding you to keep things light. When things get too serious, try laughing to bring levity to life overall. Choose to find the humor in everything—it’s there, you just need to look.
At least once a week, make it a point to watch a funny movie, TV show, or live comedian. This vibration of joy brings more joy to us—it’s the Law of Attraction!
5. Eat Natural Foods You eat for energy and for your body’s vitality. If you put low quality gasoline in your car, how well does it run? This same concept applies to your body. The more attention you give to the quality of foods you eat, the better you feel. When you feel good and have ample energy, you are happier and more successful in life.
Every day, you are bombarded with information about what to eat, when, and why. This can cause more confusion and lead to giving up on trying to eat well altogether. Keep it simple, and try to eat fresh foods, preferably from a local grower or farmers’ market.
According to Ayurvedic teachings, fresh foods carry more life force, or prana, that can improve your overall health. By eating this way, you will notice that the more natural the foods consumed, the better you will feel. Feeling good is your intrinsic nature. When you feel bad, you are out of balance with your true spirit. As a common rule when choosing what to eat, avoid FLUNC foods:
Frozen Leftovers Unnatural Nuked (microwaved) Canned While there is no catch-all recipe for success and happiness, by practicing these behaviors, you can begin to recognize how to create the life you want to live. All of your experiences are the result of your thoughts and beliefs. Be aware of the thoughts you are choosing every moment, and notice the beliefs about yourself which lead to the events in your life. Awareness of your beliefs (they can be subtle) gives you access to adopting new ways of being, or taking new courses of action.
You are a powerful Creator. Create happiness and success in your life by having clear intentions for the future, while having your attention on the present moment throughout your day. For it is in the present moment that the future is created.
Life is Good, AND You Have Areas You Wish Were Different
Most people believe that their life has to be all jacked up in order to need a Life Coach. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. Almost all people that are rocking it in life have coaches, and even coaches need coaches (I have TWO)! Most often, people either believe their life is ‘Fine” or “A Total Mess”, but seldom is their belief somewhere in between. The reality is, most of our lives are GOOD, we just have ‘areas’ that could be different. It’s important to first look at ALL areas of life – and connect to the ‘experience’ of each of these areas – before determining which areas need focus. Using a diagnostic tool is the best way to do this.
You’ve Hit a “Plateau” At Work or At Home
Just like at the gym, you can reach a point where you feel like no matter what you do, you’re just not seeing the changes you seek anymore. You’re about to give up, thinking “This working out thing must not be for me!” After a while, what you’ve been doing just no longer works to get you what you want. Stepping back, re-evaluating, and making a new plan is all that’s needed here. Start FRESH! We HUMANS can get comfy in our daily routines, and we also RESIST change. A Life Coach can get you out of your ‘stuck-ness’ by sharing tools to move from head to heart, help you create new empowering habits, and help you uncover limiting beliefs that are no longer serving you.
You’re Just Not “Fulfilled”
Do you have “Keeping up with the Joneses” syndrome? Are you constantly comparing and wishing you were someone or somewhere else other than honoring who and where you are? I remember feeling the same way. It’s common for our Ego (that part of our reptilian brain that is automatic and primitive, not who we REALLY are) to constantly compare. When we connect to the Self (through mindfulness or a meditation practice), we begin to see that most of what we really want, we already have. We already have people in our lives to acknowledge, many great moments of JOY and success, and our materials needs that are being met (for the most part). It is the MIND that constantly strives for ‘more’ or ‘better’. When we can tap into the true experience of our own lives, we spend more time in states of gratitude and appreciation, which is where true fulfillment resides. Having a full life is a CREATION, not something that happens to us and when we realize this, life begins to look very different.
You Don’t Really Know What “It” Is, But You’re Not Really Feelin’ “It”
Just as in lacking fulfillment in our lives (see above), constantly seeking the next thing to bring us happiness, or having the belief that when we finally find ‘it’, THEN we will be happy – this is an ILLUSION that will keep you miserable! The mind, again, is duping us into thinking that gratification lies somewhere “out there.” Most people spend their whole life attaining goals, buying things, jumping from relationship to relationship (and along the way having little to no satisfaction) believing that it’s the next thing that’s REALLY going to make them happy. When we CHOOSE happiness, moment by moment, then happiness becomes an experience we have all day long, every day, because we say so. This is the difference between living life deliberately and being at the AFFECT of life. Which will you choose?
