Cat yoga

Cat yoga

Katrice demonstrating “Downward Cat” pose, or maybe Anahatasana, although her form is better than mine! 🙂

I have been trying to capture my cat doing yoga on my mat for weeks now.  Snapping this pic made me really happy, which was fitting because today’s mantra in the series I have been practicing is “I celebrate.”

I haven’t posted in a long time because this past year brought many challenging changes to my life and I am of the mindset that if one doesn’t have something positive to say, then it’s probably best to say nothing at all.  Over the past year, my sister passed away, I moved away from the apartment that I loved, I lost my job and I nearly lost my mother as well.  Integrating these changes has been changing me as a person, molding me into a new shape from the inside out.  What has saved me, mentally and spiritually, is physically molding myself into new shapes via my daily yoga practice.  After such a long hiatus, I felt led to breathe new life into my blog by sharing this series because it has helped me so much.  Below is the video that I did today, and her whole “Yoga with Adrienne” channel is just full of really good, healing, high-vibration stuff.  While this 30 day challenge is ending soon, you can always go back and start from Day 1, or check out the other 30 Days of Yoga challenge she did last year. I have done both and they are just excellent, so much so that I felt I had to post and share.

Namaste,

Mercedi

 

 

 

Constructive ways to channel anger

To say this past week has been intense and emotional would be an understatement.  I can’t say I handled it constructively 100% of the time, but I do have some tools in my spiritual toolbox that are healthier than others. When suppressed, anger and frustration can build up in our bodies and cause resentment, or even show up as physical dis-ease if left unchecked for long enough.

My favorite ways to get them out are through doing something physical like dance, exercise or taking my trusty plastic bat and beating the crap out of a cushion or my mattress.  I learned this technique at a yoga workshop and boy, does it work. I usually wear myself out in less than a minute and it’s enough to create some space from the emotion and begin to think more clearly and calmly. 

If this post resonated with you at all, I encourage you to pick up one of these from the kid’s toy section of your local department store so that you’ll be prepared to deal with the anger monster next time you find yourself seeing red.  It’s incredibly cathartic and is the fastest way I know to channel that negative energy. Just please don’t beat on anything that’s not a couch cushion or your mattress! This is supposed to be constructive, not destructive! 🙂

Happy releasing!

Mercedi 

How to tune into the Earth’s energy for comfort when you feel blue

IMG_2936This morning I was feeling upset over something and wasn’t sure how I could improve my state of mind.  Whenever this happens, I find it’s best to get out into nature and the answer usually comes to me. I have a favorite spot, hidden in the woods that surround my apartment complex, where I like to go when I need to hide away from the world.  I sat down on my favorite rock and already I could feel the grounding energy, the strength of the stone, as if I was absorbing it via osmosis.

I noticed a cluster of small rocks that almost formed a circle.  I was compelled to arrange them into a circle, and then I sat right in the center, in the dirt. I had my iphone with me, so I put in my headphone and played some beautiful music, allowing my little stone fortress to shield me while Mother Earth absorbed my tears and my worries.

IMG_2939The soil was a rich, deep black and the texture was soft and almost silky. I had read that a natural bacteria in soil acts as an antidepressant so I decided to grab big handfuls and just play. I squeezed the soil and made little mud-shapes until my hands became really dirty:

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I sat there until a deep sense of peace washed over me, and I no longer felt the urge to cry. I was amazed at how it had been completely taken away. I felt incredibly in tune with the earth’s energy, and felt as if I had been guided to do these simple actions to heal my spirit. One of the stones from my circle seemed to call out to me, so I held it for a few minutes and meditated. I frequently meditate with crystals to obtain a deep meditative state and was almost shocked to discover how this ordinary rock took only seconds to deeply connect me to Divinity. I decided it had to come home with me. 🙂

The moral of this story is that Mother Earth speaks to us clearly if we will take the time to listen and not let the ego or the rational mind get in the way.  She wants to heal us, to unburden our hearts and help us find connectivity and peace. Next time you feel sad or ungrounded, go find a patch of grass to sit on–a secluded one if possible, free of distractions–and see what comes up for you.

Love and blessings,

Mercedi

Don’t explain, don’t complain, just say thank you. Say thank you to existence.

The above is an excerpt from a quote by Mooji, a wise guru from Jamaica. I keep these words as my background on my phone and it’s really cool how many times a day I will find myself going to do something that involves explaining or complaining.

Explaining takes us out of the peace of the present moment, and is usually our attempt to verbally rationalize an action prompted by our ego (likely a fear based action, too) instead of our higher/inner self.

