A cub of the Divine Lion, somehow I found myself confined in a sheepfold of frailties and limitations. Fear-filled, living long with sheep, day after day I bleated. I forgot my affrighting bellow that banishes all enemy sorrows.
O invincible Lion of the Self! Thou didst drag me to the water hole of meditation, saying: ‘Thou art a lion, not a sheep! Open thine eyes, and roar!’
After Thy hard shakings of spiritual urge, I gazed into the crystal pool of peace. Lo, I saw my face like unto Thine!
I know now that I am a lion of cosmic power. Bleating no more, I shake the error forest with reverberations of Thine almighty voice. In divine freedom I bound through the jungle of earthly delusions, devouring the little creatures of vexing worries and timidities, and the wild hyenas of disbelief.
~ Paramahansa Yogananda (Whispers from Eternity)
“I trust that everything happens for a reason, even if we are not wise enough to see it. When there is no struggle, there is no strength.” Oprah Winfrey
The well-known Greek Philosopher Aristotle, believed that everything happens for a reason, always. And that every experience in your life, was designed to shape you and reform you into the ultimate and greatest version, that could ever imagine yourself to be. The only thing that prevents this, is having the wisdom to see it.
1. In Times of Struggle
Every negative experience; every time of struggle, can then be viewed as an opportunity for tremendous growth. Alike to a caterpillar burrowing from its chrysalis. When all of its forming and changing is complete, its metamorphism has transformed it into a magnificent butterfly. It has shed its former skin, and flown on the wings of new life and a new way of being.
2. In Times of Healing
Some may find it hard to believe that everything happens for a reason, especially when experiencing grief or loss. At the time it may be very difficult to see the blessing in it, as all that is being felt is pain. But it is through our lowest points in life, where we gain the wisdom and allow for new-found strength to emerge. Without loss we wouldn’t appreciate gain, without grief we wouldn’t appreciate love. Without death, we wouldn’t appreciate life and without fear, we wouldn’t appreciate love.
3. In Times of Happiness
By far, the most victorious of all happen stances, when it all comes together in one moment, the AHA moment, as the metaphorical photo finally develops. When we reach the point, after all of the struggles, the self-substantiating realization beams through and we finally see the wisdom behind the subconscious choices we’ve made. Clarity shines through like the morning sun peeking out on the earths horizon.
4. In Times of Chaos
True chaos, cannot be chaos for as long as there is choice involved. Things may appear to be random, but as we all know appearances lie.
“To someone who can’t read, letters on a page appear to be randomly chose when in reality they are precisely ordered.”- Deepak Chopra
Meaningful coincidences and synchronicities may also be viewed as random events with no connection, yet to the eye of the beholder, those events would have a real purpose and meaning.
5. In Times of Reflection
We see the pieces of the puzzle begin to come together, each unfolding a beautiful picture. The pain, the turmoil, the struggles and the victories, each essential building blocks to the molding of who we are today in this present moment.
An unfinished product, always growing, learning and experiencing. And by reflection we see, why it had to happen the way it did.
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life”- Steve Jobs
I used to dream, wish and hope for an amazing life—not just an okay life, but a ridiculously amazing life.
When I was younger, that dream had me rolling in style, of course, with fabulous clothes, a big house and a fast car.
As I grew older and wiser, the material wants and needs of my dreams changed—I simply wanted to be inspired and excited to get out of bed.
But that wasn’t happening…I was living within a shell of myself.
Sleep, wake, crawl out of bed, work, eat, sleep and repeat. And repeat. And repeat again. Snooze alert.
I found myself caught in a vortex of boredom with my dreams of a different life on hold. I was stuck. Not unhappy, just stuck, like a pot of overcooked pasta, heavy, uninspired and pasty.
That heaviness was not only settling on my ass, it was finding its way into my heart. And, all I wanted to do was sleep. And eat. And then sleep some more.
The problem was that this wasn’t the first time I experienced this; it was not a new story I was creating where I could put the blame on all the supporting characters. This was my own fault; I had built a decently successful business, had wonderful clients, friends, family and all that fun stuff. I was living in suburbia heaven with a nice car, good home and it was killing me.
Slowly and surely, I was dying inside.
