Category Archives: gratitude

LOVE IN ALL IT`S SPLENDOR

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How do you see  love and being loved?

I have always been a person that was hungry for love, to give love and to be loved. Since I can remember the idea that I had of love was like a Hollywood movie, full of drama, romance and high emotions at all times.

With my experiences in my relationships, I think I attracted willingly my idea of love but was it ever so draining and tiring.  Living at a constant state of powerful emotions, I love you, I hate you, fighting and making up. The middle was never an option for me, I didn`t even realize that I did have this option available because my perception was not real, romantic novels and movies are not real life. As a true romantic I needed to change my perception and my definition of love.

 

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First came the notion of self-love

With experience comes knowledge and wisdom for all of us and we can choose to repeat old patterns and expect different results but we can also chose to change our patterns and truly receive different results in every area of or life. We can choose to be a victim or the take responsibility for what we have co-created.

My idea of love changed completely and the more I started to honor myself, to love myself, to understand my being, my essence. To nourish my values, my commitments and my dreams. The less I needed to find someone to complete me because I felt complete on my own. The less I searched for love outside of myself. It was all and always was present from within, self-love simply needed to be nourished by encouraging it in my daily practice. I made a clear decision to divorce emotionally and mentally my past relationships and to start practicing new ways of love. This extended in my life, in all of my relationships, family, friends and even work. It has even extended in how I treat my home my things, the productivity of my work and with love we plant seeds, with nourishment we allow things to grow, with care we obtain results.

 

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How I define love now

Love is acceptance, love is patience, love is respect, love is choosing your battles, love is space, love is peace, love is being responsible for you own happiness, love is sweet, forgiving and humble because none of us are perfect and we are all here to learn from our journey on this earth. Love is understanding.

Don`t love like a beggar, love like a king or a queen. What I mean by this is love with elegance, kindness, courage, intelligence, composure and deliberation so the person you are with knows where they stand. No one can guess what you are feeling or thinking so be open and communicate with ease and peace.

Love is taking responsibility for your own insecurities and working on theme so they do not consume your relationships. Love is not blame, it is not using someone’s vulnerabilities as ammo. Words are powerful and they cannot be taken back.

Never settle! You are deserving just like any living creature on this planet.

I send all of you love and hope you enjoyed this article. Please feel free to send me your opinion’s on this subject.

Mélika Emira Baccouch

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My Body, My love

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Loneliness is an illusion—we are never truly alone.

I say this as someone who used to feel lonely most of the time.

Even with my spouse, even with my best friends, in my heart I felt separate, as if behind an invisible wall. At first, I chalked this up to poor socialization. Beset by frequent moves, childhood trauma and family unhappiness, I had grown up isolated. I hadn’t learned how to relate to others, so I could not connect with them.

Years later, I learned about attachment theory and realized the problem ran deeper. My mother suffered from low moods (she died in a psychiatric hospital when I was six years old). I have good reason to believe she was feeling poorly after my birth, a condition now called postpartum depression. She probably found it hard to resonate with me, her infant son, so my feeling of being walled off seemed traceable to gazing at my mother’s face, who was pained and distant rather than joyful and attuned.

Understanding that my feelings of isolation grew out of my earliest experiences, did not lessen them.

There seemed little to do but muddle through life as best I could, alone behind my wall.

Luckily, I was wrong.

There has turned out to be a way I can feel profoundly connected with another being, not just on occasion, but all the time.

Who is that being?

My own body.

How I came to appreciate my body as an intimate partner is a long story

Key factors include my training as a surgeon and familiarity with the body’s biology. Then came a series of medical crises, that both ended my clinical career and forced me to pay attention to my health. When a yoga institute enlisted me to teach anatomy and physiology to its trainees, I found that these sciences could be used to deepen my self-understanding. In meditations and yoga poses, I explored how human awareness relates to the organism who supports it.

