You know what I love even more than writing?
Talking.

Ok, maybe that’s not true. Maybe I love talking and writing equally. I’ll have to think about it. Let’s see…

I love the flow of talking, the journey of arriving an unexpected conclusions in real time. Especially when you have a good juicy conversation with someone you connect with.

That’s what I feel I have with Tiger Singleton, also known as Tigmonk. He’s an author and spiritual … well, not teacher. Share-er. He shares wisdom and insight and the joy of remembering that life is a f#@%ng miracle.

Our live, unplanned, random conversations are about spirituality, life, death, reality, truth, love, and anything else you can think of.

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We completely acknowledge that it’s all bullshit, and we might just be insane.

You can stream or download the podcasts on Tigmonk.com.

The most recent ones are also on Soundcloud.

And you can even find them on youtube:

 

So, I love talking.

Why do I love writing? Because I can spend as long as I want crafting the words. I have control. Not as spontaneous and vulnerable, but perhaps deeper and clearer, more concise.

Both have their good points and their limitations.

So I hope to do more of both. Continuing with the Podcast, and regular writing on my new website http://www.mayaliladivento.com (coming soon!!!).

 

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I’m in Ashland, Oregon!

November 11, 2013

Hello, people!

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Happy Autumn!

For the past six months I’ve been on somewhat of a sabbatical from consistent blogging. Though I haven’t been sharing as much as I’d prefer, I’ve still been focusing on my soul-healing and joy-following journey around the world. After about a year in Italy, I returned to the States in June of this year to celebrate the lives of my grandmother and father, who both made their transitions while I was out of the country.

Since returning stateside I’ve been roaming the west coast – Washington, Oregon and California. I spent a few months living in Rogue River/Grants Pass, Oregon, with my Aunt Jody and good friend China Brooks. I went on a gorgeous camping retreat on Mount Shasta, then roadtripped down to San Francisco and Los Angeles and San Diego, reuniting with friends I hadn’t seen in years. Reunion is one of my favorite things in the world – the joy of reunion is worth the separation.

My intuition talked me into going to Burning Man super last minute – two days before the Burn started. It was transformational, as always, and ended up redirecting the course of my life. I ended up living in San Francisco for a bit afterwards with friends I met on the playa, then went to visit Portland for the first time ever before coming back down to San Francisco for the month of October.

And now, I’m in Ashland, a spiritual town known for its Shakespeare festivals and for being the home of author Neale Donald Walsch, the guy who channeled “Conversations with God” (which I still haven’t read… I tried to read it in Italian but didn’t have the patience).

China and I are living in a beautiful 117-year-old yellow Victorian house for the month, working on creative projects and learning how to be in healthy relationship in close quarters. Ie, practicing talking about our feelings, being totally transparent about our fears and vulnerabilities, and laughing at our crazy egos!

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Yes, there are ghosts in the house, though after the first night they seem happy we’re here, and at our request they haven’t done anything to spook us… yet.

Here’s a tour of the downstairs!

 

The Risk of Living

July 12, 2013

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I’ve said this before but I feel it’s time to say it again –

Living your dreams is terrifying. When you begin to follow your soul’s truth, your ego will freak the f#@k out.

Your ego is your small self, everything you were taught, purposefully or inadvertantly, about this physical material world. You were taught to be afraid. You were taught you would die. You were taught that you were weak and at risk. You were taught to avoid pain, avoid being different, avoid standing out. You were taught to avoid being YOU. You were taught that to survive you had to protect and defend, to hide, to change.

But that’s all backwards. There is no safety, no security, no protection. The only risk you run in this life is never really LIVING it. You have a deep and unconscious belief that your fears and worries will protect you, but really all they do is keep what you truly want out – the experience of being alive, the experience of giving and receiving love, the experience of joy and connection and intimacy. These experiences are not found but created via your conscious choice, by giving that which you seek, by opening, by being authentically, truly you.

Upon meeting one of my soul-friends in this lifetime, during our first 10-hour conversation, he said to me: “You are not alone.”

