Posts Tagged With: peace

Looking back after 3 years in Kiwiland

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Stubborn Adventure

Stubborn, sensitive and impatient, these characteristics are all known to me. I see them as strengths, they have brought me where I am today: New Zealand. Three years ago, I stepped on a plane to follow my heart with two suitcases filled with clothes and shoes. What else do you need? I said goodbye to my dear family and friends. My mum was crying, I wasn’t this time, since after being separated for six months; I was finally going to see my love again. All the preparations were finished, I was going to step on a plane and start a new adventure. I couldn’t wait! A one-year-try out, that was the plan. We had hardly been together since the first time we met. He went off to China and I went off to Africa. After 4 months I finally came back in The Netherlands and in the meantime he had booked his one-way ticket to New Zealand. We fell in love anyway and enjoyed our time together for the next two months. In the midst of a starting relationship, when the butterflies are abundant and the love is intense, we had to say goodbye. He had made his decision to go back to his beloved New Zealand, a final short love affair would be a good way to end all his years in Holland, was the thought in the back of his mind. I don’t think he realised he was dating a pretty stubborn young lady, who was going to follow her heart, no matter where that would lead her.

Sensitive Challenge

Three years later, we have bought a house and I am teaching yoga and guiding people through inner Journey. I could never have imagined my life would be like this, if you would have asked me five years ago. I exchanged my pushbike for a car and my apartment for a spacious home with a bit of land, chickens and a veggie garden. I exchanged my busy life for a more back to earth relaxing lifestyle. My birthday is now in the middle of ‘winter’ and Christmas is celebrated on the beach. I have exchanged the plenty of good shopping opportunities in Holland for plenty of beautiful quiet beaches in Northland. Lots of change and challenge have appeared for this sensitive soul and will still appear. When I was in my teenage years, I decided to get my driver license as the first one of my sisters. My parents were a bit surprised, their sporty, spiritual, environment friendly daughter was going to get a driver license? Most of the time in my childhood we were without a car, we did everything by bicycle. I really treasure those memories, of our special cosy family. I have never been a fan of driving a car, although I really love my car now, especially on a rainy cold day, so I stay warm and dry. My one secret reason to get my license, was the idea I had in the back of my mind: working in the midst of Africa doing development work and driving around in a jeep. I imagined myself making a real difference to the world, and to truly assist others living a better/happier/healthier life.

Finally feeling and finding love

After several trips to Africa, my eyes opened. Do I really make a difference? Why do I want to make a difference? Do I want to boost my ego? I realized I had so much more work to do on myself, before I was truly able to assist others. The people I met on my trips appeared to look more joyful and happy than the average European. Who needs to learn from whom? I realised that I was trying to do good, while my inner world was rumbling: insecure and restless. If you haven’t connected with the peace, quietness and contentment within you, how are you going to create more contentment in the world, outside you? The Journey was extremely helpful for me to live a more joyful, happy, content and truthful life. One of my last trips to Africa involved Journey Outreach: this was a rewarding, fun, challenging and interesting time. Doing journey work while in the so-called developing countries and my beloved Africa, would be the perfect combination. While occupied with travelling and where to go and live, my love suddenly arrived. As impatient as I am, I had been longing for romantic love for a long time and had written down plenty of pages in my diary on how my ideal partner would look like, behave and so on. I often doubted if I would ever meet the right guy. I promised myself, I would rather stay by myself than choose for a relationship that didn’t feel 100% truthful, fulfilling and happy.

Togetherness

We have learnt and experienced so much together. I can’t imagine living apart anymore. So yes, I would recommend everyone to follow your heart, no matter how scary, unknown, uncertain or awkward that might be. If you really trust your heart, your life will be an amazing journey. My uncertainty and doubts about work has completely disappeared when I decided to teach yoga and meditation. I feel immense grateful to be able to share my passion to follow your heart and live the life of your dreams. I believe that if I can assist in creating more inner peace in myself and others, I truly make a difference in the world. It is rewarding and so empowering to do and live your passion. My dear friends in Africa, I haven’t forgotten about you. My intention is to promote a more mindful way of living to benefit the whole world. Yes, I dream big. I hope to arrive again on African soil one day; to integrate my practice on and off my yoga mat. As a thank you for how Africa taught me to slow down, to appreciate the little things in life, to truly live like we are all connected as ONE.

