2 Words That'll Stop You From Tumbling Down a Self-Sabotage Rabbit Hole

Each moment is an opportunity to begin again.jpg

Often the most powerful messages come in small and simple packages. And that’s exactly what I discovered after a workshop up at east coast’s spiritual mecca, Omega Institute, a few weeks ago. It was a lesson, packaged in 2 simple words, passed from renowned meditation teacher, Sharon Salzberg. A lesson that, if remembered and practiced, could save you hours, days, and even years of time and energy wasted in guilt and self-sabotage*. 

And those two words are, “Begin Again”. 

How often do you set a goal or an intention for yourself that you don’t meet? Perhaps it’s to eat healthy only to find yourself binging on the pizza your boyfriend ordered. Or perhaps it’s to meditate every morning, but then you wake up late a few days and skip it. Or maybe (as in my case), it’s to write a blog post weekly, but your hectic travel schedule throws you off for a few weeks. 

No biggy right?

But how easy is it, in that moment of perceived failure, to turn to guilt, negative self-talk, and then days or weeks of avoidance and self-sabotaging* behavior that keeps you from returning to your original intention?!

If this pattern is a familiar one, I urge you to keep these two words close by, “Begin Again”

As Sharon Salzberg so wisely said, (and I paraphrase),

"It’s not the moment you stray from course that’s important, but the moment you realize you’re gone and decide to return that is. And the key is doing this with self love and compassion." 

So when you find you’ve strayed from course- rather than falling down the rabbit hole of guilt, negative self-talk, and self-sabotage*- release judgment, forgive yourself, and simply, “Begin Again”.

*I use the word self-sabotage because it's one many of us can relate to. But in reality, I prefer the word "self-protection", because I view these acts more as us trying to protect ourselves vs. us trying to sabotage ourselves. Just some food for thought. 

With love,

Dana

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I Ching Equinox Wisdom: How to Invoke "Youth" to Transform your Life Now

Photo from The Living I Ching by Deng-Ming Dao

Photo from The Living I Ching by Deng-Ming Dao

Happy Libra new moon and happy autumn! While new moons are always a powerful time to reassess your life and set new intentions of what you’d like to create, this time is especially potent because it’s piggybacked on the energies of Monday’s autumn equinox. An equinox symbolizes balance because it’s a time when the length of the day is equal to the night. Like the brief moment between an inhalation and exhalation, there is a pause as the days shift from growing longer, to growing shorter than the nights. In that moment, light and dark, yin and yang, are in perfect harmony. So it's a great time to mimic the energies of the earth, and take a look at where your life may be out of balance.

As I do each month, I asked the I Ching, “How can we best utilize the powerful energies of this new moon and equinox to bring about success and growth in our lives right now?" 

And it answered with hexagram #4, “Youth”.

 {Now’s a great time to grab a cup of tea and curl up on the couch to absorb the deep, yet simple, wisdom of the I Ching. Its wisdom is wordy in order to speak to your soul. I've included a summary (and a special time-sensitive offer) at the end with tips to help you take action. Enjoy!}

Life is a process of constant movement, change, and growth. So as long as you’re still alive, there’s no way to stop the process of change. Although, you may make it feel harder by resisting it which often happens if you're disconnected from your intuition and the guidance of the universe. Doing this will keep you feeling emotionally turbulent, and stuck in undesirable circumstances and relationships.

Areas of challenge in your life- or as I like to say, stickiness- are amazing opportunities to give insight into where you're resisting change and not aligned with your soul's longings.  

"Youth" are true agents of change, because they’re in a very active state of self-discovery. They tend to be more open-minded and inquisitive as they try new things, make mistakes, reassess their ideas and opinions, and re-invent themselves over and over again quickly and consistently.

Therefore, during this time of “Youth”, you can experience great success and transformation, because, energetically, it’s a time when you're practically forced to grow, gain new insight, and further develop your character.  If you don't, your soul's longings will get louder, and your discontents and struggles in life will get stronger.

Getting this hexagram now, means there’s a blind spot within you that’s keeping you stuck, unfulfilled, or unhappy in some aspect of your life. And in order to move forward and evolve to a higher and happier version of yourself, you must uncover what it is, and transform it.

A great mystery or misunderstood part of your nature must unfold and come forth before further progress can be made at this time.
— The I Ching

With the proper self-inquiring attitude and receptive frame of mind success and growth are inevitable. Once the “mystery” or blind spot is discovered, you’ll feel renewed movement with areas of your life that felt difficult, confusing, or stagnant.

The I Ching cautions you to put aside your “skeptical, indifferent, or cynical attitude” because from that space, answers and guidance from your soul and the universe will be unintelligible. With that mindset, you’ll stay stuck and your evolution into the person and life you long for will be stunted.

Instead, you must now adopt the curious “beginners mind” of youth to shine a light on your blind spots, and release the false beliefs and habits that are preventing you from having all that you desire.

When confronting an area of stagnation or difficulty in your life, you must be willing to try something new and different, even if it feels a bit scary or out of your comfort zone. As Einstein said, “A problem can’t be solved at the same level of consciousness it was created.”

You may fear truth and change because it feels scary to step into the new and unknown. But learning the truth, always lightens your load.
— The I Ching

The I Ching also warns, “The inevitable growth (of this time), without proper cultivation and guidance, can leave you distorted and lopsided.”

As we said earlier, growth and change are non-negotiables in life. So, just as it’s life shaping during youth to have proper guidance from teachers, parents, and mentors, it’s equally critical to have this guidance throughout your life, in order to gain perspective when you're feeling stuck or trying to evolve into a higher version of yourself. And this time of “Youth” is no different.

Right now it is crucial to seek help and guidance from a wise and experienced source, in order to catalyze and ease your growth.


