My Judgement Triggered Shame

After watching Brene Brown’s TED talk on Vulnerability, it got me thinking about shame and my experiences with it. As I was about to write-it all off thinking - “I’m just not the type of person whose experienced shame”, an interaction I had been involved in blew up. Instantly I was infuriated, all parts of my body were triggered and I could feel myself jump towards self defense. Luckily, before acting on any of those protective mechanisms, I recognized what was happening immediately and was able to calm myself down and dissect the situation at hand. What hit me hard was the realization that I was swimming in a pool of judgement, both for myself and externally.

Judgement shows up in many various forms, and often when our conscious minds choose judgement as an initial thought, we might not even recognize the sensation as judgement. It got me thinking, as these types of self-help analysis moments do, and I realized that no matter what type of judgement is being experienced, all types can be connected back to self insecurities. Maybe that’s a mind blower, or maybe you’ve learned this a long time ago, either way, stay with me for a moment…

We experience judgement in a number of ways, these three came top of mine for me: 1) because of actions someone else is doing/has done that you don’t like, 2) experiencing judgement because of external circumstances that have nothing to do with you, or 3) feeling judgement sparked because of jealousy. Every single one of these judgement experiences are correlated directly with secondary emotions. Judgement itself is a secondary emotion. As a result, all can be tied back to something you judge, something you don’t like or something you’re insecure about, within yourself.

I consider myself a fairly awake individual. I can feel when my body or mind is not grounded, I have a great set of tools to use that help be get grounded, or reconnect with my body when I’m off kilter, I even teach Meditation in many different forms, and yet I find myself still in a battle with judgement. And yet even consciously knowing this and subconsciously being aware of what sits behind judgement, I still find it extremely difficult to have an awareness of the judgement as it comes up, so that I can recognize what insecurity it may be triggering.

In my Breathwork Meditation sessions, we work to release negative emotions, to release stories that we’ve given permission to to define us so we can choose to come from love, from our  connected, authentic selves. Because judgement sits behind so many other primary emotions, I find it hard to connect with judgement, so that I may release it, in my own practice. Judgement for me is typically triggered at unexpected times throughout life and although I know that my own practice continues to help me create an awareness around when it’s being triggered, I have yet to master the tools that allow me to practice a ‘feel it and release meditation’ in each moment.

Even the most enlightened individuals must feel judgement at some point in their lives, right? Is judgement something that everyone feels, or experiences at some point? I’m not even sure this should matter, but the self-judgement that comes up when my judgement of others comes up, hits me hard. I don’t like that piece of me, and I feel a deep sense shame when it does surface. I’m a teacher, I’m a guide, I’m a facilitator or truth, of light, how can I feel judgement? It’s even terrifying imagining putting this piece out in the world, like I’m exposing something of myself that once it’s known, people will think I’m a fraud. Maybe that’s just it, work on my own self-judgement and I’ll more deeply understand the judgement that comes up for me with others. As my teacher David Elliott says… “A judgement I have about you that’s really about me is….”

I vow to continue bringing awareness to judgement when she rears her ugly, (or sometimes pretty in a self-righteous kind of way) head. In the moment, let judgement fill me up, fully recognize that it is a secondary emotion and allow the true emotion behind the judgement to surface. Feel that completely circulating throughout my body, and then move on.

Awareness is everything.

Poems for the Self-Discoverer

By: Jenna Michelle Reiss

Alive

That was the thing about her,

Her dream following was contagious, her desire for more, for the authentic life was inspirational to many and necessary to her.

The catharsis of relief when she was HER was all she knew,

Some call it selfish, she called it unstoppable.

That was the thing about her, she was stripped vulnerable, she was REAL.

 

Me

Today I choose to be ME

The ME who is strong yet working with her own softness.

The ME who strives to achieve and remain filled with inspiration.

The creative ME who dreams visions to life

The ME who chooses my essence above all else.

The ME who falls back to habitual ways of being yet refuses to stay there always searching for the footing in my more evolved state.

The ME who knows and comfortably lives in the world of vulnerability while also struggles to feel.

The ME who despises vulnerability if it means negativity.

The ME who is my shadow.

Me, light worker, truth handler with drops of self-righteous judgement, I choose ME because there’s no one else I’d rather be.

Via:  Pinterest

To the fear that lives in the back of my throat -

First of all, thank you. Thank you for trying so hard to ensure that you always look out for me. I know you see this as protecting me and your tactics have protected me many times in the past, especially from making that terribly rash, emotionally driven decision. With what I'm doing now though, you can trust me. I got you. I'm going to make this work for us because I know I'm in flow with the Universe. The Universe is supporting me, supporting us and it will always lead us down the right path. I can promise you this fear. Of course along the way if you have any questions, ask me! I'm an open book and I'm more than happy to answer anything I can to the best of my ability. I know understanding helps soothe you. I might not always know all the answers though, and when I say I don't know yet, trust that I'm exploring it. Really know that in these cases, I'm usually asking the exact same questions, and I trust, I know, that when my body knows the answer and is ready for my mind to catch up, I'll be listening. And then fear, you will be the first to know what I know. 

You haven't been driving my life for some time now, but I sure know that this is a first for us. Don't feel defeated. I truly am grateful for your protection, for helping me hear you when it's time to listen - but in this part of my life, curiosity, motivation and most of all my passion are driving. I know that is tough to hear so here is what I promise to you fear - 

  • I promise to lean in to you when it's what's right

  • I promise to listen, to surrender when it's the right time for you to speak

  • I promise to make decisions from my body

  • I promise to always make sure that my instincts are listened to and I hope you find some reassurance with that 

  • I promise to always do Breathwork so that I'm hearing from you, and so I know the difference between listening to you and reacting on it

  • I promise to still my mind and watch my thoughts as a practice to keep me open 

  • Most of all, I promise to be true to me, to my authentic self. 

That's the life we're going to live together. Until we speak again...

All my love,
Jenna

Self-Care Saturday!

