i found LOVE in a hopeless place

Yes. I found love in a hopeless place.  When I play the song "We Found Love" by Rihanna it lights up this very desired feeling. This delicious memory and ongoing learning.

I play it when I'm scared. I play it when I'm happy. I play it when I need a dose of courage {like when I was driving to teach my first Parliament Hill Yoga class for Lululemon}. It's the song I shared at a Lulu Ambassador Summit during a 'theme song' type group share/exercise. So rad. So right.

The layers are unending. It's also embedded in this #morningmusings moment I'd like to share with you.

It's about LOVE. But not the kind you'd expect.
 

Awesome n Visceral

I'm was watching this show called 'The Leftovers' ... and there's this scene in S1 E3 where a priest (and husband) carries his wife from bed to the bath. Barely any life in her eyes. Frozen. Lifeless. Limp limbs dangling from his arms as he carries her. 

As I watched, I felt my whole body begin to tingle. Shake. A full visceral experience. Uncontrollable tears started to flow down my face.

A remembering. A knowing. An un-foreshadowing foreshadow of an experience.

I can remember a phase in my recovery, a long one, when I would count down the hours and minutes til sleep time. Ice helmet on, drugs consumed, waiting for 7:30 or 8:00pm to arrive so I could go to sleep. A time that seemed to be the most seemingly acceptable hour to end one's day, and the only way I could make the next one possible.

I was lovingly tucked into bed. Yet it was laced with such bittersweet energy. It felt like the rest of the world kept moving, going, living. And there I was. Longing for relief. For sleep (which was rarely restful). Feeling like life was passing me by. 

I waiting until I could hear (my then husband) walk down the stairs, and would cry myself to sleep often.
 

Despised Longing

I hated it. Yet I longed to sleep. I longed to shut it all out. Being awake sometimes felt like this unbearable reminder of Old Kate, and Old Kate's life, capabilities, etc. I longed for the pain to stop, even if just for a couple hours til I tossed and turned myself awake. Over and over.

Day after day. Hoping the next day would be different. Better. More ease. More joy. 

While "in it" (in this phase of recovery), the next day never really felt different. It felt never-ending. An impossible climb. No improvements. 

Moments of relief, yes, but I either:: 
1. Quickly dismissed these moments because the whole wasn't "better", or didn't seem that way in the vacuum I chose to live in, 
2. OR, I eagerly filled. Then paid the price. More pain. More fatigue. More fog. Constantly playing catch-up (that is until I learned to live in the sweet spot, more on that another time).
 

Climbing out of the Vacuum

But the thing is, the day's DO add up. Time does pass. And all my efforts of healing, therapy, rehab, movement, meditation, doctors, specialists, faith AND ease (non-doing) stacked up. They're cumulative.

Little daily choices, in a seemingly hopeless existence, add up. They friggin do add up. 

Hope adds up.

Faith adds up. 

Awareness sets in.

Healing begins from within.

Resistance loses its luster.

Acceptance shows up, crumb by crumb.

We adapt AND we keep going.

Peace is possible.

Love is possible. 

Possibility is possible.

I found love where I didn't think it belonged or was possible. 
I found love in a hopeless place.
I learned to receive love. I learned to give love.
I felt love. 

And I keep learning. Every damn day.
Refining. Re-learning. New learnings.
 

LOVE.

Love. This magnificent power that lurks within each cell. Each misery. Each trauma. Each disappointment. Each seemingly impossible moment. 

The love that I felt as I watched that scene in The Leftovers, was unconditional love. True deep real love. Seemingly rare love. Not the kind we'd even choose (because societally we tend to chase romantic love and confuse the word love as being synonymous with that one type of love), but somehow is the most important there is.  

There are no words for how I grateful I am to know such love. And how truly committed I am to learning how to live in that state of being.

To be that love, to give that love, and to receive that love ... to/with/from the incredible souls who I am blessed to call my family & my 'family', as well as to/with/from those who I don't even know yet.

This capacity is unending. Unlimited. Unbounded. Unrestricted. Available to us all. And takes a whole heck of a lotta practice. Openness. Courage. Vulnerability. And a possibility mindset. To love with your wholeheart, even when it hurts. Even when it breaks. Even when it's hard.

A LOVE PROJECT is being born. Incubating. 

xo

#morningmusings

Did somebody say #FUELHAPPINESS

A wise person once said, "Take your P L E A S U R E seriously!"

Okay, that was actually team Lululemon, and one of the 8 limbs (tee hee) of their FUEL HAPPINESS campaign. This was their offering over the holiday season, building on the epic GIVE PRESENCE campaign from last year.

When the Ottawa Lemons shared the launch with me, I was like oh-em-gee ... not only was it divinely aligned my The Desire Map offerings + The Possibility Tribe, the HappinessHabits613 initiative (launched last summer with Manal & Amy), but it also supports + reinforces all that I stand for, how I intend to live my life on the daily, and what I set forth to offer in the world.

