Namaste: Recognizing the divine within

When I finished college in 1990, I proudly joined corporate America and donned my panty hose and business suits and went to work as an Account Representative for the Xerox Corporation in San Francisco. After the honeymoon of being part of the establishment wore off, I realized I detested selling copier machines. No matter how many “document solutions” I was able to provide, I still hated getting up in the morning.

After three years, I left with a one-way ticket to Asia with my brother, Paul (Thanks, Mom & Dad!) After traveling through China and Hong Kong, we settled in Taiwan for 6 months to teach English…what I thought was my dream job! However, living in Taiwan was not my dream place. I left my brother and traveled through South East Asia for another 5 months by myself. Of all the countries I went to, the time I spent in Nepal was definitely the highlight of my year abroad.

I had heard the Nepalese greeting ‘Namaste' before, but I didn’t understand it’s true meaning. A kind Nepalese porter explained that the greeting meant, “the God in me sees the God in you,” or “the divine in me honors the divine in you.” After spending three years of trying to be someone I wasn't, I felt seen for the first time. When the Nepalese greeted me with “Namaste,” they truly looked me in the eyes, saw my soul, and embraced me for who I was. It was magical.

Part of the beauty of Intuitive Healing Meditation is the recognition of the divinity within ourselves and each other. We are spiritual and divine beings having this temporary human experience. It’s so easy to get caught up in the material world and the superficial nature of modern society. But, when we can recognize our divine nature and see beyond our earthly pursuits, we can live a more meaningful and purposeful life. We can accept ourselves and each other by being vulnerable, present, and authentic. 

So, NAMASTE to each and every one of you. I see the Divine in all of you. Take the time to recognize it within yourselves and those around you.

FYI: Suffering is optional

I am embarrassed to say that my biggest problem right now is how I am feeling about my UberMom driving responsibilities. (Total first world problem, I agree!) I have a working car, I can afford gas, and I have two healthy children who need to be chauffeured to different schools and their various activities. There are some days I am in the car for 3.5 hours. I’ve been doing this for years. It seems to only be really bothering me of late. Perhaps it is the fact that my driving job for one of my children is winding down, as she is about to turn 16….perhaps I need to do some more yoga and meditate. Regardless, I am dismayed that with all my Dali Mama quotes in my head, I am still letting it bother me.

I know this isn’t a real problem (I have had those in my life), but the fact that I am letting it bother me is a problem. If we learn how to deal with these little guys, then we can move more smoothly through the big stuff when it hits. This week’s meditation helps us to change our response to the issues at hand. As Buddha says, “Pain is Inevitable. Suffering is optional.” 

Rather than to continue to suffer and take my resentment out on my fellow drivers by showing less Aloha, I meditate on ACCEPTING the situation for what it is. Eckart Tolle states, “Accept—then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it…this will miraculously transform your whole life.” One of the best ways for me to ACCEPT is to practice gratitude. I give thanks for my car, money for gas to drive my kids, the fact that I have my kids, that my kids are at the right schools and are healthy…etc., etc. An attitude of gratitude DOES help in shifting my response. I also meditate on releasing my resistance to the situation. I then fill myself in with the trust and knowing that everything is as exactly as it should be. I only have a few years left with both my kids. I want to know that I was truly PRESENT for them by focusing on the moment together in each and every moment.

Whew! I feel better already. 

I  know that I have practiced for the real issues when they arrive…may I handle them with more grace and aloha! But, I am not going to give the future one more thought...I am off to pick up my son!

Experience the AWE!

Two weeks ago, I met my husband, Billy, out in Hana with Ryder and his two friends. He had spent the first night with the boys and then met me at Hamoa with three tired teenagers. He mentioned that they had been up since sunrise.

As the boys napped on the beach, I took in the beauty of Hamoa...our favorite beach on Maui. Being in nature allows for your nervous system to relax. For some reason, Hana seems to take it a step beyond and I felt like I was being “held” energetically in a loving and supportive way. 

