Wanderlust is defined by Webster as, “a very strong or irresistible impluse to travel.” Typically when one hear's the word travel one might think of going on an exotic trip somewhere on the opposite side of the world, well, at least I do. Under further examination while teaching meditation hikes at Wanderlust Yoga Festival, I find myself traveling inside of my soul, instead of a far away land.
I taught hiking yoga for this incredible festival and I wanted it to be something more than just going on a walk around town. I wanted to create something that people could connect within themselves and no matter where they are. The yoga off of the mat and in the streets with all the grime and grease of life. If we are always waiting for that next trip how can we enjoy the moment? How can we find the breath and fully be present into every moment no matter how intense it is.
I find that when I finally give myself permission to take walk without a desination or caloric burn in mind I’m able to see the beauty in everything I’m experiencing. You can see the small details of buildings or how flowers bloom that you would otherwise miss while rushing past. For me, taking time to do these walks is an incredibly grounding practice to reconnect with the magic of life, because if there isn’t any magic what’s the purpose? I find that if I don’t use this practice of melting into the magic of life I feel more anxious, heavy, and limited.
Part of being human I feel is to find that place of expansion and tap into our fullest potential everyday including our shadowy parts. Sharing the most vulnerable parts of ourself and our less shiny moments to me can be harder than any asana practice. I am constantly inspired everyday by other people doing incredible things and their experiences . I wanted to know those parts of my tribe hikers so here are some of the questions that I asked them to share with their partners:
Recently, I have been examining who I am as a sovereign individual. Without the influence of my upbringing, experiences, and culture. I was wondering if my time here in Austin had been complete. I feel it is a natural part of living anywhere the questioning of whether or not your time has expired there based on what you want in your life. Coming off of my trip to LA and spending time in a lot of different areas of the city I realized that my time here is not up on exploring myself in this city. My home, my heart, and my soul still have some work to do here yet. This entry is from 5 years ago after I took my Reiki Master training and had moved to Austin recently.
Last weekend, I finished my reiki master training. Part of the training was listing things we needed to forgive ourselves for, and speak our truth and move on. I couldn’t think of anything right away until my teacher told, “No one should ever belittle that which you are. Always know in your heart all is perfect and right in the universe.” This brought a lot of things up for me especially around honor. Honoring myself. Something that sounds so simple, and is, yet I struggle with it.
Everything about is beautiful, and not from a place of ego, but rather knowing. So when someone told me I was a bad person to the core, I knew something felt so wrong about that. Then I realized this person doesn’t have a clue of who I really and truly am. No one else is responsible for our happiness, it can only come from within myself. If someone can’t love me like I want to be treated and accepted, I can’t blame them, I can only own what is true for me.
I also crave this spirituality side of things. Complex yet simple conversations about awareness and consciousness. I feel that is another struggle of mine. Caught between two worlds of thinking. Between trying to maintain the illusion of perfection and keeping conversations light, while internally wanting to speak about the different dimensions of space and time. The only thing I know how to do is keep exploring the parts of my soul that want to be ignited, And I can’t apologize for it anymore.
This entry is powerful for me because this is still a journey I face everyday. The choice between fear and love. When have you felt a deep knowing with some aspect in your life but you put it on hold for a better time, or another day, another reason, just something else other than now? The harsh reality is that the truth is very rarely silky smooth and sometimes the things we have to say feels like razorblades in our throat, yet one must speak their truth. If you don’t speak your truth, what makes you think that anyone will else will?
Part of being self-aware is being able to have the tough moments in time where you can do nothing else but stand in the essence of who you are in that moment and let go of other’s expectations of you. What are some of those moments for you? Those moments were all you can do is breath and can't think of anything beyond the moment you are currently in? Leave a comment below, I'd love to hear your truth. Light and love.
I sat down to feel into what romantic love is to me. Some of the questions I came up with are as follows and maybe try to answer a few for yourself.
What is romantic love to you?
Does it differ from the way that you love your friends or family?
Are you more loving and accepting of your friends and family and their mistakes than your lover?
Do you need to have different expectations for your lover because you have a different relationship with them that involves sex?
How does sex play into romantic love? Does it expand it or limit it?
Can we start moving away from time being a measure of success of romantic love?
Can we wake up and release our romantic loves everyday and practice non attachment?
Can we love someone in a way that makes them feel free?
I found an old email from a past love of mine and in this letter he writes to me what he believes love is. I have to say, I agree with them.