And these simple words filled my eyes with tears, and he realized that this was the message he was meant to give to me.

And now I’m suddenly recalling the bone-numbing loneliness of my youth, which began to dissolve when I began to meet soul-friends on my twenties… I suppose the loneliness was also partially covered by music, alcohol and sex too (oh and packing every waking moment of my life with work and play).

These last few years of cutting music(dance/house music), alcohol, sex and busy-ness out of my life has given me time to experience and begin to heal that loneliness on its deepest levels.

I see that I’m in the final run now as I observe my attachment to the men I encounter in my life as I begin to date again. Very, very, verrrrry interesting…….

I can feel the edges of an opening in my chest, like a black hole or a pit that opens downward to the earth that I’m going to have to go through to get to the other side, reemerging into wholeness.

w-HOLE-ness.

Alone => all one.

Today’s post was inspired by this photo on Facebook – see, Facebook CAN be good. 😉

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Change

May 7, 2013

I saw today on Facebook that one of my cousins was surprised by some sudden changes in her life. I made a comment about better things coming.

A bit later I went to read my Daily Dose of Sanity, and the topic was… change!

Change is almost always frightening because the unknown is scary. But on the other side of fear is excitement – the potential for something new, stimulating, and even better.

The following is today’s excerpt from Alan Cohen’s book Daily Dose of Sanity. I’ve been reading it every morning for a few years now. I often find the entries to be oddly relevant and synchronistic.

Change always comes bearing gifts. – Price Pritchett

When I saw an ad for a valuable cell-phone upgrade, I called the phone company and placed an order. The agent told me that the response to the promotion was so great that there would be a 30- to 90-day wait for the phone. Okay, I can wait, I figured, and resigned myself to doing so. A week later while driving into town, I dialed a number from my cell phone. To my surprise, I received the message: “Your phone is not authorized for use. Please call the business office.” The business office had no clue why my phone would not function. My bill was paid, and their diagnostic test showed no problem. I talked to several agents, none of whom had any answers. “Try calling later,” they told me. I felt frustrated and confused, but I had no choice, so I decided to just table the issue for the moment. When I arrived home later that day, I found a FedEx box sitting at my doorstep. Inside was my new cell phone. I plugged it in, and it worked perfectly. The company had disconnected my old phone because it had transferred service to my new one.

If something in your life is not working anymore, do not fight to reinstate it or keep it alive. Hanging on to what has outlived its usefulness will create stress, confusion, and no real results. You will go in circles and only grow more frustrated. If you have to struggle or fight to keep an old thing going, it probably no longer belongs to you – and you do not need it. At some point your best move will be to simply let go and trust. Then marshal your energy in a forward direction. Quit focusing on what was, and focus on what is next. Ask yourself, “If that was not it, then what is it?” When you can tap into that answer, you will understand why the other thing had to go. Sometimes you have to release the old before you discover what the new is. Who knows, you might just find something better at your doorstep.

How might you make room for what is new and better by releasing what has outlived its usefulness?

Affirmation: I do not need to fight to hold on to anything. I trust and let the universe deliver my good.

My cousin has helped me through some huge changes in my life these past two years; I hope this reminder to trust will give her a bit of relief during the changes she’s now going through.

Love you cuz!

Look for the silver lining!

Look for the silver lining! Italy 2013

Work/Play

May 2, 2013

“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between their work and their play; their labor and their leisure; their mind and their body; their education and their recreation. They hardly know which is which. They simply pursue their vision of excellence through whatever they are doing, and leave others to determine whether they are working or playing. To themselves, they always appear to be doing both.”  

-Francoise Rene Auguste Chateaubriand

I want to live like this!!!

I’m getting closer. Today was a lovely mix of work/play. Which eventually will just be play. “Productive Play” I suppose would be a better term.

I’m still trying to upload yesterday’s video – It’s very very strange that every time I try to upload it to Youtube, it doesn’t upload the file I tell it to, it uploads Day 12’s fireside video. There must be a reason.

