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awakening

in Inspiration, Spirituality

A Gift from Paramahansa Yogananda

ALL of us are on a spiritual journey, whether we are aware of it or not. But those of us who ARE aware of it get to experience some real fun and unexplainable things along the way.

I totally believe that there is NO SUCH THING as random coincidences or situations of chance. All is divinely orchestrated. As a matter of fact, my favorite Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung, first coined the term synchronicity in the early 1920's. He described synchronicity as "events that are 'meaningful coincidences' if they occur with no casual relationship yet seem to be meaningfully related."

Ever since I consciously embarked on my spiritual journey, the synchronicities have been insane...and continue to get wilder!! I admire how the universe loves to blow my mind. To me, synchronicities are like winks or smirks from God, letting us know we are on the right path. I mean come on....when I was on the fence to fully commit to study Kundalini Yoga, I found out my birthday is the same day as Yogi Bhajan's birthday! WHOA.

I have countless synchronicity stories and I am sure you do too (11:11 anyone?). But I felt compelled to share a particular story that just happened to me two weeks ago.

A Gift from Paramahansa Yogananda

One of my soul sisters, Elsa, gave me "The Autobiography of a Yogi" by Paramahansa Yogananda as a birthday gift. I'd like to think that most people who study and practice yoga have at least heard his name once before or know of his contributions in delivering yogic philosophy to the US. I had certainly heard of him but was not too familiar with his story.

Autobiography of a Yogi

Anyhow, I had planned to travel to Boston to visit my brother on Labor Day weekend.  The night before I left to Massachusetts, I decided to read one more chapter of this memorizing book. I was dead tired, but for some reason, I felt compelled to read a little more. As I am reading Chapter 21, he made mention of coming to America and eating strawberries...in Somerville, Massachusetts!! I immediately sat up in my bed. The tiredness completely left my body. I was like, "Wait, what??? He has a center in Massachusetts? How crazy, that is where I am going tomorrow! I would love to go! But it's probably too far. If it's meant for me to go, I'll get a sign." (I can imagine a giggle or two from my spiritual audience right now...we know what happens when we ask for a sign!) 

So fast forward to the airplane right before take off. I'm reading a Loner Wolf article that appeared in my email inbox earlier that morning. Lo and behold, there was a quote by none other than Paramahansa Yogananda! I was like, OK...this is the sign I asked for. 

I get to Boston and I reluctantly ask my brother if he could take me to a city called Somerville. I hoped it wasn't too far away. He looked at me and said, "For sure! Its only 10 minutes away!" I was in shock. I had no idea it was that close. I was a bit bummed to see on my Google Search that the center was closed at that time, but I decided to make the best of it. So on our way to visit Salem, we stopped by the Self-Realization Fellowship center in Somerville.  I pull up and get out, admiring the historic building. I couldn't believe I was actually standing in front of this place!

Me, at Self-Realization Fellowship Boston Center

As I am taking pictures, I notice that the door is slightly cracked...and so does my curious son. He pops his head in to check it out and quickly runs over to me. Out comes the groundskeeper, Jean.  He is sweaty from trimming the hedges and preparing the inside of the center for service that night. He is a super nice guy, tells us all about the history of the building and how much Yogananda's teachings had saved his life. I say to him, "Hey Jean, I come all the way from Miami...you think I can take a quick peek inside even though it is closed?" He was happy to oblige.

I walked in behind him and passed church-ish pews and came up to a nice-sized stage. On the wall behind the stage, there were huge pictures of Krishna, Jesus, Yogananda, and Yogananda's master, Sri Yukteswar. The second my eyes met Yogananda's eyes in the picture, I felt his humbling presence. I almost wanted to bow in reverence. Not because I saw him as a God to be worshiped, but because his soul had personally guided me to this very moment. What a privilege...what a gift. 

Jean continued discussing facts about Yogananda's legacy and proceeded to give me booklets containing information about the center. As I exited the building, I commented to him how crazy I thought it was that I had been led there, as I had been on the fence about jumping into studying different branches of yoga. Jean turns to me, smiling, and says, "But you know, there are no such thing as coincidences".

Source

This experience was definitely a confirmation from the universe (and from Yogananda himself) for me to dive deeper into Yoga and continue my studies in various types of Yoga, not just Kundalini. It had been a topic of debate in my mind for a while now. It was also proof that we are always being guided towards the right path...we just have to pay attention and trust. Spiritual lessons and signs may not always present themselves in the way you expect (or even want), BUT THEY ARE ALWAYS A GIFT. 