This stuff lights up my heart, my cells, my Soul.

WITH PURPOSE. ON PURPOSE.

This is ALL about life lived with purpose, on purpose. And not-so-much about getting tripped up in thinking that we have A PURPOSE, aka a singular purpose swirling around in the cosmos that we have to find and do and be, and the "Oh shit what is it?! I'm failing at life!" mindset that so many of us carry around. 

TAKE YOUR PLEASURE SERIOUSLY

Fun looks different for everyone.
Play looks different for everyone.
Joy looks different for everyone.

This is journey-driven, process-driven. Not about fixed or rigid goals. This is an active process. A daily process. An intentional process.

A co-creation between you and the universe, you and your mind, you and your heart, you and your body, you and your Soul/Spirit, you and the peeps you wanna co-exist with, you and the world. And it's an ever evolving work in progress, work of h'art!

In my {DESIRE MAP + YOGA} workshops we explore the notion that "feeling good is the primary intention", that feeling good is the whole deliciously divine point. Knowing how YOU want to feel is the most potent form of clarity you can have. Learning how to generate those feelings is the most powerfully creative, and quite frankly, the most powerful thing you can do in your life. 

SO, HOW CAN WE LEARN TO GENERATE OUR CORE DESIRED FEELINGS?

1. START HERE. Identify 2-3 things that reliably put a smile on your face - that bring you joy, that feel playful, fun? Overtime, we can do the same thing with more focus, more clarity aka with our Core Desired Feelings.

2. COLLECT. Give yourself a week or two {or more} to "collect" experiences + ideas. If it's a shit week, give yourself ttttiiiiimmmmmeeeee. But the thing about shit week's and so-called-shit-feelings is that they get us in touch with, you got it, FEELINGS. So sometimes it's a super juicy place to mine for the good stuff.

3. CAPTURE. Then, write 'em down lover. You're puttin' them in the I GOT THIS bank. This of it like your Soul's epic savings account.

4. COURAGE. You gots to be willing to interrupt the shitty thoughts, feelings, day. When we practice doing this, the ease in making this shift becomes smoother and smoother. Less resistance.

5. KINDNESS. There will be resistance. Be kind. Be curious vs. judgmental. You will 'want' to stay with the shitty feeling. Not consciously, no. Not intentionally, no. Not cuz we're pain-gluttons and want to suffer, no. It's a habit. A strong one. It's brain chemistry (negativity bias).

BACK TO FUELLING HAPPINESS

As part of the holiday launch of the #FuelHappiness campaign, I partnered with Lululemon Ottawa and kicked off a Random Acts of Kindness (get RAOK'd) project. Think of it like a ripple effect of loving-on our cOMmunity our OMmies. Reminding our Soul's how simple acts of love, kindness, generosity can be as powerful as any other epic thing we do in our lives. This goes for the people we love, work with, know deeply, AND the ones we barely even know, or don't know at all ... but yet, acknowledging that we are all walking this path together, having this human being experience together. The stories that flowed in from these 'random acts' blew my heart wide open. The creativity that radiated from the Lululmeon team as they came up with ideas to #FuelHappiness and spread kindness = mind + heart blown. 

We also hosted a Mindfulness Meditation Pop-up at the Rideau store, right at the peak of holiday shopping. Yes, a mindful mindset, mindful energy, mindful being is POSSIBLE. Anytime, anywhere. Meditation being another one of the 8 #FuelHappiness limbs. 

The list goes on!! 

What would your Random Act of Kindness project look like? Why wait?! Create your own little adventure, a social experiment, connection, love, kindness... it may just fuel your happiness, help you generate your core desired feelings, and start loosening the calcification around creativity and conscious creation of your own Core Desired Feelings!

WHAT'S MY POINT?!

Lululemon invested a ton of time + love + resources in building this #FUELHAPPINESS campaign ... and it lives on. Thank you!!!

Check it out. Soak in the awesome and see what resonates with you ::

http://www.lululemon.com/education/fuelhappiness

The resources are rich & delicious.

This whole human being thing ... it's an active process.

I believe, DEEPLY, that life doesn't happen to us. It happens for us.

When we choose to raise our awareness levels, observe, invest, and take aligned action we begin to actively engage, collaborate with, and choose to be conscious creators of our life -- living with purpose, on purpose.

What if we took our pleasure seriously, but didn't take ourselves too seriously? What might that look like? How might that feel?

xo

get NAKED & love-on yo'self

Yes. That's what I said. And mmmmmmm is it deliciously nourishing.

I'm talking about this ancient Ayurvedic practice, known as ABHYANGA (self-massage) or SNEHA, a Sanskrit word which means to love. Touch is powerful beyond words. As nourishing, healing, elevating, and activating as any other wellness practice there is. 


