May 11, 2013
Aaaand I’m back!!!
Day 16 of my 30-day LightLiving simplifying-minimizing-decluttering challenge!
Lots of good stuff, clarity, new plans!
Today’s Five Releases:
1. Makeup brush
2. White Buddha tank
3. Green Ganesh tank
4. Basket I made
5. Vibrams with a hole in the soles
1. Red Buddha tank
2. Patagonia Geode necklace
(Going to focus more on the letting go as I’m planning to start traveling again – watch the video!)
May 3, 2013
No video again today. Have I fallen off the wagon?? I suppose so. Will I get back on? Who knows! I’m working hard not to worry about it or feel guilty. Maybe the day of going through my entire wardrobe was more draining than I realized!
I think the main problem has been time. This week I’ve begun work/playin fixed hours at the Academy, 8:30am-1:30pm every day – the first time I’ve had fixed-hour work in almost two years – AND I now have THREE websites I’m building!!! Woohoooo! I am super excited about that. I’ll share the sites here when I’m done.
So between the Academy commitment and the other projects, I wasn’t able to motivate myself to film/edit/upload video today. It’s quite labor intensive.
Oh we also had an event at the Academy tonight – an expert on Vastu came and spoke. Vastu is kinda like feng shui, but the original Indian version. It deals with architecture and energy and human alignment.
A concept I really liked was sun time vs. moon time vs. earth time. Sun time is when the sun is up; moon time is when the moon is up (which changes over the course of the waxing and waning of the moon), and earth time is when neither sun nor moon is up. The different times have different energies.
I don’t know about you but for me these past few days have been super powerful energetically. Today I had all kinds of realizations, and I am feeling super ALIVE and clear. It’s exhilarating but also challenging to contain. Contain, that’s an interesting word, a remnant from the adults yelling at the children – CONTAIN YOURSELF! Sit still! I was definitely not taught as a child how to channel the immense energy I have – I was taught to suppress it, because the adults around me didn’t know how to manage their energy either. And both of my parents had a LOT of energy.
One of my realizations today:
All my life, people have labeled me a ‘free spirit.’
At first they love it about me.
And then they get disappointed when they place their expectations on me.
Half of it is me, of course, accepting their expectations.
I no longer want other’s expectations.
I want to free others from the burden of my expectations, the burden of my choosing to feel bad and blaming it on them if my expectations aren’t met.
Instead I choose to love others exactly as they are, in the present moment, in whatever reality we happen to be interacting in.
I choose freedom for others – the freedom from being responsible for my feelings.
I choose freedom for myself – the freedom from feeling shameful, bad, or guilty.
I choose to trust that everything works out for my highest good, and for the highest good of others.
“The greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.” ~Lao Tzu
April 26, 2013
Today was a very long day, and I did not feel like picking my 5/3.
So I didn’t.
I did, however, still record a video for you!
I mentioned a few of these things in the video, but here’s a full recap of my day:
I started the day with some of my morning rituals round 6:30am, meditation at 7:30am, then breakfast with friends out in the sunshine; over to the Academy of Art, Creativity & Consciousness to clean and translate some marketing materials for our open house in the afternoon; more cleaning and organizing and chatting with friends. Then ate a giant lunch out in the sunshine with friends again. Washed some dishes, back to the Academy for some schmoozing and translating Italian/English, enjoyed a moving classical music rehearsal, a short hike with a friend, ate some INCREDIBLE homemade cheesecake for another friend’s birthday; talked with friends some more, met some new people, schmoozed some more til dinner time. Ate dinner with friends and watched the sun set. Helped wash dishes in the kitchen for an hour and a half (with some Russians and two monks who’d flown in from India, one originally from Las Vegas and the other from Uruguay), took a little moonlit stroll and listened to Radiolab, recorded the video above, Skyped with China, chatted with my friends/roommates, edited the video above, took a shower.
It’s now 1:30am Italy time, and I’m about to head over to the Temple of Light. I signed up for a shift to sit vigil for Swamiji, who left his body on April 21st. I’ll be meditating in the temple with him from 2am-4am. Should be a beautiful experience. The moon’s full tonight, and with springtime here the weather’s slowly been warming up.
My day was busy but full of friendship and laughter and stories and hugs and deep conversations about the meaningful things in life – relationships, truth, reality, death, love, joy, creation… So grateful, so appreciative of this wonderful community and the amazing life that I have.