I had worked myself into exhaustion and the stress I put on myself to succeed gifted me with a lovely autoimmune disorder—which was ironic, considering my business was teaching others how to create healthy lifestyles.
I was unmotivated, uninspired and unfulfilled; a walking, talking empty shell. Like a pretty puppet, I moved, acted, responded, but if you had taken the time to knock on my shell, you would have heard a resounding echoing emptiness inside.
So what did I do?
I woke up, took a hard look at my life and told myself to snap out of it. I made the decision to step back into my life, to take the bull by the horns and take charge of myself. No more excuses. No more blame.
It was time to start living from the heart…and it was then that my life started to become a bit more amazing.
It was then that I started to become a bit more amazing.
And, yes, it was that simple. The decision, that is.
I realized that the only way out of my spiraling vortex of un-fulfillment was through me. In order to create the life I dreamed of, I had to be the one to change. I couldn’t blame anyone for my choices, my dissatisfaction or my growing ass. I had to turn the mirror around and face myself.
And at first I peeked, not wanting to face myself. But, as time went on and I did the work needed, that mirror started to shine and reflect a happier me. And now, I can proudly say that I have fully and completely stepped into my life. And I try to do at least one thing to make my life ridiculously amazing each and every day.
Five ways to step into your life and make it ridiculously amazing:
As in, move, breathe and sweat.
You can’t be ridiculously amazing burrowing a hole into your couch or glued to your computer screen. (I know this because I tried. Massive fail! And what makes matters worse, that decently successful business I ran was a fitness business. How sad is that? I was inspiring others to move but couldn’t get myself on board!)
You have to get up and get your ass moving! Get the blood flowing, muscles fired up and the energy levels inspired. And the million excuses you have will come up, shelf them. If you can walk to the fridge, you can move.
I’m not asking you to hop off the couch and run a marathon, go for a walk, dance, do yoga, something. Just move. While you’re at it, move on to number two.
2. Check in and take notice.
One thing that is consistent is that life is continuously changing—and it will pass you by in the blink of an eye if you don’t take notice of it.
Start by checking in and paying attention to the little things that happen on a daily basis. I take the same route everyday to teach and each time I notice something different; it didn’t used to be that way. I used to drive mindlessly to client’s homes or to appointments and find myself 10 km down the highway with no recollection of what just passed me by. I had created a cozy vacuum of numbness that had me periodically checking out of life.
Now, I pay attention. I check in and stay present. Even when I’m doing something I do everyday, it’s become a mini adventure. I’ve noticed that anything can and will happen, but it’s up to me to take notice. So open your eyes, ears and mind. Rediscover your senses.
When you pause and actually notice the little things, what you see might surprise you.
Sweet, juicy, love.
Get the love juice flowing for your friends, family, partner and pets. Basically, anyone or thing that shares your space. Try to sweeten the pot with some unconditional love. Pets, easy. People; maybe not so much so try to practice first and foremost on yourself. Drown yourself in a giant pot of love juice. Be kind and nourishing to yourself in deliciously healthy ways because when we start to treat ourselves as though we are worthy, we set amazing things in motion.
After all, we can’t tap into love if we don’t love ourselves first.
Remember that four letter word?
If you don’t, seek out a niece, nephew, your child or a friend’s child. Watch, listen and learn. Life has enough serious moments without us purposely adding to the mix.
It’s okay to let loose and let your inner child come out and play once in a while. Be silly, dance, sing and laugh a lot. Don’t let anyone dampen your silliness. I did that and it wasn’t fun.
Now I play, a lot, everyday, with my crazy dogs, in the beautiful sea, on my yoga mat and with my boyfriend. They nourish my quirky side and allow me to be me. Which makes me smile a lot.
As a bonus, they’re helping me develop gorgeous laugh lines… much prettier than the frown lines I was working on before.
5. Leap outside your comfort zone.
Don’t think. Get like Nike and just do it! Leap, jump or dive into something that takes you outside your comfort zone, something that scares you a little or a lot.
I did this when I first arrived in Tulum. Shy, deathly afraid of house parties, I became a bit of a hermit back home. Once my shell started to crack open, I forced myself to do things that took me way outside my comfort zone.