Self-Care has been top of mind for me recently, and as it seems to be, when topics get pushed to the forefront of my attention, it’s usually because I am being forced to face the issues myself. So, to lay all my cards on the table, I have not been taking care of myself. The other week I had about 7 different emotional breakdowns varying from understandable breakdowns, rationales I or my boyfriend could make sense of or at least comprehend where they were coming from, communication breakdowns, all the way to unreasonably dramatic, rollercoaster breakdowns. It was a fun ride, (said sarcastically in case you couldn’t tell) and probably more than anyone else, really fun for my boyfriend! Unable to see clearly through this haze, my boyfriend kindly suggested I go to bed earlier one night. It was the smallest change to make, so clear, so simple and yet I wasn’t even able to see that this was a possible solution that could start helping me feel better. Being that I was blindly leading myself further down instead of helping myself in anyway, it became clear to me that when the breakdowns become excessive or the clarity becomes obsolete, that I need to take that as a sign that I am in need of giving myself some tender love and care.

Self-Care – what this means to me is doing something that makes your soul sing, or at least makes you feel good, peaceful and loved. When you can feel peace in your body, you feel stability and balance in your life as opposed to balancing the imperfections. It can be the simplest action, just as long as you feel good while you’re doing it, and you notice you feel good afterwards because that’s the true sign of taking care of yourself.

Sometimes self-care is back to the basics- get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, follow your routine. Once you’ve started doing the basics for you again, you can start to think about what other self-caring methods are out there for you to tap into, to introduce to your life. Since my last breakdown last Thursday, I have been doing everything I can to balance my imperfections. Here are just 5 simple things I’ve been doing to take to better care of myself, and you can easily implement as well without massively disrupting your life. In other words, try some, or at least one, of these out and see if any work for you. If not, develop your own manageable yet soul-filling self-care methods.

1.     Working out: Moving my body in some way always reminds me that I care about myself. I’ve taken a cycling class, gone to the gym and read a good book on the elliptical, gone for a walk around the block with a girlfriend, and taken a yoga class. I’m moving myself, breaking a sweat at least once a day. It really doesn’t matter what type of movement or work-out you do, and you certainly don’t have to force yourself to run if you simply don’t like running. Move your body in some way way, whether that’s your favorite kick-boxing class, a yoga class, or just a walk around the block, move your body in some way to push the body to feel healthy again

2.     Meditating: Close your eyes, let your feet touch the floor, and quiet the mind. I know quieting the mind seems near impossible with the 60 thousand thoughts a day we have as humans, but start practicing just getting quiet, being quiet and recognizing what your thoughts are, where your mind is going. Meditating allows for the nervous system to slow, for the default mode to slow down and recognize the appropriate response to have as opposed to reactionary responses. Neurologically, it physically shrinks the amgydala, the part of your brain that holds stress. 

3.     Eating better: this doesn’t have to mean eat perfectly. This doesn’t have to mean you aren’t allowed to eat chocolate, or have that delicious plate of pasta. It just means be a little better. Make a smoothie in the morning, put a few cups of greens in because you know you aren’t eating enough greens. Be aware of what you’re putting in your mouth on a daily basis, snacks included, and eat what feels good to the body.

4.     Journaling: Too many people believe that because they aren’t a writer, journaling isn’t necessary, or just isn’t something that they do. I say, so you’re not a writer, all the better! You can get your “SFD – Shitty First Drafts” as Brenee Brown calls them, out on paper, you word vomit all over a notebook that only you see and you give yourself relief from the words, relief from the stories allowing yourself to no longer be defined by them, or at least open yourself up to the process of no longer letting them control your life.

5.     Have Fun! These last few weeks, I was so busy focusing on all the things I needed to get done, the boxes I needed to unpack, the things we had to buy to make this place a home, so focused on my own to-do list for the 3 different jobs I’m managing right now, that I forgot how fun it is to just have fun! I forgot how freeing it can be to let lose with people you love, giggle, vent, stay up too late laughing! I forgot that I have the power to create the balance between my having fun, and my productivity. So, I’m proud to say that all weekend long last weekend, I had fun, and did not unpack or touch a single thing in this new home!

So self-care Saturday is becoming a thing in my household! Basically this just means I am empowering myself, and those I love to take care of themselves and do one take, take one manageable action for yourself every single Saturday. Whether that’s a simple work out, a few minutes of alone time, some deep breaths in the fresh air, or something bigger like a hike, or a day trip, DO YOU. Only when we take care of ourselves do we open ourselves up to happier, healthier and more balanced lives. If you're intrigued by all this, I have a Self-Care Saturday workshop coming up in April where we'll be gathering strong, inspiring, loving women to support one another to give ourselves some self-care and attention! You can see more event details here. 

Breathing Beauty

Today, I, like so many other beautiful, smart, intelligent people in the world, feel extremely sad. In my heart of hearts I know love prevails, it always prevails, but today I personally needed a reminder of this in order for my sadness to be overcome with hope and for my tears to be replaced with love. I thought maybe others could use this as well so I’m sharing a list I put together. A list of beautiful things I know to be good and true to remind my soul that there is so much beauty in the Universe.

1.     Friendships. Everlasting, supportive and loving friendships.

2.     Music. The sweet sounds of instrumentals resonating with your mood, letting you know you aren’t alone.

3.     The ocean. The ocean’s healing powers permeate into those just sitting and looking at it.

4.     The trees, forests. Life is grand. It is tall, strong, withstanding and grand. We still get to walk amongst the trees and the forests and feel a connection to our purpose on this Earth.

5.     Mother Nature. She paints the sky pink, blue, and purple. She gives us shelter, water, protection.

6.     Women. The powerful goddess who gives life to little humans, who can’t stop, won’t stop living life and acting like a BOSS.

7.     Sisterhood. Real family blood bonds and the sisterhood between two unrelated souls who just understand one another, who support one another.

8.     The flow of the Universe. It’s humorous, gentle and yet pushy in all the right ways pushing us to be our best, to follow our souls deepest desires.

9.     Passion. Butterflies in your stomach, fire burning inside, follow your dreams passion

10. Love. Love with yourself, love for others, love for the world around us. Authentic, pure, no expectations kind of love. 