I Don’t Have Money for the Things I Really Want
Money is energy. The amount of money in our bank account is a direct reflection of our own experiences (there’s that word again!). If we are walking around in a state of lack or negativity, then money will elude us, not be our friend, and we will not have the experience of being abundant. Shifting our awareness to the fact we are ALREADY whole and complete, money is attracted to our energetic outpouring of abundance. We have the realization that we CREATE our own abundance by the thoughts and beliefs we give our ATTENTION to – this draws our desires to us, just by who we are BEING. Being RICH is not what we DO or HAVE, but is a state of being that draws rich-ness into our experience.
You Are Focused on Any of the Following: “Finding the Perfect (Mate, Job, Body, etc.)”
In this age of technology and instant gratification, it has become the ‘norm’ to always strive for something BETTER – a better Job, the perfect spouse, and of course the ULTIMATE figure. You can’t get to where you want to go without first appreciating and accepting where you are right now. The thing to get is that there is NO SUCH THING. We can imagine what would be ‘ideal’, but we then must detach from the outcome and TRUST that all IS perfect just AS IT IS. “ALL Suffering comes from wishing things were different than they are.” (Said the Buddha). If we can hold an INTENTION for our ideal-whatever and then have our ATTENTION in the present moment, then our desires will manifest because it is is in the present that the future is created. We set the intention and then LET GO (detach) and trust the Universe will sort out the details AND may even surprise us by giving us something more AMAZING than we could have imagined for ourselves. This is the MAGIC of detachment. The intending, letting go, then trusting the Universe knows WHAT’S UP!!!!
Lastly, if you have resistance around what a Life Coach costs, ask yourself “What is living an EXCELLENT and REWARDING life worth to me?” Remember, money is energy, so when we invest in our OURSELVES in this way, the Universe rewards us by taking care of us. You may not notice it right away, but when you commit to YOURSELF, you begin to experience life as you want it. We are not meant to struggle, but to en-JOY Life on this planet and a Life Coach can guide and support you in CREATING real and lasting changes!
I’m guessing you already know the scientific benefits of meditation like sleeping better, feeling calmer, feeling more in control, and sparking creativity, right? But none of these have really motivated you to take up this practice.
Let’s face it: You’re too busy and you don’t have time to sit and do nothing. Besides, meditation is great for other people, just not for a driven, career-oriented person like you. I get it, and I felt the same way before I started meditating.
But do you struggle with finding time to do what you want? Are you so exhausted by the end of the day you hardly have time to enjoy family or do something for yourself? Do you feel like something is missing in your life despite having a successful career?
As a meditation and yoga teacher as well as a life coach, you may think I don’t know much about the demands of working in the corporate world, but it was exactly my years in corporate that led me to meditation.
I’m a very practical, type-A person, so the idea of meditating seemed absolutely ridiculous to me for many years. I thought meditation worked for some people, but it certainly wasn’t going to help a driven, hard-working professional like me. How would sitting still and doing nothing actually help me reach my life and career goals? I just didn’t see how meditation would give me what I really wanted and what I know most busy professionals want—more time, more energy, and more joy in life.
The stresses, demands, and deadlines at work were depleting me on all levels. I would have tried anything to calm my crazy brain five years ago! I was constantly on the go, trying to be who I thought I should be. I resisted this practice as long as I could, but when the angst of working in the corporate world, the demands of raising a family, and the overwhelming feeling of dissatisfaction in life got the best of me, I knew I had to try something new. So, I started meditating.
Fast-forward to today, and I have all the time and energy I could ever want. In fact, meditation changed my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined when I first started. What I realize now that I resisted years ago is that the busier you are and the more driven you are, the more you need a meditation practice. A simple meditation practice can boost your life in ways that go well beyond the scientifically proven benefits.
If you’re a busy professional and you really want to know how a meditation practice can support you at work and at home, read on.
Meditation provides an energy boost sans Red Bull.