The end result was I became more social, less afraid to attend parties or events solo. And it was so extraordinarily freeing, terrifying at times, but once the sweat stopped pouring, I noticed that I was not alone. And no matter what the outcome, I embraced every experience as an opportunity to spread my wings and grow.
Amazing things happen when we open the door to life and let our senses explore. When you step outside your comfort zone and try new things, visit new places, create new adventures, you give back to yourself ten fold. Embrace what comes up when you take a chance on life.
The good with the bad because it will help you grow as a friend, lover, mother or father.
Take charge of your life.
If you’re unsatisfied, do something—your life won’t change unless you create the change.
So get things moving, go dance in the rain, kiss your partner deeply, try a new taste, take the road less travelled, open your eyes and drink in the sights.
There’s beauty to be found in simplicity.
Make the choice to step up to the bat and hit a ridiculously amazing home run in this fabulously messy thing we call life.
It has been proven that highly creative people’s brains work quite differently than other brains. That special brain wiring that can create such wonderful art, music, and writing can often lead to strain in a relationship, because of those differences. If you’ve ever loved a highly creative person, you know that it can seem like they live in their own little word at times, and that thought isn’t far from the truth. Here are some things to keep in mind when you are in love with a highly creative person:
1. Their Minds Don’t Slow Down
The highly creative mind is one that is running at full speed all the time. Although it can be a source of crazy, spontaneous fun – it can also be a burden. Highly creative people rarely keep normal sleep cycles, and are often prone to bouncing from one task to another throughout the day. It can be exhausting to try to keep up.
2. They are Cyclical
The flow of creativity is a cycle, full of highs and lows. Some people may consider this “manic” behavior, but in reality, it is just how the creative process works. Keep this in mind as your partner goes through these natural ebbs and flows. The low periods aren’t permanent.
3. They Need Time Alone
Creative minds need air to breathe. Whether it is their own little work space or an escape to somewhere quiet, they need a time and place to be alone with their thoughts. Some people are inclined to think that if nothing is being said that there is something wrong, but with creative people that is not the case. They are just working within their own head.
4. They are Intensely Focused
When a creative person is on task, they are fiercely intense. The change from being scatter-brained to hyper-focused can be difficult to deal with, so just understand that it is how their brains work. Don’t get frustrated.
5. Emotions Run Deeper
Creative people feel everything on a deeper level. What doesn’t seem like a big deal to you, can be crushing to them. It’s that same passion that goes into whatever they create that drives them to love you, so understand that with the good – comes the bad.
6. They Speak in Stories
Creative people often express themselves in experiences, instead of just saying what they want to say. It is a way of sharing themselves that personifies who they are. At times, it can be difficult to figure out what a creative person is saying, so don’t be afraid to read between the lines.
7. They Battle with Themselves
Being creative can be a serious internal struggle. Motivation, enthusiasm, direction, and drive can all be issues for creative people. Some days it is hard for them just to get out of bed, and other days you can’t get them to slow down. Be patient in the lulls, because there is usually a burst of activity right around the corner.
8. Intuition is Important
Creative people, because of their intense emotional tendencies, tend to rely on intuition over logic. They go with their gut. Some people consider this to be more on the “impulsive” end of the spectrum. The creative mind doesn’t rely on logic to make a decision, it relies on experience and passion.
9. They Struggle with Confidence
When people create, especially for a living, they are always struggling with acceptance. That is art. They have to wear their hearts on their sleeves, and so they always question whether or not what they are producing is good enough. Being supportive is the key to loving a creative person.
10. Growing Up is Hard to Do
Creative people are almost always children at heart. That care-free nature can seem immature and impetuous – but it is all part of the deal. Understand that the aspects of their creative brains that you love are the same ones that make them somewhat irresponsible when it comes to being an adult.
Full disclosure—I’m a crab ass. I can be as bitchy as they come.
I wake up early but I’m hardly ever thrilled about it. The heat turns me into a veritable monster, true story. And my patience is occasionally in the shortest supply you can imagine.
I am working on being more Androcles and less Lion.
If you are not familiar with the ancient fable, I am assuming you are also unfamiliar with toilet paper. Seriously though, in case you need a refresher—the story goes that a runaway Roman slave named Androcles tried to hide in a cave which turned out to be the den of a lion. This lion happened to have a thorn in his paw, which of course made him crabby.