April 23, 2013
Things are a bit crazy here with Swamiji’s passing and the gearing up for the big weekend – they’re premiering the film about Ananda communities, called Finding Happiness, and there was already going to be a big group here for the weekend, now compounded by people flying in from all over the world for the funeral service tomorrow. Plus the Academy of Art Creativity & Consciousness has to be prepped for the visitors, along with all our marketing stuff finished…
Anyways, I’m keeping up!
Here is yesterday’s video:
And here’s today’s:
The Three Keeps:
1. Hard Tail top – I LOVE Hard Tail! Aside from Green Apple, Hard Tail make my favorite beautiful comfy yoga clothes. I would love to have a wardrobe of entirely GA & HT. I’ve had this top for a few years and it still looks great. It’s got holes that have been sewn up all over.
2. Book: La Legge dell’Attrazione e le Relazioni Affettive – The Law of Attraction and Emotional Relationships. I don’t think this book was printed in English. I found it in an Italian grocery store about a week after I was wishing I had an Abraham-Hicks book to read. AND it was on sale. Manifest!!
“Se vi abituate a cercare aspetti positivi, li troverete in voi stessi oltre che negli altri. Se siete abituati a notare gli aspetti negativi, li troverete anche in voi stessi. Non sbagliamo, quindi, quando affermiamo che chi critica gli altri non ama se stesso. Va contra la Legge. Quando vedete persone molto critiche verso gli altri, sappiate che sono individui che non si amano.”
If you’re used to looking for positive aspects, you will find them in yourself as well as in others. If you are used to noticing negative aspects, you will find those also in yourselves. We’re not mistaken, then, when we affirm that he who criticizes others doesn’t love himself. It goes against the Law. When you see people being very critical of others, you know that they are individuals who don’t love themselves.”
3. Canon camera – I love the colors of Canon. However my beat-up, sometimes-working Panasonic Lumix takes better video (minus the dust spots from Burning Man) and wide-angle shots. So until my next high-end camera purchase, I’ll keep both.
The Five Releases:
1. Blue gloves – handed down from a friend. Winter’s over!
2. Mystery cable – I think I came with my last camera purchase. Haven’t needed it since I bought the camera a year ago. Adios!
3. Wool skirt – Found in the attic; wore it a few times but don’t love it; throwing it back!
4. Book: Babaji – Gifted by a friend; talks more about the follower of Babaji who wrote this than actual words of Babaji. Didn’t finish it.
5. Book: The Lathe of Heaven - Great book about a man who changes the world when he dreams – but he’s the only one who notices it changing. He’s then used by a egomaniacal psychologist, whose attempts at making the world a better place always end up making it worse. An interesting commentary on reality, sanity, and courage. Highly recommended but passing it on for someone else to enjoy.
Thanks for joining me on my journey!!!
April 22, 2013
Today I touched a dead man’s hand.
It was softer than I expected – not rigid and cold, but seemingly still alive.
I thanked him. Thanked him for the beauty of his vision, for what he’d created on this planet, and for all the lives he’d touched, including my own.
I’d seen him alive, for the first time, almost exactly one month ago, March 17, 2013. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but when he began to speak I was moved to tears – he radiated love and joy, and as he shared simple messages of love and unity, he would himself be overcome with emotion, the power of his joy blocking his voice. Very old and slightly stooped, he mumbled his words, he told jokes, and he laughed as he looked slowly around the room. Pure love, joy, and light radiated from him.
And something inside me opened. I was suddenly aware of a deep terror within me that I’d never recognized – I was struck by the sad truth that I’ve always been afraid of stepping into my own wisdom and power. Something broke free within me, and I realized that it was time. It was time for me to become who I am.
This internal shift led quickly to a few external shifts that I’d been considering for some time beforehand – chopping off all my hair and changing my name being the two main ones.
This man was Swami Kriyananda, a direct disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda and the creator of the Ananda communities worldwide. He left his body today. I’m sure he’s now joyfully reunited with the Divine, and I’m sending love to all those who will miss him.
Today I am taking the day off from the LightLiving Challenge; will begin again tomorrow.
April 21, 2013
In today’s video I share my Five Releases and my Three Keeps, I share some gorgeous photos of Italy, and I also share some tears. I’m quite uncomfortable expressing fear or sadness and crying in front of other people; but as it’s my fears that got me crying this morning, I figured I might as well face one right away by posting a video about it!
Following your dreams is terrifying. And by following your dreams I mean follow your intuition, your heart path, and doing what you feel called to do, even if you don’t know why. I felt called to do this challenge and to make videos. This morning someone asked me what the point was – WHY was I doing this challenge? What is the point of making videos every day? What is my goal? Ie, How is this contributing to me figuring out my life and how to make a living??