We camped out in Kipahulu by the 'Ohe'o pools. Between games of hide and seek and burnt s’mores, the boys were in heaven. When I woke early the next morning, I took the long way to reach the ocean to watch the sunrise. When I got there, I couldn’t believe what I saw....the three boys standing out there to watch the sunrise for themselves. It about moved me to tears...that three 14-year-old boys would choose to get up and take in the wonder of a sunrise. With the recent disasters and chaos in the world, it gave me a sense of hope that I hadn’t felt in awhile.

Dan Bova, a writer for “Entrepreneur" writes, "Experts including Dacher Keltner, Ph.D., co-director of the Greater Good Science Center at UC-Berkeley, have researched the mental and physical benefits of experiencing awe—defined as witnessing something that is vast, difficult to even comprehend, and, well, awesome. Research has found that being around something that brings on awe leads to a reduction in stress, an increase in open-mindedness, and a sense of being a part of something bigger and greater than ourselves."

As part of a healthy mindfulness practice, get outside and experience the AWEsomeness of Maui. Especially when you are feeling down—know that there will always be a sunrise after the darkness of the nights. And, there will ALWAYS be rainbows after the storms we experience in our lives.

 

 

Listening to your inner voice

One of the beautiful things about saying “no,” is the sense of empowerment it gives you. It can help you feel that you are in control of your life amidst the chaos of this modern world. It makes it easier to continue to say “no” to people, situations, requests, and unnecessary obligations.

Sometimes it may be easier to say no to the difficult person than it is to a birthday party invitation that you may feel obligated to attend. Just envisioning the several hours of superficial “cocktail” conversation instead of enjoying what you really want to be doing…like going to the beach with your family or staying at home with a good book…is enough to make me break out in a cold sweat. 

When we don’t listen to our inner voice or intuition and do things out of an unconnected obligation, we take ourselves out of alignment with our own truth. This creates a DIS-ease in the body. It is a subtle stressor on the body that takes us out of our optimum healing state—the relaxation mode and homeostasis. 

When we are in alignment with our truth, a beautiful shift occurs. We feel more content, less stressed, and more connected to our spirit. We are able to move through the world with more ease and grace. We feel happier and more fulfilled by doing the things that are true for us.

Listen to your inner voice and trust it. Watch how your life unfolds into more beauty and authenticity.

The Divine within...

When we give ourselves an energetic protection from the chaos and drama surrounding us, we can strengthen ourselves and respond to others in a healthy and more compassionate way.

One of the most wonderful benefits of meditation is learning to connect to the divine within each of us. In the wake of the recent events, it is extremely important to find that quiet place and illuminate our sacred divine selves. More than ever, we need to respond with kindness to everyone, regardless of their politics, race, or religion. Let go of the need to be right. The most essential thing we can do as individuals is to move through the world with more humanity, forgiveness, and gentleness. This is how we can change the world…by starting with ourselves.

Dealing with tragedy

I had written something else for this morning’s email, but when I went to CNN.com, I was horrified by the massacre in Las Vegas and knew I needed to focus on what was at hand.

With intuitive healing meditation, there are tools that we have been practicing to use in everyday situations and during catastrophes, whether personally affected or not. We are all affected in some way by such atrocities. 

The first thing to do when learning of such tragedies is to find your grounding connection to the center of the earth. Allow your beam of light to travel down through your head, your body, through each layer of the earth, and then to the core. Feel your connection to the earth. This will immediately help calm your nervous system.

Then, allow yourself to take some deep and relaxing breaths. Allow the earth’s energy to come up through your legs and into your body. The healing earth’s energy releases any energy that is not in affinity with you and discharges it back into the earth. The earth neutralizes this negative energy.

Expand your aura. Energy follows thought, intention, and imagination. Give yourself a strong protection shield so you don’t take on the negative energy. Your aura acts as a filtration system, an energetic second skin.

In this protected and expanded state, it is easier to be present without taking on any energy from the chaos surrounding us. This makes it easier to offer your prayers, intentions, and positive energy to those in need. By staying calm and grounded, we are able to be present—offering kindness and love to our fellow man. On a day when graciousness, humanity, and compassion for all is much needed.