Avenue of the Unknown

When the path ahead, the answers, are not so clear, your body gets overwhelmed by fear, angst and other negative emotions. We then become paralyzed by fear of this unknown path and end up sitting in the space of no action because that is way more comfortable than diving into the avenue of the unknown.

But what if we took some sizeable step into that path instead? What if, even if we couldn’t see where it was leading, we took some type of step, the step that feels right for right now? Would we fall into the big dark black abyss? Maybe. Would we die? Likely not.

It’s okay not to know exactly what to do right now. It’s okay to guess at what that next step might be. You’re probably not going to die with whatever step you do end up taking, and when you take a manageable step towards something, even if you don’t know what that something may be, you’re putting yourself out there to be in flow with the Universe. You’re showing the world, instead of just telling it, that you are ready to manifest change. Manageable can be anything that pushes you outside your comfort zone, but doesn’t have to be as dramatic as the end result. If you’re looking for a new job, it could be beginning the search in fields that interest you, it doesn’t have to mean quitting your day-job right now. If you’re wanting a change in location but moving terrifies you, it could mean booking a trip to a city that interests you and trying to set up a few interviews while you’re there. You’re throwing things out there, just to see what may stick. All we have to do is take a small step towards that manifestation, and the Universe will be by your side, supporting you.

If we instead stay hidden in the safety of our own shadow, we block the Universe out. It doesn’t have a way to help us. It can’t push you into action, you have to do something to show you’re going to take it seriously, to show the Universe that you want to work with the it, be friends with, and flow through life happier than you were before. I promise you the Universe wants to help you. There is a flow there, just waiting for you to jump in, but there is nothing the Universe can do to help throw you into the flow if you aren’t willing to take a step towards it.
Ask the Universe questions to help you better understand your path, where you are right now. Be open to the ways in which the Universe will respond to you. Once you open yourself up to the possibility that the Universe is your friend, once you cultivate an appreciation for the flow of the Universe and jump right now, that’s when you really start living.
Let’s go, jump in, your life is waiting to be lived.

Forgiveness

We all have the ability to forgive.

The ability to feel forgiveness in your soul and allow your body to accept forgiveness is a strength not a weakness. When you accept forgiveness you set yourself free. You liberate your body, making room for other life to enter – happy life, joyous life, magical life can take the space in your body instead of the non-forgiving grudge that was taking over before.

When you forgive that doesn’t mean the pain goes away. That is okay. Choose forgiveness anyway because your heart, your body, doesn’t want to live in that pain, or be defined by that pain. And you don’t have to be. When you choose forgiveness you are choosing love. You are choosing you and your own happiness above all else. The pain can be worked through, and little by little you will release the pain of your experience and you will see beauty again. The beauty is allowed to shine through when you are not clouded by the tight grasp you have on your anger.

I know, trust me, I understand. Something happened to you that is unforgiveable. But what if you chose to forgive anyway? What if you choose forgiveness and your life moves forward positively, in sync with the Universe because you’re not allowing the pain, the anger, the unforgiving nature to define you anymore?

Choose LOVE.

Choose YOU.

Forgive and watch your heart open to a lighter, brighter more colorful and magical world.

The Good, the Shedding and the Insights of Breathwork

Breathwork has always been transformative for me. Between breaking down emotional barriers, moving and releasing, stuck negative energies, and receiving intuitive messages, the personal growth alone has transformed me. Growth like this can often times be sad. You are shedding a part of who you who has always been there, and it can be difficult to say goodbye to that person. At the same time, it’s also beautiful because you’re accepting a future self - a version of you that you don’t quite know yet but are growing into.

There are days where you’re stuck in the emotional turmoil or fear of the unknown and it can be difficult to feel or see the beauty in your growth. It can be difficult to see what is next. On these days, the days where I feel a stronger sense of sadness or frustration and angst saying goodbye to an old self, I work hard to acknowledge myself. A dear friend taught me this - Acknowledge yourself for something you did great that day, that week, or something you’re proud of yourself for. Take the time to acknowledge something positive about you. I find that this self-acknowledgement has the capacity to remind me of my own wondrous and magical self.

On the days I can feel myself fully embracing and stepping into the new me, I feel invigorated, loved and supported by myself and everyone around me. It is typically on these days that I have receive messages. The messages come in various forms, sometimes magical, or storytelling, and oftentimes they are undecipherable. When I struggle understanding something, I write it down immediately following the message. The visions typically come to me in snippets, quick stories or scenarios, and I’m sure to write them down exactly as what I remember.

The owner of the dolls was not an attractive by societal standards type of woman. She had dark features, olive skin and was shorter than 5 foot. She walked around the town, every town at some point, with a smile on her face. She seemed to be smiling joyously at the world around her no matter what was happening. That was the most interesting and beautiful thing about her – her joy.  So when I saw her with her dolls I wasn’t scared, or turned away by her outward unattractiveness. I was instead drawn in closer to her magnetic joy. Being shown her dolls brought me peace. I understood why immediately when she held them together, one doll pressing into the back of the other doll, hair beautifully mixing together in a melting pot kind of way. They were both her, not parts of one and parts of the other, but both of the dolls were an exact representation of who she was. The beauty lies in her confident joy, the ability to strongly proclaim the connection she has with both dolls, the innate characteristics of the dolls that are her. I left our encounter feeling peaceful and joyous through the contagiousness that was her own. I am thankful to the Universe for bringing her to me and even more thankful that she will bring her message onto others.

You can be defined by any standards you want to be defined by.

This is the majestic thing about Breathwork. Through all the growth, the shedding, and the insights, you’re constantly learning new things about yourself. I am excited about this one in particular, albeit I don’t have understanding into it’s power quite yet.

I have eyes that can see inwards. My eyes can see inwards, they can see inside my own body. When I’m looking out at the world around me, even through physically closed eyes, there’s lightness, a mellow, day-time lightness to all the visions I see. When I’m looking inside myself, inside my own body, there is a darkness to all the visions. I watched everything happening inside my body today, analyzed it, understood it energetically and then I left, and my eyes opeedn to the outside world. I never saw organs, or blood pumping through, or yawns happening, just saw the energy flow and the attitude that was inside me. There was nothing scary about this new superpower, it felt really good to be able to see inside myself, comfortably, understandably. 

