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Archive for May, 2012

I have always loved the taste and smell of vanilla. When I was much younger, I would wear vanilla lotion and perfume that I bought from a local drugstore. As time has passed, I find myself buying vanilla-scented soy candles and putting drops of vanilla into dishes such as oatmeal. You can find even more uses for vanilla on Yogamint, along with links to a book about vanilla’s usages as well as a resource for buying vanilla beans.

I personally love vanilla tea. The Honeybush Vanilla Herbal Tea from Teavana is one of my new favorites. It has a perfectly light, sweet flavor and is delicate enough to enjoy warm in the summertime.

 

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As the summer approaches I am beginning to compile a list of books I’ll finally have time to read.

1. (I actually just ordered this for myself today, as well as a copy for a friend’s birthday)

2.

3. 

The list will surely continue to grow over the next few weeks. Suggestions are greatly appreciated!

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Recently I was watching Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday and she was interviewing Thich Nhat Hanh. It was a beautiful interview in its entirety, but one part of it has stuck with me. She asked him how often he meditated. In the moment before he answered I expected him to answer with something like “Every day for a few hours.” Instead he replied that he lived life as a meditation, waking and going about his day in a meditative state. This spoke to me. Often I feel peaceful and happy while meditating, but the feeling does not last throughout my day. If I make a conscious choice to stay in a meditative state, relaxed, open, and peaceful, without judgment, each day would have more possibilities and beauty.

Since hearing that interview, I have tried not to let my morning meditations end. Even though I may leave my mat and make breakfast, go to work, and continue my day, my practice is now becoming much deeper. Meditation is not something reserved for certain parts of the day anymore, but a continual state of being.

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I’ve been given quite a gift recently. Of course, it did not appear that way at first. At first it appeared that the engine in my fiance’s 10 year old car had given out, and we needed to make a decision whether to replace the engine in a car that was already eating money, or buy a new car altogether. My heart pounded when I heard this news and million thoughts ran through my mind: how could we possibly afford a car payment, should we lease or buy, why did this have to happen now, so close to our wedding? However, I quickly decided to turn this into an opportunity to learn a new lesson, rather than feel victimized by this seemingly negative event. Was this easy? No! I really wanted to wallow, complain, and worry. I decided, though, that what I actually wanted more was to take this experience and see it as a gift from the universe.

We ultimately decided to lease a new car with the intent of buying it in a few years, once the lease is up. What I got out of this was much more than a new car, though. Here are the gifts I’ve received over the last two days:

1. The opportunity to reevaluate my relationship with money. I realized that I have inherited a fear of money from my parents, who are very frugal. They have passed their own fear onto me. This is the time for me to no longer tiptoe around money. Of course I want to make good financial decisions. I have a budget, I am not in debt, and I save over 25% of my paycheck. However, I am working on removing fearful energy from my thoughts about money, and realizing that my parents and I are different people, who approach spending very differently.

2. The opportunity to put into practice tools I’ve been cultivating over time. Meditation, mindfulness, mantras, and journaling have truly helped me through what could have been an extremely stressful experience.

In the future I hope to be able to welcome challenges with even less hesitation. Ironically, the evening before the car issues, I repeated the mantra “I accept change” continuously during my walk, visualizing myself with open arms welcoming change in. The next day, change! I realized that even while repeating the mantra I still only meant change that I like, not just change in general. Perhaps the greatest gift is the opportunity to open my heart to change, allowing me to be soft and flexible, rather than keeping it closed and stagnant. After this experience I discover yet again that I truly am prosperous.

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“We should write because humans are spiritual beings and writing is a powerful form of prayer and meditation, connecting us both to our own insights and to a higher and deeper level of inner guidance as well…Higher forces speak to us through writing. Call them inspiration, the Muses, Angels, God, Hunches, Intuition, Guidance, or simply a good story-whatever you call them, they connect us to something larger than ourselves that allows us to live with greater vigor and optimism” (Julia Cameron).

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Recently I’ve been thinking more about the role pain plays in our lives. We learn from a young age not to touch the hot stove, or to say anything that angers Mom or Dad. Pain teaches us fear, and we carry this fear through our lives. Later in life, the hot stove may turn into any number of triggers, and we silence ourselves in order to please others. I have spent much of my life being afraid of discomfort of any kind.

In my daily meditation I have begun to say to myself “I accept my pain.” I accept the pain I have felt from different people and events in my life. I accept that I have pain and can sit with it while it courses through my body. Mostly, I accept that I am having a full human experience, and that this entails pain in order to grow. In venturing into writing creatively after over 10 years of shunning it from my life, I have touched upon a most open and painful wound. Thinking of expressing myself and not feeling accepted by my peers causes an ache in my heart. Writing a story has brought all of this pain to the surface and I have no idea what to do with it. It seems, though, as if I have two choices. One choice would be to lash out violently against the world and feel victimized. My other choice is to accept my pain, understand what it is trying to teach me, and then perhaps use it to spur me forward in my creative project.

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