Category Archives: Emotions

Pitta-Kapha, Post Baby

question_masthead

Hi Monica!
I have two doshas, pitta & kapha. Lately I have been feeling extremely unmotivated and apathetic. I’m having trouble getting anything done or even feeling like doing anything. How do I achieve more balance? I had a baby 10 months ago and often wonder how pregnancy affects your doshas. Thank you!

Awww…I’m sorry to hear that you are not feeling up to par! Are you getting enough sleep 8+ hours a night (Is that a crazy question since you have a 10 month old?)? And are you drinking enough water (lots!!)? Pregnancy does all kinds of things, but in general it’s highly vata aggravating (probably why you are not feeling like yourself) because of all the downward/outward motion that goes into childbirth, the space that is left over, and the movement of all the organs back to their original locations. Follow a vata-balancing diet and lifestyle, get as much sleep as you can, and drink a ton of water. Make sure to get in some daily exercise, even if it’s 20 minutes of powerwalking babe in the stroller. And take 10 minutes to BREATHE, in and out slowly from your belly. :) Hope you start to feel better soon! xo!

The Ayurvedic Donut.

donut

An Ayurvedic donut? About 5 years ago when we were moving from San Francisco to LA, my friend got me a card — on the outside was a big glazed donut* with lots of colored sprinkles. The inside read, “Keep your eye on the donut, not the hole.” When we were moving back to SF, I found the card in a pile of “special stuff.” Over the past months, with constant busy-ness, scheduling challenges, a new role at my job, and other challenges that life brings, that lil’ donut saying keeps running through my head.

Isn’t it true? That lil’ donut gives such a great reminder to stay focused on all that is good and yummy about life, because when we do that, the hole doesn’t matter. In fact, we don’t even notice a hole! Practice that enough and the hole will shrink. In my job, I teach my team to focus on strengths of the self and others. We choose to pull out the positive in seemingly impossible orders so that we can fill them. We work on getting to yes rather than giving an immediate no. “What can we do?” My point is, don’t worry about the garbage that drives you nuts or what’s missing in your life. Focus on the donut and life will be much sweeter :) xo.

*Donuts are not Ayurvedic. Well, if you made them with mung dahl and rice they might be. ;P

Gentle, Pitta.

question_masthead

Amazing site, really! We have been reading and studying on Doshas for a while now. I am a pita and my wife a kapha. This is a struggle at times and seems to more so since the winter solstice. My energy levels seem to be a bit higher lately and I feel she kind of resents this. I don’t want any more chaos around and the different levels of energy seem to disrupt the peace in the home. ANY ADVICE?

Thank you for reading and I’m so glad you and your wife are learning all about Ayurveda together :) That said, great observations! Also note that since it’s nearing spring, her kapha levels will be higher and your pitta will continue to feel calm, smart, and invigorated by the cool weather. Usually, kaphas are inspired and smiley at the energy that surrounds them from pittas and vatas. So first question, do you know for sure she resents your energy or are you just presuming by the way she reacts? Can you ask her? Pittas love to ask questions to understand facts for themselves. However, they sometimes lack asking “touchey-feeley” or emotional questions. I encourage you as a pitta, to gently ask. Don’t push her (if she’s feeling stuck, you can’t push her – cause she’s kapha – and static), but try instead to touch her heart :) You will find your answers there.

At the same time, maybe try inviting her to do inspiring things with you. Again, don’t push, just invite! Whether your invigorating pitta energy includes activities or new ideas or new strategies, keep it light, fun and inspiring. What you want to avoid is giving her a “challenge” or encouraging her to “compete.” It’s not in her nature and will likely turn her off. Gentle touch, gentle approach (not a sharp approach), speak from your heart not your head! And! Perhaps embrace some of her slowness too! Rest is necessary to grow and get stronger (which pittas love, yes?). I hope this helps! Let me know how it goes and thank you for your question!

Two Hearts

When giving hugs, hug people over their left shoulder instead of their right. Then you will be heart to heart!! It feels totally different, better. Try it! Afterall, two hearts are better than one!! (Anyone have Stacey Q in their head now?!)

Felt.

I saw on facebook the other day that a friend of mine created a mini felt Christmas tree for her 2-year old daughter, fully enhanced with homemade felt ornaments. I was inspired after reading her post, “Hoping this keeps my daughter’s paws off the family tree. Yep, I found my crafty bone….It was actually a great little project that got the laptop off my lap.” (Ahh…getting the “laptop off my lap.” A phrase that is music to my Ayurvedic eyes!)

My first thought was, “I love it! Er…how would I ever have time to do this?” My brain quickly got pouty and overwhelmed by all the things I would love to do and don’t have time for  like painting, sewing stuffed animals, podcasts, making pretty art for heymonicab, taking more classes, reigniting my violin lessons, and the list goes on. Truth is, I want to make sure I am a focused parent during my 1.5 hours per day with my daughter. My time is limited! And that makes me sad. I wish I had limitless time…don’t we all?

I felt like a piece of me was neglected, which is not living optimally or Ayurvedically.  I’ve always done some sort of design or creative projects, always! *pout* The good news is, it’s just in my head. I can change it! After much introspetion, I came to the conclusion that being a “focused parent” (as I judge myself) doesn’t mean that I have to sit and stare at her.  Her blooming mind would love to see the fun things I can create with my hands. I’m sure she would like to stick a piece of gluey felt onto another while getting glue on her hands. With a switch of the mind, I moved myself from “pout-space” to “sprout-space” and started my tiny felt tree tonight. Whee!