I deeply bow to all the teachers in my life, especially to one of the most inspiring, wise, empowering and enormously missed woman in my life: my mum.

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Be Real

Again, I have been blown away by the amazing and powerful effects of The Journey Process. For me it is the quickest way to feel peaceful, happy and at ease, to arrive home.

Dear you,

I am grateful we met! I would like you to know;

  • It touches me if you dare to share the truth – what is going on right now, here.
  • It touches me if you speak from your heart, saying how you really feel.
  • It touches me if you leave the stories for what they are – stories – and really start to experience and feel.
  • It touches me if you share with me, what you usually don’t share at all.
  • It touches me to see your eagerness to come at peace with life.
  • It touches me if I see you surrender.
  • It touches me if you forgive completely and utterly from the bottom of your heart.

Emotions can be the gateway to our soul, to our true desires, to our true being. Don’t fight or resist emotions. Just let it be.

We will become mirrors and invite other’s to be REAL as well. No need for masks, pretending or hiding. It is time to say YES to life!

Namaste!

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A Second Chance

Woh! 2014!!! A year went by.

A Fresh New Year;

–          Full of new opportunities

–          Full of new chances

–          Full of new possibilities

A Year in which you can;

–          Change your life

–          Change your attitude

–          Change your beliefs

A Year which can be;

–          Life transforming

–          Inspirational

–          Lived to the fullest

A Year overflown by;

–          Compassion

–          Truth

–          Peace

How would you like this year to be?

The beautiful thing is; you can start a new year every day, every minute, every second. You can start fresh every time.

Be Blessed!

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You Do make a difference

 

A couple of days ago I saw the movie I am a slave. I was upset while watching and still feel emotional if I think about it. This 2010 movie shows the story of one woman’s fight for freedom from modern-day slavery and gives insight in London’s shocking slave trade.

It makes me feel frustrated, angry and sad to see the reality of these inhumane practices which are still going on. I can’t understand how you can treat other people like that, how can you lack so much empathy and compassion? Africa and its culture are close to my heart. I always tell myself I was probably born in Africa in my past lives to explain why I was drawn to this warm continent from a young age. A lot of movies about Africa mainly show the dark, sad and scary parts of Africa. Africa is so much more than that. The culture is warm, friendly & loving. It is hard to feel lonely in Africa surrounded by curious, helping and supporting people. The music is transforming and the attitude and wisdom of the people is inspiring. They live in the Here and Now like their second nature, no need to learn mindfulness or relaxation techniques what is so needed in our hectic busy Western society. After watching ‘I am a slave’, I felt a strong urge to help, to make a difference. How? While I was doing voluntary work or research in Africa, I had the feeling that I wasn’t actually making a difference. Gradually I moved away from development cooperation and the wish to work for Non-Governmental or Not-for-profit organisations and shifted more towards yoga, holistic health and health promotion in the country of residence (New Zealand at this stage). Is that selfish? I don’t know. I only know that I believe you can make a difference by starting with yourself. So what does that actually mean to me?

  • Building peace with who you are
  • Making peace with your family
  • Forgive wholeheartedly
  • Living your life from your inner truth
  • Speak and action from your heart
  • Listen with lovely ears to the world around you
  • Choosing for love instead of hatred or anger
  • Decide to be mindful and have compassion for yourself and the ones around you
  • Shift your thoughts from what you don’t like to what you do love in life

I believe every day you can make a difference. Meditation or mindfulness connects us with the wider consciousness – that we’re we all part of. This connection makes us realizes we’re One. Your happiness is my happiness; my grief is your grief. Every day I choose again to see the best in everyone by realizing we were all born the same; as innocent shining little creatures full of potential, freedom and joy. Our thoughts form us. So choose wisely. Choose for Peace & Compassion. For me this is True Yoga. I can be exactly who I am with all my weaknesses and strengths and thereby I hope to inspire you to be who you are. Together, we create a more peaceful, healthy, balanced and happy world.

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A meditation on Loving-Kindness

I need for a little love? Try this effective and powerful meditation!

As best you can, let your mind be quiet, letting go of plans and preoccupations. Then begin to recite inwardly the following phrases directly to yourself. You begin with yourself because without loving yourself it is almost impossible to love others.

May I be filled with loving-kindness.

May I be well.

May I be peaceful and at ease.

May I be happy.

