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How many of you in recent weeks, or even in recent months have thought about the oil spill surrounding the Gulf? Thought so…

The disaster surrounding the Gulf is ‘under control’ or so the media tells us. It is often that we do not realize the true impact of an event until months, possibly years later. Obviously the oil spill has had an effect on our eco system, and we will see the effects within ourselves if we do continue to consume fish and seafood from those waters.

There’s a fun term called ‘Bioaccumulation’, in which contaminates are consumed by a microorganism or the smallest of fish. When we think of the food chain, these levels of contaminates increase exponentially in different and larger species. Eventually, humans consume these animals or fish as food, and as we are amongst the top of the food chain, we get the greatest quantities. This can have profound effect on our endocrine, central nervous system and immune system.

Gulf Oil Spill and Our Food Chain

Contaminates and chemicals accumulate in animal and human fats, easily transported through the placenta and the blood-brain barrier, making this an even more dangerous situation for offspring of any species. Studies show that a fetus can store more toxins than the mother and are typically transmitted through breast milk. These chemicals can create abnormalities in the urinary and genital organs, create behavioural and immune malfunctions as well as effect the thyroid and central nervous system issues up to the third generation.

Why do I mention this so long after the Gulf Disaster occurred? Because history likes to repeat itself, especially if there was not enough of an impact on humanity forcing people to ‘wake up’. Here we go again! Let’s talk about Japan! Only this time there has been a greater impact – human lives were taken, more lives are endangered, and radiation levels are at an all time dangerous high. Radiation is affecting the air as well as seeping into the Ocean.

Yesterday at 12:00 noon, all over the world there were prayers being said to heal the waters of Japan, similar to the Gulf Blessing intended to heal the Gulf Coast. Dr. Masaru Emoto (I am sure I have mentioned his name before), is a scientist and water activist – for years has been studying the healing effects prayer and positive intention has on water. I have read several of his books and have always been deeply moved. Although the world-wide prayer for Japan was in fact yesterday, does not mean it is too late to continue to put this intention into effect.

Heart centred energy, especially that of ‘Love and Gratitude’ is incredibly healing, not just to us as emotional beings, but to the energy and health of the water.

There is a special combination that seems to be perfect for this, which is love plus the combination of thanks and appreciation reflected in the English word gratitude. Just one of these is not enough. Love needs to be based in gratitude, and gratitude needs to be based in love. These two words together create the most important vibration. And it is even more important that we understand the value of these words. For example, we know that water is described as H2O. If we were to look at love and gratitude as a pair, gratitude is the H and love is the O. Water is the basis that not only supports but also allows the existence of life. In my understanding of the concept of yin and yang, in the same way that there is one O and two Hs, we also need one part yang/love to two parts yin/gratitude, in order to come to a place of balance in the equation. –Dr. Emoto

We may not have any oceans around us here in Toronto, but the waters are all interconnected. Take a moment, perhaps this weekend to share your love and gratitude for water and what it provides. It sustains our life, we could not exist if it were not for its presence. Remember that…and as you give thanks for the waters close to home, send your intentions to the waters surrounding the Gulf, and especially now, Japan. Pray for the waters which sustain the life of others half way around the globe.

This leads me to think of  ‘OM Shanti Shanti Shanti’. For me it has become a familiar chant to close a yoga class, but as the natural disasters around the world begin to increase in occurence and severity, I feel as if I am connected to those around the world who are in need of hope, support and of peace. We may not have the ability to help in body, but there are no restrictions to us being able to help in spirit.

It has been a long time since I have shared on this blog. I hope to continue to allow this to be my outlet to share myself, share what I am thinking about and share a side of myself which I keep tucked away in my daily life.

Peace and Blessings to you all.

 

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Does anyone else feel like life is just becoming too busy/crazy/hectic? Like you can’t keep up with all the changes and demands of the world we live in and just want to take off…somewhere? Perhaps, perhaps not, but many people close to me and myself included, experience this now and again. Sometimes it seems like there is too much to juggle and you struggle to find your purpose. Perhaps from time to time you experience a feeling of spiritual despair, where you ask, “What is the point in all this?”, or say “I just don’t want to do this anymore”. And when I say ‘this’, I refer to this life that I/we are leading now.