Actionable Summary

The time is ripe to bring more harmony into your life in order to transcend your current challenging situations. Here's the best way to go about it right now, according to The I Ching reading above.

  1. Look for areas of discontent, struggle, or "stickiness" in your life and relationships. These are the keys to where you're out of balance and out of alignment with your soul.

  2. Invoke the energy of "Youth" as you examine and work with these areas. Characteristics of youth include:

    • "Beginners mind" which is composed of curiosity, receptivity, and open mindedness

    • Self-inquiring or questioning attitude

    • Excitement and trust in the unknown

    • A willingness to explore, change beliefs, and constantly transform 

    • Bringing awareness to the limiting beliefs that are fueling your non-serving behaviors and patterns

  3. Reach out to a wise source to gain a new perspective (teacher, coach, mentor, The I Ching) in order to shine a light on your blind spots, and to help find creative solutions to areas of challenge and discontent. 

  4. Try doing something different or new to resolve and move past the obstacle.

  5. And as always, make sure to schedule time for reflection and self-care. These are the practices that cultivate openness and awareness to help bring light to and transform your blocks.


Remember, life is a journey, not a destination.

To your transformation,

Dana


"I Ching Clarity Session" Fall Special!

To help you take advantage of the transformative power of the new moon/ equinox duo, I'm offering a FALL SPECIAL of $50 for an "I Ching Clarity Session".  

These things are powerful and due to my schedule, I can only offer a limited number right now. So if you're feeling stuck and want some powerful insight on how to move forward with ease, fill out the form here, and I'll email you to schedule a quick (free) chat to see if an "I Ching Clarity Session" is a good fit for you now.

To schedule a chat, read more about "I Ching Clarity Sessions", and to read how they've helped others transform, click here.

 

 

 

My Top 2 Ways to Gain Perspective During a Challenging Situation

Move from tunnel vision to a bird's eye view perspective with the powerful tools below.

Move from tunnel vision to a bird's eye view perspective with the powerful tools below.

You know those moments when you're smack in the middle of a difficult situation, whether it's a fight with your boyfriend, a big move or life transition, issues at work, or an important decision that must be made? You want to do what's in your highest and best, but your mind chatter grows louder and starts triggering emotions like fear or anger. This strong wave of emotions is clouding your intuition and judgement, and you're feeling confused, overwhelmed, or panicked. So, you either take no action and get stuck dwelling in the emotional situation for days or weeks, or you say or do something that you later regret.

Challenging situations have a way of creating tunnel vision and blinding you from your intuition and seeing solutions. What you need during these times is a big, fat dose of perspective.

They say hindsight is 20/20. Well what if I told you that there are tools to create that hindsight perspective smack in the middle of chaos? In my search to feel more calm, capable, and confident in handling the ups and downs of life, I discovered that being able to step back and gain a broader perspective of a situation is key to feeling in control and finding ideal solutions.  

Here are my top 2 tools to bring a broader perspective to a challenging situation, so you can make (good) decisions and take action with ease and confidence. 

1) Yin Practices

I adopted the term "yin practices" after getting a lot of resistance with the term "meditation". Meditation is indeed a fabulous yin practice that I do daily. But, that term can also create tension in those that don't already have a meditation practice, because it feels like something difficult or extra to add into their already busy lives. 

The idea of incorporating more yin in your life, is the exact opposite. It's about doing less and creating more spaciousness in your day. We live in a "yang", or active and busy, society where space and downtime in our schedules is perceived as unproductive and a non-priority.

By incorporating more yin into your life, you'll keep your monkey mind and turbulent emotions in check, gain a broader perspective of challenging situations, and tap into your inner wise woman (or man).

And thus, start to make better decisions, find solutions easier and faster, and avoid falling into self-sabotaging thought or behavior cycles that keep you stuck. The moral is, ironically, by doing less, you're more efficient and thus able to achieve more. An added side benefit is that you'll feel more calm, peaceful, and happy!

Here are a few easy ways to incorporate more yin in your life:

  1. Sitting quietly focusing on your breathing
  2. Taking a walk and focusing on the birds chirping or the smell of fresh cut grass
  3. Taking a bath and focusing on the feel of the hot water touching your skin
  4. Eating a meal and focusing on the taste of its deliciousness
  5. And, of course, meditating (in whatever style you like)

For a more detailed list of yin practices, download my "Emotional Crisis Tool-Kit" here.

Try one of these, or come up with your own yin practice. Do it for a week, and see how you feel.

The only requirements for a yin practice is 1) that you feel spacious and expansive when you do it, and 2) your focus remains on your senses in the present moment- seeing, smelling, hearing, feeling, or tasting. 

2) The I Ching (pronounced ee-ching)

A quicker way to gain perspective in a challenging situation is by using something called the I Ching. I'll explain the I Ching in much more detail in another post soon, but for now, I'll keep my explanation simple and focused on the benefits.  

The I Ching is a tool I've been using for several years to guide me more gracefully through life situations where I feel stuck, confused on how to move forward, and especially when in freak out mode. It's really helped me navigate new relationships, get through difficult break-ups, decide on the direction I wanted my business to take, clarify my life purpose, and get through a tough cross-country move (amongst many, many, other things).

The I Ching possesses an uncanny ability to accurately assess any situation and helps give you a bird's eye view of it rather than the tunnel vision we so often possess in confusing and emotional situations.  

With this broader perspective, options and solutions that were previously non-existent, appear to materialize out of thin air.

The I Ching also acts:

  • as a vehicle for your intuition to communicate with you,
  • as a flashlight to illuminate your blind spots (limiting beliefs and behaviors) so you can recognize and start to release them, 
  • and, as an oracle system that allows you to glimpse your potential future within particular situations. 

Here's what some of my clients had to say after working with the I Ching.

