Finding so much Pleasure in Taking out Your Trash
I'm writing this on the plane from croatia to nyc via zurich and reflecting on yet another amazing teacher training weekend in zagreb, croatia! during our last class i mentioned how i really enjoyed taking out the garbage that morning before i arrived. i was staying at my friend nina's (sangha studio co-owner) and before i leave a host's house i do my best to clean up and leave it the way i came as i'm so grateful they offered me their space. so the day before i was to leave zagreb to return home, i took out the garbage from the apartment and was beaming with smiles. now let me tell you why this was such a pleasure for me.
i never take out the garbage. ha! ever since i was a child i remember my father and mother had different "duties" that were delegated to the man and the woman. mom cooked, cleaned, did laundry...and dad's job was to take out the garbage and discipline us with "the belt" when needed (as they did back then, old school, dad's almost 85 now). sure sometimes they took on each other's household chores, and eventually my brothers and sister and i took them on as we grew into them. the boys did what dad did. the girls did what mom did. but i really never remember mom taking out the garbage and "certainly" the girls were never asked to when the boys were around. that was a "man's job." so when i moved out of the house in my early 20's and started sharing living space with room mates, i clearly requested upon moving in, that the man in the house takes out the garbage. it always worked out well and even to this day, jason takes out the garbage. of course, he was happy to agree when i explained why it was important for me. well not important...more of a preference instilled in me from childhood.
so here i am taking out the garbage in croatia, opening the lid, and really enjoying, and actually smiling as i was going down the lift to the garbage bins on the street level. me. taking out the trash. huh! it was super! cleansing. purifying. clearing space. getting rid of those things that i just couldn't use anymore, right? it was quite pleasurable! ha! i know it might sound silly for you but really...it is a cleansing experience when you think about it right? and we do it every day...or a couple times a week perhaps.
so i thought....it's that time again. to check in and commit to taking out the trash that's in my life and to do some spring cleaning again before summer approaches around the corner. empty some space to keep it clear or allow something more positive to enter when it's meant.
and once you've taken out the garbage, and cleared some space, you might enjoy some suggestions from our contributing writers and friends on how to connect more personally towards your joy.....with scott rodwin's 3 minute phone call as a quick but potent re~connection; selina gullery's yoga and horses article, offering an intimate approach to connecting with animals and their intuitive instincts reflecting the rider's thoughts and emotions; and rachel hughe's art studio miami (and world) helping miami's "little haiti" children meet after school to enjoy art, yoga, meditation, and nutrition instead of running home to the tv or mind numbing video games.
for YEARS i have said i want a daily meditation practice. i have heard from my yoga + meditation teachers who have a daily practice of the amazing benefits, even seen the physical changes in faces and heard accounts of one of my teachers, jill satterfield of vajra yoga based in nyc, of meditating herself from a critical intestinal disease back to health and wellness. i often reflect on testaments from friends (a fashion photographer, a musician, an LA account exec, and a nyc yoga teacher) who recount their times during and after a vipassana retreat and how it changed their lives forever and was one of the most peaceful times of their lives. but alas, i still was not able to stick to a daily meditation practice. somehow it wasn't my time back then, so instead of fighting it, i accepted my daily living as my meditative flow of being, and thought...the right time will come...one day.
one day has come. it has aligned for me now. and WOW! meditation, to me, is like taking a shower for my mind! every day!
let's back track. it wasn't until end january, when i learned that i was pregnant. it was then that i decided to (finally) attend a 10-day vipassana silent meditation retreat that i had heard so much about from my friends. i had attended a 3 day retreat almost 10 years ago with my teacher at the time and that changed my life forever...but now i was ready for what i considered the marathon of meditation retreats! 10 days! after some online research, i was dismayed to find out that there were none in the nyc area with dates that worked...or they did work, they were all sold out months in advance. good to hear for the planet and our human race...yay!...but not so good for me and my timing. so i decided that's not a good enough reason to give up.
now its' march. it was a promise i made to myself in bali during the tending the sacred fire teacher training retreat i offered. at the end of the week's events we each created a very specific and individualized sadhana (sacred ritual or practice) for one full moon cycle (28 days) that would begin upon returning home and upon the next full or new moon. we were committed to igniting the flame that we sparked that week and we told each other (and each retreater in the tt program told me in our one-on-one talks on the last day) of our intentions, our commitments, and our timelines. it helped to speak it publically to help us commite. my personal commitment was simply to meditate every day. and i asked two of my student friends to check in with me after 30 days.
as of today, i have been meditating on a daily basis for 8 weeks now.