If and when you experience these delightful "meaningful coincidences", take a moment to acknowledge the intricate planning that took place, just for YOU. No synchronicity is small. A quick thank you prayer does the trick for me: Thank you God for always supporting and guiding me. I am humbled, I am grateful, I love you.

 

SAT NAM!        NAMASTE!

 

*Need help with recognizing the more subtle signs? The best way is to BE in the Here and Now, the present moment! Also, you can try journaling or work on a gratitude workbook (I created this free workbook for you, no excuses!), as introspection can also bring them to light 🙂 Enjoy!

 

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4 Reasons Why You NEED to Start Journaling NOW

There are times where I have had thoughts and feelings that I just could NOT share with anyone.

I am pretty sure everyone has had these moments as well. We do not want to hear advice or criticism, we want to express ourselves without having to censor anything. We want to let it all out without repercussions. Well, I can tell you that my trusty journal has allowed me to do just that.

I began journaling years ago, at the request of my spiritual teacher. At first, I was a bit skeptical. "I am not feeling this 'Dear Diary' crap", I would say to myself, pouting with pen in hand. It felt like a chore. But as time went on, I was surprised at the relief I felt every time I finished. I was amazed at the things I would discover about myself. Who was this brave new women shamelessly and unapologetically writing whatever the heck she wanted? Whoa. I realized I had a voice, and it mattered.

A beautiful ceramic teacup placed on a diary while the tea evaporates as steam

Journaling is a personal writing practice that allows you to vent. It's like an adult diary. It becomes a safe space, a place where you are not judged or condemned or scrutinized for your thoughts. Journaling has become my best friend, and it can become yours too. Here's why:

1. You Get To Know Yourself

Most of us don't know who we truly are. We have been conditioned to act and behave in certain ways to please others. We have acquired so many masks throughout the years that we actually believe we are those masks. Journaling lets you put those masks down, at least for a while. It allows you to be free, to be yourself. What dreams are you putting off? Do you have healthy boundaries with others and yourself? What are your triggers and why? How do you talk to yourself? What are some habits that you want to let go of?  Self-awareness is born out of observing the the things you do, think, and say. Dig deep, get to know yourself.

2. You Receive Insight

Wouldn't it be nice to have someone to guide you all the time and give you the best possible advice you should take in any situation? NEWSFLASH: You already have that person - your Higher Self. Your soul is always guiding you. You just have to quiet your mind and listen. Journaling allows your Higher Self to step in and provide you with insights and wisdom regarding anything you are going through. There are times that I would journal about a particular concern and feel stuck. Then, I would meditate for a few minutes and quiet my mind. In that quiet space, I would proceed to journal again. I noticed that this time, I was writing from a bird's eye view. I no longer felt stuck. The answer became clear as day. THIS is how your Higher Self shows up and shows out in journaling. 

3. You Can Set Goals and Track Progress

A big part of why I love journaling is that you can set goals, write action steps, and track your progress. When you look back, you actually see how far you have come. It is inspirational really. Not going to lie though, there are many 'goals' I had set for myself a while ago that I look at now and I think, "THIS is what you wanted to strive for? You gotta be kidding me." I see how far I have come spiritually and mentally. Half the stuff I set 'goals' for I no longer care to obtain because I am in a different place of consciousness. It is all about growth and changing your goals according to how you are growing.

4. It Facilitates Healing

Hands down the best perk of journaling is that it facilitates healing. It lets you release emotions you did not even know you had. By feeling those unwanted feelings and writing about them, you are initiating healing. You are releasing the old, making room for the new. This is particularly hard for me because I conditioned myself to stuff down and ignore unwanted emotions (like most people actually). As you know, this is unhealthy and later bites you in the butt. Journaling has helped me acknowledge suppressed feelings and shed light on it, little by little. There is something so powerful about seeing your writing becoming smudged by your tears, almost as if you are washing away your pain. The only way you start to heal, is if you feel.

SO HOW DO YOU DO THIS MAGICAL JOURNALING THING?

Easy-peasy lemon squeezy. Grab a pretty notebook and start writing what you think and feel for at least 5 minutes a day. That's it. If you don't like writing or if you feel like your privacy might be comprised in any way, download a diary or password protected notebook app and type away [I like Microsoft OneNote and Evernote]. The main things are to do it consistently and DON'T HOLD BACK!!