ABHYANGA :: Ayurvedic Self-Massage

Many believe that the effects of Abhyanga are similar to the feeling when one is soaked in love, the simultaneous experience of loving and being loved. 

Regular practice not only helps restore and balance all Dosha's, it is especially powerful to balance Vata. The list of benefits are vast, but here's a wee list to wet your Abhyanga appetite ::

  • Nourishes the entire body—decreases the effects of aging
  • Reduces pain, depression and stress by reducing cortisol levels, a hormone that rises when we are under stress.
  • Increases dopamine and serotonin, two brain chemicals that improve mental outlook
  • Improves the immune system and increases T-cells that fight cancer and viruses
  • Increases muscle tone and vigor to the tissues of the body
  • Lubricates the joints
  • Increases circulation
  • Stimulates the internal organs of the body
  • Assists in elimination of impurities from the body
  • Moves the lymph, aiding in detoxification
  • Increases stamina
  • Calms the nerves
  • Benefits sleep — better, deeper sleep
  • Enhances vision
  • Promotes hair growth - luxuriantly, thick, soft and glossy
  • Softens and smoothens skin
  • Pacifies Vata and Pitta and stimulates Kapha

the PRACTICE ... the RITUAL

1. Get very NAKED.

Naked is key. But you may choose to build up to this. I strip fully down so that I can truly connect to my physical body. To see me. To feel be. To connect with every curve, every part, every inch. Divine self-love. Divine self-care. AND, this can be hella challenging depending on your present headspace. 

Since this practice is infused with loving intention, it's important to have a mantra that aligns with your loving intention for the practice. Plant this seed in your head and heart space before you begin. Why? Well, this practice (and simply the practice of getting naked) can really crack open and expose self-talk patterns (I'm talking about the inner haters, the "itty-bitty-shitty-committee" that lives in our head). This is part of your Mindfulness practice. Awareness. Give yourself permission to greet whatever comes up - ALL of it - with compassion, with loving-kindness, as best you can.

Awareness building is not an easy road...so if its the first time you're consciously greeting these thoughts, it can be painful. If you're choosing to journey deep into self-healing and self-knowing, it can be divinely loving to consider connecting with a therapist or coach to help you process what is unearthed.

Feeling the feels is a powerfully creative, healing, and wicked learning opportunity. 

As Brene Brown teaches, we can't selectively numb feelings. When we numb the so-called "darker" emotions, we also numb or stun our capacity to access and feel the so-called "light" emotions. When we learn to befriend the more challenging ones, we crack open the door to the positive ones - our core desires in particular. 

2. Gather your SUPPLIES (modify + personalize as desired).

  • Towel/bath mat
  • Oil (Sesame, Sweet Almond, Coconut oil, etc... you can choose an oil based on your Dosha, or simply one that feels right to you)
  • Alter (I like to pull a few items from my main alter that symbolize, support, and attract whatever energy I want to infuse into the massage aka how I want to FEEL aka one of my Core Desired Feelings (CDFs); whatever it is that I'm choosing to generate that day)
  • Notebook or Desire Map Planner - this is a great way to capture thoughts, themes, repetitive thoughts, feelings, ideas, etc. that come up during your practice. The Planner is an amazing way to make that clear link between how you want to feel, and what you are going to do to feel that way!!! 

Note :: If you'd like a Planner (or any Desire Map / Danielle Laporte) stuff, let me know. When I place orders of 12 or more I receive a discount as a licensed facilitator OR I provide you with my special affiliate link to make an individual purpose. Muchos gracias!

3. Choose SILENCE or a PLAYLIST to guide the process + time.

Aim to give yourself 15-20 minutes - to get from head to toes. I mix things up, depending on the day. Sometimes I turn this into my meditation practice for the day and go for silence + breath + mantra. Sometimes I go for a Playlist. 

Today, I chose my Heart-Healing Soundtrack. Music is so powerful ... and I make a point of choosing theme songs to help process various life experiences that I'm going through. Sad ones. Happy ones. In between ones. Inspires me beyond belief. Massive mood shifters. And hey, belting out tunes is crazy cathartic!

If you choose silence, set a timer. My fave is Insight Timer (iPhone app), but any smartphone has the capacity to set a timer, complete with your own choice of tone or song. Pick something soft, loving, and nourishing (aka not jarring or alarm-y).

