The Medicine Of Sacred Rage

Image by  Heather Heininge

Rage becomes sacred when we treat with it respect, when we acknowledge the powerful medicine it carries into our lives.

When rage shows its face within us, we know we are being given a gift of great power: an emotional medicine which can sweep through our lives like a forest fire, giving us the opportunity to burn down everything that is no longer supporting life and our highest integrity.

Apply the medicine of your sacred rage as follows:

1. Use our fiery brand to burn way the external toxic relationships, patterns and situations which have oppressed, wounded and anesthetized us. It doesn’t matter what needs burning— whether it’s a situation that is only hours old, or the systemic oppression of a people, culture and way of life which has lasted centuries. What matters is that it shows us who and where we really are in relation to the world. 

2. As you burn the old and unhealthy down to the ground observe the pain, confusion, strength, beauty, grace and innate goodness within yourself, too. What is revealed to to you about yourself in the glow cast by your inner fire? See and sense, like an animal smelling the sulphur of a burning forest, what is not just out of integrity in the world but also within yourself

3. Feel sacred rage initiating you to the power of our voice. She shows you the strength of your word to speak out, to say the words which have been strangled to silence out of fear. What do you need to say, and to whom? If you can’t speak to the people or person directly, write a letter, then burn it. Do whatever you need to do to express your anger and release it in a safe way. When the time for sacred rage comes, she protects us with her power, and we are no longer afraid, we are no longer afraid to be and express who we are.

4. When you have allowed yourself to be consumed by the fire, travel within yourself to the point of stillness in the center of the flames. Feel this stillness of your heart. The center point from which this yearning for balance and integrity comes. Feel this place, the part of you which will never be oppressed, never be asleep. Allow your rage to move you awake.
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Rage becomes violent when it is not tempered with love.

Rage becomes abusive when we do not understand its origins, when we blindly disconnect from our hearts and use our fiery brand to hurt others as we have been burnt.

Rage becomes a force which eats away at the soul when we don’t give it the proper time, space and breath to move and express itself within us in a healthy way. Rage becomes illness within us when we ignore the transformation it is trying to invoke.

So today I pray that you, my reader, may know the power and medicine of your inner fire. That depression is often the symptom of the fire of rage going out, when we have been told or felt for too long that our fire has no power to change our lives and the world. This is a lie. 

Be brave, your sacred rage will change you, bring you closer to the God in yourself. if you let it.

And when the fire has burned its course, and you are left vulnerable in the ashes, keep your heart open. Honor the power of transformation and turn your face to the moon, to the light which will help you build a new life.

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How did these words inspire you? Where can you shift the suppressed anger in your life into sacred rage which transforms and heals?

I’d love to hear from you, leave me a comment here on the blog of send me a message.

In light,

Anja

On Love-- Becoming Whole

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We are already whole, and it is by loving ourselves, and allowing a greater love move through us that we know that wholeness.

I’m transitioning out of an intensive women’s retreat here in Ibiza, Spain. I spent the week honoring, healing and claiming the feminine (and masculine!) within myself along with 15 other women. After a week of sweat, tears and laughter, we ended our retreat with a powerful ceremony in which each of us married ourselves. 

As each woman stood in front of our group and read their vows to themselves, the room was filled with a palpable transformation to wholeness. One by one we acknowledged our light and our dark and promised to love, accept, honor and celebrate ourselves in ways unique to our spirit.

Many of us are drawn to the spiritual path because we feel an intrinsic need to be healed, or to feel whole on some level. This instinct is our souls way of guiding us to fulfillment in this life time.

But we don’t need to do, fix or change anything about ourselves in order to be whole, we just need to remember and follow a path which reminds us that we are love.

Love is like the glue which all of our self-help efforts stick to. If we don’t have a sense of deep love for ourselves, of knowing of our wholeness through love, all our efforts are in vain. The beauty routine, exercises regimen, healthy eating plan or any discipline we undertake will provide results which will make no true lasting impact in our lives.

Love gathers up our scared, fragmented pieces of heart and mind and says “It’s okay, you have permission to exist. Whatever darkness you feel inside of you, I love you anyway.” That is how we become whole; through acceptance, through illuminating all aspects of ourself without discrimination between light and dark, positive and negative.

We are so influenced by the culture at large which tells us that we are not enough. This creates a confusing rift in our honest search: we are seeking and living our way towards experiencing our wholeness while at the same time being told that we are not inherently whole and that we have to work for and earn it, either through religious or spiritual dogmas or through the demands of success defined by our culture.

We can improve ourselves unto infinity, but if we don’t have an understanding of what being whole is or how it feels, then we will continue manipulating and controlling our lives from a fear of being out of balance, not out of a love or understanding of being who we really are.

Beneath this paradox of “not enough-ness” are the roots of original sin, of cutting away the human being from the Divine. The split and creation of a hierarchy between masculine and feminine. This subtle, all pervasive belief can only shift when we as individuals end The War Of Not Enough for ourselves.

Love is one of the most powerful emotions we can feel and express, but we have to feel safe in order to open to love.

 

A ritual for wholeness:

Come into a space of meditation either sitting or lying down. Place a hand on your heart and focusing your awareness into your body, your own mind. Give yourself permission to relax and let go of thoughts of past and future.

Place one hand on your heart. Begin to lengthen and slow down the pace of your breath, breathing in to a count of 4-6 and out for a count of 4-6.

Visualize and sense a warmth at your chest underneath your palm. Feel that this warmth radiates love throughout your being. Continue breathing as you grow this warmth and love until it encompasses your entire body.

With your hand still on your heart, say a silent or spoken prayer, invoking and bringing all parts of yourself past and present back to love.

 

In the name of the love which I am, I now call on all lost, forgotten or fragmented parts of myself, so that they may return to me in love, guiding me to remember my true Divine nature. As I welcome all parts of my being back home, I open my heart in gratitude for the lessons of their leaving, and in so doing receive the blessing of becoming whole. I forgive, love, honor and respect myself. For the benefit and highest good of all beings everywhere, so it is.

 

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Where are you inviting love and wholeness back into your life right now?

What are your pearls of wisdom for your own experience?

Send me a message, leave me a comment and as always share these words with the ones you love.

In Love,

Anja

September: A Month For Returning To Balance

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September is a magical month which holds the last out breath of summer before the inward pull of autumn arrives. It's a time of absorbing and assimilating everything that we have experienced over the past few months, while wholeheartedly inviting us to breathe in the possibility of the new.

Since I am a Virgo and this is my birthday month, I can't think of a more "Virgo" post than sharing some guidelines to help you (and me!) construct magic, health and balance during this transitional month. 

Digest

Acknowledge all the inner and outer work you’ve done over this summer. You are incredible, strong, wise, and always learning.

How can you give yourself space to digest everything thats gone down the past few months?

If you feel like your summer has been calm and uneventful (seriously, if you exist please message me..) making space for this integration period is still helpful. 

How?

You get to choose! Some of us prefer sloth-like activities to help us integrate: we need time and space to just be in our bodies. Others need plenty of exercise, conversation and out door time. Since you're in the digestion period, your process shouldn’t involve any of your vices or excess mental consumption like bingeing on Netflix or scrolling through social media.

 

Create

What creative endeavor, project or area of your life are you ready to expand into and take action in this month? If this is a continuation of a long term project, how can you bring fresh inspiration to your work?

What would the ideal inflow of inspiration look like? In what form would it come to you?

Make some small shifts in your day to day routine to allow this inspirational to come. 

 

Release

After digestion and before new creation comes release. When we've been processing something whether it be physical, mental or emotional, there comes a time when we need to let it go. We've received all the nourishment and meaning from it that we can. You don’t have to completely cut it out of your life, but rather make a conscious effort to remove your focus from it and surrender it to a higher power.

What can you let go of that you’ve been digesting and processing all summer? 