The second time this power came to be, I saw a small, luminous purple light pop into my head, flashing lightly before my eyes. Then the dark tint came over my eyes and I was again seeing inside my body. This had been releasing anger and impatience energies. I had been crying, frustrated, shaking, and yet when I looked inside, I saw that I really am okay. My insides are all ok, they know I’m doing the work to release what I need to, and my body is grateful for that.

Thank you eyes seeing inwards.

Breathwork always leaves me feeling clearer, more level-headed, slightly stronger, and with a bigger heart. When visions come to me, it’s the clearest I’ve ever been, the most open-hearted I’ve ever felt and the most willing to change I will ever be.  Every time I work with the breath for me, it is different. Being open to the opportunities, to the growth, accepting the messages for what they are and trusting in the process is the most important thing. It allows you to go deeper than ever before, and connect more methodically with the flow of the Universe.

Hello Fear...

You are welcome to join me but you will not be driving.

Love, 
Jenna Michelle

As I continue working on my breathwork journey, developing my at home practice, joining and starting my own classes and workshops in LA and powering through my self-test of a 30 day breathwork challenge, my self–awareness has grown significantly. The most important element to share is as I go through my own personal healing with breathwork, I realize that I have the power to choose love, and I do choose love. 

I choose not to be defined by my stories while also accepting that I still feel some of the pain that the stories have left me with. Feeling that pain doesn’t mean it defines me. It only means, I accept that the pain is there, and I am actively working on releasing that pain from my body through a consistent breathwork practice, that allows my body to move the stuck negative filled entities.

These entities are strong energies and have stood in my body confidently for years now believing that they rule me. They are pain, fear, even self-loathing sometimes. They drive from a fear-based perspective, not from a critical thought or loving perspective. They are truly only there for self-protection, but they don’t know that. They think they are doing the right thing, filling my body up with all this “self-protection”. I am aware of that, I am aware of them.

I recognize you fear based entities and I do appreciate the defense mechanism you are creating for me so that I don’t get hurt, but the truth is, getting hurt is a part of life. I don’t want to be driven by this fear you’ve instilled in me and I am no longer giving you that power. This doesn’t mean I don’t hear you. This doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate your work within my body to remind me of what I have been through. That is a part of who I am. You can be a part of who I am too, a story from my past, and I can and will, move on without being defined by you.

Soon enough, I will begin to release the pain and start letting go of these entities. It won’t happen all at once, it will take time, effort and significant diligence, but it can be done. It will be done. Then one day, the entities will move on, they will disperse and make room for new life inside my body.

Until that day comes when they leave me for good, I can make the conscious decision to choose a life driven by my creativity, by my inspiration, by my love. It’s OK that I still feel the pain from my stories, some days stronger than others. I recognize that it will take time for this pain to subside, for this sadness dissolve. I will say hello to it some days, be aware of it and then choose love.

I choose to be driven by my love for the world, my love for kindness, for truth. I choose to live my life from my most natural state, love, and I choose to make this choice every single day. For that, thank you Universe. I can feel you speaking to me, giving me guidance forward to follow my truest and highest self. Knowing that you’re there, that you have my back no matter what, is the best feeling in the world. That’s how I can thank fear for being there, for it’s support, but no thank you because I am choosing love. So see you later fear, you will not be driving me anymore.

Choose Love

Upon returning from an amazing journey in New Mexico with my new found breathwork family, people that understand my soul upon first connections, I realize how much growth can happen in just a short week. This Universe has given me a purpose in life. I may not always remember what it is, I may fall onto side paths that take me in a slightly different directions, but I know now that I am destined for more.

I felt the need to bring understanding and light to breathwork meditation immediately following my first experience. The message was urgent, eminent, and absolute – Bring this practice to the world.

Wanting to save the world is not a new sentiment amongst millenials or even matured millenials as I call myself being on the outskirts of this generation. And talking the talk and walking the walk are vastly different experiences. But if I want to live my life’s purpose and live a fulfilled life, this is the time.

The power of breathwork is life changing. If everyone in the world practiced this, if everyone in the world allowed themselves to let their guard down, to fight through their resistance to change, to push themselves to grow and become a better person, the world would be a better place. It would be saved, from our hate, from our pain, saved from ourselves. Can you imagine what the world would be like if we all came from a place of love?

Love - Our natural state. The essence of our being. The state of mind we are supposed to live in. Choose love and we will be freed from our stories. Choose love and we will no longer be chained to our pain, anger, or sadness. Choose love and we will feel liberated by the endless possibilities the Universe is offering.

“Someone just told me to leave all my sorrows, if that is true I don’t know who to be.” Sienabo Sey. Let’s leave all our sorrows and see who we have the power to become.

Live in love and watch life change right before your own eyes.

Photo By:   Daniella Matutes

Photo By: Daniella Matutes

Breathwork

Bioenergetic breathing is a form of meditation. It is a specific breathing exercise that creates a heightened sense of awareness inwards, allowing your focus to be taken away from the neurological system. Because the technique requires your full attention, complete and utter focus, you’re constantly focusing on the breath and are unable to get distracted by words, thoughts, fears or anxieties. The benefits of such pure, unexpected focus, brings about clarity from hard decisions, clarity on your true self, your real dreams, it releases any inner pain and opens your heart allowing you to comfortably be with just exactly who you are. There is no other practice, to my knowledge, no other experience you can have on this earth (without mind-altering drugs) that can seamlessly connect your spiritual and physical beings.

Then, once you’ve cried to cry, shed the pain, the negativity, fears and anxieties away, you’re left with nothing but your vulnerable, open, big loving heart. Here I’ve set out explaining this practice and it’s glorious benefits. I hope by the end of this, you are encouraged to try a class because we all deserve to have this life changing experience.

The Technique.

This breathing technique keeps your focus so acutely, that there is no room for anything else to enter. So if you’re one of those people who has a hard time staying quiet, or can’t get your mind to stop making grocery lists, this is for you. If you’re the type of person who wants to feel a release, this is for you. If you are the type of human who wants to grow as a person, this is for you.

