happiness

Follow your dharma 

I discovered this old blog post I wrote in October 2012 Jenna would have been about 7 and was (and still is) a passionate artist. I still remember this morning very clearly and I’ve kept the paintings that Jenna did in a special book. I pull them out every once in a while when I need inspiration. 

As I’m now entering a phase of my life where I’m listening to my heart and following my bliss this is exactly the kind of reminder that I need. Why are we here if not to do that thing that makes our hearts sing and to share it with the world? 

I feel that way about this journey of healing that I am on. Ayurveda has brought me to a place where I am strong and whole again. What I have learned has changed every single thing about my life both physically and spiritually. It’s put me on a path I never imagined I could take. 


This morning we were doing our daily morning rush. Get up, get dressed, get breakfasts and lunches ready. Feed children. Make sure lunches and homework gets in backpacks. Sign forms that magically appear from nowhere. Yell at dog who is going crazy hoping it’s bus time and she can go for a walk. 

In the middle of this chaos, Jenna sits down at the table where her watercolour paint still sits from the night before. She looks at her paints and her paper and smiles and says “I need to paint, I love to paint, I MUST PAINT.” And sits down, grabs her brush and starts painting furiously. 

It does not matter that I was shoving her breakfast in her face about to bark at her that she needed to be getting ready for school. She needed to paint. And she did. And it brought great joy to my morning. We had time plus some to get all our things done. Yet we also had time to stop and let Jenna paint. Because it was something she must do. Something that makes Jenna Jenna. Uniquely her.

We need to remember to stop sometimes in the chaos of life and enjoy the things that we are passionate about. Or better yet, learn to live from our passions. I am thankful that life has landed me in a position where I now can figure out what I’m passionate about and follow that bliss. 

This gentle reminder of why I’m doing what I’m doing was my happiness moment today. 

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Digging Deep

I hadn’t really planned on double posting, but as I was out hacking at the 50 foot weeds in my vegetable garden tonight I was reflecting on what I’d said in my earlier post, and thinking about what I had meant to write about. 

I find usually my blogs take on a life of their own and no matter what I have planned, my fingers and heart just do what they want. 

What I had been reflecting on during my ride this afternoon though is worth making note of. I was thinking of my strength and how I recently came from a place of such weakness. When I fell apart my sprit and body were both broken. Smashed and crushed may also be accurate terms. I had to fix everything. 

I feel like I’ve spent the past few years working on my spirit and I know that it’s getting stronger and finding its voice and gaining confidence. Sometimes though I feel like my body has been so much slower to follow suit.  In order for me to be who I want to be I need both a strong body and a strong spirit. In my youth I was an athlete and strong. I had a brief period in my mid 30s where I was strong again, but I have felt like in this rebuilding process that my body seems to be taking longer than I want it to to gain strength. 

Lately though, I’m finding that in fact I’m a lot stronger than I give myself credit for. Often over the past few years things have happened where I’ve needed either external or internal strength and I’ve looked around for someone to lean on, someone to help with the burden. More often than not the only adult in the situation has been me and I’ve had to figure out how to dig deep and get through. 

  
I realized today how I’m getting more able to dig deep in the physical as well as the spiritual. When we were tacking up the horses I was the only adult around. So it fell to me to saddle and check cinches and bridles. Having grown up riding English, this usually is a pretty easy task. But here at the ranch we ride western, and those saddles are heavy!! I’m lucky because my saddle is light and comfy, but some of those other ones….. Oh my. 

I let Jenna use my saddle today and I  borrowed my nephew’s. I have actually decided that my new threat of punishment will be to carry his saddle around for a while. It is heavy!! Like throw up in my mouth a little and cry inside while trying to aim it in the general direction of my horse while not breaking his poor back heavy. 

But I did it. I put the saddle on the horse not just once but twice today. I was strong enough. I can dig deep. I’m stronger than I know. It’s kind of cool to finally be able to accept and celebrate the growing of strength. 

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That Dharma Thing

I firmly believe we all have those things that we shine at. Things that we must do, that bring us joy, that make our soul sing because we know that we are doing what it is that we were put here to do. 

Some people know what that thing is from an early age and have the faith, the support, and the courage to do it no matter what obstacles are thrown in their path. Others of us are plagued with self doubt and fear and it takes us a bit longer to get on that path. 

If I could have a life redo I would go back in time to those moments where I wanted to follow a dream and I listened to the negative voices either from others or from inside my head who told me that I shouldn’t. The voices that said I wasn’t good enough, not deserving, or that the dream I had wasn’t ever going to be a reality. 