Is there an idea, issue, relationship or project that you’re ready to simply put to bed? 

 

Invoke Space

Spaciousness is vital. It's the white space, the “me time”, the unplanned areas of your days and weeks which actually end up being the liquid gold which transforms all your efforts into healing, balance, magic and inspiration. Its in this space that growth actually happens. The listening space.

Take a deep look at how you plan to weave spaciousness into your days this month. It may feel difficult as you wrap up all the end-of-summer tasks but you won’t regret it.

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Now I’d love to connect with you. How are you going to create spaciousness? what will letting go look like for you? What kind of new energy are you going to bring to your creations?

Let me know in the comments and lets chat

With Love

Anja

Fear Vs. Intuition: Five Ways To Help You Make The "Right Choice."

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One of the biggest questions I’ve been asked by students and friends, and one that I've struggled with a lot, is how to distinguish the voice of our intuition and inner wisdom, from the chattering voice of fear and self protection which often runs our lives.

We’ve all been there, teetering on the edge of some large or small life decision which feels impactful to us, and yet we just can’t seem to make up our mind.

“Is this the right choice?” We ask ourselves, (and everyone around us.) We spin around and around, knowing that we should have access to some deep inner guidance but feeling like we are not tuned in to our own psychic hotline.

Over the past several years I've learned some really effective, mindful and sane tactics to making those huge and not so huge life choices. I've learned them through searching for the "right" treatment plan for chronic illness and through finding the right wellness plan for my body. I've learned them through choosing to get married, stay married, and then get divorced. I've learned them through choosing to follow, step away from, and then follow my creative dreams.

Five ways to make help you make the "right" choice.

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1. Ask your body.

Visualize and think about the choice you have to make. Put aside your mental thoughts, worries and fears and notice how your body feels: Listen to and accept all your sensations that arise. Listen beyond any initial anxiousness or nervousness that shows up on your body; how does you heart feel? Your breath? Do you feel a lightness or a heaviness in your limbs? These body sensations are extensions of our autonomic nervous system and link to our higher knowing and inner guidance. Trust them. 

2. Stick to your values.

Ask yourself which decision is supported by your values which are founded on joy, love, and personal growth. If the choice is in alignment with them, great, if not, let that option go, it will only cause you more psychological stress in the long run if you feel that you are acting out of integrity with your beliefs. Remember, it is the daily act of living in integrity with yourself which adds up to the life you are proud of living

3. Don’t allow fear of the unknown to influence your decision.

It is normal to fear change. If your decision is in alignment with your values, and you feel centered in your body when you think of that outcome, don’t let the fear of the unknown stop you. Think back to the times in your life when you decided to commit to an unknown future and reflect on what happened. Did you regret taking that leap? What unexpected benefits came from the unknown? Nine times out of ten you won’t regret stepping out of your comfort zone.

4. Take space.

When you really can’t decide, when you feel scattered, tired, confused and thrown under the bus by life, wait. It is important to do something that makes you feel good, nourishes you, calms you down. Its hard to make choices when your body is in fight or flight mode. Go for a long walk, take a bath, make art, build something, spend time with small children and animals, turn off your computer and phone. Let yourself relax and get distance from the situation. You might need 15 minutes, or you might need a vacation of two weeks for a pivotal life decision. When you come back to make your choice from a place of rest and connecting with yourself, you won’t need to ask everyone you know for advice— you’ll simply know.

5. Remember, there is no such thing as a wrong choice.

It is not the decision that we make that has power, its what we do with that decision.Yes, life is a series of choices, but its often the smaller day to day ones which have a more profound effect over time. What matters most are the actions you take after you have made your choice. How do you decide to to react to the situations which unfold around you as the result of your decision? 

Remember no matter what choices you are faced with right now— the best choice you can make is to tune out the noise of what you feel you “should” do and tune into the quiet spaces inside yourself. 

With Love

Anja

Living Authentically During Transitions-- A Glimpse of My Life in Rebirth

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I am acutely aware that it is impossible to run from our pain, from what we fear and from what is unresolved within us; I’ve made it my way of life to examine inner resistance.

And for the past two months I have been spending time in Europe, intentionally choosing to be 5,000 miles away from where my marriage began to fall apart six months ago. Part fleeing from pain, part choosing to put myself in new and uncomfortable situations through which to face it. 

As I spend the end of the summer in the Scandinavian woods and fields, I am awaiting the final email from my lawyer telling me that my divorce is final with equal dread and excitement.  I find myself living my days in the quiet rhythm of reflection and self nourishment born from years of healing from chronic illness. And while this is a slow, liminal space, it is in no way stagnant. 

There is death and rebirth within me. The dark goddess Kali, Indian deity and patron saint of destruction and rebirth is walking with me, helping me to see and delineate the illusion in my life from the truth. 

Its always good to have help clearing away the old seeds that have no life left in them in order to focus your energy on the ones ripe for sprouting.

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I walk outside at the farm where I am staying, notebook, phone, cup of tea in my hand. I take a slow walk across the courtyard, past the barn, looking for a suitable spot for my meditation. A meditation traditionally done at 4:00 am, I think mildly to myself as I looked up at the 11 o’clock sunshine streaming across the grass. Well, we do what we can when we can. 

I find a spot up on a small hill, tucked into a grove of trees. Large boulders rest in the woods, growing and claiming space like the trees. These boulders have been here since the stone age and many of them have cultural significance, marking important places and community gathering points for people who lived 10,000 years ago. I settle myself next to a stone which reaches the height of my shoulder. As I my eyes close the shape of the stone disappears and instead I feel its presence, like a person sitting beside me.

I begin my chanting meditation. The feelings of anxiety and disconnect that have been prickling within me rise to the surface. I always get uneasy when I touch on unfamiliar soil and meet people who don’t know me well, These feelings arise and saying hello to them, I allow myself to feel a deeper fear and sadness that I have been repressing for a few days. Unworthiness. Fear of not belonging. It washes over me and I gently place my attention on each of my chakras as I begin my chanting meditation. 

I chant the mantra “Ek Ong Kar Sat Nam Siri Wa He Guru” in a hypnotic rhythm, looping and vibrating the sound through each of the eight energy centers starting at the root of my body.

I realize that I have both a fear of being seen, of fully stepping into my creative power and self expression, and a fear of not being seen, a fear of never stepping into that creative power and potential. These fears represent the age old process of transformation: we are already blooming into the light but we are afraid of the journey into the unknown and letting go of the places we were once so familiar with.

I finish my meditation, and with my heart and mind soft, silent waves of encouragement and guidance wash over me as I bring my palms together at my heart.

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So much of my journey these past few months has been about claiming my worthiness, claiming my power to choose what I want, what I know feels right in the face of noise, chaos and distraction in the world.

I have felt shame around not being a “perfect yogi” who rises with the sun, even though my psyche and entire life revolves and functions around the principles of yoga. I have felt sadness and disappointment in my self for not having brought certain dreams and creations to fruition yet, even though I am still diligently pursuing and birthing these dreams according to their own timing. I have felt the self blame as I continue to heal and live with health challenges even though I am doing everything in my power to be healthy and vital.

Learning to thrive during transition periods requires remembering that we are the only ones who can define truth and integrity for ourselves. As the ones in the midst of transformation, our own souls voice is the strongest voice of guidance no matter how many mentors, friends or allies we have cheering us on.

We are never going to fully meet the expectations and projections of others, and if we use meeting those expectations as a measurement of our worthiness, achievement and success we won’t fulfill the highest outcome of our transformation and instead live lives which are empty of our true purpose and which only echo with a longing of our authentic, un-lived life.

I want to instill in you my (friend, family, client, or fellow human), the conviction that you are worthy, that despite changing inner and outer landscapes and circumstances you are brilliant. Your capacity for creating the world, work, art, change and peace in the world that you envision is only limited by your belief that you are not enough. 