If you feel utterly exhausted, frustrated, and worn out, it might be time to take note of where your energy is being spent. Before I started meditating, I had a vision of how things, people, and situations should be—my way! I resisted, fought against, and detached completely from people, situations, and things that did not appear as I thought they should.
I even started preparing for people NOT to do it my way so I could cut them off before they disappointed me. I missed some incredible opportunities by hyperfocusing on how things should be rather than accepting things as they were. This zapped a tremendous amount of energy from me and I didn’t even realize this until I started meditating.
So, how exactly do you waste energy wishing things were different? You know that coworker who really irritates the heck out of you? Or how about the unrealistic boss who creates more havoc than productivity? Ever have a fallout with a friend or coworker and you play the conversation in your mind over and over again? When you finally encountered this person, did you notice that you had missed some pieces of the conversation that completely changed your reaction to him or her?
Do you know how much energy you expend wishing people and situations were different? A LOT! Just imagine how much more energy you’d have if instead of focusing on that irritating coworker, the overly demanding boss or replaying conversations in your mind that will never take place, you accepted people and things as they are.
After just a few weeks of meditating, I noticed that the things that normally bothered me simply didn’t anymore. I could work the same amount of hours, but I got a lot more accomplished without feeling drained or depleted at the end of the day. I even had energy to enjoy time with my kids and husband after working a full day at the office.
Meditation helps you get what you really want.
Before I started meditating, I often went from one goal to another hoping that the next big accomplishment would make me happy. Every time I checked a goal off my list, I set out to achieve yet another one. It was all about doing, doing, doing. The problem was the doing wasn’t really working anymore. I was exhausted, frustrated, and felt like something was missing from my life.
The fascinating thing about sitting in silence and just being is that you begin to hear another voice inside. This voice could care less about material possessions, titles, roles, or accomplishments. This voice is the real you—the you that is calm, joyful, and unlimited.
As I tuned in to this voice through meditation, I began to realize that what I was seeking “out there” was already within me. I didn’t really want to hang more awards on the wall or to be recognized in the role I played at work or at home. What I really wanted was to love my life right now. I longed to have more time with my kids, who were spending way too many hours in day care. I wanted to focus on my health and well-being, and I wanted to do work that was really satisfying on a deeper level. Meditation helped me gain clarity about what it was I really wanted.
Meditation wasn’t easy at first. I thought the point of meditation was to “not think,” which only made the thoughts fire more rapidly. The first few weeks of meditation were filled with frustration as I tirelessly perused my to-do list, got distracted by sensations in my body, and old memories appeared randomly across the screen of my mind. It wasn’t until I sought the help of a meditation teacher that I began to understand why meditation is called a practice.
I learned to use a mantra to quiet my mind, to be patient with myself, and to release any expectation I had before going into meditation. Although I struggled in the beginning, the rewards I’ve experienced and still experience today are so worth the initial frustration! Because of this practice, I’m more productive, less reactive, happier, and a lot more successful today. In fact, because of my commitment to meditation, I have more energy, more time, and feel more joy than I ever thought possible. I’m still very driven, but now my drive is aligned with what I really want instead of what I should want.
I challenge you to try meditation for just 21 days, even if you don’t believe it will work for you or you’ve resisted meditation because you think meditation is for “other” people. You don’t need a Buddha statue, an orange robe, or to shave your head. All you need is a serious commitment to sit in silence for 20 minutes a day twice a day. Know that your mind will run amok, and that’s totally OK and a sign that you really do need this practice. Stick with it, and you will not recognize your life after committing to this practice for just 21 days.
It’s safe to say 2016 has been a year of ups and downs. Many are feeling unsettled and uncertain about what the future has in store. Regardless, it’s a conscious choice to be joyful amid life happenings—but how do you manifest joy even when things don’t seem to be going your way?
One of the most direct ways is through the use of affirmations—declarations or statements used to create an experience you’d like to have. Like intentions, you can use affirmations as reminders of what you are committed to creating in your life.
Here are 10 affirmations you can use to manifest joy in the New Year and beyond. To keep these affirmations top of mind: • Post them where you will see them every day. • Keep a list of them by your bed to look at before you go to sleep at night. • Look at them before going into silence or meditation. • Try feeling the affirmations and use the ones that resonate with you the most.
