Category Archives: Emotions

Thanksgiving Gratitude

In my Ayurvedic Thanksgiving tips, I suggest writing out a gratitude list. Well hey! You can use this pretty little 2-page freebie printout, the Thanksgiving Gratitude Tree :)

It would make a great accessory to a hostess gift or print out a bunch for your gathering and everyone can fill out their trees. A Thanksgiving Gratitude party! That’s what it’s all about afterall, right?

Page 1 – fill out the circles
Page 2 – explain WHY you are grateful for what’s in the circles.

Thanksgiving Gratitude Tree 2016

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However you use it the most important part is to connect to what you’ve been blessed with and WHY. Life is incredible. We will receive no greater gift. Even in the most challenging times, we are gaining perspective and wisdom. And we can be grateful for the path. Even if we are feeling a little powerless, gratitude for the struggle is a powerful message, “Thank you for the challenges because it is making me wiser, stronger and teaching me things I would not have learned otherwise. I accept and am grateful for my path.”

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

Love,
Monica B.

 

Vata Empathy

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Empathy.
How does a vata express empathy? Vatas are a total split on the spectrum — either insensitive or hyper-sensitive. Other people’s feelings might not register on their radar at all (me, me, me). Or, vatas can be rocked to the core by another person’s pain because they feel SO much empathy.

Practice healthy empathy by listening, offering help and following through with it (if you are not going to follow through, don’t offer). But don’t letting someone else’s struggle consume your thoughts and emotions. Instead, send a blessing like this, “I send you blessings that all will be well soon and you learn the lessons needed to evolve.” Then let it go like a sparkly mylar balloon in the blue sky. Their struggle is not yours to keep.

This little insight couldn’t fit in the 14-page seasonal guide, Vata Seasonal Bloom. Let’s use our empathy in this world, just not so much that it takes us down. 

Vata Freebies

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Download Blue Button

I’m EXCITED for you to have these Vata Freebies!
You get Vata Season Webinar + Vata Seasonal Bloom (14-page health guide)!

Let’s talk about vata + the weekend for a sec.
Computers make us feel anxious, so why don’t you print Seasonal Bloom and read it by the fireplace or in your favorite chair. Print is more balancing than the screen, plus it is so lovely you will want it in your hands.
*inhale* *exhale*

We live in a HIGHLY imbalanced vata world with things like computers, smart phones, traffic, and social media. We get anxiety over what we think we should be doing and who we think we should be. *breathe* You are perfectly aligned on your path. You are already doin’ it. The world is just moving faster than ever (hyper-vata) and you can feel that zippy energy, which can create an internal panic.

Let’s slow it down and use this weekend to disconnect from all that stuff.

Find a pumpkin. Cook a meal. Sink into a long bath. Free flow on a bike ride. Catch views from your favorite hike (even if it’s urban). Bust out your paints. Go to the high school football game. Say hello to the yarn basket. Savor a magazine. Power walk with your favorite person. {insert your ideas here}

Let’s bring it down. You are perfectly as you should be, perfectly on your path.
You don’t need to move faster, just trust and slow it down.
*inhale* *exhale*

BIG LOVE! (it’s not you, it’s just vata!)

 

 

Ayurvedic Facial Rejuvenation

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Whee! I just got back from a 3-day Ayurvedic Facial Rejuvenation class at the California College of Ayurveda! As a lifelong teacher and student of Ayurveda, I’ll never stop learning and this class was such a treat that I must share with you.

SKIN CARE HIGHLIGHTS!

Our skin eats. It’s also our largest organ, so anything we put on our skin, we should be able to put in our mouth (if not, reassess your skincare line. No judging! Just awareness) because it gets absorbed and digested by our body.

Vatas have dry, thin skin, so their skin care should be nourishing, moisturizing and fairly oily! They tan easy. When balanced vatas have a delicate radiance. When imbalanced, they might experience dry or flaky skin, rough patches, rough bumps and blackheads (due to small pores).

Pittas have sensitive, hot skin so their skin care should be nourishing as well as cooling, but not too oily. They burn easy. When balanced, pittas simply glow! When imbalanced, they might experience pimples/acne, rashes, rosacea and sunburn.

Kaphas have cool, thick, oily, porcelain skin and they will look young forever (maybe not quite forever)! They should avoid thick, clogging creams and instead use light, oil-free skin care. When balanced, they look like porcelain goddesses. When imbalanced, they might experience congested skin including cysts and acne or excessively oily skin.

FACIALS/MASSAGE HIGHLIGHTS!
When we practiced (and received!) our facials, we used products made of all natural ingredients and Ayurvedic herbs that promote a variety of tri-dosha balancing effects to the skin including, rejuvenation, circulation, cooling, moisture and nourishment. The whole thing took about 1 1/2 hours to do — can you imagine?! We got to practice 3x and receive 3x (yesss!).