I’ve found in my life  that there’s a good reason when technology doesn’t cooperate with me. And it’s always in my favor. I’ve been saved from purchasing something I didn’t need to/the wrong thing on a number of occasions. Like at the end of the great Road Trip of 2011 when I tried to buy a $167 Amtrak train ticket from Boston to Washington DC. I made a number of attempts, but the Amtrak site wouldn’t accept my credit card. I eventually gave up and decided to wait til the next day to try buying the $167 ticket again.

That next day, while on a whale-watching cruise with a girl from Slovenia (or Slovakia?) who I was couchsurfing with, I met a woman who was celebrating her birthday. We got to chatting and over the course of the boat ride – during which we saw about 20 amazing humpback whales – this woman mentioned that her husband, sitting next to her, was a train conductor.

For Amtrak. And…. the train he conducted… went from Boston to Washington DC.

I am not making this is#t up.

Two days later, they picked me up and put me on a train to DC with him. For free.

The woman even made me a gift package – cookies, juice, a sudoku puzzle book, a pen and a journal. These people gave from the pure kindness of their hearts. It was a beautiful, magical, heart-opening experience for me.

And the point I started with was – if technology doesn’t want me to upload that video for you, fine. I trust there’s a reason. I’ll try re-editing it tomorrow, or just moving on.

So today, after work/playing on Academy affairs this morning, I took the rest of the day to follow blisses. It turned out to be a beautiful magical day. I feel intensely connected to myself, my soul – authentic, in-joy, in the Vortex, in the Flow. Intensely happy with life, with what I’m doing, with the Me that I’m becoming, with the open potential and possibilities of the future.

Clearing out half my clothing feels like it’s unblocked a lot of energy. OR, the energy was unblocked, enabling me to have the clarity to release so much. Chicken/egg/chicken/egg.

Also, rather unfortunately, my bedroom has been invaded by ants tonight. They’re big black and red ones, and they’re streaming in a crack in my window, crawling up my legs, across my keyboard, on my arms. I don’t want to smoosh them but I also don’t want to be bitten. So far so good. Every few minutes I’ll send one air-born from my arm or leg with a whoosh of air. I hope they don’t break legs or carapaces upon landing. Ok wait ants don’t have carapaces. Thoraxes, I suppose.

Like the Bumblebees, the Ants must have a message for me – so I went to Google Guru for answers.

Here’s the main message of Ant medicine:

“PATIENCE. Ant’s medicine is the strategy of patience.

Ant people are active, community-minded folks who see the greater future needs of their town. Ant people are planners, like Squirrel, and are content to see their dreams being built a little at a time.

If you have Ant medicine, you … are content in knowing that “what is yours will come to you.” This knowing is good medicine. It shows a trust in the Universe to provide. If Ant meandered into your spread today, it is time to show a little trust and patience in some life situation. You may have forgotten that you will always receive that which you need, at the time you need it most. It is not on the horizon or just around the next anthill, you may need to use some strategy. How can you put to use your power of creation until “it” arrives -whatever “it” means to you at this time? Ant is working for the good of the whole. Are you? If you are, be assured that the whole wants the same goodness for you, and that it will be provided.”

From http://scottfoglesong.printandwebdesign.com/32-ant.pdf

 

Well, I’m definitely working on building my dreams. And I’m definitely community-and-greater-future-minded. And Trust has been my main focus lately. Trusting that everything is working out, trusting that I don’t need to worry. And lastly, I’m definitely putting my powers of creation in, and things are shifting, things are happening…

From The Better Man Project

Happy LightLiving!

I start today’s video out by sharing my office view:

A hard day at the office...

A hard day at the office…

I got my first website clients! So excited!!!!!!