This led to the key insight: the body isn’t a mechanical conveyance, as I’d assumed on the basis of medical training, it isn’t a blood-filled robot.

The body is a lively, responsive animal.

Like a beloved dog or cat, the body is capable of wordless love. In other words, my body and mind are in a relationship. My mind, who felt so lonely, is not alone—at every moment it is embraced by the warm animal who surrounds it. By upholding my consciousness in myriad ways (breathing air, circulating blood, digesting food), this sensitive, vulnerable body is holding me with love.

Consider: If another person did as much for us as our own bodies, we’d have no doubt about that person’s affection.

One of the main points of yoga is to help us recognize the unity of body and mind.

How can the body love the mind if the two are one?

There are many answers to these questions—here, I’ll offer an analogy:

Two people in a marriage are separate, yet in their loving partnership, they are one.

Perhaps the goal of yoga practice isn’t to erase all distinctions between the mind and physical body, but to build a sweeter relationship between them.

To get a sense of how this relationship can be developed, here’s a simple but useful meditation.

It is best done after relaxation practices or a period of mindful breathing.

Bring to mind an adored partner, child or pet. Visualize the beloved in your arms. Feel the warmth that blossoms in the center of your chest. Now imagine holding your body with that same tender regard, feeling the same sweet glow of affection. As your mind honors the organism who gives it life, recall how the body supports the mind with its own encompassing embrace.

Your body works on your behalf every minute of every day.

Feel how your consciousness arises within this living, vibrant animal we call a human body. Appreciate how your body surrounds you with boundless concern for your wellbeing. Even in times of illness, it does its best to keep your life on track. You are your body’s beloved.

Practices, like this one, gradually melted my sense of isolation.

As my mind grew to understand its intimate partnership with my body, it no longer felt walled off. Instead, I felt nurtured and realized I was never alone.

At every moment, human awareness is wrapped in a sort of biological hug.

How wondrous! How healing!

20 Frida Kahlo Quotes to Touch the Core of Your Being

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Born Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón, she became one of Mexico’s greatest painters.

Kahlo contracted polio at the age of 6, had an almost deadly accident at the age of 18 and went on to marry Diego Rivera, the muralist and ultimate womanizer.

People who are close to me know the immense place that Frida holds in my heart and in my life. For me, she represents the pain every woman on earth is going through—be it physical, or emotional. Frida has proved to us how strong we can be and how much we can endure.

I empathize with the pain she went through. She suffered from the pain of infidelity. Diego, her comrade, her best friend and the first critic of her art, was never her husband or ‘hers’–-as Frida says. He belonged to many women and mostly he belonged to himself only. This—in return—sent Frida through endless, dire suffering that only the pages of her diary witnessed.

When it comes to art, I am fond of many artists. But never before have I witnessed emotions and thoughts expressed so bluntly and poignantly on a canvas. Not only does Kahlo’s art fascinate me, but also her words. Reading what she said, we can sense the intensity of her agony, yet, at the same time, the greatness of her hope.

Having said that, we can say that Frida is an icon of patience, endurance and strength:

“Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?”

“There have been two great accidents in my life. One was the trolley, and the other was Diego. Diego was by far the worst.”

“I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.”

“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.”

“You didn’t understand what I am. I am love. I am pleasure. I am essence. I am an idiot. I am alcoholic. I am tenacious. I am. I simply am. You are a sh*t my love.”

“They thought I was a Surrealist, but I wasn’t. I never painted dreams. I paint my own reality.”

“Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away.”

“I drank because I wanted to drown my sorrows, but now the damned things have learned to swim.”

“I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy to be alive as long as I can paint.”

“I think that little by little I’ll be able to solve my problems and survive.”

“At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.”

“I love you more than my own skin.”

“How can I call him my Diego? He never was and never will be mine, he only belongs to himself.”

“Nothing is worth more than laughter. It is strength to laugh and to abandon oneself, to be light.”