"That night turned what should have been one of the most boring, uneventful periods of my life into 7 of the most amazing months I'll ever know. And somewhere between the ecstasy-fueled nights and the lazy-humid afternoons of last summer, I fell madly in love with a girl. Sure, there were signs right from the beginning. The energy I gleaned just from being in her presence, the earth-shattering sex, her sense of humor... And it wasn't something that only became true as we said goodbye for the first time last August. It was born of it's own means and took on a life of it's own. To this day, I don't know when exactly it happened. I just knew that I was re-learning what Love is and what Love could be.
Love is not just a formal agreement to enjoy another person's qualities or company. Love is not just time-tested familiarity. It's not holding hands, kissing, not even fucking, and Love is definitely not present just because you say it is. Love is an uncontrollable, exhilarating, intoxicating force of nature that possesses your heart, mind, and soul rendering you helpless as it charges through you. It can make you fly to the edge of the universe and back and it can crush your soul to the size of a single atom. It can make years go by like seconds and it is the only known way to make time stand still. But at it's best - it's most tender core - Love is being so caught up in the inherent spontaneity, the sense of adventure, the absolute freedom of sweet surrender that you can be certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that nothing else matters. And that? That's how you make me feel. "
I think that is such a beautiful way to describe love. We can get so caught up in the past or the future that we forget about the present, the now, the what’s in front of me. Some may call that immature or fleeting or lusty, but I think that is how you maintain your self in love is to be present in every moment of what’s there and not just going through the motions of habit.
I define habit as a behavior that we are aware of and keep choosing it for ourselves in a habitual manner. The main component I feel of romantic love is awareness in all things. Our love relationships bring out the deepest issues that can normally hide or that might not get trigger by our family and family. The romantic love is the juice behind the squeeze of self awareness.
Recently here in Austin, TX we just finished up hosting the music festival Austin City Limits, better known as ACL. The energy as you walk up to the venue starts to get stronger and stronger and you feel like you are hurling yourself into a world of unknowns, yet you darning enter. If you have gone to any major music festival then you’ll know what I’m talking about. For me this year was different just coming from John of God and not supposed to be drinking or having any excitement or activity. Now there is whole other dialogue I have with myself about the festival and being in the yoga/spiritual community, to party or not to party, that is the question?
So what to do? How can we find the center of ourselves amongst the party? Do we limit ourselves because of our profession as yoga teacher, lawyer, doctor, or school teacher? Why do we put this limitation on others of their humanity? Clearly, you never want to be doing something everyday then that would roll you over into another category. But, it seems like because of said profession that there is somehow this expectation of not being into activities like have a beer or two and getting down to some rock and roll. There is moment of feeling “busted” when you see someone you know in a crowd of 40,000 people while your having your good times. Can we ease up on this? Can we let people have their human experience and also find their truth in every moment and not just while your meditating or at yoga? I think so.
For me I think I learned more about interacting with the collective at music shows than other spiritual events I’ve attended. Music is so raw, primal, and moving to so many of us and all walks of life are at these things. The first note of a song can take you back to places of your memory that you haven’t thought of in years. To me, that is a spiritual moment of awareness and gratitude that someone that has impacted you in the past and now having a new experience in the now and then over time you have these multi layered musical memories and they are so deliciously cosmic.
You can truly see how passionate and loving people can be at a show they love. There is this smile and spark dancing across their face like that of child. I think that is why music shows with a bit of party is a perfectly acceptable way of getting your spiritual connection on. I think the answer is to let go of what doesn’t serve you and stop trying to fight the things that truly make you happy. Just always remember the cardinal rule my father taught me years ago, “Everything in Moderation.” Thanks Dad and also Pearl Jam for rocking the roll right off my face.
Find your own truth and stopping giving your power to other people. You know you best, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Light and love.
This week I chose to pick an old picture and reflect on how I was feeling in that moment in front of the camera and in my life. They say a picture can tell a thousand words, and I fully agree with them.
In first glancing of the picture it seems like a beautiful photo and it is, but as I look into the energy of what is behind the photo it tells a much different story than the pretty face looking back at me.
I noticed my eyes at first. There is this long lost longing in them that is just searching outside of myself. If I look like this, or have that dress or this boyfriend, then I will feel better, or rather, find myself. I remember being so excited to take those pictures that day and feel beautiful and confident because people were telling me I was.