Life is busy (for all of us!), but it sure feels good to wake a part of our lives that has been sleeping. Maybe some of you feel stifled with the limited time you have. Does your creativity and recreation take a back seat? We know a balanced life includes good work and good fun, but it’s up to you to make the change. Nobody is going to hand you more fun time, you have to take it. Overall, this is a reminder that healing comes from the inside out. We have everything within ourselves to succeed, heal, change course, and evolve. If you are an ace at making time for the things you love, please share with us! We would love to know how you do it all! And for the rest of us, perhaps all we need is to change our mind and the time will appear :) xo!

 

 

A Mess In Your Head?

I got a super fun phone call from my mom yesterday. She was all excited because, “You were right, Monica. The mess was just in my head!” Why was she excited that there was a mess in her head? Because that’s the only place it existed – it wasn’t reality.

You see, my mom has always been my grandmother’s sidekick and caregiver (and vice versa of course). They are a tight unit, living quite close to each other for as long as I’ve been alive and well before that. The problem is, my sweet 86 year-old grandma lives by herself and doesn’t have a great memory anymore. In fact, her short term memory is really bad. She fell once too and couldn’t remember how. So when I was talking to my mom about what to do about taking care of my grandma, we went over lots of options including; assisted living (crazy expensive), granny daycare (that’s what I call it, not sure if it exists), a senior’s companion come visit her, living with my mom, living with my auntie, etc., At one point my mom said, “OH the whole thing is just a MESS!!” I paused and said to her, “It’s not really a mess, it’s just a mess in your head.” And from over 2000 miles away, I felt my mom’s shoulders drop. Her tone softened, “That’s true,” she said. I kept on, “Watch it all play out and you will become clear. Play with all the options because you are seeing a very black and white picture. There is plenty of gray space and the pieces will fall together.” She liked that.

(fast forward to the next day)

My mom calls me yesterday, all excited. My auntie came into town to spend the weekend with my grandma and from her point of view, grandma is just fine where she lives! Grandma gets herself ready, knows where everything is, finds something to eat when she’s hungry, makes coffee, and even has a neighbor that calls to remind her to watch mass on tv (ha!). Her kind neighbor even calls her again when it’s over to see what she thought of the sermon! Pretty smart. So, in a nutshell, grandma just needs more activities with other vibrant adults her age. Three cheers for granny daycare (if it exists)!!!

I tell you this story because how many times have you tried to race to a conclusion in a situation that wasn’t ready to be concluded yet? Ah-HAH. Look at all the hands! You’re not alone! We do this all the time and often make decisions before we have all the real information. How cool is it to know that the mess is only in your head? That’s it. It’s just there. It’s not reality and it’s not going to ruin your life. And even when the real information might seem like a mess, wait a day or two or maybe a couple weeks. With no effort on your part, you will open up to ideas you’d never thought of to solve your problem.

So congratulations on the mess in your head! Take a breath. Do some nadi shodhanam, so hum, or simple deep breaths to calm you down immediately. And then sit back and fill yourself with faith, knowing that your problem may just dissolve itself.

 

Positive Takes Practice

Staying positive isn’t always natural, it takes practice! Make a conscious effort to find the silver lining out of what you might normally see as a bummer. When you ask, “What could possibly be good about this?!” you will find the good. Over and over we practice, and soon our internal world becomes much sunnier no matter what is happening around us :)

Don’t Need Anything

Not sure if it’s motherhood that’s making me extra soft and smooshy, but lately I’ve been overwhelmed with gratitude. I was rocking my baby before her bed time and I stepped out on the balcony to give us some fresh air. I took a big inhale as I paid special attention to the trees and the sky. I saw tiny airplanes and some faint stars trying to shine before it was dark, while little clouds were taking their time just hanging out. I automatically started to hum a little tune that I had forgotten existed. Waaaay back in the 90s I was a big fan of Toad the Wet Sprocket. To me, their lyrics and tunes were raw, touching, funny, smart and poetic (and also enough to depress the dickens out of me! Ah, grunge.) The lead singer of Toad was Glen Phillips and he’s since started a solo career with songs equipped with more optimism and beauty than those grungy days.

The song I started humming to my daughter is called Don’t Need Anything by Glen Phillips. It’s simple. If you’re feeling a little blue, overwhelmed, anxious, like you’re not doing enough, I encourage you to take a listen to the song and enjoy the words. They touch the heart. The lyrics are sattvic which promotes harmony in mind and body and promotes an open heart. For the past few nights, I’ve been singing this little tune to her before she sleeps to teach her about gratitude and remind her that we are lucky lucky people. Every time as she closes her eyes in my arms, I get a little teary. There are too many blessings to count.

This feeling of overwhelming gratitude pervades our entire being into our tiniest cells, and it begins to change our structure. And ayurvedically speaking, good music, good sound, and good lyrics is therapy. I hope to give you a little positive cell structure change :) Enjoy the gratitude and positivity, my friends. Listen: Don’t Need Anything by Glen Phillips.