And then all the fears came flooding out. I don’t know! I don’t know what I’m doing! I don’t know what’s going to happen! I don’t know how I’m going to pay bills! I don’t have answers. I’m just trying to do what I feel is truest for me, even if it makes no rational sense.
I have so many fears that I’m trying to work through. I’m trying not to just give up, to go back to the old secure and deadening life of regular paychecks and car insurance payments. Why is that such a huge question? Why do our entire lives focus around HOW WILL YOU MAKE MONEY? Money, a completely made-up thing… funny how something that’s just a belief can upset us so much.
When I was crying this morning (before the video), I sat there breathing through the fear/pain/sadness, breathing deep and strong, almost hyperventilating, my face tingling after a few minutes. I could feel the energy moving through me, my head hurting, my neck tense. I kept gulping air. And then it began to dissolve. It came back to me how I’d been taught as a child that it was wrong and shameful to cry. Growing up I’d always gone to my room alone, put some music on my headphones, and muffled my sobs into my teddy bear. I don’t think I cried in front of any of my friends until I was into my twenties.
In the last week, a few odd things in my body have come up: My knuckle’s been hurting in an arthritis-y way for a little over a week. Three or four days ago I stubbed my pinkie toe on a rock so hard that it turned purple. I won’t subject you to a photo of my toe but let’s say that it swelled up and resembles a cherry. Or a purple grape.
Yesterday, I totally ate it while climbing down a hill and skinned my knees. I’m not usually klutzy. I’ve also been binging on chocolate and bread.
I realized that all of these things were signals for the underlying emotions bubbling below – subconscious attempts at distraction, sabotage, or getting my attention.
I checked my book “Heal Your Body” by Louis Hay to find out the meanings:
PROBLEM: Joints (Knuckle)
PROBABLE CAUSE: Represent changes in direction in life and the ease of these movements.
NEW THOUGHT PATTERN: I easily flow with change. My life is Divinely guided, and I am always going in the best direction.
PROBABLE CAUSE: Represent the minor details of the future.
NEW THOUGHT PATTERN: All details take care of themselves.
PROBABLE CAUSE: Represents pride and ego.
NEW THOUGHT PATTERN: I am flexible and flowing.
Well, there you go.
So why share all this? Well, one, because it scares me, and I’m practicing doing things that scare me. And two, if you’ve ever felt afraid or alone or confused, maybe this will help remind you that you’re not alone. There is no feeling or emotion that you’ll ever have that no one else has ever felt. We’re all in this crazy life game together, here to play being sad and fearful. It’s part and parcel with the pleasure and joy of being human.
One thing I will say about all this – I’m learning how to edit videos. I’m learning how to let go of more crap. I’m learning how to ‘ship’ stuff I create – blogs and videos – every single day. I’m learning to create and share while caring less and less what others think of me.
And most importantly, I’m letting go. Of crap I don’t need, and also of some of my fear.
Thanks for joining me on this journey!
Today’s Release List:
1. Chemically shampoo
2. Sesame oil
4. Book: Raja Yoga
5. Book: The Yeast Syndrome
Today’s Keep List:
1. Turquoise & gold earrings
2. Blue crystal earrings from the Dalai Lama in Milan, 2012
3. Buddha earrings from Fern’s Garden, Belmont Shore/Long Beach (the sell Jacob’s Wind chimes, which are the BEST wind chimes EVER).
April 19, 2013
Yesterday’s video was accidentally set on private; sorry about that! It’s now public so check it out:
And here’s today’s video, Day 7:
(Check out the beautiful Italian clouds!!!)
The Three Keeps List:
1. Black Vibrams – I’ve been wearing Vibrams for three or four years now. I love them so much I can’t imagine life without them. Well, I could, but it would be really blistery. I really should be sponsored by Vibram, considering how many people I’ve prosthelytized to over the years and around the world (Argentina REALLY wants Vibrams!).
2. Inspiration book 2009 – I started making these little books in 2006. They’re part inspiring quotes and photos, part mini vision board, part life tips, part happy memories.
3. Inspiration book 2010 – Out of one of these books I read the 12 Keys to Happiness from scientist Sonja Lyubomirsky’s book The How of Happiness - These are keepers too!