You can also picture yourself as a young and beloved child, or sense yourself as you are now, held in a heart of loving-kindness. Let the feelings arise with the words and let them permeate your body and mind.

After yourself, choose a benefactor, someone in your life who has truly cared for you. Picture them and carefully recite the same phrases. Then you can begin to include other people you love in the meditation, picturing them and reciting the same phrases, evoking a sense of loving-kindness for them. Then you can even experiment with including the most difficult people in your life, wishing that they too, be filled with loving-kindness and peace.

As you silently practice this loving-kindness meditation among people, you will immediately feel a wonderful connection with them – the power of loving-kindness. It will calm your life and keep you connected to your heart.

loving kindness

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Namaste

Most yoga practitioners and/or India-lovers have come across the greeting or prayer: Namaste. I love to end my yoga sessions with ‘Namaste’ while bringing my hands together in front of my heart and bowing my head. In India it is used as an everyday greeting such as ‘Hello, How’re you?’ So what does it mean precisely? It is a Sanskrit word with Nama meaning ‘bow’, as meaning ‘I’ and te meaning ‘you’. Therefore the literal translation is ‘I bow to you’. The deeper spiritual significance refers to the belief that the life force or the divinity in me and in you is the same in all. If you use the Namaste to greet another person, you acknowledge this oneness or union with the meeting of the palms for the chest and you indirectly express:

  • The best and highest part in me greets the best and highest parts in you.
  • Your spirit and my spirit are ONE.
  • The light within me honors the light within you.

The bowing down of your head can be considered as a gracious form of extending friendship in love, respect and humility.

 Ram Dass states it beautifully: “I honor the place in you where the entire Universe resides. I honor the place of love, of light, of truth, of peace. I honor the place within you where if you are in that place in you, and I am in that place in me, there is only one of us.”

For me, this one word brings together the true meaning and purpose of yoga. It implies letting go of all our identification layers or ego patterns, instead we connect with each other on a more authentic level. We see and meet the very best in ourselves and in others. We acknowledge that we all look different and act differently, but we are the same deep inside or on a spiritual level. This realization brings me to a peaceful state; we are all humans and all connected and all having the same love inside us. We all would like to love and to be loved.

As a human, I make mistake and I not always act like I would like to act afterwards. I judge people from the outside and forget about our oneness. It can be challenging to see the good in everyone, especially if others are confronting and challenging you. Yoga can bring you back to that place of peace and bliss, time after time. You receive a second chance to start fresh, again and again. At the same time remember to acknowledge your own light and divinity.

 

Namaste

 

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What do you need today?

Cool-compassion

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Rest versus Activity

What is your personal favourite; a strong and fast-paced or a more gentle practice? I’m quite drawn to a strong, challenging practice. If I’m challenged, a strong focus is required and my mind doesn’t have a chance to interfere. At the same time, I’m easily stressed and rushing to my daily activities. A fast-paced practice stimulates my sympathetic nervous system – also called the ‘fight or flight’ response – even more. I’m more in need of input from the parasympathetic nervous system, associated with relaxation, nourishment and renewal. The parasympathetic system functions in opposition to the sympathetic system. The parasympathetic system is consistently active at a low level and levels of activity increase when it is necessary to bring the body back to a balanced state from a state of elevated sympathetic activity. If the parasympathetic system is active, it slows down heart rate, dilates blood vessels, activates digestion and stores energy.

In the end, it is all about balance: yin & yang, the feminine & the masculine, activity & rest, sthira & sukha. So rather, I need to learn to listen to my body carefully. What style of yoga is serving me at the moment? Am I kind to my body? Naturally, I include quite a lot of sthira or effort in my yoga practice and in my everyday life. Habitually I try and work hard to reach my goals and lack trust in life. Slowly I’m integrating more peace, stillness and rest in my life. For sure I’m forever learning to be more patient and enjoy my journey.

A wonderful nourishing yoga pose

A wonderful nourishing yoga pose

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The Anahata Chakra

The fourth chakra is called the Anahata chakra and is sometimes referred to as the ‘heart chakra’, because it resonates in the heart and relates to compassion and love. Anahata means ‘stillness’ or ‘unhurt’ in Sanskrit. This name implies that deep beneath our personal stories of brokenness and the pain in our heart, wholeness, boundless love and compassion reside. When the fourth chakra is flowing and open, you feel deeply connected to everyone in your life and feelings of compassion arise. This fourth energy center governs intuition and love. Glands, organs or body parts associated with this chakra are the heart, thymus, lungs, chest, arms, circulatory system, shoulders, upper back and breasts. The primary colour is green and the element for the fourth chakra is air. The sense for this chakra is touch and the emotion is compassion and joy.

