A Retreat With The Adventure Sisters!

I have felt guided to attend a silent retreat lately. When I checked into them, many were quite pricey, required travel, and a substantial amount of time off from work. It was simply not in the budget! However, the impulse to go on one still remained very strong for me. I decided I needed to do this. So I spoke to Adventure Sister Emy and we decided we could do our own silent retreat. So, would you like to come along, virtually?

We have an agenda all laid out with links to different types of meditation as well as instructions from different teachers. We are headed to the boat in Florida. It will be a nice quiet place for our retreat, but we could have just as easily done it at her house or mine. Our bags our packed and intentions set.

Below is our retreat schedule. Feel free to join us! Set your intention, raise your vibration, and dig down deep inside yourself to remove what no longer serves you so you may move forward into all the glory that is meant for you. Please feel free to adjust the times to suite your needs. Also, if you need more time in silence and less time listening to instructions, feel free to do that too. I was worried about spending the whole weekend in silence, so I planned lots of different links to help my monkey mind stay busy. I figured either Emy or I could walk away from the space where it was playing and find a quiet place if that is what we needed. It is meant to be structured enough but free flowing enough to offer you what you need.

I recommend, prior to your set start time, planning your meals and prep anything you can to make cooking as simple as possible.  Also prepare your space or spaces. Where will you spend your time during the retreat? What items will you need for comfort. Plan your clothing too. It should be comfortable clothing with layers so you can adjust according to temperature.

We look forward to sharing this experience with you if you join us. We will see you in the ether. If you cannot join us, we have blogs scheduled to post and memes for our FB page. We look forward to sharing our experiences after the weekend.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find what you need, as if by magic.

Silent Retreat Schedule 

Set intention for retreat, prior to beginning.

Friday

  • 4:00 – 5:00pm Dalai Lama https://youtu.be/lTLe5TFTh24 basic techniques of meditation 
  • 5:00 – 6:00pm Kundalini Yoga https://youtu.be/Q3lU1rRyoW4 Nabhi Kriya For Courage, Confidence, Power
  • 6:00 – 7:00 Dinner prepared and eaten and cleaned up after; mindfully 
  • 7:00 – 8:00  Meditation for Connection https://youtu.be/PkVvpfld7DQ
  • 8:00 – 8:30 Walking Meditation/ Free Time
  • 8:30 – 9:00 Shamanic Drum Journey https://youtu.be/MmQ1H4wU0zs (If you have not drum journeyed before substitute optional video from below, mindfulness meditation, or inspirational reading)
  • 9:00 – 10:00 Hot tea and journaling before bed
  • Restful night sleep

Saturday

  • Dream journaling upon waking
  • 5:30 – 7:30 Sitting meditation (if awake)
  • 7:30 – 8:30 Sun Salutations https://youtu.be/L4Z7lix6Qao
  • 8:30 – 9:30 Shower, prepare for the day and have some tea; mindfully
  • 9:30 – 10:00 Your Destiny Is Waiting For You ~ Michael Bernard Beckwith https://youtu.be/zViQiX2T2rQ
  • 10:00– 11:00 Breakfast mindfully prepared, eaten and cleaned up
  • 11:00 – 11:45 Hypnosis for Letting Go of the Fear of Success  https://youtu.be/yh-V9q93XC8
  • 11:45 – 12:00  Walking Meditation/ Free Time
  • 12:00 – 1:00  Yoga Nidra for emotional healing https://youtu.be/lBx7crrZw3A
  • 1:00 – 2:00 Lunch mindfully prepared, eaten and cleaned up
  • 2:00 – 3:30 Inspirational reading and journaling (Deepak’s 7 Spiritual laws for success or any spiritual or mindful text you have been meaning to get to)
  • 3:30 – 4:00 Walking Mindfully / Free Time
  • 4:00 – 5:00 Kundalini yoga for expansion and elevation https://youtu.be/vwpm0F8L820
  • 5:00 – 6:00 Dinner mindfully prepared, eaten and cleaned up
  • 6:00 – 7:00 Becoming Limitless ~ Wayne Dyer https://youtu.be/gNZ1JqvXeN0
  • 7:00 – 7:30 Shamanic Drum Journey https://youtu.be/MmQ1H4wU0zs (If you have not drum journeyed before substitute optional video from below, mindfulness meditation, or inspirational reading)
  • 7:30 –  8:00 Free Time 
  • 8:00 – 9:00 Guided Loving Kindness Meditation https://youtu.be/c2iCoEluq8A
  • 9:00 – 10:00 Hot tea and journaling before bed
  • Restful nights sleep