You begin with one sharp breath through your mouth while protruding your stomach. Then take a sharp breath through your mouth from your chest. Finally, one quick sharp release of the breath, again through your mouth. Repeat. I don’t believe speed matters. Some days I start out fast, some days I follow the flow and energy of the class around me.

The Release

Our guide started the class by reminding us that we were in a safe place. He said, weird things would likely happen to our bodies, odd sensations, tingling, potentially cramped hands, feet, face. No matter what, we were to remember, and he would remind us that we were safe and to let our bodies do what felt natural to them.

I have had a number of different experiences varying from a permanently cramped face, and lips pursed so tightly it felt like nothing would ever let them release. My fingers have felt like they were asleep but not in the painful way, in an almost orgasmic kind of way. My feet and face tingle too, my body was tense, and my shoulders sometimes hurt for awhile after class from being clenched together. My face is almost always soaking wet. I usually cannot stop crying, nor do I know what I am crying over. I didn’t have time to focus on the why’s and nor does it ever feel like it even matters. The thought of what and why is irrelevant, and now after a few different experiences with breath work, it always feels irrelevant after every class. Tears need to be shed so they are. Your body craves release, no matter what it is releasing, and the tears will come, if not in your first class, one day.  

The Love

Every teacher adapts a form of breath work that they believe in and crave teaching. After just 5 songs of this (20 minutes of breathing), after endless tears flowing, after receiving a tissue, this instructor brings the class through a self-love exercise. You are instructed to reach out with one hand in front of you. Then, think of a memory that fills you with love. Feel the memory. Live in the memory. Then grab the memory and place it over your heart. Place the memory through the door to your heart and feel your heart physically grow three times its size. It’s beating faster now and you can feel nothing but your heart. Put your other hand over the hand that placed it in your heart and feel the love. Then, think of a memory that fills you with laughter. Feel the memory. Live in the memory. The room might become filled with physical laughter. Grab that memory and place it over your heart, watch it fill your already too big heart with laughter. Next, think of a memory when you were proud of yourself. Feel it, live it and place it in your heart. Think of something you love about yourself. Feel it, see it and place it in your heart. Watch your heart overflow with love and gratitude into the rest of your body. My body became physically warm, the tingling from the breath work was mostly gone by then and my whole body was just filled with warmth. I could feel these memories bleeding throughout my every orifice; love and laughter were flowing through me stronger than anything I’ve ever felt.

Raw

You’re emotionally naked. Naked and not at all afraid because you’ve already let it all go. You have already pushed any negativity, self-doubting, stupidity, ugliness or lack of respecting thoughts out of your body. Now you get to sit here vulnerably with nothing but exactly who you truly are, the moments you love most and the memories you hold dearest. You are left with your most authentic emotion, your big loving heart. You are sitting there with pure LOVE. Walking away from this my heart felt like it could explode from love. I’m not sure I’ve ever allowed myself to feel this much love and release of all that bogs you down from being your truest self. This is without a doubt, the best part of breath work. It took awhile to come out of the physical state bioenergetic breathing put me, and yet a part of me never wanted to come out of it.

After

My favorite thing so far is that I felt the after-effects for the rest of that evening and into the following day. It was almost 24 hours of pure, authentic me existing in the world. This is something I had personally been looking for. A meditation that I could feel the affects of for hours to come following my moment of silence. A meditation that lasted me to the next moment. My practice of 10 minutes of morning meditation was not doing that for me, but bioenergetic breathing is.

I felt exhausted, and relieved at the same time. I felt complete drained of any emotion, thought, or experience and yet overflowing with love, happiness and gratitude. It’s the happiest I think I have ever felt.

Since my first experience in breath work I have been going back to that class, twice a week almost exactly now. I love it. It still feels like the best form of therapy you could ever receive, it’s like a massive immersion into your deepest fears, what causes your tears and anxieties all while being able to just naturally let them out before moving on.

I have learned that one of, if not the single most important element is to remember to go into each experience as though it’s your first time. No expectations. No pre-conceived notions, no personal or external judging of what happens around you. Just genuine child-like wonder for what today’s class will bring. If you leave your expectations at the door, you’ll have a more healing experience because opportunities will come to you that you might not have been open to in the past. You have the chance to experience things you didn’t know was possible, but only if you walk into each session with a drive for change, an interest in growth and an open mind to do whatever it takes to live a peaceful and balanced life. 

Love a Stranger

The world is full of beautiful souls. Of strong souls. Of individual souls. Of inspiring souls and of soulful souls.

We all begin as strangers. The connection between two people when they first meet is real. There’s those people you first meet and become best friends with. The people you instantly dive deep into and feel like you’ve known them for years. Then there are people you first meet that you just know are not going to be an everlasting friendship. People that you cannot see eye to eye with, people that make the hair on your arm, or your intuitive red flag go up because there’s just something not right. That’s ok. Move along. There’s someone else a few people down the sidewalk that you easily could find everlasting love with. No matter what the first impression experience is, we all start out as strangers.

When you first meet a stranger, you have no idea what to expect. It could be the worst conversation you’ve ever had or the best. Regardless, we all have the ability to make a connection to the soul next to you. No matter what our background is, where you come from, who you know or what you believe, we all have the ability to grow into something more beautiful than what you’ve ever known or believed possible.

It all begins with a single soul and the desire for connection. There’s endless opportunities to connect. It could be about adventure, about travel, about the world views, fears, about what you love doing, what you hate doing, what angers you to your core and what makes you fly.

If we keep an open mind we can all find a love within ourselves for the next person. We don’t have to love everyone, but you can find a common ground love.

If we come from this place, the place of honest connection and real, truthful love, then maybe we could lesson the worlds pain. Maybe the hate on innocent souls, the pain we experience when losing someone we love, wouldn’t happen.

Strangers. If we could all find something to connect on, maybe we could save the world from ourselves a little. Maybe, just maybe, we could empty out the hatred that fills some souls and replace it with love.