OK here’s how it went:

  1. We gently exfoliated the face and neck using upward motions while wearing silk gloves (they were not silky smooth, more like linen), which stimulated circulation.
  2. Then, we did a gentle oil and massage on the neck and face (upward motions!) to bring nourishment after the friction of the gloves.
  3. Next, we zoned in on the marma points, which are the little “activation points” along the body’s channels that run from head to toe (just like acupuncture points). We touched on these points through each stage of the massage to release stagnation, increase circulation and promote emotional balance. During this marma massage stage of the massage we gave them extra special attention.
  4. Then we took hot towels that we had previously soaked in chamomile and lavender tea and steamed the face for 10 minutes (protect eyes with cucumber!).
  5. After that we applied the cleanser and massaged again — it got super sudsy and was quite fun!
  6. Then we did a lymph massage to the face and neck with body butter
  7. We repeated the 10 minute facial steam with chamomile and lavender soaked towels
  8. Then we painted the facial mask on and while it was sitting, gave our client hand and foot massages.
  9. We removed the mask and applied facial moisturizer and dabbed on wrinkle serum.

TA-DAH!!! One and one half HOURS of awesome. And we each got to receive it 3x in 3 days!! My face looks more balanced, toned and nourished — and I look less tired. Score!

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Making the tea of chamomile and lavender flowers. We soaked them in boiled water for 10 minutes, strain. Then we dunked our facial towels in the tea and kept them in a hotcabi til steaming time!

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We used Dr. John Douillard’s (he’s awesome!) LifeSpa line of skin care products.

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Facial steam with the warm towels that were soaked in the tea. Cucumbers keep the eyes cool.

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The facial mask I “painted” on my client which tones and nourishes after we exfoliated, massaged and steamed the face.

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Time for dessert — A tower of creams and goops we made ourselves! Various ingredients include avocado, greek yogurt, glive oil, mango, aloe vera and red sandalwood. Stack o’ goodness!! And yes, we were eating the mango one like it was candy.

When Change Happens

*inhale* Last night I found out that another dear friend of mine is moving cross country. I was IM’ing a coworker this morning and these little words came out of me. Hoping this reaches anyone riding that line of embracing change as it kicks their ass. *exhale*

 

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Bit o’ Wisdom {53}

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A Moment for Reflecting

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On the 11th day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me

A MOMENT FOR REFLECTING

Psst…the holidays are over. Happy New Year! Phew, we made it. Today might be the first day in a while that you’ve had nothing “to do.” It’s a great day for relaxing — you know like fuzzy jammies, the parade of roses, new slippers on thine feet — and appreciating what was awesome in 2015. It’s also a good day for reflecting on things that were not awesome in 2015 — things we might want to leave behind that no longer serve us.

I am a firm believer that before we can move onto something new and fresh, we have to give thanks and release the past. That way we can move forward cleansed, refreshed, with lessons learned and build upon something new for this year.

So! In celebration of the new year, first I have some questions for you from 2015. It’s good to write these down in a little journal or wherever makes you happy. You can save them or put them ablaze in the fireplace — whatever inspires you.

RELFECTING ON 2015

Make a list, as long as you want, of what you were most grateful for in 2015.
What were your 3 most favorite moments or accomplishments?
What were some of your biggest challenges?
What were the most impactful lessons learned (take these with you)?
What can you absolutely leave behind (don’t need it, leave them)?
Do you have a rant for 2015? Write it all out…get it out of your system…go ahead.

This will essentially “cleanse” your 2015 energy to start 2016 anew.

And the rest of em…

10 Appreciating simple things
9 Phew, I found my grounding
8 Time and space for breathing
I might be over-spending
6 E-gads I’m overeating
5 Oops, too many cocktails!
4 Wisdom for right choices

3 Staying in the present
2 A path for evolving
AND
1 Permission for my authenticity

Appreciating Simple Things

On the 10th day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me

APPRECIATING SIMPLE THINGS.

 

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Oh boy! It’s been busy, hey? Travel, family, friends, food, drinks, gifts — there are so many things happening at once that we blink and Christmas is over. By now we might be calming down from the flurry of all we had been getting ready for for weeks.

When it’s all over there is pause, quiet. After our recent busy-ness, we might find ourselves gravitating to a space of finally appreciating the small things. We might spend an entire day lounging around to enjoy our new gifts or watching mindless movies. Or, maybe we reflect on an impromptu conversation that turned out awesome, a new discovery about a loved one to help deepen our connection, or maybe simple foods as a contrast to abundant rich food over the past couple days.

Personally, I am enjoying these simple things: sinking in to my new feng shui book, having nothing I “must” to do, no time constraints, and looking forward to watching a Packer game today with my dear friend.