Androcles removed the thorn and nursed the lion’s paw until he healed, and they became friends. (Well, as friendly as two hungry omnivores can allow themselves to be.) Later, Androcles returned to society, and he was captured and thrown into a lion’s den as dinner.
Of course, the lion he was thrown to was his old pal Crabby-Paw, who recognized him and pretty much became domesticated kitty. Androcles was then heralded as the “Lion Tamer,” and he was not put to death, because of his way with big scary animals.
Seeing myself as an overt Lion-ness, I find myself so grateful to those amazing Androcles’ in my life who are most often my splinter removers.
Figuratively, my spouse is a fantastic Androcles. He’s removed splinters from my paws, my side and even my eye. Most of them are imagined, but some of them are real, and he treats each one as if it were the most important splinter he has ever removed.
I was recently irritated by a work-related splinter. See, a rumor was going around that I was going to be fired. My managers were magnificent about calling me immediately to quash my fears. They’d heard the rumor already and wanted to tell me, before I heard it on the street and totally freaked out. They know me well!
My husband happened to be with me when I heard about it, and he assured me it was a mistake—some misunderstanding. I pouted for a while over that rumor—that “splinter” in my paw—wondering who would say such hurtful things?
Weeks later, after being a part-time sleuth, it was revealed that it was a misunderstanding, and the source of the rumor had mistook something to mean I was going to be shit-canned. In this instance, it took a village of folks acting as my Androcles—my husband, my bosses and some friends—to pull that butt-hurt splinter out of my paw.
Speaking of butt-hurt…
On a more literal Androcles note—a few months ago I was seated in the gym steam room, on a wooden bench. It was somewhat crowded, and—being the codependent people pleaser I am—when a woman came in looking for a place to sit, I quickly scooted over to make space for her. Even though I was wearing practically bulletproof yoga pants, I managed to pick up the lone splinter that was sticking up on the bench. I pulled it out, but I wasn’t sure I had gotten the whole thing.
As luck would have it, I had a doctor appointment that afternoon—a follow up appointment with my gastroenterologist. (Hand to God, I’m not making this up.) After we discussed my recent procedure, I told him that this was very embarrassing, but I had managed to get a splinter in my hind-quarters, and I wondered if he could look at it to make sure I got all of it out. He checked and saw a red dot where the splinter had been, but he assured me that I had removed my own splinter.
I hadn’t originally intended to use this as a metaphor, but it does serve really well as one—sometimes, we can remove our own splinters. We can also let someone else remove them for us, and sometimes we might ask someone to check our work if we are in doubt.
Some interpretations of the ancient fable say it is one of the earliest stories about gratitude.
We are all grateful when someone helps us ease our pain—physical, emotional or spiritual. We have all had someone remove a splinter from our paw, at one time or another. Maybe they’ve shown us something about ourselves, that we could not see clearly, until it was brought to our attention.
Think of how grateful you felt when someone you loved, or maybe even a stranger, showed you something that meant a great deal to you. Or maybe when they helped shine a light on a shadowy part of your world. That gratitude can be paid forward to some of the “crabby lions” in our own lives.
The next time someone in your life starts bitching—instead of nodding, looking at your cellular device or changing the topic—see if you can identify their splinter. If it’s in your capabilities, consider removing it or helping them to remove it themselves.
We all know that doing something nice for someone else is also, often, a gift for ourselves. Making someone else feel better, makes us feel grrrrrrreat! (No offense to Tony the Tiger.)
Just like Androcles, taking the splinter out of a crabby lion’s paw could really be a saving grace for us.
So, get out your tweezers and roar!
Author: Melissa Morgan
Take these 12 quick and helpful tips to have a better experience at your next class.
Hydrate all day: Drinking water in the middle of your practice can mess with your flow, so arriving hydrated is necessary. Focus on drinking water all day long; you’ll be amazed at what a difference it will make.
Show up early: Rushing into the studio with a harried mind and no time to chill gets your practice off to a rough start. Allow at least 10 more minutes than you think you’ll need to have plenty of time to change clothes, check in with a cool mind, and sip on some tea, if you can!
