3 Steps to Co-Create with the Universe

3 Steps to Co-Create with the Universe

Before I get into sharing the three steps to co-creating with the universe I want to share with you a little story from my life that illustrates the topic beautifully. I never intended to share this story. I sat down to type out an Instagram post about my lovely day teaching yoga in the Hamptons (because that’s insta-worthy right?). What I ended up with was a whole story about how I started to create my dream life.

ENVISION

In 2010 I was in graduate school. The stress of school on top of my anxiety disorder weakened my spirit and left me feeling empty, often crying for no reason, then feeling guilty for feeling bad because there was nothing really “wrong” about my life. I started to do yoga more regularly that year because there was a free class offered at the local studio, and being in grad school with no income, it was a gift every week to get on my mat, and begin to establish a connection to strange new entity…myself.

That year I had mentioned to my boyfriend that I would like to get certified to teach yoga someday. He assumed I was only saying that because a good friend of mine had just become certified and was posting beautiful shots of herself doing advanced yoga poses on the beaches of Hawaii. “No, I really think it’s something I want to do someday.” I remember replying.

Meanwhile, growing up on Long Island and spending my childhood summers in Montauk, I always felt drawn to the area known as the Hamptons. Aside from the mega mansions and celebrity reputation, I loved the old-fashioned charm of the towns juxtaposed with the chic restaurants and stores; all amidst the backdrop of the Atlantic ocean on one side, and sprawling horse pasture on the other.

I got into this phase in grad school, where my nightly escape was not Netflix, but browsing real estate websites, looking at houses in the Hamptons, dreaming I would someday live there. That’s not really normal for a 22 year old. Maybe it is, I don’t know. It was so far out of left field to think I could one day live there. We were going to move wherever my boyfriend got accepted to medical residency, which could be ANYWHERE in the country. The chances of ever ending up exactly where we wanted were slim.

 

TAKING ACTION

Then one day we were at a residency fair (like a college fair but for residency programs my boyfriend was looking at). Well wouldn’t you know, Southampton Hospital had a table. They were beginning a new program for surgery, the field he wanted to go into. The program had just started so he would be only the second class to get into the program. Residency is hard, the interview process is hard, and matching at your desired program often doesn’t happen.

As chance would have it, by some date mixup he wasn’t able to submit his application on time because he didn’t rotate there early enough in the year. MAJOR BUMMER.

Chance is a tricky thing, and can turn around to bite you, or bless you.

We were blessed.

He was able to apply for an intern year prior to residency, which he was accepted to, and would likely be followed by a spot in the residency program (unless he totally screwed up or something). So now instead of 5 years in the Hamptons, we were given the opportunity to live here for 6 years. Did the universe hear my desires or what?

Meanwhile I totally forgot about wanting to be a yoga instructor. I was in a job I hated, with a commute I hated even more, anxiety was at an all time high, and I had no time for self-care, fitness, or yoga. When I left that job and moved out to the Hamptons I met a nice girl named Erica who worked at the vineyard that was beginning to host yoga classes. I mentioned to her that I’ve thought about becoming certified one day. As chance would have it, again, she just completed her yoga teacher training right here in the Hamptons. There was a program that ran on weekends, which was perfect since I had a weekday job.

 

…THEN NOT TAKING ACTION

I looked into it. Thought about it for moths, missed the deadline to sign up, and let a whole year go by while I went back and forth, wondering if I was ready. Then finally I did it. I was tired of waiting around for my life to change, and I realized the only thing holding me back at this point was myself. The opportunity was there, I just wasn’t taking it. The only lesson this taught me looking back, is if you want something and you have the opportunity, take it. Or else stop complaining that your life isn’t how you want it to be.

