[Self Discovery] Marinate In Your Mindfulness

As I’ve reveled in recent experiences, both on a personal level and a global level, I’ve recognized the need in myself to be mindful – to be aware of the present moment, less anxious about the past and unfazed by future worries.  When you truly wrap your head around the ephemeral nature of life, you’ll realize how many moments you’ve wasted by mentally occupying other temporal space. Though daydreaming is nice every once in a while, the perpetual wish to  be in another place, have another job, or be surrounded by different people constantly disengages the mind from your current reality, taking you out of the actual moment at hand.

 

As defined by both yogis and psychologists – the state of mindfulness involves an active focus on the present with purposeful attention to the moment at hand.  Living in the space of mindfulness means our mind is open to being in the now, while feelings and thoughts are processed impartially as nonjudgmental experiences. By engaging in mindful behavior, we’re actively raising our personal vibration and the vibration of the global, collective consciousness.

 

 

Mindfulness is a simple recognition that there is something greater than us that dwells within each and every conscious being.  There’s a light that we all carry inside our hearts, a light that pours into others and collectively illuminates the world – or a light that can be extinguished by others if misused or misplaced.  To me, the light that is in each and every one of us is our Spirit Molecule, our God Particle. God isn’t something beside is, outside of us or separate from us – God is within all of us, God is the spark of consciousness that acknowledges the world in all of it’s forms, God is the catalyst for us to live with respect, love and honor – for not only ourselves, but the world that we inhabit and the greater, global consciousness that we all play a role in.

To recognize and acknowledge this light within others, that’s what yoga practitioners refer to as namaste; for anyone who’s frequented the festival circuit or rave scene, it’s been passionately referred to as PLUR and for those simply meandering the world, you might just think of them as vibes; however you refer to them, they’re a collective call to the common good and a reminder that we’re all part of something greater than us.

In small ways,  we can practice mindfulness every day.  When your creative and mental juices are flowing, there’s no choice but to be fully immersed within the present moment: you’re drawn to the now.  Whether it’s a visual art like painting, pottery or graphic design, dance, flow arts, singing, practicing yoga, creating music, or delving into a hobby like crocheting, gardening, photography, writing, baking or cooking – you’re building upon what has been created while evolving the craft carefully; sometimes with expert timing but always with an artistic vision and passionate drive.  Life itself isn’t very different.

Activate With Exercise

Whether you fancy a hearty run, a solid workout or a flow yoga class – by engaging your mind and body in synchronicity, you’re actively engaging in mindful behavior. C.S. Lewis famously said “You do not have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” Whatever your personal thoughts are on the issue of mind-body duality, you can’t deny that in this lifetime we’re only allotted one physical body.  Our parents, gym teachers, athletic coaches and doctors have implored that our body is a temple and we should treat it as such.  But as we reach adulthood, more often than not that advice falls by the wayside while schedules climb into the far reaching corners of our calendar: we tell ourselves we can’t find the time, but the reality is we just don’t want to.  Somewhere, in our misaligned, personalized version of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – whether it’s because of the stress of a demanding job, an overbearing social schedule, or potentially even anxiety or depression – our physical health has ceased to be a priority.  The good news is that now is the perfect time to change our attitude about how active our lifestyles are.

Exercise like strength training in the gym or running can eliminate any sort of stress or anxiety through the release of endorphins; hormones the body naturally releases as opioid activators that work simultaneously to enhance mood and reduce anxiety.  While engaging in weekly yoga and meditation practices have been proven to improve creative thinking and concentration while decreasing stress by calming the center of the nervous system.

Get Up and Give Back

Love is boundless energy, and one of the only emotions that we can physically, mentally and emotionally both give and receive.  When we’re peace with our own love and able to love ourselves with every fiber of our beings, we’ll be in a prime position to both receive and give love to the world around us. Once you become aware of what you can give back to the world, it’s wonderful to realize that there are multiple ways to physically, emotionally and mentally give back to your immediate community – including neighborhood groups, community service and volunteer organizations. By actively opening your heart for altruistic activities and engaging yourself by assisting those who are less fortunate, you become an important cog in the wheel of life and an integral reason the loving world keeps turning and turning.

Websites like Volunteer Match and Create the Good will link volunteers up with a menagerie of local organizations that are constantly seeking volunteers; if you already have a hunch how you want to help,  a simple search for more prominent, national programs for the American Red Cross, the Boys and Girls Club of America and the American SPCA will turn up cause specific opportunities at a local level.

Expand Your Mind

When I was younger, I could charge through a book in a under a week – sometimes even a day if I really fell down the literary rabbit hole.  Over the last three years as this blog has blossomed, I’ve found that the more I entertain the writing process – the less and less I’ve been reading.  So lately, I’ve taken it upon myself to really carve out some time in my day to sit and enjoy some good reads. Yes, books transport you to another location, whether antiquated or fantastical – but when you read, you’re fully immersing yourself in a moment, a moment that you can share with other book lovers and curated by the author.  Instead of rushing to the last page like the finish line of a sprint, consider yourself in for a long walk in the park – remember, the goal is to enhance mindfulness – not just your page count.