As I’ve written before, the year 2007 brought a lot of changes into my life and I began to take a different path, or had a different focus in my life…things I wanted to focus on, things I felt were important. I left my stressful corporate job, began travelling, began to focus more on practicing and teaching yoga, and went back to school. While I’m generally happy and content with the changes I’ve made, I still I have moments or periods of time where life feels too overwhelming and I just want to run away (usually to Mexico or Spain).

granada

If you look at a few of my entries previous to this one, you can see my emphasis was much about maintaining a sense of peace within, changing our thought patterns/outlook on life and having positive intentions. In doing so, we can change the world around us and see it from a different perspective. I whole heartedly believe that to be true – that our lives will transform if we can transform ourselves from the inside out. Its not always an easy process. It can be frustrating, you can doubt yourself, or get too caught up in this illusion we call life. Focusing too much on work, school, or a mirad of other things that when you really take a close look at them, aren’t really all that important. We or our global consciousness at the time had lead us in this direction. At one time we lived a much simpler life, living off the land, building our own homes, trading and sharing with our neighbours. I think this will once again become a reality, perhaps sooner than we think. I look forward to living this kind of life again, but also admit, that the transition to that place may not be an easy one.

My point of all of this is that there are tools available to help deal with the stress and transitioning that we are all going through. I came across the Global Coherence Organization last year around this time, and for those that just don’t know where to start or need some reminders now and again, this site is amazingly helpful.

The Global Coherence Initiative is a science-based initiative to unite millions of people in heart-focused care and intention – to shift global consciousness from instability and discord to balance, cooperation and enduring peace.

The purpose of the website is to:

  • Increase personal coherence for the benefit of ourselves and the planet
  • Help shift the planetary consciousness baseline from self-centeredness to wholeness care
  • Increase connection and social harmony
  • Empower our ability to navigate through global changes with less stress and more ease
  • Empower environmental responsibility and stewardship of the planet

    Based on heart coherence, earth monitoring and community building, there are webinars, news, information and resources to learn about the ways the planet is shifting (please click the link for video) and how that affects us…most importantly, what we can do to make these transitions as smooth as possible. It allows you to track your progress: how you’re feeling physically, spiritually, emotionally and so on.

    One of the resources which was sent to me recently, was the State of Ease. Its a downloadable PDF which is full of helpful information and reminders to deal with the added stress which many are experiencing due to the planetary shifts.

    The Shift is beneficial to the whole and we can help by holding the vision of peace, balance and harmonious connection among people. As we all know, our personal stressors are part of our individual growth and are not occurring just because the Shift is taking place. Since our background is in stress research and coherence-building, we will occasionally provide a few approaches that have proven effective in helping people move more easily through situations that life brings us…

    My intent is for this entry to reach even one person. As I learn and attempt to transform myself…I wish to inspire and lend a helping hand….

  • That quote by Mahatma Ghandi has been on my mind in the past few weeks. In fact that quote is now written next to the image of Ghandi on the 50 Rupee note stuck to my fridge, as my constant reminder… 

    How can we as individuals embody the emense change or changes we want to see in the world? At the moment, in a world plagued with war, natural disasters, environmental crises and government corruption, it seems like a hefty task. It is to some degree, as the change must come from within. 

    It is up to us to transform ourselves, our consciousness. If we wish to see peace, we must embody that peace. If we wish to see compassion, we must first learn to fully love and accept ourselves.  As we as individuals begin to change our conciousness, our global consciousness will continue to transform. Our intentions  can move mountains. 

    Tibetan Monastary, Spain

    Tibetan Monastary, Spain

    This photo was taken a few years ago while I was in Andalusia, Spain for a Reiki retreat, and the quote from the Dalai Lama now has a greater meaning to me… 

    Lately, the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the possibility of it creating further devastation, has been the topic of conversation. Please refer to Gulf Vision by Transformation Harmonics

    So, how do we go about labeling something so seemingly devastating, positively? I believe that we first have to accept that it was in fact our global consciousness (or our global mentality) which manifested this event. And perhaps such a ‘crisis’ had to occur – one which is threatening to our eco system and our well-being – for change to take place. Devastation had to become so fundamentally apparent that we (hopefully) have began to realize that it is time to let go of processes which have long been out of date. We as a global community have the potential to change the outcome of this event, not see it as a crisis, but as an oppotunity. We must continue transforming ourselves in a positive manner with positive intention. 

