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Posts Tagged ‘Meditation’

The Power of Curiosity: Keep the Spark Alive

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

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Every evening, after precious time with my family, enjoying each other’s company, I have the lucky opportunity to indulge my great private passion—reading and researching surrounded by a giant pile of books.

It may not sound exciting, but those happy hours I spend in following my curiosity absolutely fuel my days, and, as recent scientific research has shown, cultivating curiosity is one of the keys to living a joy-filled life. I’m happy to share with you some of my thoughts on tuning into curiosity.

Embrace the New: When we encounter new things, our bodies naturally release dopamine, the neurotransmitter which activates the brain’s pleasure center. This is true for trying new foods, listening to new music, making new friends, and planting new seeds. Our innate capacity for adventure brings a sweet tingle through all our cells, and especially when we are enjoying the wonders of the natural world. Visiting nature with an open sense of curiosity, allows excitement and wonder and curiosity to course through us. It is incredibly healing medicine.

Change the Channels: So often in our days, when facing the unknown, we fall into worry. Curiosity—while often described as anxiety’s close cousin—meets the unexpected with joy instead of dread. Following your own sense of curiosity creates new pathways in the brain, increasing the number of neurons and neural connections. And in helping the brain remember that love of curiosity, which was certainly there in each of us as a child, we become flexible and resilient and regain our love of surprise.

Fresh Eyes: What’s incredible, however, is that we don’t have to wander far in order to cultivate curiosity. While it’s fascinating to see life from a different perspective by breaking out of our old routines, which happens so often for me when I travel, bringing curiosity into the everyday is also a thrill. I think you’ll be amazed what can happen when you set out for a short walk or even your daily commute with the intention of seeing something you have never noticed before. The world can seem to vibrate as we tune into curiosity and suddenly so much unseen beauty is revealed in our everyday lives.

Young at Heart: When we strive to learn something new every day, the heart stays active and the mind bright. We often associate the alertness and enthusiasm of curiosity with youth, but curiosity is something that we don’t have to give up as we grow older. In fact, quite the opposite, curiosity guards the mind against rigidity as we age.

Listening In: In a way, as with meditation and many mindfulness practices, practicing curiosity has an incredible ability to bring us closer to our own intuitions, and to finding our own inner guidance. We never know what we’ll find by listening in deeply and being willing to follow the heart into fascinating new realms. But that’s the point! When we stay curious, we may even discover the kind of rich happiness that breathes fresh meaning into life.

True Value

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

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If your spring has been anything like mine—bustling, busy and full to bursting—entering into summer offers the perfect opportunity to re-orient towards all that matters to us most, putting aside the to-do list for a moment in order to bring delight back into our days. Surrounded by distractions, bounded by commitments, it’s so easy to lose sight of what is truly important, especially when what we value seems small. But isn’t it funny that when we take a moment to stop and think, it’s somehow the small things that matter most? This is an expression of our true wish for joy.

We often undervalue the ways in which we express our love for life, whether that might mean taking the time to walk, instead of driving, or reaching out to a friend, cooking a meal from scratch, lingering in the garden, singing in the car, letting a child plan out the afternoon, getting back into a favorite exercise routine. For myself, I love to carve out time to appreciate nature, especially the plant life all around us, which provides our living food source, as well as precious medicinal remedies, while inspiring the senses. For me, there is nothing like enjoying the simple beauty of flowers, whether in a vase or in the wild, their aroma, and their energy.  

Yet indulging in these love-filled, life-full luxuries can all too easily slip into last place. They’re not quantifiable, and they’re set aside in the name of practicality. But while a sensible diet and good sleep habits do wonders for our health, increasing vitality, strength and resilience, it’s these small and impractically beautiful gestures that fuel the fire and re-kindle our life-force, touching the deep core of who we are. To be sure, if there was a universal holistic prescription for glowing skin, it would embrace our desire for simple happiness.

There is so much potential for beauty everywhere we turn, and especially when we allow life’s small gifts back into our days, letting the truth of who we are shine.