So continuing from the big wardrobe audit yesterday, I picked 5 items of clothing to release:

1.  White teeshirt – hand-me-down

2. White wifebeater tank top – had a friend bring these down to Argentina with her for me about a year ago.

3. Truth tank top – bought at Yoga West in LA; LOVE the affirmation (see below)

4. Purple long sleeve top – got at trunk sale ~4 years ago

5. Bald Eagle feather – gift

[I’m having video issues and have been unable to upload today’s video to youtube, but here are all my other videos in case you haven’t seen them]

It was interesting reading the inside label of #3, the white Truth tank top – I’d forgotten the affirmation it had on the inside, which was part of my reason for buying it in the first place; and this affirmation is EXACTLY what I’ve been doing lately:

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I was never comfortable being my authentic self with my dad. I would just shut down while I was around him, even into my late twenties. I began dealing with the situation energetically a few years ago, working on healing it on my end, and as I did that he began to contact me less and less, which was very interesting to observe. Now that he’s transitioned off this planet, I don’t have to deal with him anymore; but I still had the deeply ingrained, protective ego habits of squelching my authenticity, wisdom and power. No more!

My commitment to my own authenticity and expression has been tested this past month and a half. You see me go off in the video, slightly perturbed, about someone’s questioning as to why I haven’t taken Kriya initiation or Discipleship yet. The short answer: I don’t feel called to either, and I am following my heart. If my heart doesn’t give a big YES/I LOVE IT! then I’m not doin’ it.

I know that I still have some healing to work out around this topic due to my reactivity, but my whole healthy and beautiful empowerment and authentic expression thing is still fresh! I don’t need people trying to push me into conformity as I’m trying to overcome years and years of conditioning and fear to live my soul’s truth…

I also point out something I think is quite true: “Love is acceptance and appreciation, not judgement and unsolicited advice.”

A lot of people out there don’t know how to love.

And a lot of people out there don’t know how to love themselves.

Do you?

Transitions

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.

“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.” -Alan Cohen

Today I picked my first ‘five to release’ and ‘three to keep’ in my 30-day Challenge. Oddly enough, I discovered that picking the five to release was easier than choosing the three to keep.

The Five Releases:

1. An old black purse from Target that I’d kept so I’d have a decent-looking black bag for ‘nice’ occasions. But I never go to ‘nice’ occasions anymore, and I have my tan Mandarin Duck bag that’s nice enough if I ever do.

2. A box that someone gave me to store/organize jewelry supplies. It was originally a chocolate-covered date box from Abu Dhabi. The idea’s nice but it’s cardboard so not really sturdy enough.

3. A book called The Spirit of Prophecy from the Land of Assisi Refuge and Salvation by Massimo Coppo. A friend met this pilgrim man who was traveling through Assisi and selling this self-published book; to be nice he bought a copy, but since my Italian friend doesn’t read English very well, he gave it to me.  At first I was excited by the gift, hoping it would have some profound truths, or at least some crazy ravings. But it’s not very interesting. Here’s an excerpt, picked at random:

“Well, this is what Marcello later wrote about his retreat, in a note for which some priests had pressed him, and which he first of all submitted to his confessor (who wanted it to be given the title: Fragments of a prophetic story which the Lord is accomplishing inthe land of Assisi”): “On the 15th August 1981, the feast of the Assumption, I withdrew myself for forty days, as it were into the desert, in the former barn of a farmhouse at Rocca Sant’Angelo… I wanted to imitate Jesus, Moses and St. Francis.”

See? Boring.

4. A book called Un Indovino Mi Disse (A Fortune Teller Told Me) by Tiziano Terzani. This book sounds much more interesting. I found it in a book swap box by Santa Chiara church in the Bosco di San Francesco (St. Francis’ Woods).

“Warned by a Hong Kong fortune-teller not to risk flying for an entire year, Tiziano Terzani—a vastly experienced Asia correspondent—took what he called “the first step into an unknown world. . . . It turned out to be one of the most extraordinary years I have ever spent: I was marked for death, and instead I was reborn.”

However, I’ve had the book since November, and though I can read Italian, it takes a bit of effort, and if I haven’t read it yet I probably won’t. So I’m going to pass it on.