Lets be real, transition is often messy and strange. Most of the time the journey is not glamorous. But it is rich, and finding that sustenance amidst change is more rewarding than anything in the world. It’s where we learn who we are, deeply, and for that I am grateful.

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Did you find these words helpful or inspiring? If so, please share them with the ones you love. Everything is better when shared. And let me know if these words resonated with you. Where in your life are you transitioning and have the opportunity to keep rising towards the light? I’d love to hear your personal insights.

With love

Anja

"Meditation is a one time thing" - Said no one, ever.

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It's hard to maintain a consistent meditation practice, even when you have experienced first hand its immense physical, emotional and psychological benefits.

Essentially, meditation is like "potty training for the mind" (as someone I know eloquently put it).

When it comes to establishing a consistent meditation practice, the only way out is through, the only way to begin and keep going is to begin and keep going. To put it bluntly: you are going to be living with your mind for the rest of your life, so you might as well take care of it, and introduce it to your Soul every once and a while so that your Soul can help run the show.

The goal of meditation (and yoga) is to experience the essence of our own Soul. How does this work if meditation is a practice of the mind?

In the science and system of yoga (and ayurveda) There are three energetic qualities called gunas which affect our body and mind: Rajas, Tamas, and Sattva.

Rajas is the passionate fire of creativity, heat and action, Tamas is the heavy inertia of non action and stagnation and Sattva is the lightness of clarity, peace and understanding. 

We all have Rajas, Tamas and Sattva as part of our natural psychological makeup, and our actions, foods we eat, thoughts we think and things we experience affect how much of each guna dominates our consciousness from day-to-day. All three gunas are essential to health, vitality and life.

Sattva in and of itself is not enlightenment, after all it is still a quality of mind, and calmness of mind is not enlightenment. But when our mind is in the peaceful state of Sattva, it becomes like a clear mirror through which we are able to experience and glimpse our soul, or Purusa. The soul is what I often refer to as the capital "S" Self. It is the part of us that is pure consciousness which never dies, nor changes.

Mooji, a contemporary spiritual teacher, refers to this Self as that which is revealed to us when we experience that there is no "I" within us. Eckhart Tolle refers to this simply as "presence".

When we bring the mind into a state of sattva through meditation, we learn to disidentify with our thoughts. They still exist-- rolling in and out like a tide-- and yet we feel a center point of consciousness which belongs to a realm beyond thought. (It is always a misdirection to try to stop thought completely; as long as we are alive, we will have thoughts.)

The clear mind is not your soul, the clear mind simply allows the Soul or consciousness to be reflected in the mind.

When the mind comes into Sattva, it is as if the fog clears on a window, and the mind can witness a reflection of another realm inside you.

Imagine you are in an small white room, projecting, creating and imagining situations which appear on the walls of the room as if on a projector. Now imagine moving into meditation, witnessing the projected shapes and images but not following or guiding them. Eventually you detach yourself from them completely and a wonderous thing begins to happen: the walls around you begin to change. It's as if they are dissolving, but on closer inspection you realize that they are made of glass and are simply become transparent as if they are being unfogged.

As the walls become clear you look through the glass to see a beautiful vista which you had no idea existed and never before could have imagined.

The mind is that glass room. When it is brought in into alignment with the Self, the mind is able to perceive it. Though the walls of the room will never move as long as you are alive, you are able to witness this other world, this vista, from inside the room.

Now as yourself the question:

Where am I? Am I inside the room, our outside of it?

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Did you have any insights, questions or thoughts sparked by this post?

Leave me a comment and lets connect!

In peace,

Anja

 

Sources *the yoga sutras of Patanjali Translated by Edwin F. Bryant*

 

A New Strategy For 2018: Commit To The Unknown.

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As 2017 draws to a close you might be setting intentions for what you're going to do better and how you're going to grow next year. But before you do, I encourage you focus less on what you want to change, and more on how you want to change it.

Growth means committing to the unknown.

We can only grow when we are faced with the unknown, that expansive edge of possibility which exists beyond our comfort zone.

There is a difference between unconscious growth and conscious growth. We can either let the circumstances of life force us to grow, or we can willingly make the commitment to expand into the unknown of the areas of our life we want to change.

So as the year ends and we are faced with the promises of a new one, are you going to let the unknown come into your life and knock you off your feet, or are you going to venture bravely out to meet it?

Below are examples of few areas of life where research shows most people want to grow and improve their lives, with insights into achieving this growth through the single act of committing to the unknown.

(Okay, I realize that not everybody wants to grow spiritually, but I personally think it's the most important so Its at the top of the list. Humor me.)

SPIRITUAL

On a spiritual level, committing to a relationship with the unknown means taking time to marinate in experiences where we feel the vastness of the universe and a force larger than ourselves. This can be done through prayer, meditation, intently listening to a piece of classical music, watching a sunrise or hiking up a tall mountain. Any action which brings you to a place of awe and a realization of both your own vastness and smallness at the same time.

The growth we can experience on this level, though less tangible than the other areas, is the most powerful. I believe that this is the only are of our life where we can experience true and lasting contentment and a sense of our place in the universe. This belief is what is driving the creation of an Ebook I am currently writing, about the benefits of creating one's own daily spiritual practice. This book illustrates how we can use our daily commitment to the unknown through spiritual practice to create true growth and find meaning in our lives. 

PHYSICAL

The new years resolution which surpasess all others in popularity is to get in shape or improve physical health and appearance. Who doesn’t want to get more in shape? For most of us this means doing things we’ve never done before (the unknown) and pushing our body past its perceived limitations. As the famous quote goes, "if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got.

(In the case of individuals who are ill, hoping to become well, this still applies, as there are often habits of deep rest which we are equally afraid of experiencing as we are of intensive exercise.)

The unknown when we are working to improve our health or getting into shape, is our physical growth- edge. The edge of comfort, the edge of our old routines, the edge of our habits. We acquire deeply ingrained physiological patterns when we repeatedly sit, walk, stand, eat and spend time on our computers in a certain way. Even in our workout routines and health regimens we become comfortable and relaxed, forgetting that to push against our physical edge, in a direction of vitality, (with the proper recuperation and rest period afterwards) is what initiates true growth.

As we continue to grow in this area, the edge never disappears, but we continue to grow and get stronger. When we are creating physical growth, the edge is both a healthy reminder of what is and isn’t possible, and an invitation to grow into the unknown and create a new reality for our bodies.

FINANCIAL

Whether you are on the entrepreneurial be-your-own-boss train, or are happily employed, statistics show you probably want to make more money.

The unknown, or growth edge in this area isn’t too hard to figure out. If you want to make more money, learn the skills which will allow you to do so. This doesn’t necessarily mean trade or professional skills (thought it could). Odds are you aren’t lacking in skills which are profitable. You’re probably good at your job. What you need is to learn the specific skills towards increasing revenue. If you work for yourself this might mean investing in learning proper business strategy for your business, or updating your knowledge of online marketing or hiring somebody to do marketing for you. If you are employed, it might look like creating a strategic plan to ask for a raise or a promotion- or to find a job which you enjoy more and which pays you well.

Money is a pretty rational, linear force. It follows the facts. There are people out there who share your personal work ethics and unique life values, who are making the amount of money that you want to make. Find them and learn from them. Relating to the unknown in this area of your means discovering new knowledge and applying it into action.

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At first, when you embark on your intentions for growth in the new year, you might feel more vulnerable to failure or risk and less in control. But these are only emotional side effects, growing pains on the journey.  In reality, gaining and applying the financial knowledge, changing the way you move and rest your body every day or allowing yourself to experience the vastness of the universe every day will pay off. You might even wake up one day and realize that you have lived yourself into the life of your dreams

Now, go back to your end of year review or 2018 goal setting and ask yourself:

How can I approach my deepest intentions or objectives by creating a relationship with what I don't know?

