Monday, March 21, 2016

What does your gut say?

All of us have pretty much experienced a gut feeling or a hunch of instinctive knowing which felt just right! That grand AHA! moment that comes when you suddenly realize you weren’t listening to yourself all along. More frequently referred to as the “spidey sense”, intuition is our inner guidance system which unconsciously propels us to do something without a logical thought process. It is that inner voice that helps us gather the courage to find our true calling. It is the universe in disguise that talks to us through our intuition and steers us in the right direction. Steve Jobs called it, “more powerful than intellect.” Scientists have recently discovered that intuition stems from feelings that are generated by our heart centers as opposed to the intellect which stems from the mind center. Relying only on our intellect is not always the right way to get the most out of life. In order to make our best decisions, we need a balance of intuition and rational thinking. Our intuition is always there, whether we are aware of it or not at all times, always studying the situation and trying to guide us on to the right path. We all have goals in life which we believe will help us find happiness, whether it is making changes for self-improvement, which direction to take in our career, finding a life partner and so on. Our wants and desires maybe different but we all have the same unlimited access to our inner guidance through which we can all achieve a more fulfilling life. But the irony is — can we hear it? Are we paying attention or are we living a life that keeps the doorway to our intuition always blocked? So how do we tap into this inner voice? Here are some tips. Keep in mind that the fundamental secret is to trust that you have all the answers inside you.

1. Personal space

It is very important to allot some personal time to ourselves in order to tune in and listen to our inner guidance speaking to us. By learning to quiet all the outside voices, opinions and suggestions, you can listen to the quiet voice that comes from within. We are so busy with the everyday humdrum that we don’t often pause to slow down and take a moment to just BE. Meditation is a very effective tool to quieten and clear the mind from all the clutter. So is being in nature. When we are able to fully relax the mind and body, we are more open and receptive to the energies around us. Even 15–20 minutes of personal time dedicated to slowing down the mental chatter in our mind helps us to be more in tune with our inner guidance. In these few moments of silence, try to tune in and just observe your thoughts floating by without giving them any attention. If you are faced with a decision, notice how your body feels. Sometimes a choice might feel like a tight sensation in the stomach which usually is a strong ‘NO’ or you might feel a light floating sensation which is usually a strong ‘YES’. Once you start paying attention, your body will teach you it’s own cues.

2. Trust your feelings

Our feelings are our superpower. We don’t need to wait for life-and-death situations to start tuning in to our intuition. When your intuition speaks to you the next time through your feelings, start trusting it even when your mind says you don’t want to. If your intuition screams “don’t trust the new neighbor”, take note of it. Likewise, with new potential partners/friendships. Listen to your feelings so that you can realize your fullest potential as a person and as a whole. Also, our feelings are our most important cues to learn from our mistakes and grow. We all have had times when we wished we could rewind time and make a different choice. We all have experienced the feeling of regret that comes immediately after making a ‘not so right’ decision. No one likes regret. Maybe we did it out of compulsion or we were probably forced to do it for some reason. Whatever the reason, we start obsessing about why we made that decision. Next time you feel that guilt/regret creeping in, make a mental note and ask yourself, what is this feeling trying to teach me? When you learn to listen to yourself, the ability to control your own life is so powerful.

3. Be consciously aware

The universe not only speaks to us through our inner guidance but it also shows us many signs to let us know whether we are on the right path. The signs may come in many different ways in the forms of coincidences, synchronicities, repeating patterns etc. ‘Synchronicity’ is a term originally coined by Carl Jung, refers to the events in our lives that have meaning, yet cannot be explained. We call them miracles! In order to accept such synchronicities into our lives, we must learn to live consciously. When you don’t follow your intuition, your path gets harder. The events that follow after the wrong choice is made, tend to send us down the path of most resistance until we finally see the light. Once we learn to quieten our mind and surrender, the universe will guide us and show us the way. We start to become consciously aware of situations and activities in our life and the manner the universe is guiding us. You can also try playing with your intuition to sharpen it. Is the phone ringing? See if you can intuit who it is. Going to a football game? Can you intuit who will win?

4. Live an organized life

In order to make the best out of our inner guidance, we must try to manage and keep the clutter in our lives to a minimum. Our minds are often in a muddle with too many things to do on our list and not knowing where to start. It’s important that we find time to keep things organized so that we stay on top of things and don’t get too overwhelmed. My most favorite thing to do to stay organized is to keep a journal and write down a list of to-do items. As an experiment, write down a bucket list of items. Make three different lists and write down the things you want to achieve or complete this week, this month and this year. Write down everything: shopping lists for groceries, holiday gifts, home decor, work stuff and important dates like meetings and birthdays. Then write down what you need to do to achieve them. Make schedules and deadlines. Trying to remember things will not help you stay organized. Try to do one thing at a time and practice mindfulness while doing so. Multitasking only leads to more confusion and stress. Keeping your life organized also means keeping your things in their proper places. Declutter your home regularly and try to keep only what you need. A healthy environment leads to peace of mind which makes it much easier to be aligned with our true guidance.