The next I noticed while looking at this picture was my skin. I was in full party mode when this picture was taken. I also didn’t like drinking real water at that point in my life. So maybe I would have a glass a day then have a Vitamin Water or black coffee, more coffee, then some energy drinks. I was unsettled in myself always striving to be thinnest I could be and I thought pumping my body through of all that stuff would contribute to that goal of perfection. That takes a toll on your radiance. I feel my skin looks more vibrant at 30 than it did at 22.
It is an interesting thing to see a beautiful picture and know the pain and suffering underneath as well. Happiness really is an inside job. It can’t be bought or acquired from someone else, it must be from within. Never judge a book by its cover, or better yet, just don't judge. That is the story behind the Throw Back Thursday photo. Light and love.
“One can acquire everything in solitude except character.”
This quote really embodies what this blog is all about and that is bonding with others. Normally, I do a throw back Thursday, but I thought this week since being at John of God in upstate New York at the Omega Institute I would write from a place of the now.
There is something magical about seeing 1,600 people all coming together and wearing the color white to connect with spirit and themselves to ask for an emotional, spiritual, physical, or mental healing. People of all ages, places, health status, all unifying to bond as one singular unit of prayer. It has been an absolutely moving experience as well as challenging.
The thing about being a group with people is that there is typically always one person that just gets under your skin and you feel frustrated with them, or confused, or just think they are down right oblivous to life, and then you have to thank them and realize that is also me. Whatever I judge in that person is something that resides in me as well. This is why we need each other.
We also need those people that we can be totally ourselves with. That person that you can reveal all the darkest parts of yourself and you break down in front of them and they still look at you in the eye and tell you, I love you. That is why we need to bond. Without exposing the truest parts of ourself we live in an illusion of this person of who we think we are supposed to be instead of being ourselves. Why is it we are more afraid of the the true version of ourselves than the masks we wear to fit in or please what we think others expect of us.
The truth is we can only live our truth. What fits best for our individual experience. That being said, we need our tribe to reflect the truest parts of ourselves back to us. The parts that we may deem to intense or not enough this or lacking that, and getting that gental affirmation that we are just right.
That is what I think the most potent experience of John of God has been. It is not the epic hearings that this man has done, which are incredible but the nature of walking around after the day workshop around town and seeing your fellow companions wearing all white and you node and smile knowing we are all in this together.
3 ways to Form your Tribe:
1.) Admit what it is you are interested in
If you like to knit or draw or talk about draconian implants find that person or people that you can get your 100% weird on with. It is important to create healthy expressions of your interests to keep you truly happy. When we are truly happy with ourselves we help stave away things like disease or depression.
2.) Trust your Gut
When you see someone that has a glow about them or you just keep o staring at them or whatever it is trust yourself and go up and introduce yourself. Chances are they are perfect addition to your tribe of your authentic self!
3.) Enroll in something you are interested in
Again, finding what you are interested in and putting action behind it. Perhaps its a retreat, or a healing workshop, knitting, or a dance class, whatever you are passionate about find somewhere in your city that people are doing that thing. If they aren’t, create one of your own on meet up or reddit. The universe can set things up, but it is up to us to put it into action.
Now go out there and find your tribe! If you are lady looking to find your empowerment tribe come and join myself and my tribe member and best friend, Malia Scott at living waters retreat center on Lake Travis. Book today at http://www.illuminatedvitality.com/events.html
This is the third and final installment on this series of the blog. It has been very challenging for me to write this final piece because in all honesty, shit got crazy. I felt that it was a sign from the universe to write this now because as my fingers graze across the keys there is lava is heading straight towards where this whole story takes place. It is like nature is transforming that whole place for me. Clearly, my satisfaction is bittersweet thinking of the people that live there and I’m sending them light and love. Without further hesitation here is the last part of the story.
Getting in the car and leaving for Kona was a gift. Driving on the big island is crazy because you go through so many different environments. It’s absolutely beautiful. I was talking to my fellow driving mate about the program and Bill and even she, who had known him Bill for years was disappointed in the program. I was totally broke at this point, but I didn’t care. I had $17.00 in my bank account but I went on the trip to Kona anyways. Not having money was a factor for me to think about if I did leave the program. How could stay in Hawaii? I had already started to look for yoga jobs, but there were none. Puna is not a hot bed of economic activity.