How can relating to the unknown propell me farther in achieving goals than simply stating a desired result?

How will establishing a relationship with the unknown effect and improve other areas of my life?

The beauty of the unknown is that it will always remain. No matter how much you learn, achieve or experience there will always be more. Creating a lasting relationship with the unknown can help you excel beyond your wildest dreams, as you being to realize there is a world of possibility beyond what you are living now. But it also means that no matter how much we heal, grow and achieve, the unknown will always exist, and this, my friends, is humbling. 

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I'd love to hear from you. What does committing to the unknown look like for your resolutions in 2018?

Did you have any new insights or ah-ha moments from reading this post?

Leave me a comment below or send me an email at info@anjasofiachurchill.com and I will respond to you personally.

May this year bring you greater love and prosperity,

Anja

Healing support for lyme part 3 of 5: Compassion over judgement

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If you have been in the process of trying to become well for any length of time, you are probably familiar with the concept of self sabotage. Someone in your life, whether they mean well or not will have said to you something which translates to "why are you behaving/not behaving in this way which I think would be so good for you", or "why do you keep doing this to yourself/ feeling this way?" These well-intentioned people often want to help us because they feel we simply aren't doing a good enough job helping ourselves.

Dr. Margin Seligman, father of positive psychology, coined a term he called "learned helplessness". Learned helplessness is when certain physical or psychological conditions are imposed upon us for a length of time, and when those conditions are removed, we continue to function in a way which is stymied. 

Many of us experience periods of learned helplessness throughout life: during difficult relationships, challenging situations at work, and periods of prolonged illness.

Self sabotage is real. The patterns of keeping ourselves "safe" and "small" have an important function, especially when it comes to chronic illness. Sometimes we just need to hunker down for long stretches of time and not take any risks because well, our interior and physical experience already feels way too risky.

But this can take a toll. Eventually, enough of this protective energy begins to block our progress. As a species and as beings who are evolving to experience higher levels of consciousness, to stop expanding our life experience and worldview (even because we are suffering) will eventually hurt us more than it helps us. Sometimes this manifests as a subconscious fear of becoming well, or a complacency and despondency regarding our situation. 

I, like many of you, have experienced shades of learned helplessness many times over. It is always an opportunity for growth and more self compassion. One of the most unhelpful things you can say to somebody who is in this state is to "snap out of it", or "just stop being so helpless".

A few months ago I had a doctor who I very much love and respect, exasperatingly say " Anja, why are you sabotaging yourself?" Now, as a very self reflective person I am quick to admit where I notice inner resistance or where I feel I am self sabotaging myself. (Getting to the "why" is often more difficult to discern.)  In this instance, the practitioner saying this to me felt unsupportive and after several moments reflecting on her words I realized she was wrong, I was not sabotaging myself. I was, in fact. handling my current situation incredibly well and dealing with a complex situation created by a lack of oversight and missed signs that many doctors (including her) had missed months earlier.

Be discerning, but don't play the blame game. Tough love has its place, but it always takes second to true self compassion. True self compassion wont always be comfortable, but it will cut through to the dark places. Blame just masks the dark places with anger. 

As I sat in that appointment and realized my own grace and my practitioners error in that moment, I remembered a truth that comes to me often: we are the only ones who can discern our experience, and because of this we have a great responsibility to ourselves. We must cultivate the kind of self love that encompasses and sees through our own resistance, without blame.  

Nobody else can do the work of loving your situation just as it is, while also being discerning enough to see where we need to push ourselves and grow.

Below, I've outlined a powerful meditation from the lineage of Kundalini Yoga. It is called "Meditation to conquer self animosity" and it brings us back into that deep relationship with our self where we are not afraid to have a compassionate, all encompassing view of what is actually going on in our life. The video is recorded by Sat Siri Kaur, a loved and respected teacher.


MEDITATION TO CONQUER SELF ANIMOSITY


If you choose to practice this meditation, how did it feel?  I'd love to hear from you. 

Do these words resonate with you?

What can you do in your life to allow for deeper self compassion for where you are?

With Love, and In Health,

Anja

Healing support for lyme Part 2 of 5: Approach Treatment From The Right Angle

One of the most powerful tools every single one of us has on the healing journey is the power to discern and choose from which angle we are treating our illness: physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual.

Each of these aspects of ourselves are entry points into healing, and we are the only ones who can know and decide which aspect (or aspects) are the most important for us at any one time.

Its also important to take all of them seriously, and to have multiple care providers who can help us deeply in each of these areas.

Many years ago, when I was first diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease and after I had tried (and failed) the conventional antibiotic treatment, I was hell bent on “killing” all the”bad bugs” using natural means. I thought this was the only answer, and that these bad bugs were directly to blame for all 200+ of my symptoms.

Neither myself or my practitioners were taking anything else into account other than “killing the bugs”. The equation looked like this: Anja + Lyme = Seriously sick. Anja - Lyme = perfect health.

It’s easy to get into this pattern of thinking, especially when you learn how evasive and advanced the Lyme spirochete actually is, but this way of thinking shows a very poor understanding of chronic Lyme and how to get well.

But humans have been living and evolving with spirochetes for thousands of years, and just because you get rid of, or reduce significantly the pathogenic load of borellia burgdorferi in your body, doesn’t necessarily mean you will be thriving and healthy. As we know, many, many people who show few symtoms have lyme disease, and many more who have the serious diagnosis of ALS, MS, Parkinsons, Fibromialgia and even autism have Lyme disease as a root cause.

Without taking into account my bodies ability to detoxify, genetic factors, allergies, environmental toxin load, immune function and emotional and psychological stress/trauma my treatment at this time wasn’t very successful. I was taking all the right “killing agents” in the form of high dose herbal formulas, but my symptoms kept increasing and eclipsing whatever headway I was making.

After the period of time where I was only trying to kill Lyme naturally, I spent 6 months living in northern Sweden being treated by a Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor who treated me with tar like concoctions of herbs to be drunk by the liter daily. “Killing” went out the window.

In the eyes (and poor English) of this Chinese doctor, all I needed to get well was “melt ice, in belly.” He would also occasionally point to my mild acne and say,

“make more beautiful, too.”

Um, Okay. Right.

And yet when I returned to the States after six months there was a subtle stamina and strength in my digestion which had been lacking for years.

Then came a two year phase of working with the energetic, the spiritual and the shamanic aspects of healing. I learned that on a quantum level our bodies are just space, energy and light. I worked with our ability to change the quality of our physical life by starting with this fundamental truth. And I experienced huge strides forward in my health.

I discovered meditation. I learned yogic techniques to work with the physical and subtle anatomy to achieve healing. I studied the science of emotions, happiness and psychology, and how they intersect with the body to create health.

Finally the feeling, the urge, came around again. I knew there was something I needed to address on a medical level, something that needed to be killed, purged and cleaned out. I sought that help and spent 3 years back on the killing regimen, except this time I was integrating the holistic understanding I had gained through the years prior.

Now, it’s a continuous flow. I try to keep all areas of treatment balanced. And I always know when one area is not getting enough attention.

So the healing task and insight for you today is to assess where you are, and then tune into your body and feel what you really need. Ask yourself these questions:

At which stage are you at right now in your treatment: physical, emotional, energetic?

Are you addressing pathogens head on or are you working on building up your immune system, strengthening detoxification or just giving your body a rest?

Which area feels like it is being fully addressed and seen?

Which area feels lacking, unsupported or unseen?

What is preventing you from approaching your healing from this angle right now?

What is the first step, something you can do right now to address this?

I want to hear your insights, and how you are going to shift your perspective or focus on your treatment right now, or how it is going to stay the same.

As always, these words are about empowering YOU to be your own healer.

