Archive for June, 2013

Our Mirror Selves

Every week I go to my friend Diana’s house for our weekly intention circle gathering. In this closed, private group several ladies and myself write out a list of things we are grateful for in our lives and things we intend to happen in the near future.  It is a fun time for me because I get to socialize with some pretty amazing women and be part of a caring and sharing group where we can let our guards down and share intimate details about things we are going through in life.

One meeting however, went awry despite my best efforts to diffuse the situation and this is the topic of my blog today. Usually at the end of our intention circle, it is customary for several of us to share ‘messages’ we receive about others in the circle. These messages are Spirit led and can either be prophetic, speaking on things to come or regressive, speaking on things that have happened or are happening to us to hold us back from manifesting all the things we want.

I usually chip in and share messages like the rest of ladies but for one woman in particular, I have held back on sharing messages with her. From the moment I met her, I knew she had a lot going on in her life and I could see the pitfalls of her behavior and thoughts that hold her back. During the sharing segment of our meeting, I would give other people messages but purposefully hold back on my messages for her, because even though I know it could be helpful, I also knew she was not in a position to receive it.

When I first came out as a healer and seer, my grandmother was one of the first people I told. She believed in me and told me that I would help many people but to use discretion and not share everything with everyone. “Not everyone is ready to receive information into their lives. You have to know who to tell and who to keep quiet about.”  This woman in particular is exactly what my granny was talking about.

Two weeks ago though, the messages I received for her were overwhelming. There was a real seriousness attached to sharing the messages with her but because of the tone and content of the message, I kept debating in my head if I should or should not tell her.  To be honest, I was afraid. I knew that even though she said she is open to receiving messages, she was only open to receiving ‘good’ messages and the one I had to give her, spoke sternly to her current behavior and thoughts. One by one, we went around the circle sharing our messages for each other and as the time got closer to her, a complete sense of peace flooded me.  I will share this message with her and how she takes it, will be on her. I am doing my part in trying to help someone better themselves and that’s all I can do. I am a vessel, nothing more, nothing less.
So I did. I shared the message I had with her…..and immediately I regretted it. Her whole face and demeanor changed and her energy recoiled from me. Oh no, she took it personally! How can she hear me when her ego is up in arms?
Thankfully, she is a good actress and did not outwardly express her inner discontentment. After the meeting ended, she quietly left quickly and no one was none the wiser but me. I knew she was upset and on a deeper level, I knew she was coming for me the next time we met.

So thought, so happened. At our next meeting the following week I saw her and tried my best to avoid her. I was hoping that if we just stayed out of each other’s line of sight, we could survive the awkwardness of this encounter and in time, we could go back to normal where we attended the circle, shared our intentions, made small talk and leave it at that.

However this woman had another intention and while I was speaking to Diana, she interrupted our private conversation and asked to speak to me. I obliged. She told me that last week I made her feel like crap. I upset her so much  and made her feel just awful and it has been with her all week. The rest of what she said doesn’t matter,  as she went on to displace her feelings onto me. She felt attacked and felt that I was coming from a negative place and could have delivered her message in a more positive and loving way. She felt that as a healer and in my line of work, I needed more compassion and began to tell me how to do my job. I just sat and listened and gave her space to say what she had to say. I am guessing that my inability to engage in this war of words did not satisfy her and she brought the matter to the attention of the whole circle. She again repeated what she said to me and waited to see what the others would say. I am pretty sure, she was expecting them to support her and stand by her but to the contrary they didn’t.

Now remember dear readers, this is not a regular social gathering of friends. This is an intention circle, and we are all in attendance for our Highest Good. We are all looking at outcomes for the Highest Good of ourselves, the Universe and people everywhere. And with that intention, my fellow circle members began to tell this woman how they felt about her and the situation and it was pretty much the same thing I said to her but I guess in a more loving way as she accepted the message better.

The point of this whole retelling of the incident is to point out something she said to me at the beginning of this story. She said I made her feel like crap. In the words of the dear, departed Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel like anything. You are responsible for that.” (ok not actual translation but along those lines).