HAPPY JOURNALING 🙂

 

 

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4 Things I Learned From Spiritual Solitude

With a show of hands, who loves to be alone??
Image result for cat raising its paw
Chances are, unless you are a cat, you do not like being alone. The majority of human beings go to great lengths to avoid being alone, mostly out of fear...but do you want to know a secret? Being alone is NOT the same as being lonely.
See, I've discovered that loneliness stems from a belief or thought that something, outside of yourself, makes you whole. When the person or thing you are codependent on is no longer around, you feel empty, or incomplete. I've never met anyone who said that they CHOSE to feel lonely; the cause of loneliness is mostly due to the departure or absence of something external. This is what most people erroneously refer to as "being alone".
However, 'aloneness' [or in other words, solitude] is NOT a result of uncontrollable variables, but rather a CHOICE. A choice to separate yourself from people, places, and things that are clouding your vision or reality. Ultimately, spiritual solitude is a choice to experience your WHOLENESS and to uncover your TRUTH, by yourself.  Despite our constant efforts to stray away from solitude, it is a core part of our 'human-ness'. HEY, WE ARE BORN ALONE AND WE DIE ALONE RIGHT? To some extent, that saying has validity. I recognized that although energetically we are all connected, physically we are our own mini world. [[So we are a little universe within a huge universe, but we are still THE universe, get it?]] Being in physical form allows us to experience 'separation', a notion that does not exist in higher realms. Almost every spiritual teacher in the history of mankind has attested to the importance of solitude, and the need for that time period in your life to be embraced and built upon. WELL, WHY IS THAT? Ahhh I am glad you asked 🙂 Allow me to share 4 aspects of spiritual solitude that I have learned and experienced:

1. CLEANING HOUSE

Solitude 'cleans out your closet', so to speak. The demons hiding in those cracks and crevices come out to play. Addictions, emotional wounds, childhood traumas, toxic beliefs and behaviors, etc. rear their ugly little heads. Let them come out! They have been hiding for a reason, maybe to give you protection or comfort from the outside world. Observe them and their core meanings, then make the decision to let them go if they no longer provide a healthy purpose. Their aim is to be acknowledged, to be held, to be loved, to be understood, to be accepted, and to be released. By doing this, you have essentially learned to heal yourself. [By the way, sometimes these little suckers will come back again and again until you are really ready to  completely release them. Many of them have several layers that need to be healed one by one. So have patience with yourself in the process, Ok? 🙂 ]

2. BREAK DOWN

Solitude has the same effect on you like a snake shedding its' skin. Once you 'clean out your closet', you slowly begin to 'shed' or let go of the low vibrations that no longer serve you.  All of the things that bought you comfort, that once helped you hide or distract you from your pain, are no longer acting as your crutch. [SCARY!] Solitude exposes all the lies/false beliefs you've been fed [or have been feeding yourself]. This will leave you raw, vulnerable, and HUNGRY for answers. You will want to seek Truth. S**t needs to change for the shift to happen. 

3. SELF-DISCOVERY

Solitude sends you down the path of self-discovery. Keep your mind and heart open and choose to grow in this season. If it is answers you seek, answers YOU SHALL RECEIVE.  Explore who you really are and what your Higher Purpose is. Dig into your own psyche to know the reasons why you say, think, and do things in order take inventory: if it is authentic, if it is your Truth, it stays. If not, Toodle-Lo! Solitude will help reveal one of the most important keys to life: SELF-AWARENESS.

4. REALIZATIONS

THIS IS THE SHIFT.  In the space of solitude there is enormous opportunity for growth that is accessible through introspection, awareness, and meditation.  YOU FINALLY REALIZE YOU ARE YOUR OWN TEACHER, HEALER, AND GURU! The more you are aware and clear out the low energy vibrations, the more you ride the high vibrational flows of the universe. By riding the flow of life, you receive all sorts of beautiful signs and messages, and experience synchronicities up the yin-yang, confirming that you are doing a great job and are on the right track. You realize that you CAN trust your Higher Self. You realize that you CAN trust the growth process. You realize that the universe DOES have your back. You realize that you are NOT alone, you have you. And you are WHOLE.

The most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself....and sometimes, your elevation requires your isolation! 

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