The “new normal”, still does not feel normal.
Amidst this global pandemic, the collective sadness, weighs heavy on our hearts.
There are no words to convey the heartbreak, of those who have lost loved ones, or those who are suffering.
The only words that arrived in my heart this morning came in the form of a poem.
This is my global hug for the world. Keep the Faith.
Keep Me Where The Light Is
Keep me where the light is
I don’t want to look anymore
But I want to stay informed
Difficult to remain hopeful, while many suffer
Keep me where the light is
I don’t want to look anymore
Make it stop
And you shall renew the face of the earth
Is this our renewal? A great Awakening?
I don’t want to look anymore
But I must
Climb up out of the pit
Bring them up with me
And keep us where the light is
While quarantining at home, have you slacked on your normal beauty routine? Do you climb out of bed, after hitting snooze three times, and log in to your WFH life? Are your yoga pants walking around on their own? Do you brush your teeth and take a shower around lunch time? Is your makeup collecting dust? And tell the truth. When was the last time you did your hair?
This has become the norm, for a lot of people during this new stay at home lifestyle. What is it about losing the structure of a “normal” go the office kind of day that causes us to lose motivation to take care of ourselves? If this resonates with you, I am here to help!
My experience has been different. I have stuck with my normal, get up, get dressed, do hair and makeup routine. And although I rarely leave the house during these social distancing times, I even continue to wear perfume every day! It has helped me feel good and stay connected to my inner Goddess.
My morning beauty routine is a ritual that helps me feel feminine, alive, and ready to face the day with a smile. When we smile, we cannot help but be filled with positive energy, and right now, we could all use more of that!
My advice? KEEP IT SIMPLE. A few minutes of self-love goes a long way. Here is a list of five of my current favorite and affordable, go to beauty products. Give them a try, and remember, your inner Goddess is still there, and ready to shine!
AT HOME FACIAL MASK – Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost Mask – If you have dry skin, this is a must have mask! This easy to use 100 % hydrogel gel mask contains hyaluronic acid, and leaves my skin hydrated, smooth, and soft, every time I use it.
VITAMIN C SERUM – Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum – This has become my first go to serum morning and night. Vitamin C helps boost the production of collagen, the main protein in the structure of our skin, which gives it elasticity and strength. It is also anti-aging, as it helps soften any existing fine lines, and prevents new ones from forming.
MINERAL MAKEUP – Jane Iredale Pure Pressed® Base Mineral Foundation – I was lifelong liquid makeup kind of gal, until I gave this mineral pressed foundation a try. It gives my skin an even toned, matte (my preferred look) finish. It feels so light on the skin and has the added benefit of having a built-in sunscreen of SPF 20 or 15, depending on the shade.
BRONZER – Milani Silky Matte Bronzing Powder – My favorite multi-purpose product in my makeup bag. I use it to add warmth and give my skin a glow. I even use it as an eyeshadow, for a healthy summertime finish all year long!
MASCARA – Loreal Voluminous Original Mascara – No matter how many different mascaras I have tried throughout the years, I always go back to this one. It gives my lashes enormous volume, and length, and is smudge resistant. If I were stranded on an island, and could only bring one makeup product, this would be it.
This is by far, the strangest time of my life. Like all of us, I’ve never experienced anything like the wrath of Covid-19, and I am trying to wrap my head around all the different feelings that arise each day. I have never felt such a loss of control, and although I do not consider myself a “control” freak, it leaves me with a sense of uncertainty, that is quite uncomfortable. This all seems so surreal. I’ve never gone this long without seeing my family, or worked from home, and I am navigating this new “normal” as best I can.
How long will social distancing go on? Will they find a vaccine? How many souls will be lost? Will students be going to school online indefinitely? Will working from home, be the new normal? Will we ever feel safe greeting each other with a handshake? As of right now, I know, I don’t feel comfortable going back to an office space. Do I need to think about the possibility of changing directions in my work life? I like you, have so many questions. None of us have all the answers.
“When you can’t look on the bright side, I will sit with you in the dark.”
- Alice in Wonderland
They will come in time. As a yoga and meditation teacher, I want to show up for my students, friends, family, as a source of strength and support. In order to do that, I choose to focus on what I am grateful for each day. When fear begins to arise within me, I consciously choose a more positive thought. One positive thought can shift the energy of your entire day. And when you raise your vibration to one of gratitude, joy, laughter, love and peace, like a wave in the ocean, it flows outward, and touches those around you, the community, and the planet.
