The Lotus Manifesto

Nourish Yourself From the Inside Out

Category: Learnings

Great TED Talk: The Power of Vulnerability

Brené Brown delivering a profound TED Talk on the power of vulnerability.

The Power of Vulnerability: Tell the Story of Who You are with your Whole Heart

Whoa. Looking for ideas and inspiration on Friday afternoon, the clouds parted and this video came to me. If you have 20 spare minutes of looking busy at your desk (or even if you don’t!), watch this. Brene Brown researched the heck out of what gives us purpose and meaning in our lives, and her findings were astounding. Check it out.

Love,
C

A Spoonful of My Own Medicine

Sometimes listening to yourself is the best medicine. (I have to remember that too…)

During one of my private yoga sessions this week, I had a beautiful moment of clarity. We were practicing yoga in the park and I heard myself saying, “Meet yourself wherever you are in this moment.” Of course this instruction was directed to help my client deepen into a pose. I often offer this simple verbal queue to help each person gauge where they are in mind, body, and spirit, to allow their yoga practice to gently coax them into equilibrium. (That’s the whole point of practicing yoga, right? To re-unite and come back to your wholeness?)

But in this moment, I heard these words as if for the first time. And I was saying them to myself. And something in me let go, allowing me to meet myself exactly where I was: body tired from training for a half marathon, mind tired from juggling work and domestic duties, craving a moment of peace and stillness to anoint my jagged nerves.

In the blink of an eye, I was freed from my habitual tendency to push through exhaustion and fatigue, and unfold into that glimpse of relaxation, letting muscles and bones melt into the pose, breath to soften and slow, and remember that letting go of our need to “do” can be more powerful and beneficial than holding on and powering through something only to move on to the next thing. The next pose. The next meeting. The next task…

Why is it so difficult to allow ourselves these moments of calm? Are we products of our society, which tells us to, “go, go, go!” until we are forced to stop via injury or mental breakdown? Sometimes less really is more. When we feel overwhelmed or exhausted, why not ask ourselves what is absolutely necessary to “do” or “be” in any given moment, and let the rest unfold as it may? Of course we still have responsibilities. No shortage of them. But what a gift to give ourselves a hint of breathing room. To surround our duties with a little padding so that we may live with a bit more ease, and in turn experience better mental and physical health.

It is a powerful practice to remind ourselves that this is all we ever have. This moment. This body. Right here and now. And to allow ourselves to be exactly who and how we need to be in this moment. Who knows, you just might get a glimpse of your own divinity, who is always there, glimmering away in those moments of ripe stillness.

May you allow yourself to tap into your being’s inherent ability to bring itself back into perfect balance.

Love,
Celestia

“You get there by realizing that you are already there.”
-Eckert Tolle

Embrace Your Nerdiness, and Embrace Your Dharma

Me at age 5 when I was totally already awesome.

About a quarter of a century of this lifetime, I have struggled with feeling the need for acceptance from others. When I was five I had a very strong sense of self acceptance. Being an only child I was used to getting love and attention from everyone around me, all the time. I was the coolest thing since sliced bread. I could turn on the charm with the best of them, and hold my own in conversations with grownups on any subject. Then I went to kindergarten, and it was all downhill from there.

I quickly realized that I was not the only one who was blessed with good looks, intelligence, and a shining soul. As a matter of fact, everyone else around me did too (whaddaya know, they still do!). But the problem was, I was a nerd of magnitude. And that was not lost on my classmates. They decided to point that out to me at every opportunity. And so, for the following 20 years or so, I made it a point to be as cool as humanly possible…and inadvertently started to shed my innate sense of self. I succumbed to peer pressure. I tried to dumb down my nerdiness and my uniqueness, which resulted in a lot of years of feeling inadequate. And sadly, I was still not satisfied or happy. Probably because I was not authentically being me.

I had alienated my “Big S” Self.