 

DREAMS REALIZED THROUGH ACTION AND INTENTION

Fast forward to today. I have lived in the Hamptons for 5 years and have been teaching yoga for 2 years. This community is more of a home to me than I ever imagined it would be when I was looking through real estate websites. I still have my regular job, and a long ass commute, but today I stopped and thought back to those moments in grad school and said to myself “wow, I’m actually living the life I dreamed of all those years ago.” It was like at the end of the parent trap when Lindsay Lohan says “We actually did it!” (sorry, I love that movie)

CO-CREATING WITH THE UNIVERSE

Don’t get co-creating confused with getting your wishes granted. Nothing happens in our lives without our active participation in it. You can put out all the “wishes” and “desires” to the universe, but if you don’t show up, do your part and leave the part that’s out of your control to unfold in it’s own way, then we can never create the life or experiences we want.

  1. Set your intentions and let it be known. Yes, it sounds a bit woo woo but by putting out intentions into the world you are sending the universe signals in your actions and in your energy. For me that was taking those yoga classes, telling my boyfriend that I wanted to be an instructor someday, reading, researching, and dreaming about life in the Hamptons.
  2. Take the action that you CAN take. This is the practical, show up in your life kind of stuff. For us that meant applying to the program at Southampton Hospital. For Tim it meant performing well at his rotations there, setting a good impression, and securing a spot in the program. And for me that also meant going to yoga classes, talking to people about my interest in becoming a teacher, and following through with it. Making the decision to put that money down and invest in the training was hard, but worth every penny and then some.
  3. Not attaching to the outcome or trying to orchestrate every little bit of it. Did I know HOW I was going to make that happen? No. I wasn’t concerned with the HOW (honestly because it never actually felt like a possibility) which allowed me to not focus on how it would happen. I knew what I wanted to see unfold in my life, and put my energy into envisioning and dreaming about it. Trusting that whatever unfolds is exactly what you need and asked for. I always say “May it be this or something better”

 

Transform Your Limiting Beliefs

Transform Your Limiting Beliefs

In my journey toward greater self awareness, deeper spiritual connection, and living with more joy, I have learned a little bit about limiting beliefs. When it’s all boiled down limiting beliefs are the biggest reason why we don’t experience positive change, no matter how much we may want it. From a very young age we all started putting together beliefs about how the world works, and who we are as people. Every time we’ve encountered a situation or lesson we’ve developed a belief or a story about it. What I’ve learned is that you can create MASSIVE transformation by identifying your limiting beliefs, and then creating a new story.

Some examples of limiting beliefs. 

  • I will never stick with a fitness program, I’m just not motivated.
  • I don’t have the skills, money, or resources to make my dream a reality.
  • My anxiety will never get better.
  • I feel like shit, so I will always be tired, sluggish.
  • I am not confident in my own skin.
  • I don’t have a purpose.
  • It’s impossible to wake up early.

How they hold us back

We hold on so tightly to our beliefs (whether they are productive or not) as if they are a cornerstone of our identify. And this creates patterns of behavior within us. Maybe we avoid things because we have beliefs about certain things being painful or challenging.  Or maybe you don’t go after what you want because you believe you can’t have it.  Perhaps you once had a great idea for a service or product and somebody told you it was a stupid idea, and from then on you believed that you couldn’t dream or create. What if we could change those beliefs to help us live better, more fulfilled lives?

Fear is just a limiting belief, a story you tell yourself to keep you from moving forward. 

Where do they come from?

These stories can stem from a past experience where you were taught something about the world and believed it to be true. Like when kids made fun of your speech impediment so you believed that your voice didn’t matter and you were better off staying quiet, resulting in you holding back from shining in school, communicating your needs in relationships, or advancing in your career. Or maybe you had an untrustworthy father or boyfriend, and now you believe all men are untrustworthy d-bags, resulting in you having relationship after relationship with the wrong people, and not fully loving or trusting anyone.

How to Identify These Beliefs

During training with my teacher Gabrielle Bernstein, I learned how to witness these fear based stories and how they how up and block me in my life. I was given tools to identify where these stories came from and how to shift my perspective, and I want to share them with you. These questions are adapted from Gabby’s Fear Inventory. The key when answering these questions is to get totally honest with yourself and dig deep to better understand your patterns.