The I Ching is no joke! I don’t know how it works, but it’s pretty amazing!
— Bertlee G.
This is great! The reading was so helpful- helping me to solidify what I need to do, or, in my case, not do. The I Ching is such a magical, spiritual tool!
— Jaime K.

By incorporating more yin practices and the I Ching in your life, you'll start to cultivate more consistent perspective, hear your intuition loud and clear, handle difficulty with grace, and feel more peace, ease, and flow in your life. Test them out, and see for yourself.

I would looove for you to comment below, and let me know how it feels to give these practices a try!

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5 Misconceptions That Are Ruining Your Peace of Mind (and how to change em)

Image by Danielle Beth/ TevaExpress

Image by Danielle Beth/ TevaExpress

I truly believe that our experience of life has more to do with our thoughts and beliefs than our circumstances. Whether we consistently feel overwhelmed, anxious, worried, and indecisive or whether we feel grounded, capable, and calm, has all to do with our mindsets.

Through my transition from consistently feeling emotionally unstable and indecisive to feeling calm and in control of my life, I noticed some major subconscious mindsets that had to be shifted. Here they are along with the reframes I used to find more consistent peace of mind and happiness.

#1: Mistakes should be avoided at all costs.

Mistakes have this connotation as being bad. In reality, they're a natural and necessary part of life.  

Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.
— Albert Einstein

Reframe: There are no mistakes, only feedback and experience.

Learning to view your mistakes as feedback and experience, will help you ease the stress and analysis paralysis that can come along with making a decision or taking any action. The key is to practice making decisions only from a calm and grounded state to prevent bad decisions and unnecessary mistakes. 

Try This: If you find yourself constantly taking (regrettable) actions from an emotionally turbulent state, click here to get my "Emotional Crisis Tool-Kit" gift. It'll give you simple tools to feel calm and grounded quickly, so you can make decisions you feel good about.

#2: Doing more will get you more.

Or another way people see this is "Doing less is lazy and unproductive".

Chinese medicine and Chinese culture is based on the concept of yin and yang. Yin represents spaciousness and stillness, while yang represents activity and movement. To function optimally you must find a balance between yin and yang in your life. Embracing the yin allows you to tap into your truth, deep desires, and potential, while the yang is the spark that allows those desires to be manifested into physical form. 

Reframe: Downtime is just as important as active time. Success and happiness come from balancing the yin and yang in my life.

Too much yin without yang leads to big dreams but no action. Too much yang without yin leads to a lot of action and hard work for little fulfillment and lots of stress . The latter group (yin deficient) are often the ones who struggle with emotional turbulence, anxiousness, and overwhelm.

Try This: Studies now show that a daily meditation practice can rewire your brain to feel more consistently at peace and less reactive. Even 10 minutes a day will help.

#3: Avoiding negative emotions is the key to peace and happiness.

It may seem like common sense that to achieve peace and happiness you should avoid all emotions that seem to disturb your peace and happiness. Oddly enough, this just isn’t true. Unlike computers, we humans are designed to experience a whole range of emotions. Avoiding emotions causes much more long term damage to your peace of mind than just accepting and experiencing them does.

Reframe: Accepting and experiencing all my emotions, whether they’re good or bad, is key to my peace and happiness.

What you resist persists.
— Carl Jung

 So, to find peace, stop resisting your negative emotions.

Try This: Bring more mindfulness (awareness) to your emotional state. When an uncomfortable emotion arises, notice how it feels in your body. Observe and feel it, without judging or getting caught in its mental story. The more you practice this mindfulness, the easier it will be to accept, experience, and release difficult emotions. And, the more long-term peace of mind you'll have.

#4: Your plans, rules, opinions, and identities are set in stone.

I used to think that once I made a decision or voiced an opinion it was set in stone. Like somehow telling a guy I loved him, following a particular career path for years, or connecting deeply with a friend meant I was committing to those relationships or situations forever. 

So often we cling to ideas, people, and identities because we feel obligated to. As if changing our minds or loosening our boundaries makes us wrong, flaky, indecisive or a pushover. Life changes. Others change. We change. The more flexible, adaptable, and willing to change we are, the more peace of mind and happiness we’ll have.

Reframe: It's ok and necessary to change my mind, my friends, my style, my rules and my boundaries. 

Progress is impossible without change, and those who can not change their minds can not change anything.
— George Bernard Shaw
This is what I'd still look like had I not allowed my style to change and evolve. Yikes!!

This is what I'd still look like had I not allowed my style to change and evolve. Yikes!!

Try This: Practicing mindfulness (awareness) and giving yourself space daily to reflect will allow you to see where you're clinging out of habit or fear. Mindfulness, meditation, and journaling will all help you acknowledge and release that which no longer serves you.

#5: You are a victim of your circumstances.

When things don't go our way or when bad things happen, it's easy to fall into a self-pitying, victim mindset. We think things like, "Life isn't fair!" or "Why me?". The problem with this mindset, is that it leaves you a powerless victim.

The truth is, no matter what happens in your life, there's always an opportunity for learning and growth. When you move from feeling victimized (dwelling in the past), you start to see those growth opportunities, and can gain control over your present and future circumstance.

Reframe: I am the creator of my life and can always find a hidden opportunity for growth in difficult situations.

Try This: Again, consistent mindfulness, meditation, and journaling will help you make this mindset shift. These practices allow you the space to tap into your inner wisdom and shift your mindset. You'll start to see all the opportunities that we're once hidden from your victim perspective.


**Shortcut Alert** 

Several years ago I discovered a tool called the I Ching. When combined with the other practices (mindfulness, meditation, and journaling) it can bring IMMEDIATE clarity and peace of mind to a confusing and difficult situation. It's been my most powerful tool for peace of mind since I discovered it over 5 years ago.


