Happy ‘Brand Spanking’ New Year!

imageDay 2 of 2016 and I’ve already broken a couple of my New Years Resolutions, which is a pretty disappointing effort on my part, but if I am being honest, my list this year was a bit on the greedy/demanding side, normally people pick one, I went with 10!

I had the usual eat well, exercise, meditate, but then I threw in be loving and kind towards others, desire less, consume less, complain less, be more content with what you have, attract loving relationships into your life with love, connect more with your inner Self and let go of trying to control everything! But the irony is, I can now clearly see that my list is me trying to control every aspect of my life, thinking that if I do, I will become this perfect human being!

Fact- It’s impossible to be a perfect human being and New Years Resolutions easily get broken because life is bloody hard! Every day you are confronted with some sort of challenge ( especially in India where I am at the moment, don’t even get me started! ) and it’s way more comfortable to revert back to old patterns of thinking and behaving rather than implement new changes that require some effort. Rather than accept this reality, we instead make a specific list and then feel disappointed as soon as we fail ( which you most likely will, unless you are in the minority who have one good NY resolution and obsess over it for the next 365 days and then revert back to old habits the following year )

So I am throwing out my unrealistic list and instead I’m putting focus on just showing up each day and doing the best I can, I call this Love. A big part of being able to do this comes with another word, acceptance. When i arrived in Tiruvannamalai, India over a week ago, the accommodation I had prebooked and paid for with an Indian friend of my American friend was not what I had been shown in photos. There wasn’t a bed, instead a dirty mattress on the floor without any sheets, the bathroom was dirty, no toilet paper, full of mosquitos and overall it just had a really bad vibe. I had paid decent money and mentioned to him that I wasn’t happy with what i had got BUT because it was late that night, I was tired from the 8 hour all up trip, he had to go back to Chennai for 3 days, I accepted my situation and went to bed ( praying that the mosquitos didn’t eat me alive and that my back would survive )

What I didn’t accept though is bad business, getting ripped off by someone who I thought was a good person helping me out. I found out the next day when visiting the much nicer hotel next door that I had been charged nearly three times as much!! I’ve been in India 5 weeks and this was my first experience of getting screwed over, and it was by the one person I had trusted most, I wasn’t impressed!!! But for whatever reason ( maybe because I was a kind person and actually gave the Indian guy extra money on top for helping me out ) I was blessed. The hotel owner next door ( who is now my saviour ) took me in the next day temporarily, having to move some people around as he is booked out, came over to my dodgy hotel and translated my concerns to the owner who didn’t speak English, then a few days later had very firm words to my dodgy so called Indian friend, and arranged for me to get ALL my money back, this very rarely happens in India, so I am incredibly lucky, which I called being blessed!!

There is a fine line between acceptance and being taken for a ride, it’s called the middle line. Challenges take place all the time, they are unavoidable and show up whenever they want, this is life. What I have learnt in India is rather than get upset and angry about it, it’s best to just surrender, calm the mind, listen to the inner guidance, and trust that it will all work out in the end. Every action has a reaction, which is a lesson. When it comes to India, don’t pay anything in advanced. Be clear about what you want and what you have paid for as they will try to get as much money from you as they can. I never ended up on the street, in the end I got better accommodation. Also having spent time looking at many rental rooms in India, I am incredibly grateful for my living conditions at home, especially my bed!

So to sum it all up, 2016 is the year I choose to be more loving, accepting and trust that whatever happens, regardless of getting what I want or don’t want at the time, always works out in the end!

PS The love heart stone in the photo I bought on New Years Day, along a path in the Arunachala mountain, after a beautiful deep meditation in Ramana Maharshi’s Virupaksha Cave. It was a gift and reminder to myself to love more in 2016. If you are into meditation, I highly recommend jumping on a plane and spending some quality time in Tiruvannamalai, especially up the mountain, healing takes place!

 

 

 

 

Today I loved Yoga

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Christmas Day, I’ve woken up hungover, not badly hungover but enough for my Mother to question my tone of voice on Viber, asking if i was ok? This year I’m spending Christmas solo in Varkala, India. I resigned from my job in Australia end of November, deciding to spend 9 weeks traveling India to regain some clarity around the direction of my life, as I felt it needed to change.

The first 4 weeks of my trip was spent in Madurai at the Sivananda Meenakshi Ashram completing a 1 month intensive yoga teaching training course, which I graduated from last Saturday! Yes, I can now officially teach hatha yoga classes, well my certificate looks nice anyway. Completing the teacher training was one of the most challenging experiences of my life, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally, it pushed all the right buttons and the sense of accomplishment at the end for me was indescribable, especially as I never thought I was capable in the first place. I highly recommend doing this course if you want to upgrade your internal and external software and of course, walk away a certified yoga teacher and help people also feel good about themselves!

