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Developing an Unshakable Mindset

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Living in faith and minimizing fear is arguably the most important foundation for a peaceful and happy life. This, however, can be quite a challenge as we’re constantly bombarded with options and challenges that make us question every moment and decision of our lives, leaving us riddled with fear and anxiety on a daily basis.

Working to find a calmness of spirit and faith in the journey aligns us with our true nature and equips us with an unshakable mindset.

Those who are firm in their mindset stride forth into life without letting the unknown get them down. This unwavering strength in pursuit of their goals comes from the cultivation of a deep inner trust.

For some people, this mindset appears God given. They seem to have been born with an innate fearlessness, and a positive and buoyant disposition, while others grow up shy and worrisome. For those who are not naturally extroverted, moving towards a fearless mindset can seem like an almost impossible task.

Worry and concern can drive our decisions and hold us back from truly walking towards that which will ultimately bring us joy and actualization. It can feel safe to wear worries as a cloak to protect us from the trouble that looms. In truth, however, worry is no more a cloak than it is a magnet, attracting pain and even creating our own suffering.

The way to move towards our strength and out of our fears is through courage. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the recognition of it and the confidence to move forward nonetheless. Courage comes from the Latin root cor, meaning heart. Thus, to live in courage means to live through our hearts.

Courage gives us strength through openness, and when we live with an open heart, the oneness of the world becomes available to us. This enables us to call forth our divinity and align us with our true nature. By being in touch with our true self we move closer to a purer and more whole version of ourselves; it puts us in communion with nature and our own inner enlightenment.

It’s impossible to live through our hearts and in faith when we live in fear of the unknown. The unknown will always exist; it’s getting to a place of acceptance and trust that enables us to live in freedom.

The key in all of this is to have patience with the process. To actively and consciously work towards the goal on a daily basis, to be gentle on ourselves, and to know that we are in complete control of our own experience here on earth. Ways to achieve this include detoxifying physical movement, practicing conscious thought, and right eating.

Specifics to come next article in Pt 2: Strengthening Your Core to Live Through Your Heart

Photo by Azrul Aziz

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That Which You Seek Lies Within

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I think about God a lot. Not in a heaven and hell, old man in the sky sort of way, but in a deep reverence for the power that keeps the planets in orbit and the stars in the sky sort of way. I’ve learned, through much reading, research and practice, that this very same power lies within each of us.

Yes, the power that turns the fetus into the baby and the bulb into the rosebush is the same force that each and every one of us as humans carries within. The difference between humans and animals or plants is that we have the power to say yes or no, and that we are at the effect of the mortal realm. The mortal realm makes us forget that which we truly are, which is a perfect creation of the divine.

Excuse me for getting so mystical, but this truth is nothing short of spectacular.

If you look at a baby, it’s generally joyous and at ease and playful. That is the true nature of us all, but heartbreak and bills and mean bosses make us forget this, and as we get older the burdens of life seem to outweigh the pleasures. The purpose of life is to remember the joy that we were created with; it is to adjust our perceptions to be open to the miracles that are available to us at every moment.

Our lives are up to us to create, of course, and seeing the beauty of life is not foolish, it is profound.

Dwelling in the negative, asking why me, or letting suffering get the best of you simply gives power to that which is concerning you. Adversity builds character, and recognizing difficulties as tests enables you to learn and grow. Maintaining a ‘beginner’s mind,’ that which is open and flexible instead of rigid and closed, allows you to ebb and flow with the tides of life.

Life is messy. That’s just the truth, and you can fight it or you can accept it. No one has it perfect, all we can do is our best. It is by that which cannot be taken away that we must define ourselves.

That which cannot be taken away comes from within.

Life, especially in the United States, is defined by our accomplishments. Accomplishments are extremely important. They build self-esteem, they let us explore and display our best qualities, and they have the power to make the world a better place. However, have you ever accomplished something only to find that the completion of it leads you to yearn for the same thing you wanted when you started out?