    How can our intentions and transformation create such a profound impact, when we may not physically be playing a part in cleaning up the oily mess? I hope many of you have heard of Dr. Masaru Emoto, and several of his books on the energetic properties of water. The most simplistic explanation, is that our words – spoken, thought or written – carry an energetic vibration which can transform the qualities of water in a positive or negative fashion. Dr. Emoto discovered a way to study and photograph the affects these vibrations have on water and the crystals they form. For exapmple, the crystal formed by love is profoundly different than the one formed by the vibration of hate.  This in a sense is a physical representation of how intentions, words and thought patterns affect the energy which surrounds us, which we ourselves are composed of. 

    This being said, is it not possible to transform the water and the energy surrounding the Gulf of Mexico with our positive intentions, our positive thoughts?

    Are there other events which we can change in our own lives and our global community?

    Considering our bodies are composed of 85% water, how do our thought patterns, belief systems and choice of words affect ourselves?

    Please feel free to comment, I would appreciate your feedback and would be happy to clarify any questions…

    What an interesting week this has been. Typically life in Toronto (from my perspective anyhow) is typically busy – running from school, to work, to the yoga studio – but generally uneventful. However, as per my last post, on the 23rd of June, we experienced a low-grade earthquake. It did no damage, but just enough power to make itself known.

    Following this, yesterday, during a G20 ‘peaceful protest’, things got a bit out of hand. Police cars set on fire, stores vandalized etc. The word has spread through the news, so I don’t wish to reiterate because that is not my point of focus here.

    Perhaps this is completely unrelated, but as a relatively avid cyclist, I began to complain analyze the state of Toronto’s roads. I found that whichever route I took, I could not avoid the construction and/or streets full of potholes and half-assed attempts of patchwork repairs. I began to wonder if this state of crumbling roads, and temporary repairs could in fact represent our city. We’re standing on an unstable infrastructure and trying to use the ‘band-aid’ approach as a quick-fix, instead of taking the time to re-evaluate and solve some major problems. Unfortunately, I think this is what we’re doing in the case of the worlds state of affairs…Welcome G20.

    Why is it that people think that protesting will solve anything? It astonishes me that our world is full of war, violence and fear, and yet people choose to protest. Even a ‘”peaceful protest” (I still think this is an oxymoron) still has its roots in anger and therefore fear. Even before the protest began on Friday June 25th, there was an air of fear throughout the city, as stores were boarded up, police were out in full force, and army choppers flew overhead. Fear only creates more fear…Where’s the love people?

    Protest is not the way to solve problems, especially when they so frequently result in violence and destruction. This morning I felt inclined to share my own thoughts…

    They will never find peace through anger and violence. Each individual must change their consciousness before global change can occur. Pray for peace, help shift global consciousness!! Start with thy self…

    And thankfully, a humble man and monk who I admire, the Dalai Lama, had a few quotes to back me up…

    Tenzin_Gyatzo_foto_1

     Through violence, you may ‘solve’ one problem, but you sow the seeds for another. –Dalai Lama

     If the love within your mind is lost and you see other beings as enemies, then no matter how much knowledge or education or material comfort you have, only suffering and confusion will ensue. -Dalai Lama

    I was happy to find there was some truly peaceful protesting happening in Toronto. Lead by one of my favourite Yoga instructors in the city, JP Tamblyn, lead an out-door yoga class just beyond the protest grounds. Please take a moment to read the articles below.

    The Globe and Mail – Yoga Happening

    Yoga Happening – Interview with JP

    It truly gives me a glimmer of hope to see this happening in our city amidst the chaos. Through positive intent and truly non-violent actions, we can create change. Even if it begins one person at a time…

    In the words of Mahatma Gandhi…”Be the change you want to see in the world”

    As most of North America is aware, there was a low-grade earthquake that made its presence known in Eastern and Central Canada and some areas in the US. I don’t wish to get into the facts and statistics because I don’t think that is whats important at this point.