1. Expressing Gratitude
2. Cultivating Optimism
3. Avoiding Overthinking and Social Comparison
4. Practicing Acts of Kindness
5. Nurturing Social Relationships
6. Developing Strategies for Coping
7. Learning to Forgive
8. Increasing Flow Experiences
9. Savoring Life’s Joys
10. Committing to Your Goals
11. Practicing Religion and Spirituality
12. Taking Care of Your Body: Meditation + Physical Activity + Acting Like a Happy Person
Yep. That’s pretty much it. I think I’ve got these covered! (At least, I work on them all every day. Still fine tuning, of course.) I origionally heard about Sonja’s book from Philosophers Notes, one of my favorite things ever – all the best personal growth/spirituality books summarized into 20 minute audio bites and 6-page PDFs. Highly recommended.
The Five Releases List:
1. X-mini MAX speaker - I did a TON of research when trying to find good portable travel speakers (I always obsessively research any electronics pre-purchasing) and I finally went with these guys. Not only is the sound excellent for their size, they’re not outrageously expensive, they charge via USB (no need to buy batteries) AND they run for 4-5 hours without being plugged in – perfection! I ordered these while I was living in Argentina and had a friend from the States bring them down as it’s quite difficult/expensive to get electronics with Argentina’s closed economy… they lasted for about 6 months until someone else broke one; then I used the single one for another 6 months until this one fritzed out too. Damned planned obsolescence.
2. Cannon charger – Also while in Argentina I had my friend bring me a new Cannon camera to replace the old Panasonic Lumix (which I’ve been recording most of these videos on). The Lumix stops working occasionally – ever since I took it to Burning Man and it got playa dust inside the lens – hence those spots that show up in most of my videos. Anyways, after more obsessive electronics researching, I got the Canon Powershot ELPH 300. It was my very favorite camera ever. Super compact, clear bright colors… the Lumix’s High def video and wide lens is a bit better for video but the ELPH definitely too better photos. And then, one day, I was hiking in some mountains in Patagonia, and somewhere during an off-trail 3 hour hike, my camera disappeared. Poof. I did the extremely steep 3 hour trail every day for the next 7 days, until it rained. Then I gave up. I never did find the camera. I hope some gaucho found it while he was horseback riding and was able to see the video of me and my friend Anne standing at the top of the mountain in high wind, screaming. Anyways, the camera was claimed by mother earth, and I no longer have any need for this charger. Why do I still have this charger one full year after losing that camera? No idea.
3. Art Eraser – I thought I lost my Faber-Castell eraser (oh, that name makes me feel like I’m back in art school). But then I found it. Donating this to the Academy!
4. Mystery key – I hate having old mystery keys. It torments me.
5. Brown hat – I was given this very good Wallaroo hat by a friend shortly before I left LA. I’ve worn it maybe twice in the past two years. They’re really good quality hats, but I just never wear it.
I ran across this Anais Nin quote that I love:
“There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.”
I feel like this challenge is slowing putting a few mosaic squares in every day… gradual change, transformation, unfolding. I’m really enjoying this challenge, but I’m not sure how I’ll still have stuff to get rid of at Day 30. We’ll see…
“Be as simple as you can be; you will be astonished to see how uncomplicated and happy your life can become.” - Paramahansa Yogananda
“Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on.” - Eckhart Tolle
“You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.” -Aristotle
“Every artist was first an amateur.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
April 19, 2013
Two years of Nomadic living on three different continents and I STILL feel like I have too much stuff. So I’m doing this 30-day challenge to declutter, minimalize, lighten my load and my life!
Releasing 5 things I don’t need/want/love and
Choosing 3 things I love/want to keep.
And posting a video! Every single day!
Simplify, clarify, focus, freedom!
KEEPERS: The three things for today that I own and I love and am keeping:
1. Turquoise and magenta zipper top – This is my #1 favorite item of clothing at the moment, and has been for almost 3 years now. It’s made by Green Apple Yoga Wear, and though I’ve worn it LITERALLY hundreds of times (and even washed it occasionally , it looks as good as the day I bought it. It’s 70% bamboo viscose, 25% organic cotton, 5% spandex. I got it back in 2010 when I went to New Mexico with my bestie Katy; we went to a yoga class at the amazing Body Yoga studio/cafe/boutique in Santa Fe (I LOVE Santa Fe) and it was love at first sight. Totally worth the investment.
2. Book: Earth Dance by Elisabet Sahtouris - I love this book. I originally heard Elisabet speak at Deepak Chopra’s Sages & Scientists conference in 2011. This conference was one of the highlights of my life – and not just because I showed up without a ticket and talked my way into a $2,000 event on sheer will and enthusiasm, but also because I felt like I’d finally found my metaphysical/scientific tribe. I just found the entire book online, but I’ve highlighted up the copy I have and I love keeping physical copies of my favorite books to flip through. Random passage:
“Slime molds thus are capable of specialization and cooperation under hunger conditions, if not otherwise. Note that we have now found hunger as the prod behind the cooperative evolution of nucleated cells, the invention of cooperative sexual reproduction, and the evolution of multicelled-creature cooperatives – all creative responses very different from the competitive struggle Darwin attributed to food shortages… Our present human process of globalizing seems to be forming us into a new planet-sized multi-creatured cell, in what we might call a fractal biology of repeating evolutionary patterns.”
