For centuries, monks have lived in solitude on distant mountain peaks in order to meditate, connect with the divine, and find inner peace. Of course, these are the ideal circumstances in which to find your center and live in bliss.
But you and I? We live in a time where we are being asked to find peace while living IN THE WORLD. With wars. With mass shootings at music concerts. With political turmoil. With racism, sexism, and discrimination. With earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and forest fires that destroy cities and towns. With angry, scared people.
Okay so, this is a much more challenging task, right?
My friend, we were born to do it. There is no mistake that we are living on the planet right now. This mission for peace is the destiny we came to actualize.
Many of us will find the calm & quiet we desire in our own homes. We have altars, we light candles, we play soft music and create a safe sanctuary for ourselves. This is beautiful, and quite necessary, in this day and age. In the quiet of your home, it's easier to find peace.
But how are we supposed to maintain our centered, calm state when we go out into the world with honking horns, negative attitudes, and frustrating situations? I do believe this is the next challenging step for humanity: creating peace where there is none.
It starts with you and me.
If you're reading this post, then you are someone who is awake. You are someone who is aware of yourself and working to be a better person. I'm glad you're here.
When you and I make the choice to maintain our center and sense of peace out in the world, we actually shift the energy everywhere we go. We turn stressful situations into graceful, ease-filled moments. We soften the fear and anger in others and spread a message of hope. We turn violence into peace JUST by staying centered.
This is our gift to give the world right now.
It's not an easy task, but practicing these 3 steps will jumpstart your ability to maintain your inner peace out in the world.
1. Surround yourself in light
Before you leave your house, close your eyes and imagine wrapping yourself in a blanket of light. Ask your higher self, angels, or guides to cloak you in a protective globe of white light that shields you from negativity and stressful, chaotic energy.
I really love using visualization and energy work to keep my vibration high when I go out into the world. If you don't believe in woo woo stuff like this, then I suggest experimenting with this like playing a little game. Don't take it seriously, just have fun with it. Allow yourself to play with energy and see how it works. After you experience the power of your own visualization and intention to protect your energy, you will most certainly believe in it.
2. Watch the thoughts you keep
We truly take our power back and own our inner peace when we start taking responsibility for the thoughts that we keep. Thoughts are fickle and fleeting, but if held tightly, they turn into the beliefs that determine what we attract into our realities. If you want to keep your peace, start by monitoring your thoughts.
Every moment, we have the opportunity to let go of thoughts that aren't serving us. When we go out into the world, we are bombarded by thoughts, attitudes, and energies of the people around us. Many times, we get upset if we start encountering a negative thought or vibe. We mistakenly take it to be our own - we take it personally. We assume that if we are thinking a thought, it must say something about who we are. No. A thought is a thought, and nothing more. You have the power to keep and release thoughts any time. This is your power to create peace.
The moment we get frustrated by the negativity we encounter is the moment we start taking it on and matching it vibrationally. We lower ourselves by identifying with the negative thoughts we encounter. This is a CHOICE. In any moment, we can release the thoughts we don't wish to keep and continue on our merry way.
Choose your thoughts wisely, my loves.
3. Embody love
You know what's the greatest protection against fear? LOVE. If you embody love everywhere you go, no negativity will touch you. If you grace every person you see with loving energy, everyone will be transformed by it. No matter how negative or scared or angry someone is, you will not be affected by them.
Feel love in your heart, in your body. Carry it like you are a vessel of love (cuz you are). Breathe love and speak love. Think love and feel love. Lead with a heart of love and peace will follow you everywhere you go.
If you have any hesitations or questions about these steps, check out the meditation video below for detailed guidance.
I love you guys, and I wish you the utmost peace and calm every day. I will see you out there in the world, and we will smile at each other. And we will make the world a better place.
All love always,
Finding the Clarity in Pain
As difficult as pain can be... it is not wrong. Both physical and emotional pain have very important messages to bring us- we just need to learn how to decode them.