What to do when dealing with a challenging individual.

When dealing with a difficult individual, we can create an energetic boundary by creating a strong aura with a protection symbol. All living beings have an aura. It is the boundary between your personal energy system and the energy of others. It is a filtration system that can keep negative energy from coming into your space. By adding the protection symbol, it further sets a clear boundary for the outside edge.

When dealing with a difficult person, you can meet them at the edge of your aura. You don’t have to allow them into your energetic space. You can also imagine them (energy follows thought/intention/imagination) on the other side of the world, like Berlin or Cairo. Give yourself lots of space when dealing with them. It will help you feel safer and able to stand your ground more easily. It makes it easier to say “no” when you need to.

Practice setting boundaries with your aura. A healthy aura is 1 to 2 feet around you. 

Taking a look inside...

This last month we’ve focused on stepping up and saying “no” in our lives where we needed to. Whether it be to say no to a difficult person, a situation, a commitment, or a friendship, it is often challenging to say no as we don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings. However, as we have learned, saying no gives us the opportunity to say yes to ourselves. In healing our bodies, it is paramount to keep ourselves in our alignment with our truth. This helps put us in the relaxed state—the optimum healing state—so our bodies can heal.

When saying “no” to someone, we are giving that person an opportunity to grow and make changes they may need. I have been that “difficult” person who needed to hear “no.” Raised with two brothers by a military father, I learned that my mouth was my most efficient skewer.  Being a competitive windsurfer in San Francisco and the only female on the Sales teams in the technology startups I worked in, I felt the need to use my words to demonstrate how tough I was. I was even lovingly (or not so lovingly) christened “Stud Bitch,” “Pit Bull,” and “Pit Viper.” I took pride in these names. However, my caustic words were often hurtful and biting…even though I meant it all in “fun.” It took the loss of several friends and the intervention of a few close ones to tell me “no,” for me to realize I needed to make a change. I am grateful for those “no’s.” I have always felt warm and fuzzy on the inside….I am just a few steps closer to living and expressing that truth than I used to be.

When you hear a “no,” know that there is a gift in there somewhere.

 

 

Difficult people....

Have you been noticing how you feel around other people? It’s easy to choose to be with those who we feel good around. Sometimes it is more difficult to distance those (especially loved ones) who are difficult or critical. However, remember that your body is in its optimal healing state when you are calm. When we are around difficult people, our nervous systems go into overdrive and our body produces epinephrine and cortisol, also referred to as “stress hormones.” These hormones cause the heart to beat more quickly, the blood vessels in the legs and arms dilate, the digestive process changes and then the glucose enters the bloodstream to deal with the stress. Over a long period of time, this creates a drain on the body and takes us out of the optimal healing state.

I have an acquaintance who is often incredibly critical and hurtful in her comments towards me. Whenever I was around her, I always left feeling upset and angry. I always promised myself that I would never be around her. However, with all the mutual friends we have, I knew I would miss seeing them and didn’t want to cut them out of my life.  

My husband always told me, “You can’t change her. You can only change your reaction to her.” Easier said than done, right! However, through meditation, I became less reactive over the years.  Instead of taking the bait with her comments or lashing out to her, I started to take a breath and pause before I responded. 

At a gathering last summer, she took a shot when I went to get seconds of the tasty lasagna. She loudly asked, “Is that your second or third time back to the food, Carla??” The room got quiet and I laughed. I said, “No, it is actually either my fourth or fifth, because this is so yummy!” My comment took the charge out of her accusation. Instead of an energetic spiral of negativity, I diffused the situation with humor. 

When someone says or does something that pains you, take a breath. Find your grounding. And, if you can remember—fill your intuitive center with 24K gold. This helps to neutralize the negativity. All of our communication is really just energetic exchanges. This doesn’t mean that we become a doormat and don’t stand up for ourselves; it just means that we are capable of shifting certain interactions. She is still not someone I would choose to be around. However,  I’ve also come to realize that she is a really unhappy individual who has experienced a lot of suffering in her life. This compassion towards her was also helpful in healing the relationship. A couple of years ago during a visit with loads of opportunity to practice my nonreaction, she actually cried while hugging me goodbye. She was genuinely sad to see me go. Even when I think of her now, it is with compassion instead of a charge. This shifted my own inner dialogue immensely! 