    The fact is its strange and uncommon for earthquakes to hit close to home. Toronto is not known for earthquakes, nor is it known for any extreme weather patterns, except for the odd thunder or snow storm.

    As I was sitting at work on the 10th floor and the building began to sway, I was reminded of the power of Mother Nature. I give her a proper name here because I think she deserves to be acknowledged.  

    We pave over her, reap her resources and pollute her air and waterways, and what do we give back? We are like spoiled children who receive nothing but love, but all we can do is ‘flip her the bird’ while dumping some more oil into the oceans. 

    I question how many people make any greater connection beyond the fact that the ground shook.

    We are constantly receiving more signals — earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, landslides etc. — that we have been misbehaving and disrespecting our Mother for too long. She is making her presence known, showing us what she is capable of, and standing up for herself once more. Her limited resources can’t support us much longer if we don’t decide to take some more drastic changes.

    I have to mention here, that my heart does go to all the places in the world that have experienced extreme devastation. As my heart was pounding in my chest as the floor shimmied beneath me yesterday, I had a few brief seconds going through all the “What Ifs”. If the quake endured or worsened, was the building structurally sound enough to withstand severe quakes? I couldn’t imagine what the residents of Haiti were experiencing as their communities and loved ones went down with the quake. I’m just trying to make a point that we must have some respect.

    This Saturday, June 26th is an important day astrological. A friend of mine pointed out to me that on this day, so shortly after the energy shift of the Summer Solstice, the planets will align, forming a ‘Grand Cross’ . This is not a common occurence, and it can have a strong effect on individuals and events, as it is like two polar opposite forces coming together, creating possible turmoil and confusion. This is a day of transition. Some sources say this day will set and solidify our intentions as we transition into 2012. Whether you believe this or not, please take some time on Saturday to pay some respects to our planet.

    Take a nature walk, do a yoga class and dedicate it to the peace and well-being of the planet, or sit near a body of water and send love and positive intentions, so it can be carried through its depths…

    Please remember, we do not own the planet, it is not ours to destroy. We are merely visitors here…

    So its obvious I haven’t written anything on my blog in some time. Why? I’ve been busy, lets say that….

    As much as I wish I could say otherwise, I have an A-Type personality. I don’t necessarily see myself as an ambitious person in regards to ‘climbing the corporate ladder’ so to speak, but I have been a busy girl in the last few years. I am ambitious when it comes to creating the type of life and eventually career I want to have…(and yes, I do walk a little too fast ALL THE TIME)…

    Like I’ve mentioned before, I was willing to give up my first career to pursue my education in Reiki, Yoga and now Holistic Nutrition. Where do I see myself in the future? Living outside the city, running a wellness centre/retreat centre of sorts. Oh, and possibly consulting, or designing wellness centers on the side. Oh, I’ve got plans!!….but my problem is, I want to be there NOW. I feel this urge to rush through school so I can get on with my life. I suppose I forget that I am in fact living my life NOW?

    With that said, there comes a time when one has to make a decision about the most positive way to proceed with life, work and education. I typically like to be immersed in things; live, eat, breathe what I am studying. However, I it is hard to immerse yourself in studies when you’re attempting to maintain several jobs, a yoga practice (which has been suffering) and finding time to have a teensy bit of fun. In the past while I have found myself cramming for tests and blitzing through assignments. Problem is, so far I’ve been able to do this and maintain excellent marks, but how much have I retained? There is something to be said about enjoying the process and having the ability to digest the information.

    I spent this last weekend with a good friend of mine at her cottage in Picton. It was a wonderful, relaxing weekend as it was chilly and rainy. We took some scenic drives, cooked some tasty food and napped at our leisure. Of course, already being exhausted and allowing by body to stop and rest for two days, I came down with a cold. Nothing too severe, but enough to make me want to stay home from school for two days and hibernate.

    Another realization: The only person there is to look after myself is well….me! If I don’t allow myself to have some downtime, I will only further deplete my immune system, and aren’t I going to school for something health related? Shouldn’t I be leading by example??