I'll be talking more about the I Ching very soon. And I'm working on something juicy around it. Sign up below to be the first to know.

Remember, mindset shifts don't happen overnight. But give these reframes and tools a try for a week, and see how your life starts to shift in miraculous ways. Peace of mind will creep in before you know it.

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August Full Moon I Ching Wisdom

In honor of the full moon tomorrow, I asked the I Ching,

“What wisdom can we easily cultivate using the energy of this month’s full moon in Aquarius?”

Its answer is hexagram #55, “Zenith”.

And how fitting this is! Sunday’s full moon is what’s referred to as a supermoon. It’ll make its closest pass to earth, which will make it appear it’s biggest and brightest of the year.

The hexagram “Zenith”, also called abundance or plenty, describes the furthest expansion of greatness as in the moment of the full moon, the longest day of the year, or the heights of your own personal power.

While this hexagram represents peak greatness, and ultimate expansiveness, it also inherently has the energy of decline or contraction built into it.

The “zenith”, is usually brief.  For example, while the moon will be at it’s peak fullness at 2:10pm on Sunday, by 2:11 it’ll already be making it’s decline towards the new moon, which occurs 2 weeks later.

Now that we’re clear on this concept of “zenith”, we can begin to uncover the deeper more intricate lessons hidden within the hexagram.

These are the lessons and mindsets that if adopted, will allow you to live a life full of peace, abundance, and love.  And this full moon, provides a ripe environment for these mindsets to be cultivated.

Lesson #1: Life is cyclical by nature.

Life itself is defined as having the capacity for growth and continual change. The experience of continual ups and downs in life (or feelings of expansion and contraction) is completely natural and inevitable. Understanding this is the 1st lesson to finding peace and happiness in life and love. 

No part of a circle can be avoided. The secret is to keep the circuit of change revolving.
— The I Ching

The act of breathing is a perfect example. Even after your deepest yogic inhale, you eventually have to exhale. It is impossible and harmful to stay in the expansive state of inhale forever. You could consider the state of mania as someone who is emotionally stuck in this state of expansion and thus unbalanced.

Lesson #2: Accept what is.

When decline approaches, the wise man does not anxiously dread it, for he expects such cyclic changes. He is instead concerned with making the best of matters at hand.
— The I Ching


Since highs and lows are natural, don’t waste your precious time or energy resisting or fearing them. That means when you're feeling a more contractive emotion like sadness or anger, accept it, experience it, and allow it to pass. It’s when you fight or try to avoid these emotions that you stop the natural flow and cycles of change.  This will cause those contractive emotions to linger.

What you resist persists.
— Carl Jung

Resisting emotions will inevitably lead to emotional turbulence and crisis.

I’ve seen plenty of women bury an emotion only to find it surface days or weeks later for no apparent reason. She ends up blowing up at her boyfriend because he forgot to call her back, or perhaps she starts crying after having a disagreement with someone at work. (If this is you, click here to get my "Emotional Crisis Tool-Kit" for free now.)

I’ve also seen women so fearful of experiencing those more contractive feelings like sadness, jealousy, or anger, that they forget to fully enjoy and experience the expansive ones like love and joy. This can show up in relationships when a woman doesn't allow herself to fully trust or feel love and joy, because she's so scared of being betrayed or disappointed.

The key is to allow more flow and movement and less stagnation. You do this by accepting what is.

A note about acceptance: This doesn’t mean you’re forever accepting something you don’t like or that doesn’t serve you.  It only means that for that moment, you accept what is.  Then you free up your energy to create a future that’s more aligned with what you do want.

Lesson 3: Cultivate awareness.

Not all problems come from outside. We can cause our own difficulties too. Thus the wise person is constantly aware of their own emotions and their own thinking, so that they don’t disrupt the natural flow and cycles of life.
— The I Ching

Learn to become acutely aware of your thoughts and emotions. The I Ching uses an eclipse to symbolize a blockage of our own inner "zenith" or our personal greatness.This happens if we lack self-control or if we don’t know ourselves well. 

Just as an eclipse darkens the sun, we end up darkening our own inner greatness, power, and truth when we don't cultivate awareness on a daily basis.

This leads to a very unfulfilled and emotionally turbulent life.

Becoming acutely aware of your thoughts and emotions, allows deep inner clarity, peace, and confidence to emerge.

You’ll develop more self-control, and you’ll start to make decisions and take actions that create your ideal life. 

The best way to develop acute awareness is through a daily mindfulness practice.

So there you have it. All the lessons and mindsets that are ripe for cultivating during this month's full moon. If you can start to adopt these mindsets, I guarantee you'll start to feel more peace and joy in your life and relationships.

 

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Synchronicity and My Celebrity Sighting

My trip to Omega institute- full of synchronicity!

My trip to Omega institute- full of synchronicity!

Last week I discussed how following your heart and making sure your actions are really aligned with your true desires was the quickest and least resistant path to feeling deep fulfillment and joy in your life and in love. I mentioned that a sense of flow and ease in your life and relationships is an indicator that you're making decisions and taking actions that are aligned with your heart and true-self. This week I want to talk about another sign you're on your path- one that I experienced first hand this weekend. Synchronicity.

Synchronicity is a term created by Carl Jung to describe the meaningful coincidences that occur in your life.  

Synchronistic events can be seen as guidance from the universe.  When you're aware and open to them, they can help you make choices that will align you more deeply with your heart and ideal life.

To illustrate this concept, I'll tell you about my synchronistic weekend experience. Every year my little brother and I take a road trip for his birthday. This year we decided to drive to upstate NY to check out the Omega Institute, aka. "the new age mecca of the east coast". We originally wanted to book our stay for the previous weekend which was his actual birthday, but they were completely booked.  A bit bummed out, we opted for the next weekend that was available instead.