Sunday

  • Dream journaling upon waking
  • 5:30 – 7:30 Sitting meditation (if awake)
  • 7:30 – 8:00 Sun Salutations https://youtu.be/9ZZa4psFcpk
  • 8:00 – 9:00 Shower, prepare for the day and have some tea; mindfully
  • 9:00 – 10:00 Kundalini yoga https://youtu.be/IX5vn7rAsuU
  • 10:00 – 11:00 Breakfast mindfully prepared, eaten and cleaned up
  • 11:00 – 12:00 Lisa Nichol’s Step into your lives purpose https://youtu.be/40LXbK94lxY
  • 12:00 – 1:00pm Crystal Jungle Meditation https://youtu.be/Zp3pZee34fo
  • 1:00 – 2:00 Lunch mindfully prepared, eaten and cleaned up
  • 2:00 – 2:30 Shamanic Drum Journey https://youtu.be/MmQ1H4wU0zs (If you have not drum journeyed before substitute optional video from below, mindfulness meditation, or inspirational reading)
  • 2:30 – 3:00 Mathew McConaughey Speech on Finding Yourself https://youtu.be/p0p1fjLPjYQ
  • 3:00 – 3:30 Closing ceremony (not silent but something you have prepared that feels good to you) 

 

*Photo was taken in the BWCA

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Oh Beautiful Duality

Emy recently wrote a blog called Yin/Yang, Light and Dark. In it she talks about the duality within herself. It also made me very aware of the duality within the way Emy and I chose to deal with the world around us. We are completely across the zodiac from each other with our birthdays landing 6 months apart. I believe the different ways we see the world is part of what helps us work so well together.

In her blog, she shares the story of her informing me of all the Americans who are working but not being paid due to the government shut down. I was not aware until she told me. I purposefully do not watch the news because of all the negativity and fear that it promotes. I am a strong believer that our thoughts create our reality. I believe that when we watch or focus on negative things that it affects the vibration of our being. I choose not to lower my vibration by watching the news and focusing on the many injustices in our world.

Whatever a person’s mind dwells on
intensely and with firm resolve,
that is exactly what he becomes.

~ Shankaracharya ~

Emy believes strongly she must fight; fight for the planet, fight for human rights, fight for politicians who have our best interests at heart. I want all of these same things. I want a planet that is healthy and natural areas that are preserved for all of us to enjoy. I want all people to be treated fairly and have the opportunities to improve their lives. I do not want to see children suffer at the hands of misguided adults. I want the people who are making our laws and running our governments to work for the best interest of all involved. Emy and I are very much on the same page as far as what we want. I, however, go about it very differently. This is not to say that Emy only fights. She has a strong spiritual life too. There are many spiritual practices that are a part of her repertoire.

For me, the energy that gets summoned inside of me when I get angry about injustices is not positive. This lowers my vibrations. Instead of focusing on the things in the world that I do not care for, I look for the good. This does not make me naive. I know there is evil in the world, but I believe to focus on it, is to give it energy. I would rather focus on the random acts of kindness that people do for one another every day. I would rather meditate on peace and love for all of the world in hopes of sending those positive intentions out. In June and July of 1993 4,000 people participated in a study. The study showed a 23.3% drop in crime in Washington DC as a result of the meditation by these participants. Showing there is more than one way to change this world.

In the movie and eventually the book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne; they address this very issue. Jack Canfield says, “The anti-war movement creates more war. The anit-drug movement has actually created more drugs. Because we’re focusing on what we don’t want – drugs!” Did you know that in 2001, Portugal decriminalized drugs. As a result they have fewer problems with overdose, HIV, and drug related crimes. Additionally the usage of drugs has declined there. It is not perfect, there are a lot of other factors at play, but this could be related to the shift in focus. Jack goes on to share that Mother Teresa said, “I will never attend an anti-war rally. If you have a peace rally, invite me”.

What you resist persists

~Carl Yung~

I am not saying that Emy’s urge to fight the injustices of the world is wrong. I strongly believe that politics is a part of her Dharma. She is guided to change the world through sharing information, running for office, and joining committees. My path is different. It is exactly the opposite. While she is fighting, I am meditating. While she is sharing information about what is wrong, I am focusing on what is right. I am sending love to all of my fellow travelers on this journey. I believe that there is good in everyone. I believe that even if someone disagrees with me, that does make them wrong. They are perfectly where they are supposed to be on their spiritual path, just as I am perfectly where I am supposed to be on my spiritual path.