Learning to say no.

 

When I first started telling people “No,” I felt quite guilty. I felt that I was letting them down and it didn’t make me feel like I was being a good person. I used to say yes to everyone and had every minute of each day of the week filled with social obligations, volunteer jobs, helping a friend, my photography business, and almost anything else that was asked of me—especially as SuperMOM (cape and all!). No wonder my immune system was compromised! I never stopped. I never rested to let my body heal….especially with an immune disorder I didn’t realize I had at the time.

“Listen to your body when it whispers, so you don’t have to hear it when it screams.”

I ignored all the whispering for years. It finally took getting really sick with the room spinning vertigo to lay me flat on my back. I had no choice but to stop…and, literally, let the world spin by. The most amazing part was that the world went on...brides found new photographers! Other people stepped up to volunteer! People were able to function without me helping them! My true friends still stayed my friends even though I didn’t have the energy to see them. And the acquaintances/“friends” who were upset by my “no,” moved on and found other people who were more in alignment with themselves. Had I continued to be their friend out of obligation, they would not have had that opportunity. 

You are not doing anyone any favors by continuing relationships out of obligation. When you are doing things out of affinity with who you are, you are compromising yourself. To be in a state of optimum healing, it is important to be in alignment with your deepest desires and wishes.

I know there are some family members or coworkers who are difficult to be around and you just can’t axe them from your lives. However, we can learn some tools that will help you when you do have to deal with them…the first step is to limit your time around them.

Sensing energy from others...

Seven years ago, when a virus left me with room spinning vertigo for four months and a deep fatigue for another eight, I spent most of my time on the couch in our living room. As my friends and acquaintances were worried about me, I had many visitors at the beginning to come by and check on me. After a few weeks of entertaining my concerned pals, I realized that I was feeling more zapped and drained after most of the visits.  As I had little energy to begin with, I became super sensitive to other people’s energy. I knew I could not continue spending time with most of my well-intentioned guests. I needed all my strength and energy to heal and attempt to care for my 8-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son.

When a visitor arrived, I began to sense immediately whether or not my energy was starting to drain or if I felt supported and held in a way that was nourishing and helpful. Out of pure necessity, I learned to say a polite “no” to those who drained me. It wasn’t that I didn’t appreciate their good intentions, I just had absolutely no energy to pretend otherwise. One very difficult day when I truly felt like the life was draining out of me, my good friend Karen came over and asked what she could do. I just needed to be held which she did without speaking. After a couple of hours, I felt nourished and calm. I knew I could continue on.

As I continued to heal, I continued to only say Yes to those people who didn’t deplete me. Even though I have more energy now, I am still very careful with how I choose to exert it. I am grateful for that time of not feeling well, as it gave me the opportunity to learn a valuable skill.This is a skill I still carry with me today. 

I choose to spend time only with people who I feel good around. I am much happier and more content than I have ever been. Our time and energy are so valuable. 

Take a moment to reflect on those who you feel well around. Notice your energy when you are around them. Know that you are in a state of optimal healing when you are feeling well. Notice your energy when you are around difficult individuals. 

We will spend the next couple of classes talking about protecting our energy bodies and developing the skills to help do so.

I look forward to seeing you….BTW: I feel amazing when I am at meditation class with all of you!!

Notice when you are happy!

Before my kids headed out the door to their different schools, Malia said to Ryder, “Have a great day, Ryder. Good luck with your new dance class.”

Ryder lovingly responded, “Thank you, Malia. You have a great day, too. I hope you do well on your test.” 

He then went over and gave her a quick hug.

It was right out of a Brady Bunch rerun. That perfect family moment that seems to only happen during 1970’s corny tv shows. Regardless, I took it all in. I savored that moment…cementing it to my ever diminishing memory banks. I’m still swimming in the deliciousness of that moment.