The Best Advice For A 20something As Told By A 20something

Most 20-somethings experience a momentous transformation after college called the quarter life crisis. Our experiences with this crisis vary significantly based on when they occur, how we handle them, where we move to, who we break up with, who/when we marry, and so on. Here I’ve gathered the best advice for a 20something as told by a 20something. These are people who have experienced this phase first hand, and whether it helps to hear you’re not alone or pushes you forward on a new path, here’s to hoping this gives guidance to at least one of you.

KEJAL

"If something scares you, that's usually a good sign you should do it."

"Always try to look your best. You never know when you'll run into a former or future love."

"Anyone who tells you that you can't do something can go eat a bird-shit sandwich."

 NICK

Move - Nobody should end in the same place they began - live, love and laugh someplace new. At least once in your life, pack up and move to some place different. It's amazing how much you find out about yourself when you wander new places with new people. You can't grow if you don't give yourself the room. 

Create - Whether collaboratively or by yourself, be responsible for creating something beautiful at least once a year. Art is a big small word and something that everyone should experience firsthand. It could be something written, painted, sewn, built, or said - just as long as it’s something you are proud of.

ANONYMOUS

“If you end up with a boring miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest, or some guy on television telling you how to do your shit, then you deserve it.”
― 
Frank Zappa

People will always justify their choices to you when you are doing something different. Let them, for their sake. But, don't let ANYONE tell you there is a way to live life. The happiest people have invented their own way. 

Oh, and watch Blackfish.

KATHERINE

WEAR SUNSCREEN! - You never think you'll get wrinkles but when you do, it's quite a blow to that invincible ego.

Save your money - At the age of 28, I realized if I wanted to continue buying cute jackets and shoes, I would live with my parents forever. Not ideal.

If you don't like where you’re at in life, be brave and make the change. Move. Change jobs. Travel. Go back to school. It's scary, but you only get one life and you might as well spend it being happy!

GERARD - Sometimes, it’s just time to “grow up”. A little bit, at least.

Post-graduation, I lived with college friends, in my college town, enjoying copious happy hours with my social circle still in close proximity. Subsequent to say, the supposed transition into “adult hood” was non-existent. And then people starting moving away - they got into graduate school, began cohabitating and became serious about their jobs. My weekend warrior posse was shrinking and Friday nights were no longer an assumed night out. I knew at some point the remnants of undergraduate debauchery was going to dissipate but when it did, it was like someone flipped a switch. It took me by surprise. I guess, sometimes it’s just time to “grow up”. A little bit, at least.  

 DYLAN - "Avoid making life decisions based on the regrets of others." –D. Campbell

 TREVOR - "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take"

 Take a chance. I like to think of it as the basketball player who is waiting to be discovered but was always told by his coaches not to shoot because he wasn’t good enough. Suddenly the game comes down to him and he finds himself with the ball at the last second. It's an internal struggle of what he's been told for so long, versus having the confidence in himself to do something different – something high risk but high reward.

"Eat every cheeseburger"

A fun way of saying "Carpe diem." Get out there, get uncomfortable, taste things you don't think you like, look at things you don't normally want to see. How do you know you don't like it until you try it? If you don’t eat every cheeseburger, you won't know why one is better than the other. 

STEFANIE

Appreciate your FAMBAM.  Spend more quality time with your parents.  Ask them lots of questions. Don't skip family dinners in fear of missing the "Party of the Year". The bar can wait. Just stay home with the A-Team tonight.  In the end, they are the ones that matter and have always had your back. Trust me, every moment is worth it.

LYNDSAY

Advice that I wish I would have known..... Honestly, I hold firm in the idea that all things come to us when we are ready to hear them and as we need them. I think the experiences and/or 'mistakes' we may have made in the past have all helped shape us into the brilliant humans we are today. Learning and growing is forever so I do not know if any advice would have done me well earlier than when I was ready to receive it. We just have to trust the path and know that we are walking in the exact footsteps we are supposed to be carving out. Sometimes trusting that path can seem nearly impossible when navigating the waters of the 20something lifestyle. I suppose, if I had to choose one thing I wish I would have known, deeply known, it would be this - all experience is happening in exactly the time, place and space it is supposed to be happening and that you are okay. Then maybe I could have sat more comfortably in knowing that all things work out as they are supposed to. Every experience just adds to the perfect culmination of exactly the being we are supposed to be in this time; the present. The only thing we have.

The "Single and Just Fine Thank You Very Much" Wave

The first wave of marriages happens in our early to mid-twenties. These are the people who have been dating since high school, college or just after. It includes the lovers who have stood the test of time, the homemakers, the “I know what I want in life” couples, and maternal/paternal individuals who want kids at an early age.

The second wave is the early-thirty-somethings. These are the people have yet to have found a soul shattering love, people who’ve had relationships in their twenties with people they thought they would marry, and the people who find it crucial to explore a deep sense of self before falling in love again. These people attend the first waves weddings solo, they are living with roommates and/or potentially picking up to travel the world.

People say there’s a pattern that occurs with both sets of waves and that it’s a revolving door. Apparently some from the first wave will find themselves getting a divorce, while others start having babies and begin life as first time parents. The second wave are potentially playing catch-up to get their life back on the track they believe it’s supposed to be on, or find themselves married to Mr.Wrong because they were in too much of a hurry to fit the timeline in their head.

In today’s world we are waiting longer and longer to get married, have families and settle down – we’re traveling the world before getting jobs, living in our parents home to save money, getting married later in life, and having babies way before a ring is even in the picture. We are no longer forcing ourselves to fit the linear path of societal expectations and yet at the same time it can be difficult to feel confident about where you stand in life if you don’t find yourself fitting into a societal wave. Or if you are in a wave but choosing not to make decisions that others see as coming next for you in life like buying that house in the suburbs or having babies.

Regardless of where you find yourself fitting in, watching everyone around you make these major life changes can cause restlessness and uneasiness about the path you have chosen.

Instead of living in fear that the waves are shaping and crashing without you and wrestling with the lack of understanding in your intention for the next phase of life – make yourself aware. Begin meditation classes, or perform your own act of serenity so your intention is put out into the universe. By doing so, even just saying it out loud – “I need guidance towards what’s next for me”– the solution will make itself present when you are ready to hear it.