 

Need a Lift

I am a Kapha/Vata, I have been experiencing depression for a long time, I have read a book about Depression and Ayurveda, this books explains that my Depression is a Vata (a lot of anxiety) Type depression. I also have a fair bit of weight to lose, I’m not sure what to do, should I follow diet for Kapha or Vata, I’m soooo confused!  – Rebecca from Australia

This is a great question Rebecca and thanks for bringing it up. What to do when you have two doshas that are out of balance? How do we know which one to balance first? Well, remember that it all goes hand in hand. So if we balance vata depression, chances are we’ll feel better and will want to get moving to relieve some of the kapha. And, if we relieve the kapha heaviness, we will feel better and the depression will start to lift. Does that make sense? They go together, so if you treat one, you will be affecting the other as well. So since it encompasses more than just diet, I’ll expand on your question a little bit.

Let’s get into specifics. If you have vata type depression you will want to work on several things specifically for vata.

Some things to help relieve vata depression are:
• Incorporate a consistent routine/schedule. Anxiety tends to happen when we have no plan. Once we have a plan, it provides a sense of security and reliability so that our brains don’t have to reinvent the plan each day.
• Breathe. So hum so hum so hum, a lot!! Daily! Nightly! This is a beautiful reminder that we are all we need! We have everything within us to  feel peaceful and harmonious. It’s a good reminder to let everything on the outside melt away for a bit. And physically the nose is the quickest passage to the mind so when we breathe easy through the nose, the mind feels easy too.
• Eat clean. Keep your diet free from meats (we carry the energy of the animal,  however it was treated), alcohol, refined sugars (big jolt, then crash & burn) like candy, soda, and sugar drinks. These foods carry no prana and are highly processed. Eat foods that arrive close to the source.
• Exercise. Yoga and walking are best. Yoga for sure because it touches on the subtleties of the body and stimulates marma points to open channels and promote flow. Walking will get you outside in nature and will bring in nice prana (and a little sweat!).
• Nature. Get outside and enjoy some nature. Even if you are blue, going outside will give you a nice lift.
• Herbs. Some herbs will help but talk to your Ayurvedic practitioner first :)
• Kindness. The best thing you can do is be kind to yourself. Treat yourself like a child and be extra nurturing and nice. No judging, no “shoulds”, no bad talk about yourself.
• Gratitude. Make a list each morning of what you are grateful for. It could be small things, like having a great hair day. Or it could be big things like having a loving family. Seek out the positives and highlight them so they become more of your focus than the negative things.

• Keep Good Company. Don’t hang around with people who make you feel like crud! Consider releasing bad relationships. You deserve to be surrounded by people who love and support you, and no less!

Obviously the treatment is going to depend on the person and the root cause of the depression, but incorporating some of these will definitely help lift the cloud! That said, even a kapha type person (or pitta for that matter) can follow these guidelines! Definitely kaphas should be exercising every day. Yoga and walking are perfect for kaphas (and pittas!) too.

Ok so let’s talk diet. The common link kaphas and vatas have is they both need warmth and digestive spices. Choosing warm foods like soups, stews, cooked and spicy vegetables, baked apples or pears, will be great for kapha and vata. Keep a regular schedule with meals at set times (3 meals for vata), but if you are not hungry for dinner, then skip it (this balances kapha). Both vatas and kaphas have low agni, so they should have foods with nice spices digestive spices like garlic, ginger, black pepper, cumin, ajwan (caraway), and cinnamon. If you have kapha weight gain, be mindful of oils we suggest for vatas. You will not need as many oils because it could make you feel heavier. If you get your digestion jump started, your agni will grow, therefore lifting kapha and clearing channels for your vata’s positive qualities to shine through :)

Important!!! I highly recommend a kitchari cleanse for 3-5 days for depression. It’s a mono diet of the finest stuff and it’s easy to digest. It clears the body and mind of toxins and will leave both vata AND kapha feeling lighter and more clear. It works pretty fast and in just three days, you should start to feel much better.

Hopefully this helps, Rebecca!! Thank you so much for your question. It’s easy to think that kapha and vata are opposites and in a lot of ways they are. But remember that it all goes hand in hand. Once you place one piece of the puzzle, the rest gets easier and easier :) Namasté.

Gestalt Prayer

 

I bet some time in your life, you’ve met someone who drives you nuts. You’ve probably even met someone you even didn’t like all that much. Kay. Now what happens when this person is part of your life whether you like it or not? What happens if you can’t simply walk away or shoo them out of your life?

Many of my sweet clients have talked to me about someone in their life that rubs them the wrong way, yet they are stuck with them. And, while there may be reasons like karmic lessons (we evolve from these wrong-rubs!), self-evaluation (one finger points at someone else…but three fingers point back), opening of the heart and practicing compassion, sometimes these folks just really piss us off. And despite knowing that there are reasons for everything and praying that we come to like them some day, we just can’t get over it. No matter what it is, please try to learn from it. Look from the heart with compassion. Maybe they have had a hard time in life or haven’t evolved enough to realize they are stuck. So, please find it in your heart to bless them.