With Love,

Anja

P.S Want to receive the next installment of the series delivered to your inbox? Sign up below

Part 1 of 5: How To Stay Inspired And Get The Most Out Of Your Healing Protocol

In this five part series, I'm sharing some practices, philosophy and mindset shifts which have been essential to my continued recovery from chronic Lyme disease and related illness. 

The first insight is one which when mastered, fully transforms the way you think about illness and your body: creating inner and outer space around taking supplements, treatments and therapies.

Every aspect of treatment from the smallest supplement to the most invasive IV or procedure is an opportunity to deepen your relationship to your body and move towards true healing- regardless of the outcome of the treatment.

Rudolf Steiner, the Austrian mystic and philosopher who founded  Anthroposophical Medicine, said that every time we engage in a therapy whether its as invasive as surgery or gentle like a homeopathic remedy or supplement, we are asking the body a question.

The wisdom and healing of a therapy or treatment comes in our ability to Listen for the body's response. The power of strengthening the healing force of the body doesn't come response itself- though it can be helpful to know if something makes us feel worse or better- but in the act of listening to the body.

So if you are repetitively or mindlessly taking your pills or going through the drudgery of doing “all the right things” but feeling frustrated with the lack of clarity and forward movement that you desire, you might not be giving your body and mind the space to fully rest and receive the information which is trying to come into your body in the form of treatment.

Like any effective healing practice, this takes time and commitment, but its effects can be the missing link between bridging the external world of should's, and the internal world of what the body truly needs.

The practice

Before you take the supplement, do the castor oil back, coffee enema, or any other treatment, make a habit of sitting silently for a moment, taking a few deep breaths. Notice what is happening in your body. Just take stock of the quality of energy in your body and mind- the less you try to change it the better.

Then, take your supplement, or do your therapy.

After the therapy is done. Make a committed, silent space in which to fully integrate and receive the benefits of the treatment. Turn off screens. Don't distract yourself. Even if you can’t consciously “feel” anything, make this space. 10-20 minutes will suffice. 

This allows the nervous system to relax, and when done consistently over time, retrains the body to enter a deeper healing state during times of treatment/therapy/supplements.

We all know that when we are stressed out our body has difficulty in properly digesting our food. Can you imagine how hard it is for medicine to get to where it needs to go, without side effects, when the body is already in a heightened inflammatory/stressful state?

Once you’ve committed to this post- treatment listening stage. Tune in to how your body feels now. What subtle energy has shifted? What remains the same.

The secret to strengthening the body's ability to communicate with you and beneficially receive and assimilate treatments, is to remain open and non reactive to the information you receive.

Like a small child, once the body (and energetic bodies) feel the rhythm and routine of being able to “share” and “be seen” in this continuous safe space regarding treatments, the inner impulse to heal becomes quickened and useful information, along with heightened intuition will begin to rise to the surface quickly.

You will also be training your nervous system to relax and receive nourishment, versus training it to push through and "force" the therapy.

Once you've digested this information and put it into practice, I'd love to hear from you.

How does this practice feel? What messages, sensations and insights are you experiencing as you deepen your ability to listen to the question of your treatment?

Let me know in the comments below, or send me an email at info@anjasofiachurchill.com and and if you want to be notified when part 2 of the 5 part series is published, sign up below.

In Health!

Anja

Thoughts on walking the spiritual path, right now.

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I am walking the path. And so are you.

Maybe you don't think you are. This is a short note to remind you, as I have been reminded.

After several years and many kinds of devotion and commitment to esoteric practices and philosophical musing, and deep inner explorations of my body mind and heart, I feel like I am only just beginning to step on the spiritual path.

A realization came to me this evening, when I was looking at pictures of Mahatma Gandhi online. I was examining photos of his face, before and after he began his crusade for a free India, non violent action and compassionate living. 

I noticed something unusual.

It was the photos of him in his later years as he peacefully carried the spirit of India to freedom where his face looked the most human.

Before this, his face looked.. less human. More conflicted, as if a shroud covered his face, hiding something.

This realization was like a warm breath of air, filling my lungs and warming my heart. Walking the path is not to become like an angel. It is to make us truly human.

Yogi Bhajan said that every person is born with the birthright to be a Human Being. Hu means light, halo or radiant aura and Man means mind. Presence, with a mind of light. 

The sages and ancient texts say that true realization of our Self comes to us when we surrender to the divine force greater (and within) ourselves. A truly humble experience. There are many, many practices to open up this space in our lives. I've done a few, some for short unsustainable bursts and others for longer, but still unsustainable lengths of time.

This evening as I was looking at Mahatma Gandhi's face, Images of Mother Theresa came up on google images, too. I noticed she had the same expression. Ultimately human. Feeling. Living. Experiencing. Knowing. Trusting. Wow.

After this I wrote a short prayer. Something I've done several times over the years, mostly because writing comes naturally to me and is a way for me to continuously affirm my intentions to the universe, my higher self, God, my guides, or whoever has my highest interest at heart who might be listening. 

I wrote an honest prayer to understand the Origin of my Self and Life while in this human body. (Gently please!). I was moved by my own words as they flowed from the pen and equal parts frightened by them. By their bigness.

Then I sat for a long time, on the dark of my balcony. And felt a slow answer come to my mind. The voice of a calm, logical, patient teacher. The voice (maybe my own) said:

You have everything you need for this awakening right now.
You have the practices of yoga- they are strengthening for you and help to balance your body and mind.
You have the practice of meditation- powerful tools to experience your Self.
You have your connection to nature- beauty which truly nourishes you.
You have a deep, loving and at times challenging relationship- this provides nourishment for you on many levels and also stimulates you to grow.
You have a beautiful home- this supports your growth.
You have a true path of service- let your business be your service, and a lesson to know true abundance and not get distracted by financial loss of success.

As I heard all of this, the gentle voice flowed through my mind taking stock of everything in my life. And I felt it, maybe for the first time, that everything in our life is here to serve us, and it moved me to tears.

We have everything we need.

Humbling.

Keep going. Stay awake. From your heart.

Anja

Can intuition help you heal from complex chronic illness?

I think it's a necessity. No matter how amazing, renowned or informed our practitioners may be, when it comes to healing from complex chronic illness, there is only one person who has the final say in what goes on in, around and for your body, and that is you.

Last week I went to a Doctors appointment at the Sophia Health Institute outside of Seattle, Washington. I've been a patient there for several years, and the clinic itself is quite well known because its head doctor, Dr. Klinghardt is famous the world over for his unique and leading edge thoughts in alternative treatments for Lyme disease, MS, ALS, chronic fatigue syndrome, and autism.

Without going too much in depth about my continuous healing saga, I'll say that I have had great benefit from seeking treatment from Dr. Klinghardt and his trained Naturopaths these past few years. Like many such clinics, many of the expenses are out of pocket and the cost to see Dr. Klinghardt alone is a whopping $800 an hour. This is something which continues to drive patients the world over to tears and frustration: the fact that in order to receive quality care, oftentimes you have to be rich. Fact. No sugar coating. 

This doesn't have to be the case. In fact there are many grass roots practitioners of various modalities across the country (and the world) who are exceptionally skilled and have amazing success stories with many of their treatments.

One of the most powerful (and sometimes disenchanting) lessons I've learned through 12+ years of chronic illness is that at some point, your practitioner, the one into whose hands you've put your life, doesn't have a clue what to do next. Or maybe they do have a clue, or a diagnosis, or a past case that is similar to yours, and yet it doesn't feel right. You know.

Enter intuition. The subtle yet strong force which we get to know more and more as our relationship with our self deepens. 

I remember a Dr. I worked with on the east coast many years ago, who I had put a lot of time and money and faith into working with. He was the best as far as I could see and afford. I put my life in his hands, and he definitely missed the mark. After his efforts to help me get well failed, he decided that what I needed was a strong dose of Levaquin. (If you don't know about this antibiotic, it may be one of the most toxic antibiotics out there with many common, serious and permanent side effects.)