Having Emy as my spiritual sister helps me grow. We often discuss topics, ideas, and philosophies. We often come at things from very different perspectives. We both learn and grow from these conversations. Duality is a beautiful thing, within ourselves and externally.  Celebrate the differences between yourself and others. You just do not know how it may help you grow. Together Emy and I support the world in many different ways, our beautiful duality enriches our lives.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May your path always feel right to you, as if by magic.

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Stepping into the Keto Diet

My husband decided to join one of those weight loss contests that pop up at work after the New Year. They had set a pretty aggressive amount of weight to lose by 28 days. I had heard people were having great success on the Keto Diet and thought that this, along with the fasting we were already doing, might work best for him. So I suggested he give it try. Then I set off to learn as much about it as I could so I could help him. I was amazed by what I learned.

To start, I began looking for recipes. Keto friendly things I could make and have in the freezer, so he would have yummy, healthy food to eat while I am on the road. There are a tremendous amount of recipes available out there. The premise behind keto is high fat, moderate protein and very low carbs. It forces your body into a ketogenic state or ketosis, which causes it to use fat for energy rather than carbohydrates. According to Wikipedia; this diet was first developed in the 20s for treatment of childhood seizures.

This way of eating is in sharp contrast to the “Stop the Insanity” low fat diets from the 90s.

There is a documentary (which is available to watch on Netflix) called ‘The Magic Pill.’ Watching this documentary inspired me to also try the ketogenic diet as well. Sure I would love the weight loss but the health benefits demonstrated in the movie were my real motivation. This show follows several people for a few weeks as they switch to this way of eating. The results they had were miraculous. Cancer, Autism, Diabetes, and Asthma were all demonstrated life changing improvements because of it; not to mention weight management. One of the ‘ah ha’ moments for me was right at the start of the documentary. When they said; “Every animal controls its weight naturally, other than humans and animals fed by humans”. My goodness! I never stopped to think that there are no obese deer or even pump lazy sloths.

As a pescatarian (vegetarian who eats fish) the idea of going on a diet, without the American staple of carbs, seemed like a difficult choice. It takes away so many of the things I am able to eat on the road. I also have difficulty with my blood sugar, that can dip to low and cause me to not feel well, if I do not eat the right thing or go to long without eating. This has made me believe I need a high protein diet. I was about to learn that was not true! As I stepped off into the world of ketogenic eating, my first challenge came when I went to a German restaurant with friends. Their vegetarian dish was pasta and the fish/seafood dishes were with pasta or breaded. Hmmm… what to have? I elected for the green beans with almonds and a cucumber salad. I also ate a few pieces of cheese off a friend’s appetizer plate. I was full. Challenge accepted and completed. Next morning, eggs and veggies are a very normal breakfast for me, so that did not even require a change. Lunch was riced cauliflower made into fried rice with eggs and plenty of olive oil. Yummy!

Do you know what I discovered? My blood sugar has remained stable. I have not had the shaky or woozy feeling that I often get when I don’t eat enough protein. Here, all this time, my need for high protein was a result of a diet high in carbs. I am on my third day of this new way of eating and I feel great. I am also doing this in conjunction with the intermittent fasting I have been doing since June. The two seem to work well together.

With the combination of intermittent fasting and Keto Diet, my husband has lost 11 pounds in 6 days. Isn’t that amazing? One of his favorite treats on the Keto Diet is the Fat Bombs. They are a nice little treat but also help to keep the consumption of fat, good and high, as required for ketosis. There are lots of fat bomb recipes but the ones he likes are made with natural unsweetened peanut butter, cream cheese, a tiny bit of stevia, and rolled in semisweet or dark chocolate. They are rolled in balls about a quarter’s diameter and are delicious. You only need to eat one to feel like you had a treat and quite satisfied. After all, that is what eating fat does. It helps us feel satiated.

Whether you are curious about the ketogenic diet or planning to try it yourself, there seems to be potential benefit for amazing results. If you enjoy documentaries, I recommend you check out ‘The Magic Pill.’ It is very interesting.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find healthy eating that works for you, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken in Palermo, Sicily

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Meditation: A Beautiful Experience

My meditation experience yesterday was so beautiful, that I would like to share it with all of you. Although I had a beautiful backdrop to begin meditation, it is still possible to do it anywhere and at anytime. There are no ideal settings or circumstances, all you need is you.

Yesterday I was blessed to have the opportunity to do my meditation on the beach. It was a beautiful day in the high 60’s and the sun was fully out. Yet it was still January and the beach was not at all crowded. I found myself a quiet spot on the sand near enough to the water to hear the waves but not so close to the action. I settled in on my soft blanket in easy pose (crisscross applesauce) and allowed my eyes to gently close.