4. Begin the PRACTICE, the RITUAL.

  • Warm the oil - either by immersing the bottle in hot water, heating it on a low temp, or simply by vigorously massaging it in your hands
  • Lay down your towel or mat - consider having a dedicated Abhyanga towel or bath mat, since it can get oily
  • Sit or stand comfortably - I start sitting, then kneel, then stand, and end sitting
  • Make sure the room temp is comfortable - you are naked after all, so a little space heater can be a nice choice if you don't want to crank the heat house-wide
  • Start at the crown of your head and/or extremeties, and slowly work your way through the body in circular movements towards the heart - if you're having a shower after, include the whole crown and head (hair too), but if you're not planning to wash your hair, feel free to skip the scalp that day)
    • Face:: Massage in circular motion on your forehead, temples, cheeks, and jaws (always moving in a upward movement). Be sure to massage your ears and inside your ear, especially your ear-lobes
    • Limbs:: Use long circular strokes on the limbs (arms and legs) and smaller circular strokes on the joints. Always massage toward the direction of your heart
    • Torso:: Massage the abdomen and chest in broad, clockwise, circular motions. On the abdomen, follow the path of the large intestine; moving up on the right side of the abdomen, then across, then down on the left side
    • Feet:: Finish the massage by spending extra time massaging your feet, a very important part of the body and are covered in nerve endings/pressure points, etc.

Give yourself 5-15 minutes to soak and absorb the oil and the love deep into your tissues, all of body's layers. The timer or playlist is key so that you don't feel rushed or compelled to look at your phone. 

  • If you can, plan for a warm bath or shower afterwards. Aim to use a mild soap and only mild pressure, focusing more on key parts that need to be cleaned, while allowing the oil to keep doing its magic elsewhere. 
  • Towel dry gently. Lightly pat your body, mindfully, instead of rubbing vigorously.
  • Re-Nourish. Either using a light oil or delicious body lotion. Hempz is my go to!

5. Do YOU.

Make this practice your own. Invite all feelings, all movement, all thoughts to be present, to be experienced. Sing. Cry. Dance. Lay down and get your Savasana on.

Allow each day to be different. The practice, the ritual of it is the consistent part. The content doesn't have to be. When you're fully present in the experience, you're able to explore with curiosity, listening and allowing your body, heart, mind and spirit to guide the movement, the mantra, the breath, everything. 

As best you can, drop out of your head and into your heart. As you lovingly massage that beautiful body of yours, imagine that you're massaging the love of your life. Because, ultimately, that IS YOU. For me, this is the most dreamy non-sexual sensuality in the world. 

Open up that heart dear soul, open wide.

Feel it all.

And may you feel as wholeheartedly loved, nourished, and seen as I feel when I give myself the gift of this practice. 

xo Kate


LOVING-ON m'CELLS

gratitude on a whole new level

I'm LOVING-ON MY CELLS so much right now!! Yes, this takes my gratitude practice to a whole new level for me::

At the ‪#‎Blissology‬ Yoga Mind-Body Medicine Module, Dr.Lawrence Cheng talked a lot about what's happening in our bodies, down to the cellular level. Yes, I've sat through a lot of anatomy training, lectures, and learning...but this resonated at a different level.

This magical / not-so-magical, ecosystem is functioning at a level that our human brains can't even fully comprehend. Trillions of little miracle workers, living their dharma (awwwwww!!!) without question, without expectation, wholeheartedly day in and day out.

Cleaning, nourishing, recycling, optimizing, balancing, exchanging, collaborating, being born, moving on, and replicating perfectly, over and over again, right down to the last strand of DNA. I mean whoa.

Not sure what you're grateful for in this moment... ? Start here. 

How can align our thoughts, words, and actions so that we can wholeheartedly participate, collaborate, and integrate with this incredible miracle? With our incredible bodies {which, P.S. is the only one we get this lifetime}?

From the most alternative so called "woo woo" sources, to the most reputable {such as Harvard}, the research has never been more clear. Science and Yogic philosophy have never been more aligned. East meets West, West meets East, and everything in between. AND IT'S ONLY GETTING BETTER!! So where can we start?

Sleep.
Rest.
Nourishing, conscious consumption.
Mindful movement (Yoga).
Meditation.
Connection. Touch. Love.

Mmmmmm, that's a good start. xo _/\_

Let's tap into the wonderment and awe of the what and how this is all happening.

"...Each one of us is made of an estimated 100 TRILLION cells {only 25% of which are human}, that are then each made of an estimated 100 TRILLION atoms?

Inside the nucleus of each of your atoms are much much smaller protons rotating around each other at the speed of light - inside which are 10 to the 60th (a 1 with 59 zeros after it) much much much smaller packets of energy called Planck voxels (spherical Planck units), that make up the very fabric of space-time in an infinite holofractalgraphic 3D flower of life structure we call space.

So the next time someone asks you if you are busy, no matter if it is on the personal, physical, biological, chemical, cellular, atomic, sub-atomic or even at the Planck voxel level, the answer is always YES!" - Nassim Haramein


:: ON PAIN + MEDITATION and other musings ::

POOR ME ... a history

First, a little context building ... and then I will share a divine download. Keep reading.