Not only are these books incredible on an individual level – it so happens that they all tie into each other very nicely.  Truth be told, I would recommend any book by any of these authors – but these five are my first picks.

Whether you’re reading, meditating or getting yourself into a lovely yoga groove, I’ve put together a playlist of my favorite music to philosophize, relax and marinate in my mindfulness to, including the likes of Emancipator, Bonobo, Major Lazer’s Robot Heart Sunrise Set, Random RabAeroplane, The Human Experience and more. As a pro-tip: anything labeled a ‘sunrise set’ is bound to be extra vibey, so strap in and let loose- as you set off on a blissful, audio adventure.

Through daily attention to yoga, meditation, literature, music and community service, I’ve rediscovered myself on my pursuit of mindfulness while finding ways to expand my mind, body and soul and better give back to the world around me.This is how I choose to spread my light – how do you choose to honor and spread yours? What are your favorite ways to practice mindfulness and inhabit the present moment? Let me know in the comments below.  To close, I’d like to leave you with some quotes from my favorite reads on mindfulness:

“Cultivate solidity. You are somebody; you are something. You are a positive factor for your family, for society, for the world. You have to recover yourself, to be yourself. You have to become solid again. You can practice solidity in everyday life. Every step, every breath you take should help you become more solid. When you have solidity, freedom is there too.”
Thich Nhat Hanh, You Are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment

“The great benefit of slowing down is reclaiming the time and tranquility to make meaningful connections–with people, with culture, with work, with nature, with our own bodies and minds”
Carl Honoré, In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed

“Peace can be made only by those who are peaceful, and love can be shown only by those who love. No work of love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.”
Alan W. Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

“Do you really want to be happy? You can begin by being appreciative of who you are and what you’ve got.”
Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh

“For every individual is a unique manifestation of the Whole, as every branch is a particular outreaching of the tree. To manifest individuality, every branch must have a sensitive connection with the tree, just as our independently moving and differentiated fingers must have a sensitive connection with the whole body. The point, which can hardly be repeated too often, is that differentiation is not separation.”
Alan W. Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”
Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

Namaste.

[Self Discovery] Nine Ways to Raise Your Personal Vibration

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Vibrations.  They’re more than the physical projection of minutiae, or the oscillation of air molecules.  For as much as they occur around us, they’re simultaneously emitted from us.  Each and every entity, not just on the face of this Earth, but the universe in it’s entirety is vibrating at a unique frequency. From a cosmic perspective, molecule by molecule we’ve all been vibrating equidistantly away from the heart of the Big Bang.  Could it be that our entire lives, as we ebb and flow through the world we’re most attracted to those molecules that were in fact within the closest proximity to us when the Big Bang happened? And then, take the idea of two tuning forks set to an equal resonant frequency; one static – the other made to vibrate.  If you bring the two tuning forks together, the tuning fork at rest raises to the vibrating frequency of audible fork. In the same way, maybe that’s an underlying science to instant friends – those people who find a strange affinity towards, but can’t place the time or place; soul recognizes soul when they’re vibrating on the same frequency plane.

Vibrations. We all have them, and we’re all tuned into them whether we recognize it or not. It’s the warmth of a hug from a friend and the ice cold, clandestine stare of a stranger, the enticing diatribe from a family member and the off-putting physical stance of a foe.  Whenever we feel, we emit a vibration – and whenever we act or speak, doubly so.  From the first breath, up through this very moment – you’ve been a human battery, charging and recharging on the vibrations raining down from the world; where external chaos breeds mentalMade with Repix (http://repix.it) calamity and physical tranquility evolves from calm surroundings. As we’re propelled into maturity by life experiences compounded by emotional epiphanies, the goals and passions we seek in life changes as do the types of personalities we desire in our lives; along the way, we pick up a few friends here, a few others there….and at other times we undoubtedly, unfortunately, outgrow friendships of our former selves and end up leaving a few wonderful people behind along the way.    That’s not to say their effect hasn’t been left, our shared past is my prologue – my future story wouldn’t be complete without their cameo in an earlier scene.

VibrationsWithin each and every action, interaction – reaction – the vibrations we’ve exchanged have shaped, manifested and evolved into my current world.  So it’s only right that in turn, we acknowledge our own ripple effect on the world. Smiles to frowns, bubbly laughter and emotional explosions, private conversations unintended for public ears, words spoken out of turn or context, unfriendly fire in the form of gossip and flippant phrases better left to your imagination; over the course of a day, a week – a year, how many ripples have you left, intentionally and unintentionally in the lives of others? Do you realize that over the course of your life, they’ve been compounding around you? Innocent conversation converts into malicious musings, and sonic snap judgments are all too easy to make – especially out of context. Quite simply: you effect the universe in more ways than you can ever understand.  Your physical presence can say as much, if not more, than the words coming from your mouth and your intonation and intent play as crucial a role as your elocution.  As an empath, I’m constantly bombarded by the everyday energies of those around me, but that’s not to say those who aren’t are immune – they’re simply not as aware of the effects.