Aging Gracefully

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

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I love how becoming conscious of aging skin has introduced so many to the vast benefits of holistic care. And yet, at the same time, I think it’s important to encourage a shift in our perception of aging, and what it means to age gracefully. Since I’m asked about this question of aging so often, I’m sharing a few of my thoughts, below, on how to age gracefully, with the hopes that it furthers our conversation and broadens our definition of what beauty means.

See aging as a gift. Aging is a refinement, a deeper way of knowing yourself, and when we honor the wisdom that comes through experience, it reveals a confidence that we all recognize as elegant and graceful. We can be grateful for that instead of fighting against nature’s cycle.

Embrace you. Instead of chasing youth, or trying to alter the outside, when we simply are authentically ourselves, strength comes from inside. When we buy into ideas of so-called perfection, we can’t feel fulfilled. And honestly, deep down we all know that this lie doesn’t work. When we love ourselves 100%, it radiates from within us and becomes a gift we give to others.
Feel at home. There’s a simple meditation where we can each remember a time of feeling utterly “at home.” You don’t have to overthink it, but sitting quietly with eyes closed for a couple moments you can let yourself soak up that feeling, whether you connect with the feeling of sitting in your grandmother’s kitchen or on the park beach. Bathing your cells in that delicious sense of “home,” savoring the joy, is just like aging gracefully. It’s the feeling of coming home.

Find a mentor. Pick out a mentor—or several! An older women who exudes that unmistakable confidence, and who can lead the way as we follow. It doesn’t need to be someone we know well, or even at all. But connecting with this vision of aging beautifully, with dignity and strength, can become a conscious touchstone.

Go deep. Aging happens on the surface, but when we recognize that a true connection with others happens on the energy level, the signs of aging on the face and body become irrelevant. And when we are comfortable with who we are, we have the capacity to share our gifts more fully with others.

Meet beauty. Looking into the eyes of an elderly person, while holding hands and connecting by heart, is a profoundly beautiful experience. Some of my dearest clients are women who are in their late 80’s, and each time I am with them, I am reminded of their exquisite beauty and grace. To me, they are ageless.

Candle Bright

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

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Happily, at the Spa we work surrounded by candles, and it’s such a luxury to absorb their warm, flickering and friendly light. Candles are soft on the eyes and cast a loving glow, while consistently clearing and cleansing the energetic fields around us and reminding us of our truest intentions. But I also love to light candles at home—they literally rekindle my inner flame, and soothing candlelight is so helpful to meditation, softening the edges both literally and figuratively, and inviting an easy tranquility that supports introspection.

It’s lovely to find a quiet space where you simply sit in solitude for a moment or two, perhaps surrounding your candle with objects that resonate for you, from nature, or from your life. (Choosing a toxin-free beeswax candle, rather than one made from petroleum-based paraffin, is best.)

The ancient practice of yogic candle gazing, or Trakata—fixing the eyes on a candle for some length of time, then, with eyes closed, visualizing the flame at the brow’s center—opens and cleanses the “third eye,” at the pineal gland, our seat of intuition, bolstering focus and concentration, bringing clarity and releasing stress. In the morning, you might light a candle while you perform your beauty ritual, or do your yoga routine, warming the heart.

During the day, you might keep a candle on your desk, bringing focus and intention to your work. And, of course, nothing is sweeter than dinner by candlelight. At the day’s end, that amber light has the added benefit of preparing the body for rest. Our circadian rhythms are hugely influenced by our exposure to light, as the eyes connect to the rest of the neurological network via the hypothalamus, regulating sleep cycles and hormonal fluctuations. Lighting a candle before bedtime is very effective.

Our connection to the warmth of fire at that moment is visceral and ancient. All that power in one small flame! As the holiday season grows near, and as we find ourselves surrounded by this symbol of hope, celebration and prayer, let’s find creative new ways to usher candlelight into our lives wherever and whenever we can.



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