With a little time and dedication, it is perfectly possible to find our inner voice and to learn to pay close attention to the signs. By feeding and nurturing our intuition and by living a life which is in alignment with our true desires, we have the ability to thrive in all walks of life. You will be amazed at how clearly you can be guided to a fun and fulfilling life.

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift” ~Albert Einstein~

Friday, March 4, 2016

Let it go!

02 February 2016

The mind is a complex thing. It constantly feeds on the past and future, almost never in this moment. Often, we spend too much time and energy trying to plan, prevent and predict what is going to happen, or what was supposed to happen, that we root ourselves in fear-based living. But what I learned is that when we try to control, it disconnects us from everything else. We close down our hearts and get imprisoned by whatever it is that we are trying to control. It’s not just with people but with life too. Most of the times, we find ourselves thinking about what we should have done differently and how we could have lived our lives, instead of focusing on what we can create in this moment. This impulse to control stems from the lack of trust in life. We believe that if we don’t control, life will fail us and those we love. The thing is, even if we succeed in controlling some things, by distrusting life we become disconnected from life itself. When we are disconnected from life, we are also unplugged from the source of creation. Our fears, worries and insecurities start to gain more power than love, peace and joy. So how can we access a deep connection to life? By trusting in the process of life and letting go. Trusting life does not mean that undesirable experiences will never happen, it means that if they do, you trust that whatever unfolds is for your highest good, and the highest good of those involved. Here are some techniques which help us through this process.

Practice being in the present

Look around you! Look at all the everyday miracles and life that there is. Listen to the rhythmic chirping of the birds when you wake up. Notice the good in people and acknowledge their efforts. Relish the gorgeous sunset on your way back home from work. Admire the moon for its beauty. Breathe in the fresh, flower-scented air deeply on your early morning hike and feel it in your lungs. Pause and listen to your heart beat. This moment is truly inevitable so be grateful and savor each moment for its uniqueness. Peace almost always arises when we can be fully present in the moment. Believe it or not, when we are in sync with all that is around us, in other words when we are in sync with the universe, it immediately brings us back into connection with who we really are. The power of letting go to the source of creation is a powerful way which lets you tap into the oneness and creative flow of the universe. This moment is the only doorway to the creator and creativity. It means that you are opening up to better things that life has planned for you.

Surrender to the universe

Notice how all of these miracles work in harmony without our meddling? The planets, the tides, mother earth, the sun and the moon, all continue to to carry on their legacy. Even our breath does not wait for a signal. It goes on! The same source that created all these miracles also created us. Doesn’t it seem like the source of life knows what it is doing? The more we try to resist and control life, the more misaligned to life we become. When we lift that control, we allow magical things to happen. So why not surrender and let the universe do it’s thing? By surrendering, I do not mean giving up on your dreams or loved ones but to end any form of resistance. It means putting your heart into what you want to create and then letting go without trying to control the outcome. To surrender to your emotions without resisting them but also being aware of them at the same time. To surrender is to stop fighting the natural flow of life and just let life unfold the beautiful story that it has in store for you. Surrendering is powerful, liberating and life enhancing. When you get to a place of surrender, higher guidance flows freely through you and your creativity will gain momentum.

Accept the moment

We hear a lot of advice around us to make peace with the past, let go and move on. If only life was that simple, sigh! It’s no use denying that past experiences have had no effect on who we are now. Letting go does not mean repressing or pushing away our feelings. People who deny the effect of past experiences can get caught in a strategy of self-protection that involves dismissing or ignoring strong emotions and tend to experience the same symptoms as those who struggle with anxiety. Such things can come back to bite us where we least expect it. I believe that some things had to happen the way they did as soul lessons for our spiritual growth. The best thing to do is to bless them for having served us and let them go in a healthy manner. How do we do this? Through acceptance of the moment. The more we resist the situation which is beyond our control, the more we suffer. But when we completely accept the moment as it is, then there wouldn’t be any suffering. If you think about it, happiness occurs because we are completely accepting something that is happening at that moment. It’s not about external events making you happy but it is about completely accepting the moment the way it is. Accept yourself and the situation, understand how it affected you and how it served you in your growth process. Also make sure to place it where it belongs — in the past.

What is the lesson?