Complaining is just plain negative, and is giving away our attention to those things that we do not want in our lives. Why would we give away our energy to those things when we could use our minds to focus on what is going right in our lives, as opposed to going wrong? It certainly feels better. One of my favorite books is Happy For No Reason by Marci Shimoff. In this book, she notes that complaining and blaming are “happiness robbers.” This could not be more true. Griping about something or someone is not exactly an act of joy. We all know people who like to “bitch and moan” and I think we can all agree they are not the bouncy, smiley personalities that we associate with happy people. In fact, we often try to avoid those people because they bring us down!

Shimoff also suggests that we take note of how our body, especially our heart center, feels when we experience thoughts. She points out that positive thoughts make us feel expansive, light, and happy. Negative thoughts make us feel closed, contracted, tense. The Institute of HeartMath has confirmed that the heart’s electromagnetic field is unquestionably affected in this way, so we want to look for those thoughts that “expand” us and avoid those that “contract” us. Play around with this. Focus on the center of your body, around the solar plexus and your heart center and see how you feel as you experience different emotional reactions to thought.

In my spiritual research and my quest for self-awareness, it is becoming clear that the single most important thing in life is to maintain a positive mindset.  Nothing is going to make us happy–we have to find happiness and then do what it takes to stay there to draw in our highest good. It affects everything from our health, to the amount of money we can make, even to our life-expectancy. One of the easiest ways I have found to do this is through gratitude. Even the seemingly “bad” things that happen to us always come with a blessing if we have eyes to see it. I go through every day now looking for things to appreciate, no matter how small, and i verbalize these every chance I get. It feels fantastic, and I feel good about where I am giving my energy and attention and how that is affecting my body.

Thank you for reading this. May your day be full of things to be grateful for,

Mercedi

Thank you

3 minute meditation: drop worries and calm the victim mind

I wanted to share something that has been exceptionally helpful for me over the past few days. This meditation WORKS. January has been a tough month for me and left me in a very worried headspace. I was feeling like a victim instead of the creator of my own life and couldn’t seem to shake it or turn it around, until I found this:

The past few days that I have done this, I have felt mentally calm and strong.  I have noticed a complete change in my actions (and plans for action) coming from a place of love instead of fear.  So give your worries over to the Divine and remember that the same loving force that supports the planets and holds them steady in the sky is the same force that supports you!

 

Love and light,

Mercedi

“You only need to believe that your life can be as good as you imagine it to be. “

Last night I had an interesting experience when I went to bed. It began with very strong tingling in the top of my head, followed by some intense and beautiful visions of things I never thought were possible in this life, mostly due to limiting or fear-based beliefs. Then I was aware of all my chakras spinning freely except my throat, which made a slow, forced grinding motion. I worked on clearing it energetically and then had a hard physical coughing fit, as if I released it. I got out of bed in the most blissful state and stayed up late, laughing with Rick. I felt very peaceful having seen my life in a new way, having been shown that nothing is impossible and it’s only our beliefs that force our futures to be limited in anyway. Then I woke up and saw the following post from my favorite numerologist, Kari Samuels: (!!!)

Energy forecast for the week of January 26th – February 1st

THE PAST – 6th chakra 3rd Eye
You’re receiving visions and impressions of what’s possible for you, yet you’re not sure whether these are things you should ACT or if they’re even possible. What you are seeing are probable futures of your potential. They are very real. You only need to believe that your life can be as good as you imagine it to be.

THE PRESENT – 2 of Cups Spiritual Union
The decisions you make must be of the heart. Perhaps you don’t feel like focusing on work now, you’d rather spend time with your loved ones. This is a time of deep emotional connection. Remember it’s your emotions that create your reality, not always effort. The more joyful you are, the more good things will come to you. Focus on your feelings rather than your strategy. Nourish yourself with love.

THE FUTURE – Destiny reversed, also Rest and Rejuvenate
Outer changes might not be happening as quickly as you would like, but things are changing for sure! Take time this week to restore your body, energy and mind. Things will be plenty busy later. The inner work creates the outer results. Remember that!

Cure your seasonal depression with light therapy

I used to suffer from a very debilitating case of seasonal depression. I will spare you the list of medications (both herbal and natural) I have tried and say that what I think has helped the most is light therapy.

I am about to say something controversial. I love tanning beds…but only for 10 minutes, approximately once a week in the winter. It helps TREMENDOUSLY to trick my brain into thinking it’s summertime and makes me feel happy.