And then, you can set them free and release your energy with this little prayer:

gestalt_prayer

 

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Ahhh…this past weekend we went up to San Francisco to see some of our friends and family. What a breath of fresh air (literally and figuratively)!! We moved to Los Angeles almost 3 years ago and prior to living in SF for 5 years, I lived in Milwaukee for the first 27 years of my life. I don’t consider myself as someone who’s moved around a lot, but I definitely have emotional roots in two places (SF and Milwaukee). Then I find myself praying for a private jet so that I can see my peeps in both places any time I’d like :D

Right now, it’s easier than ever to move wherever in the world we want to! And we do! Maybe we go to college far from home or maybe our job transfers us to another city. We might even be inspired to move to a different country. When contemplating leaving, we probably tell ourselves that the internet, text messaging and phone calls will keep us comforted and connected. However, after not too long we realize all of these communication tools don’t make up for having a real human connection. And then the loneliness might set in…

Loneliness is a big problem in America and can cause depression, anxiety, panic, low self worth, improper eating, and lethargy. When it wasn’t so easy to move from place to place, there was a sense of belonging, community and support. There were birthday parties, bbq’s, baby showers, housewarming painting parties, and of course, lots of hugs. When those ties are severed (no matter how fabulous the adventure), we can feel isolated and like we’re wandering around all by ourselves.

Now, I’m not saying don’t take fabulous adventures or make new life changes. Please do!! But also be aware that loneliness is REAL. If you suffer from negative emotions of any kind, take a look inside and ask yourself if it’s loneliness. Don’t think of it as a lame excuse or that you should be tougher than that. If you find that loneliness is one of the roots of your sadness, it’s definitely something to pay attention to and remedy the best you can.

Some tips to help loneliness:
• Seek out a new community. Some examples might be yoga workshop, church choir, community theater, work colleagues, a volunteer group, knitting class, a professional group (like Ladies Who Launch), an art class, or an outdoor fitness class. And there are a bizillion more! *Despite the title of the post, do not visit your local tavern each night for drinks. It’s not Ayurvedic*
• Get a landline. Cell phones have a small but very significant delay and they can drop when you’re in the middle of something important. Landlines help us feel closer to the person on the other end.
• Use saffron. Make saffron rice or make a warm saffron cocktail. Saffron nourishes and stablizes the heart.
• Be open to a relationship. It might be more important than you think. I’m not saying any ole’ crappy relationship, but a good one. Stay open, stay looking, stay smiling and stay positive.
• Plan to see them. Even if it’s months away, having a weekend planned to see your comrades (meet in the middle) will boost your spirits knowing you’ll see them soon.
• Abyhanga (massage). It calms vata and the nerves. The sense of touch is instantly comforting. Use warm sesame (vata), almond or coconut (pitta), or sunflower (kapha) oil. Warm the oil and apply toe to head, all strokes toward the heart, clockwise around the joints. Then shower and pat dry.
• Do So Hum daily. It will shift your energy, open your heart, and rid any negative emotions.

Downtime.

Holy nuggets! My last post was on May 3rd?! Boo. I’ve spent the last week feeling slightly neglectful about the time between posts. But today I realize, it’s a-okay to take a rest (my kapha husband tells me this all the time and I like to run myself ragged).

Lately I’ve felt much slower, more tired and a little emotionally overwhelmed with upcoming motherhood. Not to mention, my lovely day job that used to feel snuggly, comfortable, and productive has been turned on its head. Okay turned on it’s head and then spun in circles, while hitting the corner of a wall sometimes. The whole company re-org’d and essentially I have to learn my job over again (me and everyone else). I thank my lucky stars that I work with awesome coworkers so we can weather this storm together. But the whole thing is really hard all of our minds, bodies and spirits. So there’s that.

And then there was yesterday. Yesterday should have been a nice Saturday but I ended up crabby and crying…a lot. I sat in my bed and cried for most of the day. I also slept. I tried to write emails, but my energy was so low that I didn’t want it soaked into a note to anyone else. Since I’ve felt 99% great these past 30 weeks, I decided to honor my feeling like junk, knowing that maybe the crying was cleansing/releasing. For once I wasn’t running from here to there, I was just sitting still for a long period of time on my lonely island, which was kinda nice. By evening I felt much better and today, I feel like myself (*high kick*). I just wish tomorrow was another Saturday! I’m not going to kick myself though for feeling like poo. No regrets – I just needed time.

So here’s my advice. Sometimes we need downtime! And by downtime, I mean, it’s okay to be down! And tired. Or slow. We cannot always be everything and be everywhere for everybody! Cannot do. Us Americans don’t stop for anything. We push and push and push and push until we physically or emotionally break down. It’s one of the reasons why this country is so sick! We need time to rest and recoup. And I’m not saying that lightly. I’m saying, every day we need to make time for exercise (!!), rest, relaxation, and create some open space.

Rest is not an option or a luxury, it’s a necessity. When there is space, creativity will reappear. Surrendering to a well needed rest allows our bodies and minds to rejuvenate so that we can actually evolve and become stronger! We know this. It’s logical. However we tend not to listen a lot of the time because we are so busy jumping to the next thing. So whether it’s sitting out your volleyball rec league for a couple weeks, declining a party invite, or reduce the amount of yoga classes you teach each week (maybe you should take more of them and teach less for now), take the time you need for you. If we don’t take care of ourselves first, we are no good for anyone else. It’s true. Never forget that all healing comes from the inside out :) I will now take my tired butt to bed. Normally I like to make a pretty graphic but all I can muster is some green type :) Namaste friends and be easy with yourselves.