1. 2017 Will Be the Year of Consistent Meditation
Joy is the spirit made manifest; it is your essential nature to be joyful. Joy is not found in what goes on outside of you. To be truly joyful, you must connect to that part of yourself that trusts there is a divine energy at work at all times, no matter what. This part of your Self is the spirit (or soul) and can only be accessed by going into silence or meditation on a regular basis. Enrich your life by connecting daily to your spirit, and moments of joy will not be something you seek, but rather something you create on a regular basis.
If you do not already have a regular meditation practice, there are many ways to learn to meditate: • Find a teacher in your area. • Take an online course. • Practice on your own using a guided meditation. • Try our free beginner’s guide to meditation.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, and try again. Remember, it’s a meditation practice, not meditation perfect. Be easy on yourself.
2. This Year, I Will Do More of What I Love
If something seems interesting to you, make time to do it. Take action to enjoy that: • Informal sport • Pick-up game • Block party • Picnic • Outdoor concert
Try new things each week until you find something that makes your heart sing. When you are doing what you love, time seems to fly by. This is one way to know you are connecting more with your spirit. Feelings of joy will flow naturally and easily.
3. I Will Cultivate a Child’s Effervescence
The most fun yoga pose to teach and practice is called “Happy Baby”—it reminds you that happy babies are blissful. As Deepak Chopra says, “Happy babies bubble with bliss.” This yoga posture reminds you that to be happy is not something that you once learned, but something that you just have to remember. You used to spend hours in Happy Baby pose for the sheer entertainment of it.
Remember a time when you were happy as a child: • How old were you? • Was there something specific that made you happy, or were you just happy in general? • What environment was created to help you feel this way?
It’s important to reconnect to these experiences to discover that joy is not something you need to look for. At any time, joy is within your reach.
4. I Will Move My Body More
Moving your body is not only good for your physique or keeping weight off, but can also spark biological changes that increase the brain’s ability to learn, adapt, and perform other cognitive tasks. Exercise can even reverse the detrimental effects of stress and lift depression.
Find what you love to do for exercise and make a commitment to move for at least 10 minutes a day. Instead of making exercise another thing you “have to do” on your list, mark it on your calendar as “I Move for Joy” or something that inspires joy for you. By reminding yourself why you want to move your body, you’re more likely to stick with it. Make movement a daily habit to be more joyful overall.
5. I Will Cultivate My Own Sense of Humor
Everyone has their own thoughts and ideas around what’s funny. • Do you like comedy? • Who is your favorite comedian/comedienne? • What type of humor do you like? • Do you know any good jokes?
Notice things that are funny to you and then make time to enjoy a comedy show or find something funny on TV or at the movies. Laughter is one of the easiest ways to manifest joy in our lives. (And, it’s also a good workout for your abs—a definite bonus!)
6. I Will Become More Group-Oriented
Become aware of what you would like to see change in the world, and then, seek out others with similar passions, finding communities of people who already gather to spread a message or make change happen. By having this sense of purpose, you stay grounded and connected to the world, and reduce the risk of becoming isolated and depressed in these particularly tense times. When you get nervous, focus on service. By getting out of your head and into action, you can make a difference in the world and for others. This is where true joy originates.
7. I Will Learn About Myself and the World Through Travel
It is said that “working makes us money, but travel makes us rich.” Spending all your life working to pay bills, while having a dream to travel and see the world, is not a life well lived. Make a plan to travel each year to a place you’ve never seen. You’ll notice the journey starts the moment you buy the tickets. It’s what you learn about yourself along the way by making a plan, sticking to it, and then actually arriving at a place you’ve only dreamt about that makes it all worthwhile.
By making travel a priority, you learn about the world and yourself. Have the courage to say, “I’m doing this,” and trust the money will come from wherever it is right now to make it happen.
8. I Will Have an Attitude of Gratitude
Gratitude can have a profound effect on your heart muscle. More than love, gratitude heals your heart on a deeper level. You cannot be grateful and be fearful at the same time. When practicing gratitude on a daily (or moment by moment) basis, you are present to all that you already have and can better embrace the future without fear. By committing to being grateful, you will experience more joy, contentment, and abundance.