Your turn! What simple things are you enjoying now that Christmas is over?

Sing it back down….

9 Phew, I found my grounding
8 Time and space for breathing
I might be over-spending
6 E-gads I’m overeating
5 Oops, too many cocktails!
4 Wisdom for right choices

3 Staying in the present
2 A path for evolving
AND
1 Permission for my authenticity

Time and Space for Breathing

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On the 8th day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me…

TIME AND SPACE FOR BREATHING

In the midst of holiday busy-ness, party-ness, giving-ness, cooking-ness, mailing-ness, spending-ness, decorating-ness, traffic-ness, etc., many of us feel overwhelmed and exhausted before the holiday celebrations even get here!

One of the fastest ways to calm, ground, and nourish ourselves is by (wait for it…) breathing. Yep, that’s it. Our two lovely little nostrils are the fastest passageways to the mind, so breathing slowly tells our mind, “It’s all good. We got this.” And the mind relays that message to the rest of the body so we can fully relax. Let’s make some time to breathe today.

Today, please find 5-10 minutes (use a timer if you want) to sit down in a chair, feet flat on the floor, back straight, eyes closed, palms facing upward on your lap. Just breathe slowly through the nose (mouth closed) until the timer goes off.

Let me know how you feel afterwards :) xo!

And let’s take it back down…

I might be over-spending
6 E-gads I’m overeating
5 Oops, too many cocktails!
4 Wisdom for right choices

3 Staying in the present
2 A path for evolving
1 Permission for my authenticity

I Might Be Overspending

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On the 7th day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me…

I MIGHT BE OVERSPENDING.

Here’s the truth. Nobody wants you to go broke buying presents — they just don’t. More than anything they want time with you. Consider presents that offer an experience instead of a physical object. An experience could be something focus on one or more of the five senses: hear, see, touch, taste, smell. For example, treat your sister to a yoga class together (touch/hear) and enjoy warm tea (taste) afterwards. Or, do at-home mani’s (touch) while watching Love Actually (see) with yummy snacks (taste). Or, take the dude in your life on a hike (see) or out for pizza (taste) at his favorite place. Possibilities are endless — they are kind of like little dates with the people you love most! And who doesn’t like a date?

That said, sometimes handing them a heartfelt gift to open is so much fun! If you would rather get gifts, set a “below-your-means” (or you can easily overspend. keep it low.) budget, divide the monetary love, and stop when you reach budget. You will feel awesome about how thoughtful/creative you can be with a small budget.

My favorite story about saving money at Christmas was when I had just moved to San Francisco in 2003. There was no way I could afford presents for everyone. So, I bought 1 case (12 bottles) of 2 Buck Chuck ($2 per bottle) wine, which cost $24. Then, I bought several cookie cutters in the shape of a boat, a bridge, a tower, a trolley, a bus, victorian house, seal, a fairy (oh yes I did!), etc., — all little pieces out of a scene from San Francisco.

I made an extra-sturdy, wrap-around duct tape handle and brought the case of wine on plane as my free carry on. When I got to Wisconsin, I made the cookies. Each person got a mix of fancily decorated San Francisco sugar cookies and a bottle of 2 Buck. My family had never heard of 2 Buck and thought $2 for a bottle of wine was pretty funny. They loved their gifts and the cookies turned out to be a conversation piece as I walked through what each of them meant to me. *everyone cheers* The end.

My advice is to keep it simple! Straight from the heart. We really don’t need more “stuff” and you don’t need to go broke. Release expectations and just give a little something that says, “Hey! I love you!” xo!

And let’s take it back down…

6 E-gads I’m overeating
5 Oops, too many cocktails!
4 Wisdom for right choices

3 Staying in the present
2 A path for evolving
1 Permission for my authenticity

E-gads I’m Overeating!

6_Overeat

On the 6th day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me,

E-GADS I’M OVEREATING!

…Eeep despite our awesome knowledge and best intentions about mindfully eat healthy for our dosha, SOMEtimes during the holidays, we just over eat. Or, we just eat a lot of sweets. Or, maybe a lot of cheese. Or maybe the olive and pickle platter (salt) is our downfall. Each person will have some kind of tantalizing vice they can’t wait to get their mits on during holiday.

Um, I’m not going to take that away from you, nor am I going to make you feel bad about it.

That goes for you too. If you overate or ate the “wrong” things, please do not judge or scold yourself. You were probably having fun. You were probably momentarily swept away by celebrating love, generosity, laughter, spirit and joy — which is not a bad thing! Heck, even if you snuck some extra chocolates at the “snack area” (by the printer?) at work, I only hope that you SAVOR-ed every single one of them as they melted in your mouth. And I hope you said to yourself, “DANG that was good.” Because THAT is mindful eating.