And this is the Truth. Everyone has the freedom to say what they want to say, how you take it or perceive it, is YOUR reality and YOUR choice.  You cannot blame others for how you feel, that is just ridiculous.

Its equivalent to you suggesting I take a trip to the Bahamas. I go and have a horrible time for whatever reason, and then I come back and blame you for my experience.

People are mirrors to ourselves and how we feel about them both positively and negatively are reflections of how we feel about ourselves. Now let’s reflect what she has said to me; she said she felt I was negative and coming from a negative place and the things I said to her in the message was more of a reflection of what I am going through than the reality of her situation. She also said that I needed to be more loving and compassionate in my dealings with others and learn how to communicate better. Wow, definitely a mooutful of advice for herself, don’t you think?

I in turn took her words graciously and did not respond in turn. There was no need. This woman is not a bad person and the issues she is dealing with (whether she chooses to believe it or not) is not foreign to me. I too had dealt with them when I was younger and I can easily relate to what she was going through. This is why I maintained my silence as best as I could and did not lash out or engage in any dirty behavior. I allowed her to vent and created space for her to do so. I took none of it personally.

This is what I hope for you dear reader, when you come upon situations like these. It is my sincerest wish that you remember this blog article and bite your tongue when someone gives you a good tongue lashing. No matter what they say to you, it is their own work they are doing. It is a reflection of what they are going through and has nothing to do with you. Just surround them with love and compassion and let them work it out. Offer words of advice as calmly as you can and if it falls of deaf ears, then so be it. It is not your responsibility to make someone grow, you can offer to help but what they chose to do with it, is their choice and you have to respect that.

After the woman opened up her issues to the group, and realizing she was not getting support for her victim role, she offered to leave the group. Well that is expected because victims like to take it that level instead of owning up to their mistake and learning from it. I told her that she has that choice of course but I do hope she stays because running from problems is not a solution. It only deters the problems and keeps them growing. Besides, it really was not her decision to make to leave the group; it was the decision of the leader and based of her past and current behavior, the leader eventually did ask her to leave the group. She did a good job as a leader because she maintained boundaries and protected the sacredness and intimacy of the circle.

Going forward, can you apply this concept that everyone is a mirror and they are just reflecting back to you, qualities you have that you are not happy with? That they are giving you an opportunity to grow yourself? I would love to hear your comments on this article and maybe share some of your own stories. Until next time,

In love and light,
Uma

Posted on: June 28th, 2013 No Comments

The Journey Inwards…

Namaste Beloved,

As I write this blog, I am 30,000 feet in the air returning to my home in Virginia after a short stint in West Palm Beach. Traveling is nothing new for me, and in fact, in just a couple of days, I have to get on yet another plane to head to Louisiana for a teaching engagement.

I am sure you can relate to the busy-ness of life and work. As much as I love what I do, it is definitely a lot on my system (mind/body/soul) and I have to remind myself to balance and ground on a regular basis to keep my batteries charged and head clear. Do you do the same?

One of my annual remedies is I shut down teaching classes and workshops for the month of July and take a hiatus from work. Depending on the year and the amount of work I have put in, I can shut down the studio either for a month or two months. This year I will be on a two month hiatus.

I am heading back to the Yogaville ashram for an intense three weeks of vegan eating, yoga learning and meditation. I am going back to basics. I am quite excited actually, to leave the modern world for an extended period and just live in nature, quiet, clean and simply as I imagined my forefathers  did before me back in the motherland of India.

Taking time for yourself is a foreign concept to many. For most of us, we feel selfish or privileged if we decide to do something nice to honor ourselves. I do not understand why.

As a single mother to two earth strong boys, a successful business owner, healer and woman with a full social calendar, my plate is full. If I do not take time to myself to recharge my Spirit, I am no good to anyone.

Taking time out for yourself does several things but mostly, it refuels your tank and gives you the ample ability to love and share compassion easily. I find when people are tired or drained, they are not as forgiving and loving as they can be. Bitterness steps in and wayward comments tossed about, and then inevitably, the fight ensues. Be it with your work, your neighbor or your partner; something ugly is created and then you feel worse than when you started.