Key #1 to experiencing synchronicity: Be flexible! Rather than resisting when the universe nudges you in a new direction, just go with the flow.

So, we enjoy a gorgeous ride up, blasting Vampire Weekend, and driving 30 miles past our exit (I got distracted by the dance music). We finally pull into the parking lot, check in, and make our way to the cafe to get settled and plan out our weekend activities.  

As we're sitting there eating a delicious homemade granola bar, I glimpse a familiar face at the table next to us. After a few seconds my brain makes the connection and I realize it's Jack Kornfield! (Yep, he's a celebrity in my eyes). Those of you familiar with the field of meditation and mindfulness have likely heard of him. For those who haven't, he's one of the key teachers to introduce mindfulness and vipassana (a specific meditation technique) to the west over 40 years ago. He's one of my favorite western spiritual teachers. It turns out he was leading a workshop at Omega that weekend. I had actually almost signed up for an online workshop with him a few weeks ago, but decided the timing wasn't right. Talk about synchronicity!

My celebrity sighting...Jack Kornfield!

My celebrity sighting...Jack Kornfield!

The following night I sat in on a panel discussion with Jack and other top mindfulness experts. As I listened, every word they said resonated deep inside my body.Their messages mirrored concepts I've spent years practicing and recently felt called to teach.

I felt that sense of flow, ease, and recognition that comes when you're on your path and following the guidance of the universe.

In this instance I was feeling flow and alignment with my work in this world, but these feelings of ease, flow, and synchronicity can also show up in your love life, on your health journey, or anywhere in your life.

The next morning, in the library, I randomly picked a book off the shelf and opened to an arbitrary page. It's something I do for fun to communicate with the universe.

Basically, I ask to be guided to something I need to know now, grab a book, and flip to a page. Can you guess what the page I read was about?? (hint: we're still on the topic of synchronicity). It was a page discussing the powerful effects of meditation and awareness on your life, and how to get started with the practice. (And no, this was not a library filled only with meditation books.) After reading the chapter I was filled with delight and inspiration. Again, physical signs that you're on your path.

As we drove home (partly in silence for reflection), I thought about the synchronicity of the weekend and what it all meant. I considered how important my meditation and spiritual practice has been in my life and relationships over the past decade. And how lately I've been feeling deeply called to teach these tools to others. Even during my work as an acupuncturist and skin care specialist I casually discussed and recommended these practices that had helped me transform my life (read my story here)

Years ago, I asked a client I had worked with for 6 months to comment on the benefits she received from working with me. The part that I will never forget was, "Working with Dana, deeply nourishes my soul".  And she was coming to see me for facials!

On that drive home from Omega, I realized that it's time I really embrace my role as a teacher and guide in sharing these transformational tools with those who need them. I see so many women struggling to find that flow, ease, and synchronicity in their lives. They want to stand in their power and follow their hearts. They want to find a deeply fulfilling partnership, and they want to feel a sense of success and fulfillment with their work and lives in general. But they're constantly being derailed and consumed by emotional and mental turbulence, which keeps them feeling stuck, frustrated, and sometimes powerless. And often, they find themselves cycling through the same unwanted patterns and feelings over and over again in love, work, friendships etc.

If this is you, I've created a gift for you. It's my own personal emotional crisis tool-kit. My top 5 tools to feel calm and grounded when your thoughts and emotions are consuming you. Click here to get it. If you actually do them, these tools are the starting point to quieting your mind, so you can hear the messages and guidance of your heart and the universe- so you can experience flow, ease, and synchronicity. This is the first step towards having the life and relationships you so deeply desire.

As Jack Kornfield said this weekend,

We are all born innately peaceful, kind, and joyful beings. But we live in a society that does not promote the vehicles to nurture values, virtues, and character development, so our true selves get hidden under the conditioning we take on through our lives. All we need are the proper tools to tear down that conditioning that keeps us feeling stuck, isolated, unwhole, and unfulfilled. 

If this resonates with you, please download the "Emotional Crisis Tool-Kit" for some really powerful and easy tools to feel calm and grounded right now.

What's the #1 thing that causes you emotional and mental turbulence in your life now? Leave me a comment below or email me at Dana@IChingForChange.com.

How to Feel Grounded and Hop Off the Emotional Crisis Cycle

Image by Danielle Beth/ TevaExpress

Image by Danielle Beth/ TevaExpress

In case you haven't heard, it's a new moon this Saturday.  New moons are a powerful time to set intentions for what you'd like to start attracting into your life over the next month. More specifically, this month's new moon falls in Leo.  

Since Leo is a courageous, confident, and fearless sign, this new moon reminds you to stand in your power, follow your heart, and honor your true-self. This is the quickest and least resistant path to deep fulfillment and joy in your life and in love.  

So you may be thinking, "Yeah that sounds fantastic, Dana.  But what do you really mean by 'stand in your power and follow your heart' ?  How do I actually do that?"  Well, a great place to start is by setting boundaries, communicating your needs, and honoring your values by sticking to what's truly important to you. 

And, how do you know if your actually setting healthy boundaries, communicating effectively, and honoring your values?  It's simple.  

When you're standing in your power, following your heart, and honoring what's important to you, you'll naturally feel a sense of ease, flow, expansion, and connection in your life and relationships.

On the contrary, when your not standing in your power or aligned with your heart, and when your not honoring your boundaries, values, or needs, you'll feel tension, anxiety, contraction, and disconnection in your life and relationships. You'll also notice that you experience a lot of, what I like to call, "Emotional Crises".

(Scroll down to see a quick and powerful practice to banish emotional crisis, or click here to sign-up and receive my top 5 tools to feel grounded and calm right now.)

