Peace is Courageous

I received such a sweet gift the other day. It’s a sweater (Cashmere of course, “the way to a woman’s heart.”) that says, “Peace is Courageous.” Honestly, when I first opened the present and read the sweater I thought it read, “Peace is Contagious” which I completely agree with. Yet, I quickly realized that I had read it wrong.
 
“Peace is Courageous?” I thought to myself. Interesting, right? The more that I’ve thought about it (and nestled up in it while I write in the early AM hours) the more I truly resonate with its message
 


Courage is about living with your whole heart, wide open and present to whatever “is” in the now.
 


The word for peace in Sanskrit is “shanti.” In the Anusara school of Yoga, they define the word shantaya as “The realm of peace – an ultimate peacefulness that is complete and all-pervading.”
 
In my personal experience, “keeping my peace” (dwelling in the realm of shantaya) is one of the most courageous things I do everyday. In order to stay awakened to the ever-present perfection of peace inside of me, I must continually make the courageous choice to open my heart and accept whatever is. This isn’t necessarily as easy as it sounds because multiple things are happening at once...

“Keeping your peace” means staying anchored into your center, a place that is unaltered by whatever is happening outside of you. Living courageously means accepting whatever “is” and “allowing it to move through you – instead of rejecting or deflecting emotions, inviting them in.
 

Let's use the example of a close friend of yours happens to hurt your feelings. Regardless of what your friend said or did to hurt your feelings, you are still completely responsible for how you feel. Period.
 


No one has the power to make you feel a certain way.
 


I love how the Presence Process by Michael Brown describes this:
 


“If you are upset, it is the Universe setting you up.”
“Don’t shoot the messenger, get the message.”
(Especially since the Universe has an endless supply of messengers!)


When we wake up and claim our responsibility of how we feel inside, we can finally own the power to “Keep our Peace” in any situation or experience. This frees us from unnecessary worry, fear, anxiety, or blame in relationships. Having the power to “Keep our Peace” opens us up to profound connection and new depths of intimacy. So how do we do this?!
 

Keeping Your Peace:

First off, ground in the present moment and turn into the “realm” of peace inside that is profoundly complete and full. This can be done through visualization, breathwork or meditation.
 

In the example of being hurt by a friend, aligning first to the peace inside of yourself allows you to bring peace to the situation with your friend. Nothing is found outside of yourself – if you strive for resolution and peace in a relationship, first cultivate it within yourself.

Courage:

After having found your peace, your realm of shantaya inside, your willingness to bring this peace and open heartedness to resolve conflict, tension or hurt in relationship is one of the most courageous things one can do.

 
Open Heart = Vulnerability
Vulnerability = A Doorway to Deeper Dimensions of Love
 

Keeping your heart open doesn’t involve pushing away feelings of hurt, rejection, abandonment, betrayal, fear, anger, etc and only focusing on the "light." Peace is cultivated by accepting all emotions for simply what they are – felt resonances containing information – and nothing more.


What you feel has absolutely nothing to do with another person. Feelings originate from inside of you, not outside of you.


In order to maintain your peace people, you must cultivate the courage to accept whatever “is” in the “now” and allow it to cleaning pass through you without clinging to or pushing away any emotional signature. This ensures that no sticky residue is left behind in your energy system. Emotions are just energy – keep the energy flowing by having the courage to open your heart and “keep your peace.”
 

Try Easy Baby!

For those of us yogis, it probably isn’t the first time we have heard the phrase “try easy” as it relates to the physical practice of Yoga. Oftentimes we can find our selves “pushing,” “fighting” and “forcing” in the postures on our mats. I would also venture to guess that if this energy to “push” your way through shows up on the mat, it probably is showing up somewhere else in your life, whether in your relationship with yourself, others, or your creative expressions such as work, dreams, and intentions.
 
Last week I found myself with a little bit of writer’s block. I stared motionless at my computer screen for one hour without receiving a single clear sentence or direction to take. Shit happens! Thank goodness that the one thing that I know for certain is that the more I “force” or “push” myself to write, the more limited I feel. The more limited I feel, the less my creative inspiration flows.
 