“Take a lover who looks at you like maybe you are magic.” ~ Marty McConnel (about Frida Kahlo)

“The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration.”

“I cannot speak of Diego as my husband because that term, when applied to him, is an absurdity. He never has been, nor will he ever be, anybody’s husband.”

“I leave you my portrait so that you will have my presence all the days and nights that I am away from you.”

“I want to be inside your darkest everything.”

“I hope the exit is joyful and I hope never to return.”

“… and I hope never to return.”  Written on the last pages of her diary, Frida bluntly affirms she has no intentions of reincarnating in another lifetime. Her pain was too great to want to experience physical life again. She physically left Diego, her lovers and her friends. But up until today, Frida is still here. She lives in every painting of hers, in every portrait hung on the wall. She lives in the spirit of every woman who is going through miscarriage, physical pain and emotional difficulties.

Frida gives us the hope that we will overcome any calamity we might face. She tells us to laugh, to love hard, to survive no matter what. Frida shows us the importance of drinking tequila, lighting a cigarette and living as if we are dying tomorrow.

Frida kahlo, a woman, an icon, forever in our hearts.

Viva La Frida!

http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/12/20-frida-kahlo-quotes-to-touch-the-core-of-your-being/

THE BEAUTY OF BIRTH SUITS

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Body’s are an amazing gift.  It is our birthright to feel beautiful and free because we live in our body’s our entire life. They are an extension of who we are on the inside. If we feel good on the inside it reflects on the outside and vice versa.

There is a difference between nudity and sexuality, we have lost this simple ability to connect with our body’s. When we swim naked we feel the wonderful sensation of water on our entire bodies. When we stand naked we can feel the wind massaging our skin, from our toes to our fingertips. We should never deprive ourselves from feeling all of these wonderful sensations that is our entitlement.

When I look at these photographes, I see expression’s of true happiness and freedom. Real beauty comes in all shapes and forms. It comes from a raw place. Imperfections are part of the artistry and loveliness of the human body.

Let go of the guilt, let go of the shame and be proud of your body’s.

It all stems from the mind and now a days everything is sexual ” so they say”. Do not buy into this and simply start where you are. The more you love your body, the more you will love yourself.

I hope this inspires women as much as men to feel free in all that they are.

Human!

Love love love

Melika Emira Baccouche

 

 

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GRATITUDE AND IT’S MAGICAL POWERS

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How to Practice Bhakti Yoga

The Beatles had it right when they sang “the love you take is equal to the love you make.” Bhakti is about making more love—putting it out into the world, not just in principle but also in practice. There is no one “right” way to do that, but bhakti yoga offers a number of tools to point the heart in the right direction.

One of the best known of the traditional practices of bhakti yoga is kirtan—the devotional chanting of the names of God. Other classic Hindu methods focus on prayer, japa (repetition of mantra), and devotion to the Divine—in society, in nature, in the capital-S Self, and in all of creation. The path will look different for every being that walks it, says the singer-songwriter Jai Uttal, who created the bhakti yoga 101 audio program “It’s so individual, and that’s what is so beautiful about it,” he says. “Each person has a different emotional landscape, and in bhakti yoga we can let our emotions be our internal compass. Nobody can tell us how or whom to worship, but we can draw on techniques that act as keys to open our own hearts.”

What’s the ultimate bhakti practice for when you’ve suffered a loss, romantic or otherwise? Brooks has a ready answer: Be willing to do it all over again. “Fall in love again, and never stop. Bhakti is not a zero-sum game. You never run out of love. You must expect that you will find love again, and even if you find more heartache, there will always be more love.”

That was certainly the case for Cornell. “I went to India for six weeks after my breakup, and during that time I invited a sense of fullness to fill my aloneness by imagining a life in which I was loved and in love,” she says. “I had begun dating, but I somehow knew to hold out for what I really wanted in a partner. Two months after I returned home, I found him.”