My mind raced like the passing landscape about what to do. My friend, let’s call her Lily, had to see a client when we got to Kona. I didn’t know what that meant at first and then I realized that she was talking about prostitution. She never confirmed this for me, so possibly I’m wrong, but there was something so sad in her like she didn’t want to go. She asked me if I wanted to join her and make some money, but I said no. I spent $4 on a latte and watched the sunset. I hadn’t seen a sunset in a month being on the other side of the island and it was so breath taking. I had never felt so grateful to be drinking my latte and not having to sell myself. There is not a lot of opportunity on the island to make money especially if you live in Puna and especially if you have a child and a drunk mother to take care of. My heart empathized with her situation. Haven’t we all sold ourselves at some point on some level?
When she finished, we stayed at her friends house and have a lovely rest of the time in Kona. As we start to drive back on Sunday evening to Puna, the knots in my stomach started up again and I knew trouble is ahead. When I got back to the house I sat in silence in the middle of the floor just looking around trying to speculate what tomorrow will bring.
Morning came and I went down to the black sand beach to swim and hopefully see the dolphins. The waves had been getting bigger and were at a point where it wasn’t safe to swim in the ocean. I went back to the house and class was about to begin. Bill opens up the class with, “how is everyone feeling today? Good? Let’s begin by getting naked and practicing sensual massage.” Like a cartoon there was fire coming out from my ears and in my eyes. How could he do this! After our heart to heart, how could he take it back to the place of just wanting to get naked. I was crushed.
At that point I just said I wasn’t doing anything and went to my computer. I hadn’t been talking to the miscarriage guy at all and in my moment of distress he messaged me on Gchat. I started typing feverishly to him about the state of this crazy place and what’s been happening. I unleashed it all on him. He told me that I need to leave to as soon as possible, and I agreed. My family must have been able to feel my pain because then the texts and emails started coming through (I couldn’t receive phone calls due to lack of service at the house) After weeks of silence I finally told my Mom what had been happening at the training. Within seconds she was looking up flights back to the mainland.
I felt like a failure, a fuck up, idiot, gullible, weak, broken, disappointed and worthless person. I had put everything on the line for this program and it didn’t work out so now I was going to have to leave the island and figure out what to do for the remaining month without my apartment that leased. I started packing up my stuff to stay with a woman that had left the program but was still on the island. I had a final conversation with Bill as I was packing. He tried to convince me that I was giving up, that I was bailing out on all the others, that I wasn’t good enough. Ironically, these were all the stories I normally told myself, but in that moment of him trying to beat me down I stood up for myself. And I told him, "Bill for the first time I am being good enough to know when to leave because that is in my best interest." So fuck off.
I got picked up and suddenly was in a beautiful, luxurious home with other women that had left the program. It all seemed surreal. There were talks about how to get our money back, legal issues, pain and suffering. I told my mom I wanted some time to enjoy the island for a few days before leaving to see the parts of Hawaii that are so magical. My last morning I wanted to take beautiful nude photos on the black sand beach that I had always wanted since seeing the Chris Issac music video for “Wicked Game”. One of the sweet Kiwi ladies took them for me and I felt a peace within me being exposed on the black sand beach against my white skin. It made me think of the balance between yin and yan. Then I was off to go back to the mainland to figure out what was next.
To wrap things up of what happened when I returned, the guy I told everything to stopped talking to me, I stopped talking to the man that loved me, lululemon didn’t hire me back, and I was completely fucked up in the head over the whole experience working odd jobs that I disliked immensely. My whole world was crashing down around me. I had this moment on my deck where I just balled my eyes out and it became clear at this point that I can let this break me or rebuild me. I chose to let it rebuild me and I’ve been moving forward ever since. It is the reason why you reading this blog right now.
That is thing about life, we always have a choice. No matter how gnarly, horrible, painful, unfair shit is going on, there is always a choice. You never know that you have wings until you trust yourself to fly. So fly on little wing. My wish for you is that no matter what has happened you choose love, forgiveness, and trust. Light and love.
In speaking with many different people I hear a lot of feedback in the area of not feeling fully empowered in the bedroom. If you are in a serious relationship with someone or are in the beginning stages these tips will help you keep that chemistry above a simmer.
1.) Set a Time for Play Time
People often say that they don’t have time for hours of romping around in between the sheets. They seem book their schedule with gatherings, tv program viewing, dinners, movies, the list is endless. Try instead, scheduling things that help you connect with your partner. Use the time that you would spend watching a movie and be with each other, naked. Not drinking, or talking about work just being present, sensual and sexual beings with each other. Enjoy the process of drinking each other in, gazing, and sweating all of the goodness you can create. Make it delicious, luxurious, and long.