Why does it seem that we often focus on the negative moments? Rick Hanson, a neuropsychologist who wrote Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm and Confidence, explains that our brains are like velcro for negative experiences and teflon for positive experiences. Positive and negative emotions use different memory systems in the brain. He said positive emotions don’t transfer as easily to the long term memory the way bad emotions do.

So, one of the ways we can change that, is to really notice and take in those beautiful moments. Absorb it into every part of your being. Feel that positive energy running through your body.

Kurt Vonnegut sums it up quite eloquently by stating, “And I urge to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is."

Attitude of gratitude!

Start your day with an attitude of gratitude! It makes the move into Monday a bit brighter. It’s amazing how quickly we can change how we are feeling when we shift our attention to something positive. Having a sense of humor can also lift your mood.

Three things that Carla is grateful for on this Monday morning:

1. Grateful that my 15 year old daughter and I are still speaking after our afternoon driving session yesterday. Still a bit bewildering to me as how suggesting to her that she doesn’t need her turn signal on half a mile from the turn is “picking a fight with her.”

2. Grateful that my cat affectionately brushes my leg in the morning, especially when my son recoils as if I have the plague when I try to hug him upon waking.

3. Grateful to have gas in my car as I prepare to drive to Wailuku 3x today and Olinda once for my UberMom daily program.

I feel happier just putting this down on paper!! Grateful for all of you for being on this healing journey together! 

Let me know what you are grateful for!

hugs!

Carla

Listening to my body....

When I woke up on Sunday, I was feeling the deep fatigue in my body that I have been experiencing the last month. As I didn’t have to get the kids to school, I was able to take a moment and check in.

My first reaction was fear. I felt scared…wondering how long I am going to feel sick this time…a year? 4 months? I could feel my body tensing and panic in my throat. Then I caught myself. I acknowledged to myself that I was feeling fear. In that moment of acknowledging, I was able to let go.

In allowing the experience to be what it is (I am tense/anxious/angry/worried), something changes in the body. We soften. Whatever is happening in the moment, is okay. This gives us a spaciousness, peace, and ease…regardless of the weather. The peace I felt come over my body, allowed me to relax and put myself into an optimum healing state.

Rather than fight the fatigue, I have accepted it (for the day, anyway!), and do what my body allows for. I have chosen to accomplish only the basics and gave myself permission to say no to anything that I did not have to do. I’ve asked for my husband and kids to step up and help more around the house. I have accepted help from my friends. I am healing and I am present in my body.

The calm at the bottom....

Last week my husband and I went out to Hana, as he had an appointment (he’s a realtor) and I was going to get some rest without kids. Fortunately or unfortunately, his appointment was cancelled, yet he still wanted to take the time to go out there, as we had farmed the kids out for 30 hours. 

Even though the weather was a bit stormy, we still went to Hamoa Beach, our favorite beach on Maui. Only a few people were in the water, as it was rough and choppy. Billy still put on his goggles and swam out to get some exercise. I was watching his with a mild concern as the sea looked scary and he was pretty far out. Thirty minutes later and safely on shore, he convinced me to put my mask on and come join him. 

Slightly fearful of the treacherous looking sea, I hopped out through the waves and followed my hubby through the crashing surf. I couldn’t believe how crystal clear the water was, particularly with how rough it was. The visibility was like a swimming pool. As we swam out and as the depth increased, the calmer the bottom appeared. We dove down ten and twenty feet to get a closer look at the brightly colored fish and coral caves. The peacefulness and calm was continually surprising to me. When I would pop back up and see the waves and stormy skies, I would marvel at how serene it was below. I continually dove back down to experience the tranquility with Nemo and Dory and the schools of fish.

Back on shore, I realized that I felt that same stillness I experienced at the bottom of the ocean during my meditations. When we can go inside into our intuitive center/meditation sanctuary, we can experience that same peace. Sometimes it is harder to stay there, with our busy monkey mind, but it is always there for us regardless of what the weather is. 

When the weather and our lives are feeling chaotic and overwhelming, a retreat into our intuitive center is exactly what we need to put our mind/body into a relaxation state. The optimum state for healing. It is always available to us, even when we are not meditating (i.e. stuck in traffic or dealing with an angry client or coworker).