There was a phase during my TBI recovery -- not sure how long it lasted, ... and if I'm being sacredly honest, there may still be some left in my system -- that we'll call "poor me". Yes, I'm talking about the "poor me", "this sucks", "why did this happen to me", "no one gets it" energy.

I'm sure there are some enlightened souls out there who do not go through this phase. I was/am not one of them. It's important to note, however, the experience of this energy is felt differently by each body, each mind, each human being. This is simply my experience of it.

For me, one of the main drivers of this energy I carried was an overwhelming sense that no one "gets it". Because it feels like "no one gets it" {p.s. thank God they don't really get it, as I'd never want anyone to be exposed to what this feels like}, FEAR starts taking over. The FEARS that takes over may sound like this ::

I will become/am a mega buzz kill for people I care about.
I make things hard for other people.
I am in inconvenience.
I am not trying hard enough. I'm making this up...
(the list goes on)

The last thing I ever wanted was to be a burden. To anyone. A fiercely independent soul from birth, determined to be able to stand on her own two feet ... not "needing" anyone. Ughhhh.

The thing is, when someone loves you they feel your pain, your hurt, your fear, your anxiety, your depression.

...and that can be heavy. It may also come at a bad time for 'your people' to receive and hold space for you. Pain, especially chronic pain, can be A LOT.

So the tendency is to distance. Isolate. Start spinning that same old 'record' in our minds. Over and over and over, we play these soul-sucking mantras {as listed in bold above}.

Overtime my thoughts started shifting. "How could pain have a purpose," I would ask myself? What are you here to teach me? ... How could I shift this energy? Harness this energy even? How do I want to feel instead?

My-oh-my what pain has taught me ... my how pain has been my teacher. I believe pain became my teacher through meditation.

meditation musings

I was recently in Santa Cruz to work with my teacher Eoin Finn. Although we were indoors training all day, I woke every morning and walked down to the beach for a sunrise stroll + meditation. 

Meditation is so many things for so many people. Different things for different people. Including F'n hard to sustainably practice, but epically nourishing when you do.

One of the gifts of my meditation practice are these "downloads". I call them my meditation musings :: Insights, thoughts, little sound bites that come from deeply listening. From getting out of my own way. Opening, allowing, receiving. Sounds kinda woo woo on the surface, sure. But this is anything but "woo woo". It's only woo woo, until you try it. Until you experience it. "How could something so simple on the surface, be so powerful?" our ego consciousness will ask. 

A meditation practice is anything but woo woo. It is deep deep deeply healing, transformative, sacred, and accessible to anyone, anytime, anywhere. 

These downloads or meditation musings are the result of something I affectionately call "creativity breaks". Yes. I always have a pen/paper/journal/iPhone nearby ... and I take a sacred pause during my practice if something particularly juicy gets downloaded. Sometimes the practice is to let them go, trusting that they will resurface. Sometimes I practice letting them go, trusting that they were only meant to be witnessed and released, but not actioned further. But ultimately my practice doesn't involve getting overly hung-up on statue-like complete-and-utter-stillness. Instead I give permission to pause, write/capture, then return to my practice.

This was one of my downloads on the beach...

ON PAIN. oh teacher.

Sometimes I think pain has this capacity to accelerate or accentuate or deepen access to learning, insights, wisdom, maturing. If you let it.

It is in those dark moments of the soul, when truths step into the light to be seen. They, these truths, step into the light in many many many ways. Yes yes yes.

After what I've learned about the human body-mind system, there is never (or very very rarely) just one way or one reason for things. Which is both brilliant by design {high five to the creator of human beings} and maddeningly brutal for science/doctors/our minds, who want a 1+1=2 formula for all things in life. 

But because of this, it {PAIN} is like a gift from the Gods, the Universe, the Divine, Life.

They are presenting you with pain as a teacher, a lesson ... for growth, evolving, transformation, love. And I'm talking about all forms of pain -- physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, energetically, etc...

IF, of course, you choose to step into it, and truly move with/through it. IF you take this path ... the reward, the gift is this integration. This harmony. This resonance. A union. A greater sense of wholeness. An understanding. The truth of it all. Or at least more insight and clarity to keep exploring, to keep going, to keep growing. To keep making sense of it. To feel more deeply connected to yourself, to each other, to mama nature, to your purpose.

To access the gifts hidden within PAIN. 

Pain seems to be such an important teacher for beings, that I've begun to believe that even self-imposed pain {which is often completely unconsciously self-imposed} happens for this same reason. This unconscious aspect of human nature to create growth. To create purpose. To move into greater clarity. 

This all simply makes more sense-ness to me now.