Dress the part: There’s nothing worse pulling up the waistband of your pants or making sure your top doesn’t spill out of your built-in bra all class long. That’s not where your mind needs to be during your Downward Dog. Wear clothes that are fitted and comfortable, but not so snug that they’re distracting.
Grab props: More advanced yogis sometimes shy away from grabbing props, but there’s no harm in keeping them next to your mat. Grab a block, strap, and blanket before you take your seat. You’ll never know when you’ll need one.
Be quiet before class: I’m known to chat up a storm with fellow yogis in the moments before class, but do you best to stay quiet and turn inwards. Lay on your back or sit up with your eyes close to connect with yourself and prep for class.
Expect nothing: If this is the only piece of advice you take away from this list, you’ve learned a great lesson. Some days you’re going to be able to fly into a crazy arm balance and other days things are going to be more difficult. Every day our bodies are working with something different; don’t expect anything to look or feel a certain way.
Stop judging: You know that checking everyone out in the room isn’t a good use of your time, you might not even be aware of how much you’re comparing your progress to other students in the class. Keep your mind on your mat, and keep your attitude positive and full of possibility.
Breathe deep: It takes years and years to “perfect” your breath. Whenever a pose is feeling difficult or your feel some self-judgment creeping in, take deep ujjayi breaths in and out through your nose. They will help you release any tension or negativity and help you continue class with a more composed, calm perspective.
Listen to your teacher: Obviously, your teacher is going tell you which pose is up next, but don’t tune them out once you’re in a pose! I find that the tiny details or suggestions they offer once you’re in the pose are the real gems. One subtle tip could help you develop a completely new relationship with a pose that seemed too hard — or too easy!
Smile more: Yes, I know; this one is corny, but it works. Once you’re really flowing, your muscles have heated up, and your breath is connected to your movement, get grateful and start smiling. There’s no need to plaster an inauthentic expression across your face for 45 minutes, but there is plenty of opportunity to stop taking yourself so seriously during class. Smile and mean it; you’re taking care of your body just by being in class.
Try something new: If a pose comes around that you always skip or think you’re “not ready” for, try it tonight. The only way we conquer challenging poses is by experiencing the fear and moving through it. You might not nail it right away, but the only way you’ll eventually be able to hold it is if you try.
Stay in Savasana: Don’t leave or mentally check out during Savasana! Let all of your lists and obligations go; I promise they’ll be there after class. That five or 10 minutes of final relaxation is worth it, because you’re worth it.
“The world must be romanticized. In this way the originary meaning may be found again.”
What would you say is your manifesto?
Through photography, film and words we strive to romanticize the individualistic and digitalized world dominated by screens and displays.
We feel that humanity has jumped into virtual reality and we experience the overkill of information and it’s consequences.
It is our mission to bring this hurried world to a standstill, for a moment.
Your photography is full of beautiful landscapes. Where are these locations?
Our pictures have been taken all over the world.
We’ve traveled by car through Europe, stopping in countries such as Slovenia (where we took the nude picture of us in the forest, and our- Die Zwei -name was born. Italy where we swam in lakes and made friends with ducks. Morocco, where we got stuck in the desert, London, where we in the middle of winter swam in an ice cold pond in Hamstead heath. We are two people with one mind. We like to wear each others clothes (or 1 item together, the large trouser) We’d like to live in a tree-house, preferably one 0n every continent.
Love and standstill is my inspiration of the day. Go hug a tree and turn your phone off! Connect!
Sending universal love to all of you and your individual magic that you bring in this world.
LOVE LOVE LOVE !
Mélika Emira Baccouche
Everything living dreams of individuation, for everything strives towards its own wholeness
~ C.G. Jung (1875-1961), Swiss depth psychologist, from The Wisdom of Carl Jung,
It seems that it is the purpose of evolution now to replace an image of perfection with the concept of completeness or wholeness. Perfection suggests something all pure, with no blemishes, dark spots or questionable areas. Wholeness includes the darkness but combines it with the light elements into a totality more real and whole than any ideal. This is an awesome task, and the question before us is whether mankind is capable of this effort and growth. Ready or not, we are in that process. ~ Robert A. Johnson (1921-present), American Jungian Analyst, from He
The work of healing and returning to our wholeness is indeed “…an awesome task,” and I believe we are absolutely capable of progress and growth. The first step in embarking in this sacred journey is our willingness to make it a priority. Are you willing to grow and expand?