Quick Complainer

My daughter is vata as am I. She comes home from work and talks 500 mph about the stress in her day. It stresses me out, but I don’t want to tell her that! Help, please! – Shelly

Tuesday night I got the above question during the very end of the HeyMonicaB radio show (episode 14) during our topic of doshas and relationships. I didn’t really get to finish my answer so I promised that I would write it in a post. If you have not listened to episode 14 it yet, I think it’s a pretty important one to pay attention to. It’s all about how we intermingle on this planet together and explains why people act the way they do.

Anywho, let’s get to Shelly’s question. Two traits that aren’t so endearing about lovely vata folks is that they a) talk way more than they listen and b) like to complain a lot, which can leave others feeling drained and stressed. If you are a vata and reading this, I love you for all your quirks, good and bad. But one thing that all vatas can improve on are their listening skills and not jumping to “worst case scenario” mode so quickly. Have you ever felt burnt out during a conversation because you can’t get a word in edgewise? Or have you ever felt like you are the dumping grounds for someone else’s stress, constantly? That’s an example of when a bubbling-over vata person is no longer vivacious, but just kind of overwhelming. This can really wear down other vatas, as in Shelly’s question, because it’s just not in their nature to withhold emotional stamina.

I gave Shelly a few tips.

1. Take out your rose. I learned this at the SoCal Meditation Center in Santa Monica, so I can’t take credit for it, but it’s a great tool. We all have a giant invisible rose that we can hold out in front of us as a buffer. Did you know that?! Yep, you do. So when someone comes at you with a bunch of stressful, negative or intense energy, hold out your rose.  And while you are listening, let the words fall into the rose petals (my rose has glitter on the edges). That way, the energy never makes it into your personal space, but you can still stay present and listen.

2. Set a boundary. Most of the time it’s good to listen to others so that they can get their own garbage out. Afterall, we heal people by listening. At the same time, chronic complaining is more habitual than anything and sometimes just needs to be nipped in the bud. It can just become additional stress for the rest of us. Sometimes we have to let people know that their words stress us out and it’s okay to set boundaries around that. A while back my husband and I got stuck in a rut of complaining about work each night, so we decided to knock it off  and agreed to complain about work only twice out of the week. We essentially had two tokens a piece to get something off our chest over a 7 day period. MAN! What a difference!! We felt refreshed, happy, and most of all stayed present in our space instead of lingering on past, negative doo da. So whether you set a certain number of complaints per week or maybe 10 minutes of complaint time (then done!) it really doesn’t matter. The point is to set something up so we know our limit. And hint hint, the less we complain, the more we will find gratitude and THAT is the fastest way to rid any neggy energy.

3. “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you look at it.” Offer up this piece of advice. It usually gets people thinking. Then you can help them brainstorm all the things they can do to either change their situation OR change how they see it. Point out the positives and if they’ve outgrown the situation, help them evolve.

All in all, this life is still about helping each other and seeing the best in each other. People will piss us off, drive us nuts, and stress us out. But, if we look at them with compassion and a full heart, we will realize that they just need guidance. And maybe we can be the ones to help them! Realize that the complainer is not really in a good spot and do what you can to give them the tools to move past it. I’m not saying that you have to “rescue” them, just give them something positive to focus on. They will find their own path. I promise their energy will change almost instantly and then you both can have peace of mind and heart. xo.

Embrace YOU.

‘Elo! So, understanding this dosha balancing thang can be a little confusing. I get lots of emails and questions that my readers have about their own unique balance. Sometimes I even get vatas saying, “I wish I was a kapha!” Doesn’t everyone? ;) Just kidding. Oh come on now, kaphas have their problems just like every other dosha, but sometimes we do wish we could become something we are not. Maybe we wish we were more organized like pitta. Or maybe we wish we had more creativity like vata. And of course, we all wish for more peace of mind and compassion like a kapha.

Friends I have some news…YOU are always going to be YOU. You cannot become a different dosha if it’s not in your nature. I’ll break it down for you. Quite simply the doshas can be represented by animals :)

The lovely, light, free-spirited, often anxious (and bumping into windows) vata can be represented by A BIRD.


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The competitive, muscular, leader (king!) of the jungle, meat-eating, and sometimes ferocious pitta, can be represented by A LION.

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The slow-moving, gentle, never-forgetful, vegetarian, most peaceful and yet the strongest dosha is kapha, which can be represented by AN ELEPHANT.

Back to my point, none of these animals are wishing they were something else. They all embrace who they are and live by focusing on their strengths and positive qualities rather than their weaknesses. So remember that. While you are discovering who you are, embrace the way you are unique. XOXO.

There’s SO much to do!

This question was based on a comment from A Day In The Life of MonicaB.

your day in the life sounds heavenly. all that time to yourself to juice up and give yourself what you need.
the trick i need you to teach me is this:
 how do i incorporate these learnings and teachings when a day in the life of me is so different than a day in the life of monicab? i have a 6 year old in a full leg cast (and the wheelchair and walker that goes along with it), an 8 year old, a husband who works and travels, an ailing mother, a pregnant best friend, a full time job (and a part time one), etc. i’m sure this isn’t out of the ordinary, i just need guidance.

most of these things are blessings in and of themselves but still, when i get home from work it’s all downloading the day and homework and dinner and clean up and don’t fight and no more candy and bathtime and yes it’s already time for bed and what did you say, babe, i can’t hear you over espn and the girls singing and was that just the phone and whoops, no, i didn’t get the dry cleaning and man i need to call these six people back and check email and pop a load of laundry in and get halloween costumes and where are we going for thanksgiving and which party do we hit first this weekend and who wants a playdate and i love you so much too, goodnight, and then it’s 11:00pm and where does the ayurveda go?!?!?

much love and respect.