More often than not, as I begin my meditations, my monkey mind gets busy making “to do” lists for me and will try to document the experience for a blog or journal entry. I tried to reassure the never stopping thinker, that it was okay just be quiet, but of course that was more thinking. Slowly, as the minutes slipped away, I got into the sweet spot in meditation. That spot where you notice the sights and sounds around you without judgement or a running commentary about them.

I heard steps going past me. They would start in the distance and grow in their volume as they neared. Then fade again as they went past. This is just how the thoughts that come up in meditation should be handled. It is okay to notice them but also allow them to pass. Yet, so often my mind will try to hold on to these random fingers of thought. Afraid they might slip away before they could be captured.  Why is it that my ever present narrator thinks everything it has to say is so darn important to jot down. The ego is fully involved with this thinking part of me.

As I sat there with the warm sun on my back, sounds became more distinctive. I noticed them but did not attach any importance to them. The waves washing on the shore, the call of the sea gulls and the sounds of traffic on the road behind the beach; were all a part of the music I sat with. Partway into my meditation, a large family came and stood beside me. They were excited to be at the beach and chattered happily with one another. I am grateful for the buddhist monk who taught me that quiet is not necessary for meditation. He used the example that we do not get frustrated or angry with the birds who sing during our meditations. We only get that way with people because we think we can control them. I do not need quiet to meditate since this lesson. I now can allow the noises that people make as a part of the experience of being in the now, part of remaining present.

Each moment in life is perfect, if directed into only the present moment. When we live in the flow of consciousness we are happier. Meditation is a way for us to better get in touch with our true nature. Find the little moments in your life where you can be present for a few minutes and just notice. I have a future blog coming, that will talk about how one such moments occur for me without even trying.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find peace in everyday moments, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken by my sweet husband on New Smyrna Beach, FL.

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Today is Day 1 of 21!… (again); Twenty-One Plus Helpful Tips

Did you join me on the 21 days without complaining adventure? Are you wondering how I am doing because I am interested in knowing how you are doing? I have made it to day 2 about 3 times. I was a few hours from day 3 when I fell back into my old habits and complained. This is way more challenging than I expected it to be. It leaves me to wonder what steps can I take to get beyond today and how to start a habit to only talk about the bright side of life.

Well, since there are 21 days to get past, let’s come up with 21 tips (or more) to help us move past the old habits of habitually complaining. (This is my fourth blog on this adventure. The links above will take you to the previous blogs). I am currently re-reading Will’s Bowen’s book to refocus my efforts. Below are several ideas to help us all move forward to success. Many of these ideas have come from Will’s book, A Complaint Free World.

  1. Stop making excuses for why complaining is okay or justified.
  2. Look for the positive in all situations.
  3. Embrace silence.
  4. Don’t give up, just change your bracelet and start again.
  5. Have faith – you can do this!
  6. Practice mindfulness.
  7. Pause before speaking.
  8. See the joy in all situations.
  9. Laugh as much as possible.
  10. Read Will Bowen’s book or read it again.
  11. Start the day with a positive thought to set the energy for the day.
  12. Remember why you started on this adventure in the first place.
  13. Forgive yourself if you slip and start again with new resolve.
  14. Think about the four gates of communication from the Sufi tradition. (Is it truthful? Is it necessary? Is now the time for it? Is it Kind?)
  15. Remove yourself from negative situations and people. (when possible)
  16. Find friends and family to support you.
  17. Talk about ideas and concepts instead of other people.
  18. Bear in mind, what you think about you bring about.
  19. Keep in mind, Will’s wise words; “Those who hurt are hurting.”
  20. Look for positive ways to connect with people.
  21. It is healthier to stay positive. Per Will’s book, according to doctors, 67% of illnesses are caused by our thoughts. Per Louis L. Hay; 100% are.
  22. Keep in mind that the things we dislike in others, are often traits we also have.
  23. Realize that complaining does not fix anything.
  24. Complaining about the past only holds you there, so talk about what you want to manifest.
  25. Instead of complaining say, “I am not going to move my bracelet.”

Good luck on your challenge. Please share in the comment section; how you are doing and what things you have found helpful in moving you along on your complaint free adventure.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May your thoughts and words be positive, as if by magic!

*Photo taken somewhere over Kentucky, USA

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Perseverance and Resilience

This morning, my husband Marty, was reading an article about millionaires and how they got to be financially abundant. Perseverance and resilience were the two things the author found they all had in common. Marty says his CEO likes to refer to this as “Grit.” This got me thinking. What does perseverance and resilience look like in our lives? How can these things help us get to the next level and transform ourselves?

