5 ways to Compost emotions

In the spirit of cleansing out/cleaning for the new year, I went through my internet favorites bar, deciding what I was still interested in, had done or already read, and I came across this article “How to grieve, rage, and move on,” by Dr. Christiane Northrup about healing from our drama from the past. We always hear that phrase, let it go, move on, but we all know it’s much easier said than done. Well, this article was very informative. It actually provided some steps to moving on and dealing with our emotions.

What I mainly took away from this article was that everyone has crap they have to deal with in life, but you can choose to use your crap for good and help new things grow/develop. That’s the basic gist of composting. You take scraps and old food that you aren’t going to use and put it in a big bin/container with water, dried up leaves or paper, and air flow. Months later, you have fresh, enriched soil that you can use in your garden to make your new plants grow. It hadn’t occurred to me until today that this idea of composting can totally be applied to our emotions/ideas as well.

I’m a huge fan of recycling/composting. I think it’s great to be able to use our trash. What an amazing thing to be able to  apply the composting process with our old crappy memories, emotions, ideas!

We don’t keep trash in our houses, so why do we hang onto old emotions  in our mind’s house?  Just like trash, old emotions probably smell like hardcore shit and are rotting inside of us unnecessarily. What loves shit? Flies, bugs, that create worms, maggots, disgusting creatures that love to feed off of our old crappy emotions/ideas/baggage/pain, you name it from the past.

This became one of my goals for the new year, to compost my old ideas/emotions and get them out of my house/body/mind and put them in a place where they can be re-used rather than stored in my body or mind’s house.

What are ways we can compost our old ideas?

  1. Create.  I’ve done this a few times to deal with pain. I put traumatic experiences in my stories. I’ve had some crazy things happen to me, so what better way to re-purpose this than to put the drama into a fiction story. Hey, it has another life now and it’s no longer just part of my secret dramatic history. It can serve as entertainment or even a lesson for someone else to learn from my mistakes. Point is, it no longer just lives in me. It’s somewhere else.
  2. Exercise. Ever feel like punching/kicking something because you’re mad? Well, take up kickboxing or invest in a punching bag. This rage can help you get into shape. Don’t let it stay in your body.
  3. Give/Help. Don’t know what to do? Think about other people who have way less than you do. If you aren’t on the street, you have a lot. There’s nothing more humbling than volunteering your time to give/help someone who needs it by buying someone a meal, helping ESL learners learn to read, volunteering at a soup kitchen or even just donating your old stuff to Goodwill or letting someone crash on your couch. Giving is never unnoticed by the universe. We never lose anything we give away for free. It’ll come back to us in another way whether it means we’ve learned to let go or gave someone much needed warmth in the form of a coat or pair of shoes.
  4. Gratitude. Easy way to put you in your place and ground you. There are so many things we take for granted like the ability to breathe, have a roof over our heads, shoes on our feet, all our limbs, a job, a family, 20/20 vision, education, you name it. Make a list of five things you are grateful for every morning before you get out of bed. It’ll definitely change your perspective.
  5. Learn something new/be better. We aren’t defined by our past. We can definitely choose to be better. To learn alternative methods to healing and living a better life than maybe our parents did or those around us. We can always pull out old, rotting ideas that don’t serve us. Learning does this. We replace old ideas with new ones that are better, that feed us and others. This concept we learn easily in gardening. Maybe you choose to learn about composting. What could be greater and more symbolic than to actually understand the traditional idea of composting? You can literally see the process happening with old food and leaves/grass from your house. If you don’t have room for that in your own living space, it’s definitely beneficial to learn how to do this somewhere else such as volunteering in a community garden or even just researching online. Gardening is a gift. It shows us so much about the cycle of life and how anything in nature grows. It’s the same for us. We aren’t some mysterious being that is above nature. We require nearly the same things plants need to grow/thrive. Understanding this is life changing. I invite you to make the time for this.

 

 

 

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What we do with our hands

So the other day I was looking at my instagram and saw this post by one of my favorite people, Julien Kang, an inspirational mma fighter/actor/model who also happens to be very handsome 🙂 . He listed the hashtag, “realman” so I checked it out and saw all these cool posts about what some people think it means to be a “real man.” I really like this one…

“If your boyfriend’s hands don’t look like this, you’ve got a girlfriend.”

I know it was sexist and grammatically incorrect (if you look at the link),but it really got me to think about hands and the different ways each of us uses them.

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I work in community gardens, so most of the time, my hands are dirty. I often think about prehistoric times, how we used to spend our time gardening and getting/growing our food, then eating it. We were way more physical then. Growing/gathering food was our work. We didn’t spend our time thinking about exercise or trying to fit it into our day because our day consisted of laborious activities all around survival and eating food was the reward, the end game. Now, we don’t do that because most of us don’t have to grow our own food or kill wild animals and even prepare our own food. This very simple fact has changed the way we use our hands.