There are heartbreaking stories, we are all witnessing all over the world right now, and I understand how easy it is to fall into a state of anxiety, and even depression. This is a devastating time. I, like you, am moving through each day, one breath at a time. I know we will get through this. I believe in a higher purpose for all of this, that we may never fully understand. I place my complete trust and faith in my higher power, my creator. We are all a part of this universe, being connected by this virus for a reason. Maybe it’s to return us all home. Home to each other, and home to our hearts, giving us the time and space, we need to nourish our relationships with each other, ourselves, and spirit.
If you are struggling with the ability to shift your focus away from fear, and return it back to love, here is a list, of how this historical pandemic of Covid-19, has made me more grateful than ever. May it help turn you toward the light within this temporary darkness.
OFF THE HAMSTER WHEEL – I love working from home. The hustle and bustle of each day of waking up, hurrying to get to work on time, deal with traffic, feeling rushed all the time, has stopped. And I love it. I feel more productive and less stressed. I can walk outside, feel the sunshine and breath, instead of walking down the hall in an enclosed office space for a bathroom break. Although I do miss some personal interaction with coworkers, as an empath, I am super sensitive to the energy around me, so working without distractions, and other people’s energy, leaves me feeling much calmer overall.
CREATIVE JUICES ARE FLOWING – With more time on our hands, we can tap into our creative mind. My creative juices are flowing with ideas for my yoga path, and ways to share and teach. I am finding more time to write my book, I’ve been working on for way too long, and have been able to pay attention to my surroundings, and work on house projects. I’ve even cooked a few meals!! And I’m not one to spend too much time in the kitchen. Lol. What are you curious about? Now is the time to take that online class or start that creative project you’ve been sitting on for too long!
TALK TO ME – More time at home, means more time with whomever you live with. This is our opportunity to really get to know each other on a more intimate level. You may be surprised the things you learn about your loved ones, now that you have more time to talk to each other. There are many people who may realize that they have been so busy with to do lists, they have let the relationships that mean the most, go to the back burner. Now is the time, to pay attention to each other. Listen. Learn from one another. Discover and commit to new goals together.
KEEP THE FAITH – We are not in control. This can be a frightening realization for many people who live life according to their “plan” and schedule. Our hands are off the wheel. Who do you turn to in a time of loss or despair? This chapter is saturated with an opportunity for self-inquiry, and to awaken to our higher self and higher power. What do you believe? Do you have faith? Dive deep, sit with yourself, and utilize this time to open to your spirituality, create a sacred space in your home for meditation and prayer, and ask for guidance. Follow what moves you, what touches your heart. You will be guided to the right teacher and place.
I recently came across mind blowing social media statistics. Facebook alone, has an estimated 2.45 BILLION registered members, who are active each month. Instagram, not far behind with an estimated 1.0 billion registered members, with 500 million stories being posted daily. Wow!! Read those statistics again.
Social media is Not. Going. Anywhere. With that said, my own experience with social media has been a bit of a struggle. After completing yoga teacher training, I was eager to share all things Yoga. I felt completely uncomfortable at first, not sure of what or how much to share online. Having tried a few sites, I settled on Instagram. I found it artsy, creative, and inspiring.
It also brought up a lot of fear and insecurity, especially in the world of Yoga. Seeing amazing posts from other teachers with way more experience than I have, caused a lot of fear of being judged, of being not good enough, and of not doing enough.
Like it or not, we must admit, social media is an extremely powerful tool. We can connect with others all over the world. Our youth are growing up with social media being their number one avenue of communication, and receptivity. It allows each one of us to create, teach, share, and inspire one another.
Unfortunately, where there is light, there is darkness. The world of social media can also be a huge trigger for many people, who are in a vulnerable space. It is very easy to fall into the comparison trap, bringing up an enormous amount of negative thought patterns. This is detrimental to the well-being of those who suffer from anxiety or depression.
I believe it’s a huge opportunity, to shift others away from the darkness back to the light, by sharing kindness and miracles. According to the book, “A Course in Miracles”, a miracle is a simple shift in perception, from fear to love.
How can we use social media for miracles? I’ve come up with the following questions to ask yourself before logging in.
WHY AM I SHOWING UP?
What is your purpose for creating your profile? For your latest post? Getting very clear on what is motivating you to show up, will help you be aware of who is running your social media profile, your higher self or your shadow self. Are you offering a service? Hoping to inspire, educate or uplift others? Or is it ego-driven? Are you looking for reassurance by getting more “likes”, that you are good enough? Pretty enough? Strong enough? Fit enough? Smart enough? What is the purpose of your post? Be mindful of comparing your life, with other people’s peak moments shared online, which can leave you feeling discouraged and less than. It can be helpful to take a break and log off for a while. Reevaluate, and log back in when your intention for being online is clear.