    This is not the first time I have tried to push my body farther than it wanted to go. Just before I left to travel in 2008, I was STILL working a lot of hours at the office trying to get all the loose ends tied up on my projects, and of course landed in the hospital with appendicitis. Should this not be a good clue that my body needs some recuperation time? After leaving the hospital and taking a day or two to mend, I head back home to pack and prepare for my journey. I leave for the UK 2 weeks after arriving home from the hospital. What’s more? I am in India 6 weeks later and land in the hospital in Kolkata for another 4 days. But yet…I travel (sick as a dog) through India for another 2 months, before heading to Spain in attempts to get well. Did I succeed? Not so much. After your body is in starvation mode for a few months, it will typically have a back-lash. I wasn’t able to fully recoup until I made the decision to fly home 3 months later. Even then, after taking it relatively easy for a few months, I was off to Mexico for my Yoga training. Do we see a pattern here???

    My goal over the next few months is to find some BALANCE! I’m going to reduce my course-load for a few months, get back into a more steady yoga practice, continue working (only as much as I can handle) and allow myself to enjoy life and have a bit of time for me! Perhaps meditate, pick up a non-school related book, go for a bike ride with no destination. A friend of mine told me to ‘take a look at my “Pie of Life”, and I realized it was so full I had no time for myself (I admit, its a slow evening at work as I write this). So I am going to challenge myself to bake (or un-bake as I love raw desserts), a more balanced, healthy PIE OF LIFE!

    Updates and progress reports to follow!! (Hopefully)

    In the last few weeks, I’ve had a few wonderful comments from friends stating that I inspire them or have inspired them to make changes in their own life. Really? Me? How?

    Inspiration is all in the eye of the beholder. Lets translate that… Everyone looks to something or someone for inspiration, or has been inspired by someone at one point or another. This could be a spiritual leader or advisor, a friend, a family member, an unknown person who’s story touched their heart, a piece of music. Really, it could be anything. Still when it comes down to it, we are all teachers, we have all inspired someone, whether we knew it or not. It is often our actions or our choices which have impacted someone greatly, as they may have wished they could do the same. In reality, they can. We always have choices, but sometimes it’s hard to break free of a situation which might be holding one back from taking that step into the unknown and doing something daring…trusting the whole way that you will be supported.

    I have made many changes in my life within the last two years, and it was not because I was hoping to be an inspiration for others, but to lead an honest life. Have you ever been in a place in your life where you were unhappy, lost, void of any passion for career or enjoyment of life in general? I was at that place a few years ago, and struggling because I knew I was not following my hearts desire to focus on yoga and healing. I had in essence, ‘turned myself off’, trying to suppress who I really was. Working in the corporate field, it just wasn’t understood why I was taking off on Reiki retreats, going to yoga classes and attempting to put my own health first. I found it easier to put all my aspirations for a different kind of life aside. However, you can only suppress desires for so long…and finally they become too strong and you end up quitting your career, travelling for 8 months through UK, India, Spain and Mexico; jumping head first into a yoga teacher training program; and enrolling in school for Holistic Nutrition. Am I where I want to be? Not yet, but I FINALLY feel like I am on the right path and enjoying the process!!

    My friend Ashley recently shared a beautiful quote which relates to this idea…

    "When your life is falling apart, there’s always the impulse to hold on: to him, to her, to it; to the way it was, to how you wanted it to be, to how you want it now. But in order to get through a crisis, you will have to let go of whatever is standing in your way or causing the problem…whatever isn’t serving you, what you no longer need…" ~Daphne Rose Kingma

    This quote is so true in so many ways. Another tidbit of honesty…it is scary leaving everything behind! I had to let go of a career, a regular paycheck, an identity related to my career that told me that ‘I am something’ and I had made something of myself. If I didn’t have this job and this lifestyle, then who was I? I knew it was no longer serving me (in fact my transition out of my career and into the unknown may be part of the reason I landed in the hospital having a ruptured appendix!?) We so often have the need to label ourselves as Designer, Student, Lawyer, Mother, Christian, Buddhist etc. but I believe that many of us would struggle to define ourselves without those general labels. Perhaps its human nature to have the desire to fit into a specific social mould, to belong to something greater than ourselves as individuals.