Making a certain amount of money, buying a home, and tying the knot – things our culture trumps as its highest values- tend not to deliver the joy and satisfaction they seemingly would. If they did, we’d have a lot less depression, divorce, and dissatisfaction in general. Ever met anyone who seems like they have it so good, then come to find out how sad, confused and lost they feel? Try reading a tabloid.

While taking care of our outer life is critical to our financial stability and worldly obligations, taking care of our inner life sets the stage for us to be happy no matter how much or how little we have. And, if you’re reading this right now, I’m telling you, you’ve got a lot.

Ok, back to God. Or creation, or Mother Nature, or the universe, or whatever word makes you feel comfortable. It lives within you.

There is a story that God used to live on the earth, but every day humans would come to him with their troubles. One person would ask for rain, and another would ask for sunshine, and it was impossible to please everyone. So he decided to go to the highest mountains, but climbers found him. So then he decided to go to the moon, but then space travel found him. So then he decided he would live within man, because man would never find him there.

That which you seek lies within. The peace, the power, the mental fortitude, the joy, it’s all within. It’s not in the ‘right’ home, or the ‘right’ person, or the ‘right’ mega-yacht. It’s in you.

Go inside. Spend time alone, in silence, and yes, in meditation. True happiness is properly manifested through physical and mental soundness.

At a time when religion seems to belong to extremists, it’s important to discover the truth for yourself. Having faith doesn’t mean leaning on something or discriminating others for taking a different path. It means tapping into your oneness with this planet, and recognizing that we and the birds and the rocks and the trees are all created of the same matter.

God is not a force to watch over and punish you, it’s a divine energy that can be accessed at any point to heal, uplift and guide you.

Be grateful for your health, your home, the sun and the sky. It may sound simple-minded, but a simple mind is one free of drama and free of delusion, both of which make this beautiful life a harsh one. If you have pain, look at it. It’s there to teach you something. If you feel lost, do something. If you don’t feel heard, use your voice to help someone who really doesn’t have a voice. There is always a direction to go. Inward is a good place to start.

Photo by Sebastian Boguszewicz


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Sorry Not Sorry: 6 Habits Every #GirlBoss Needs for Living at the Top

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1. Do you

Workout, have your nails done, get lots of sleep, do things that make you feel good. Properly taking care of yourself prepares you to show up fully for other people. We often treat others better than we treat ourselves, which is nice in the short run but detrimental in the long term. It’s true that you can’t share with others what you don’t give to yourself, and your best self should be your primary interest. This kind of selfishness doesn’t advocate ignoring our responsibilities or stepping on others to get ahead, it means taking care of your own human needs so that you can show up 100% for life.

2. Don’t apologize

Everything you do should be done with complete conviction. You know yourself and what you stand for, and don’t feel the need to seek approval in every activity. Because you seek to be understood, you always take the opportunity to explain your position or action if needed, but you never back track or have to apologize for what you’ve done. You’re firm in your heart and mind and trust your intuition.

3. Eat like you love yourself

Your body is your biggest ally when it comes to being incredibly successful, treating it as best as you can gives you the energy you need to head to the top. This means eating whole foods filled with the harmonious and powerful vibration of the earth, and cutting out toxic products with artificial ingredients, being conscious of how your emotions and habits play into your relationship with food. Eating pure, vibrant food nourishes your spirit and gives you the fuel you need to be your best self.

4. Don’t hate

Talking badly about, being jealous of, and judging others makes you look weak and unkind, which, ahem, probably isn’t far from the truth. It’s easy to see other people’s flaws, because as humans we have a lot of them. Seeing the goodness in others is a lot harder. Recognizing people for their strengths brings the best out in people, and helps you develop sincere and lasting relationships. Being the person that sees people in their best light gives you an immediate aura of authority. It removes petty drama from your consciousness, opening up space for higher and more productive forms of thought, like pursuing your goals and creating success.