So many of us now sit at desks and type away at computers and phones, pads, whatever. I was super resistant to this change in society for so long because I didn’t like that people are now so dependent on technology for everything and it has contributed to so many health problems all stemming from the fact that we just aren’t as active as we used to be and need to be. After starting a social media internship with a very cool, hip, young lady, I’m coming out of the prehistoric ages and have realized just how essential it is to roll with the times. Still, we must be aware of how we use or don’t use our hands.

Are we really aware of how we use our hands every day?

I have always loved to work with my hands. I started playing music at a young age and continued until I was about 18, but still play every now and then. I was into dark room photography, film, writing, scrap-booking, cooking. Mostly my hands have been used for artistic endeavors. It’s where I feel the most productive.

Lately, I’ve been using my hands for gardening, for learning, for planning. It’s a different time. A phase right now where I haven’t been as creative like I used to, but still getting work done nonetheless.

Our hands are direct communicators with our hearts and minds. I have asked myself in the past, if I was happy with what my hands were doing. When I feel like I can say yes, then I know I’m on the right track.

Are you using your hands for good? Service? Love? Or are you using your hands for hate? Abuse? Out of fear?

Are you using your hands to be productive? Or non-productive?

Lately, I’ve been spread really, really thin, juggling multiple jobs/dreams/people.

I find myself having to think about every action I do. Does it bring me joy? Is it useful? Is it productive?

Look at your hands. It’s an easy way to bring you back into the present moment, if maybe for a second or a few minutes, you are feeling out of sorts. Look at your hands. What are they doing? Are they active in a positive, loving way that serves? Or are they idle and destructive?

I know I want to go out of this world with my hands dirty because I worked hard to help others. I want to know that I used my hands well and people were able to get something out of my hands’ hard-working efforts. That’s who I am. Anyone who truly knows me knows that I am a productive, positive person who may at times pile many things onto my plate, but will always live a life of service, a life of love and gratitude. I have way too much to LIVE for.

I find that when we have idle hands, evil breeds. Keep your hands busy doing something that serves, that provides love, nourishment, comfort, growth. You will immediately feel uplifted even more.

Hands are powerful tools. Make the right choice and use them wisely.

Meditation challenge: at the beach, off the phone

So today I decided to turn my phone off completely for hours. I got a text early in the morning during my drive to my friend’s house and ignored it because I didn’t feel like responding. I was thinking, driving, just being in my present moment.

I got to my friend’s house and we took off to go hiking in Malibu to see some waterfalls (something I’ve been wanting to do for years). Once I got to my friend’s house I decided to turn off my phone as more text messages flooded in. I only turned it on to take some pictures once we reached our destination, then turned it back off again.

We spontaneously decided to go to the beach and I wore my pink underwear and her tank top because I didn’t have a bathing suit! It was this little hole in the wall location totally away from most people. We had to climb through a hole in a fence and down some cliffs to get there but it was totally worth the danger and spontaneity. I laid down after enjoying the water and closed my eyes. I remembered how I am doing a meditation challenge and decided that I wasn’t going to let my location stop me.

I remember my late uncle, Paul, meditating any place he could. He would do it while riding in the back seat of cars, just anywhere he could. So I closed my eyes and started my deep breathing in and out and began counting. Any time thoughts came into my head, I decided to say to myself that I am loved, that I’m here. I love myself, I kept saying. I’m taking care of myself, I kept saying. I let myself take in the warm sun and the soothing sounds of the ocean, and was grateful for the spontaneous day, for my lively girl friend, and for the opportunity to be where I was. I took care of myself today. I kept my phone off. I did what my heart wanted and it felt so great.

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Living my yoga

This week has been one of those weeks. A great one! So many things are coming together and it feels amazing. My energy is brimming over and my light is strong within, so with that spirit, I write today.

What I’m experiencing lately is releasing expectations and attachment to result. When we hope for the best and forget the rest, life becomes quite magical.

So, I’ve been practicing Bikram Yoga consistently for over five years now. It’s the great love of my life. When you love something, you want to do something more with it, like give back to your community.

So, I was planning to go to teacher training this year, and it’s still one of my goals, but now the Bikram trainings are in different parts of the world, like last year they were in Thailand. I applied for a teacher training scholarship but didn’t get it so I know that I will have to pay for it out of my own pocket if I plan on going, and I just don’t know if I want to fork out that much money right now. I am planning on traveling and I just bought a car, so I’m kinda, eh about it. I would totally pay the money if they were going to a country I wanted to visit like India or Bali, but not Thailand. It’s just not a place I want to go right now, so I’m waiting to see where the next Bikram training will be, and planning accordingly, but I still want to do something with yoga in the meantime.

