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5 Ways to Live in the Moment

Photo by EDUARDO IZQUIERDO
Forever is composed of nows. ~Emily Dickinson

For a long time I believed that living in the moment meant doing what I wanted, when I wanted to.

It has taken me many years to realize that I was wrong.

I felt the need to be free at an early age. I recall packing my bags to leave home at five years of age. My poor parents had a hell of a time with me when I hit my adolescent years. And of course, the teen-age years were even worse.

Basically, I didn’t like rules and regulations.

3 Secrets to Mindful Eating

Photo by Sarah Ann Wright
The art of mindfulness can transform our struggles with food — and renew our sense of pleasure, appreciation and satisfaction with eating. ~Jan Bays

This is a personal story of my disordered relationship with food and my own healing. When I wrote this a year ago, I thought:

There is absolutely no way I’m sharing this so openly and publicly. Especially since I’ve had such transformation over the past few months and now feel healed of this struggle. This is a closed chapter.”

Now, I think, that’s even more the reason to share.

My intention in telling you the details of my experience is so perhaps you will find the courage to inquire about your own relationship with food.

When we’re able to cultivate a deeper awareness with eating, we will also begin to wholeheartedly nurture ourselves and pay attention to other areas of our life.

3 Lessons Solo Travel Taught Me

Photo by Rosie Hardy
To travel is worth any cost or sacrifice. ~Elizabeth Gilbert

Six years ago, I took one of the boldest actions of my life. I traveled solo halfway across the world to Ubud, Indonesia (Bali). In June 2008, I was 27 years old and had never left United States soil despite a constant longing to.

A combination of fear and comfort held me hostage in familiarity — until  I read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. This bestselling novel chronicled the author’s adventures through Italy, India, and Indonesia as she sought to “find herself” after a divorce.

The book’s vivid descriptions of Indonesia’s rich culture and lush countryside converged with my imagined vision of ornate wood-carvings, colorful temples and sprawling rice paddies.

The beautiful tapestry of life I envisioned left no question about where my first trip abroad would be once I mustered up enough courage to go. And whenever I went, I decided I would go alone — just like Elizabeth Gilbert.

5 Reasons To Embrace Jealousy

Photo by Sarah Ann Wright
Let age, not envy, draw wrinkles on thy cheeks. ~Thomas Browne

This morning I spoke to my sister on Skype for almost two hours. She lives in Istanbul, so we don’t chat as often as when we lived in the same house, but we’re pretty close despite the ocean between us.

I remember in the not-so-distant past that getting off the phone with her was bittersweet. She’s lived in Mexico, Argentina, Spain, Italy, South Korea and even international waters. The bitterness didn’t come from being so far apart from my lovely sister, but the fact that I was extremely jealous of her.

I remember vividly sitting in my home in Minnesota expressing my excitement for her when she told me she was planning on moving to Asia.

“You’re so lucky,” and “This is such a great opportunity for you,” came out of my mouth, but what I was thinking is I can’t believe I’ve lived in one state my whole life. I should be traveling and exploring too.

It was embarrassing to be jealous of my younger sister, so naturally I denied it to myself and anyone else who had the guts to say it. But in my head, the envy found a place and rooted itself there, determined to make permanent residence.

How I Learned to Meditate

Photo by Yulia
Our way to practice is one step at a time, one breath at a time. ~Shunryu Suzuki

The first time I meditated was about six years ago.

I was drawn to meditation by the same aspiration as many people — the desire to feel calmer and happier. I was a medical student at the time, and my life was just too stressful and hectic.

It seemed there was always more to do, more to worry about and no time to reflect. I felt disconnected and dissatisfied.

And then, I got dumped by a man I was madly in love with. I felt like a total failure. I was shaken and incredulous — how could I have wanted something so badly and still have it taken away from me?

I was not used to failure. I was used to setting a goal, laying out the steps and diligently taking them — one at a time — until I got what I wanted. I was under the illusion that with enough effort, I could achieve any goal and sidestep all feelings of pain and discomfort along the way.

What I Learned Turning 50

Photo by EDUARDO IZQUIERDO
Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art. ~Stanislaw Jerzy Lec

Fifty is about to slap me in the face. It’s not planning to tap me lightly on the shoulder. Nope, its plan is an epic full on attack of body and mind, beginning with a huge powerful gut busting blow next January, on THAT day.

How do I know? Because I’ve seen the recon team and it isn’t pretty.

But everyone says, “Ah, age is just a number. It’s all about your attitude.”

Well, yes.

And no.

Why Space Matters in Relationships

Photo by HANNES CASPAR
Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. ~Kahlil Gibran

If my life had been perfect, I probably never would have learned anything. Or at least not anything important.

I used to have a naïve view of relationships. I believed wholeheartedly that if two nice people got together and made a real effort to treat each other well, then everything would work out fine.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

4 Tips for Dealing With Fear

Photo by EDUARDO IZQUIERDO
Fear: False Evidence Appearing Real. ~Unknown

From the minute I woke up yesterday, I was consumed by fear. The fear had no clear face, and I couldn’t tell what had sparked it or how it might be tamed from a blazing fire to a small flame.

It left me with a gnawing pit in my stomach, which I recognized as guilt and anxiety. Everything from that point forward felt off and out of place.

I couldn’t see that nothing in the present moment was wrong, only that the immediate future was unsure, and I had lost my firm grip on the control I believed I had.

So I attacked.

The Art of Detachment & Surrender

Photo by EDUARDO IZQUIERDO
When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. ~Buddhist Proverb

I wasn’t in the best of spirits when I walked into my local yoga studio for class on that blustery Monday evening. A slew of perceived problems, large and small, were spinning through my mind. I felt frustrated, helpless, and most of all, lost.

I wanted direction and guidance; I longed for the smallest bit of certainty that the decisions I’d had to make earlier would be the right ones. And when I considered relaxing and surrendering, I was unable to do either.

I was trying to run away from myself and my troubled mind, but I wasn’t getting anywhere.

Ironically enough, I’d published a post earlier that day about the fact that we all struggle with runaway minds and hearts. I’d written about the ways in which we are tempted to disconnect — to rebel against the love that surrounds us always.

The post emphasized compassion, forgiveness and celebration — all the things I wasn’t offering myself as I began my yoga practice.

10 Life Lessons Learned From Kids

Photo by Lauren Rosenbaum
Don’t postpone joy until you have learned all of your lessons. Joy is your lesson. ~Alan Cohen

Twirling in her pink tutu, slightly tattered and always a little dirty, my niece opens her arms wide, calling for all of us to get up and dance with her. She wants to hold hands while we jump, spin and leap around the room.

She shouts along to the music, reminding each of us that we should be joining in. “Papa sing! It’s your turn Papa!” Panting and out of breath, we try our hardest to match her undying energy.

After the music — she asks for Justin Bieber by name now — starts to fade, she drops our hands and holds out her arms again. “Ok everyone, it’s time for a group hug!”

We haven’t purposely partaken in a group hug for years now, but we oblige because her smile is contagious and her enthusiasm is impossible to tame.

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