Listening to your instinct gives you the real answers. Separate fact from fairy-tale and stay sane when you’re watching all your friends move forward in a wave. Whether you’re struggling with your next career move, coupled-up, single and looking, or single and just fine, thank you very much – putting your intention out there will give you peace with where life is supposed to be taking you.

By listening you’ll find the guidance you are looking for.

The Unexpected Clarity Found in a Walk

Walk. 

Walk alone. This will give your body profound inner silence. You will start to notice the color of the flowers and the shape of the clouds. Walking alone rejuvenates the soul. It is when clarity is found.

Walk with a partner. As you observe the world around you, you’ll find that the bond that already exists between one another will grow and strengthen as you walk. The life solutions you’ll come to from the silence that breathes between your words will only bring you closer. Walking with a partner empowers us.

Sometimes, give walking precedence over running.

We are naturally fast paced- moving quickly towards the next meeting, running to catch up with our dreams, or racing to lose weight. We feel the faster the better. We forget that walking is great for the mind, body and spirit. Walking clears your thoughts, allows your soul to breath and for those minutes, reminds you that everything will be okay. It is through walking that you are able to feel the simplicity in the darkness that thickens your life so often.

My mother first introduced walking into my life.  Whether it was my whole family, or just my mom and I, the four-mile walks we would take on the beach gave us time to enjoy the world around us, appreciate the colors in the sunset, and get to know one another. As a teenager, many a walks were spent venting about my always emotionally distraught life, and as I grew older, I started getting to know my mom as a person and not just a mother. I began enjoying the activity of walking when I learned it was an untapped resource for bonding. 

The power of walking continued to develop later in life as I walked the streets with a passionate love. Walks with this man began innocently as the only way to connect among the constant chatter and commotion of college roommates and parties. It was our sanity, a time when we saw straight into one another’s soul.

Walking is therapy. It brings forth a sense of clarity in the everyday madness we live in. It provides normality for the soul as we reconnect with the earth and the beauty that thrives all around us. Whether you are introducing or reintroducing walking in your life, you will find transparency in a world of madness, connection to passion and reconnection with things that have always been important to you and yet you’ve lost along the way.

Walk. Just walk and find the unexpected clarity.

 

Post inspired by the novel “Walking in this World” by Julie Cameron

Images from http://vi.sualize.us/ 

How to Find Solace in Being Alone

Be patient.

It takes time to become comfortable with you. It takes time to get to know who you really are and understand what you really want, make decisions for yourself and feel at ease in the sweet and utter silence of your own presence.

Start small.

Go on walks alone. Use your headphones to bring music to your ears and soothe your brain from making you believe you’re a freak for walking alone. When you feel comfortable with that go to coffee shops, libraries and parks alone. Bring a book if you feel naked, but practice putting it down for periods of time to enjoy your surroundings, the people, the noises, and the conversations. Try the same coffee shop without your headphones. Sit at a large table, one in which you are forced to share so you meet someone new. You may even strike up a conversation you never thought you would have had. That’s what coffee shops are for, and without your headphones you’re introducing yourself to the world. You’ll find this becomes ritualistic -the walks, the coffee shop and park visits without books or headphones become meditation to you. Your aloneness begins developing into a form of salvation.

Next, take yourself to dinner.

Go some place you’ve always wanted to try. Somewhere you will indulge deeply and passionately in your food. Find yourself smiling because it’s all so delicious. Order desert to top the meal off and eat it slow as you look around and see that the world is too concerned with the conversations at their own table to judge you for being alone. Some may in fact be wishing they were you instead of involved in the social obligation they were in fact obliged to accept.

 Go dancing.

If you go somewhere you’ve never been, somewhere where you won’t run into anyone you know, than it simply becomes your body on a floor moving to the beautiful sound of music. No one will notice you’re alone because you’re simply allowing your body to dwell in the soft musical instruments and moving freely like the body was made to move. A new conversation may even begin and you’ll have an epiphany to add to your creative well.

Embrace the loneliness.

When you are painlessly able to get through these movements, you’ll realize that lessons from kindergarten really are true. You are special. By embracing our loneliness we find a deep love for our own soul.

Acceptance

Instead of giving in to the societal fear of loneliness, accept it for all that it is. Allow your heart to be broken, and tears to fall, then move on. Help yourself heal by fulfilling that creative art form you’ve been neglecting and decorate your home with beautiful crafts that make you happy. Embracing the loneliness allows you to feel joy and happiness for the most important person in the world, yourself.  

Facebook Hurt My Feelings

You’ve never considered yourself a masochist. You probably even genuinely believe that you don’t seek out pain or heartache. Although that may be true in the real world, in the digital world, you too have wasted hours of your precious time receiving emotional blows from Facebook. It’s addictive, doesn’t matter what you say, you can’t, and won’t delete your account. Despite all the times you have been filled with FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) because everyone around you is having way more fun than you, and despite the physical pain of seeing your ex-boyfriend’s new “in a relationship” status, you remain an active Facebook user.

A day in the life of a Facebook user…

You were perfectly happy in your own little world today. You went to work, had a wonderfully productive and inspiring day at the office, had dinner with old friends, and even made some weekend plans that include the perfect amount of art, culture and sociability. This is you living in the moment, enjoying your life day in and day out.

 You drive yourself home from dinner in good spirits and bundle up in bed. As your eyes grow tired, you decide to hop on Facebook. You’re scrolling through your newsfeed and doing what everyone does when on this site: making assumptions about people you used to know but were never really friends with. Once you’ve spent a good deal of time searching them, your mind wanders to those whom you used to have a real life connection with but no longer do.

These are the people you know you shouldn’t look at their profile, nor should you look at their friends or family members profiles just to be safe. They are your ex-boy/girlfriends, or ex-loves. They are the people that you no longer love, that you haven’t spoken to in months if not years, and likely for good reasons. Yet still, your emotional self wants to know what they did for Thanksgiving this year, or whose wedding they were invited to that you weren’t. Despite your sensible-side knowing that seeing this information will give you an emotional rush leaving you in pain or longing, your will power to protect your heart is overruled by the easily accessible information.