Then by some miraculous stroke of the Divine, through discovering yoga and its many teachings, my dharma (or “life purpose”), was unveiled. I realized that being my authentic Self, nerdiness and all, it was absolutely mandatory. Does this sound at all familiar?

It is your sacred duty to unabashedly be yourself. To share whatever gifts you have with your fellow citizens, human and otherwise. Because if you don’t then they will go to waste. “Only when you figure out what you are uniquely able to do, and carry it out as well as you can, can you truly feel fulfilled in this life,” says Timothy McCall, M.D. (See here for the article from whence this came.)

Don’t allow the opinions of others dilute the essence of your being.
Don’t allow feelings of inadequacy, fear, and self doubt rule your being.
Do listen to your intuition, your inner five-year-old, and allow yourself to be who you know you really are. And if you don’t know who you really are, take a few minutes every day to find stillness—that ultimate place of quietude and subtlety, where the magic alchemy of Self discovery really happens—to start rediscovering who that being is.

Your inherent nature is exactly as it should be. Cultivate it. And let go of others’ expectations of normalcy and greatness. Only then can we truly come into our full potential. Be your best Self. You owe it to your Self, and this world, to shine your brightest.

I leave you with this quote:

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.”
― Martha Graham

If that’s too heady, try this on for size:

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
― Oscar Wilde

Love,
C

Just about 25 years later when I re-membered my inherent awesomeness. (And that everyone else is inherently awesome too…)

P.S. Have a story or a picture of yourself being awesome? Please share.

Ahimsa: The Roots of Compassion

This month I have delved deeply into the yogic concept of ahimsa. The classical definition from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras is “non-violence.” However, one of my beloved teachers, Nischala Joy Devi, coins the definition of ahimsa as “reverence, love, and compassion for all.”

Even since toddlerhood, I can remember having a deep and abiding sense of compassion for all beings…I’ve always been very sensitive to the suffering of others. Weren’t we all at that age? But as we get older, myself included, that sense of compassion for others (and even ourselves) begins to wither.

As we are exposed to a “get ahead no matter what it takes” society, we become increasingly susceptible to losing our inherent sense of compassion, of “one-ness,” for those around us. The needs of the individual surpass the needs of the collective. Our sense of unity within our self, our society, and all other living organisms begins to fade. Is it any wonder that the fabric of our global community has worn thin in so many places? What perhaps we don’t realize is that the suffering of others is our suffering too. That someone else’s sickness is our own. That when we heal ourselves and help others to heal, that that is a grand contribution to the well-being of the collective. Practicing unconditional compassion is a powerful way to contribute to the greater good.

Instead of yammering away about how cruel we can be toward ourselves and others (anyone else guilty of self deprecation? Or trash talking behind someone’s back?), I simply invite you to take one day to live with utter compassion for yourself and all beings around you. Be mindful to be truly kind to yourself, your family, your pets, the clerk at the grocery store. See how that goes. If you think you can stand it, why not extend that compassion to the lady down the hall of your office building who drives you crazy, or your neighbor who has been throwing dog poop on your lawn since you moved in.

I’m reminded of Plato’s famous quote, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” Everyone has their challenges. Everyone has their tough days, their bills to pay, the things that scare them or make them angry. By offering ourselves and those around us a bit of compassion, we can begin to smooth those rough edges…To reweave that fine tapestry of our communities.

Being rude, angry, and negative requires a lot of energy. And whatever type of energy we emanate is reflected back towards us. So next time you feel like flipping off the guy who stole your parking spot, perhaps you can smile and wave instead. You never know what type of internal battle he might be struggling with. You (and he!) might just be surprised at the outcome.

Stay tuned for further postings on ahimsa, and please do share any of your stories or thoughts on the matter. In the mean time, may you find kindness toward yourself and those around you.

Blessings,
C

“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”
-Siddhartha Guatama

Milestones

MilestonesA friend asked me today if I was feeling relieved to have turned in a book manuscript. And to be honest, I’d say no more than usual. This whole year has been brimming with what one might call “milestones.”