AM I ADDING VALUE?
How am I contributing online? Am I leaving kind comments? Am I letting the teachers, leaders, authors, and creators who I look up to and follow, know, that what they create inspires me? I work on this one myself. How we interact online matters. We need the balance of giving and receiving. It’s so easy to fall into the habit of taking, by scrolling through our feeds, absorbing all we can without offering anything of ourselves. But this is not fully utilizing the enormous platform of opportunity we have online, to raise the conciousness of the collective. Show up in service. Add value by sharing your unique gifts, and gratitude for the gifts of others.
WHO AM I FOLLOWING?
Take the time to review your following list. Are you following profiles that uplift, motivate, educate, or inspire you? Are the profiles you follow allowing you to have a positive mindset? Or are they bringing you down? Stealing your joy? Are you connecting with like minded people? Pay attention to who you are following. What we are feeding our minds, and thoughts with matters.
What we think, we create. Make the time you do decide to spend online this year, an inspiring, happy, fun and fearless experience. Then watch the miracles happen.
Summer has always been my favorite season. The sun is shining, flowers have bloomed, and we spend more time outside, enjoying all that mother nature has to offer.
One of the most beautiful gifts, nature provides, is the benefit of aromatherapy. After studying this ancient practice, of using naturally derived plant essences, to enhance ones health and wellbeing, not only do I have a renewed, profound respect for what I like to call the spirit of nature, or essential oils, I have also made it part of my everyday life.
The question I am asked most often, about essential oils, is “How can I use them in my daily life?”
Here are five simple ways, you can use the powerful practice of aromatherapy, and experience a more relaxed, peaceful, balanced, and uplifted inner spirit this summer!
Soothing Sun Spray
After a long day outside, this is an easy, refreshing way to cool down, or soothe a sunburn. In a 4 oz. bottle, mix together 2 tablespoons of pure aloe vera gel, ½ cup witch hazel, 3 drops vitamin E oil (optional), distilled water, and 20 drops total of your favorite essential oils. I like to use lavender and peppermint. Keep it in the refrigerator or your cooler to help it feel even more calming and alleviate any skin discomfort.
Tranquil Salt Bath
Soaking in an Epsom salt bath is a wonderful home treatment, that has been used for hundreds of years, which helps to relax stiff muscles and loosen joints. Adding in essential oils, enhances the benefits, which include aiding insomnia, relieving stress and anxiety, and can even treat certain skin disorders, such as psoriasis. My favorite oils to use are lavender, rose, wild orange, and roman chamomile. Mix about ½ cup of epsom salt, with 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil.
Hair Conditioner for Dry Ends
My hair needs a little extra care, during the dry summer months, especially at the ends. A super easy way to treat dry frizzy ends, is with essential oils and coconut oil. To add shine and softness to your hair, try blending any one of the following essential oils, with about ½ cup coconut oil, and cover the ends of your hair. Leave it on either overnight, or for a few hours. Wash and condition as normal, and your hair will look and feel shiny, soft, and healthy! Oils you can choose from are, lavender, ylang ylang, chamomile, cedarwood, or clary Sage.
Lemon Diffuser Blends
If there is one essential oil, I had to name to represent the season of summer, its Lemon. It is a beautiful, uplifting, cleansing, and purifying oil with many benefits. It is used in many cleaning products, due to its ability to cleanse the air and surfaces. When diffused, Lemon is known to improve mood, and increase energy. Get creative, make a cheerful synergy, and make it a morning ritual, diffusing lemon, with your choice of wild orange, peppermint, lavender, grapefruit, or tea tree oil. Use 6 -8 drops total.
Essential Oil Rollerball Blend
This is an easy way you can use aromatherapy on the go. Make a blend of about 30 drops of your favorite essential oils, with a carrier oil of your choice, in a 10ml rollerball. (I like to use fractionated coconut oil) You can make one to use for bedtime, blending lavender with patchouli, and massage it into the soles of your feet. Or, make a morning wake up blend to take with you to work, such as lemon and peppermint. Massage it into the palms of your hands, and inhale for a round of three deep breaths, to get you going for the day!
My experience so far, being a Yoga teacher, or guide, as I prefer to call it, has been the most fulfilling chapter of my life so far. Every chance I have, to step on the mat, and guide other souls, on their personal journey, I am humbled, honored, and feel so grateful. What I didn’t realize, is that when one becomes a guide to such an important practice, it puts you in the spotlight, and brings along with it, the responsibility, and expectation, to be in a space of high vibration, of peace, love, gratitude, compassion, acceptance, at all times, and never ever have a bad day.