So I took a break and went for my afternoon meditation session at the temple. As I sat in silence, allowing my breath to deepen, my agitation to dissipate and my energy to soften and expand, I opened back up. In that moment of opening I received incredible guidance. “Try easy baby.”
 
I knew what a magical shift this persepctive would have on my writing time. I am a big believer that we are not meant to force, push, fight or muscle our way through to create.
 

Instead, I believe we find those things that we are naturally good at (our true gifts, talents and abilities), the things that make us feel most like our selves, and turn those things into our passions, our job, our commitment or our dreams.


When I “try easy” when I write, the page fills with words. When I “try easy” on my mat, my practice is fluid, weightless and fun. When I “try easy” as I teach, I delight in my personal offering without fearing judgment or criticism. When I “try easy” in my relationships, my heart feels free and I am inspired by Love. “Trying easy” keeps me open and expanded in all the moments of my life, bringing me a great sense ofcontentment.
 
Contentment isn’t the high-low, up-down intensity that forging forward with your personal will brings you. Contentment is peaceful, steady and brings a great deal of ease to one’s body, mind and heart.
Trying easy is equivalent to surrendering your personal will (which is what my new book is allllllll about friends...yay!).

When you surrender your personal will, you give up all of the drama that pushing and forcing your way through life brings with it.


We give up all the drama and in return we open to something so much more magical. Miracles. By surrendering our effort, miracles become possible where we only felt or saw limitation.

Valuing Joy Above Success

At the moment, I’m editing my fourth book and have been working on a section the past few days about the power joy has in opening our hearts to miracles. Some people commonly misinterpret joy for happiness. The two are very different though. Happiness is based on conditions. Joy is your True Nature. Happiness is fluctuating. Joy is ever-present.  Happiness is temporary. Joy is infinite.

Joy transcends all conditions, where happiness comes and goes based on circumstance.

A lot of times, as movers and shakers in an urban society, we set goals to accomplish and spend a lot of time and energy diligently working towards achieving them. Whether it is getting into shape, making money, saving money, writing a book, starting a business, getting into relationship, etc. I believe that no matter where we are along the journey of reaching our “goals” it is unbelievably important to dwell in a state of joy.  

I believe that when we are unable to find joy in this very moment, no matter what we are working towards, we are out of alignment.

If you can’t find joy in the path that you are on and what you are walking toward now, then how do you expect to find joy once you get there?”

You actually can't find joy. It isn't created by anything outside of you. It is only tapped into and resourced from alignment with your Truth. Isn’t that powerful? I certainly think so.

People can commonly get wires crossed in their heads, believing that once they achieve, gain or obtain something they are going to feel fulfilled and joyful. They might feel happiness, accomplished, proud…but joy is never created from something outside of one self. 

The absolute Truth is there is nothing for you to achieve, gain or obtain. Everything you desire for a joyously fulfilled life already exists inside of you. Everything.

The concept of awakening this joy inside of you is simply explained through the Sanskrit term satcitanada. According to Wikipedia, satcitanada can be translated to “truth, knowingness, bliss.”

When you remember (knowingness) your True Self (truth) you experience joy (bliss).

Satcitanada has become my equation for profound, personal fulfillment and joy. For me, when I live my life in a remembrance of my Truth and allow the wellspring of joy to emerge from the depths of my heart I get a deep sense that I am living out my purpose in life.

PAUSE.

Take that in. For me…my experience…when I am aware of who I really am inside I am so joyful (regardless of what I have achieved professionally and personally) that in those moments I am fully living out my purpose of existence. MIND-BLOWING!

You don’t have to wait to obtain anything or achieve something before you live a joyful life. In fact, I believe we often lose sight of our innate purpose for being here when we are not awakened to the joy of our True Nature as we work towards our earthly goals and dreams. We lose sight of what really matters and what we value most when we get lost in the continuous, hypnotic trance of the hamster wheel or the never ending rat-race.

It’s simple to tell if you are on point and in alignment in your relationships, work, efforts and goals – are you joyful? Do you laugh? Smile? Do you feel full in your heart each night when you fall asleep? Do you wake up giggling on the inside anticipating another magical day on Earth?