5. Practice forgiveness

Being angry or holding a grudge only harms one person: you. Processing your emotions in regards to a painful experience is a necessary part of mature human growth. So is letting it go. Dwelling on the past or holding other people responsible for your unhappiness or mistakes that they made only detracts from your ability to release hurt and move forward. Everything we experience is a test. We can chose to suffer, or we can learn from those tests and be grateful for them. Choosing gratitude makes you soar.

6. Get comfortable being alone

Silence and alone time are critical to your personal and professional success. Being comfortable in your own presence enables you to let your inner wisdom speak and come forth. The human mind has a lot of doubt, but the human body has a lot of wisdom. Removing the distractions that come in the forms of noise and other people gives you the space to access that wisdom.

Meditation is the best way to do this, but starting out can be difficult, so doing solo activities is a good place to begin. Yoga, hiking, ocean swimming, or spending an afternoon in a new part of town are all great ways to enjoy your own company and watch your thoughts. The more time we spend in silence the more we can control our reactions to things, and create a deep and undisturbed inner peace. Developing a practice of stillness and quiet protects you from being at the effect of the ups and downs of life. It also improves your self-esteem and reduces doubt and anxiety, helping you to access the knowledge that you have the power and ability to create the life of joy that you want and deserve.


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Eat Your Way to a Glowing Complexion

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Your skin is a reflection of your inner health. Creams, serums, and lotions work to a certain degree, but creating beautiful skin from the inside out is a sure fire way to a glowing complexion. By incorporating foods with the right nutrients into your diet, your skin will be clear and bright, and wrinkles and signs of aging will diminish. Look for foods with the following nutrients and your skin will transform beautifully.

1. Beta-Carotene

Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that gives the yellow-orange pigment to certain foods making them so rich in color. The human body converts it into Vitamin A, or retinol, crucial for skin health. Beta-carotene helps stimulate cell regeneration, which reduces wrinkles and improves skin color and texture. It also minimizes the effects of environmental damage from the sun and external pollution.

Sources in nature:

Carrots

Sweet potatoes

Persimmons

Squash

Kale

Spinach

2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omegas are extremely important in hydrating your skin and regulating oil production. If you’re feeling dry and flaky (especially in winter months), incorporating quality sources of omega-3s into your diet can really help. Omega-3s are extremely anti-inflammatory and can soothe skin conditions like rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema. They can prevent the destruction of collagen and increase resilience to internal and external threats.

Sources in nature:

Coconut Oil

Avocados

Olive Oil

Hemp seeds

Flax seeds

Fish oil

Walnuts

Leafy greens

3. Vitamins C and E

These vitamins are imperative for a bright and glowing complexion. They increase collagen growth which gives skin its elasticity and protects against wrinkles. They can actually prevent your skin from harmful effects of the sun, and potentially reverse sun damage including age spots. Incorporating them into your diet will help you restore and maintain youthful skin.

Sources in nature:

Lemons

Grapefruits

Strawberries

Almonds

Spinach

Asparagus

Photo by Steven Spassov

 


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Why Yoga Heals Everything

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A yoga class is basically just one big fat metaphor for life. It’s not only a physical practice, but the act of using breath and movement to tap into your subconscious to rewire the way you process relationships, situations, and emotions.

Holding challenging, physically active positions is a way of hacking your brain and recalibrating the body’s reaction to stress. While the way we respond to challenges is deeply ingrained in us, yoga is the opportunity to examine our natural reactions and actively change them. When we do this on the mat, we raise our consciousness and naturally begin to reexamine other areas of our life.

We all know that negative emotions and stress can make us emotionally and even physically sick. Yoga helps us retrain the way we cope with challenges and provides us with tools to control our emotions and stress levels in a healthy and mindful way.

Continue reading… 


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No Excuses: 4 Ways to Get it Tight this Month

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For many of us, getting a solid workout in five days a week just isn’t doable. While getting your ass kicked in an hour and a half long plyo class is a great way to get fit, there’s a lot of things you can do to get a hot bod without having a crazy workout regimen. Try these out for an efficient way to tone up without killing yourself.