We must break this myth! Yoga teachers are human too! We have the same experiences as our students. We go through heart break, we suffer loss, such as divorce, losing a loved one, a job, or friendship. We struggle with insecurities, with our bodies, reaching goals, and feeling like we are not good enough. We wake up cranky, make mistakes, feel impatient, vulnerable, and yes, sometimes even struggle with our faith.
It is important, that we share some of this with our students. By becoming more transparent, we can share our journey, through these challenging moments in our own lives, and how in those moments, our Yoga practice is even more crucial to our own sense of well-being. We know the power of our own personal daily sadhana. (spiritual practice). It transforms us inside and out. We can shift from fear to Love, by stepping on our mat, and connecting to our breath.
By shining a light on our own shadow, we teach others the power of vulnerability. We can show up for our students, in a more authentic way, which will allow them, to connect with us, and more importantly, their own personal practice, on a deeper level, both on and off the mat. When we have an off day, and it’s not only okay, but necessary, to self-reflect, and take whatever lessons we have learned, and use it as inspiration for our next class.
Life is like swimming through the ocean, sometimes waters are rough, and sometimes smooth. By teaching Yoga, we are giving our students, an anchor, they will need to navigate through every ripple. So, let’s keep it real, open our hearts, and when we step on our mat, to guide our next class, let’s bring every drop with us.
YOU TIME – Dedicating time for ourselves, is one of the most important things we can do. When we care for own well being, we are able to show up more fully in our lives, and continue to give from a full cup.
OBSERVE – Yoga helps us to connect with all our bodies; physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and energetic. We become the observer of what is happening in our body, in our lives, and what we are feeling within, giving us the power to make conscious choices each day.
GROWTH – Self inquiry, self discovery, self acceptance, and self transformation all happen on and off the mat. You don’t even have to think about it. It will happen. With commitment and dedication, a daily Yoga practice enriches our lives with clarity, self love, inner peace, and a deeper connection to the oneness of the universe.
AWARENESS – As we learn to pay attention to our breath, we begin to pay attention in our lives. The words we choose, the actions we take, the food we eat, all of our choices we now make with awareness. We are less reactive, and more responsive. Yoga gives us our power back.
LOVE – When we take necessary time for our own well being, we show the world we love ourselves. And only when we cultivate self love, can we truly love others, with compassion, and forgiveness. Every relationship improves, by viewing others and ourselves with acceptance, and without judgment.
OPENED HEART – In Yogic philosophy, we all have what is called “samskaras”, which are mental impressions, or psychological imprints left by all thoughts, and actions. They are rooted beneath the normal level of consciousness, and hold memories of past experiences. Through Yoga and meditation, we create space, in the mind, body, and spirit, bringing them to the surface. We are able to look at, and release what no longer serves us, and move forward with an open heart.
VAGAL TONE – The vagus nerve is the largest cranial nerve, which extends from the base of the skull, and travels throughout the body, to the respiratory, digestive, and nervous systems. Yoga and pranayama (controlled breathing practice), helps increase our vagal tone, which regulates our breathing, heart rate, and all major bodily functions. People with a healthy or high vagal tone, are more resilient to stress, and move away from a fight and flight response, into a rest and digest state easier, and tend to be healthier.
ENLIGHTENMENT – Yoga wakes us up. When we experience a connection in our mind, body, and spirit, we understand that we are so much more than our physical body. We connect to the inner peace that is within each one of us, and gain the ability to transcend all suffering and desire. We can be in this peace, no matter what is happening around us. Peace always begins within. Yoga connects us to this peace.
CONFIDENCE – A regular Yoga practice allows us to discover and tap into an inner and outer strength and builds a better sense of connection to our physical body. We realize we are capable and powerful on and off the mat. We cultivate self-love and acceptance for ourselves, and gain the confidence needed to move forward fearlessly.
MEDITATION- Aah Savasana. At the end of a Yoga practice, is the ideal time for meditation. The body and mind have been emptied of all tension, as we rest in savasana, the final resting pose, where there is nothing left to do. Yoga helps us train the mind to be still. Even just a few minutes of focusing on your breath each day, will benefit you by relieving depression, anxiety, stress levels and improving sleep patterns.
I’ve always found the last few days of the year, to be the perfect time to reflect on all the highs and lows, I navigated throughout the year. How did I handle them? We gain so much, by sitting still with ourselves, and taking inventory, of our internal landscape. We realize what lessons we learned, what worked for us, and what didn’t work. A time to set new goals, aspirations, and dreams, as we look forward to new beginnings in the new year.