This is a state where you're ruled by intense emotions like fear, anger, or jealousy, which then send your body into a panicked and reactive mode. Your heart starts pounding; your breathing becomes fast and shallow; your mind races with irrational thoughts and fears.

Being in an emotional crisis state actually blocks you from connecting with your heart and place of power.  Making decisions and taking action from this state is a recipe for disaster.  

If you're constantly doing or saying things you later regret, you're likely making decisions from this state.  You're reacting to ego generated emotions vs. responding from your heart and power center.  Consistently taking action from this space may end up ruining relationships or great opportunities in your life.

If you experience this emotional crisis state frequently, now (under this Leo new moon) is a great time to learn how to manage it, so you can begin to set healthy boundaries, communicate effectively, honor your values, and get rid of that constant tension you feel.  You'll begin to feel free and in control of your life again.

The quicker you learn how to hop off that emotional crises cycle, the sooner you'll begin making good decisions that bring you back in alignment with your heart and place of power. And the sooner you'll have the life and relationship of your dreams.

One of the quickest and easiest ways to move from a state of emotional crisis, to feeling calm, grounded, and in a place of power is through your breath.  

Controlling the breath is a prerequisite to controlling the mind and the body.
— Swami Rama

Both yogis and our western science now prove that by voluntarily slowing and deepening your breath, you can change the messages being sent to your brain and trigger the release of hormones that relax your body. This is huge for those of us that wish we had more control over our emotional state on a moment-to-moment basis!

The exercise below is so simple, yet powerful, in shifting you from an emotional crisis state to a calm, balanced, and relaxed state.

  1. Bring your awareness to your breath. You'll probably notice it's super shallow and quick.
  2. Now consciously DEEPEN and SLOW your breathing. Feel your breath as it enters your nose and pull it down deep into the pit of your belly. You should feel your belly expand as the breath fills it. Like a Buddha belly! You can even place the palm of your hand on it to make sure it’s expanding. Really focus on this conscious, slow, deep breathing for at least a minute or so. Do it until you feel your heart beat slow, and you feel more calm and relaxed.
When you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace.
— unknown

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I Ching Full Moon Wisdom

Did you see that moon last night?? It was huge and gorgeous!  Very powerful and potent energies are surrounding today's full, super moon in Capricorn.  As many of you know, one of my favorite spiritual tools is the I Ching.  I love to tap into it's wisdom when the moon energies are most potent during each full and new moon.  So I consulted the I Ching on how to best utilize this full moon’s energies.  And the hexagram it gave us was #27 "Providing Nourishment"

The main theme of “Providing Nourishment” is the importance of proper nourishment of your body, mind, and spirit at this time.  So during this full moon, it's crucial to take a good honest look at where you’re out of balance and aren’t properly nourishing yourself, and fix it.  Remember to look not only at your body, but at your mind and spirit as well.

Nourishment refers to what we feed ourself- the food we eat, the thoughts we think, and the information, facts, and fantasies we entertain. Just as we should take care that what we eat is wholesome, we should have a similar regard to what we allow to enter our minds, for just as food and drink affect us, so do ideas.
— A Guide to the I Ching, Carol K. Anthony

It’s often easy to recognize when you’re not nourishing your body properly.  But it’s a bit more difficult when it comes to recognizing imbalances in mental and spiritual nourishment.  The hexagram warns not to indulge in what it calls “idle fantasizing”.  Be careful not to allow your mind to dwell in negative thought patterns, suspicions, or assumptions about people or situations in your life.  While you may see this habit as harmless, it's actually keeping you from peace, happiness, and achieving what you truly want in life or love. 

If we allow jealousy, envy, self-pity, alienation… suspicion, and distrust to worm their way into our attitude, the effect is detrimental.
— A Guide to the I Ching, Carol K. Anthony

All these elements are ego generated, and will only arouse fear, doubt, and emotional turbulence in you.  And, even though they’re fantasy thoughts and emotions, not grounded in reality, they will start affecting your actions.  And, if not noticed and dispelled of quickly, these false thoughts and “idle fantasies” will slowly poison you and your chances of achieving the life, love, and success you desire.

As far as spiritual nourishment goes, the I Ching says that the most important way of obtaining nourishment for the spirit is through the practice of meditation.

It counsels you to practice daily “self-renewal” and “self-cleansing”.  Which means creating space daily “to clean out all thoughts and allow mental activity to subside”.  Tranquility is restorative and nourishing.  This can be done through a simple daily 10 minute sitting (see below for a simple meditation).

Creating inner space allows the light…to enter us with its restorative effect… giving rise to creative ideas, correct perceptions…and correct solutions to problems. Being recharged, we radiate peace to others.
— A Guide to the I Ching, Carol K. Anthony

So in summary:

  • The best way to utilize this full moon's energy is to focus on “Providing Nourishment” to yourself.   Not only must you nourish your body through proper food, drink, and movement, but more importantly this time calls for proper nourishment of the mind and spirit.
  • You can best nourish your mind by recognizing and dispelling of any “fantasy” generated assumptions, or obsessive thought patterns you have towards yourself, others, or a situation.  Try this journaling exercise to help. Ask yourself these questions, and write down whatever comes up.  Don't overthink it.  Just write freely.

~What thought patterns do I have that are rooted in fantasy and not reality? 

~Where have I been making assumptions about myself, others, or a situation that may actually not be true? 

~If I released all assumptions and negative thought patterns (not grounded in reality) what would open up and become possible in my life?

  • You can best nourish your spirit through daily self-renewal and self-cleansing of all thoughts and mental activity.  The best way to achieve this is through daily meditation.  Just a simple 10 minute daily practice can do wonders.  If you don’t already have a practice, try this simple one.

~Set a timer for 10 minutes.

~Sit comfortably with your spine straight.