The first thing I would do is not listen to the voices that made me give up riding. Should it have mattered that I was being told that I would never make a living at it (I could have), that it would never give me a secure future (nothing about my future so far has been secure anyway even though I gave up and tried to take the safe path), that I needed to find a real job and grow up? Had I had the kind of self esteem I now wish for myself  and for my kids I would have never heard the external doubts and I would not have had the internal ones. 

Somehow I took all those messages and decided that my value as a human was based on what career path I would take and the amount of money we could produce. So I took a career that I didn’t really want and when I gave it up to be a full time mom (which I love) I became devalued again because I wasn’t doing something that was producing money. Forget all of the things that I actually do as a mom, there is no value to that. So then I struggled with the strong feeling that I was doing what I was meant to do, but also held the false belief that it had no value. 

Today we went out for a long ride through the fields. It just brings peace to my soul. I have a confidence when riding that I am just now learning to bring to the rest of my life. On a horse you need to be confident enough to have faith in what you are doing, and stay humble enough to know that you are a part of a team – and that the other half of your team is much bigger and stronger than you – you must work together through whatever comes up. A good way to walk through life. With humble confidence. With the knowledge that I am following my dharma. That I am good enough just because I am me and that I know I’m doing the right thing because I feel it in the depths of my soul. 

That is happiness. 

Here is a photobomb of happiness. Johnny the horse having a moment of FOMO (fear of missing out) and peeking through the fence as I took a picture of my niece. She rode today with Jenna and me, and it was so heart warming to see those girls giggling and enjoying their horses in the same fields I used to spend hours in as a child. Pretty sweet for me to enjoy this time on Princess the boy horse. 

  

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An afternoon ride 

  
As a kid I used to ride all over the ranch in the summer months. Sometimes by myself, sometimes with my sister, usually joined by Buster the dog. 

When I first learned about yoga and meditation I realized that I had been connecting with the Source every time I jumped on my horse and headed off. Riding has always been a very spiritual activity for me, something that has always calmed my anxiety and grounded me in nature. It’s something I need to do in order to be the best version of myself. 

Today I got to ride with Jenna and my niece. It wasn’t long or far (those clouds in the background had us heading home before we got rained on) but it was soul cleansing. My happiness moment. 

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Summer vacation. 

I have the best job in the world (for me). Ten and a half years ago when I gave birth to Jenna I left my career as a teacher and became a full time mom. My husband and I made an agreement that he would pursue his career (and he’s got a great one that  provides wonderfully for us) and I would be the full time parent. It’s certainly been a job full of challenges – babies crying, sleepless nights, having a single income family, supporting kids emotionally through many moves – but I truly believe it was the job I was put on the planet to do. Being their full time mom has without a doubt made me a better person. 

Full time motherhood has led me to search for who I really am as well as what I am here to do (my dharma). The kids still look to me for Love, for answers, for support, and guidance. Being able to fulfill those needs for them has lead me to have to have a much better understanding of what my core values are and how I want to help guide them as they become adults. 

Perhaps the biggest drawback of my job is the financial insecurity. As in the fact that my paycheck each month is a big fat zero. Even though if you asked me what I want to do or be when I grow up (ha!) it would be exactly what I am doing, there is huge financial risk involved. Then I think about my spirit and how this job that I’m doing is making me a better person, a kinder, more loving, and deeply spiritual person. And how at the end of the day that’s a huge reward in itself. I tell myself to continue to have faith in the knowledge that I’m doing what I was put here to do in this moment and time, and to be grateful that I can do it. 

We have finally started summer vacation and in my opinion this is when the rewards of my job are the greatest. I get to just hang with the kids instead of rushing to school or some activity. I get to see how funny and kind they are as they relax into summer mode. 

This is the time when I get to see who they really are. And I have to say, I love hanging with these monsters. Even when they drive me bananas. I love being with them.  

Dual monster happiness moments today: went to town with Jacob for his haircut. We rarely get time where it is just us so I really cherish those moments. Jenna and I cooked dinner together. She made her famous vegetable smiley face tray. Happiness. I am blessed and so thankful this is what I get to do. 

  
There’s carrot eyeballs under those long pepper eyelashes 🙂

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Pay attention!

Yesterday I was at the dentist getting my teeth cleaned. I loathe going to the dentist, but oh how I love the feeling of clean teeth!
While I was waiting I opened my kindle. I’m reading “You’ll See It When You Believe It” by Wayne Dyer. Hit the page turn and the next page was this:

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Which is exactly the phrase I blogged about I the other day the other day

It’s still knocking at my door. I’m paying attention.