Anybody familiar with our friend’s day here? I know I am! I mean I do not have kids and, I can imagine that is a whole other ball of MonicaB wax yet to come. But I’ve had up to 4 jobs at once and have exhausted myself to tears (I’m not even going to go into it). And…one day I just decided to stop. I lied. It did not take a day, it took years. It took therapy, books, yoga, self-discovery and learning what are the most important things in life to do right now. Most likely, Thanksgiving plans can wait for today if it’s not yet Halloween… ;) Btw, the note above is typical of how a busy vata mind works.

My friend, I have suggestions for you to help balance your life. I will be honest, because not only do you like that (I know you!), but you need my honesty. Here we go:

Ask for help. Friend, you have 1, 2, maybe 3 other humans in your household, with 6 arms and 5 legs…so why does all of this fall on your shoulders? Whether it is pitta control, kapha being to shy to ask for help, or vata being so overwhelmed that she can’t stop, something is preventing you from delegating tasks to others. Dig deep to figure out why. Cause really, the 8 year old could throw in the laundry or fill dishwasher or dry dishes. When he’s not traveling, hubby could pick up dry-cleaning or answer the phone or start up baths. Look! That’s 5 things done just like that! And they will probably be happy to help you, but you have to ask them. ASK for help! And if they say no, um, you’re the mom. Teach them to help and make it fun. Maybe the rule is to sing while dusting or dancing while vacuuming. Whatever – you’re creative, make it cool and have them help. They want to be part of the household because you are raising mini-adults afterall ;)

Prioritize with Love. Love yourself enough to end the looooong list of things you have to do, because you are setting yourself up for failure. Then you’ll just end the day feeling defeated and exausted. No bueno treating yourself that way! You wouldn’t give the girls a list of tasks that they can’t possibly finish, right? So be nice and set realistic expectations. Focus on today or the week and then break it down. What is really necessary for today?  You have a long list, but you probably don’t have to do these things on the same day – just pick the most important ones for today and be sure to delegate a couple. Even if you don’t get to Thanksgiving planning tonight, you will be happy that the kids are fed, the dishes are done, the laundry is now in the dryer, the girls are clean, and one is drawing a flower on her sister’s cast ;) That’s GOOD for an evening! Lower the expectation bar, you’re not being graded.

You as a WHOLE. A friend of mine (married with two kids) told me that one of the successes to her marriage and family life is that she takes time for HER. And her husband takes time for HIM. They trade off so that one can go for a run, go meet the guys, go to therapy, or whatever it is that makes the person feel whole. YOU have to feel whole because without a whole you, you don’t have enough to give your family. And then it’s kinda like you’re doing them a disservice as well as yourself.

Voicemail. You mentioned you also had a friend who was pregnant – that’s great! But how much time do you spend on that per day/week? I understand if she needs support – totally. But so do you. And maybe if you let the phone go to voicemail, you could enjoy 5-10 minutes of stillness sitting on the porch, enjoying the leaves. Learn to use voicemail so you can call them back at your convenience. They will be okay – you don’t have to hold them together. And you can even call them back tomorrow!! Btw, that’s totally allowed! My therapist taught me that :)

Boundaries. Block out time. I clean on Saturday or Sunday mornings starting around 11 and I don’t clean much past 12:30. I move fast! After that, I enjoy the day. Whatever is not done is not…but look how much IS done! Yeehaw! I also have a boundary of writing in the morning for 10 minutes. Just 10. That’s it. But it makes my whole day better. I also don’t practice violin for more than 30 minutes (I’m useless after that anyway). Control your time – don’t let it control you. Block it out and you’ll make it happen.

Rewards. Maybe you say at 8:30 you are done with “tasks” for the day when you and the girls can play spa and rub eachother’s feet :D (hah! trying to sneak in Ayurveda…). Or maybe play a game OR sit in a massage circle and draw pictures on each others’ backs. Make it chill and make it fun. This can be a calming reward for helping you out earlier.

(as I’m writing this, I just found my dog in my closet chewing a hole in my favorite jacket. Frickin awesome. At least it still zips.)

Part Time Jobby. Is it necessary for funds or is it more of a hobby? If it’s the latter, treat it as such. Enjoy it and create! I get stressed with my full time job + HeyMonicaB sometimes. But then I’m like, “Dude, all my readers are not sitting around griping because there is no post today…” And I just take a mini break until I’m inspired, and then it becomes fun again. And that’s when the best posts happen! Make time for it maybe once a week. Or one Saturday afternoon a month. Take it slow. Easy breezy. When you make time, more time will appear. Then you will have two fun hours…and so on. Sounds lame but it works.

Sleep. Make sure you get enough. Bed by 10:30 if you can. It’s key to your sanity and balancing vata. If you don’t, your emotions will be all over, you won’t be able to think properly and you will feel constantly fatigued.

Small Bits Make a Big Difference. No matter what you want to accomplish, chip away at it in small doses. If you try to do tackle any project in large doses, it’s going to be a stiffer journey. Because life gets in the way :) Sitting for 5-10 minutes can do wonders for your level of happy (see? It’s late and I can’t write anymore) which is pretty small, but it makes a world of difference.