If you don’t have joy now, moving towards all the things you desire, how do you expect to have joy once you get there? Joy is not something that can be obtained…it is only unlocked through living in exquisite alignment with the recognition of your auspicious divinity. Joy naturally flows when you remember who you really are.

Joy is a sign that you are not only in alignment with your purpose but also that your heart is open to miracles.

Embracing Our Humanness

One of my primary intentions for 2016 is to integrate the expansion I experience in both the spiritual and earthly realms of my life – to bring these two realms together harmoniously and in balance. Through this focus, I already have come to intimately understand and appreciate the true power in embracing not just my spiritual essence, but also my humanness.

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Once we get a taste, or an awakening of our inner essence, the spiritual aspect of who we really are, it isn’t uncommon for people to forget that at the end of the day, we are here to have a “human” experience! To me, these past few months of 2016 have really taught me to fully embrace my humanness (as well as love and value other's) in moments of joy and discomfort and everything in-between. By doing so, I have actually opened up to a greater access of spiritual wisdom, guidance and insight. Imagine that? By embracing my humanness, more revelations of Truth have unfolded.

This perspective of choosing to fully embrace my humanness has been so impactful in the playground of relationship. The Truth is, no matter how much time two individuals spend in “spirit” or in the remembrance of their “spiritual essence,” they are still coming together in this physical realm – coming together in human form.

In relationship, we spend a hell of a lot of time in the physical plane. This is one of the many beautiful blessings of our human experience – one to be embraced, rather than transcended. Just as we remember to view everyone through the eyes of Oneness, seeing whoever is sitting in front of us as an angel, I believe it is also powerful to accept their humanness right alongside their divinity.

By transcending the human experience we are in a way missing the whole f’in point of being here!

I believe the philosophy and teachings of Yoga can greatly support our embracing of our humanness, experience this magical physical plane in relationship with our selves and others while also remembering our spiritual essence. This is why we come to the mat, why we sit on our cushions, and why we breathe deeply and consciously throughout the day. Because Yoga works!

These practices help us live as an embodiment of spirit - grounding the spiritual aspect of our selves in the human, physical world. This is Union…Connection…this sweet friend, is the play of Yoga.

When we live embracing our humanness alongside our divinity, I believe we open our hearts and eyes for the Truth to be revealed. We can finally stop searching for guidance, direction, insight, clarity, and inspiration. There is nothing to seek. This embodiment of Spirit in our humanness allows us to be right here, right now in a state of total presence.

This is when our relationships magically transform - when we first meet presence to presence, and then person to person. 

By embracing the world of form, the physical embodiment all of us human beings are experiencing, in a way it gives us permission to simply be who we are without judgement...flaws and all. We are all works in progress. There is no need to compare ourselves or our beloveds, friends and family to the perfect, spiritually enlightened individual. Our relationships deepen with ourselves and others when we fully embrace each other's divinity and humanness simultaneously. We get to be human...it's apart of the journey. Celebrate it both within yourself and others.

Run into Love

There I was, in sheer enjoyment, running down the mountain I had just spent an hour hiking up when I observed myself quickly hold back, tighten up and move into a place of fear. I noticed how all of a sudden, instead of being overtaken by the fun and speed of running weightlessly downhill, I became overtaken by the anxiety that I might “get hurt.”

I broke my ankle running about 6 years ago and it never properly healed. The doctors told me I probably wouldn’t be able to run again - which I am able to do now, along with yoga, totally free from pain…most of the time. The only real lingering residue of the break is the “weakness” I feel in that ankle from time to time.

After a good solid vertical hike, you can imagine the freedom and ease that comes with the downhill return trip. Compared to the effort and energy expelled in climbing, the downhill leg is always easier. Right? Or so I typically experience it to be.

This time though, as I was galloping down, a wave of anxiety took over and I went into borderline “panic” mode that my ankle would give out. I immediately flashed to reliving the initial “break” - the sound of it snapping, the intense nausea, the gut-wrenching pain…and how the following 8 weeks of healing prevented me from doing so many of the things that I love.