Many of us have been taught that feeling negative emotion (anger, fear, jealousy, despair) and going through physical illness or injury means we are doing something wrong. And while these symptoms often serve as red flags to look at a deeper issue that needs attention, I hope you'll join me in welcoming pain as a wonderful messenger and finding clarity through pain with radical self-love and acceptance.
The first step in finding clarity in your pain's messages is to allow the pain to be there. Yes, it's uncomfortable. But it's powerful for a reason. Start by letting yourself, your body, your inner child be right for feeling the pain. When you notice a physical, emotional, or mental symptom of pain, open your heart with curiosity as to what it is telling you. If you push the pain out of awareness, you send it right back into the shadow where it came from. Help yourself bring these deeper issues to the light by allowing their presence in your consciousness.
The second step is to BREATHE. DEEPLY. By taking full, deep breaths, we open our bodies physically and energetically to allow the emotion to pass through. The moment we judge ourselves and disagree with the pain, we create an energy blockage inside the body. When we don't accept our pain consciously and openly, we stop the energy flow in the body at whatever frequency the pain resonates. If it is a control issue, you may block the energy flow in the solar plexus (location of the Third Chakra). If it is a communication issue, you may block the energy flow in the throat (location of the Fifth Chakra). It is important to breathe and open the body to prevent any energy blockages from occurring (and sometimes emotional pain will manifest as physical pain as a result of these blockages). Imagine your body as a wide, open channel that allows emotion to flow effortlessly through. You are merely the conduit through which emotion can pass. Become big and expansive. Breathe deeply and allow the pain to flow. The sooner you accept the experience of emotion and pain, the sooner it will pass.
The third step in discovering the clarity in your pain is to not take it personally. Try not to identify with the pain and judge it as your mistake or your flaw. It's best to imagine being a curious observer, simply witnessing your human experience. Pain is a very important part of being human and you are absolutely RIGHT for feeling it. Imagine stepping outside yourself and searching for cues as to the deeper meaning in this specific pain. Learning about the chakras can be very helpful because physical symptoms often crop up in areas that resonate with a particular chakra, and each chakra relates to a different aspect of the self (as I mentioned earlier). Another helpful tip in discovering the messages in physical pain is to analyze which side of the body the pain is on. The left side of our body relates to feminine energy, our relationships with females, and our ability to receive, allow, embody. The right side of the body relates to masculine energy, our relationships with males, and our ability to give, control, produce. Become a curious investigator of your pain and value its messages like a secret treasure you're meant to discover.
The final step in finding the clarity in your pain, (and this is a helpful tip for pretty much anything) is to journal about it. Get out some paper or a special notebook and start writing. About anything, literally. Write about the pain- what does it feel like? How would you like to feel? Then freely write about anything else that comes up. Maybe you realize that the pain occurs when you have an argument with a particular person or when you sabotage yourself. Maybe the pain reminds you of a childhood memory. Let yourself explore all your feelings, even things unrelated to the current pain or current situation. Write until you feel empty of thought. Allow these words and messages to come up. You may discover a helpful hint that brings clarity to your pain.
Then sit back and love yourself THE MOST! Go for a walk, take a bath, enjoy a special treat. Do something loving and nurturing for yourself. Feel so proud of yourself for being brave enough to look into your pain with loving eyes and find its deeper meaning.
Check out this Meditation Monday video I created that will help you breathe through pain and welcome its deeper meaning.
Sending you extra love and light on the journey,
You may have heard quotes like this before. From the über-famous Twilight series to Shakespeare, many poets, writers, and teachers have illuminated (no pun intended) this delicate balance between the dark & light of our lives. And I must say, I believe I just lived this paradox.