~Take a few deep, slow breaths.  For a minute or so, imagine all thoughts and energetic baggage from the day flowing out with your exhale.  You are now an empty container free of any burdens from the day. 

~Now, just breathe normally and keep your attention on each full inhale and exhale.  If you start thinking (which you inevitably will, because that’s what the mind is designed to do) just gently notice the thought, and then bring your attention back to your breath.  Continue this until your timer goes off.  

~Try this practice daily for a week.  I guarantee you'll feel a difference.

To a nourishing full moon weekend!

Xo Dana

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Where's Your Sweet Spot?

"As they passionately collect nectar, a honeybee gives back to the world through the art of pollination. They've instinctively found where their passions and natural gifts overlap with the needs of mama earth. They're operating in their sweet spot."

Last week we celebrated the Aries new moon. And we discussed using the energy of DELIGHT to discover your calling and unique expression in this life.  Your assignment was to get in touch with your inner child and tap into your deep passions.  To discover what really lit you up.

In doing this, I reconnected with my long lost passion to write.  I spent some time daily just sitting and letting my thoughts pour out on the page.  I also embraced my inner child by having fun with it and not allowing judgement to creep in.  It felt liberating and delightful!

I also connected with my passion to create sacred, beautiful spaces.  I inherited a gorgeous hand-me down couch and took the opportunity to redecorate and reenergize my living room.  It was so much fun and the energy in the room feels AMAZING now. Isn't it fabulous?!  Never underestimate the power that decor and rearranging can have on a space, your mood, and even your behaviors!  After some serious writers block, I had hours of inspired writing happen at that very table this past week.

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I hope you had fun playing with DELIGHT.  If you missed last weeks post go check it out.

This week's I Ching wisdom adds another element to Delight.   
The hexagram is #59 SPREADING or REUNITING

When delight congeals into selfishness and decadence, spreading must follow.

In the above quote, SPREADING represents the sharing of our gifts with others.  After using the time of Delight to discover your passions and pleasures, it's important to then spread those gifts to others.  It's in that place where our gifts overlap with the needs of others that deep fulfillment arises.  Pure Delight, without the energy of Spreading, can lead to decadence and an overall feeling of emptiness.  

We can overdo our pursuit of pleasure becoming slothful, lustful, and selfish.

No one only concerned with self-interest can maintain success and fulfillment.  We don't live in a vacuum, therefore we will not prosper unless we're engaging and interacting with others.  

So, this hexagram also encourages being in fellowship with others. If you've been isolating yourself, now is the time to reconnect and REUNITE with community.  Share your love; share your heart; share your gifts!

And the perk of spreading the love and being in the act of service with your gifts??  You have the opportunity to allow insecurities and self-limiting behaviors to be spread away too.

When Spreading and Reuniting occur, internal obstacles are overcome. Just as a once brilliant lake can become clogged with silt, we can be clogged with our faults.

But, when you focus on being in service and using your gifts for the good of all, your shortcomings will naturally be SPREAD away.  

Take some time this week to find your sweet spot.  Where do your passions and gifts overlap with the needs of others?  As always, grab your journal and meditate on this.  This will likely take more than a week depending on where your at in your journey.  It's taken me years of intentional searching, and I'm still figuring it all out. But it's totally worth the effort.  Because it's in that sweet spot where the magic happens and where happiness and success are inevitable.


Happy journeying,
Dana

P.S.  Head on down to the comments section and let me know where you think your gifts and passions can be used in the service of others.  Where is your sweet spot? 

If you need help discovering your sweet spot or unique gifts ask me how an I Ching reading can help or click the link below for more info.
http://ichingforchange.com/work-with-me/

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Let Enthusiasm be your Guide

Happy new moon lovely,

Between the new moon Sunday night and something called a Cardinal Grand Cross between the Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto coming next month there is some exciting energy going on right now!  Can you feel it??

The New Moon in Aries is about finding and trusting your unique expression and voice. Each of us has a different destiny and calling, and Aries energy pushes us to explore that.  Right now, you really have the ability to embrace your individual spark and have the courage to act on it.  

But how do I know my calling and unique expression you ask? Well, as usual, I checked in with the I Ching. The Hexagram that came up was #16 DELIGHT.

Ethusiasm. The key to discovering your destiny and unique path in this life is through exploring what delights you.  What lights you up?  What can you do for hours and lose track of time?  Get in touch with your passions.  Rediscover your inner child.

“A child simply is. Her imagination is immanent and real, not something into which she escapes. She lives completely in the now. She doesn't worry. Her mind isn't full of ‘what if’ questions. She is fueled by enthusiasm and wonder.  Remember the child within you.  Remember what you love."   
-Andrew Smith @ Cosmic Intelligence Agency    

If your having trouble coming up with what deeply Delights you, I encourage you to grab your journal and meditate on the questions above.  It's amazing how easily we can veer off path and lose track of our passions as we get older and life seems to get more complicated.   

 

There is also a warning within this hexagram.
 

Enthusiasm is not enough.  While our passions serve as sign posts we're heading in the right direction, they must also be grounded with consistency and persistence.

  "Delight is volatile.  Unless our spark begins a reaction, and unless we channel and amplify that reaction through hard work and perseverance, we can not find success."

So use this new moon energy and the time of DELIGHT to play. Rediscover your passions.  Let excitement and enthusiasm guide you.  Let it be the spark that reconnects you with your purpose.  

But remember, the time of DELIGHT is not permanent.  When the excitement and enthusiasm wane, it's important to maintain the momentum with hard work and determination.  Only then will success be your yours.

With Love,

Dana

P.S.  Let me know in the comments section below what forgotten passion you rediscovered. 

Also, if your stuck around anything going on in your life right now, ask me how the I Ching can help.  