I am not going to list “10 Ayurvedic Tips to Losing Holiday Pounds” Nope. That’s not how we roll here. What if, you just sit and notice how you feel instead of super-fast trying to fix it? That is, being in our body and experiencing it. What if we told ourselves, “Well, these are not the results I wanted obviously, but man that was fun. And! I know myself and the tools I have to get back to balance. On we go…” Our knee jerk reaction often is, “Gah! Get these pounds off and fast! Like, in 2 days!” But that’s such a rough message to send ourselves and makes us just feel…BAD. No sense in that. Be kinder. If we feel extra heaviness, of course we want to get back to feeling lighter, but let us do so in loving kindness to ourselves.

Here are MonicaB’s gentle loving tips about overeating during holiday:
• I hope you payed enough attention to savor it all
• No judging
• You can eat light or fast until you are hungry again
• You can move your body a little extra
• If you indulge one day, have much less the next day (keeps the balance!)
• If you indulge for an entire week, put a special focus on mindful eating and moving your body for the next week or two

And a Monica B full on confession: I plan on eating those green Cornflake wreaths made with marshmallows and decorated with red hots. Like so…

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They might be the most Un-Ayurvedic thing I could put in my body. Green food coloring, people! My mom makes them with love. I look forward to them. I eat them once a year and I love the sh*t out of every bite. I’ll stay balanced because 90% of what I eat is high quality and balancing for my dosha, so these sugary little do-dads won’t have a long term effect. But I will freak out (every time) when my poop is green.

 

And sing it back down…

5 Oops, too many cocktails!
4 Wisdom for right choices
3 Staying in the present
2 A path for evolving
1 Permission for my authenticity

Wisdom for Right Choices

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On the 4th day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me,

4) WISDOM FOR RIGHT CHOICES
3) Staying in the present
2) A path for evolving
and
1) Permission for my authenticity

As some of you know from readying my book, In Your Elements (Ooooo…TODAY 12/13 is the LAST DAY FOR 10% off! use code MC8RC2WV), one of the most powerful tools we have as an intelligent being is full ownership over our own choices. Our choices our so powerful, in fact, that making the wrong choices is actually one, out of only three, causes for disease.

The excerpt below is from my book on how lucky we have to have our wisdom and why we should listen to it.

From In Your Elements: “There is a wise, little part of our mind called buddhi (boo-DEE). Buddhi is our inner wisdom, kind of like the “good angel” sitting on our shoulder whispering the right things to do in your ear. Our buddhi always helps us adhere to choices that would be best for us, whether big or small. When we listen to our buddhi we feel accomplished, are highly productive and are more likely to make the right choices by following through with right action.

If we do not listen to our budhhi, we will not make the right choices, which is the root cause of all kinds of problems. There’s a waterfall effect for bad- choice-making as one thing leads to another. Let’s walk through two examples together 1) when we do not listen to our buddi and 2) when we do.

You did not listen to your buddhi
Let me be dramatic for a sec. After a wonderfully tantalizing meal, you are full, but the food was so good you want a second helping. Buddhi says, “One helping is enough or you will feel overfull.” You know you don’t need a second helping, but it was just so tasty! Against buddhi’s advice, you have more food anyway. That second serving pushed you into a food coma and now you are too lethargic to take your 30-minute evening walk. Instead, you veg in front of the TV watching House Hunters. You feel a bit disappointed in yourself and are irritated by small closets being a deal breaker, so you watch more TV (Shark Tank, anyone?) and you still feel very full. Since the TV is an addicting little bugger, you might stay up past your 10 p.m. Ayurvedic bedtime. As the night goes on, you get snacky. Buddhi says, “Don’t do it! Just go to bed!” But you reach for the chocolates anyway because your sweet tooth is calling for it. Besides, you already screwed up the night so who cares. You get a sugar surge, so you stay up even later and have restless sleep because of the caffeine in the chocolates. You have a hard time waking up the next morning because your belly is still full from the night before. And then you wake up feeling like physical junk from too much food, guilt from watching too much TV and staying up too late. And all because you made the wrong choices ­­­­­— this was nobody else’s fault.

You listened to your buddhi
Now let’s say, you listened to your buddhi and only had one delicious helping at dinner. You felt physically nourished and had enough energy to clean up the kitchen and reward yourself by enjoying a leisurely evening walk outside at sunset. The walk refreshed you because you were out in nature able to enjoy some down time after a long day. Perhaps you even experienced something interesting on your walk, which may have sparked a nice conversation with a loved one when you got home. When there is downtime, our mind relaxes and we have pause. When we have pause, new ideas have a window to enter. Maybe you still watch House Hunters but limit to one episode because you know you can get sucked into TV for hours. After one episode, you have had your fill of small closets being a deal breaker and turn to a favorite book, knitting project, phone call to a friend or journal before bed.