You might remember that back in July, I hosted a one-month-sober challenge where I invited THE WORLD (haha, literally) to join me in spending the whole month of July sober in order to discover deeper clarity and awareness about ourselves and our journeys. WELL OH BOY... be careful what you wish for, cuz I got a BIG dose of gut-wrenching clarity that month. *Just goes to show how powerful our intentions are, yes?!*
I wrote about what I learned from sobriety at the end of the challenge, but what I didn't share with you was the deep & utter darkness I experienced that month. It began with realizing that I no longer want to pursue a music career at this time in my life. All of the work, schooling, equipment, practice, hope, tears, money, & energy that has gone into pursuing music for the last 4 years has come to a deadening, empty, depressing halt. If that didn't hurt enough, I saw the Amy Winehouse documentary (about her ultimate demise as an artist and beautiful being) and felt the heart-shattering pain of her turbulent journey that I could relate to in so many ways. I saw other very dark things around me: in my friends, on TV, in my nightmares. I couldn't get out of this heaviness and despair.
BUT I KNEW, deep deep down, that there would be light after this. I remember telling my mom on the phone, "I really know that everything will be alright, but I'm just tired of going through this." Please hear me, it takes relentless faith and so much love & compassion for yourself to live through these dark nights of the soul, and after living it myself, I KNOW that YOU CAN GET THROUGH IT TOO! So rest assured, sweet pea, light is on the way...
For the whole month of August, I needed rest and healing from this powerful clearing experience. It really felt like I had been energetically gutted of so many old beliefs, patterns, and plans. I didn't know what inspiration could possibly fill me next, I just knew I was empty. I needed rest.
My friends, I'm still patiently waiting for the next surge of energy, purpose, and inspiration to come, but I believe it's being delicately formed in me now. I feel glimpses of hope, light, and ideas. I woke up this morning with soft & gentle guidance: close your eyes, meditate, draw from your decks of tarot cards, write. this. blog. *Thank you.*
2015 began with SO MUCH LIGHT and inspiration that I was freaking blinded and completely blissed out, like I was surfing a mountain of jewels. YEAH. Then exactly halfway through the year, just like I asked, I was given the deepest, darkest clearing for the highest, brightest clarity. I can only imagine the kind of light and inspiration that is coming to me now as a result of this powerful experience.
*Dear friends... the more darkness you experience, the more light you are capable of experiencing!! Trust that.*
So... my tips for getting through your darkest times??
1. Go deeper into the darkness: When you feel yourself becoming sad, lost, empty, follow that feeling deeper. Allow it to be, and discover all that it is teaching you. Let it happen. Be heavy and dark as long as you need to so that you can be cleared completely.
2. Have the utmost faith that light is on the way: You can only truly allow the dark times to fully be expressed if you have the utmost faith that everything will be okay and that this dark night of the soul is temporary. BELIEVE that light, hope, & inspiration are on the way, and you'll find the patience and courage to delve deeper into your darkness.
3. Love yourself the most: Resist the urge to judge yourself for not being the "perfect" happy person who has everything figured out. News flash: that's no one! Have so much love & compassion for yourself. Speak to yourself as you would a scared child. Be the safest person for you to be around. Love yourself more than anyone else ever could. Your own self-love will see you through this.
It is with truly humbling gratitude & grace that I share with you my stories and my inspirations. It is my honor to be connecting with you in this way.
So much love,
Photo credit: Picture Quotes
Loving myself through illness
As I write this, I am stuffy, congested, sneezy, tired, can't taste, can't hear... SICK for the 3rd day in a row.
In my ego, I'm like, this isn't right! I'm normally strong, healthy, and bouncing back quickly from any illness or ailment. But my soul whispers, this is just right. Be with this experience. Be here now.
When we are experiencing illness, it's tempting to ask lots of questions: Why me? Why now? What did I do wrong? When will this end?
But we might never get those answers. And sometimes, the more we fight an experience, the tighter it grasps us.
I have to be willing to let go and soften toward my illness. Worst case scenario, I might be sick forever... could I love my body anyway?