Has anyone experienced this? Agree or disagree with this?

moving towards PEACE

It is during moments like these when I become acute aware of:

1) The disturbances I feel in my own energy system, in my own body, as it relates to pain, 
2) The ripples that pain can cause both in our own lives, and the lives of those around us, and
3) A sense of peace from this increased understanding, from releasing the resistance to it, and inspiration to bring this enhanced awareness, insight and mindfulness back into my choices, actions, reactions, and life.

The crazy thing? Is that in this very act, this very experience of love, of rest, of quiet stillness, of understanding, of acceptance, of hope ... we also shift our nervous system into a state of healing. Which has the capacity to shift pain. And there we are, full circle AWEsomeness.

xo

I'd love to hear from you! Has anyone experienced this? Agree or disagree with this?


I've got my mind on the MANTRA & the mantra on the MIND

{MANTRA + MALA} These are two of my favourite healing + meditation tools. Powerful. If you're having a busy-distracted-mind-kinda-day, bust out your mala and/or favourite mantra and mix things up. It's also a great way to ease your way into a meditation practice, and I'll tell you why.

If you really want to get your mind on board, use your mala + mantra. Without getting too sciencey, your whole body is mapped out on the brain {it's called a cortical homunculus - Google it to learn more!}. Short story = each part of your body is allocated a certain area and focus/attention. Some parts have been allocated a bigger area ... your hands being one of them. This is one of the reasons why {MUDRA} can be such a powerful addition to your practice. Using a {MALA} works in a similar way!

When the {BRAIN/MIND} has something to focus on, there is less space for less nourishing, unhelpful thoughts, or simply thoughts in general. mmmmm white space.

The combination of your hands/fingers + a mantra can really fire up your practice, bringing you deeper, calmer, and more focused in a shorter period of time.

Then, once you're in the zone, you can gently relax into stillness and breath. Allowing the mala + mantra to take a backseat. The possibilities are endless!! 

Mala Meditation

1. Get yourself a Mala :: This is tres personal. If you're tapped into your intuitive Soul, let it do the choosing. If you can shop for one in 'real life', hold it, feel it, listen, let it pick you. If you're shopping online connect with a maker that speaks to you. What are their sourcing practices (e.g. where do they buy their beads, etc.), do they have a philanthropic heart, are they local? What matters to you? What type of crystals or materials are being used? Perhaps choose qualities that you most want to attract and cultivate in your life.  

2. Prepare to Practice :: I'm a bigggggg fan of ritual. One of my favourite practices is called "Just one Thing". It's ideal for the procrastinators out there (ahem, I speak from experience), or if you're just starting your meditation journey. Whether you have an alter or not, just take one step at a time ::

- I'm just going to hold my Mala
- I'm just going to light my candle
- I'm just going to light some incense
- I'm just going to sit on the bench
- I'm just going to go for a walk, sit down, lay down, whatever
- I'm just going to turn on my fave meditation music
- I'm just going to close my eyes
- I'm just going to breathe

... you get the idea. Just one thing at a time, until VOILA!, you find yourself practicing.

3. Holding your Mala :: Drape your mala in whatever hand is most comfortable. Lay it over your middle finger, starting at the "Guru Bead" - which is usually the biggest bead, hanging at the front/bottom of your mala, often with a tassel below it. As you breath or chant your mantra {silently or outloud}, use your thumb to move from one bead to the next. Again, a full breath can be 1 bead, or you can break the inhale and exhale into 2 beads. Freestyle my sisters & brothers!! Just freestyle. It's gotta feel good. 

4. Begin :: Close your eyes. Feel your breath. Bring your full awareness into THIS moment. And begin. As best you can, don't over complicate it. Remember, as Patabhi Jois said, Yoga is 1% theory, 99% practice. I'm a huge advocate of just starting and smoothing out the wrinkles as you go. 

Inhale, one bead
Exhale, one bead  {or inhale & exhale on the same bead)

OR

Inhale mantra
Exhale mantra

Either repeating the same mantra for the whole breath, or break it into two parts {one for the inhale, the other for the exhale}. Whatever feels right; this is YOUR practice.

Be curious.
Experiment. 

Get creative.

What's your Favourite Mantra?

I'm a Mantra junkie. The more I learn and read, the more I fall in love. The depth and history and richness behind the traditional mantras light me up from the inside.

What's your favourite??!! Please share with me in the comments below.

That being said, you can also create your own ::

1. Ask yourself :: what do you most want to cultivate? In your practice, in your life? 
2. Ask yourself :: what do you most want to release, surrender, let go of? What is no longer serving you? 

Then, Inhale 1, Exhale 2. For example, I inhale EASE, I exhale TENSION. Symbolically {and kinda literally} inviting in what you most desire with your inhale, and then releasing that which no longer serves you with your exhale. In. Out. Mmmmmm.


Let's practice. 

xo


Catch the {SUMMER BREEZE} MALA GIVEAWAY

Kate N MalaRae want to play!!