Notice the difference of this scenario vs. the first one!?
Like night and day! Each of your awesome choices influenced the next awesome choice. Once we start choosing and doing the right things, we will feel increasingly fabulous and we will want to do it more and more! However, the same happens if you make the wrong choices. It can easily end up in a domino effect of bad choices and then we feel like junk. We will not be perfect in our decision-making but at any time we derail, we can stop and make a better choice.”

Staying Present

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On the 3rd day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me,

STAYING IN THE PRESENT,
A path for evoloving,
and
Permission for my authenticity

The best way to slow down time is staying present in whatever we are doing at the time (Anyone ever play Scrabble for 3 hours? Time never ends. And with Scrabble, at least for me, not in a good way. I will never play that game again. zzzz. I digress…). Conversely, the fastest way to speed up time is to spend a ton of time multi-tasking, online or on smart phones. *zip!* Time gone. Our spirit loves it when we fully experience the present and take the time to *INHALE* and absorb our surroundings. *exhale*

One of my favorite pieces of advice to couples on their wedding day is to take several moments to pause, be completely present, and take it all in. Taking a breath to look around at their friends and family having fun in their honor is an experience they will never forget. But if they move too quickly, they will miss it. Taking conscious pauses sloooooows time doooooown so we can fully immerse ourselves and remember the moment.

Holidays are similar. Some of us are really good at slowing down to decorate, spend time picking out the perfect gifts, and carefully craft recipes for the dinner menu. Others of us race until we are so tired that we fall on our face in bed with our contacts in and shoes on. Too much speed, noise and agitation overtime can leave our spirit starving (and our body-minds exhausted). The spirit likes to savor life, sometimes through experience and sometimes simply as observer.

So, keep it simple. During meals (or appetizers!) take time to chew well, letting the yummy food and drinks dance on your tastebuds. Look into the eyes of the person you are talking to and instead of jumping to what you want to say next, listen and respond. Take a minute to enjoy the fire in the fireplace (good therapy for the eyes too). Slow down on streets with holiday lights and enjoy the sparkles.

Slowing down to experience simple joys is what being in the spirit and of the spirit, is all about. xo!

Permission for my Authenticity

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In the SPIRIT of the holidays, welcome to day 1 of the 12 days of Ayurveda.

On the 1st day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me…
PERMISSION FOR MY AUTHENTICITY

Ayurveda is the only healing method that recognizes and honors us as completely unique individuals.

Now, there are many guidelines in Ayurveda including an Ayurvedic daily routine, eating for our dosha and proper food combinations. There are massage and therapy techniques that are to be performed in a methodical way. And, of course, there are the cleanses that take expert knowledge to bring customized healing to each person.

So, sure. All those things are true. On the other hand, Ayurveda also arrives in the space where we don’t have to “know” much at all, except ourselves. The biggest healing often comes from paying attention and looking inside because that will give us more information than anyone else. Only you know, “When I eat this food, I get heartburn” or “When I go for 20-minute morning jogs, I feel awesome afterwards!” Or, “When I have coffee every day, I can’t poop.” or “When I eat a lot of vegetables, I feel light and clear-minded.” These experiences that run through our heads are the signposts to our unique health. No book, no class, no method, nothing external will tell us how we feel. It lives in US.

How many times have you gone to a friend for advice and when they give you their words of wisdom your response is, “Yeah, deep down, I know that.” They might not even tell us something new, they just validate what we already feel. When we say, “deep down” that is spirit. It talks to us all the time and delivers information through our mind and body, we just have to relax and listen.

So. You are more powerful than you think. Your spirit is always talking to you, unique you. Listen to it. XO!

The 12 Days of Ayurveda

12_days_ayur

Ayurveda encompasses mind, body and spirit, right? Yep! We probably spend the most of our time trying to nurture, improve, or heal our body as we focus on, “What should I eat?” and “What is the best exercise for me?” Our mind usually comes in second place like, “How can I relieve stress?” or, “I should probably meditate sometimes…” But how often do we focus on truly living through the spirit? Not as often. And spirit is important. Spirit is our pure essence, our infinite being, our light. It is the answer to, “Who am I?” I am spirit (so hum).

So in thinking about the holiday season (since we are totally in the throes now), I noticed a thread of commonality weaving through us. During this time of year more-so than any other, we actually talk about spirit! The word “spirit” is used all the time as we feel “spirited” and “get in the spirit.” We have a “spirit of believing” and the “spirit of giving.” We are even prone to drinking too many “spirits“! With the flip of a switch during the holiday season, our spirit begins to soar through kindness, love, celebration, compassion and generosity as all of these awesome positive emotions become the focus. Whether we are religious or not religious, spirit transcends as we want to join in the spirit with everyone else — because it feels awesome. Our spirit tells us so.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the holidays can bring physical and emotional challenges that affect our spirit too. The holidays can add a laundry list of extra things to do, might include stressful travel schedules, and bring out a rollercoaster of emotions. Gah! And then you shake your fist and say, “Arg, the Holidays!” So, it’s not all roses and we know that. But if we asked our spirits, I think they would love to believe in magic that brings us all closer.