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A spiritual being having a human experience

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

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The last few days I’ve been doing different readings and this quote is showing up everywhere. Even randomly on my Facebook feed. My dad and I had a conversation somewhat along these lines over the holidays. It seems to be something that I really need to pay attention to.

I find it so easy to get hung up on being a human being. The physical experience. How does my body feel today. How does my body look. I walked along the river this morning and thought about the fact that I am a spiritual being having a human experience. I felt my body resist this thought (whaaaat? No you’re not. Feel me, I’m here). And at the same time my spirit feel joy at this thought (thank you for finally noticing I’m here. When that body is gone I’m still going to be here, you know).

Being a spiritual being reminds me that we are all gifts from God (even those people who annoy me, I need to especially remember that those people are). We are all here with a Divine purpose and it’s our job to figure that out and live blissfully in it. Find our dharma and live it with joy.

Remembering that I am having a human experience reminds me that any struggles are temporary. This physical aspect is but one part of the entity that makes me me.

That little light that shines in all of us? That is our spiritual being. Shining with love and bliss and brilliance.

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My Freedom Eagle

Twice while driving out to the ranch with Jenna we passed a bald eagle feeding on an elk carcass at the side of the road. On the last day of our stay I passed the same eagle again sitting on a fence at the far east edge of the ranch. As I drove past it our eyes locked and its head turned and followed me as I drove past.

I have always loved the time of the year when the eagles migrate through the ranch. Both the bald and the golden eagles are often found in the spring circling above the cow pastures and there have been countless times when I have stood out in the field and admired them.

This however is not spring time and this eagle should not have been there in late December, early January. So I was aware that I better pay closer attention to him.

I spent a little time reading up on the spiritual meanings of a bald eagle.

They have excellent vision and are able to see what they need at a great distance and have the timing to know exactly when to swoop down after something. Ah yes, the reminder that I need to stay focused on my calling. To keep my eye on what I want.

They are one of the largest birds that can fly, not only can they fly but they fly high and free far up in the sky. Freedom. Like expanding your spirit and soaring. Ah yes, to remember to stretch my limits. To embrace the freedom of my spirit. To drop away fear and fly.

When you see an eagle you are challenged to delve deeper into your spiritual quest. To collect those thoughts and dreams and bring them into reality. Ah yes, to chase my dharma the same way that the eagle focuses in on its prey and remains focused until it catches it.

It was believed that the eagle could carry prayers to the Great Spirit, that it could balance between the spiritual world and the physical world. Ah yes, this balance I’m working so hard to create and maintain. The easy connection to the Spirit. To do this just by existing.

A freedom bird. Making an unexpected and unusual appearance at a time when I am seeking my spiritual freedom. Coincidence? I think not!

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Living From the Heart… My Path of Least Resistance

Although yesterday began with a heavy heart as I said goodbye to family and headed to the airport with the kids to begin our long journey back to Virginia, the Universe provided for me as it always does when we are open to accepting.

We got to the airport knowing that one flight was delayed making a connection impossible but not knowing what that meant for our trip. What it meant was that we could get to Chicago but no further until Tuesday as all flights were fully booked. The other option was to stay in Calgary until Tuesday and fly then. Oh the happy dances the kids did right in the middle of the airport were pretty awesome. The poor girl was expecting frustrated and angry travelers and the change in her when we started laughing and dancing was pretty amazing as well.

So, we are happily still here in -30C weather and loving every minute of it.

Well before the New Year I had set my intention for 2015 – although to be more precise as my birthday is the end of January I change my yearly intention on my birthday. My intention for my 44th year is to follow the path of least resistance. Which for me also includes getting out of my head and following my heart.

Saturday I went and saw a dear childhood friend whom I haven’t seen in 15 years. Not only did I have a wonderful reunion and the chance to catch up on each other’s lives a little bit, but I also got to have my aura read. She had just opened up her shop in Cochrane – Spirit of Oneness Inc.

Among many of the things I learned from her reading was that I had a line disconnecting my head from the rest of my body. I guess I didn’t “learn” this as I am well aware of the ongoing battle between my head and the rest of my body for control – but it was interesting to actually see this division.

She guided me through a brief meditation which included asking me to open and breathe through my heart. Although this is something I used to do in my meditations it’s something I had apparently fallen out of the habit of doing without even realizing it. Probably lost focus in the ongoing battle between that head and heart (body).

But I do realize that my path of least resistance very much includes getting out of my head and living through my heart. When I truly want to know what the best thing for me to do my heart always has the answer while my head always justifies and makes excuses for why things should be a certain way.