9. I Will Forgive Myself and Others for What Has or Has Not Happened
It is important to let go of the past and detach from how you think things should look or should have gone in order to be present to all that is good in life. Humans have a tendency to focus on what is missing. By shifting toward acceptance of what is, you release your attachments to what you think you know and step into the realm of uncertainty, which is where the magic, mystery and adventure of life exist. Forgive yourself for what may or may not have happened, and remind yourself of all the good that has come to you. Practice the Law of Attraction by expecting good things to come and then sitting back to receive.
10. I Will Know My Path by How Much Fun I’m Having
If you find yourself being extremely serious about something, take a step back and gain perspective on your life. So much of the drama you find yourself in is by your own making. By bringing in more lightheartedness, you can move forward more powerfully and confidently. Know that at the end of the day, things are probably not as grave as they seem. Shed some light on the situation by asking yourself, “What is the worst case scenario?” Chances are, you’ve gotten caught up in something that may not even be true. Go inward, ask your body for a signal about the situation, then trust yourself and have fun. You’ve got this.
Quieting the “Monkey” Mind Swinging from vine to vine, the human mind has been compared to a monkey because of the randomness of our thoughts and the “chatter” in our heads that seems to have no end. When we observe our thoughts, it’s comical to see how most of our thoughts are the same thoughts, and that they often make no sense! It is a myth that we can stop our thoughts completely. We have 60,000-80,000 thoughts per day, and as I mentioned, most of these are the same thoughts. We can use a mantra or breath as a tool to quiet down the mind, so that we may slip into the space between our thoughts, also known as “the gap”. Consistently practicing meditation, we begin to bring the stillness and silence of the gap out into our life. So, the real results of meditation aren’t necessarily in the 20-30 minutes (twice a day) that we meditate, but rather, in the other 23 hours of our day.
For Our Health It is proven there are many health benefits to meditation, such as slowing our heart rate, increasing immunity, and even proven effects on the brain during meditation. Much like brushing our teeth, meditation should become a habit just for the health benefits alone. You wouldn’t skip a day without brushing your teeth at least once and for optimal health twice. Why then, would we skip meditation?
Connection to Source The ultimate goal of meditation is enlightenment, or self-realization – to begin to know who we really are. We are not the roles we play in life, but the energetic being within us, known as the spirit, or Soul. The one way to access this part of our “Self” is through meditation. Though there are many styles or techniques you can use, all roads lead to Rome.
Clarity About our Intentions and Desires By going inward and connecting to the Self on a regular basis, the opportunities for what we really want in our lives begin to show up. It’s not so much the answers come to us during meditation, but the affirmation of our intentions and desires that begin to manifest. This is what I believe is to be in the “flow” of life, with clarity to take inspired actions while having the energy of the Universe at your back.
Obviously, there is more to meditation than just sitting down and closing our eyes. According to a recent Harvard study, (http://tinyurl.com/ozwjpfk) “The most important thing, if you’re going to try it, is to find a good teacher. Because it’s simple, but it’s also complex. You have to understand what’s going on in your mind. A good teacher is priceless.” Let’s connect!
The list is long of the places I’d like to travel to, and India was not at the top of my list until I became certified to teach Meditation, Yoga and Ayurveda through the Chopra Center. To travel this far, I used to think I’d at least have to go for a month’s time, my family wouldn’t want to come, and I didn’t have an “Eat, Pray, Love” thing wherein I wanted to just travel alone. So, when the opportunity arose to go on a Goddess Retreat with other like-minded women, I jumped at the chance. Opportunities like these are never an accident.
It took about 18 months of planning; financial, psychological, and emotional. It was not an easy task to enroll my husband in the idea. He and I love to travel together and at first he took it personal. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go there with him, but I wanted to go now for different reasons. I wanted to go to study, immerse, and experience all that is India based upon what I’ve learned and what I’ve yet to learn. It was a personal pilgrimage – to experience on my own, with other women, who had been there, knew where to go, what to eat and where to shop! A spiritual materialist’s dream come true! Ha!