As we were having the discussion about when it is time to transform ourselves; I felt pretty solid that we are in the process of doing that in our household. We are making healthier choices in many regards with healthier food, more activity, healthier thoughts (maintaining positive thinking), financial health (with our focus on budgeting and paying off debt), and finding spiritual events to attend that make us feel good and feel like a good fit for us. We are transforming ourselves. Then Marty brought up work. When it comes to our careers, are we making ourselves over or are we just doing what we have always done? This gave me pause. Am I continuing to transform myself when it comes to my career? How am I moving my work to the next level? When I focus specifically on my writing and speaking career, I know I am doing what I have always done. I have stretched a little and tried some new things, but in many ways, I am stagnant. As the year is drawing to a close, I need to ask myself how I can step it up. What changes can I make to help me move to that next level?

I think it is good for us to examine different parts of our lives from time to time. Look at those parts of your life where things have not changed for a while. Do you desire a change in this area or are you happy with the status quo? If you are happy and feel it needs no improvement, then no problem. But if you desire more; what will you do to move the ball forward, raise the bar, and push yourself into a new way of being? How will you step into the new year pushing yourself to be the best you? I am not talking New Year’s Resolutions. When have those ever worked for you? I am talking about becoming newly engaged in a certain part of your life. Newly committed to push past where you have been into being who you can be.

As we come into the next year, next month, next week, or next day, look at how you can embrace some perseverance and resilience to actively transform some part of your life that has been stagnant. Some part of your life that the status quo is no longer acceptable to you and will benefit from a fresh look or some new ideas. Go ahead, I dare you! You may be amazed what positive changes lay ahead for you.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you attain great things, as if by magic!

*Photo was taken at Pula, Croatia

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Letting Go of Darkness

The full moon is in a transformative time that comes every 28 days. It is all about letting go of the old, while the new moon is about manifesting or bringing in the new. These energies of the moon start about 4 days prior to the actual event and last for about four days after, according the Susan Miller: Astrologer. This transformative time gives us wonderful opportunities to think about what no longer serves us and what we would like to see come into our lives.

Last night was the full moon. My husband and I attended a Kirtan. These are becoming the favorite feel good events of ours to go to. This full moon Kirtan was a beautiful event and attended by many sweet souls. This, once again, made our souls sing along with our voices; as the call and response of the mantras progressed throughout the night.

When attending an event like this or starting a meditation, going to a yoga class or retreat; it is always a great idea to set the intention for what you hope to achieve or experience. I learned this many years ago from a wise teacher and have found it to powerfully enhance my experiences as well as help me along my path of healing and health. Knowing that there was a full moon shining overhead, I set an intention to let go of any darkness in my heart. To let any anger, fear, jealousy, hate, distrust, sadness, or need to complain flow gently out of my heart and into the earth. There it could become fertilizer to grow something beautiful. I intended for all darkness to leave my heart so only love would reside there. My great grandmother said, “Those who sing, pray twice”. Singing or chanting is a beautiful form of prayer.

As Chi Johnson lead us skillfully through the various chants. We came to the one that was so very perfect for a full moon Kirtan: “Nataraj, Nataraja, Jai Shiva Shankara Nataraja”. (One part of this powerful mantra) Shiva is the Hindu god of destruction and transformation. He is also called Lord of the Dance. This is basically asking Shiva to dance through our lives and destroy what no longer serves us, so that we can transform into who we truly are. As we sang this chant I asked Shiva to remove any darkness from my heart. No, not just remove, but destroy anything other than the love that was residing there. “Music in the soul can be heard by the Universe”, Lao Tzu.

When we are hurt, darkness can take hold in our heart center and it can come out in a variety of ways. It has a purpose though; it is trying to protect us. There is purpose is all things, even when we cannot see it or know what it is. The complication is, that sometimes we hold onto these things much longer than we need too. My heart’s fear of being hurt, served me well, as I was healing from the acute pain of a broken relationship. It no longer serves me though. I have held onto it much longer than I needed too. Now is the time to release any darkness in my heart to make room for unending love. Love for all people and things. Love and respect so that I can more fully live in the flow of life. By doing this I can open up to appreciation and gratitude for all the beauty around me.

I am grateful for the Full Moon Kirtan. I am grateful for Shiva dancing through my heart, so that I can release that which no longer serves it. I appreciate all of you who walk your journeys along side mine. When you are ready, know that you are safe to release those things that once protected you.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you easily let go of the darkness that has taken up residence in your heart, as if by magic.

* Photo was taken on the banks of the Ganges River in Rishikesh, India.

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