I watched myself hold back, slow down and move with the hesitancy that “pain” might happen at any moment if my ankle were to give out again. The whole way I was behaving, holding back out of “fear of pain,” reminded me of the hesitancy we experience in giving ourselves freely to love.

We all have had our hearts broken. Some of us experienced deep woundings to our heart during our childhood while others lost their first love, a best friend, or a family member later in life. Regardless of what age we are, we all share a similar story – which is the brokenheartedness we’ve experienced while experiencing our lives.

Just like me on that mountain, holding myself back and running with hesitancy instead of reckless abandon, because of our brokenheartedness, we hold ourselves back in relationships. We hold ourselves back from love. Our bodies, our minds and our hearts remember the pain of the initial break and like a child learning not to touch the hot stove again, we avoid love to ultimately avoid pain.

Unfortunately, similar to my ankle never truly healing, our heartbreaks, most often than not, never heal properly either. We jump too quickly into a new relationship or avoid the pain and healing process completely by distracting ourselves with work, play, exercise, or through settling into a deep depression while blaming others for our pain.

We do this because the process of healing actually requires us to “feel” the emotional pain generated inside, yet we are taught to avoid any and all things that don’t make us “feel good.” I personally, agree with Michael Brown (author of the Presence Process) – that integrating the wounds of our hearts isn’t about “feeling good, but getting better at feeling.”

But the minute we feel “pain,” “heartbreak” or “loss” we typically believe that something is wrong and we look for any outlet to shift ourselves out of the pain and into something that feels good. What if the answer to unconditional love with yourself and shared with another is to not avoid this pain but to sit in it as long as need be until it authentically shifts? What if the answer to finally being free from your emotional pain was to actually FEEL IT?

I believe this is the healing balm for our broken hearts. Feeling our hearts without judgment or needing to shift its experience at all is the answer to freeing ourselves from emotional pain. It’s okay to feel pain, loss and heartbreak – it really is! Through the process of “feeling” it, we have the opportunity to truly heal the heart rather than spend a lifetime shoving down our pain and avoiding people and situations that trigger it.

So back to the mountain. As all of this swirled through my heart, mind and body, I came to the conclusion – “If my ankle were to give out, would it really be that bad?” No, because in the breaking of my ankle again, it would give me the opportunity to heal it properly this time.

Like our hearts, instead of avoiding heartbreak by moving into love and relationships with hesitancy, I encourage you to embrace the possibility of heartbreak. The experience of it is actually a beautiful gift, given to us to heal the places inside of it that have never healed properly.

The complete shattering of our hearts, gives us the perspective to see where healing is needed as we put each little piece back together. And the Truth is, when we do this – when are hearts come fully back together – they are always expanded with a greater capacity to love and be loved. That is the power of healing the heart.

The lesson I carried off the mountain that day was as you stand in front of love, imagine yourself, like me, descending a mountain. Run wild and free. Heart open, free of hesitancy. Run into love and embrace whatever unfolds (even if it’s heartbreak), and feel it deeply – all of it. Anchor back into the Truth that whatever happens is essential for your expansion and your return to living wholeheartedly. 

Perfect Moments in Time

Spending an extra long weekend in the desert is always a treat. To me, the expansiveness of the wide desert allows my awareness and energy-body to expand. I, personally, feel at home in the desert after many years and countless trips to the Palm Springs area.

There is always a certain point along the drive from San Diego to Palm Springs that I experience the magic of the mountains. Every time, WITHOUT FAIL, I get a hit or download a thought, idea or inspiration that will change my perspective forever. I’m not exaggerating either.

The hits or “signs” come in a variety of forms, whether it is a song that plays in perfect divine timing, a shift in my emotions leading to a release through tears, a concept that changes how I view relationship/partnership, or downloading an incredible idea for writing or my offerings, I am always “tapped in, tuned in and turned on” as Abraham Hicks would say.

This time, along the mysterious stretch of highway through the mountains, I was reminded of one of the first experiences I had here in the desert that kindled my love affair with the energy of the land.