One of the most beautiful gifts we can give to ourselves is the willingness to open up ourselves to understand why and how certain things happened and what is the lesson in it for us to learn. Acknowledging that there is a soul lesson to learn in every undesirable situation is where half of the healing happens. Have you noticed undesirable patterns repeating themselves again and again in your lives? That is the universe’s way of telling us that there is still a lesson to be learned and acknowledged from the situation. The hardest most painful part of our life might end up leading us someplace more powerful. When we are open to life’s unexpected blessings, we are led to what we need.

Release attachments to thoughts

Once the lesson is learnt, the most important thing to do is to let go of all attachments to our thoughts. The secret is to not let our thoughts run or control us. Instead what we have under our control is THIS moment and the power to make different choices, to think in different ways and create the life we want. It is important to let go of negative thoughts and turn our focus into thoughts that empower us to create a happy and content life. By letting go of negative thoughts, you are also releasing the mental and emotional attachments which originate from the thoughts. This can be a very challenging and on-going process but slowly the thoughts will begin to lose power over you. Letting go is not a one-time thing. It is a practice that requires dedication to the process of life until you reach a state of wakefulness. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

“It does not do to dwell on the past and forget to live” (Albus Dumbledore)

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Love yourself: because you are worth it!

Srujana Aedama
26 February 2016

The world is like a mirror. If you smile, it smiles at you. You frown and you’ll see it frowning back. You feel confident and the world will reflect that back to you. I am one of those people who does not believe in fate. I believe that YOU can create your own world and the first step in doing that is to love yourself. Truly, deeply and unconditionally, with all your faults and prejudices. I do not mean this in a selfish, narcissistic and self-obsessed way but loving yourself in a way that you complete yourself. It is about being comfortable in your own skin and looking for answers within. This is about empowering yourself to be whole.

I cannot stress about the importance of loving oneself. Often, when circumstances create an emotional wound, we close down and cut ourselves off from the very thing that could heal us. We not only block potential new opportunities and relationships, we also cut ourselves off from self-love by criticizing and despising ourselves. In other words, we do to ourselves what we fear others might do to us. This often results in blaming ourselves and the people who have done us harm. We then start craving for outside love and approval. The first step in healing comes from looking deep within ourselves, by loving ourselves and taking full responsibility for our own actions. As long as we blame the outside world for our pain, and as long as we seek others’ approval, we give away our power to heal and shine brighter. Your life is your own and only you have the right to create your life.

So, how can you start loving yourself?

1. You can start by feeling your emotions completely by not pushing them down or away. It is completely human to cry, to anger, to grieve, to be compassionate and to feel deeply. All your feelings are valid, so honor yourself and give permission to feel them all. We have been socially conditioned to believe that feeling our emotions makes us weak and it is usually termed as a ‘feminine’ quality. Embrace all the masculine and feminine qualities within you. The healing comes when you allow your emotions space to be experienced.

2. Place your creative, emotional and physical needs first. If your boss is draining your energy, be more assertive. If you find yourself constantly in giving mode and receiving less in general, reassess all your relationships. You deserve much better than that. Take that trip to the mountains you have always dreamed of. Do it now. Walk yourself out to new pastures, to fresh flower-scented air and green grass. To springs, lakes and seas. To a land of love and peace. Follow your heart and place your needs a priority. Do things that make you feel really good and happy about yourself.

3. Set clear boundaries on how you want to be treated. Express clearly and assert yourself lovingly. Never let anyone treat you like you are worth nothing, to ignore you or make you feel under-appreciated, to make you feel guilty for living and expressing your truth. You deserve to be loved and acknowledged. It is not possible to please others all the time. If at all you need to please somebody, it should be you. There is no need to be afraid to assert your identity and live according to your preferences.

4. Practice self-care regimen. Take care of yourself energetically by choosing to be around positive and uplifting people who accept you for who you are and those that encourage you to shine your light. Listen to your body and feelings. Rest when you need to rest. Eat healthy high vibrational foods that make you feel vibrant and energetic. Do some physical activity that makes you feel really good about yourself. Take up a spiritual practice like yoga or meditation which can help you balance your emotions and enable you to slow down and open your heart wider.

So love yourself unconditionally and suddenly someday you will find an explosion of light, beauty and ecstasy that will help you blossom into the light being you are supposed to be. Gradually, you will begin to see yourself as whole and complete. You will begin to seek your own approval. Any harsh judgements from the outside world will cease to affect you because you will begin to know your worth. You deserve to be nourished on all levels. You will definitely be more capable of giving love and all your relationships will begin to flourish. After all, how can you give something that you don’t have? As Gandhi once said “Be the change you wish to see in the world”.