Friday, December 10, 2010

Finding Balance During Unbalanced Times...

I despise when it gets dark early. When it feels like it is 10 pm, but it’s really 5! The darkness feels like a trap. Like I am trapped in some timeless void, where things are backwards. Where nothing feels real. One minute it is November the next a whole month has flown by. Time is beginning to become meaningless. Time is just flying. Where is it going so fast? Not sure, but it is in a hurry. What are we speeding up to? What does the future hold? No one can know for certain, but it is a good idea to keep balanced amid the chaos of life. How does one stay balanced, or try to achieve some idea of what balance is? Well, there are a lot of ways: yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, tai chi, chi gong, massage, hiking, running (to some extent), taking time to pause and listen to the inner body. Anything that gets you to quiet the mind chatter for a moment to pause and listen to the inner awareness, the inner voice, the heart, to just pause and listen. “I can’t quiet my mind,” “I don’t know how to meditate,” “I have too much going on to pause for anything,” I have heard many people say. Yes, quieting the mind chatter takes time, it’s true, but everyone can do it with time and practice. How does 5 minutes a day sound? I think we all have 5 minutes. Don’t know how to meditate, there are many books, cd’s, and online follow along’s out there. I also teach people how to meditate, get quiet and listen. I have worked with some seriously active people and we all have the ability to get quiet, even if it is just for a minute or two. Once you learn how to meditate, the great thing about it is that it is free. Supplies you will need to meditate: 1. You 2. Your Breath 3. Your Inner Awareness 4. Something to sit on. Do you have all of those things? Only one of them can be bought, so I do hope you come prepared! You can do it anywhere, the office, the dinner table, the doctor’s office, at school. Any where. It is really that simple. The cool thing is there are numerous scientific studies that now prove how meditation changes your brain, literally rewires it. Don’t believe me? Google it!

The key here is balance people. We live in a busy busy world, that is always trying to throw information at us, people are talking to us, we are juggling jobs, households, children, significant others, workout routines, dinner parties, holidays, vacations, dogs, cats, it is easy to see how our own personal care and commitment to ourselves can be at the bottom of the list. There are only 24 hours in a day. But the cool thing about yoga, breathing and meditation is you can spend just 5-10 minutes on it a day and see a huge difference. Can’t seem to find time? Wake up 5-10 minutes earlier. Do it before bed. Watch along with me as I lead you in a simple morning routine and evening routine (video to come out soon). Balance is key. So if you are juggling all of these things and constantly on the go, where does the peace come in? Where does the quiet come in? Where is your soul getting fed? What is the flip side of the coin to rush and go? The answer, Pause and Listen. We all have about 16 waking hours a day, with everything we are juggling, there is not a lot of time when you really boil it down. But 5-10 minutes is nothing. Once a day is great, twice is better. But be kind to yourself. Be compassionate to yourself. Keep discovering the inner awareness. Keep pausing and listening. Keep doing something once a day that is just for you, even if it is only 5 minutes. Stay true to you. Quit beating yourself up about this thing or that, what you did, or didn’t do. Just breathe right here in this moment. This is the most powerful moment, this one right here. Can you stay present to it? Can you get out of your head for a moment, focus on the breath and see what this moment has to offer you? Can you set aside the to-do lists that our minds create, or better yet add 5 minutes of breathing to the list? Also add to the list, love someone today, say hi to a stranger, do something unexpected for someone, be amazing and be someone’s inspiration.

Finding balance in an unbalanced world is not as hard as it may seem. One tip for those that get overwhelmed easily (I may or may not be one of those people ;) think of adding something into your life instead of feeling like you have to change a bunch of things to get “balanced.” It is as simple as adding 5 minutes of breathing/getting quiet time. Balance is the key that will open the door to a life well lived among the chaos of the outside world. So that the next time someone says, how are the holidays treating you, crazy right? You can politely say, no they are great. Not crazy at all. I feel peaceful. They may look at you funny, but then you can walk away smiling, knowing they will be asking you later how are you keeping your cool.