It was many years ago and I was here with my boyfriend at the time. He had lived in the desert earlier in his life, so even though time had past, he still navigated through the roads and different towns with the ease of a local.

One night, after a few drinks and a bite to eat, we took a detour on our way home. It was summer in the desert, so it was HOT during the day, but at nighttime, it was warm…the perfect temperature for a strapless dress and strappy heels.

Instead of heading straight back to our hotel, he pulled up a side street that led up into the mountains. We drove up as the moon was slowly climbing in the night’s sky. We reached as far as we could go in the vehicle. He instructed me to get out. I must have really loved him, cause I did…and began trespassing (in my heels) on a property that the foundation of a new house had just been laid.

We walked (still can’t believe I didn’t break an ankle…must be because I’m so “outdoorsy”) until a view of the whole desert appeared before us. It was breathtaking.

The wind that night was incredible. It was warm, but fierce. There was power in the air…electricity. Something about having been in love with this man for 1000 lifetimes made us actually “feel” what the other was experiencing on the inside. There was no questioning, guessing or asking…we were both just “THERE” taking in the magic and magnetism of the moment.

Then he turned to me. And out of all the things he could have said to me, he blessed me with such priceless words of wisdom that would change how I viewed the life I had lived, as well as my view of myself.

With as much depth and certainty as any human being could ever have, he said,

“Lex…I can’t believe that it has taken me my whole life to be in this moment.”

Maybe it was the few martinis we had at dinner. Maybe it was the intense energy of the desert air. Maybe it was because we were freshly in-love. Maybe it was because of our karmic connection tying us back lifetime after lifetime. Personally, I believe it was the sum of all of these parts added together to create this perfect moment in time.

I could see in his eyes, how they held the contrast of both dimension and brightness, that the words he was speaking to me were a gift. He continued:

“And I can’t believe that you are here, experiencing ALL of this at such a young age. How did you make it here in half the time it took me? You are so lucky.”

As I turned back towards the view and took in the majestic night sky with the brilliance of the luminous moon now hovering over us… I knew what he meant by “here.” I felt intricately connected to myself. Intricately connected to another human being, to the Earth, the moon, and the subtle energy of what is hidden behind the physical world. I felt intricately connected – but liberated! Intimately connected…but completely FREE.

This moment would change my life forever. It was one of the first moments of “freedom” I ever felt as a vibration in my body.

I had an epiphany facing my beloved and having heard, received, honored, and integrated his sweet, sincere words as TRUTH. “I am so lucky.” Those words reverberated through my system.

I had never considered what he saw in me. Me? Be lucky? But I realized, in that perfect moment, staring out into the starry vastness of the navy, night’s sky and holding the hand of the man I loved more than anyone in the world…he was right. I AM LUCKY.

I am beyond blessed to have been presented the opportunity to begin the journey of self-realization at the ripe, young age of 21 years old.

In that moment, standing on the top of a mountain, heart wide and exposed, my inner world began to shift and change to align with the TRUTH, that “I am so lucky.”

Even today, looking back to the unfolding of my life, I am filled with gratitude. GRATEFUL FOR IT ALL – the light and the dark moments. For through each experience, I have learned how to turn pain and loss into powerful alignment with TRUTH.

I am forever grateful to be walking my precious path, having experienced the sweet taste of freedom at such a young age. I offer sincere gratitude to the Divine daily for having received the blessing of being taught how alignment with TRUTH can be used as a tool to help others transform that which is dark, cold and limiting within themselves.

Today…having the gift of time and the means to spend 4 days in the desert reminds me of how truly “lucky” I am. I am continuously reminded of my fight and climb towards the top of the mountain as it relates to healing the wounds of my heart and reclaiming my freedom. I will tell you…reassure you…that wherever you are in life, no matter the depth of pain, sadness and loss, the path to healing is WORTH IT.

And take my life as a testament. When looking back at anything and everything that has happened in your life, from the viewpoint of standing on top of the mountain, you’ll hold a space of gratitude for it all. Because sweet friend, you will understand that for some (strange and yes, unfair) reason, it is always our darkness that leads us to healing, fulfillment and freedom