Fear Inventory

What is the fear based story from your past that is blocking you? Is there something from your childhood that gave you an idea that you then started to believe as true about the world? Think about your relationships and experiences from your past. Are there any beliefs or fears that you have developed from an early age? How does that block you from experiencing flow and joy in your life?

In what ways does this story hold you back from stepping into your power? Does this story hold you back in any way from living your greatest potential? “Your power” is another way of saying “the greatness that you are.” Are you afraid of going after certain things in life because of this belief?

How does this stop you from showing up in your life and career fully? Are there ways in which you are holding back or playing small, when you know you are capable and deserving of more?

How do you compare yourself to others? Do you compare yourself to others in the areas of success, looks, family, career, happiness etc? What do you say to yourself in those instances? Do you notice any fear based stories come up when you are comparing? For example: “I’ll never have the type of success/career as someone else does.”

How do you judge yourself? Going along with comparison, do you judge yourself when you compare yourself to others? What judgmental things do you say to yourself when you compare yourself to others? When not comparing yourself to others, do you judge yourself for the thoughts and feelings that you have?

When you think of your fear story and how it holds you back what does it feel like? How does it feel emotionally?

What does it feel like physically? How does fear and judgement and anxiety show up in a physical way? For example: Headaches, jaw clenching, nausea, racing heart, tight chest, shallow breathing, tense shoulders etc. Where do you feel it in your body? Describe where it is and how it feels. Give it a color, a name, a voice, a place where it lives. Where did it come from, what does it feel like?

Get really honest with yourself when you answer these questions. Sit down with your journal and see what comes out.

Remember: The more you recognize your fear and bring it into the light the more free you become. You may feel a mixture of things: pissed, resistant, open, peaceful, numb, shocked, irritated, hopeful, vulnerable, doubtful, sad grateful, freedom, release. If you start off your journey by expecting to only think happy thoughts, and say magical affirmations, you are just building a house on sand. This work of identifying fear based thought systems and beliefs will help you build your house on a solid foundation.

Gratitude: We should be grateful for all the situations that make us most uncomfortable because without them we would not know there was something unhealed in us. Say thank you to your wounds. It is your deepest pain that allows you to grow into your higher self.

Mantra: “Inner guide, I surrender this fear to you. Thank you for helping me reorganize this limiting belief and transform it to a new belief.”

“If we don’t show up for whats up it will keep coming up.” -Gabby Bernstein

How to Protect Your Energy From Negative People

How to Protect Your Energy From Negative People

We’ve all been in those situations where being in a certain environment or with a certain person feels like it drains all the happiness right out of you. Whether the situation is toxic, manipulative, gossipy, or just plain negative, we’ve all been there. Everybody knows an “energy vampire” where time spent with that person leaves you feeling depleted and irritable. We must learn to protect out energy from negative people so that we can show up in this world as our best selves and do the beautiful work we were here to do.

We often don’t consciously recognize this, but our subconscious mind is aware of it all. Becoming more consciously aware of how you are feeling in a given moment and picking up on the energy of a certain place or person is the first step in protecting your energy from negative people. Awareness is everything!

Try to identify situations or people that bring you down or take you out of your optimal state. Become aware of the energy in these situations without attaching judgement to it. When we judge we lose our energy just as easily as when someone takes it. We are basically giving our energy away for free when we make negative judgements.

Where Are You Coming From?

It’s important to distinguish between protecting your precious energy in a loving way and being closed off energetically from a place of fear. You never want to close yourself off because you are fearful of the negative people in your life. It’s adding more negative energy into your life if you do that!

It is a necessary step in the energetic protection process that you come from a place of wanting to protect yourself in a loving way, just as you would lovingly wrap a baby in a blanket; not because you are so fearful of them getting cold, but because you taking loving care of them. So take loving care of yourself when you set your intention, keeping in mind that you are protecting your precious energy in order to preserve it because it is a powerful tool in how you live your happiest life. You never want to feel shut down or disconnected from the world.