Married in 2009, Cornell credits her earlier breakup with creating the openness and compassion she needed to find a more lasting relationship. “Believing in love gave a sacred purpose to the pain I was going through,” she says.

That’s as it should be, Brooks says. Since you can’t transcend heartache, you should embrace it. “We were all created out of love but born into separation the moment the cord was cut,” he says. “That’s what it is to be human. Heartbreak is not the end of love. It’s the beginning.”

Connect with the Divine

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In its most literal translation, bhakti yoga calls for faithful devotion to the Divine. This doesn’t mean that you have to worship a specific deity, but simply that you identify a source of spiritual inspiration to revere and call on for comfort and love. “Bhakti is about creating an eternal loving relationship with the divine source,” says Gaura Vani, a renowned mantra musician and member of the kirtan band Hanumen.

“No matter what tradition you come from, chanting God’s name opens a process of healing and cleansing the heart,” Vani says. “The Vedas say that there are as many names for God as there are waves on the ocean. We call him Krishna; Christians call him Jesus; Jews call him Yahweh; the Sufis call him Khuda. Whatever the case, let the beautiful name of the Lord remind you that you are more loved than you can even imagine.”

If you happen to already have a spiritual practice centered around a particular divine entity or spiritual guide, chant that name to fill your heart with love and ask for help healing your heart, says Vani. If not, try asking for help from your capital-S higher Self. Either way, call out with intention, focusing on quality over quantity, and on opening your heart to divine love and intervention.

Saying “Namaste” Is Bhakti Yoga

Just about everyone who has taken a yoga class is familiar with the class-closing ritual of saying Namaste accompanied by Anjali Mudra (Salutation Seal) and a small bow of the head. The meaning, which is something along the lines of “the light within me salutes the light within you,” is a beautiful way to practice bhakti outside class, too, and to bring more love into your life.

Mean What You Say

Every time you take leave of a friend, loved one, or acquaintance, choose parting words infused with blessing or connection—”take care,” “be well,” or “vaya con dios” all work—and say them with genuine intention. Even if you simply say “goodbye,” take a moment to fill the word with meaning.

Says Vani, “Namaste means ‘I bow and humble myself before you because I recognize myself as a loving servant of the Divine, and I recognize you as a living temple.’” This is something you can do whenever the spirit moves you, even silently, Vani says. “Simply take a second to see that everyone you come in contact with is an expression of divine consciousness,” he suggests. You will soon realize the truth: Love is all around you, whether you’re checking out at the grocery store, standing in line for a movie, or sitting behind the wheel in traffic.

Learn to Love Globally

Practicing bhakti yoga means seeing everyone and everything as a creation of God. Interpersonal relationships (including the romantic kind) are one aspect of this kind of devotion, but a good way to soothe the pangs of heartbreak is to expand your realm of who and what is loved. When you’re feeling bereft, try loving everyone, everywhere.

Nischala Joy Devi, author of The Secret Power of Yoga, suggests a simple seated practice for sending your love out into the world. “Imagine spreading a fine mist of healing energy over the world,” she says. “You can direct your thoughts to the world in general or focus on areas you know are plagued with unrest or war or famine. Hold them in your thoughts, and send them some of your light.”

This is the basis of the Buddhist practice of tonglen (“sending”) meditation: taking the suffering of others (and yourself) into your heart and then sending back loving compassion to all who suffer. When you send your love out into the world in this way, the effects can be dramatic for both sender and receiver, says Devi. “Victims of the recent earthquake in Central America reported that they felt the prayers from people around the globe and that the prayers eased their suffering,” she says. “It also has a big effect on you in that it gets you out of your head and back into your heart.”

Practice Self-Love and Devotion

In the deepest throes of despair, it can be hard to lavish yourself with love. Your asana practice is a great way to show devotion to your Self, and when you feel immobilized by sadness, it can help bring you back into your body, says Mark Whitwell, author of Yoga of Heart and The Promise of Love, Sex, and Intimacy. “When people are depressed, they stop their asana practice,” he says, “but that’s when they really need it!”