Step back into your intuitive center, ground, and breathe. This shift can make a profound difference in the moment and in your life. 

Listening to your body

I am so sorry but I need to cancel class tonight, as I am not feeling great. Nothing serious, but just a creeping fatigue that is my red flag to let me know that I am overdoing it and need to rest.

Listen to your body when it whispers, so you don't have to hear it when it screams.

Soooo, I am going to practice “Letting Go” and not feel the need to do everything. Learning to listen to my body was a difficult one for me, as I used to always push though fatigue and try to do it all. Between being supermom, PTA Volunteer of the year (or tried to be), running a photography business, and never saying no, my body no longer sent me red flags—it completely shut down seven years ago. After ignoring the red flags, I had no choice but to take a back seat to four months of room spinning vertigo and another eighth months of debilitating fatigue. As a result, I have learned to listen these signals and take care of myself.

SO! That being said, please notice when you are getting red flags for your own body….make sure to listen and give yourself permission to rest and rejuvenate. 

I will look forward to seeing you all next Monday!

A restart

When we are able to forgive, we release the resentment/anger/hurt/frustration that our body is holding onto. This frees up energy to focus on healing the body and to help put it in a state of homeostasis. 


When my son was seven, he came to me after a melt down and apologized. In his infinite innocent wisdom he asked, “Can we have a Re-Start, Mom?” In that moment, it was so easy to let go of any negativity I may have been feeling. My "Dennis the Menace" has asked for a lot of Re-Starts over the years, and I found that it is the quickest way to change the energy to positive. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for a Re-Start when needed. Your body needs it and deserves it.

Forgiving ourselves

Looking forward to seeing you all tonight where we continue to let go and forgive…and to forgive the most important person: OURSELVES!!

Yesterday after meditating, walking the beach with my daughter, and watching the birds in the bird feeder, I was feeling grounded and blissed out. That was until my 14 year old son came into the kitchen. BTW: two months ago, on the eve of his 14th birthday, an alien from the Planet Smugness & Insolence invaded his body and has not left.

He informed me that I needed to remember to put the Britta water filter pitcher away instead of leaving it in the sink (where I was filling it to the top!)—mind you he will put the pitcher back empty in the fridge on a daily basis. All my grounded bliss and Dali Mama quotes on kindness went out the window and I lost my shit. I reacted. I yelled. Ooops. He yelled an apology and crawled back to his cave. 

After a few deep breaths and regaining  control of my own body, I went to him to apologize. He responded with a hug and said he was kinda being a jerk with how he said it. Whew. I am not perfect. He is my teacher. I know one day the alien will return to its own planet and I will have my sweet son back full time.

Strive to be happy…not perfect.

hugs!

Carla

Forgiveness

I know sometimes it is hard to let go of anger, as we may feel justified in our reasons for hanging onto it.

Five years ago, I scratched my cornea and my eye became infected. I had called my eye doctor twice to tell him I was having difficulty seeing. He dismissed my concerns. As I had an undiagnosed genetic immune disorder, no one could have predicted how quickly and how much damage was created by the infection. By the time he took my concerns seriously and the proper diagnosis was reached, I had so much scarring from the damage from the infection that I lost most of the site in that eye. Needless to say, I was devastated. 

I was so angry with my doctor and then myself. I was also having a reaction to the viral medication that left me sick and slightly nuts. It took me awhile to let go of my anger towards him. 

I was reminded of a paraphrase from Buddha, "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”

By letting go of the anger, I was able to start healing. Forgiving someone is for YOU….it doesn’t mean they are being “let off the hook” or that their behavior was okay. Forgiveness is a gift for yourself. 

If you are holding onto anger, then you are wasting energy that your body needs for healing. The most important state for your body is the relaxation state. This is your optimum healing state.

The good news is that after six months of focused healing , I had a near miraculous recovery. My new eye doctors had never seen someone return to almost original site from so much damage. 

Who do you need to forgive? What do you need to let go of?