Monday, November 27, 2017

Beauty Led Me To Compassion and Unselfishness

This morning as I was finishing my meditation practice, an exceptionally beautiful sunrise saturated the layered clouds in red and pink. I just gaped, knowing that when I opened my eyes again, it would have passed back into ordinary beauty. Which is still the kind of beauty that is mythical, quested for.

I drove my daughter to school this morning, left the dishes in the sink, walked the dog, thought about my weekly accounting that needs to be done, breathed the spicy and sweet air as we walked among the pepper trees and the citrus.

The gophers have been busy in one of the rows between the tangerines. Nature is always moving. What looked one way yesterday is different today. The census of bunnies and birds is daily changing as the hawks and owls and coyotes do their thing. Nothing can be paused, except on film, and yet we humans try--to capture and hold on to what we like and reject what we don't. I have been learning so many lessons lately that keep coming back to the good old four noble truths that Buddha taught.
1. Life is suffering
2. Suffering is caused by attachment
3. Suffering can be alleviated by releasing attachment
4. The way to release attachment is through meditation (and the 8 fold path).

This is so basic to everything. Any time I am suffering I have to remind myself. Like this morning--when it was an Olympic challenge to rise out of bed for meditation. It was attached to how easy it has been on other days, and therefore was grumpy and made it harder for myself.

But the most surprising thing this month of beauty questing has led me to is something that a first sight, seems like the opposite of beauty. When in Hawaii earlier this month a little book found its way to me and I started experimenting with a Buddhist meditation practice called Tonglen. Tonglen is a way of engendering compassion and getting out of selfishness. It is sometimes called the practice of transformation.

In this practice you turn everything upside down and instead of inhaling what you like and want and exhaling what you don't like, you do the opposite. You breathe in all the dark, ugly, negative, hurtful, claustrophobic emotions and thoughts and you breath out light and peace and calm and the desire to alleviate suffering. It's a 4-part process and you start personal but get wider as you go, so that soon you are breathing in not just your own suffering but that of others who are in the same situation, and breathing out the beauty and alleviation of that suffering.

It's actually a transformation that happens within. You are not emptying yourself of good and filling yourself with bad. I believe it gets one in touch with their own power to transform the dark into light and it connects us with others in a way that actually feels satisfying. We put up walls to others suffering out of natural instinct to grasp what we want and reject what we don't.  This practice breaks down walls, helps us connect with people in a way that we really wanted all along. It can be done in a sitting practice as well as in the moment, when the guy on the road cuts you off, or your 11 year old says she hates you. You inhale the hatred and the anger and exhale peace and a wish for healing of the wounds that create her suffering.  Instructions on how to practice Tonglen can be found here. Or you can google it. Pema Chodron has some YouTube videos.

I have been teaching Kundalini Yoga meditation for a long time, and I still think it's one of the most amazing and fast technologies for elevation and change, but I see a lot of people get a attached to the outcomes that it can and often does bring. I feel like a weekly or daily practice of Tonglen is a good way to keep balanced and remember that it's not just about making our own lives better. This is the kind of contemplation practice that led the Buddha to realize four noble truths.

I would love to hear your experiences with Tonglen.

Nam Joti Kaur

Friday, November 10, 2017

Beautiful Women in Kauai Saving The World Through Self-Love

Here are just a few insanely beautiful pictures of my Kauai retreat with so many beautiful women and beautiful memories. This year was as awesome as ever. And because I had so many inquiries on social media about when the next one will be and people saying they want to be there, I thought I would announce it now. For the last 3 years I have done the Kauai retreat in November, but next year I'm doing it in May! May 3-8, 2018. Give it to yourself or Christmas or Mother's Day, or just because, but register now so you get a space. I have a feeling this one is going to sell out quickly. This year I am offering pay in full and also deposit options to hold your spot. Click here to learn more or reserve your place. 

After yoga we took a dip.

Ke'e beach with the beauties

My Halo is super bright. Photographers never know what to do with it. 

Julie snapped this when I wasn't looking. I taught some yoga on the beach before we jumped in. Hideaways Beach.

This is where we stayed.... I had the tower room. 

Discovering new beaches.

Hiking with Rachel

This flower was bigger than my head.

Queen's bath never disappoints.

Hanalei Branch visit is optional, but always lovely.

Evening meditation at the Hale.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

A Year Of Insane Beauty

I just arrived in Hawaii--to the garden island of Kauai. I bring women here every year for a retreat to reteach them their own beauty.

Beauty is divine. It feeds the hungry soul.  I bring them here and give them permission to strip down to their true, shining and magnetic selves. We do it in Kauai because here, there is nowhere to run from the beauty. They sometimes try. But we saturate in it, until we realize it is us. And we remember.

And we may weep out everything we have carried that is not beauty. Even the tears are beautiful. They fall in our mouths and our ears and on our throats. Each one is a homeopathic remedy, healing the skin, the eyes, lips, throat. And it heals our inner hearing and seeing, so that the perception of aging changes, and when we leave, others see that we look younger. That we are shining, we are all but shooting sparks.

Not everyone can come to Kauai once a year (or more). Not literally. But the journey into beauty and remembering is essential. And everyone can do it by using the mind (imagery/guided meditation). This is the purpose of the mind--to link with the infinite. It is our most powerful tool in a world that is dying of forgetting.

The Universe has called me to go on a beauty quest. And you want to know all the details. Because already in just the words I have shared with you, it has ignited your primitive memory of what we all crave: heaven on earth, your own shining star/god/goddess within.

I anticipate that the quest will not be easy. We fear our beauty and we veil it because we are afraid of being seen. We are afraid of our abusers. And we fear our selves. Being like a star shining brightly--shining for the whole world to see--is vulnerable.

But I'm going to lean into that and trust that the light will dispel all darkness.

The month of November is a perfect time to begin. Everyone is already thinking about gratitude,  which makes the soil richer and ready for beauty to sprout everywhere.

So if you'd like to join me. I'm going to start with one month, and then a year of insane beauty. I don't know where this quest will lead me. But I'm going to start by including yogic beauty secrets in my daily practice. (If you don't know any yogic beauty secrets, you should really check out this Yogic Beauty Secrets course I made last year.)

I also vow to go on a power journey to someplace insanely beautiful once a week via imagery. (Pause for a quick plug about imagery: If you have never used or experience imagery for healing and transformation, I highly recommend it. I have trained 100s of people and I have a training starting in January. The training is like everything I learned in 1 year of hypnotherapy school and 8 years of practice condensed into a fraction of the time and fraction of the cost. You'll learn to help others but also you will personally experience about 10 years of healing in just a few weeks or months. But gently and beautifully. )

And I vow to only post things that are beautiful on social media. I also vow to use only internal dialog that explodes with beauty. Because even our thoughts create karma, attraction or repulsion, aging or reverse aging, etc. (I recorded this simple little affirmation track for kids a few years ago and I think it's the best way to practice having positive thoughts.)

I vow to let myself be noticed, and never ever diminish my own beauty.

If you want to join me, please do. I dare you. I invite you. I beckon you.
You can hash tag #ayearofinsanebeauty or just #beautyquest on IG and other media. I'll try to post often on my blog this month with lots of beauty and updates.