I taught two yoga classes today (stuffy and all), and in Shavasana (final relaxation) I felt suddenly inspired to say, "Wait for nothing, be present now. This very moment offers you something beautiful and divine." (Oooh! I definitely needed to hear that one!)
Do not wait for health to be happy & at peace. Find peace & joy in the present moment, no matter the circumstances.
Even though I'm looking forward to feeling better, I'm also working on feeling grateful for this sickness. In this moment, I am offered a chance to forgive, rest, surrender. I am learning about patience and dealing with the unknown. I am stronger because I know how to be sick, not just how to be well.
I love myself & my body deeply even though I make mistakes, even though I get lost, even though I get sick. I know that I can get through anything because I am able to sit with sickness, hold her hand, smile & be present with her for as long as she needs.
In the name of soulful evolution, I open myself to the immense variety of earthly experiences that help me grow- one of which is... getting sick! I treasure these times as much as the fun, healthy ones. And in this glowing light of self-love, I will heal.
Blessings to you and whatever THIS MOMENT brings you!
Smile and allow it.
Photo credit: Hartwig HKD via Flickr
The importance of being a "quitter"
You know it. I'm a quitter. I quit stuff all the time.
And you're thinking...what the hell kind of inspirational advice is this??? Well, let me explain why I see the value in being a "quitter."
So, of course commitment is absolutely golden. We've all heard it since we were kids: "Never give up!" "Stay the course" "Winners never quit and quitters never win"
Well I'd like to bring some balance to this perspective.
Sometimes quitting is the only way to move forward. Sometimes we have to quit in order to keep growing & flowing. The way I see it, quitting is somewhat akin to.....ahem.....letting go! And when you've been hitting your head against the brick-wall-of-a-problem for far too long and your poor, swollen head is throbbing, it's just simply time to LET GO. QUIT. And...TRUST! Trust that by letting go of what isn't working, you're creating space for what will work.
Often times, we are so focused on a goal or a mission that, when we run into lots of obstacles, we don't realize that these obstacles signal that it's time to make a change in direction.
When we let go of our control over the situation, when we quit, whatever is meant-to-be flows immediately into our lives, into our hearts, into our awareness. Whatever is truly genuine and authentic always reveals itself as the sweet little heart beat that kept you going all along.
Sometimes we are so consumed in our minds with what the picture "should" look like, that we can't sense what feels good and true in our hearts. When we allow ourselves to quit something that feels stuck or heavy, we allow what is truly authentic to come forth- and only then can we refine our goals and the picture we're creating with a refreshed sense of direction and purpose.
And what about staying the course and never giving up? Well, what we should really be steadfast committed to is honoring the guiding voice of our hearts and never giving up on our growth and expansion! Yeah, sometimes we have no idea what our expansion and growth will look like- how can we even begin to work toward that?
Quit whatever drags you down, and commit to being your authentic self.
In my life, I've quit the things that matter most to me over and over. I've quit my music career too many times to count. I've quit my yoga & spiritual teacher dreams time and time again. But without fail, every single time, what is truly authentic to my soul-centered purpose comes crawling back to me so that I can begin again. Only after letting go completely can I flow forward with a renewed sense of genuine purpose. Quitting allows me to shed the layers of my work and my intention that no longer serve me so that I am free to follow the guiding voice of my heart.
Go ahead. Quit whatever keeps you stuck and frustrated. That which is truly meant for you will be unwrapped and revealed like the beautiful gift that it is. It will shine and glow, lighting the path that will guide you home.
Hollaaaa to all my fellow quitters! Love you,
P.S. After completing this blog post, my internet crashed and I lost everything I wrote!! So frustrating...but alas...I trust that it was important for me to quit the first draft of this blog and write it again, with a renewed sense of purpose. ;)
Photo Credit: Jeff Djevdet via Flickr
Gia writes about her journey through life and the many twists and turns of spiritual growth, relationships, health & healing, life as a performer, and the ever-unfolding path back to her heart.
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