If you'd like to get these I Ching Weekly Wisdom messages emailed directly to your inbox, just fill in your info below!

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Spring Clean Your Life

#23

                               Splitting/ Tearing Down 

          "The empowered person evaluates the condition of an old house and    

                 understands the wisdom of moving out before the walls fall in."

How to Best Utilize this Spring Equinox Energy

After a long winter here on the east coast, Spring has fiiiinally arrived!  Today, the equinox, (which I just learned means "equal night") marks the time when day and night are equal in length.  As mother earth reaches a balance between light and dark, this balance is also happening within us.  As the dormant winter energy begins to be replaced by the vibrant, ecstatic spring energy, we'll begin to see forms of new life all over. Flowers will start to bloom, baby animals will be born.  And within ourselves, we'll start to feel that same energy of renewal, birth, and excitement.  

During these times of transition and change I love to go to wisdom of the I Ching (an ancient classical Chinese text and oracle system) to see how best to interact with and utilize this energy.  So the question I posed to the I Ching was, "How best can we approach the energies of this spring equinox"?  

And the answer....drum roll please....Hexagram #5: WAITING

As winter comes to an end, and as we start to anticipate and await the return of light and sunshine of spring, it is really tempting to gather all that stored winter energy and just move full steam ahead. But what the I Ching would have us do instead, is to view this time as the pause between inhalation and exhalation.  A time of calculated waiting.  

"Waiting is one of the hardest skills to learn.  It is usually an asset of old age, not of youth.  It takes that long- and perhaps some weariness- to master the art of waiting. Waiting is patience.  Waiting is timing.  Both meanings are difficult to grasp, but both are important if the young are to grow straight and true".

Waiting is not the same as doing nothing.  Instead, we are advised to fortify ourselves and prepare.  Become better informed.  Practice. Train.  Gain new skills. Reflect on past mistakes and lessons.  Take time for gratitude.  And anything else you feel you need to do as you wait for the right time to act.

"We can get what we want if we wait until the right time. But when the right time comes, we better not fail to act".  

Last, but not least, the I Ching reminds us that waiting does not have to be frustrating.  Play. Have fun.  Enjoy the journey.

 Happy Spring lovelies!  

P.S.  If you want to know more about how the I Ching can help you get clarity and transition through a difficult or confusing life situation check out the "Work with me" page or shoot me an email.

Set yourself free!

It’s with a heavy heart I sit and write this.  My uncle passed last Tuesday night.  He’s finally at peace and free from the pain he suffered, after a car accident left him paralyzed from the neck down 17 years ago.   After several days of fighting for his life in the hospital, he made the decision to end his struggle.  One person who could not be there to say goodbye was his 24 year old son who’s serving a life sentence in prison.  They were able to say their goodbyes over the phone, but I know it was extremely difficult for my cousin not to be there for his dad’s final days. 

This got me thinking about the idea of confinement.  My uncle was confined by his physical condition, and my cousin confined by imprisonment.  Both were forced to accept a compromised situation, and neither could live the life they dreamed of.  Paralysis and prison are both extremely restrictive conditions, and I felt sadness as I thought of their unrealized aspirations and dreams.  Later that day I was on the phone with a friend complaining about her job.  The same job she had been complaining about for the last 5 years!  And then it hit me.  People everywhere are confining themselves to a life of mediocrity and some even to a life of misery, and they don’t even realize they’re doing it! They blame other people or circumstance, when really they have unconsciously set these limitations on themselves.  Everywhere I look, I see people stay in unhappy relationships because they fear being alone, keep a job they hate because they don’t think they’ll find anything better, or give up on their dreams because they seem unattainable.  These are choices people make every day, and it breaks my heart to see so many people vacantly just going through the motions of life.

I spent much of my childhood, painfully shy and missing out on opportunities because of confinements I imposed on myself out of fear.  I set my life up to feel safe.  I stayed in situations that were unfulfilling because they were comfortable and ran away at the first sign of discomfort, fear, or change.   But something inside of me craved more.  So I made the very game-changing decision to do whatever it took to move past my fears and towards my dreams.  I’ve spent the last decade looking for answers.  I studied Chinese medicine, learned about gems and essential oils, did a 10-day silent meditation retreat, practiced various styles of meditation and yoga, and volunteered at the Deepak Chopra Center.  I maxed out credit cards on course after course, read dozens of books, and enlisted mentors.  I made it my mission to get out of my comfort zone, move past my anxieties, and allow growth.  Slowly my confidence grew, and I finally began to feel empowered in my life. 

So today, in honor of my uncle and cousin, I vow to continue working through my fears and doubts.  Instead of hiding out and playing it safe, I am choosing to write my very first blog post and share it online with you all.  This month I will also get over my fear of standing out, and launch my new business that has been several years in the making.  I invite you to do the same.  Examine your life for any places that you are settling for mediocrity or holding yourself back out of fear.  What dreams have you let go of because you thought they weren’t realistic or the thought of failure scared the crap out of you?  For the sake of all those who don’t have the choice to follow their dreams, I challenge you to do whatever needs to be done to free yourself from any situation that isn’t serving you.   Then, I challenge you to remember your dreams and your passions and go after them!  I know this may well be the most difficult thing you do, but remember it is absolutely in your power to do so.  Each and every one of us has a right…a duty to live a vibrant, passionate, and fulfilled life.  I would love anyone who is up for the challenge to join me in following our dreams and creating a life of abundance, fulfillment, and joy.   The first step is just making the decision that you are willing to do whatever it takes to break free and move forward.  Once that decision is made, the universe will help support you by bringing forth people or circumstances to guide you.  You don’t have to take the leap alone.  Let me know where you’re feeling stuck, what you are inspired to do now, or what you aspire to achieve in this lifetime. Shoot me a message or post below!