Courage (Part 1)

maya angelou courage   Dr. Maya Angelou says that courage is the most important of all the virtues! To quote her exactly, ‘Courage is the most important of all the virtues, without it, you can practice no other.’ It takes courage to be kind when others are not. It takes courage to be truthful when a lie might suffice. It takes courage to keep moving forward, when you’d rather quit. I’ve learned that courage, or opting for bravery, is feeling the fear and still doing what is necessary to overcome it. And in the very act of bravery you don’t feel brave but just feel what is true and most real.”  You#ixzz2U9K2x7sZhttp://www.oprah.com/own-super-soul-sunday/Full-Episode-Oprah-and-Dr-Maya-Angelou-Part-1-Video

Courage has been one of my favorite words and even a mantra of mine ever since 2004. At the time, I was in an unhealthy relationship living a block from the beach in Rio de Janeiro. Other than my relationship, I loved everything about Brazil and could have stayed there forever. I finally made the decision that it was time for me to leave and return to the U.S. When this realization came to me, the word Courage hit me like a ton of bricks. I needed courage at this moment more than ever!

So, I began to think back on my life when courage was what got me through. I won’t go in to my entire life story, but courage had come into play a lot! Then I remembered from one of my favorite child hood movies, The Wizard of Oz, that the lion, the cowardly lion, was going to visit the wizard to ask for courage! I giggled because I am a Leo and it resonated so much.

This word spoke to me so loudly, that I have even talked about getting the word tattooed on my skin since that day in 2004. I have yet to have actually gotten the tattoo, but I still may. It’s funny. I mentioned to a long time friend a few months ago about my desire to still get this word tattooed somewhere on my body, and they responded by saying something along the lines of, “But we’re past courage. We’re not there anymore.” I thought about this for some time, and I have to say, I disagree. I don’t think that courage is ever something that we “move past” that we at some point in life just don’t need anymore.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with how courage has come into play in your life.

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Sedona Stupa

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Last week a fellow yogi friend and I took a drive up to Sedona, AZ. We are fortunate here in Phoenix, as the drive to the magical red rocks is only a little over an hour away. If you’ve never visited Sedona, I highly recommend it! In fact, the Sedona Yoga Festival will be held in February 2014, which would be a perfect reason to come visit! Don’t you think? http://sedonayogafestival.com/

Last year, my husband and I were married in Sedona and we had the pleasure of visiting the Amitabha Stupa, where we marinated in the healing energy while walking clock-wise around the beautiful structure chanting in gratitude and love.

Being near a stupa is like finding an oasis of peace.  Many visitors to the Amitabha Stupa find themselves deeply moved, even changed, by the experience.  As a result, some would like to create a permanent connection to the stupa for themselves or their loved ones, which you can do by contributing to the Path to Peace.

The Path to Peace comprises beautifully engraved brick pathways close to the Amitabha Stupa. The bricks are inscribed with the names chosen by the contributors. You can dedicate a brick to a loved one or a pet, or you can have your own name or a personal message inscribed. Each brick will become part of the Path to Peace. All you have to do is download the pdf form, fill it out and send it with your contribution.

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As if Sedona isn’t magical enough in all that it is, the Amitabha Stupa in Sedona is a place that is a must visit for all spiritual seekers. The 36 foot Stupa sits majestically among the pinion and juniper pines, surrounded by a landscape of stunning crimson spires, and of course, the famous red rock.

What is a Stupa?  

The stupa is one of the oldest forms of sacred architecture on earth, dating back to the time of the Buddha, 2600 years ago. Stupas are mostly found in the East, where Buddhism first took root and flourished.  They are indeed rare in the West.

A stupa is considered to be the living presence of the Buddha and as such represents the Mind of Enlightenment.  Stupas have been built to avert war, end famine, and promote prosperity and well-being. Their sole purpose is to bring benefit for all living beings, and the mystical accounts of the healing powers of stupas are well documented.

Learn more about the history of stupas.