The Universe is always delivering just what you need. Not always when you need it...but in this case, she delivered right on time. I've teamed up with beautiful soul, Kyla aka MalaRae to bring you an OMazing giveaway!

For the next 30 days, we’re running a breezy, beachy, beYOUtiful giveaway! One lucky soul gets to hold onto a piece of summer all year long! This giveaway is fueled by local love, sustainable creations, and celebrating beautiful souls doing incredible work.

Wanna play? The possibilities are outlined below. Participate between Aug 20 - Sept 20, and the {Summer Breeze Mala} could be yours!

Bonus :: We believe in the power of karma and the ripple effect of giving back. As part of this giveaway, we will be donating the value of the Mala ($$) to MotherCraft, a wholehearted local organization that supports woman and families in the Ottawa area. In fact, MalaRae donates a portion from every sale to MotherCraft, so you can always feel good about wearing our designs. Learn more about what MotherCraft does for your community here: http://malarae.com/giving-back.

Here are the waves of ways to enter + the more ways you play, the better your chances. Numbers 1 & 2 are a must, the rest are bonus :

1.LIKE/FOLLOW us on Instagram & Facebook
@kateudurie + @mala.rae
AND/OR https://www.facebook.com/kateunderhilldurie + https://www.facebook.com/malarae108

2. TAG AWAY & get your BFFs to play
Go to our Facebook or Instagram accounts and find any of our posts related to the giveaway + tag 3 friends

3. SHARE
Go to our Facebook or Instagram accounts and find any of our posts related to the giveaway + share with hastags #kateNmalarae + #giveaway

4. Subscribe to our NEWSLETTERS
katedurie.com/newsletter
malarae.com/newsletter

5. VISIT US for 5 bonus entries!!!
Visit Kyla at Mystical Event, booth (#28) between September 18-20 at the EY Center, mention the giveaway + your name.
Visit Kate at one her Yoga classes & mention the giveaway + your name!

The FINE print::
This giveaway is open to Ottawa/Gatineau area residents. Everyone else can participate, but the shipping cost is not included. Winner will be announced on Sept 21, 2015.

We are so excited for this contest and we hope you are too!!
Share. Love. Flow. Play.

Kate & Ky xo


The WISDOM in LOSS

Why is it that LOSS is such a brutal & brilliant teacher? Time after time. It simply is. It's part of this human being experience thing. Life is not a straight line. On purpose. For a purpose.

I affectionately call LOSS a "Ganesha Moment". Ganesha being the Hindu god, also known as the remover {& sometimes placer} of obstacles, and, perhaps ironically, the lord of beginnings.

This week, I watched "Still Alice" (starring Julianne Moore) on Netflix. Heard about the upcoming film "Concussion" (starring Will Smith), and someone shared a link to "I Am" (documentary by Tom Shadyac), which I watched earlier on in my #TBI recovery). 

The common thread here? SOOO many things! But here's a few::

1. LOSS
2. THE BRAIN
3. INSIGHT, TRANSFORMATION, LOVE, TRUTH...PURPOSE & POSSIBILITY, AWAKENING.

I am more clear than ever of the connection between YOGA & BRAIN HEALTH. Clarity, healing, peace, purpose, possibility. Life lived with purpose. On purpose. In service. To YOU. To all beings. To the world. The brain can be the catalyst for this. The mind can be the blocker of this. 

If you haven't seen these films. Please do!
And then we wait in anticipation for Concussion. 

In the meantime, let's connect the week of SEPT 14th to explore {YOGA for BRAIN HEALTH}::

1. Join me for Parliament Hill Yoga- Lululemon, WED. SEPT 16, 12-1. Parliament Hill front lawn. FREE. This is a community Yoga class I designed with brain health in mind + will be accompanied by a crew of community resources in attendance to answer questions. Event details here:: https://www.facebook.com/events/477201929103445/

2. Join me for YOGA & YOU for Brain Health, SAT. SEPT 19, 9-10:15am. Tabaret Lawn. FREE. This is a community Yoga class. Any and all are welcome. This is being offered by the BRAIN & MIND Institute at the University of Ottawa as part of "Brain Health Awareness Week", being declared by Jim Watson before our yoga class, and part of a larger and incredible initiative. Event details here:: http://brainhealthawarenessweek.ca/yoga + check out the lecture series being offered each night that week!!!

Questions? Please reach out ... kateUdurie {at} gmail {dot} com OR visit my contact page.

xo Kate

How do YOU WANT to feel?

How do YOU WANT to feel? { E A S E } is one of my Core Desired Feelings. Which, when you live with chronic pain could be seen as an impossibility. Somewhere along my journey, I learned to see it as pure P O S S I B I L I T Y. As they say, when nothing seems sure, everything is possible. But, to generate this feeling requires::

> Pause
> Clarity
> Creativity

And I promise you ... we ALL have this capacity. Yes. YOU DO.