So pick up your glass of egg nog, your champagne, or your Bailey’s and coffee and toast with me to a holiday filled with balance, a new year filled with love and peace and a life lived with grace!

Love and light,


Thursday, December 2, 2010

I have to wait until...

How many times have you said it? "I have to wait until...I have money, a better car, a different job, more experience, a bigger house, an office, more time, less stress, a money tree grows in the backyard." Seriously, we can all come up with list, upon list, upon list of reasons why we are not following the urges that motivate us.

Maybe you have always wanted to live in another country. But the excuses of, I have to stay here and have a job, pay bills and continue to make my life here. Besides, how would I make money in another country anyway. You say. Maybe you have always wanted to write a screenplay, act in a theatrical production, sing in a band, or drive across the country. But you always come up with reasons why you shouldn't and they usually involve time and money. The truth is we really can do anything we want to do if we just get out of our own way. By this I mean that if you really wanted to move to another country and live for a bit, you could. But do you really want to? You could join the peace corp, live in an ashram for free, or work as a volunteer at a number of different organizations and have your rent paid for. So, what is stopping you? You say your mortgage, kids, family, job, etc. Well the truth is you can really do anything you want. Bryon Katie says "if you really wanted something you would have it now, so you must not want it that bad." I finally just understood what she meant by that. Because it is true if you really wanted something you could have it, but the problem is you are in your own way.
You just have to get really clear about what it is that you want. What do YOU want? Not what do your parents want you to do, what you think you should do, but what do YOU want for you?

After you have gotten clear about that, get out of your own way. Don't let your beliefs of "this will never work, why am I writing this screenplay it will never make any money, I can't get another job in a field I have always wanted I will never make good money." I am proof that you can switch into a career you have always wanted to. I am proof that you can leave a job that you hate, but that paid you well and make it on a path that you love. I have certainly had my bumps in the road since I switched my path, it has not been easy and there has been chaos along the way. But such is what happens when you step more into your true essence and let go of those things you thought you Had To Be to survive.

There is a great letter written by Martha Graham. "In it she says there is a unique expression that wants to be shown through you and you are the only one that can give that expression. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. You do not even need to believe in yourself, or your work. You just have to keep open and aware directly of the URGES THAT MOTIVATE YOU. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction at any time. There is just a divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others."

The first time I heard this I was in a yoga class and I cried. It moved me to my very core. I had been living so far from the urges that motivate me (that little voice that tells you to do those things you always wanted to do since a kid like travel, write, paint, dance, act, sing). I had been living very far from those urges and was caught up in the way I thought I was supposed to live on this planet. Working hard, hating my job, but making money and too exhausted to do much else. Being somebody I thought I had to be, but not being true to myself and my need for freedom and creativity. When this letter got read to me, I cried. As if my very soul was asking me to wake up to all that I was, or am. To quit hiding behind this false perception of who I thought I should be. To start following those urges that motivate me and do something about that inner voice that always tried to speak up, even when I said be quiet. The voice had grown quiet, but the urges continued and this letter made me aware that there were others like me. Dissatisfied people that weren't following their inner urge. I didn't feel so all alone in this big society of people telling me to do one thing when I desperately wanted to do something else. There are others like me.

So what are your urges? Are there things that you used to really enjoy, but gave up for some reason? What motivates you? What areas of your life are you bored in? What areas could you give more life to?