What the heck is a “milestone” anyway? A birthday ending in “0,” or getting married, or having a kid? Webster would likely say something like “an important event in one’s life.” But aren’t all events important? Shoot, I’m just happy to wake up in the morning. That to me is a milestone.

Each day I am reminded that true bliss is unmoved by gain or loss (thank you Yogi Tea bag for that tidbit). And I believe this can be applied to major accomplishments as well. Yes, my Dad and I turned in a book manuscript (my first…a project that we’ve been working on for years), but I get just as much pleasure out of cooking a good meal, or taking a long trail run as I do with the bigger “milestones.” Don’t you?

Why do milestones have to be limited to big career changes, or births, or deaths? Can we celebrate the mile “pebbles” as well?

To me, life is too precious not to. Each day how great would it be to learn something new? Or appreciate something more deeply? The smell of an orange; the sound of a giggling child; the taste of fresh cherry pie and melty vanilla ice cream…

Perhaps we’d do well to celebrate the “small” stuff as heartily as we do the “big,” so that our whole life becomes an expression of greatness.

The last few months have been sprinkled with milestones: ran my first half marathon, began a life transforming yoga therapy training…And yet, I feel just as honored to teach a Friday morning yoga class, or to spend some time cuddling with my husband.

They’re all milestones to me, upon which to build a meandering path into the depths of existence. May your milestones be many, and may you walk your path in beauty.

Ever inward,

C

Grilled Beet, Peach, Goat Cheese, Arugula Salad

Beet, Peach, Arugula Salad

Thank you Lindsay from http://eatlocal365.com for the beautiful photo!

Yum. This salad is a nutritional powerhouse. Serve it to anyone who you want to live a long and healthy life. See below for the nutritional values of beets,  peaches, and arugula (we’ll discuss the benefits of various types of dairy in later posts). In the meantime, have fun experimenting with your own variations of this salad. And stop by Dave Banga’s farm stand to procure most of the ingredients. You can also buy local goat cheese from Linnea Farm’s stand. Pick up some wildflowers at her booth to soothe the soul while you’re in the neighborhood!

Ingredients

2 beets, drizzled in olive oil and salt, then folded into a foil packet for the grill

2 fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced (*Or you can half the peaches and grill them w/the beets)

1 bunch arugula, rinsed and dried

2 shallots, chopped

¼ cup pistachio nuts, chopped and toasted

4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

¼ cup walnut or olive oil

2 tbs. balsamic vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Preheat grill to 400 degrees.

Roast beets until tender, about 40 minutes.

Let the beets cool to room temp and peel.

Place the arugula into large mixing bowl.

Add sliced beets and peaches, sprinkle with shallots, pistachios and goat cheese.

In separate bowl, whisk together oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper until emulsified and pour over the salad mixture.

Toss well and serve. Enjoy!

Health Benefits

Beets: A great source of phytonutrients called betalains, which provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support. They are also an excellent source of folate, which is a crucial nutrient especially for those who are (or are looking to get) pregnant. They are also very high in manganese and fiber. These root veggies contain nutrient compounds that help protect against heart disease, birth defects and certain cancers, especially colon cancer.

Peaches: Peaches are high in a number of nutrients such as niacin, thiamine, potassium, and calcium. They are also high in beta carotene, an antioxidant that converts to Vitamin A (which is essential for healthy hearts and eyes). Some say the darker the peach’s color, the richer it is in Vitamin A. The antioxidants may also help in maintaining healthy urinary and digestive functions. Eastern cultures consider peach tea as a powerful kidney cleanser and is used in detoxification.

Arugula: Arugula is a rich source of folate, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and B-complexes (such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6, which are essential for optimum cellular enzymatic and metabolic functions). This is a low-cal lettuce leaf that packs a nutritional wallop, so don’t be afraid to ask for a second helping!