You can stop all this and break the cycle by doing something for yourself. That simple, and I have included some ideas for you of things you can do to nurture your Body, Mind and Spirit. These are just a few things I do on a regular basis and I can guarantee it works:

Refreshing the Body:
1) Workout for 20-30 mins a day. Working out ‘wakes’ up the body and gives purpose to your muscles, tissues and organs. Make sure it is challenging enough to get the heart pumping and breath going but not so hard that you are hurting. My daily routines combine cardio and weight lifting so I can break down fat tissue and build up lean muscle tissue.

2) Get a massage or some type of bodywork done. Aside from being completely relaxing, a massage allows moves toxins out of the cells and deposit them into the bloodstream for elimination. You always feel great after a massage because aside from working the body, the mind is also stimulated to relax.

3) Have a morning yoga routine. This is my favorite daily practice because doing yoga asanas in the morning before the sun comes up, connects me to the Universe on such an intimate level. At the end of my practice, I feel taller, leaner and innately stronger, ready to handle the challenges of the day.

4) Drink lemon and hot water in the morning. This is an old yoga technique we employ to cleanse the organs and refresh the body after its nightly fast from food. I have found my skin looks brighter as well from drinking this tea.

Refreshing the Mind:
1) Practice Concentration exercises daily. In the West we confuse meditation with concentration techniques (dharana). For many of us, we cannot easily still the mind and go into meditation, we need practice and this is where Dharana comes in. Dharana is the practice of steadily focusing the mind to a single point. My favorite Dharana practice is Japa yoga or chanting using my mala beads. You can easily find a mantra that you identify with and repeat it over and over in your head either using your fingers or a mala to keep count.

2) Reducing media stimuli. During the day, I tend not to listen to music or watch television a lot. I find these things distract me and keep my mind alert to many sights, sounds and sensory experiences. In the quiet of the day, I feel like I give my mind a rest and can fine tune my ‘other’ senses.

3) Surround yourself with positive influences. The idea here is to live pretty. Live in a space that mentally relaxes you and makes you happy to be in. Constantly being worried and anxious is stressful for the mind and if you do not like your environment, you are subconsciously stressing yourself out. You don’t have to move or relocate, just clean up the area you live in and create an environment you want to be in.

Refreshing the Spirit:
1) Take a walkabout. The term walkabout refers to the rite of passage, an Australian aborigines adolescent takes where he leaves regular life and live in the wilderness for an extended period of time to trace the song lines of his ancestors. I have used the term casually to describe my annual sabbaticals from life, such as when I enter into the ashram for my yoga and meditation experience. Walkabout for me do not have to be extended, they can be short as well ONLY if the intended experience is for you to grow spiritually by yourself. I recently took a trip to Virginia Beach and rented a spot on the beach to connect back to myself and nature. In those three days I learned so much about myself and life, that I came back home with a recharged Spirit ready to tackle things head on and with Spirit guiding my every move. Taking a walkabout is about stepping off the social grid and sitting in solitude to figure out those deep questions you need to address in your life.

2) Attending a silent retreat. This year I am attending my first 10 day Vipassana Silent retreat. This is Uma putting her money (even though that is  not really accurate, these retreats are free!) where her mouth is. I tell my students all the time, that the answers come from within. Do not seek counsel from others, for things you can easily solve on your own. A silent retreat gives you the chance to do exactly that. You have no mental or physical distraction to prevent you from going within and learning who you really are or what you are here to do. At this point it is just you and the Universe connecting back to each other, as it was in the old days.

So if you are feeling tired, exhausted, moody or just plain unhappy with life and its outcome, maybe its time for you to begin your journey inwards. Start by refreshing the body and mind and then take that time to refresh your Spirit.

It is not uncommon for us to lose sight of what we came here to do, such is life. You just have to refresh, recharge and re-enter this play of life by taking that much needed journey inwards. Namaste.

In love and light,
Uma

Posted on: June 17th, 2013 No Comments