In light (yes, pun!) of Hanukkah starting and Christmas around the corner, I would love to honor our spirits during the holidays this year with a little somethin’ special.

Tomorrow will start The 12 days of Ayurveda. And it goes a little somethin like this, “On the first day of Ayurveda my spirit gave to me…” Whee! So for 12 days there will be a little something special for you to use in your life and, especially during the holidays.

Now, if you want, you can sing to the tune of “The 12 days of Christmas.” It works (and yes, I sang them all out loud. If you are good maybe I’ll do a video). Or, you don’t have to. This is spirit, people! No rules and anything goes as long as it’s full purity of heart. LOVE YOU! I hope you have fun with this! *blowing kisses*

10% off my book, In Your Elements, thru 12/13 (Sunday)! Use the code: MC8RC2WV

 

Scoop yourself out of an emotional rut

Emotional_Rut

Ever feel kinda “off?” Like, maybe your life is quite awesome but without reason you feel dragged down, in the pits, disengaged, or checked-out? My friend Erin recently had this problem and emailed me about it. She asked if I ever felt that way, too…um, schhhhyeah…pretty sure we all have. I gave my friend some insights worth sharing for anyone else out there who needs to be scooped out of their rut.

10 tips to scoop you out of a rut quickly:

  1. Kapalbhati, a yoga breathing exercise, can instantly help move and clear your energy.
  2. Drink a few glasses of water (on an empty stomach). You might just be dehydrated!
  3. Make a large batch of kitchari and have it for lunch and dinner for a couple of days.
  4. Write a gratitude list with at least 25 gratitudeez on it.
  5. Get IN water, like a bath, pool, or hot tub. Water is a natural soother.
  6. Yoga practice, along with those in-and-exhales.
  7. Aromatherapy with your favorite essential oils or candle.
  8. Get into nature. Turn off the computer, go outside.
  9. Smile. A smile actually tells our brain that we are happy. Fake it ‘til you make it.
  10. Do something nice for someone else. A compliment or a smile will make someone else feel good and because we are all connected, you will feel good, too. It’s like the best game of ping-pong ever.

Remember too, that a rut isn’t always bad (as long as it doesn’t last too long). It could be some heavy energy sitting on us. Maybe it’s old energy from the past or negative energy we’ve absorbed from other people? Simply put, we might be hanging on to stuff you don’t need or that isn’t ours. The stillness could actually give introspection on an area in our life that needs to be fixed and, that we might not otherwise notice while when we are noisy and busy.

See? Sometimes we need darkness and slowness. Remember our friends sattva, rajas and tamas? Darkness is tamas and it’s needed sometimes so that we can evolve. Even tulip bulbs need to be tossed in the closet for a while before they can bloom again. Just because we feel a little down or heavy doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate your life. It may be as simple as needing to shed some heavy energy and/or take rest. Where there is surrender, you find strength. 

Behind the Scenes

What’s in front of the stage? Monica Bloom wrote a book! And the world can see it! Yay!

Behind the scenes? In mid-September just as the book was finalizing, my dog Blossom was diagnosed with liver failure at only 6 years old. Four weeks later, she died on Friday October 16th around 1:15 a.m.

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I’m not sharing this story to make you feel sorry for me or my dog. There were lessons and miracles along the journey that are too precious to keep to myself. It is my hope that for anyone else living between two extremes (great joy! heart breaking sadness.) that we begin to honor our raw sadness without feeling guilty for feeling joy in between (or vice versa).

While working on the book’s final touches, staying up way too late, dealing with some pretty big transitions at the day-job and turning 40, we were told Blossom was in end stage liver failure and they were not sure how long she would live. September 18th, one day before my 40th birthday, we cancelled our trip to the mountains and stayed home where I cried and hugged her the entire day and night. When I woke up on my birthday, I saw her eyes — those sweet sparkle eyes. I thanked her for being around today. My heart was full and grateful — she was still here and that was the best birthday gift ever. Lesson 1: Live now. Every day, every moment is a gift.

Ok but, I’m a healer so… I can heal her, right?! Yes! Because life is full of miracles and she was going to be one of them. Trying to manifest the shit out of some serious healing, I tried some ayurvedic herbs, I fed her “magic” sweet potatoes, I wrote in my journal how she would heal, I did energy work on her at night, I begged her to stay strong. She kept declining. She refused to eat. Her poop turned the color of tar. Lesson 2: Surrender. All beings have their path. I cannot fix everything.