Anahata Chakra

Anahata Chakra

Center of the Seven

The Anahata chakra is a powerful chakra and is referred to as the center of the seven, since there are three chakras above and three below. The fourth chakra lies in the core of our spirit, the center of the body and is directly connected to the third eye and the crown chakra. This chakra is the balance point, integrating the world of matter (the lower three chakras) with the world of spirit (the upper three chakras). Through the heart chakra you open to and connect with harmony and peace. The health status of this center represents the quality and power of love in your life and it is the seat of balance within the body.

Living in your head

If your heart chakra is obstructed, you can experience feelings of loneliness and a sense of alienation. Other signs if you fourth chakra is out of balance can be; feeling sorry for yourself, paranoid, indecisive, afraid of letting go, afraid of getting hurt or unworthy of love. You may live your life mainly in and with your head and not with the heart, with the result of being overly focused on thought and the tendency to cut yourself off from emotions and your body. Physical illnesses related to a blocked fourth chakra are heart attack, high blood pressure, insomnia, asthma, difficulty in breathing and other lung diseases. If the heart chakra is deficient, you may experience feelings of shyness and loneliness. Since the heart chakra is the center of the being, blocks in this center can throw your entire system out of alignment. It can cause emotional detachment, inability to love or show affection or self hatred and loathing. You are not able to connect with other humans, experience self-love or true happiness and intimacy. A blocked heart chakra can lead to despair, jealousy, hate, unrealistic fear and rage. Our lives and intimate relationships will suffer unless you can find a way to connect with the heart center and achieve healing and harmony. Yoga is a perfect method to achieve this.

Opening backbend

Opening backbend

Yoga

For an excessive heart chakra, forward bends are recommended, because they are grounding and foster introspection. Asanas that enliven the heart chakra include passive chest openers in which you arch gently over a blanket or bolster, shoulder stretches such as Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) and Garudasana (Eagle Pose) and backbends or basically any pose that opens the chest. By practicing backbends you develop trust and surrender and you heart opens fully. If you feel fearful, then there will be no room for love and your body will contract. Love can melt away fear and bring joy to your practice. In addition, in many back bending poses the heart is positioned higher than the head which is wonderful to let the mind drop away from the top position and instead lead with the heart.

Bring joy to your practice

Bring joy to your practice

Pranayama

The element for the fourth chakra is air. This air is essential for life as the breath brings oxygen to your cells via the lungs and the heart muscle then pumps the blood throughout the body and thereby giving and sustaining life. Like the element water, air assumes the shape of whatever it fills, yet it is less subject to gravity than water. Air permeates breath and therefore pranayama practice can help to balance and tone this chakra. Basically all forms of pranayama can assist you to use more air, more prana and thereby increasing your vitality and enthusiasm for life.

Love

The challenge of the heart chakra is to remain open and balanced in a world which can be emotionally painful. This center is the place of unconditional love, forgiveness and utter devotion. The most effective and powerful way to open, energize and balance not just the heart chakra but all of your chakras is to love yourself and others. It sounds so easy: allow yourself to love and show compassion towards others, since love is the greatest healer. Though, it is a challenge and obstacle for most of us. Besides love; heartbreak, grief, pain and fear are all emotions that are felt intensely within this energy center. All of us have to deal with disappointment, greed, conditional love of others and loss from an early age onwards. Therefore a deficient or excessive heart chakra is so common. Definitely, learning self-love is an amazing tool to develop and maintain a healthy heart chakra. Remember, that there is a never-ending supply of love in the universe and there to be used in any moment. You can first start with opening yourself up to love by giving your love to others. Slowly, you can learn to treat yourself with love, patience, compassion and kindness and replace judgments with acceptance. Unconditional love can be a creative and powerful energy that may guide and help you through the most difficult times in your life and you can use it to free yourself from your limits and fears. In addition, if you keep yourself in a loving space, you will have a positive and healing effect on your environment.