Yeah, I’m a nerd. I love evolutionary biology, and I love unconventional ideas and outsider science. FYI, the whole competition/survival of the fittest model that we’ve been taught is incorrect; it’s misrepresentation of Darwin, who discusses cooperation, love and moral sensitivity MUCH more than competition. Darwin’s teachings were twisted and misconstrued for political and economic means – ie to support capitalism rather than communism. Anyways, back to our regular programming:
3. Gold eye powder – Super glittery metallic. I get compliments every time I wear it. One of the last cosmetics I’ve kept. By Sugarpill.
RELEASES: The five things I’m releasing today:
1. White blouse – Not that flattering or comfortable. Don’t love it.
2. Doll tank – Also not that flattering or comfortable. Don’t love it.
3. Nail polish – I’m done wearing nail polish. I don’t want the chemicals seeping into my flesh (as they do), and I don’t want to worry about upkeep. Simplify, simplify, simplify (this is also why I chopped off all my dyed hair. Natural is so much simpler!).
4. Old chap stick – Badger Creamy Coco Cocobutter Lip Balm is one of my favorite chap sticks ever. It doesn’t have any nasty chemicals, and it’s one of the rare chap sticks that doesn’t make my lips MORE chapped, like 80% of the chap sticks out there. – I love this stuff and I’m bummed that I’ve finally scraped the last remaining bits out of the tube with my thumbnail. I’ve been out of the
5. Shhh…it Happens Poo-Pourri bathroom spray – This is the best bathroom spray ever. Also non-chemically (made with essential oils), you spray it into the toilet before you go and it creates a ‘smell barrier.’ Totally works. But I haven’t used it since I got to Europe so time to let it go (I’m gonna donate it to the Academy).
See the full list here.
April 17, 2013
Today’s Five Releases
1. Nail file from yesterday – I realized I already had a metal nail file! So no need for this pink one.
2. Black top – Here at Ananda Europa there’s an attic where everyone puts the clothing and stuff they no longer want; I found this top there. It has the Gayatri Mantra written on it, which is one of my favorites chants. But, it’s too short (the top, not the chant). Out!
3. Book: Release Your Brilliance by Simon T. Bailey – I didn’t even recognize the synchronicity of this title. RELEASE! Ha!
“Seek the guidance of people who can help you live your assignment. Some people pass through your life, and others come into your life. Those who pass through will intersect with your life at a specific point in time or during a particular event. Be open to those who appear during these times. Whether or not you or they know it on a conscious level, their sole purpose is to help you reach the next level of fulfilling your Universal Assignment and releasing your brilliance.”
4. Book: El Principito by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry – I love the Little Prince. I bought this copy in Spanish in Argentina.
-No, pero puedo depositarlas en el banco.
-Qué quiere decir eso?
-Quiere decire que escribo en un papelito la cantidad de mis estrellas. Y después cierro el papelito, bajo llave, en un cajón.
I just realized who I’m going to give this to – a friend is doing the Camino del Santiago next month (and I would absolutely love to go with him…). I’ll give him this book to brush up on his Spanish!
5. Business cards – I got these cards ages ago when I started blogging. Actually they’ve got the same ship that you see at the top of the page. My name isn’t the same now so time to toss them.
Today’s Three Keeps
2. My Life Book – Get instructions on how to make your very own Life Book here: chinabrooks.com/life-book
AND I JUST discovered her little video of us working on our life books – that’s me on the floor back in 2011, I guess, cuz I was still blonde! (I didn’t even know this video was out there. Love it).
3. Manduka Eco Travel Yoga Mat – I love this mat. Most yoga mats are made with chemical crap, and they’re too thick or heavy to travel well with, or your hands slip. I’ve been traveling with and using this mat for a year and a half now and it’s still in great condition. Highly recommended!
In the video I talk about the process of releasing triggering the fear of abandonment – I originally heard the idea from Eloheim – see the video on clearing clutter here. Good wisdom.
Also in the video you saw some photos in my Life Book of the Abraham-Hicks cruise to Greece – I WANT TO GO ON THIS. Feel free to buy us both tickets!