This is Your Opportunity to Grow 

Remember: The light you see in someone is just a refection of that same light that is in you, and the darkness you see in others is a reflection of the darkness in you. So the positive qualities you see in others (she’s so friendly, he’s incredibly reliable) are all qualities in yourself that you recognize in others. On the flip side the negative qualities you recognize in others are also a reflection of things you may not like about yourself (often these are subconscious).

These negative qualities in others come up in situations with people and reveal themselves to you because they are ready to be brought to the surface and healed. So when someones negative energy triggers something in you to surface, try to notice what that is and why it’s coming up for you. What part of you is getting activated by this person?  Maybe it’s an opportunity to do some deep and transformative work within yourself.

 

3 Simple Techniques for Protecting Your Energy

 

Set Your Intention: Setting your intention to protect your energy and to avoid picking up anybody’s negative energy is the first thing you must do. It tells the world and yourself “nobody’s gonna fuck with my energy today.” Setting your intention to protect your valuable energy is what helps you perform your best in the world. You have control over what you choose to see and how you choose to show up in your life. Decide that you will not be taken down by tis person or situation.

Zip up:  People can easily lift your energy or they can leave a negative energetic imprint on you if you walk out into the world with your energy field wide open. This tool will help you consciously make the decision to protect your energy before you enter a new environment. Imagine there is a zipper that begins at your toes. Grab the zipper at the front of your toes and literally zip all the way up from your toes, over your head and all the way behind your back, closing at your ankles. This is is a powerful practice for setting the intention to seal your energy and close your field before you step out into the world. This is especially important if you live in places like New York City or work in a busy office setting where it’s much easier to pick up someones negative energy.

Close your cloak: Imagine you have a big cloak over your shoulders. Set the intention to close your field and wrap your cloak around your shoulders as if you’re giving yourself a hug. This act will protect you and keep you safe. If you’re ever uncomfortable with the energy of a situation you can always close your cloak and send the universe a message that your field is shut off.

Clear energy from others: If you feel that for some reason you’ve picked up the energy of another person — positive or negative — or if you’ve lost your energy, here’s a great tool for clearing it. Simply say, “Thank you, guides/universe (or whatever you resonate with), for removing any energy I may have picked up and retrieving any energy I may have lost.” This prayer will clear it up every time.

Transforming your Wounds: Why Fear is Your Greatest Teacher

Transforming your Wounds: Why Fear is Your Greatest Teacher

We spend our whole lives striving for the next thing. Graduate with that degree, get the dream job, buy the house, the fancy car. Forward, forward, onward, upward. Don’t look back. Keep striving. Success is only found by looking ahead and pushing a little bit more. Society only loves you when you’re advancing in it.

But before you cam bloom, you need grounded roots. And we often neglect that essential component. I wouldnt want a construction company to cut the budget for the foundation, and used the extra resources to build a taller skyscraper. So why do I live my life like that?

When you dig deep into the core of you, (your roots) what do you find? Do you know what you see? Is the landscape murky, or clear?

Doing this type of deep inner work, you may kind that some old stuff is brought to the surface. You can call it fear, old wounds, triggers. Those things deep within us that are a whisper, but everpresent. You ignore these feelings, push them down as you reach for that afternoon latte to keep you going.

You aren’t always aware of them, but they guide your attitudes, decisions and lifestyle. You blame it on your past; that shitty boyfriend who said you were unloveable, the addict in your family that made your home unsafe. The regection, the judgement along the way. The beliefs we made up to explain how the world works when our child brains could’t comprehend the complexity and dynamics of life. 

We all have some version of this.

We see our fears as making us weak, imperfect. A crack in the porcelean.

What holds you back from being fucking awesome?

What are you protecting yourself against?

The feeling that you are unworthy of happiness, and success? “Who am I to…”

The fear of failure, because there’s no gold metal for the losing team. “Why should I bother to…”

Lack mindset; “I don’t have the resources, time, education, money, intellect, creativity to…”

We all need time to reconcile the limiting beliefs that diminish our self worth. Healing the fears and wounds that hold you back from your greatness. I think there should be a mandatory stock taking period each year, where we are all expected do unplug and listen to the thoughts in your head, and the feelings in your gut. A time to ask ourselves what am I doing here? Is what I’m doing making any difference? What’s driving me? What am I running from? What am I runnung towards?