So now I’m spending week 5 relaxing in Varkala, enjoying freedom, hot showers and muslie for breakfast again! Varkala is located in the south of Kerela, down by the beach, a cliff side paradise of cheap restaurants, shopping, massages, beach swims and of course plenty of delicious food and booze! I did have this plan of staying sober and eating healthy after completing the teacher course but my mind convinced me to let go and enjoy myself, have some beer and cocktails, eat a veggie burger and chips, undoing all the wholesome ‘yogi’ work I’d clocked up at the ashram the past 30 days. I leave Varkala on Sunday, to spend another 4 weeks in Tiruvannamalai before I fly back home to the unknown, and as I type this, feeling somewhat average, I now realise the importance of every decision I make.

When I completed the teacher training I was glowing, the physical affects of doing yoga for 30 days changes your body, you lose weight, tone up, gain strength and flexibility, but also mentally and emotionally you gain this sense of love for yourself which then radiates to all those around you. You actually wake up wanting to do yoga in the morning, you feel at peace with the world, life just flows along effortlessly, anxiety and stress melt away and happiness becomes your true nature. So of course you want to continue to celebrate this new feeling of bliss, especially on holidays when making new friends, you order booze, have some greasy food and then before you know it, you don’t feel like doing yoga in the morning, you feel tired, run down and just want to sleep, drink and eat instead. But it’s Christmas, the time of indulging the senses, so you allow yourself another cocktail and piece of chocolate cake thinking that it will bring you a sense of joy and fulfillment, but instead all you want to do is pass out from a sugar coma in bed.

When it comes to my relationship with alcohol, I clearly see now that there are two paths in life I can take. There is the path whereby I drink alcohol, which always seems to lead to bad decision making ( indulging or desiring things that aren’t good for me ) and then I feel lazy and my health gets neglected for a few days. Or there is the path where I don’t drink alcohol, I wake up feeling vibrant, choose to do loving things for my body, make the right decisions and my state of consciousness expands. In 2013 I quit booze for an entire year and even though there were moments where I swear I was dreaming about wine, overall I was much better off without it. Everyone is different, but for me, I honestly think it comes down to just one question. What holds you back from being the best version of yourself? My answer, what I choose to put in my body each and every day. Alcohol is no longer working for me anymore, I realise this today. The short term pleasure I receive from a drink comes at a cost to my spiritual growth which is why, as of today, I am choosing to no longer drink alcohol again.

Instead I am choosing to love myself, not in a vain, arrogant, I am awesome, look at me being all healthy and sober sort of way. When you choose to love something you cherish it, you give it attention, you invest time in it, when it’s happy, you are happy, love makes love expand. Choosing love when it comes to the Self means putting awareness on it, wanting nothing but the best for it which means being more aware of what you put in it, exercising, meditating, thinking positive thoughts, becoming a better human being which hopefully inspires others to do the same. This the core essence of what yoga is, having a system in place that allows you to operate at your best, each and every day.

Today I loved in the past has been a blog about picking specific challenges like being grateful and quitting alcohol and running them for an entire year. I wouldn’t have been able to complete those challenges without this blog as writing makes you accountable, it creates self discipline which is so fundamental when implementing new routines when wanting to change. From my own personal experience, if you want to change something in your life, first step is set a goal, followed by some ground rules and then the rest is a mix of will power, dedication and support. Document your journey and be proud of even the small changes along the way.

Everything first comes from a thought ( the mind ), that thought then becomes an action, which then, if repeated, becomes a habit, habits become a personality, a personality becomes a destiny. So, if you want to change your destiny, you first must change your thoughts, makes sense. But is not as easy as just saying, hey, cool, I’m going to now change my thoughts, the mind has been running the show for a very long time, you have no idea what it will think next and most of the time, through this thing called desire, it’s very good at getting what it wants. So to help change the mind you need a really good support system in place, this is Yoga. I’m not talking new age yoga of trying to look sexy doing some crazy backward bend on one hand yoga, I’m talking proper old school yoga, which has 5 basic principles, proper exercise ( asanas ), proper breathing ( pranayama ), proper relaxation ( savasana ), proper diet ( vegetarian, no alcohol ) and meditation and positive thinking.

As I want to continue implementing all that I learnt on the yoga teacher training, I’ve decided that the next Today I Loved challenge will start today. It didn’t take long to come up with this idea, Today I Loved Yoga, loving union with the body and mind, union with the Self. The next 365 days I will work on calming my mind, nurturing my body and reconnecting with my true nature. 