Last week at Agape, Michael Beckwith (you may remember him from The Secret) said that if we are bored in any way, that that is a blockage to our creative source, our divine source. If we are bored we are blocking our own potential from emerging. Where are you bored? I know what you are thinking..."I am bored at work, so what are you telling me Erin, quit my job? Ha ha ha, not easy to do and then what, are you going to pay my bills?" Well the answer to that is no I will not be paying your bills. And I am not saying to quit your job. I am saying to look at your life, really look at it and see if you are bored in any area. Then to pay attention to that and begin to do things to make you not bored in that area of life. Maybe start a group at work that involves doing an activity at lunch once a week in an area you enjoy. Get to know a co-worker that you don't already know. There are many options, and maybe quitting your job is what will end up being the best thing for you, who knows? I certainly don't, that is up to you to find out. I CAN say that quitting the restaurant job that I was working at, making great money (cash, every night) was by far the best thing I have ever done for myself. But I was beyond miserable and kept working because I thought I had to to make money. Once I changed that belief system and quit, my whole perspective changed. My energy changed, my creativity increased, my outlook changed. I went through a lot of healing and releasing parts of me that I thought I was and that was painful, but the end result is a more authentic and creative me. I feel like myself again for the first time in a long time and I feel good about that. So that is my experience, but we are all different and we all have our own path to follow.
So, what do you want your life to look like? Paint that picture in your mind and begin putting energy towards that picture every day. Just make sure you paint it exactly like you would like it and leave out the negative stuff. Just focus positive energy towards it everyday. Stop and listen to those urges that motivate you. See where you could be open to them even more.

Don't wait until! Start doing something today that motivates you. Take it one step at a time. You will feel good taking those steps and who knows, maybe one day you will be running towards that motivation. It feels good and it feels free. Trust me.

Much love and light,

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What are we fighting for?

While having a conversation with a neighbor and fellow yoga teacher this morning we were sharing about our lives, where we are going and what is new. She mentioned that she might get a new job doing exactly what she has been wanting to do and since she is about to graduate with this exact degree, she would have a job doing that. So what is the problem you might ask?

It is all happening too easily. Granted in addition to that, she would have to give up some yoga jobs that she has and her life would change drastically pretty quickly, but this job is exactly what she has been dreaming for and wanting.

It is also the case when the right relationship comes in your life. I think a lot of us dream and scheme about the type of person that we want in our life. We make lists and have visions of how that person will look, act, love, etc. Then when that person comes into our life, because we have worked on our belief system that he/she does exist and that we are worthy of that kind of love, some of us get freaked out. Like wait, that was way too easy, there must be something wrong with this person.

Both of these examples make me think of fighting. We have been trained to think that you have to fight for things, i.e. work really hard, pay your dues, put in your time. So much so that when something comes too easily we think that there is something wrong with it. On top of that, when we begin to get really clear about what we want and vision it and then it comes, it scares us because it usually means big change. Sometimes we are comfy with the way things are, even though we gripe and complain and wish they were different. When they change and something better comes in, we get scared. "Well I thought this is what I wanted, but now I am not sure", we say.

So why do we think that all of the good things in our lives come from "fighting" for them? Why do we think we have to work hard for the good stuff? Why do we feel if we don't make an effort towards something that there is something wrong with it?

I believe the answer to these questions is due to the way we were raised, society's views and conditioning. We are conditioned that if we work hard, someone will say good job and believe it or not we become conditioned to wait for those words "good job." So at a very early age we are always saying "Mom, mom look what I just did/drew/made", etc and mom says "good job." Doesn't sound that bad, right? It isn't, but it is something to ponder. Where do we wait for the "good job" in our lives now as adults? Can we just accept something good when it comes to us without effort? Can we not question it?

Amma, also known as the hugging guru says that "love is effortless." So my deduction on why good things just fall in our laps sometimes without effort is because they are meant to be and well so what if we didn't work hard for them. Define working hard anyway. It's relative. And it is just a perception that we hold. It is a belief system that we need to let go of, the idea that we have to "work hard" for everything in our lives.

So take a deep breath. Breathe in and vision all of the things you want to create in your life. Breathe out those things no longer serving you. Focus each breath this way for about 15 minutes or more if you can. Visualize. Allow. Surrender.

Start letting in and allowing all the good to come into your life. Don't run from it when it comes. It is what you wanted, right? If not, get more clear about what you want. Accept the "negative" things and rejoice the positive.

Repeat this mantra: I am available to more good then I have ever experienced, realized, or manifested before! Open your arms and receive.

Love and light,