But being healed doesn’t mean your woulds go away. Being healed means you thank those wounds and see them as your greatest teacher.

How to do this:

  1. Remember that uou are magnificent. You are loved. You were made to do epic shit.
  2. Get clear on what holds you back. Ask yourself: what are my greatest fears? What has hurt me in the past? What are my woulds?
  3. Identify where they hold you back in your life/career/relationsips.
  4. Do the work daily to kindly thank those beliefs, and send them on their way. IF that doesn’t make any selse to you create a mantra/prayer/affirmation/saying of the new belief you want to create, that you can go back to over and over again. Play that shit on repeat.

Rather than trying to rid yourself of your darkness, transforming your the way you see your wounds will help you grow past them. They are there to teach you. To help you on your journey of evolution. When you see your fears as your teacher, rather than your enemy, you learn a great deal more about your place on this earth. 

xo,

Caroline-2

What Does “OM” Mean?

What Does “OM” Mean?

WHAT IS “OM”?

You’re sitting in yoga class and the teacher invites everyone to chant a round of “Om” together. Ever wonder what it means or why we do it? You’re not alone. For many it can seem uncomfortable or foreign. By knowing what it means and why you’re chanting it can make a big difference in your yogic experience.

Describing what “Om” is and why we do it is a bit difficult because it’s a vague concept that goes beyond definition. It’s something that requires experience to understand, otherwise it can feel a bit meaningless.

 

Let’s begin by dispelling some of the confusion and mysteries surrounding the practice of chanting “Om.”

Om is a Sanskrit term that translates as “source” or “supreme.” However it’s not the meaning that is most important to the chanting yogis.

The sound vibration of the word is most important. You experience “Om” more than just saying it.

Om is that mysterious aspect of all life that cannot be summed up by words. It is everything. All in existence. It’s the seed of all creation; like how a seed holds the power and energy of an entire plant within itself. This small sound contains the meaning of the universe. Some have said that recordings of the vibrations that Earth makes in space can sound a bit like “Om” but that’s really up for you to decide.

 

Even though Om sounds like one sound it really can be broken down into three (and even four) parts.

  1. “Ahhh”– represents the start of the universe, creation, and birth. The sound vibration itself is produced at the back of the throat. The vibration can be felt  deep into the abdomen. This vibration brings you in connected awareness of your creation and your true essence.
  2. “Ooooh”– represents the energy of the universe, or life. It connects us to the sense that deep within us there is something more beyond what we can see or hear. Chanting this sound, the vibration moves from the back of the mouth to the middle, resonating on the palate.
  3. “Mmmm”-represents transformation or death. The transformative energy of the universe that brings you to a state of oneness with all creation. The vibration of this sound is made at the lips, vibrating the crown of the head
  4. Silence– Often considered the fourth sound in “Om” the silent but very real energy that resonates after the room finishes the chant. This represents the experience of pure consciousness.

WHY DO WE CHANT IT?

Chanting “Om” helps to bring the energy of the room together in harmony to open and close a practice by changing and breathing in unison.

Typically yoga classes begin with three rounds of chanting “Om” and one more at the end of the class. By tuning the attention in during this mantra, you can connect your mind and body on a deeper level. We are reminded of the eternal joy and peace that resides in all of us during this moment. It is from that place that we begin our practice.

By chanting “Om” at the end of the class in unison, it confirms total respect for the practice and each other. It seals the energy that was cultivated during the practice so you can call on it during your everyday life when times get stressful. I find that after a good yoga class my “Om” at the end resonates deeper into all corners of my mind, body, and spirit.

 

What does Om Mean?

HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF CHANTING “OM”

KNOW: Understand the meaning and purpose of chanting “Om” during your practice (which you already do since you’ve just read this, so YAY you!)

FEEL: Slowly produce each individual sound “aaahhh, oooooh, mmmmm” spending time at each one, feeling the actual vibration in your body. Notice how the place of resonance changes from sound to sound.