The true gifts of life

The true gifts of life

Relationships

The first three chakras are the chakras of the self. The fourth chakra is the energy center of relationships and refers to giving and to receiving. To keep this chakra healthy you need to maintain a balance between giving and receiving and in your relationships. It is good to remind yourself that life without other beings would be empty, dull and worthless. It is the love for your family, friends and other people in your life that keeps you here and keeps you going. You could see life as a celebration and a celebration without your loved ones is not complete, but fruitless and aimless. Also, it is just as important to give as it’s to allow yourself to receive. In order to give love fully, you must allow yourself to receive love fully. You can use this beautiful affirmation:

“I am loved.
There is an infinite supply of love.
I love myself and others.
I love everyone.
I invite love into my life.”

Put your heart into it

The third chakra represents fire, passion and personal power. Though, without air, a fire will burn out. In the same way, without heart, you cannot have true will power. Without this passion supplied by the heart chakra, true transformation is difficult. The saying “put your heart into it”, illustrate this beautifully. As said before, the heart chakra is a powerful energy center, since it is the center of all energies and unifies our being as a whole. An imbalance in the heart chakra will adversely effect all the other centers. Therefore a clearing of the heart chakra will improve the interaction of all other chakras. The more balanced the chakras are, the more balanced you will be in all walks of life. With a healthy heart chakra you will approach all situations with wisdom, love and equanimity and you feel compassionate, empathetic and see the good in everyone. Sounds worthwhile to balance your Anahata chakra, isn’t?

Love in the air

Love in the air

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Taming my Monkey Mind

I am barely awake and my mind is overactive already; thinking about the day to come, what to wear, what to eat and if I will take the car or my bicycle to work. Without much notice I digest my breakfast and full of thoughts I experience my bike ride, mostly with my mind focused on the future. This mind you can consider to be a typical monkey mind.

Monkey mind is originally a Buddhist term meaning ‘unsettled, restless, confused, indecisive or uncontrollable’. It refers to the continuous chatter that goes on in your head, a mind that cannot be at rest. Your mind jumps from one thought to the other, producing up to 100,000 thoughts per day! This can drive you nuts for sure. Even if you are reading this, sub-thoughts can be occurring alongside the words your mind absorbs; maybe it’s a silent whisper of judgment, a word of confirmation or what you’ll have for dinner. Swinging from branch to branch, rarely focused solely on one thing, always on the move.

Nowadays there are even more distractions than ever. It is estimated that our brains are bombarded with seven times as much stimuli compared with our grandparents. In addition, most people are working with their mind the whole day, are stuck in traffic jams and experience rising stress levels. Monkey mind alarm!

Luckily, there is a solution for this monkey mind syndrome. Interestingly enough peace is much more nearby than you imagine. More clearly, inner peace is always here, right in this moment: NOW! Sounds easy, isn’t? Though, I know from my own experience that we can make it pretty hard for ourselves. It is rather a process then a single push on a button. A process in which you get to know yourself more, open up, fall and stand up again and always having the possibility to start freshly. It is like looking for your key everywhere, in and around your house and then discover that the key is in your pocket all the time already. So close by, but not aware of it yet.

So what to do? It always helps me not taking myself so seriously and don’t try too hard or fight. What you resist persist. If you feed your monkey mind with attention, energy or fight, it will definitely grow and develop itself, in maybe an aggressive gorilla. It is not the monkey who is the problem, rather our relationship with it. We all have experienced moments of flow. If you do something you really love, time flies by before you know and you’re just doing that one thing you are passionate about. Your mind is still and you’re here, in this moment, in your body. So called peak experiences.

This weekend I was walking in the bush with a group of people. Our planned 4 hour walk turned out to be a 10 hour walk with the last hours barely able to see the marks. There you’re, walking in a cold dark bush, not sure were you’ll end. Not sure how your unfit group member is going to handle at least another hour of tramping including river crossings and steep hills. It makes you aware of this moment while adrenaline is rushing to your body. You’re focused and your energy levels seem to rise in your body even though you’ve walked for hours already. I had thoughts for sure, but not so much as my usually crazy monkey mind. I used my mind as a strength to come to the best solutions and stay focused.

Awareness is the key to transform your monkey mind into a well behaved pet. Through becoming aware of your mind and understand how it work, you become able to change the relationship with your mind. It can even turn out to be a really sweet quiet peaceful little monkey on your shoulder, just here to assist you if you need it. Peace is always here and never goes anywhere. Observe a child and see how joy naturally flows. No mind chattering, just this moment of play and another….  

 

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