The truth is you are already whole.
The work of healing is simply undoing the false conditioning, limiting beliefs, and dysfunctional patterns you’ve picked up along the way (as a result of living on planet earth and likely around people who were unconscious.) The work of healing is remembering. Remembering who you truly are.
You are whole. You are beautiful. You are magnificent. You are a spiritual being. You are a human being. You are powerful. You are perfect and imperfect. You have potential for great good as well as destructiveness. You have a dark side and light side. All of this is you and it is all acceptable and wonderful.
“So why do I continue to struggle and suffer?” you ask.
The short answer is that you have forgotten how powerful you are. You have bought in to many lies you’ve been told by others who did not know who they were. Being born in to this “spiritually hostile environment” we call home you’ve developed certain coping mechanisms that allowed you to survive.
However those same mechanisms that have allowed you to survive have become obstacles. As an adult (often still a child in an adult body) you have felt lost, and confused. You have attempted to find yourself in all the wrong places. All in things outside of yourself.
Finding your way HOME is the “awesome task”…This is the work….
I believe in a holistic approach to healing. It is critically important to combine conventional treatment with complementary and alternative healing modalities. Medication and therapy alone are not going to “fix” you. I believe there are 7 steps to creating effective and lasting treatment of mental illness and addiction.
These are the steps I take my clients through as I support them in their journey of healing and returning to their wholeness.
Learning Self Acceptance, Self Love, Positive Coping Skills while Processing Past Unresolved Trauma and effects (Shame, Anger, Guilt)
If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you. ~ Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas, translated by Elaine Pagels, scholar, from Beyond Belief
Real liberation comes not from glossing over or repressing painful states of feeling, but only from experiencing them to the full. ~ C.G. Jung (1875-1961), Swiss depth psychologist, inCollected Works, Vol. 9, edited by Edward Hoffman, Ph.D.
Accepting the whole range of one’s feelings, expressing them and gaining self-possession are the signposts along the road one travels on the voyage of self-discovery. ~ Alexander Lowen, M.D. (1910-2002???), American founder of Bioenergetic Therapy, from Joy
Self acceptance and self love as well as processing past unresolved trauma are the cornerstones of the work of healing. As far as I’m concerned trauma is the only real diagnosis. Everything else is an after effect. Trauma is also the one thing that is not addressed within families, society, and in psychiatry today.
Ignoring people’s past, the traumas they’ve suffered, and the impact of those traumas is revictimization. It is simply ignorant and unethical. For those who carry the burden of past unresolved trauma, nothing is as toxic and draining as carrying the effects of trauma – chronic shame, anger, guilt, self loathing, self hatred, and a host of other destructive emotions and behaviours.
In my work with clients addressing past trauma is always the first order of business. I do this through very simple and natural techniques called “focusing” as taught by Eugene T Gendlin, PhD and “Somatic Trauma Resolution” as taught by Peter A. Levine Ph.D.
Processing past trauma is always done at the pace of the client. You get to set the pace at which you want to work on your healing. At the same time we will build your positive coping skills and on learning to accept and love yourself. This is the first step.
When you face your past and release those energies you’ve been carrying for years you are going to feel so much better. It will be like having a huge burden lifted from your shoulders. You’ll then have more energy to start tackling the more pressing matters in your present reality.
What are subconscious limiting beliefs?
I’m going to let the brilliant Bruce Lipton explain this one to you. I believe it is critically important to work on identifying and replacing your negative subconscious beliefs as these beliefs/tapes are what run your life and what create your reality.
Working with the conscious mind alone (as is in the case of the many of the therapy modalities in psychiatry today – ie: CBT, MI, Solution Focused therapy etc.) is simply not enough nor effective. Our subconscious mind is far more powerful than our conscious mind.
The ability to work with the subconscious mind is critically important in allowing you to change and replace your limiting beliefs about yourself. This is what will unleash your true potential. This is what is going to allow you to truly achieve your highest potential as human being.
I could not emphasize further the importance of this step.
Tapping in to the power of your subconscious mind is essential to your healing. It is also closely related to the first step in that along the way you have picked up many dysfunctional and unhealthy beliefs about yourself and the way the world works.