2.) Ask For What You Want
Since you have made the time to play with your partner it’s time to use it wisely. Ask for what you want them to do to you. This is not the moment where you say, "whatever you want is what I like", let’s just own up to that very rarely lines up to what WE really want in that moment. If you aren’t sure what it is that you enjoy, perhaps set aside some time to learn yourself more so that you can answer fully, “I like it when you do this.” Confidence is key and this help you feel empowered with your lover. When you are feeling confident you be more desirable to your partner, no one wants to sleep with a door mat.
3.) Eye Gazing
Eye Gazing may sound like a cheesy thing to do, but I can tell you from personal experience that it is one of the sexiest, most potent things I have ever done. The tendency in sex is to check out, to start thinking about other things. The check out can be thinking about what you are going to do after the sex, or worrying about body issues. The key point is that you have lost the true connection with your partner because you are in your head and not your heart and body. How to get reconnected with your partner and out of your head is to eye gaze. Look into each other’s eye and breathe. If one person wants to look away, make a game to see how long you can hold the gaze in different positions. Allow yourself to be present in your love making and I guarantee it help you feel more empowered in many ways other than just sexually.
There you have it, my three quick tips for empowerment in the bedroom. If you are having a sex with someone you should be able to create some time to spend naked having fun with each other, being able to ask for what you want, and looking at them while you do the things you just asked for. If you answer no to some of these, well, that’s another blog or contact me for a session. Just remember to not shame yourself, but rather love yourself where you are at. Sensuality is awakening process not a porn set.
Throw Back Thursday Riding the Waves of Life
The blog I have been writing about recently is about my Hawaii experience. Sometimes in life the most challenging parts are the ones with the most juice, the most potential for growth if you choose it. Sometimes all there is do is say a prayer and let go and swim.
July 21st 2013
I just free swam 10 foot waves. Waves that no other free swimmer was swimming in. I swam out past where the surf line up was with my friend that had taken me to Kona and out Puna where I am staying. When we left to swim I wasn’t really fully thinking about how big the waves were. I just said a prayer before I went out and let go. Getting out is way easier because the way that the tide pulls you. The water was deep. I kept swimming. I had to duck under the massive waves so that I didn’t get taken out by them and the surfers. Was it a little scary? Yes. It wasn’t just the water but shear energy of the waves, surfers, the coral underneath me, and the looming fear of what was happening with the training.
I’ve never really thought of myself as a good swimmer, until today. My friend and I just kept on getting crazy looks from the surfers and their mouths dropped with shocked that we were crazy enough to do this swim. But, onward we went. When you finally get past the point break it is a mellow bob of waves. There was tons of tropical fish of yellows and blues swimming beneath me. Diving deep you can feel the pressure of all the water, then I remember that I am in the middle of the largest ocean on planet earth. We played out in the mellowness for at least an hour treading the whole time. I hadn’t even thought about how we were going to swim back in. There isn’t just waves but an epic coral reef that has a potential to really fuck a person up. We started our journey back towards the sand. I swallow some salt water and panic a bit, but then I remember to breath.
I’m free swimming in waves that have traveled 1,000’s of miles to end their journey right where I am trying to land. You have to catch the perfect timing to not get thrashed. All my ego wants to do is freak out, but I keep coming back to my breath. “Let go, stay calm Liz, it is all going to work out.” One of the surfers felt nervous about what we were doing that he comes out to help us back in. Basically, the best thing to do is doggy paddle and throw yourself into the frothy waves.
I cursed myself for being so dumb and reckless a few times because I was so scared I wasn’t going to have the strength to make it in. I finally reach the where the coral is and the water is shallow. I trust myself and float over the sharp coral. Finally, my hands reach the sand. I scramble out of the water feeling totally exhausted. I’ve made it. I looked back out at the 10 foot waves and started to cry. Another surfer came up to me and my friend and said, “Oh man, you girls are hard core swimming out there. Not even the locals free swim these waves.” I truly met and faced my fears today. I was able to move through them with grace and trust. It is a gift to be alive, no matter how scary the circumstances.
Maybe you have been in a situation where you feel the waves are 10 feet over your head. You feel so small and powerless in the moment. When you follow the lead of your heart, you can never go wrong. Keep trusting that it will all work out no matter how big the waves are. Identify some big waves in your life and see where you can let go and trust.