One of my favorite yoga instructors started this organization called Uprising Yoga that brings yoga to incarcerated youth in juvenile hall. They held a teacher training this weekend and I went. I can’t tell you how inspired I was this weekend by all the yoga teachers and social service and medical professionals who are committed to making a real difference in people’s lives.

When I was fifteen years old, I fell in love with yoga and ten years later when I stepped into the hot room, I fell madly in love with Bikram yoga. So here I am, at 30, ready to take on a new avenue in my life and that’s teaching yoga. I never thought that one day I would be a yoga instructor. Life really is about embracing passions and being completely open to the universe. It’s so funny, my old passions are surfacing lately. I’m embracing something I fell in love with at 15: yoga. I’m also dating someone I was in love with at 15 as well and that’s going good too. We go through life and we do what we do, learn what we need to. It might not always make sense but we just have to be open to it.

Nothing happens by accident. I’m just very grateful to be where I am, working in the holistic health field. Things are coming together slowly but surely.

I’ll be honest though. This weekend I did a lot of meditation as part of the training and it really opened a doorway into my soul in that I am open to many possibilities for my career, so I know I need to make a choice soon. Something is brewing within me. I’m going to try something and that’s meditation every morning and see if that helps my clarity. One of the things I learned in the training this weekend is just how powerful mindful meditation is. We can be ruled by our minds. As a writer, I live in my mind with my characters and worst possible scenario plot points. It’s enough to drive one wild, so meditation is my new experiment.

Again yoga has opened doors for me. I’ve said it many times before and after this weekend I am sure that yoga is the great love of my life.

Missing my Piano

Went for a walk tonight and listened to John Mayer live which led to a night of being serenaded by the smooth sounds of Chet Baker.  I started thinking about music and how much I love it, how that’s all I wanted to do growing up. Then I got one rejection from a performing arts high school that I really wanted to go to and I took it as a sign that I wasn’t meant to do music.

It’s funny. As an adult, I’ve received so much rejection but I’ve learned to take my rejection in stride. If something is hard then it has to be worth fighting for. I sometimes wonder if I need to look at music like that again because I love it, more than most things. You know how people always say things like, if you could do one thing that you’ve always wanted to do, what would that be?

For me, it’s play in a rock band and travel.

I’m in a groovy mood tonight, thinking about music, old loves,  and my first love–the piano. From age four until sixteen, I sat at that thing for hours, nothing else mattered. I’d be sad or happy and I’d sit there caressing the keys, letting melodies come to me. When I don’t strum an instrument or get my fill of music every day, I get sad. Life isn’t worth living without music. That’s how I know I love it so.

I have a vision for my life that includes my own space with a piano present. At this time in my life I think that’s about all I need.

 

 

 

On Not having kids before you’re 30

Societal pressures can kiss my ass. There were so many people I came across in my late twenties who often looked at me like the freak that didn’t have any kids or wasn’t married but here’s what I have to say to that: I’m alive and happy, successful and perfectly fine just working on myself, getting mentally, spiritually, emotionally and economically prepared to have a kid. You know I’m a hopeless romantic and I’ve always wanted to marry someone I was madly in love with. I just hadn’t found the right partner in my twenties and I wasn’t going to just hook up with someone and marry them just because society kept pushing me to.

Now that I’m 30 I don’t feel pressure. It’s like a new day and I feel free. In ending my past relationship, it’s like I said F*** you to society. I’m not going to stay in a relationship and conform to standards that aren’t my own. I only live by love’s rules and if the love isn’t there, then it’s time to move on.

I have thought often about why people push so hard for others to settle down young. Think about that phrase: settle down. Settling down doesn’t just mean hanging up your heels and getting a normal job. It can mean much more, like settling for less than our wildest dreams and why would society push for that? Um….to control us better. People who are single or unmarried in your thirties with no kids are like a dangerous breed. We are free and nobody can stop us or tie us down. We can stay out as long as we want, spend money on ourselves, take random trips, reboot our careers any time, quit jobs, and just have time to think and dream without the sound of wailing children or dissatisfied spouses.

I have mad respect for my fellow friends who have children at my age, but I sure as hell don’t feel bad about my situation any longer.

Turning thirty is like the ticking time bomb that people use to scare you into mediocrity. Oh, I better do that before I’m 30, have kids, get married before I’m 30. It’s like, what do you think is going to happen to you when you turn 30? You’re going to expire? Disappear? Explode?