It’s Life. All these things coming at you will not stop, ever. That’s just how life is. The only thing you can control is you :) You can choose to pause, take a breath, ask for a moment to yourself and take a time out. Or you can choose to become swept up in all of it. Once you start taking time for yourself, others will see it, and they might become more self-sufficient, relying on you less so you have even MORE time to yourself :) All healing starts from the inside out. Heal yourself first and watch the world around you change. But you HAVE to start with you first. Namaste sweet friend. I hope this helped some. xo

When Sh*t Happens

In the article Wish It Away, I mention how we can use our mind as an energy shifter to heal ourselves and others. In response, I received a comment from a lovely gal who wanted to hear the other side of things…like, what do we do when bad stuff just happens? An excerpt from her comment:

I do have a minor quibble with this post–I really wish it had included a ‘but sometimes bad stuff just happens and it’s not our fault’ caveat….Sometimes we can control it, sometimes we can’t. And helping people handle stuff when all good intentions still don’t help the bad stuff go away is really important.

Her comment is very valid and true. Like, what do we do when our parents divorce or a loved one dies? Not only what do we do, but why did it happen in the first place…because it’s not my fault! Correct, it’s not your fault. And in all honesty, the why’s cannot really be answered…at least in the moment it happens. Years down the road we might be able to look backwards what our lives have turned into and it might make more sense. We might even find that it’s a blessing that the sh*t happened.

In short, when sh*t happens, there is nothing we can do except find faith. Find faith that we will be okay. Faith that it happened for SOME reason which will make its way to us later. The truth is that when sh*t happens, we grow, we learn, and we change.

Ayurveda would say that when something traumatic happens, it’s part of our (and their) karmic path for our own evolution and/or for someone else’s. Allow me to share a personal story so that you can see how it unfolds. Maybe it will help you see things like this in your own life.

My grandma died when I was 11, which left a crater-sized hole in my heart. She was my caretaker because my mom (single) was working her hiney off. Grade school, high school, college and most of my 20’s I seemed outwardly happy, but inwardly I was pretty pissed. It would show up in me having a quick fuse, bouts of depression, and worst of all, a heart that had kinda shut down.

All of that sh*t pushed me to move from Milwaukee to San Francisco and there, I finally found me again. At 31, I had the courage to go to therapy, acupuncture,  life coaching, and a nutritionist. One day when I was depressed as hell, I wanted to disappear to go do yoga in India (so weird cause I knew nothing about India). So I googled it and from there I found a retreat that was “Ayurvedic.” Not knowing what that was, I googled “Ayurveda” and once I found a description, I cried and cried and cried. My heart broke open. Everything I had always believed in was right before my eyes…and I never knew it existed. Four days later I was in school for Ayurveda and 3 years later I’m spreading the word in hopes to heal millions.

THAT is one small example of how one trauma (cause I had more! and I’m sure you do too!) can turn a life around. The traumas and the sh*t are all lessons. The key is to keep FAITH and open your heart to what comes next. Of course there is a grieving period…although in my experience I don’t know that grief goes away, but I’ve learned to accept it. And I can smile at it now. And I can thank it. It’s there, but I’ve made friends with it.

A dear friend of mine, her dad passed away and when we were talking about grief, I shared my outlook on it. And she responded, “I get it, so, it’s like boobs. One day you look down and say, ‘Oh okay, I have boobs now’ and that’s it.” And I said, “Yeah…kinda like boobs.”

Sweet friends. Bless you and your traumas. They are not your fault if they happen, but they are part of your path. They are necessary, for whatever reason. You might not get instantaneous clarity and it could even take 20 years. But be patient and have faith. LIVE this life the very best you can, as positively as you can, with your best intentions. You cannot always avoid sh*t, but you can learn from it and even make friends with it if you choose.

Namasté dear friends.

Wish It Away

I have a cool story to share.
Two weeks ago my dear friend and I were chatting on the phone and she told me that six weeks prior, her 31 year-old sister collapsed from a thyroid condition. The docs said the thyroid had gone wack (paraphrasing) and so they removed it. After that they did a scan of some sort (MRI if I remember correctly) and they found a mass over her sister’s heart. A HUGE mass the size of a piece of toast, they said.

As my friend was telling me the story she started crying. I could hear the desperation in her voice and I felt SO sad for her and her sister. They had been worrying about this for six weeks, thinking that her sis would have to have open heart surgery to remove the mass. My friend said, “Monnie, I just want it to GO AWAY! I want that thing gone!” To which I responded, “Then tell it to go away. You can do that. Just tell it to leave.” I counseled her on the power of healing thoughts and said, “If you want that thing gone then, peacefully yet sternly, tell it it’s not welcome here and that it needs to leave.”

We talked loads more and I gave her some tools (below) on how to visualize healing her sister. At the end of our conversation, she had stopped crying. She sounded grounded and confident. She said she felt empowered and lighter and agreed to try the visualization that night.

Now, I kid you not (she reads this blog, maybe she’ll respond), the very next day I got a text message from her. It said, “Monica…my sister was misdiagnosed!!! She is going to be fine!!! No surgery!!!!” I freaked out!!! OMG, Holy Crud! It works THAT fast?!?! No WAY!!