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Whitwell sees asana as a bridge to help you reconnect to a state of wellness that was available to you before your experience of loss. But it’s also a way, he says, to realize the ideals of bhakti just as you are here and now—broken heart and all. “Consistent daily practice is your way to reconnect directly with the intimacy that is life,” he explains. “It is a whole-body prayer, a celebration of that which beats the heart and moves the breath.”

If you don’t feel up to doing your usual practice, try a few Cat-Cows and slow Sun Salutations, staying mindful of the body and breath. “When you practice, you connect with a deeper source of love and become part of the context in which all relationships are arising,” says Whitwell. From this broader perspective, he adds, “it is easier to accept loss.”

If your heart is feeling locked up by sorrow, consider adding an element of bhakti yoga to your daily practice. Here, a few modern bhakti masters offer ways to exercise the muscles of love and fill your heart to overflowing.

Be Nurtured By Nature

Nature is a powerful reflection of divinity, says Sara Ivanhoe, a Los Angeles yoga teacher who recently participated in the making of the film Women of Bhakti. “When we are suffering from heartbreak, we have all this love we’re carrying around and an intense longing to put it somewhere,” she says. “Giving it to the planet makes sense, especially if you’re a yogi.”

The ancient yogis offered unconditional love to all that was around them, says Ivanhoe, worshiping and emulating the sun, the moon, the plants, the animals. You can do the same, she says, by simply stepping outdoors and opening your senses and your heart to nature—trees, grass, and plants if you’re in the countryside; air, sunlight, and wind if you’re in the city. Mountains, blades of grass, and the stars at night work equally well as sources of inspiration and, yes, love. “Yoga was created to help yoke our consciousness to nature, which nourishes us,” she says. “When you are able to do that, you have a huge amount of support.”

Ivanhoe suggests a simple journaling exercise for reaching out to nature for help in healing your heartbreak. “When you are consumed by grief, ask yourself, ‘If nature could console me and talk to me, what would she say?’” she suggests. Go outdoors to do this, if you like, and don’t feel that you have to craft an essay; just write down what comes to you. “Nature is full of guidance and support for us,” Ivanhoe says. “We only need to ask for it.”

Fill Your Heart With Song

In bhakti yoga, says Jai Uttal, music is medicine. And singing—a mantra, a hymn, or the name of your spiritual guide—is another way to treat an aching heart. “You can sing kirtan sweetly, or sing them fiercely with angst, or sing them with yearning or whatever emotions are arising in you,” Uttal says. “If you get bored, keep on singing. Sing until the singing itself becomes part of your molecules, and your heart flows into the ocean of divine love.”

If you’re timid or need inspiration, start by listening to kirtan or gospel albums (or any other devotional music that moves you). Try http://www.amazon.com/Million-Moons-Gaura-Kindred-Spirit/dp/B001WBK9L6/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1353103531&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=10+Million+Moons+and+As+Kindred+Spirit by Gaura Vani,Grace by Kundalini yogi Snatam Kaur, The Essence by Deva Premal, Devaloka by Sean Johnson and the Wild Lotus Band, or any of Uttal’s excellent offerings, including his personal favorites Queen of Hearts and Shiva Station. First listen, and then sing along. Then take it a step further, and sing all by yourself—in the shower, in the car, or in the garden—anytime you want to feel uplifted.

And don’t worry about what your voice sounds like—kirtan is about filling your heart with love, not about being a great singer. “No matter our accents, our ability to carry a tune, or our musical aesthetic,” says Uttal, “when we sing kirtan, we are awakening our hearts and healing old traumas.”

Hillari Dowdle is a longtime Yoga Journal contributor and a newly certified yoga teacher living and writing in Knoxville, Tennessee.