    Can’t we just be? Do you put similar labels on yourself to describe who you are, or categorize yourself?

    I realize I am getting a bit away from the idea of inspiration. I suppose I am trying to say that although ones life may be inspiring to another, its not always an easy path. There are challenges, struggles and doubts along the way. It is perhaps how one deals with those challenges is what is admirable. I have many friends, family members and acquaintances who inspire me daily! I think it is most important to acknowledge and be grateful for those people in your life that inspire you, whether they know it or not.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the inspiration along the way. I couldn’t have made it this far if it wasn’t for inspiration and little bit of guts!

    So last Friday my friend Ashley and I decided to have dinner together before heading out to a friends birthday celebration. It was last minute, so I whipped together a ‘Do-it-Yourself’ Greens Bowl (click for photos) with quinoa, beets, shredded carrot, sunflower sprouts and steamed kale, spinach and asparagus. It was surprisingly tasty, as I had whipped it up while talking to my mom on the phone and trying to decide what to wear later that evening.

    However, the most important part of the meal was the desert. As Ashley is vegan, I decided to make a batch of Raw Vegan Brownies (click for photos) I had made only once before. I found the recipe online while perusing new recipes one afternoon. They taste fabulous and are a very healthy alternative…still, by no means non-fattening and VERY sweet.

    This is the original recipe:

    Brownie Base:
    1 cup walnuts
    1 cup dates
    1/4 cup raw cocoa powder

    Icing:
    2 avocados
    1/2 cup agave nectar
    1/4 cup cocoa power
    2 tsp coconut oil
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    dash salt
    dash cinnamon

    With my past experience with this recipe, I discovered a few key things. 1 cup of dates MUST BE MEDJOOL DATES, or the brownie base will not combine together. I have discovered, that in order to bulk up the recipe, I will use a cup of regular dates, and a cup of medjool. As well, using 2 avocados for the icing is WAY TOO MUCH. You would typically only need 1/2 to 1 avocado.

    Now, we get into my dilemma. I had purchased a couple avocados earlier in the week, but by Friday, they were still hard. What was I going to do? Ashley was heading over to my place in about an hour, and by this point, I still had to make dinner. My eyes landed on a lonely banana on top of my fridge. This was oh so simple revised recipe which received many rants and raves:

    Brownie Base:
    1 cup cooking dates
    1 cup medjool dates
    1/4 cup cocoa power
    1/4 cup almonds
    1/4 cup shredded raw coconut

    Icing:
    1 banana (mashed)
    1 tbsp agave nectar or raw honey
    2 tbsp cocoa power
    2 tsp coconut oil
    dash of cinnamon

    The best thing about this recipe is that you can add or subtract ingredients as you like. In this case, if you do happen to have a RIPE AVOCADO handy, it would work just perfectly. However, I do have to admit that the unexpected banana flavour was wonderful!

    On a side note, I found a fortune cookie on the sidewalk while I was walking home. I didn’t eat it obviously, but cracked it open when I got in the door. With gratitude to Wings (also the manufacturer of those little soy sauce and plum sauce packets), I received the following message… “Your sparkling eyes sends healing light on those you meet” If only it were that easy…I would heal the world one shining gaze at a time!

     

    So I have been putting off writing about India… Why? I had the third week of March off school for March Break, so other than my obligatory work schedule, I did my best to relax and have some fun; visiting family (including my new Nephew Rannon (picture below) and my friend Kiley’s baby, Harlowe)Ashley and Rannon

    enjoying the beautiful weather we had that week, picking up some much needed yoga classes AND a fantastic finish with a ‘Coffee House’ event hosted by some fabulous friends of mine. All the fun ended early Sunday morning, waking up with a head cold and a full day of work ahead of me…not to mention having to study up a storm for my Herbal Medicine class. Would you like to know all 42 (+/-) Herbal Actions with examples? I could most likely tell you. On that note, I must mention a few of my favourite herbs:

    • False Unicorn Root AND True Unicorn Root…apparently they’re endangered…I’m assuming Unicorns are too.
    • Turkey Rhubarb…what a combination!?
    • Pill Bearing Spurge…it just sounds like it would do something evil and sinister.