VISUALIZE: Notice how the sound vibration moves upward from the abdomen to throat, then ending at the crown of the head. Visualize that vibration as energy moving upward through the chakras. This will help to engage in the subtle body energy field to heighten your connection to the universe.

TUNE IN: With each repetition of “Om” tune in deeper by bring your attention to the silence after each chant. Noticing the difference in how your body feels between the sound production and the silence. You can almost feel lingering vibrations in your body even after you’ve finished the last sound.

Taking these into consideration the next time you take a yoga class should enhance the state of peace and wellbeing, relaxing your nervous system and preparing you for your yoga practice.

Now I want to hear from you!! In the comments below share what chanting “Om” means to you.

xo,

Caroline-2

How To Be Thankful For The Haters

How To Be Thankful For The Haters

Warning: If you are narrow minded or not accepting of other’s differences you are advised to stop reading now. 

There have always been nay-sayers and there have always been truth seekers.

People on the right side of history and people on the wrong side of history.

We live in a world with all types of people. People who are kind, and people who are bullies. For some of us it’s hard to hear so much hatred toward others. It’s extremely hard to avoid this in the modern era, where everybody shares their thoughts with the world in a matter of seconds

Every generation has it’s cause whether it’s a woman’s right to vote, the civil rights movement, or LGBTQ rights. For every hater and nay-sayer, there are truth seekers. Those who are shining light into the world, raising awareness, and furthering the cause.

Think back to the civil rights movement, when black people had to go to different schools, drink from separate water fountains and sit on different parts of the bus. There were the nay-sayers who wanted to keep them second class citizens. There were also the truth seekers, who knew this was bullshit.The truth seekers tirelessly fought against the nay-sayers and today we live in a pretty different world because of their efforts.

I bet if aliens came down from outer space and started a war with earth, we’d all forget our racial, religious, political differences because this time we’d all be on the same team.

Here’s the thing, we ARE on the same team. Team human all the way!

We’ve constructed theoretical boundaries and geographical borders separating us from one another. We forgot our collective humanness. (And then there are those who want to build an actual wall to reinforce our perceived separateness, but I digress….)

So, how do we deal with people like this?

Well…

I was recently engaged in a conversation in the comments section of an article about a transgender teen, with some people who clearly have nothing better to do with their time than talk shit about someone they don’t even know. I felt immense anger because their hatred was aimed at an innocent young man who has the courage to stand up and be himself. Furthermore, these comments attacked my values! Just like that transgender young man, I believe in being yourself, speaking your truth, and accepting others for their differences because it creates a richer world.

I was enraged, especially in the wake of the Orlando shootings. We still have so much work to do. But what it taught me was how to bring a loving and accepting attitude to negative encounters.

I really wanted to rip this guy a new one and get all preachy on him, but I realized that being hateful and preachy was what he was doing.

How could I step into the darkness that I so deeply want to eradicate and still think that I’m right? 

So instead I told him that while I respect his right to his opinion, I wholeheartedly disagree, but thank him for engaging in this open dialogue, because it only furthers the public conversation about the issue. He didn’t realize it but his comments on that public forum will contribute to furthering awareness in the long run, because it got people talking. In the end he will have helped the cause he was against.

It was the people who wanted to keep segregation that fired up the leaders of the civil rights movement.Today it’s the people who narrow-mindedly want to deny rights to the LGBTQ community that get others juiced up about voicing their support. History learns from these people.

We learn how NOT to be. 

If you’re one of the nay-sayers who wants to hate on your fellow man, keep on nay-saying!! For every public comment against the rights of a marginalized group, more truth seekers will pop up, ready to lead the charge forward. That’s how change happens!

And if you’re one of the truth seekers, instead of hating the haters, we can thank them for contributing to the advancement of the cause (even if it’s in sort of a backwards way).

LESSON LEARNED:  Even if you really hate what someone else is saying, ALWAYS spread love, not hate. 

xo,

Caroline-2