Taking this time to sit with yourself, most importantly, allows you to be conscious of what to let go of, and what to be grateful for. Bringing mindfulness, into the new year, will foster positive energy in your life, because you will be moving forward with awareness, of each word you speak, each choice you make, each thought you carry with you. With a blank canvas before you, you get to create a new masterpiece, that is your life. Every paint stroke, or moment matters.
The dawn of the new year is always exciting to me. Here are a few ways, I hope will help you, come back to yourself, tap into your inner strength, and walk forward into this new chapter, with faith and fearlessness. You got this.
NAME YOUR YEAR: Pick one word to set the tone for the new year, that inspires you, and represents all you would like to manifest in your life. Type it up, make it pretty, print it out, and frame it. Place it where you will see it every day. Say it all day in your mind. Make it your mantra.
JOURNAL: Set time aside, for quiet and solitude. Write down all the highs and lows of the previous year, and how you handled them, your feelings about them, what worked, what didn’t. Keep writing until you feel an emotional release of what no longer serves you. Make a list of goals, and all you would like to manifest for the new year.
GO OUTSIDE: Take time to be in nature. Go for a walk, sit on the beach, or have lunch at the park. Breathe in the fresh air. Spending time outdoors allows us to recharge, and gain a new perspective, or see the bigger picture of life. “The physician treats, but nature heals” Hippocrates.
ATTEND A SERVICE / COMMUNITY CLASS: Having a sense of community in our lives, brings a sense of comfort, and knowing that we are not alone. When we attend a service of prayer, or take a meditation class, it is a very powerful experience, that nourishes our soul. We connect to the oneness of all living beings. We are reminded of our divinity, and that our presence is our purpose.
STAY MOTIVATED WITH MUSIC: Music has the power to change our mood, almost instantly. When I have a challenging day, I look forward, to my yoga practice and putting on my latest playlist that helps me to let go. Create a new year playlist, with your favorite songs that inspire and motivate you!
When I first began to practice Yoga, like many people, I was curious about what it could do for my physical body. What were those funny looking shapes and all the breathing about? I picked up a Rodney Yee DVD and began practicing at home, which then led to taking classes at the gym, and then eventually a local studio. I was surprised how challenging it was, not only physically, but mentally, and emotionally.
It wasn’t long, before I felt something more happening. Something deeper. After an hour of moving my body, and connecting to my breath, when it came time for savasana, there was such a sense of stillness and peace, that connected me to the deeper part of myself, my soul.
Almost immediately, my yoga practice became my moving meditation. On the mat, I can breathe, let go and connect to the true essence of who I am. I am a soul. I have a body. Yoga and meditation have become invaluable tools, that connect me to my higher power. My yoga practice has only deepened the seed of Faith, my parents planted, as a young child, and allows it to grow.
My Faith is my strength. It keeps me hopeful, comforted, and at peace, even during the most challenging, or painful chapters of my life. When life makes absolutely no sense, I can surrender. I know I am loved and protected. I keep moving forward, because I have Faith, everything is in divine order. I let go and let God.
“Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness, the discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns.” – Anne Lamott
What does the word Faith, mean to you? The definition of the word Faith means “complete trust or confidence in something or someone”. As a teacher, I realize, not every student was raised with any kind of religious background, or knowledge of what spirituality means. The concept that we are so much more than our physical bodies, may be a brand-new idea for them.
I, believe, many of us, arrive on the mat when the soul is ready for this exploration and discovery. Yoga is such a personal inward journey of self-awareness, self-discovery, and self-transformation. We can peel away the layers of our ego identity and see the true nature of ourselves and others. We are all spiritual beings having this human experience.
It’s never too late to begin the journey of faith. I truly believe the power of faith, is a gift, that allows us to move through every chapter of our lives, with gratitude, hope, strength, and peace. We can overcome our fears that hold us back from achieving our dreams. In the words of Wayne Dyer, “The Antidote to Fear, is Faith.”
Follow what feels right for you, within your heart and soul. We are each placed on the perfect path, uniquely planned for us, which will help us cultivate a relationship with something much bigger than ourselves. Whether you call this higher power, Creator, Universal Consciousness, Mother Nature, Divine Wisdom, or God, I believe it is all the same energy of pure unconditional Love, in which we were all created. Only Love is real. And know, that this Love surrounds you always.
Here are 3 simple ways to begin cultivating Faith today!