    Continuing on the subject of Herbal Medicine, I have an assignment due next Wednesday which entails putting together a complete herbal regimen for 3 case studies. The first two I am okay with…the third however I am having some issues with. I am putting this out there for suggestions from anyone who may have some creative solutions.

    Here goes…

    I am camping and a friends, one of which slices his leg with an axe while chopping wood. We manage to stop the bleeding with pressure, but we have no first aid kit and we have no signal on our cell phones. What do we do? Is this a trick question? Do I really spend the time to go foraging for herbs, when we could very well be heading back to civilization and a hospital? Thoughts anyone? What would you do?

    I will let you know what my final solution was for this case study once I get down to it. I am trying to find which herbs grow wild within Ontario which would be beneficial for such a situation.

    Some of you also may notice that my ‘tone’ of writing has changed in this post. I do admit that I typically have a fairly serious outlook on life and have a tendency towards sometimes too much self-analysis. I am working on lightening up from time to time, remembering to laugh and giving thanks to the people in my life that add a little bit more joy and spontaneity.

    Ashleys

    I give thanks to those friends, old and new which make me howl with laughter and can still love and appreciate my serious intensity.

    Now…back to that India story…

    As I’m venturing into the world of blogging with a new excitement and focus, I happened to stumble upon my old blog, Distant Voyager . I had set it up prior to my (what was supposed to be) my year-long journey around the world. It’s interesting to look back at my first post prior to leaving on my trip discussing where I was at that point in time, and my reasons for venturing off into the unknown world. Please take a peak using the link above.

    My statement, “I will learn things that no book could ever teach, about life, about cultures, about faith. I don’t believe anyone can travel the world for a year, and not be changed…in what way is up to them.”, is so true about travel. When you leave your comfort zone of your familiar life you are challenged to accept cultural differences and customs, sometimes learn the basics of another language, or become more open to new experiences and people. The challenge however, is to hold on to those lessons or broadened perceptions once you return to your usual life. It is so easy to become too busy to experience new things or meet new people. I find when you are surrounded by the familiar settings and people, you forget to pay attention…while I was travelling, I did my best to soak up ever bit of scenery, every experience…every day was a new journey…

    In 2007 I spent 1 week in Orgiva, Spain. It is a beautiful little town in the Alpuharras Region; a place I consider to be heaven on earth. It’s a very small town with a charming local market of mostly fruit, hand crafted jewelery and sometimes raw-food treats, but most importantly, the area is rich with a rustic charm. I spent my days amidst a 300 year old olive grove, visited a Tibetan monastery in the Alpuharras Mountains, soaked in the beautiful energy of a morning Reiki circle as the sun nourished my spirit. This was the trip that began the desire, the urgency to take a longer extended trip than what I had previously experienced.

    Here are a few select photos from my initial journey to Orgiva for my Reiki Retreat:

     

    When I’m surrounded by nature and beautiful landscapes, I feel so much more content to live a simpler life. I feel grounded, settled, and in true appreciation of what mother nature has provided…

    I yearned to return to this haven, and in the late spring of 2008, (two weeks after having my appendix removed), I left my job and responsibilities behind and headed to the UK for the first leg of the trip…

    I was blessed with rainbows too large to fit into one shot, waterfalls and breath-taking vistas. I find the higher the vantage point, the more insignificant your life seems. You realize how unimportant your worries and struggles are – you can just release them into the wind. Our lives and struggles, are so impermanent but the formations which mother nature has created will exist beyond many of our lifetimes. Somehow I find that humbling and comforting…

    As I am writing this, I am getting a clearer idea as to WHY. I am looking back and finding more reasons to be grateful for these opportunities and experiences. Sometimes they seem like only a small fragment of a vast collection of memories, but they were some of the most life enriching and beautiful. I am truly thankful for these experiences and where they have led me…

    For the next leg of my trip, it was on to INDIA! A place of transformation and changed plans!

    To be continued…