I have tried several daylight simulators but until last year, had not found any that helped. I bought a Happy Light and a Verilux Wake up Light. The use of both together have been remarkably effective. I use the Happy Light when I’m sitting at the computer, or when I know I can sit under it for at least 20 minutes. I have read that the photoreceptors in our eyes are positioned in such a way that they receive light best when it comes from above and not straight on, so it does help to position it a little above you.

The Wake up Light mimics the gradual brightness increase of the sun so your room slowly gets brighter. It helps your body’s natural circadian rhythms stay in sync so you wake up more alert instead of groggy. If you’re like me, waking up to darkness just makes the body want to go into hibernation mode and sleep. It was one of the worst parts of winter when I had to get up before the sun and it caused me to be very grumpy, unmotivated and just apathetic. I think this light really did a great job of combating that.

I had a doctor tell me once that tanning in moderation is good for those suffering from SAD. If you are afraid of them though, go with one of the Verilux models which have no chance of causing sunburn. ☀️

How to Meditate Part II

This is the follow-up to yesterdays “Who, What, Where, When and Why” of meditation which you can find here.  Now for the “How:”

How to Meditate:

Once you get the hang of it, it really is as simple as “sit your butt down, take a deep breath and just let go.” But, for the sake of clarity and to honor the practice, I am going to break it down into a few easy-to-remember steps you take to really get the most out of it. These are: Set, Sit, Adjust, Focus.

SET the stage  –  I begin by lighting a candle or two and sitting down on a folded yoga blanket, in my favorite spot in my bedroom.  I don’t light the candle to watch the flame (although some people do!). Instead, I light them to help create the ambiance of a sacred, relaxing space. Some people like to hold healing stones or Mala beads. Choose what you are drawn to for your sacred space.  Some people meditate in silence, but my preference is to listen to relaxing music, or a guided meditation with my earbuds in.  This helps to drown out any distractions from mental chatter, or from others in the house or outside my window.  This also allows me to set a timer on my phone so that I don’t have to worry about checking the clock.

SIT (or lie) down –  The point is to get comfortable. There are people who will tell you that you must sit in lotus pose, or in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your hands in your lap, or never to lay down.  I say forget all of that. I like to sit in lotus pose or easy pose, and there is some science behind these postures, with the way energy flows through our body, but sometimes I lie down too. The important thing is to get in a position where you can relax, but still remain aware. (Lying down causes some people to just go ahead and take a snooze!)

ADJUST your posture – It is best to keep your spine in a position where it is as straight as is comfortable for you. If you don’t want to sit on the floor, a high-backed chair is better than a recliner. The brain and spinal cord make up our body’s central nervous system, which is the most complex system and has the huge job of being our entire body’s control center. I think of our spine as an electrical-chemical superhighway of sorts.  Keeping it straight ensures that it is able to send nerve and hormone signals and other messages to the body in the most optimal way possible. So, keep that spine straight and get comfy, but if you choose to lie down, not so comfy that you fall asleep! It’s fine to adjust yourself throughout the meditation also if needed.  As for your hands, you may place them where ever feels best.  Gyan Mudra is a popular hand position to help center the mind.  I like to rest my hands on my lap with palms facing upward to receive all the good energy.

FOCUS It is very helpful to give your focus a direction, to establish a connection between your body, mind and spirit to begin. I being by focusing my attention at my third eye and by chanting three times “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo,” which means “I bow to the Divinity within.”  This is a mantra we use in Kundalini yoga for tuning in to one’s Highest Self. Some people find it peaceful to envision themselves enveloped in a beautiful white light to begin. Others like to set an intention – what do you hope to gain from this meditation? Experience inner peace? Connect to God? To turn off your racing thoughts and give your mind a break?  Choose what feels good to you. After you establish this connection, then just focus on the music or the words to the guided meditation you may be listening to, or on the rhythm of your breath.  What you don’t want to focus on is any thoughts that may creep in. When thoughts appear, try to let them drift by as if they were clouds. Now is not the time to unravel that problem or make a mental grocery list or worry about your kids or your schedule or anything at all.  This is undoubtedly the most challenging thing about meditation but it is also the very purpose of it. In time, you will strengthen that “muscle” that blows thoughts away like clouds in the wind and you will  be able to experience a quiet mind whenever you desire. It really is like a muscle though, and we must practice to get there.