After a deep breath, you’ve clicked on their name. If it’s not a picture of them with their new significant other, then their status is a quote in which your self-indulgent ego can’t help but wonder (or hope), if they were thinking of you when they wrote it. Your insides do some flips and you might even log off for the night. The problem is, the day will come when your addiction is in full affect, and Facebook feels the need to inform you that your ex-lover is now engaged, or ex-best friend had a baby and you had no clue she was even pregnant.

You’ll sit there staring, angry at the computer. If you had already heard such news from a friend, seeing it happily displayed in front of you with a bunch of “congratulations” messages will be a little easier, but not much. Facebook validates the news. It reaffirms that you really know nothing about this person’s life anymore.

The truth is the only way to be completely free of the emotional stress Facebook causes your life, is to get rid of it altogether. You can de-friend, or block for so long as it’s only a matter of time until you find out some information. Or at least until he/she “pokes” you, causing a tidle-wave to run through your stomach.

In reality, you’re never going to de-activate your account. You secretly want that little bit of knowledge and access into the lives of those you no longer talk to. So either tone down the Facebook stalking or accept that Facebook is just going to hurt your feelings. Ultimately, you too just want to show off how successful, happy and in love you are, likely hurting someone else’s feelings. 

Men Are Stupid. Women Are Crazy.

By: Jenna Reiss

Story by: Papa Burt Altman

When a man of few words silences a table full of women who don’t stop talking, you listen. Because of his well-known one-liners full of wisdom that left you pondering well into the night, my grandfather knew the table would hush immediately upon his cue. He picks up his glass and says, “I will be writing a book one day titled: Men Are Stupid. Women Are Crazy.” Here’s a snippet from what I think would be in his book.

Men are Stupid because:

  • You really don’t pick up on any signs a woman gives you. Whether she’s trying to hit on you by just glancing your way from across the bar, or she’s upset and just wants you to ask what’s wrong, you can’t seem to get a clue and read the signals.
  • You are all convinced that a woman is driven by her need to get hitched. Yes, most of us out there do want a man to settle down with eventually, but right now, in the moment, she too might just want sex and nothing more. Inventing a scenario of where this is going and running away now, is just stupid.
  • You assume that we’re never in the mood for sex when usually all we really need is some good old-fashioned 4play (to get us started). Yes, we may not be in the mood ALL the time, but we’re there more frequently than you think. You just need to put in a little bit of effort
  • Everything you do is a competition. This means that the dumbest thing in the world will set you off, anger you or make you feel “less of a man”.
  • Most of you actually thinks that you have the right to hit on us. In your minds, hitting on us is such a huge compliment that it really doesn’t matter what is said or how it’s said. If we receive a compliment from you, we’re supposed to consider ourselves grateful.
  • You listen to your even dumber friends who have commitment phobia, mommy issues, or just a terrible dating track record. When taking advice from guys like these, anyone is bound to fail.

Women are crazy because:

  • When we like a guy more than they like us, we obsessively want contact with them. Then, the more they pull away, the crazier we get until a good friend is able to pull us in from our manic mannerisms. 
  • We are passive aggressive. When we send a text message, there generally is hidden meaning. Therefore, we get crazy trying to understand what your texts actually mean, and don’t believe anyone when we’re told that they mean exactly what they say.
  • We have too many hormones once a month.
  • Sometimes we just want to cry. It won’t even be because we are PMSing, we’ll just feel emotional, and when we see a child getting bullied on Full House, yes, we will get a little misty.
  • We listen to our even crazier friends who are marriage obsessed, or the needy relationship type. Then when we’re texting a guy who clearly is just not that into us, we refuse to accept his lack of interest because we’ve been told that he’s probably just busy, with his mom whose in town, or he’s just so into us that he can’t even put it into words.  

Good People Never Leave Us

  • Don’t be afraid to make a decision and follow through with it. He had only just met Grandma Connie before saying he knew he was going to marry her. 65 years later, they have built an incredibly supportive and loving family. He may have been a picky man, but he knew what he liked when he saw it, and when he wanted something, he went after it. 
  • This is also true when it comes to his food. A delicious meal isn’t something everyone can appreciate. But Papa, he knew and you knew, when he liked or didn’t like his meal. It was his love and enjoyment for food, that taught me that appreciating the little things, such as your breakfast, lunch and dinner, will always make a day better. 
  • He was a man of few words, well at least when he was surrounded by all the women in our family. He chose his words wisely, and when he decided to speak over the yapping women at the dinner table, it was always to say something wordly like: “Men are Stupid, Women are Crazy”. Papa taught me that sometimes few words are needed to express the most important things, and when you do choose to speak, your one phrase of the night will be more meaningful than if you had been gabbing the whole night. 

11 Differences Between Early 20somethings and Late 20somethings

1.    Would rather say no to precancerous freckles and use the 45 instead of sizzling in the sun all day covered in tanning oil

2.     No longer want to go out until 3am every night on the weekends. We’d rather get up early on Saturday mornings, work out, and enjoy the sunshine than be hung-over on the couch until 4pm and have done nothing with our day (although that still happens)

3.     Prefer a cup of tea or decaf coffee after 4pm on a work night because we need to get up early the next day

4.     Buy one another real birthday gifts instead of just birthday shots

5.     Think about what alcohol we should supply and food we should serve when throwing a party instead of expecting everyone to take care of themselves

6.     Contemplate the qualities in our man in regards to a long-term relationship or possibly even marriage, instead of just dating the guy who gets along with our friends best

7.     Consider switching to organic everything because we are beginning to see a new line on our face, or extra fat on our bodies from the years we used chemical filled makeup and ate KRAFT mac-and-cheese

8.     Can no longer do anything productive after a night of drinking, let alone go back to work on Monday after a weekend filled with it.

9.     Wash fruits and vegetables before cooking with them because we’ve now watched documentaries on the chemicals that we’re putting in our bodies if we don’t

10.     Would rather be warm and not “as cute”, than have a sexy outfit in the freezing cold. (this is relative)

11.     Consider buying a hotel room for ourselves instead of just crashing on one another’s floor, (operative word being ‘consider’ – not sure we actually follow through yet)