(celebrate good times! come one! let's celebrate! it's alright! there's a party going on right here! a celebration to last throughout the year! ~kool+the gang :)
i started with 8 minutes a day, then every week i've added on another minute, hoping...no....knowing that by the 52nd week of the year i'll be up to one hour a day of meditation. (thank goodness for the part-time nanny that we are planning on hiring so i can continue this practice when radiant glitter baby is born!) meditation, to me, is a showering of my mind. and when my thoughts dissolve and purify it affects my heart's emotions and my body's health, for sure! everyday most of us take a shower and brush our teeth + clean our gums right? so what about our minds? just because we can't see it...or others cannot see it....how about cleansing our minds?
meditation. start. okay....when you're ready...but when you do, i'm telling you folks it's proven scientifically to work! no pill needed folks! and no fancy additives either :)
for those of you who have been saying you'll start. how about today? or okay...the next new moon JUNE 1st or next full moon JUNE 15th and start with as little as one minute a day. set an alarm. sit in a chair on on a pillow on the floor. (i like my free chair that i have at home, photo below). add another minute each week, or when you are ready to add on, and commit and stick to the plan. tell someone of your plan. or post it on face book. the more people you tell the more likely you will do it right? (wink) let's journey together to clean our minds for the sake of your own true sanity and the sanity of all beings. take out the garbage of negative belief patterns, abusive thoughts towards ourselves and others, shockingly creative excuses and self-reflection (or condemnation) and begin on a journey to think positive thoughts with powerful intentions behind it.
wait. before you ask how or what happens if. may i suggest a simple technique for these thoughts that will appear....especially if they are negative thoughts? first you sit. you're meditating. even if your mind is spinning with thoughts. before you think "i'm not good at this," or "i'm not doing it right," or "i can't do it." guess what? there is no award for best meditator. no right or wrong way to do it. and once you sat, you are already "doing it." so stay there. so you've started. YES! next you'll most likely realize that you have the same seven or so "stories" running through your mind. now you have a pattern of thoughts you become aware of. once you witness those patterns and if you realize there are a few patterns that do not serve your happiness, then you ask yourself one of my favorite mantras that i live by, "now that you know what are you going to do about it?"
if it's something you don't want to keep living by (or thinking of) then "throw out the trash." literally visualize that thought being put in a dumpster (or a huge garbage truck or a small recycled plastic bag that you throw away yourself) and watch it get carried down the street and fade away. and there's more. just in case it comes back or sticks around somehow...in our next meditation then keep dumping.
how? i call it "positive mirror languaging." (yes, languaging, notice how i make up words for fun :) imagine you have a thought like "i think i'm getting in people's way" or "one day i'll have enough money to get out of debt so i can......" or "i always attract losers into my life." okay. when you sit down and you listen and watch your mind play out the same thoughts or stories over and over again...you recognize them and now you turn it around. you mirror it. you invert it with a positive vibration.
for example. if you say "i think i'm getting in people's way all the time" flip it over and add a positive spin. say instead "people are waiting for me to be present with them (or to meet me) and are inviting (or wishing for) me to come into their lives right now." turn it around and create new thought patterns, shift your paradigm, and create change...even radical change through this process. okay you might not believe this right away but you know what? try it. start speaking in terms of the reality you desire to manifest, instead of wasting so much time and energy into thinking, speaking, and living the reality that you don't want. throw out the garbage of that reality. make some space. for what? well, it's up to you. it could be more garbage...or, over time as you change the language of your intentions, mind, and words... they create actions (or your reality) that become purified into your desired reality. huh. sounds good right? sure!
let's try another one. you might notice thoughts that represent (or you might often verbally articulate) that "one day i'll have enough money to get out of debt, maybe quit my job here in the city, move out into the country and pursue my dream as a wood worker." this one only needs to be purified. not necessarily flipped over and inverted. the purified (or "composted" statement now becomes, "money is (or the means and resources are) coming to me right now...as we speak...and i'm listening and watching for the signs to make a move...from my job, from the city, and towards wood working...and in fact it's right around the corner! i feel it! yes!" maybe even write that down on a piece of recycled scrap paper and stick on your mirror every day so you can read it while brushing your teeth or checking out your dashing good looks after you're fresh and clean from the shower. take it a step further, and as one of my favorite authors, mike dooley (photo right) suggests, dance at least once a day in front of the mirror in a happy jig and sing this statement out loud!
and final example... if you notice that your thoughts reflect statements like, "i always attract losers into my life," flip that one. throw that out and add in this positive thought and statement instead. "i only attract the winners in my life that reflect the winner in me." and on this one, take note....i truly feel you magnetize and attract those who are very similar to you in your current state of being. if you have not done the work to clear your body, mind, and heart...then most likely you will attract(and have attracted) someone who is living in a similar dimension. so check in and enjoy dumping your trash. manifest a new reality with positive intentions, thoughts, words and actions. if not now, then when?
now that you know...what are you going to do about it?
