Title

Ital (eye'-tal): of or from the earth; vital; life giving; natural.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Synchronicity


Ever think about someone and then they call you on the phone? That is not a coincidence, it is synchronicity. We have the ability to connect with the energy that vibrates through all of us and draw our heart's most deep desires to us. Carl Jung was the first to coin the phrase sychronisty which he felt explained his theories of archetypes and the collective unconscious. When you are able to pick up on the "coincidences" and realize that they are actually meaningful encounters meant to advance you towards your life's purpose or sankalpa, it is a powerful thing. Thinking back on all the events that led me to this particular moment, the synchronicity is overwhelming.
My latest experience with sychronicity came just this week. There is a nearby yoga studio that I have been wanting to visit since we arrived. Many things have caused a delay in my ever getting there. At the beginning of the year I saw that they were hosting a Vision Board Workshop. (A vision board is a way to create synchronicity by literally creating a vision for your life.) Again, something prevented me from attending. But I must have put an unconcious call out to the Universe and it responded by sending me an email that there was going to be a second workshop! And just in case I didn't get the message, there was also an announcement on the radio about the workshop at the very moment I was thinking, I should register! Needless to say, I went and it was a truly amazing experience!
We began by introducing ourselves and we were then led through a guided meditation. After the meditation, we sipped some tea while working on our boards. I found that while I worked, healing, growing and green kept coming up as themes. Sharon, the owner of the studio and our guide for the evening, began asking me about some of the things appearing on my board. It turns out that she has a number of opportunities for me. And the more we talked, the more we both realized that there was real synchronicity happening!!
I went to the workshop with the hopes of making connections and finding community and that is exactly what happened. I look forward to watching the other things on my board manifest this year as my true purpose unfolds!
Peace and wellness,
Rae

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Hair Conversation

Lately, Shine has become self conscious about the "fluffiness" of his hair. Apparently there is a little boy in his class who has been telling him that his hair is too fuzzy and it needs to be cut short like his own (short=buzzed completely bald). It is something that I knew we would have to address sooner or later because here, like in many places, the way one wears his or her hair is a contentious issue.

After his bath and hair washing last night, Shine asked Mo to cut his hair explaining what the boy at school told him. Mo agreed to trim it up and took out the scissors. When Mo was finished, Shine looked in the mirror and said, "It's still too curly. Cut more." So, Mo cut some more off. But Shine was still unsatisfied. I heard the exchange and decided to go into the bathroom to talk with him. I asked Shine why he was upset and repeated what the boy at school said to him. We talked about the way the boy at school wears his hair and how his other friends wear their hair. We explained how there are many different types of hair, curly, wavy, straight, big, little, thick, thin, dark, light...and how all these different types of hair reflect your ancestry...the story of where your family comes from. We emphasized that there is no right or wrong way for your hair to be. It is a matter of choice. Shine agreed with what we were saying, but said he still wanted his hair shorter. Mo again got out the scissors but after a few more snips, Shine told him to stop. He took his hand, rubbed it around his hair and proclaimed it, "Good."

This morning, Shine brushed his hair by himself, asked Mo for a little of his Burt's Bee Avocado hair cream, rubbed it around his fuzzy locks and again proclaimed it, "Good."

In Brooklyn, hair was a non-issue. There were so many people with so many different types of hair that it was easy to find someone else to identify with. On the playground Shine was one of many fluffy-haired kids. Mo and I will allow Shine to wear his hair any way that he chooses as long as he keeps it clean. But if his choice is to get rid of the fluffly curls, I want it to be in the interest of having a new hairstyle and not out of shame. I have a feeling this is not the last time we will be having this conversation. And I think a copy of Bell Hooks' book, "Happy to be Nappy" is in our future.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Hope

I am horrified by the recent attack on Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona. I refuse to join in the finger pointing blaming this group or that group for the attack because if we are really honest with ourselves, we are all a little bit to blame. Whether we are part of the divisiveness on Capitol Hill, an apathetic non-voter, a biligerent "I'm only talking to people who think like me" voter, the fear mongering "news" media , a community member who ignored the warning signs, a medical professional who refused treatment to the alleged gunman, a family member who was unable to seek medical treatment for the gunmen because of cost...we all played a part...

It is my hope that this is a wake up call to all Americans everywhere to open their eyes, their hearts and their minds. Yes, America is a great country with a rich history. BUT it is not the only country in the world. There are other countries doing amazing, innovative and progressive things to protect their citizens, the environment and global commerce and it is time for America to wake up and look for new models of leadership and governance. And it is time for the American people to educate themselves on current issues instead of just swallowing the fear media's pill with no questions asked.

One of my favorite shows on PBS was Bill Moyers' Journal. Much to my sadness, Bill has retired from hosting his weekly show, however, you can still read his articles and posts on the PBS website. And I hope that you do read them and watch some of the archived segments from his show. I think it should be required viewing and reading for every American. His soft spoken voice, pleasant demeanor, down to earth points of view, amazing guests were a refreshing respite from the ego battles occurring on cable news shows. As a viewer, you could actually hear a civilized, sometimes poetic, debate on current events. His show was simple: invite some people over and talk around a table as if it were in your own kitchen. It was just honest to goodness talk that broke through the rhetoric and jargon and left you feeling well informed and just a little bit hopeful.

People will always have different opinions. That is the beauty of being human, but let's stop focusing on the differences and start looking at how we are the same. It doesn't matter your politics, your country of origin, what language you speak...we are in this big blue boat together and we will either sail or sink...together...

**As I'm writing this, the radio dj is playing songs that came out of the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's. How crazy is that?! They just played one of my all time favorites. Listen. Take it to heart. Enjoy.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Something New

I'm feeling energized, inspired and at peace with the start of the new year. I can't tell you the last time that I felt truly confident about the future. For the first time in many years, I feel like I'm living...not just surviving, but really making the most of being a living, breathing person. I'm comfortable taking risks and trying something new to improve our quality of living.

This year, instead of making a list of New Year Resolutions, I decided to follow a practice that stems from yoga tradition called, sankalpa or resolve. This practice is a radical departure from the traditional resolution in that it assumes that you are already a whole person fully equipped with all that you need to realize your purpose. You just need to focus your mind, through meditation or quiet contemplation in order to connect with your most heartfelt desires. Because you are tuning in to the energy that is already inside you and awakening to your life's purpose, there is no way that you can backslide into 'old habits'.

Traditional resolutions assume that you are incomplete and that you need to change who you are or impose rigid guidelines to get you what you want. It is pretty comforting to know that you already possess all you need to live a fulfilled and happy life.

To discover your heartfelt desire, reflect on these questions taken from the current Winter 2010/2011 issue of Yoga International:

What is something I really want in my life?
What is the most important goal in my life right now?
What should I be devoting my energy and resources to?
What is my biggest dream for myself and my life?
What actions can I commit to that are consistent with this heartfelt desire?
What needs to happen in the next 6 to 18 months to move me forward on my path? What is the first step in this direction?

You can also reach a sankalpa through a visualization board. Again meditate on the above questions and then cut out images from magazines, postcards, etc. and paste them onto a large piece of posterboard. Having the visual images as a reminder of your intention is really pleasing and it also draws the positive energy of your intention to you.

After reflecting on my own heartfelt desires, I have made a number of exciting decisions that will integrate all of my interests for living a fulfilled and sustainable life. Stay tuned as my sankalpa manifests.

Peace and Wellness,
Rae