The dark side of our being is an element most are not comfortable with. It contains thoughts and feelings that we may not quite understand. It’s unpleasant and suppressed because an exposition of what’s buried beneath may frighten us and others. Negative feelings, pain, and suffering are deemed as brokenness in our society. To be broken means there is something to fix.
The goal of a constant state of happiness is not as it seems. The girl you envy on Instagram with the perfect body, job, partner and lifestyle struggles with her dark side as you struggle with yours. We all cast a shadow that we cannot escape from, so why do we continue to try and camouflage pain and grief with a lackluster smile?
We lose touch with our essence when we stifle parts of our being. Rather than embracing the vulnerability that makes us all human, we wear a mask that shuts out others and ourselves from fully coping and cultivating a full life....
After two hours, the rhythm of my foot releasing the brake to inch forward has become automatic. We roll past a line of children waving bags of candy and old women that carry painted pottery, but the US Border crossing remains a blurry mirage up the road. The children parade up and down the aisles of idle cars, shouting, “Tamarindo! Chamoy! En Venta!” They throw toys high into the air that spin and float while their mothers follow behind pushing carts of churros. The smell of hot dust and cinnamon seep into the driver side window and I glance into the cup holder to see how many pesos are left.
Our tires lurch in time with the cars ahead and we can hear the sound of men whistling and signaling to the children from the shade of pop-up tiendas. They garnish signs for last-minute souvenirs, each with a lower price than the one before, proving that, here in Mexico, there’s always a better deal down the road.
The border comes into the focus and we hand our passports to...
As I write this, I hear my mother’s voice in my head repeating, “Ava, don’t ever expect anything from anyone unless you want to get let down.” As a young adult, I thought this was crazy. I held expectations of my parents, my close friends, my first boyfriend. Why else would I let them so close to my heart?
As someone that doesn’t look to the number of my friends as a marker for how happy I am, rather the quality of the few people that surround me, expectations of these people came naturally. You earned a place in my life and therefore these simple expectations should be a no-brainer. In reality, I was the one without a brain.
Perhaps, I just had high hopes.
Now, in my twenties with a hefty bag of unmet expectations from my past, I’ve come to the conclusion that my mom was absolutely right. I’ll give you an example.
My step dad and mother separated when I was sixteen years old and left my mother, seven-year-old autistic sister, and myself out...
What is the earliest memory you have of falling? Was it when the training wheels finally came off your bike and you rode along the sidewalk for a few feet before tipping over onto the unforgiving concrete? Or, was it even earlier when you took your first baby steps and tumbled onto the soft carpet of your first home? Did you get back up and try again? Was the fear of falling again too much for you to continue on?
I’ve found that the older I grow, the more reluctant I am to fall. Once upon a time, I was a fearless faller with scrapes on my knees, elbows, and chin begging to get up and try again. I fell hard and often, and because of that I learned quickly how to fly.
A reluctance to fall may come from the heartbreak of failure. We work so hard to create this easy life and never allow ourselves to break down boundaries because the chances of failing are higher and that is scary. We end up pigeonholing ourselves into this comfortable lifestyle where we stay at...
"When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength." - Arnold Schwarzenegger
The three words you should strive to never say are "I give up." Why? Because giving up means that you are admitting defeat. That you are telling yourself that you are not good enough. It is a self-inflicted loss that can shape the way you view yourself, view your situation, and view the world.
When we give up, we are essentially saying we are not strong enough to prevail. When we give up, we surrender. We are allowing fear to take control of our mind and body and our "flight" instinct engages. All the work that we had done to get up to that point becomes a distant memory of what could have been.
As Arnold says, strength comes when we do not surrender. When we continue to try, to learn, to grow, we create these experiences for ourselves that open up our world. To say it is easy would be a lie. Things are going to be hard and you will lose battles, but that resistance to...
"You aren't wealthy until you have something money can't buy." - Garth Brooks
In our consumer-driven culture, we are constantly fed advertisements and garbage around the next new shiny product. The advertisements more often than not showcase beautiful, happy people flaunting the brand and we immediately think: I need this product to be this happy. It's not bad to think that way, it's how our brains are wired. It's what an average of two or more hours of television every day does to you.
When we can't buy things that are constantly shoved down our throats because of financial reasons, we get sad. We deem ourselves "poor," "underprivileged," and "inadequate." These are labels we should never assign to ourselves, but because of media, we do.
Advertisers are smart and they know how to use pathos to sell their brand. What I've come to find, however, after hundreds of online shopping orders and trips to the mall is that I don't actually turn into this being of radiant...
"The moment we believe that success is determined by an ingrained level of ability as opposed to resilience and hard work, we will be brittle in the face of adversity." - Joshua Waitzkin
I've had quite a few jobs for being so young, and I've moved up in companies relatively fast as well. Besides my #humblebrag, the reason why this is important is because I felt absolutely useless at every one of these jobs for quite some time before I realized that a majority of the time, that's just how it goes! It's very rare that you stumble upon something and are automatically good at it, although I know a few people like that...
It's essential to remind yourself of these things if you ever feel like you're not good enough. So many of the greats were told that they would never achieve their dreams, that they weren't good enough, but they continued on anyways. They still worked their asses off to get better and it ended up pretty alright for them. We need to stop giving up on things or not trying...
With the first weekend of Indie Yoga’s 2016 YTT coming to a close, we all left the studio feeling exhilarated, nervous, and loved. The past 3 days have been a combination of tears, laughs, and eager eyes with students on the edge of their mats hanging onto each thoughtful bit of intelligence Fallon and Jill transferred to us. The best word to describe the first night of teacher training is bliss. Blissful that I chose Indie Yoga for my exploration inward and to becoming a teacher. Blissful that the day had finally arrived. Blissful that I am surrounded by individuals that I can connect with in a deeply spiritual way at such a monumental time in all of our lives. These next three months will be etched in the history of who we all are, and I am so gracious that I get to spend it with such awesome people. We are all here for a purpose, joining together as a microcosm of a macrocosm.
Our first asana practice was emotional for me. We spent...
"To be responsible, keep your promises to others. To be successful, keep your promises to yourself." - Marie Forleo
While this quote looks at both interpersonal and personal relationships, I find the relationship with yourself to be more intriguing and hey, who doesn't love working on ways to be successful?
One thing I've noticed over the past few years is how easy it is for the voice inside my head to convince me that I don't need to work too hard. I don't need to lift that extra weight, I don't need to avoid a bowl of ice cream, I don't need to stay an extra hour at work to go above and beyond for a project. This is the mind convincing you to be a standard. To be the norm. To stay stagnant because doing anything more is just extra.
When we decide to change that thought process, or ignore it altogether, we find success. Sure, the thought may linger that we don't need to do something because it's going above and beyond, but when we push that aside and actually GO above and...
"It seems to me that the less I fight my fear, the less it fights back. If I can relax, fear relaxes, too." - Elizabeth Gilbert
Can you remember the first time you learned to swim? Or this first time your mom or dad took the training wheels off of your bike? Those moments right before were a bit terrifying, weren't they? What about the moments afterward? After you rode your bike around the neighborhood with a gleeful smile and your parents clapping in excitement. Were you still terrified?
The trouble with fear is that we tend to build it up and don't usually laugh in its face until we've successfully overcome what was first intimidating us. That's normal, our brains are wired to be skeptical in order to keep us safe. There are two types of fear. Fear that is ego-driven and one that is driven out of our actual physical wellbeing. However, we register and react to either fear in the same way: fight or flight.
Rather than reacting in a fight or flight sense because of an...
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