5. My very favorite very comfortable pair of Teva flip flops that I absolutely love. I think I’ve had these for five years (maybe more), and though there’s an ever-growing hole in the bottom of one of them, I still kinda want to keep them, just so I have a pair of flip flops for around the house. But I’ve decided to  toss them and make room for a new pair – otherwise I never really think I NEED a new pair, as I’ve still got these disintegrating ones hanging out.

The three things I love that I’m choosing to keep:

1. A journal my friend Kalyani gave me for my birthday last month.

2. A compass and hematite necklace that I made.

3. A golden Ganesh and citrine necklace that I also made.

The keepers were harder to choose than the letting go-ofs because I really only want to keep things that I LOVE. And I realized while looking around that I have a lot of items that I’m ambivalent about.

Though I’m already having doubts about what I’m releasing – What if I need a black purse? (answer: I can borrow one from someone). What if I can’t find comfortable flip flops so far from REI? (answer: I’ll be fine even if I don’t own flip flops right now). What if it turns out I do want to read ‘Un indovino mi disse’? (answer: I can get it in English via Kindle).

I opened to a random passage in another book that I’m keeping for the moment. Here’s some poignant wisdom from Paramahansa Yogananda:

“It is rare to see a truly “free” man. Most people think they aer free, while their minds are utterly fettered by psychological chains. These are harder to get rid of than ordinary chains; for in their subtlety they are difficult even to recognize, not to speak of how to destroy them! It requires a great deal of knowledge to cut those psychological restraints.”

– from Journey to Self-Realization

How relevant.

I’m very aware of my self-imposed limits to how free I am. I’ve freed myself from a lot these past two years, but it’s a continual process of letting go. I feel that this challenge will give me a final solid push through the paper chains of my fears. At least, I hope so!

Happy LightLiving!

Naming Myself (Part 1)

April 6, 2013

I was planning on writing about my name change – I’m now Maya Lila – but as I’m learning more about the words, it’s turning into a huge production. I could probably write an ebook on this.

The short answer: Maya is the sanskrit word for the illusion of duality and separation; Lila is sanskrit for divine play or game. The name Maya came to me last September as I was sitting in an olive tree, feeling sad and having a good cry. Later that day I shared the name with some people who still live in a rather fear-based paradigm (the word Maya scares them a bit) so they insisted I add something lighter, and suggested Lila – which is actually my favorite sanskrit word.

So this new name is a mantra, a reminder, for Me – THIS IS ALL A GAME. You’re a divine creator, a bubble of cosmic consciousness in a skin suit. Play. Have fun. Lighten up!

The word Maya actually has a whole bunch of other meanings and is generally misunderstood. So I’ll go into more depth in another post, and also expound on the philosophy of the name, which perfectly resonates with my life philosophy.

In the meantime, I’ll share a bit about the beautiful day I had yesterday:

In the morning I helped out with a children’s workshop at the Academy of Art, Creativity & Consciousness. The theme of the day was The Universe; I led the kids through some yoga poses (after sun saluation/moon/star, we moved on to animals… hey, animals are IN the Universe) and we showed them a video about our solar system and this AMAZING “Scale of the Universe” interactive game – click click click!!!. I translated everything into Italian and was impressed by my own ability to talk about Nebulae and Quarks in a foreign language. Woo hoo!

Kids Creating the Universe

Kids Creating the Universe

The kids here at Ananda are pretty amazing, much more able to regulate their emotions and focus than most kids I’ve worked with in the outside world.

In the afternoon a friend gave me a ride on his motorino, which ended up dying a few kilometers into the ride (the motorino, not the friend); luckily we were going downhill so we rolled along for a few more kilometers as I laughed my arse off, tried to distinguish sheep from goats, and enjoyed the rolling Umbrian hills and dramatic clouds.

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Eventually the motorino started up again and we got back safely.

Then I took a little nature walk. Spring is coming!!!

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Life is good.