Be easy with this…start out with a length of time that is manageable, maybe 10 or 15 minutes.  I recommend practicing everyday, but if you forget that’s okay too. You will start to notice improved results as you get better and better and eventually you won’t want to miss it because you feel so good afterwards and your brain “behaves” better throughout the day as a result.

To close, I will leave you with something I like to listen to on a regular basis.  It’s not technically a guided meditation, but I use it as such because I’m a big fan of Abraham-Hicks and I like where my mind goes when I listen to their videos as my meditation. YouTube is a great resource for all kinds of music and guided meditations. Play around and have fun finding some of your own favorites!

Happy meditating!

 

How to Meditate Part I

Inner peace

I am trying to keep my posts short and easily digestible so this will be divided into two parts:

1.  The Who, What, Where, When and Why of meditation and
2.  The nitty gritty on exactly “How” to do it.

This was inspired by a dear friend of mine who asked if I would teach her how to mediate and by another friend the next day who casually mentioned she had never been taught how.  I know much has been written on this topic, but I wanted to type up a simple (I hope) how-to guide and possibly dispel some of the myths, such as “meditation is hard” or that it must be done a certain way.  The truth is that there is no right or wrong way to do it. Like most things, it’s going to give you the best results when you listen to what feels good to your body and do it in a way that works best for you, not your guru or your therapist or even your partner or best friend. This is also when it feels easiest.  If it feels like too much of a chore, we are less likely to want to stick to it. So we want to make this easy and peaceful and blissful. Ok, here we go….AHHHHHH…OHHHMMMM…

Who:  You and your Higher Self: that deepest part of you, made up of non-physical energy that remains consciously connected to Source at all times

What:  An exercise to turn off our minds as much as possible and align ourselves with Divine energy.  Sometimes this will feel incredibly blissful, and other times I have found myself moved to tears as answers to my prayers or deep questions I have held about my life came through. It has been said that we ask through prayer and that meditation is how we listen.

Where:  Your favorite spot in your house. You can meditate anywhere, really but I have a favorite spot where I feel the most relaxed and free of distractions.  In yoga, we “take our cares to the mat” because our body has come to recognize the ritual, that getting on the mat means the same thing every time: release, renewal, restoration.  In the same way, the repeated act of sitting or lying down in the same spot to meditate sends a signal to your body and helps your body understand and say, “Oh hey, I know what we’re about to do here!” With each time, it becomes easier to turn off your mind  because your body recognizes that this is exactly what you come to this spot to do.

When:  Again there is no “right” answer here except whatever feels best to you. First thing in the morning is a great way to start the day.  As the last thing you do before you go to bed really helps to melt the cares away so you can sleep. For me, I like to wait until I have been up for a while and have had a shower.  I try to meditate when I am clean, because it makes sense to me to clean my body and then “clean” my mind.  Sometimes I do it before bed too. And anytime I feel angry or scattered or depressed it is my very first line of defense against these emotions.

Why:  To achieve a state of inner peace.  To bring greater clarity to our mind, create a sense of happiness no matter what life throws at us, and to strengthen the subtle senses like intuition which provide a light for our path whenever we need guidance.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s Part II on just how easy it all is!  I’ll cover ambiance, technique, avoiding distraction, etc. I’ll also outline the process I use as an example.  My hope is that after reading, you will be inspired to give it a go.  🙂 You can pick and choose from my method what things you might like to try and think would be most helpful to you but most importantly remember there is no wrong way to do it!

-Mercedi

 

 

“If you think you feel bad…take your love and stick it up your heart”

…these are wise words from Wille Nelson. Who knew he was such a sage? I just finished reading his book Roll me up and smoke me when I die and I was profoundly impressed by his knowledge on all things esoteric.

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Here, he talks about how the words God and Love are the two most powerful words and how they are interchangeable. In yoga, we are taught that chanting God’s name as a mantra can free us of worry and negativity. Willie didn’t mention anything about chanting God’s name, but he did say it makes you feel good, and he does recommend spinning around 50 times before bed to reset your chakras so I’ll be he does it (chant)!

I read somewhere that saying the word “love” outloud emits a special frequency and directs our energy toward the positive. Every morning when I wake up, I silently say thank you for the day and then outloud I name two things that I love, like “I love my mom or I love my apartment.” This makes me feel great and starts my thoughts rolling in the best direction possible. It really sets the tone for my day.

So thanks to Willie Nelson, I was inspired to give you these tools you can use to speak your way into a higher vibration and begin feeling better. And, if you love books as much as I do, you might just be inspired to go read his book. He is one fascinating dude, definitely an old soul and far more than meets the eye.

-Mercedi