The thing is, we can get so caught up in the suffering, in the story, in our victimhood, in the darkness, in the comparison, in the struggle, in the rehashing/reliving/rewishing things were different than they are. This is a trap. A loop. Like a record skipping, over and over again. I also believe it's part of the process. It needs to be felt, witnesses, then moved. Forward.

I want to feel E A S E.

During weeks of headache insanity ... I continually seek out ways that I can generate this feeling. Good days. Bad days. All days. It's in the practice. The consistency. The ritual. The regularity. That magic begins to happen. 

One of tools in my E A S E toolkit = ICE HELMET!!! 

Today, Ganesh also came to my rescue after a loving meditation sesh together. Seeing the obstacles, the teachers, and asking for guidance & support, courage & creativity to remove them.  mmmmmmmm

How do YOU want to feel? How could you generate those feelings
T O D A Y?

_/\_ xo

Making SoulFULL Choices Starts Here

Ever felt helpless, hopeless, or just plain stuck?

Stuck in a job, a relationship, a situation, a project, a gig, a home
...any aspect of your life?
Feeling like you've gots no control?
Feeling like there’s no way forward?
Analysis paralysis = paralyzed. Overwhelm leads to = apathy.

 I say NO MORE! You with me? Let's do this!

Whether you realize it or not...
You're stilling making a decision. You're still choosing, something.
But it may not be pointing you in the direction you desire.
In fact, it may be keeping you stuck.

What if we started to choose consciously?
Wide awake choices. With full awareness.
Lit up with ease, courage and clarity.

Lissa Rankin uses this great example, and it goes like this:
You're in a job (I'm paraphrasing here) that is sucking you dry and draining you of your soul's integrity. You feel like you have no choice but to stay. You need the money. Right?

I'm asking you to look closer.

In this scenario you're still making a decision. You’re still choosing.
You're choosing security over integrity, security over happiness, security over _________.
You get the idea.

We make trade-offs like this all the time. Usually unconsciously. So this is where we start!

As soon as we realize we have a choice, we can pause, open it up, and choose again. Be curious and check in with your IGS (inner guidance system), then pay close attention to what hurts and what feels good -- in your body, your heart, your gut, your soul. Take time to simply notice, watch, observe, feel.

The key at this stage is to be curious vs. judgmental.

It's easy to get all judgey, but this just keeps you stuck.
So... ditch the judgment and choose curiosity instead.
Stay here for a while, instead of rushing to any outcome. Just listen, notice, watch, feel.

Getting back to our example. Make no mistake, security is NOT the enemy. It may very well be your true north!

What are YOUR Core Desired Feelings?

This is where it all begins and how we keep coming home.
If security is one of your CDF's, then a big reframe of your perspective will change everything.
If security is NOT one of your CDF's, then a step back, desire map, choose again plan is in order!

Turn to your Core Desired Feelings.
Then come up with a plan.
Figure out how to generate those feelings within existing choices, or choose again, make new choices, different choices.

Do you know how you want to feel?
Do you know what you want?
Why do you want what you want?
Psst.... it always starts with a feeling.

Fear will confuse. Fear will also speak loudly.
Squeaky wheel gets the oil as they say, but no more!!
Fear will avoid uncertainty and loss and growth at all costs.

Getting back to our example, it comes down to this question:
"Does certainty and security come at the expense of your health, happiness, life purpose, and financial potential?" When it comes to work/job/career is security your core desired feeling? And does this job generate that feeling?

Every dilemma of choice, dilemma of purpose, soul, calling... comes down to this same question, only the variables change.

How does your fear show up? Where do you feel stuck, choiceless?
How does this {choice} feel?

{DESIRE MAP + YOGA}

This was my answer. This is my process.
This is a key that unlocked possibility, ease, flow, and joy.

The answers ARE within you. Sometimes we just need a little help mining for gold.

Let's invest.

When a bunch of wholehearted souls get together to do this work...we become powerful archeologists of the soul, and we light up our lives in the process.

Let's do this!!

THIS Saturday, May 23 from 1-4pm is the {INTRO} Workshop
3 hours of Meditation, Yoga, Desire Mapping, and h'Art to light the spark!

OR ... go all in!!

June 19-21 is the {LEVEL 1} Workshop & Urban Retreat at PranaShanti. This workshop also falls on Summer Solstice, which is a powerful time to release that which no longer serves, set intentions, and manifest that which you most desire.

Details + Registration links:
katedurie.com/workshops

Here's to oceans of possibility,
xo Kate

--------

For more inspiration on making big decisions in a soul-anchored way, with no regrets, check out Lissa's article:
http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-18796/10-ways-to-make-big-decisions-youll-never-regret.html Lissa is the author of The Fear Cure, as well as an incredible human being, wise soul, and masterful writer.