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Cage-Free Life

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“We are not going to change the whole world, but we can change ourselves and feel free as birds. We can be serene even in the midst of calamities and, by our serenity, make others more tranquil. Serenity is contagious. If we smile at someone, he or she will smile back. And a smile costs nothing. We should plague everyone with joy. If we are to die in a minute, why not die happily, laughing?” (Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras)

Let Go of anything that no longer serves you.

Let go of what no longer serves you

Have you ever had one of those days? One of those weeks? One of those months? Or even one of those years? They happen. It happens to us all. Life ebbs and flows. It comes and goes. Like the waves of the ocean, like clouds floating by on a clear blue sky.

If you find yourself there, the best thing to do is give yourself some Love! Yes self-love. Make yourself a healthy meal, schedule a massage, write in your journal, and lean into all that you are feeling. Remember, you are the creator of your experience of life.

Allow yourself to feel it all. All the messiness, all the chaos, all the ache, the pain, the good with the bad. Feel it, allow it to be there without trying to change or control it; just allow. Don’t analyze the feelings, the emotions, the experience. It’s not important why whatever it is is coming up. Just allow for all things to be.

Finally, the most important step in the entire process. Let it go! Let whatever is coming up to move up and out. Once it is gone, don’t go looking for it. A friend of mine says, “We don’t go digging through our trash after we throw it out.” Haha! I love that and this process is just the same.

Let go of anything that no longer serves you. Let it go!

Sending you blessings and love.

Orange Sky – by Alexi Murdoch ❤  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ak7afgLM5fM

If your dreams don’t scare you, you’re not dreaming big enough! Happy New Moon!

Today is the New Moon, meaning it’s the opposite of the Full Moon. This week is a perfect time to start a new project or begin working toward something you’ve wanted to begin for a long time.

Tips for turning your Dreams into Reality:

1. Write/ type a list of your ideas and/or steps you will take to achieve your dream. I find it useful to create a folder on my computer with ideas, resources, contacts, etc. that serves as a road-map to keep me heading toward my final desired destination. Don’t forget to enjoy the journey and remember that the roads are many, but the destination is one!

2. Create a personal mantra or intention that can help keep you on track. It can be as simple as cultivating gratitude by silently thinking, “Thank you,” or more personalized such as, “I am strong enough to be vulnerable.” This mantra or intention will help you to become more aware of your thoughts.

Awareness is the first step toward overcoming any obstacles, especially when it comes to faulty programming/thinking that may be holding you back. A teacher of mine shared a quote with me, “Don’t believe everything you think.” Believe in yourself and know that the world is missing something without your contributions. You have gifts to offer, so share them! Remember:                                                                                                                      “Your beliefs become your thoughts,                                                                                  Your thoughts become your words,                                                                                   Your words become your actions,                                                                                     Your actions become your habits,                                                                                      Your habits become your values,                                                                                      Your values become your destiny.”                                                                        ― Mahatma Gandhi

3. Be patient and kind to yourself. Self-care is absolutely essential. Make sure to set aside time for yourself and know that this is not selfish. If we do not nurture and take care of ourselves, we are not able to take care of anyone or anything else, like nurturing our dreams. When we make our selves a priority by giving our self love and making our health a top priority, we have more to give to other people and to begin creating our dreams into reality!

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The REAL Question is – What is Freedom?

“The answer is within you.” ~ Ray LaMontagne

Since 9/11 there has been a lot of talk about freedom in this country. People, leaders scream that “Freedom isn’t free,” but that’s simply not true. Freedom is yours to seize. Freedom is yours to create. Freedom is yours to seek. We cage ourselves, we limit ourselves, freedom is ours to choose.

Wayne Dyer is an amazing teacher, who thank God has chosen to share his gifts with us. One of my favorite quotes of his is, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

Would you be willing to try? Would you be willing to release, to let go, to loosen the grip on what you know if it meant you would really FEEL what it’s like to be free? Just on the other side of fear is freedom.

Step One:

Slow down….your mind.

How?

Release the struggle. Release the effort it takes to try and manipulate, control the outcome. Set your intention, rather than a goal, and just move in that direction. Have patience. Stay present. 

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GO INSIDE

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Please go inside. Please listen. There is a calling inside. This is your calling. This is your mission. You are important, and we as a whole need each and every single piece. Your contributions are needed. Spread your light.