My reading this morning (naturally) was a wonderful compliment to my intentions:

“When you have doubt, go into your heart space. Take a day and look inside yourself for the truth. No one but you knows your truth. Live from that truth and trust in it. If the way you’re pursuing your dharma is not working, then change direction. But I cannot emphasize enough that you must take the plunge.” (The Wheel of Healing, an Easy Guide to and Ayurvedic Lifestyle)

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My Source, My Balance, My Ayurveda…

I was doing some work for my Ayurveda class today and while daydreaming got to thinking about this blog and how it’s a blog about Ayurveda, but it may not always appear to be about Ayurveda. But in a very deep sense it is all about Ayurveda. One of the things that is stressed in my studies is connection to the Source. Without connecting yourself to Your True Self, and The Source; you will never be able to maintain a proper balance – which is vital for true health.

A lot of what I write about here is how I’m discovering my own connection to The Source. To awaking and opening My True Self, which lives inside me, and connecting to The Source which is everywhere. You can call The Source whatever you want (God, The Universe…) but I’m understanding that there is a urgent need within me to realign myself with The Source and with who-I-really-am. This alignment is the balance that we search for in our spiritual lives but also in our physical lives. This keeps us healthy in body, mind and soul. Ayurveda is a lifestyle of keeping your body and soul in balance for optimal health. Learning how to achieve that balance is quickly becoming my life’s work.

For most of my life I have believed that the only way to achieve things is to work hard. To get out there and *do* something to prove myself.  To suffer through things to get to the reward at the end. Lately I’ve been thinking…. what if that’s not the best way to go about things? Because all the hard work in the world isn’t going to bring freedom, happiness and peace if I haven’t followed my bliss, balanced my soul, connected to The Source.

What if, instead, the way to achieve the things I want in life is to stop and balance my soul?

Because I feel like I have spent years running like mad on a treadmill and not getting anywhere. Sweating, crying, swearing but not actually moving and missing a lot of the fun.

When I first started my studies I learned that pretty much any condition that a patient would come in for – anxiety, high blood pressure, blood clotting issues, weight gain/loss, you name it – one of the standard prescriptions is to include meditation twice daily into your lifestyle. I understood this on a basic level that it was a good thing to slow down and connect yourself to Source, but lately I’ve been understanding it on an entirely different level. If we aren’t connected and balanced we can’t enjoy good health. If we aren’t listening to that inner voice that guides us and tells us what our dharma, our bliss, our reason for being is then we aren’t in balance and can’t enjoy perfect health. Connecting to that Inner Self and aligning it with the Source, the Higher Power, is how we achieve balance, bliss, and health.

No amount of running around and fixing things on the outside is going to fix what’s broken on the inside.

My reading this morning pretty much summed up all of these thoughts that I’d been mulling over on my walk this morning (this is why my walks are so important). Here’s an excerpt:

The primary reason that people feel a shortage of time is because they are trying to get too much leverage out of their action. If you are unaware of the power of alignment and are making little or no effort at finding your personal alignment—if you are overwhelmed or angry or resentful or ornery, and from those emotional perspectives, you are then offering your action to try to accomplish things—you are very likely experiencing a severe shortage of time.

There simply is not enough action in the world to compensate for the misalignment of Energy, but when you care about how you feel and you tend to your vibrational balance first, then you experience what feels like a cooperative Universe that seems to open doors for you everywhere. The physical effort required of someone who is in alignment is a fraction of that required to someone who is not. The results experienced by someone who is in alignment are tremendous in comparison with the results experienced by someone who is not. If you are feeling a shortage of time or money, your best effort would be to focus upon better-feeling thoughts, to make long lists of positive aspects, to look for reasons to feel good, and to do more things that make you feel good when you do them. Taking the time to feel better, to find positive aspects, to align with who-you-really-are, will net you tremendous results and help you balance your time much more effectively.

Hicks, Esther; Hicks, Jerry (2008-08-12). Money, and the Law of Attraction: Learning to Attract Wealth, Health, and Happiness (Kindle Locations 3585-3591). Hay House. Kindle Edition.

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There simply is not enough action in the world to compensate for the misalignment of Energy. These were powerful words to me. Because I can guarantee that I spent a massive amount of energy on action trying to compensate for the misalignment of Energy. And paid for it dearly. The good thing is that my body and soul are forgiving. I can feel now that I am coming into a better balance that I have more energy, I’m happier, I am accomplishing more but *doing* less. I am so thankful for that shift.

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