I knew as soon as he suggested this that it was the wrong treatment. No matter how brilliant this doctor was, his diagnostic mind couldn't see what I felt and knew to be true: my body was suffering from a crippling inability to deal with toxins.

I was suffering so badly from toxicity and the inability to cope with it that I was having tremors, hallucinations, nausea and the inability to eat.

Soon after his treatment suggestion I made another move to switch care providers, and six months later was on a very different treatment path which focused on gentle regeneration and detoxification- and I was getting a whole lot healthier.

There have been and continue to be many, many times during my treatment when I couldn't accept a certain Dr.'s point of view or diagnosis, no matter how high ranking or well known. It was those moments when I searched within myself, followed my intuition, and fought for what my gut was telling me, that I broke through to much deeper healing and greater solutions.

Sometimes intuition wont lead us to the direct answer or diagnosis, but it will lead us to the place where we can find the right answer.

Ironically, one of the most powerful things I've learned in the past several years while paying the premium (and watching countless others do the same) for everything from ozonated ultraviolet blood filtration  to stem cell injections from wild boars, is this:

On a very deep level, only we as individuals can truly claim health and vitality for ourselves- no doctor will ever be able to serve us true health whether on a silver platter or otherwise.

The moment we choose to connect with and communicate with the deeper essence of ourselves, the part of us that doesn't get sick, but lovingly supports us through all trials and tribulations, that's the moment we begin to heal.

That moment when we restore faith in some subtle, undying, all pervading aspect of ourselves. That connection is what has seen me and countless others through some really, really dark times.

Of course money, time, emotional support and countless other influences weight heavily on the outcomes of treatment, If I could recommend only one single thing to a somebody who is seeking alternative treatment for a complex illness, it is this:

Whatever treatment, practitioner or environment you choose to place your faith in for your own healing, let it be one which acknowledges your whole being, and not only acknowledges but encourages you to question, inquire, keep learning both in the realm of medicine and  also within yourself.

Be proactive about going within yourself, trusting your gut, and truly meeting yourself. After all, if you don't now, when will you? It just might save your life.

The ultimate question: getting rid of social media or change the way we use it?

Over the coming weeks I will be removing my personal FB account, and transitioning my Instagram account solely for business purposes.

The reasons behind this are many. As a young person who has literally grown up with social media, I find it addictive, and distracting.

My social life has been connected to social media since I was 13 years old, and I would say my brain has been wired in all the ways which the creators of this platform have engineered. (Yes, they are created to specifically diffuse our ability to focus and enhance addictive behaviors, for more about this check out this video.) 

In the video, the speaker shares how one of the psychological side effects behind regular use is heightened levels of resting anxiety. When our brains are wired to receive small hits of dopamine throughout the day, we become restless and in a sympathetic nervous system mode consistently. 

I like many, many people, experience this. I pretend that I don't but I do. 

One of the other psychological effects of consistent time spent on social media is lowered self-esteem related to the comparison of self vs. others. Thankfully, I don't experience this very much, but I AM as addicted to mindlessly scrolling through social media feeds when my brain wont shut off as the next person.

Ultimately, I see us evolving with technology, and the current trends in social media lean towards even greater fusions of reality and virtual reality. As the information age expands, our awareness, sovereignty, and emotional intelligence has to evolve with it, so this is simply my way of trying to work things out for myself.

The internet as a whole is rewiring our brains, and I think it is false thinking to assume that social media is the only culprit in decreasing attention span, etc. But for me, removing or reducing social media is the first logical step in changing how I relate to the internet and ultimately use it for it's amazing, information sharing potential. 

Anyhow, I'll still be sharing my writings (my blog/website is where I share my more focused and heart felt thoughts) and info about upcoming classes, events, and other exciting offerings on my professional FB page Anja Sofia Churchill. The goal is to still be reachable, but for me to focus more on what matters, both personally, creatively and in service!

If you need to get in touch for any reason, send me an email, a text, or call me! (Yay! Real voices!) 

Love, Love and Love!

Anja

 

The Four Stages of Healing and How I apply them to my yoga practice

One of the reasons I continuously come back to a yoga and meditation practice as the touchstone of keeping myself well and living beyond chronic Lyme disease is that it forces me to return to my body and whats real in my life. 

In my quest for tangible ways to share the wordless experiences of becoming well, I've outlined what I call the four stages of healing. On any path of true healing or spiritual practice we cycle through these four phases and continuously begin again.  

The truth is that knowledge only becomes useful when applied and directly experienced, and thankfully each one of us has a body to begin experiencing these results.

Beyond this post you can carry the 4 stages of healing with you and work with them as you do your own I mind/body practice like yoga or qi gong, so that you can amplify its healing potential.

 

First stage of healing: become present & open up the channels

Though the most straightforward, the first phase can often be the most challenging, especially if we are habitual "fixers" always trying to find a solution or a band aid for what is going on. During the first stage, we create the inner space where we can sit with the discomfort of our present situation and just notice how we feel without judgement. Any reactions or emotions in response to physical pain also get included in this awareness.

We may have a task we are physically doing, (in this case a yoga exercise) but we create the neutral space to allow our symptoms, energy and thoughts to run their course. I like to compare this to flushing out the fluids in an engine (car metaphors anybody?) This stage can often feel like a purging, or a worsening, but don't label it as such. Just be with it, and you will see that the sensations, symptoms and thoughts are transitory.

Long Deep Breathing

Relax your diaphragm and muscles of your pelvis, ribs and chest completely. Begin a slow inhale as you feel and visualize this entire space filling and expanding. When your breath reaches the fullest expansion of your upper chest, begin a slow exhale, "deflating" the abdomen and chest like a balloon. Inhale 4-6 counts, exhale 4-6 counts

*For those that find this emotionally difficult, it is important to remember that we will never experience more than we are capable and ready to handle by being present.*

 

Second stage of healing: Keeping the channels open & being receptive to the healing flow

Once the channels have been opened, the energy in the body begins to flow and we may even notice positive feeling sensations which we label as "improvement." At this stage, we are faced with a choice: we can either become distracted and unconscious to the energy in our body again, OR we can begin to forge new neural pathways in our brain geared towards consistent mindfulness, consistent awareness of what is happening regardless of good or bad. It is in this phase that the "engine" begins to turn on.

We start to glimpse and experience moments of our own healing grace. The paradox is that we begin to experience the healing grace by being open and unattached to the sensations. 

Alternate Nostril Breath

Block your right nostril with your right thumb, inhale 4 counts through the left nostril, then block the left nostril and exhale through the right. Next reverse the sequence inhaling through the right nostril and exhaling through the left. To finish, inhale and suspend the breath, then relax.

 

 

Third stage of healing: actively working with the channels 

This is where things really begin to heat up. Just when we have surrendered to the natural flow of our body and abstaining from labeling experiences as "good" or "bad", we come into a clarity of awareness where we are now capable of directing the energy in our body towards regeneration; specifically towards meridians, organs, or body systems of our choosing.

By now we have been able to feel and identify which parts of our physical and energetic anatomy need more support, and we direct the energy to these places using breath, movement, visualization and sensory experience.

Breath of fire

Fill your lungs 2/3 full with breath, then exhale powerfully bringing your navel in towards your spine. Gently allow the belly to expand outward on the inhale, and begin the sequence again by drawing the navel in. Speed up the breath as you are comfortable to 3 in and out breaths per second. To finish, inhale and suspend your breath, circulating and directing the energy you have generated with the breath to areas of the body which need healing.