There were several times I almost talked myself out of it – lots of “reasons” why I should wait – until our boys are off to college, until we have more savings in the bank…yada, yada, yada. (You catch my drift). The point is, you only live ONCE. I saw this as an opportunity to teach my kids that just because you become a parent that your hopes and dreams don’t go out the window. I’m committed to HAVING IT ALL and being an example for others of what’s possible.
We all know the trip begins once you buy the airline tickets. It was amazing to me I was actually going. I had to keep pinching myself. It was all very surreal until I actually arrived in Newark – about to step on to the plane to Mumbai – that this was all about to REALLY happen.
The flight was long – 16 hours – and I only slept about 4 hours of it. It was exciting and scary all at once. I kept dousing myself in lots of essential oils before the flight and during, and made sure to drink lots of water, and get up and move about the cabin as much as possible. Regardless, we arrived in Mumbai tired and hungry (at least I was). I had lost track of what time it was in what time zone, it was dark outside so at least it felt like bedtime, which was a good thing. We were in bed in our hotel (LaLit in Mumbai next to the airport, very swank and they took great care of us) by about midnight and slept about 6 hours until I awoke in need of a meditation and yoga session while the sun came up. It still was surreal that we had arrived in India. What was to come? The anticipation was intoxicating.
We had the best drivers from Mumbai to Pune. Our driver, Sandeep, was amazing at pointing things out to us, and telling about his life growing up in India and the fact that he had never traveled outside of India – he is 35! He also had six fingers! It was weird, but he was so great about it. He obviously accepts himself just as he is. Something we can all learn…do not judge.
Driving to Pune
Arriving in Pune, we are greeted by our fearless leaders and shown where we will be staying for the next two weeks. Our accommodations were fabulous. My own room and bathroom (as most of us had) was a welcome respite after about two days of travel. We were greeted with the most amazing lunch – we were spoiled from the beginning on this trip, a foreshadow of what was ahead. The “five-star” tour of India I call it. Blessed to be taken care of and to travel the world in this way. (Pinch)
We stayed right along the river – water buffalo, wild boar, birds of all shapes and sizes and colors – nature at its finest was out our window and was so soothing to both listen and look at. We were HERE. We had made it. Time to settle in and begin to en-JOY.
The view out my window
The first couple of days were overwhelming – to ALL of the senses. The smells, the traffic, the sheer number of people! The garbage alongside the road, the air quality (it was hard to breathe, much less practice Yoga each morning). I became very aware of my own practices, staying grounded with Meditation, Pranayama, and Gratitude.
Day one, Yoga on the rooftop
The biggest surprise was how much I enjoyed the food. Not only were we completely spoiled with fresh salads and homemade Ayurvedic meals each day during the Goddess Retreat, but we also ventured out and experienced some of the local (exotic) flavors at restaurants (from an approved list, of course) and homemade Chai Tea and fresh coconuts from the side of the road each day kept us hydrated.
We even enjoyed a day of rain – something not typically seen this time of year in Pune. And, the most amazing Ayurvedic massages each day from the sweetest most beautiful women in India in the comfort of our own rooms. Did I mention this was the “5-Star” tour?
These ladies give the best massages!
We were treated to almost daily excursions to different places – a Paper Factory, Iyengar Yoga Center, and ancient caves that served those traveling on the trade routes of India back in the day. An honor to visit these sacred spaces. I even chanted the Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga mantras inside a cave. The acoustics were amazing!!! And Ganesh Temple with sweets for offerings and the smell of piss in the alleyway on the way in. Some things you just don’t forget.
Many lessons were gained from this trip to a land so far away, but a main takeaway is to go in the direction of your dreams. You never know where that will take you. I couldn’t have imagined 10 years ago that I would take this trip, alone (without my family), on a personal/spiritual journey for ME. It is my passion to lead others to following their dreams and it is my intention to re-create this opportunity for others to come. To create a retreat of my own, perhaps, to another part of India. The world is large – there is so much to see and to learn. That’s what is so exciting. There are many others things I could share of what I learned on this journey but some of it is sacred and personal to me. To learn and grow we must step out of our comfort zones and see just what we are made of and create what’s next. And next. And next. The Journey continues.