And I think she did it. I think she wished it away. My friend said that after talked that night, she envisioned a jackhammer, hammering away pieces of the mass. And when she took her dogs out in the morning, she saw doves, which she thought was weird because there aren’t doves where she lives.

My friends, this kind of healing is REAL. We have the capacity to heal ourselves in ANY way we choose. Our minds are large and powerful. If we open our hearts and believe in an all-encompassing universe where all energy is connected, we can heal each other. Sending someone a healing thought is immensely powerful, but the trick is to REALLY feel it. With passion, peace, and confidence. One of my favorite Ayurvedic sayings is, “When faith is there, the mind is powerful enough to make the ‘medicine’ work.”

HERE ARE THE TOOLS:
The first step: see it. Visualize the thing, like REALLY picture it. Is it squishy? Sandy? Fluffy? Rocky? What did it look like? In my personal healing, I had “coffee grounds.”
The second step: thank it. During hard times we learn lessons, which cannot go without gratitude and a spiritual hug. As hard as it is, give thanks because these lessons are how we gain our wisdom.
The third step: tell it to leave. Might go something like, “Hey thing, thanks for the lessons. I get it and I have learned XYZ (then list everything you have learned and be sincere). You taught me a lot and while I am grateful, I don’t need you any more. You are no longer welcome here and you need to leave.”
The fourth step: get rid of it.
Clean it out!! Maybe it gets sucked away by a vacuum. Maybe it dissolves. Maybe it melts. All sorts of things can happen and it will differ per person. Just clean it up.

You can do this visualization daily. One important thing to remember, always make sure it is done with peace. Negative emotions like anger or desperation can have opposite effects. So stay peaceful, stern, and confident. No doubts.

Try it out – it can work on anything. If you are anxious, make the anxiety float into the clouds. If you are angry, tame the fire with a slow exhale. I’ve even done this with weird neighbors (I always wish them a better apartment/house/job)…and before you know it, they move! Anything goes! Have fun. It would be fun to TELL US what you do! You don’t have to tell us why or exactly what it is, but I would love to know what you see and how you clean it out.

I just did a little thing: I sent fuzzy pink loving light to all your hearts. I saw a big map with many pink dots. You all lit up like E.T’s finger. Let me know if I made anything cool happened ;) Namasté, sweet friends out there. MMwwaaaah!

Take a Breather

Show of hands, who is stressed? Yep, many of us are. Women especially, tend to tackle a lot at once and then wonder how they are going to get it all done. Instead of invigoration, this can result in negative emotions like stress, anxiety, panic, and a sense of ungroundedness. Sort of defeats the purpose of living the good life and loving the work, right?!

We learn tools to manage our time and finances, but what about our psyche? The mind is what rules our entire being, so shouldn’t we have a tool to help us bring peace and clarity when stressed?

My friends, there is a simple tool to use that we often overlook. It is, breath. Good old fashioned lips-closed, nose-open, breath. Ayurveda says there are two channels in the nose (one in each nostril) which are the quickest pathways to the mind. Just ten deep, slow breaths through the nose will instantly calm you. The negative emotions will vanish and you are able focus on the task at hand.

It works flawlessly because the two channels have alternate energies. The left side is male energy, which is hot and it relates to the sun. The right side is female energy, which is cool and it relates to the moon. Focused breathing equalizes the opposite qualities and when practiced, the entire body balances out physically, emotionally, and mentally. Slow breaths tell the mind we are okay and at peace. When we breathe like a bunny (fast and irregular), our mind thinks there is a crisis, which sends panic signals to the rest of the body. This is how physical imbalances can happen over time and why stress has become the number one killer. No bueno.

So let’s keep the peace and remember to breathe You will stay focused, happy, and most importantly, healthy!!

Taking a Breather
Here are some different pranayama you can try:
• My favorite is So Hum!! You can practice in the morning or at bedtime for 5-10 minutes. You can also keep this in your toolbox of health tips and use as needed i.e., long commute, standing in the coffee line, when you get a stressful email.
Nadi Shodhanam
Kapalbhati

Cooling Pranayama (for pitta types or anger, when you feel like you could breathe fire…do these)

• Sheetkali: Clench teeth and inhale through the teeth. Feel the cool! Exhale through the nose.
• Sheetali (this one is fun!): Roll your tongue and inhale through the tongue. Also very cooling! Exhale through the nose.

Give Yourself Permission to Shine

Sometimes I find myself not really doing all I want to be doing or know that I am capable of doing. Then come in the echoing comments from school teachers, “She doesn’t work to her full potential…” Beh. Do you find the same thing? Ok maybe not the school teacher thing, but maybe you are bursting at the seams with great ideas. Then when you look around, you change your mind and give yourself a million reasons why you can’t possibly go through with it.
Ok. This is fear talking!! And believe it or not, some of us have a fear of success (A good book that addresses this is The Artists Way by Julia Cameron). But I guess we can sit in our safe (yet totally uninspiring) jobs/cities/houses/relationships, where it’s easy OR we can actually make a move. And in that, do something great for the world and for ourselves. It’s not always easy, but sometimes you need a little sparkle of light and love to keep you going. The poem below does that for me. I only know of it because Kimberly Wilson (Isn’t she a doll!? Ah, my favorite little yogini) shared it with us at her book signing. If it resonates, print it and put it next to your uninspiring thing in life.
Our Deepest Fear by Marianne Williamson
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.
We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.