 

Fourth stage of healing: surrender to the process

In this phase we must give up our expectations and time frames of achieved results or "perfect health." It asks us to take a step back, and give our expectations over to something larger than ourselves. I choose to surrender to my Self, or soul, that part of me which is deathless and far more wise than my conscious mind. You might choose God, or a higher power of your own choosing. 

We accept that though healing is non linear, when we continuously begin again with stage #1, we trust that we will be guided and protected on the journey.

Tenth gate meditation

Sitting with a straight spine, close your eyes and roll them in and up, focusing your gaze and/or your energy at the crown of your head. Imagine that you are looking up through the head into infinitely. Breathe long and deep while connecting to the infinite force which is greater than you. 

The four stages of healing can also be applied more in depth as they relate to nutrition, physiological detoxification, lifestyle balance and living in harmony with natural cycles. For the purpose of this post I have outlined them as they specifically relate the practice of yoga, to illustrate how quickly we can have an experience in our body of these concepts. If you are interested in incorporating the stages of healing into our complete health plan, send me an email at info@anjasofiachurchill.com, or stay tuned for upcoming online courses.

In health,

Anja

Why I sometimes tell people not to practice yoga

Even though my life was literally saved through practicing yoga, (it was the key factor in my recovery from a debilitating disease; more on that in a minute), I am not an evangelist.

When people find out I’m a kundalini yoga instructor, they always ask the the inevitable question: “why kundalini yoga?” I often hesitate a minute before answering. The truth is there are many answers, and I’m often trying to gauge which response will make the most sense.

The first answer is usually an anecdotal one: my story. I tell them that kundalini yoga was the first thing which began to heal my body from a debilitating case of chronic Lyme disease.

The second answer might be something like “I think Kundalini yoga resembles how yoga might have been practiced 1,000 years ago; lots of chanting, meditation, breath work, unusual asanas we don’t normally see in regular hatha yoga classes.”

But I don’t know this to be %100 true, and it makes me uneasy. It rings of a kind of elitism that is so prevalent in modern yoga culture: ‘‘this is the first yoga, the best yoga, the only yoga’’.

The third answer is the one I always want to share the most, because it’s not an answer, it’s a question.

I want to ask,

“Have you ever had the experience of bringing all of yourself into something and not leaving anything out?

“Have you ever felt the feeling of accepting everything you have ever been, are and will be in one place? Have you ever- during any activity- felt your body, mind and everything in between just fall into place, into its natural order?”

That’s what yoga does for me, and you should do whatever allows you to have that experience.

When I was sixteen and in the depths of some of my darkest Lyme days, I had a yoga teacher friend who came to my house once a week while I was bedridden.  I would climb out of bed in my pajamas and sit on the floor long enough to do gentle kundalini yoga exercises with her. Every so often she would open her eyes during a meditative practice and say,

“Just let me know if this is boring you”, and then close her eyes again.

The truth was that though the exercises were subtle and seemingly strange looking on the outside, I was beginning to have some of the deepest inner experiences of myself and my body during those short sessions.

Then, my friend gave me my first kriya, (a series of exercises to target a specific result which have been passed down for generations.) I was to practice this kriya every day for 40 days. It was called, “kriya for disease resistance.”

I practiced it, imperfectly but earnestly, for the prescribed 40 days. After those first 40 days it was a like a little flame inside of me which had been out for a very long time was rekindled. I remember being stopped on the street by people I knew and have them tell me that I looked like myself for the very first time in years.

Eventually this led me deeper and deeper into my own practice, kundalini yoga teacher training, and the pursued study of yogic and mind/body practices for deep healing.

But yoga is not a panacea. It’s not a substitute for necessary medication, though it can have effects which reduce ones need to take certain medications. It’s not a substitute for psychotherapy, even though its benefits can be life altering and psychologically therapeutic. And it is most definitely not a place which to escape or bypass one’s problems on the road to becoming “more spiritual” or “better”.

Like everything, yoga is a form which is animated by what we bring to it: ourselves.

When we show up with everything- all our baggage, joys, expectations, fears, insecurities and mundane thoughts- and hold them with neutral acceptance within the forms of a practice- whether it be yoga, meditation, martial arts or creative arts- we experience a taste of what it means to feel whole within ourselves.

The beautiful thing about a form is that though it may be fixed, it can hold our own inner growth and change.

When we first enter into a marriage, we have certain expectations and a certain kind of love. Overtime, those expectations and the love deepens with change. The form of marriage is still the same, but it has in essence become richer by that which it contains and its ability to grow.

So when people ask “why kundalini yoga?”, that’s why I hesitate. I don’t want to project a specific doctrine or set of rules. I don’t want people to begin practicing kundalini yoga because of my story, I want to encourage them to find what is worth exploring in themselves, and the form which makes them feel the most supported while doing it.

For now I can share with you these questions, and what first brought me to the altar of my being. If I can support you to do the same, I have done my job; whether it’s through a form of yoga or not is irrelevant.

 

What To Ask Yourself Before Beginning A New Health Regimen

In a culture that is literally obsessed with consumption and self improvement, it's a good idea to check our motives and what is influencing us before we begin any sort of health regimen. 

The internet is over saturated with diet advice, weight loss plans, (and scams) and everyone and their sister is sharing their latest detox, beach body, and summer ready tips.

This post is none of those things.

What it is: an invitation to get to the root and reason of your tendency to get little to no results, (or if you get results, to still not feel happy about it) when you commit to a new health regime.

Even the most well intended health practices will miss their mark if we engage in them for the wrong reasons, or with unrealistic expectations.

You see healing comes from within, and the questioning space from which the need for healing arises is also the answer. The bulls eye mark which we are so desperately trying to aim at with all the perfect healthy ways of living, can only be reached if we sit with the question, that need for change that brought us to the path in the first place, and just listen.

Sit down and be really honest with yourself. 

Why am I really drawn to this new way of eating/living/exercising/being?

Part of my job is to support people in making the changes that are going to be ultimately the most healing and the most long lasting for their unique bodies. We can save a lot of time, energy and money if we get clear on the following questions before we begin anything new.

Questions to ask yourself:

Do you want to begin this new diet/exercise plan/self improvement course because..

You feel deep down that you are not enough, and you need to do more, be more, have more or contribute more?

You compare yourself who do this same health practice and want to to be/feel accepted by the health culture that this person or group mentality holds?

And of course the tried and true question:

Do you feel motivated by fear or self hatred, or by encouragement and self love?

And finally, 

When you think of this new health practice, how does your body feel? Does it viscerally relax, or do you notice anxiety, tension and stress in your body?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, it may be a good moment to save you the time, energy and money by putting that health practice aside (for now) until you come to feel some positive answers.

Recondition yourself to feel good before you even begin the health practice:

By asking some pretty basic questions that will yield answers which are completely unique to you, and following through on the guidance that your body and mind gives you, you'll be much better off when and if you finally decide to begin that new yoga class, certification or diet.

What made me feel healthy and alive as a child, before I had any notions of lack?

What sustains me and makes me feel truly nourished, even if I haven't experienced it for along while? (Think playing in the woods as a child, heart to heart chats with friends and family, dancing in the rain, baking pies just for the fun of it.)

If I knew I would live for 100 years with no fear of sickness, death or any other fears which keep me feeling small,  how would I live differently? What would I naturally stop doing and let go of without this fear?

After you've answered these questions, filter them into a few small but powerful actionable steps.

After you've followed your own guidance in the form of these actionable steps for a week or so,  then check in with yourself about if you still need to embark on a new regime, (which I often recommend, after all, sugar is nobody's friend). Then if you do, you will be doing it less from a place of filling an unfillable need, to actually supporting your body to heal. 

As always, with love, and in Health.

Want to share any thoughts or insights you had in relation to this post? Leave a comment and contribute to the conversation. 

Anja

 

Ready for change: the shift before the storm.

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Sometimes the biggest shifts are the ones which can't be seen. At least not at first.