1. Take 20 minutes

Short workouts are effective, especially when the thought of an hour at the gym is more daunting than the Monday after Coachella. Just commit to twenty minutes of cardio, Pilates, abs, yoga, whatever. There are amazing workouts all over the Internet you can do from the comfort of your home, so look some up and see what you like. Udaya.com has a great selection of yoga classes with varying lengths and focuses.

2. Multitask

Put the treadmill on a super steep incline and climb while you catch up on that proposal you have to read by Thursday. Have an interesting talk you’ve been meaning to listen to? Put it on and take a jog around your neighborhood. Do your arms while you’re on the treadmill so that you have to spend less time at the gym. One to two minute holds with light weights while walking will lengthen and tone your muscles really nicely. It will also help get your heart rate up higher so you’ll get more out of your cardio.

3. Stretch and breathe

Whatever yoga poses you know, start practicing them now. Yoga elongates all of your limbs and your spine, and the twisting poses are great at carving out your core. It also connects you deeply with your body and helps eliminate toxins that build up over time.

Physically, breathing deep into your stomach strengthens your core, and tones your abdominal and pelvic muscles. It’s also great in reducing stress and anxiety, and helps increase your energy and focus.

4. Eat light and easily digested foods before and after exercise

A semi-recent trend has been to workout on an empty stomach. While this can be harmful to your body and your workout, eating light before and after you exercise can be very beneficial to you.

Try having something light but nourishing about thirty minutes before exercise, like dates, a grapefruit, or a banana. The nutrients will be absorbed quickly, and become readily available to fuel your workout without weighing you down. After working out try a juice that has kale, spinach, and ginger. The greens will re-oxygenate your blood and organs, and the ginger will reduce inflammation. Because it’s a juice, your body will easily assimilate the nutrients while actively and quickly recovering.


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5 Super Skinny Habits

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Diets are dumb. The only way to get healthy and lean is to develop sustainable habits that support your goals, and keep your system free of toxins so that it can function at its most efficient capacity. Here are some habits that will certainly lend to that.

1. Switch your milk

Cow’s milk is intended to grow a sixty-pound calf into a thousand-pound cow. It is incredibly fattening. Additionally, because of its acidic nature it interferes with your body’s natural ability to eliminate toxins and keep your system clean and lean. There are so many amazing options out there to enjoy instead of cows milk including almond, hemp, coconut, flax and rice milk. Try them out and see what you enjoy.

2. Eat fiber rich foods

Fiber binds to toxins that cause us to gain and store weight and escorts them out of our systems. It also keeps our bowel movements regular, which is one of our most vital bodily functions. Fiber rich foods include apples, kale, pears, almonds, quinoa and beans. Ground flax seeds are an excellent source of fiber and you can purchase them to sprinkle on to salads, soups, and stir fries for an added dose of the nutrient.

3. Reduce sugar

Sugar is your body’s worst enemy. It has been shown to be more addictive than cocaine and is a massive contributor to our country’s obesity epidemic. Even better news is that it’s in everything. Read your labels and actively reduce and eliminate unexpected sources of sugar.

4. Cleanse until lunch time

When we wake up in the morning we’ve been fasting for the last five to eight hours. This is an incredible opportunity to support the body in cleansing and recharging itself by eating as little as possible while providing it with nutrients. So, start by drinking hot water with lemon. Then have an organic green tea. Then drink a juice. Slowly eat some fruit. This gives you similar benefits to doing a juice cleanse without having to commit several days to it, and keeps your caloric intake low while enabling your body to do important maintenance and repair on itself.

5. Drink water

I know this sounds super basic but water is one of the best ways of staying skinny. Dehydration is too often misinterpreted as hunger, which causes us to eat when we’re not hungry and doesn’t remedy what our body is actually trying to tell us. It’s also extremely important for keeping our brains hydrated so that we can be focused and alert, which is critical in making wise food choices. Additionally, water helps flush detrimental toxins and helps maintain a glowing complexion, so drink up now.

Photo: Dominik Martin