The ground rules for Today I loved Yoga are:

  1. Exercise the body daily with asanas or walking.
  2. Meditate and connect with Self daily for at least 20 mins
  3. Eat a wholesome vegetarian diet and cut out alcohol.

Breathing, relaxation and positive thinking automatically jumps on board once the first 3 are implemented, I know this from my experience in the ashram for 30 days. When you are meditating you are working on your breathing. When you exercise you counteract this with relaxation afterwards. When you are eating well you feel great so positive thoughts become your nature.

So this is the new challenge that I accept and will document over the next 365 days.

Today I loved Yoga, choosing to love and connect with the Self wholeheartedly, creating new healthy conscious habits to support this, letting go and allowing life to flow, being awareness to all the changes and documenting the interesting stuff that takes place!

Namaste 🙂

Camille

 

To love life, the mind must first love!

A photo by Mayur Gala. unsplash.com/photos/2PODhmrvLikBefore I achieved anything in my life, my mind was always consumed with fear, not love, anxiety filled fear!

I honestly believed I would never get a boyfriend and fall in love because I wasn’t attractive enough.

I couldn’t be a radio announcer because I wasn’t funny enough.

I couldn’t get a well paid job without a University degree because I wasn’t smart enough.

I couldn’t travel, work and live overseas on my own for 2 years because I wasn’t brave enough.

I couldn’t be grateful every day for an entire year and blog about it because I wasn’t positive enough.

I couldn’t quit alcohol for an entire year and blog about it because I wasn’t confident enough.

I couldn’t teach English at schools in Thailand because I wasn’t open minded enough and only recently,

I couldn’t teach meditation classes to adults and children because I wasn’t calm enough.

Every awesome thought I’ve had, has always been followed by fear, yet when I loved and believed in myself, I was able to find the inner strength to push through the fear which helped me achieve everything listed above.

Sadly though, this has not always been the case, there have been thousands of brilliant ideas and opportunities which I have lost, simply because I felt I wasn’t good enough. How sad. 

In just over a month, I will be living in an ashram in the south of India, completing 30days of intensive yoga teacher training, and of course my mind is consumed with fear around this! It continues to tell me that I am crazy, that I am wasting my time and money, that I will never be able to teach yoga, because, wait for it… I am not thin enough!

Ok, so I am not your typical Lululemon wearing, super flexi, toned yogi, instead I would class myself as a healthy Australian size 10-12, with Dcup boobs ( that sometimes get in the way ), who has still yet to master many yoga positions including a head stand.

But I think this is why I felt the strong desire to sign up for the yoga teaching training, so I can work on overcoming my body image fears that stop me achieving so many things.

I want to complete this course to prove to myself that I am capable of being a great yoga teacher because I love yoga, and having a love for yoga, regardless of you body size, is enough to succeed!

I haven’t written on Todayiloved for a while, but during meditation today, when I asked my inner voice for guidance on overcoming fear, I was told to start writing again.

To be honest about my own experiences of living with fear and anxiety, and how by meditating and focusing inwards helps me access the good stuff!

The good thoughts that come from the sea of infinite knowledge, which some call God, the Universe, Spirit, whatever you like to call it, I simply like to call it awareness, which to me is just another term for love.

I am not going to lie, I am far from perfect when it comes to love, which is why I want to write about it.

Every day I have negative thoughts about myself and others, which is something I am willing to change, you could say this is the ultimate Today i loved challenge.

To sit back and become aware of my mind, a mind that runs on autopilot when reacting to my fears and desires. I have moments when I become lazy with my mind, I let it do whatever it wants, when it wants, my ego runs the show, and those are the times I always feel frustrated and disappointed when I don’t get what I want.

In 35 days time my life is going to get a little crazy, but in a good way!

I have resigned from my job ( with no idea of when the next pay cheque will come ) to head over to India where I will spend the next 2 months doing yoga and meditation in a country that I’ve been told will blow my mind and expand my state of consciousness, to say the least!

Yep, I defiantly overcame some serious fears when deciding to quit my job, go travel for a few months and then return home to the unknown.

But I did this, with the understanding that I am greater than my fears and desires, when it comes to the mind, I am separate from my thoughts, they are not really me, my true nature is love.

And when I stop trying to control every aspect of my life and just let go with an open mind, that’s when I grow, I learn new things, I create, I feel happy, I feel alive, I experience bliss!

So in saying all of this, I’m back to blog and write about what happens when you push through fear and listen to and trust love.

Hidden under all the layers of ignorance, I am pure conscious awareness, which is simply love.

Today I am setting myself the challenge of living this truth. Embracing the knowledge of who I am, I am good enough, I better than good enough!

Today I loved knowing there is nothing I need to do to fix myself, I just need to access my true nature, not fear… love.