When somebody loses weight they've been trying to shed for years, gets a much needed divorce, leaves their job or embarks on a new avenue of study and learning, it's not the action itself but the unseen shift which happens before the act which determines what the result of those actions might be.

Think about it, have you ever made a change in your life based off of a whim and had to deal with intense "restablization" of your life afterwards?

Action taking is good. Its great. In fact its the only way to solidify change, but the change must first happen inside of us. 

Or how many times in your life have you tried to shift a pattern, energy or situation in your life by taking an external action to force it to change? How many times has this yielded the true result you were seeking?

We know that in order to make true lasting change willpower alone is not enough. Sometimes we embark on a "new way of being" by trying a new way of doing. This can sometimes work, but its difficult, and slow going. 

If change begins with an internal shift, then the beginning of that shift could begin by something so soft and subtle you might not even realize that it will catalize the profound healing change you are seeking in your life.

In a way, there is grace in that; there is grace in following soft inner shift after soft inner shift without knowing the end result.

Sometimes when we don't know the outcome, and are able to just focus on the feeling, the healing of this moment, what unfolds in the future is more incredible than anything we could ever imagine. 

That is my intention in my life right now. To follow the feeling, the softness of intuition. To let go of the idea for the future that belongs to my mind and open myself up to a greater, more present reality.

I'd love nothing more than for you, all of you, to join me in this exploration of how present we can be with  our bodies, our intuition, and the present moment to catalize the real change, the real healing, the real work we are here to do in our time left on this planet.

Beginning this Wednesday I'm offering a 4 week class called Shuniya: 4 weeks to heal + Strengthen the neutral mind to create  paradigm of peace.

Its my answer to the call of the times: providing a path for greater inner peace and healing which can be reflected back into our communities. It takes place online, so you can participate anywhere in the world, as long as you have high speed internet, and is designed to be accessible to all, regardless of skill or financial freedom. If you are interested but unsure about the online class aspect, or finances, send me an email. 

Please join me in exploring the shift before the storm.

All my love,

Anja

 

Restoring Power: My Story

Sat Nam, Friends.

For the sake of transparancy, I want to share a personal story with you, and the reason behind why I created Restoring Power in the first place. 

Even as I sit down to type this I am filled with uncomfortable emotions, squirming in my chair, wondering where to begin. How much to tell? How can I sugar coat this story?

As many of you know I have spent over half my life healing from chronic lyme disease, and I certainly experienced a certain kind of despair that comes when you are losing your life as you know it to chronic illness. But beyond that I also experienced those common (they shouldn't be) experiences of disempowerment as a young girl growing up in a culture that likes to hyper sexualize and distort a womans true nature.

A few years ago along my healing journey I began working with an ND/shaman who began to help me uncover body memories of being sexually asaulted. The physical and emotional pain of lying on her table and having these old traumas resurface was agony, and I couldn't- and still don't- remember the situation with perfect clarity.  This was the beginning of healing a part of myself I had neglected- the sacred, divine feminine within myself.

Since that time I've been on a deep exploration of what true Power looks like: how do we "lose" it? Is it really possible for somebody to "take it away"?

The truth that I've found is that we are infinite beings whose essence can never be truly taken away from us, but we can be made to feel like it has.

One on three women experiences sexual assault. One in three. I've met so many women who have some version of my story- and many whose stories are worse.

And many more women still, who have not experienced this physical violation but feel the energetic burden passed down from their mothers generations and a world where for a very long time, the ability for a woman to truly, freely express herself has been denied on many levels.

For a while I thought about joining various types of support groups and womens circles, but apart from spending time with my closest female friends, nothing felt right. 

I decided to do what I've been doing for half my life, be my own healer. I began writing, and my cathartic writing turned into a book. (The book was incidentally lost when my computer was recently stolen, and I took it as a sign that there was another way I could share the insights and teachings I had been learning to heal myself.)

And so Restoring Power was born. Grounded in the tradition of kundalini yoga, an advanced system of body mind techniques to connect us with our physical body, its wisdom, and the subtle energy bodies which are equally as important. I decided to use the shamanic visualizations and journeying techniques that my ND had taught me, and then utilize my own gifts, of sharing these teachings, holding space, and intuitively seeing what, where and how things need healing. 

Even though I have blocked out clear memories of my assault, my body remembers. And when we listen to our bodies, they heal. Being seen and loved is the highest form of healing.

We restore power by the grace of our infinite self. We restore power by remembering our true nature when we have forgotten. We restore power when we refuse to carry shame, guilt and fear. We restore our power when we choose to embrace the dark within us with compassion as well as the beauty and light. We restore power when we acknowledge we are already whole. We restore our power when we choose to love ourselves beyond measure. We restore our power when we choose to love ourselves beyond measure.

We restore our power when we share and then let go of our stories. When we let our stories shape and birth us into the magnificent people we are, now.

What stories are ready to be seen, released and let go in your when you read my words? I'd love to hear them.  

Love Anja

Registration closes for Restoring Power: A 40 Day Healing Kundalini Transformation tonight March 30th at midnight PST. Learn more or sign up for the course.

Going inwards in five (sometimes) easy steps

The most profound piece of information given to us from countless spiritual traditions is that we have everything inside of us already. It is also the most dense, complicated yet simple piece of advice to unpack.  

I don't have all the answers, but I do know whats worked for me.

Below are the five stages of going inward that I am continuously moving through. They work for me on my journey and may they support you too!

Start by spending time alone in nature

Being alone in a natural and comfortable setting like nature lets our minds wander comfortably and our bodies move. Just the simple act of going for a walk in the woods or a park for an hour and connecting with the natural world makes us more calm, open and receptive. All of my best ideas and inspirations come to me when my attention is focused inwards on my body, my breathing, or while relaxing my mind and being present with my surroundings.

Be mindful of your mind

Your mind shapes your life. It doesn't matter if you don't believe the universe is inside you or not. The truth is that your mind directs your life. Focus on your phone all day, your life is in your phone. Focus on your partner or child all day, your life is there. At some point in order to feel balanced, healthy and "you" you are going to have to put time into focusing on the different aspects of you: your body, your mind and emotions. The more you "live" places other than your body and the present moment, the less strength and vitality your body and ability to be present becomes.

Use a technique that resonates with you

There are many, many systems that have been developed over thousands of years which help us go inward and remember who we really are. Find one that resonates with you. It could be prayer, zazen meditation, kundalini yoga, tai chi, mindfulness practice, etc. Choose one, and deepen your relationship with that practice, but don't become attached to it. At the end of the day, it is not the technique which is the answer, but what is already inside of you.

Glimpses of your inner vastness will come. You may be sitting in meditation or out walking in the rain focusing on your breath when suddenly you will have a profound experience that cannot be put into words. Nothing gave you that experience but you.

Be neutral

Once you get a taste of that vast mystery, its easy to become addicted to the many types of blissful and transformative experiences that going within can bring us. As our ability to sense, see and feel the different multidimensional aspects of ourselves and the world around us increases, it becomes essential that we return to some basic awareness practice that keeps us neutral and focused on what is really important: that we stay present with ourselves and aligned with a force greater than ourselves. That force can be God, Shiva, Ultimate Truth, or an aspect of your own Highest Self.

Conversely, being present with our experiences can bring up difficult emotions, memories, pain and sensations. Remember to be present for all of it, your experiences can be gifts if you open and enjoy all of them with a neutral acceptance.

Its all a cycle

When you forget and spin out of your presence, begin again with step #1. It's an upward spiral of growth and healing, and it never ends. Fall in love with the experience of living and discovering your Self.


Why do you choose to turn inwards, and what shifts in your life when you do?

Share this article with those who are embarking on the inward journey, at any stage.

Want to chat and gain greater clarity on how you can be going inwards in a way that feels good to you? Send me a message.

Love,

Anja