I thought it was unfair and “couldn’t be!” because she was only 6. Lesson 3: Not all creatures live to be old.

After another visit to the vet, we had her abdomen drained for the 3rd time (she was about 1/2 full of fluid in body weight while her body was very very skinny from not eating) and I knew it would be the last time. Lesson 4: I gave her permission.

I told her that I would rely on her eyes to tell me everything and when she was ready to go, I would just know. Every morning when she got out of her bed, I locked in on her eyes. I thanked her for being here, “It’s great to see you,” I would say. A day and a half before she died, one of her eyes started to close. Her other eye started to look a bit weak also. Only when I didn’t have her eyes, was I able to fully see how uncomfortable she was in her body. Lesson 5: Be prepared to get what you ask for, but it might be delivered in an unexpected way.

Blossom was trying to sleep standing up because she could not breathe well while lying down. She kept coming to us for pets and sat there with her eyes closed. It was time. We took her to the vet at 12 a.m. on October 16th with our 4-year old (we don’t have family close by). We gave Blossom a big family group hug and we all cried. My husband and daughter waited in the car and I carried Blossom inside. Lesson 6: Little kids can handle tough information if it is delivered delicately in truth and from the heart.

The vet supported our decision. She asked if I wanted to stay with Blossom the whole time and without hesitation I said yes. Lesson 7: The purity of spirit gives strength I didn’t know I had.

We were in a little sanctuary of a room, totally peaceful and in the middle of the night. I held her face to mine and heard her breathing in my ear (so hum so hum so hum). I felt her body relax and it was the most comfortable I had seen her in weeks. I felt her instant gratitude. I felt her last exhale (hummm) on my cheek and felt her last heartbeat. She was grateful for everything and so was I. Lesson 8: One of the things I fear the most (death) became one of the most beautiful and peaceful experiences I’ve ever had.

When we drove away, I saw Blossom in my mind (heart?) running and running, tail wagging like crazy, tongue hanging out, smiling. The message I got was, “I’m happy Mom! I’m having a great time here! Thank you!”

First thing in the morning, my daughter wanted to draw Blossom, so she made this beautiful picture. When I asked her what the yellow was she said, “It’s light, Mama!”

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Another little miracle happened when our other dog, Matty, was lying in his bed. They usually slept right next to each other. And look…two little rainbows.

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Between the tears, worry, anxiety, and sadness, there were bursts of excitement about my book, but it all made me realize that this is all about LIFE. Such a precious thing and also so raw. But you know what? In my meditations now, I see Blossom’s smiling face — she is wearing one of those doggie backpacks — I put books in it. And I say, “GO BLOSSOM GO!” I see her RUNNING FAST like the little bullet she was and she takes my books around the world for me (tearing up now as I write).

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Good girl, Blossom, good girl. We love you.

Shifts in Perspective


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Ya’ll know I have a day job and a very long commute, for the past 3 years. On Tuesday, my train was delayed. Arg! Irritated! It happens a lot! Then found out someone had jumped in front of it (again). My soul sunk and my edge softened.

Shift in perspective. While I felt a sting in my heart, I also took immediate action. I bolted from the train station to catch the bus instead – because I needed to get home. I was literally sprinting across San Francisco (heart burning, legs like noodles, sweat dripping between boobs, shoulder cramping from my purse with laptop) and I made it on time! As I saw the bus pulling out, I waved my arms for the bus to wait, but the bus driver waved a finger at me – the bus was too full. And it left. By now I knew it would take me 2.5-3 hours to get home. Sweaty, out of breath, defeated. F. 2-3 hours…

So many were stranded and heading to the bus and I said to the woman behind me, “Well, it sucks, but someone jumped…so I think there are other people having a much worse night than we are.” And she said, “Yeah, perspective.” With tears in my eyes (out of sadness for them and heart-rocking gratitude for what I have), I ran a list of gratitude for everything in my life and sent a big blessing to all those in pain.

Another shift in perspective. At the same time, a co-worker was complaining on FB about the train and commute. I let her know it was because someone had jumped…to try and help her perspective too. She said I was a better person than she was and that she was not sympathetic to someone who jumps during rush hour and makes her miss time with her kids. Hm. Different perspective and clearly she was pissed. I was no longer upset. I wondered how my shift in perspective actually benefited my mind and body by reducing the stress I felt. And wondered if and for how long her stress levels stayed escalated. Perspective shift: I remain peaceful and therefore more healthy.

So yesterday, the train was delayed AGAIN due to police activity (omg, what is the lesson?!). As my head filled with all the reasons why I hate the commute and all the things it takes away from me, I crammed like a sardine into the train. My gray Target t-shirt showed my sweat rings under my pits and sweat soaking in the front of my shirt. F this. I was so mad. But I was glad I was wearing sneakers.