Nostalgia, though a beautiful reminder of the way things were – is also by in large the reason we get nasty expectation hangovers.  The stark irony of being blessed with a beautiful series of friendships over the last year is that it’s caused pause and perusal of the ghosts of friendships past. The toxic friendships that manifested during times of strife and the beautiful friendships borne out of shared genius. I’ve always been incredibly receptive to the forces around me but it’s only been recently that I’ve felt understood their full weight.  The good news, is that what has been seen cannot be unseen – once you acknowledge the gravity of your weight on the world, there’s no going back.  As they say in the Matrix: there’s a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path and the only way I saw that I could be a better version of myself was to elevate my every day life.  Somehow, while in the throttles of passionate, intense and at times subversive life experiences, my soul grew into my twenty nine year old body.  I was vibrating on a higher frequency, attracting other passionate souls who were pushing their own personal boundaries while reveling in the wild ride of life.  So, how exactly does one raise their personal vibration? I have nine ways to do it.

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[Rule #1]  Treat others the way you want to be treated.

It’s the Golden Rule and Newton’s Third Law, not to mention – we’ve been learning it since Grade School, so it should be relatively easy to remember. The universe reacts to the energy you put out and the friends you keep are in effect a direct reflection of who you are at your core.  The second half of the rule, often not mentioned, is never – ever – let someone else’s behavior prevent you from being the person that you are.  The behavior of others is just that – their behavior, and it’s not directed at any one person more than the sun’s ray’s fall on any one part of the world.  Adjust and adapt, and if you’re not keen on a person – just know that there are millions upon millions of people in this world, just waiting to meet someone like you.

[Rule #2] A Friend of a Friend is a Friend of Mine

Though a lot easier said than done, this isn’t actually that hard.  That circle of friends you have, well – let’s just put it this way: you’re not their first friend, right?  They come with chums from Grade School and Band Camp, Summer Camps and Basketball Teams, College Fraternities and Study Abroad Programs; they’re located around the world and chances are, they’re just as wonderful as you.  When the opportunity arises to adopt them into your social circle, think of your mutual friends as your flotations devices; don’t dilly dally in the shallow end – jump on in and swim a little deeper, you might just make a new friend for life.

[Rule #3] Reach Out and Touch (or, just hug; whatever)

It’s 2015 and I’m so sick of meeting people with a handshake. Historically, we shook hands with our right hand – the dominant hand – to signal we weren’t wielding a weapon.  At work or while doing business I’ll let’em slide, but in personal, social situations, I want my soul to touch your soul – but I’ll settle for a hug.  Hugs have a calming nature and a healing effect; long hugs can produce the same bonding hormones as sex and hugs are scientifically proven to have healing powers. Have you hugged a human today?

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[Rule #4] Always true to being you, unless you can be a better version of you – then be that.

You want to know what the best version of you is? It’s youYou are the reason people are attracted to you, and you are beautiful – so never stop being yourself.  It’s easy to become the friend who always says ‘No’ and turns down invitations, and equally easy to become a ‘Yes’ man; instead, throw those words out the window, say what’s actually on your mind and set some boundaries.  And remember, just because you’ve set boundaries doesn’t mean they’re permanent fixtures – that’s the beauty of being you: you adapt, evolve, and become a better version of who you were because of it.

[Rule #5] Respect

Aretha sang it best: R-E-S-P-E-C-T. It starts with you, because to get respect – you need to respect yourself.  Respect your own intelligence, respect your body and the things you both put into it food wise and get out of it physically. Once that falls into place, then there’s respecting the world around you. Respecting the personal space of others, whether that’s physical, mental, emotional or temporal, is the first step to garnering it back towards you.

[Rule #6] Let It Go

As Shakespeare put it: Past is prologue.  The past is a beautiful introduction to your story – it’s a wonderful foundation for your current condition, but it’s not the story.  In much the same mannor, the events and circumstances of your friends lives before you are interesting building blocks in their personal puzzle, but the more you focus on them – the less you’re living in the moment of the friendship.  Don’t dwell on grievances or lavish on the lives and things that could have been, instead celebrate greatness and simply enjoy being

[Rule #7] Meditate On It

This too, shall pass.  It’s an old diatribe but it most definitely holds true, time heals all – but what time actually does is give us the personal separation of space from an event. The more space we have, the less personal it becomes and the more we can think of a macrocosmic answer to a problem we shouldn’t have taken so personally to begin with.  Just remember, the best way to get an answer, is to ask the right question.

[Rule #8] Honor The Capacity for Change

Hi, Pot! I’m Kettle.  We’re black! You aren’t the same person you were last year, and you definitely aren’t the same person you were ten years ago.  You could have some of the same passions and proclivities, but on the overall – experience has a habit of evolving us, with or without our consent.  If we can acknowledge our own maturation, then we surely can’t deny the growth of anyone else.

[Rule #9] Practice Random Acts of Kindness.

Pay it forward.  As a general rule, I only ask people to pay me back if either I know I’ll never see them again or I purposely intend on it.  If you’re my friend, we’ll hang out again.  You can get the next beer, coffee, dinner, ice cream, etc…whatever it is, there’ll be a next time – because I want there to be.


For more on the paintings and artwork used throughout this article, please head to the site of 21st Century visionary Alex Grey.

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