Here are some other suggestions to empty your trash:
relationships with others
~ filter negative people out of your life. its' hard sometimes to come to terms with but some of those people include family and dear friends from the past, ex-lovers you still hold onto that keep you from evolving, co-workers, employers, employees
~ make more room for face in time and less face book time. get more one on one and personal whether that is less texting and emailing towards face-to-face skype talks or making more tea dates or bike rides together with those that lift you and support your happiness.
~ throw away toxic food. if there's anything in your cupboards with ingredients that you cannot pronounce, throw it out or give it away. i loved this when i first read it in chapter one of dr. andrew weil's, 8 weeks to optimal health book.
~ eat more organic foods (less "conventional" produce which means non-organic, might contain pesticides and harmful chemicals in it's production)
~ start composting to fertilize your garden or lawn
~ consume less animal products whether that is once a week becoming a flexitarian or even going for it and living a vegan lifestyle for a day, week, or full moon cycle.
yoga and fitness
~ ask your yoga teacher to take a look at a yoga posture that you are challenged with or struggle with...no let's say that another way...that offers potential for you to grow into greater strength and flexibility and is just about to blossom (or be harvested). ask them to watch you in it and give a little additional guidance. and then once your teacher gives you a tip then it's up to you to change or hold onto those comfortable patterns. if you choose to throw out the old patterns that actually bind you versus liberates you, then get humble, back it up a bit, and begin again on that journey. this of course applies to chanting, meditation, pranayama or any other yogic practice that is meant to help you find your joy.
~ start spending some more time in nature so you can appreciate the abundance of Her gifts...and maybe then you might begin (or be reminded to) consume less when it comes to paper, water, chemicals in every day products you purchase regularly which will eventually end up in nature and are harmful to it's preservation
computer | mobile phones | tv | technology in general
~ join shiva rea's
YEA| Yoga Energy Activism | from Earth Day to Fall Equinox
April 22nd - Sept 21st, 2011, join a grassroots activation of the yoga community to inspire mindful use of our natural resources by creating Energy Regeneration Days |
~ set a new auto signature on your emails saying when you will reply to them if they are not urgent. for example i started this immediately when i ended my tour and had a lot more time at home living in the suburbs during the winter while jason was gone most of the day during work. less time on tour and traveling created more time at home, which then became more time on the computer. within weeks i threw out that potentially toxic habit. my auto signature says i'll respond on tuesdays and thursdays. those seem like the best days for me as i get the emails the day after people are back on their computers mondays, and by thursdays i can take care of any needs by the week's end. see what your flow is. of course, try to give another option to get in touch if it's urgent without posting your phone numbers as those who are supposed to have the number already, do. that's for my business and personal email accounts. set some personal boundaries from technology's harmful vibrations. stick to it. and say what you mean, mean what you say. you can only take out the garbage on certain days right? so maybe you can only look at your emails on certain days. |email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for the auto-reply | in-joy, twee
~ create auto~filters (or smart mailboxes for mac users) so you can see the important emails separate from your inbox, straight away
~ send the emails you don't wait into the junk or spam folder immediately so you don't even see them come back again
~ set a voice mail as to when you will respond to calls that are not urgent, see auto signature suggestions above
~ turn off the television and pick up a book or magazine or newspaper more often. or make a phone call, see face time in face book time out above. or sit down and meditate. tee hee. had to sneak that in again.
~ news fasting. even take a break from daily news on tv and newspapers. you'll be surprised how the important news will find it's way to you. and besides look at how the stories can change every day
...like the osama bin laden story that changed every day. how can facts change so swiftly when reported from such "dependable" sources. with all due respect as i witnessed the towers collapsing in nyc, i'm still dumb-founded that they buried the body without giving proof that it was him...after all this time. if you read past the title "osama bin laden is either dead, alive, or with tupac."
you will read some other theories on his death as well. and when obama and high level "sources" updated us each day with the accounts of what "really" happened...the stories contradicted each other and changed too often for me. what was "truth" one day changed radically within the following few days...who to believe? (but that's another topic for another newsletter in the near future ;)
Well, there's a start.
...Some say it takes 40 days to make a new pattern become a lifestyle choice. others say it takes 8 weeks. i can truly say that meditation has become a part of my life...not just something i feel i have to do. it's me "taking out the garbage," for sure. and you know what happens if you don't take out the garbage. who wants to deal with that collection in the future? someone will have to. as it will collect somewhere as a dis-ease of the heart, mind, and|or body. let's take care of that sooner or later, don't you think?
now that you know, what are you going to do about it?
a new moon start | wednesday, june 1st
a full moon start | wednesday june 15th
please email additional suggestions or comments to email@example.com so we can include in future postings and newsletters. blessings to you on your "garbage dumping" adventures! or shall we say...your purification adventures!
blessings from the air along my magic carpet ride! see you soon!
....and jason, if you're reading.... maybe i'll take out the garbage this week. what do you think?
love you han!