I’m telling you that I feel like something has exploded within me and it’s the feeling of freedom. No more societal pressure somehow. I’m 30 and I didn’t die because I didn’t have kids. I’m taking my time. I have faith that the universe has led me exactly where I’m supposed to be. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I’m cool with that. Faith stands for :Finally, Allowing, It, To, Happen. That’s my motto these days.
If anyone ever tries to make you feel bad about not settling down in your twenties, that person is close-minded and doesn’t understand that there is more to life. There’s nothing wrong with any of us in any situation we are in. We are perfectly beautiful every day, in every moment.

The power of goodbye

There can be a real fear in letting go of something or someone you have held for a long time because you don’t know if you will ever find it again or be alone forever. There’s a real comfort in our bad habits that end up becoming learned behavior. We really get upset because we accept things that we know in our hearts are not what we want and resentments build, cancer forms, and there goes your life.

I was in a relationship for six years that wasn’t right. I went to Arizona because I wanted to see if I could live without him and I could. I told myself that I didn’t want to let go of the relationship because I had invested so much time and I loved him. I thought that the harder something was, it was worth the time, worth fighting for, so I held on and got more and more angry, accepted more and more.

But in all reality I was not happy. I knew what I wanted in a partner and as much as I had thought I had convinced myself that what we had was okay, it really wasn’t. Time or marriage wouldn’t have changed that. I know that now. I knew it then. I knew it from the first Christmas when he didn’t make time for me. We were always meant to be friends. Just friends, writing partners, not lovers. And we finally agreed to let it go.

One night not long after, I had a really good cry, felt it deep within my heart, like something was being ripped from me, you know the way you feel when you get sick and are detoxing something nasty from your body. The next day, you feel great. That’s how I felt.

I can honestly say that I feel better with letting go of my long-term relationship. Thirty and all. I mean, it can be scary to be a single, 30-year old woman with no kids but I feel lucky. I have no baggage.

I think of that line from the Fleetwood Mac song, “Landslide,” that goes: “I’ve been afraid of changing because I built my life around you.” I was so afraid of letting go before for that very reason, but not anymore. There is a real power to letting go, saying goodbye, closing doors, and maintaining mystery in the future. At least I have yoga, so far the real love of my life.

A Course in Miracles Lesson 16

Today’s lesson from the Course is “I have no neutral thoughts.” It said that every thought you have contributes to truth or illusion; either it extends truth or multiplies illusion.

This made me think of the other day when I walked away from a verbal sparring I’d allowed myself to take part in with a family member. I don’t know about you but I think we fight with our family members more than others because we know they will love you no matter what. But that doesn’t give anyone the right to disrespect you. So our conversation went sour when my family member started saying some funky stuff. I walked away because you know, who wants to fight? I went to yoga and when I came back, my family member was like, “I’m sorry for the things I said. I don’t know how to talk to people.

The reason I bring this up is because of the lesson for today: “I have no neutral thoughts.” This lesson says that thoughts are not big or little; powerful or weak. They are merely true or false. Those that are true create their own likeness. Those that are false make theirs. I’m still trying to wrap my head around that.

All I can conclude is that truth is love and illusion is fear. When we fight, we fill ourselves to the brim with fear and the illusion of a nasty hateful reality is created. I walked away from the conversation because I didn’t find my family member’s words to be true. How could it be true that three and a half years of Bikram Yoga practice were meaningless and haven’t helped me develop as a more rational and calm human being? I know what she said was silly, false, an illusion. I recognized it right away and I thought, I know what my truth is, so it’s time for me to walk away from this illusion. It’s not real.

I knew at that moment, that my family member was operating from a nasty place that wasn’t God-like, supportive, or even remotely true, which is why when I returned two hours later she immediately apologized for her words and admitted she didn’t know how to talk to people.

Really, if we stop and control our emotions, we know the true way for us to treat each other is with kindness and love. We aren’t meant to be nasty with each other. This person loves to fight because she grew up fighting for her life. I get it. I engaged with her because I knew she needed to talk, but in the process, the conversation got nasty because I guess I just don’t know how to listen to people complain. I didn’t want to hear her complain about others. Life is too freaking short for that! Ever since my uncle passed, I almost have no tolerance for lovelessness, for complaining, resentment. Let’s just love each other and speak the truth to who we need to speak it to!

So today’s lesson, “I have no neutral thoughts,” says that every thought we think is either a truth or illusion, a love thought or a fear thought. It’s really cool doing the exercises for this exercises because you get to be objective with yourself and just let yourself think and realize that every thought you have is not neutral, it has a point of view, negative or positive. But you can at least recognize it as the first step.

The exercise involves just spending a minute or so with your eyes closed, allowing yourself to think whatever it is you think, and just say “this thought about___is not a neutral thought, because I have no neutral thoughts.” It’s nice because if you have a nasty thought, you recognize it and I’m hoping the lessons that follow in the Course will teach to think more positively.