At the train station transfer, there was a super long line again, my saving grace mantra often is, “20 more minutes, only 20 more minutes..I can do this. It’s a blip on the radar.” When I crammed on the 2nd train, I saw a woman I used to ride with years ago. She is in a wheelchair and doesn’t have any arms or legs. Perspective shift: I am awashed with gratitude, peace and admiration. I’ve always admired her style as she looks so put together all the time wearing beautiful blouses and skirts. She carries a slight smile and her hair is a sassy-red color. Her comment yesterday to someone was, “It’s definitely more crowded than usual.” and then she shrugged and smiled. I smiled. She had a lightness I did not have, but she rubbed off on me. I wear a gray Target t-shirt (to work! And no I don’t work at a gym) while this woman dresses like she cares. Perspective shift: Make the most of what I have and SHOW it.

At that moment, a nice guy offered me a seat. I asked if he was sure and he said he had been sitting all day. I thanked him. Perspective shift: People give gifts just at the right time, I always have a net. Always. I sat down and got tears in my eyes. Tears because I was so tired. Tears because I hate my commute. Tears because if I had my commuting time back, I could do more with Ayurveda — I feel blocked in so many ways. Tears because I was disappointed in my bad attitude while this woman just presses on with grace, successfully. Tears out of admiration for her — she clearly faces many more obstacles each day than I do — yet she rocks it. I wondered if she ever complained. I wondered what the hell I had to complain about. I felt icky and ashamed about my trivial irritations. Yet, I have a right to feel how I’m going to feel. And sometimes two bad commutes in a week puts us over the edge.

I got home and cried while hugging my husband. So many things running through my head and the biggest is: GET YOUR BOOK DONE, MONICA. YOU HAVE A BIG JOB TO DO IN AYURVEDA. THE WORLD NEEDS THIS GIFT. SHOW IT. We are finessing final details now…and yes it’s taking a little longer. But I want it to shine like that woman on the train and not settle for a gray t-shirt. If it takes me a few minutes longer to do it, I will. Love you, Monica B.

Give from the Heart

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A reminder to pull gifts from the heart, not the pocketbook. Give presents because you know the receiver will love it. Don’t buy gifts to spend a certain amount of money on someone to make the exchange “even.” Sometimes we do that, hey? But here’s the thing, buyers’ remorse will hit in January when you get those credit card bills so remember to use your buddhi (wisdom!) when shopping so you don’t feel bad later! Nobody wants you to go broke on gifts, and you can do a lot with a little. One Christmas when I was struggling with money, I bought my family a case of Two-Buck Chuck wine from California and brought it back to WI as my carry-on. For $24 I had presents for all my family, I also included home made San Francisco cookies (a bridge, cable car, city-scape, victorian house, etc.,) that I decorated and gave with the wine. Combined, I had fun cookies, a bottle of wine, and cute wrappings for 12 people. My family LOVED it.  Give experiences, give homemade, give small (don’t give someone else clutter), give from local shops/artists, give something you can do with your receiver – remember, they love YOU.

A Chance of Flurries

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Who’s feeling a bit flurried during the holidays, raise your hands! Wow, too many to count! Let’s talk about why you feel the way you do. The season is vata, but you already knew that. On top of it we are in the thick of the holidays AND it’s dark and cold. The dark makes it hard for us to wake up and we get tired earlier at night too. Then there’s all this extra stuff to do like parties, shopping, time with family/friends, and cooking. So! There’s 4x more stuff going on than normal and we have about 1/2 the energy. Awesome. It’s also cold outside in many places. So! There’s a lot to do in a short amount of time, with less energy, shorter days, and we are house-bound due to the weather. Frick. Not only that but the dark, the cold, and the busy-ness leaves little gusto or time to exercise. No outlet for stress. Bummer! Oh and then there’s all this extra food/candy at work, parties, and cocktails in a 4-week time span too, and since we don’t have time to exercise, it’s nearly impossible to escape without holiday poundage! With all these things adding up, no wonder we are stressballs a flurry during the holidays! Wah.

Don’t cry. I’m not telling you these things to bum you out. No way. My intent is to SHOW you exactly what’s going on during this time of year. You are not crazy or lazy, so that’s the good news. Hurrah! These natural forces (dark, cold, shorter days) flow against our desired rapid pace of Christmas completion. During the flurry, I have some quick Ayurvedic tips to keep the holidays happy and I will trickle them in over the next couple weeks.

Ready? Here’s the first one:
Keep your sleep. The stuff will get done (and if it doesn’t, it wasn’t that important). You need sleep to keep your immunity strong, your emotions in tact, your mind sharp, and your skin looking perky as possible. If you keep your “bed by 10” Ayurvedic rule, you will have more energy and gusto the next day to get everything done. Trust me! You need sleep or you’ll get sick!