How I quit thinking…

…well, at least for a few hours. The key is: I moved into my body. Ditched that little upstairs room that I’ve occupied for so long, and went to explore the other part of the ME that I was living in.

You see, I have exhausted this road that I’ve been on for 3 decades. I’ve been thinking and thinking and thinking some more, creating and solving problems that didn’t even exist, just so my mind could keep itself occupied. And at times it was fun, it gave me a mindgasm to discover new ideologies, new ways of seeing things and new beliefs, teachings and practices. But then I hit a wall and I couldn’t go any longer. I was suffocating being enclosed in this tiny space in my head, listening to a constantly spinning squeaky wheel churning out the same old thoughts over and over again with no breaks in between. I have tried meditation with some success, but most of the time I have just fallen asleep (which is again, a nice break from the EGO, from the mind, but still… ). Eventually it got so much that I became bitter. I just felt that I don’t wanna hear one more word from spiritual teachings, self-improvement gurus, self-help books and so on. I just became exhausted and bitter and so negative about all those things. I hit rock bottom and a wall at the end of the one-way street that “thinking” provided. And I needed a break. A change! Something that would take me out of this old habitual thinking way of being and give me a relief from it.

That’s when salsa came back to my mind. I used to dance salsa socially 8 years ago on a strong intermediate level, but I stopped after I had kids. Now as I was feeling the craving for humans around me (not to talk to them, just be around them) I remembered this old friend of mine and I told her I would like to go with her dancing again. We went out that night and it felt like I’ve never left. The music, the people, the energy in the room was so engaging that I had no time or opportunity to think about anything else, but the dance.

That’s when I saw it in another room that a few people were dancing a strange dance that I was not familiar with. It seemed like it had no structure, yet things were just flowing perfectly to the rhythm of the music and it was mesmerizing. I asked for the name of this dance and they said it was called ZOUK. I’ve never heard about this before, but I was determined to learn it. So the next week I signed up to a class and it was the best decision I’ve made in a very long time. The teachers were so knowledgeable and talented, the music took me to a whole different world and my body was able to pick up every new movement with no problem. The energy in the room was so positive and uplifting and sensual all at the same time and I realized that I have so many hangups around my body and the expression of the body. I don’t want to take up too much space, I don’t want to be too flashy, I don’t want to be noticed, I don’t want to step into my own power and let go of control and just flow with the music and whatever comes out is fine that way…..no, that terrified me. But noticing these things helped me be aware of what was going on inside of me and that’s half the battle already. So whenever I started noticing these thoughts popping up, I just closed my eyes and I let go and moved into the present moment and followed what the lead was giving me, picking up on their energies, expressing it as it naturally wanted to be expressed and move on to the next movement in this perfect flow of life, no effort, no hardship, just flowing and creating and letting go of the old move and moving into the new one effortlessly. It was pure heaven.

zouk

As the night went on, after the lesson we stayed there for social dance and it was fantastic. All kinds of different levels were dancing together, the atmosphere was so accepting, encouraging and empowering that I felt like I have found the tribe that I have always been looking for. “My people”. The ones who get me and where talking is not necessary. We talked with our bodies instead and we were fully emerged in the present moment without thinking about future worries or past mistakes. And as the hours flew by, I felt more and more energized and happy on the inside. By the end of the night my legs were so tired, but my heart was so full of light and happiness, that I could not sleep for hours after that. Then in a matter of hours I had to wake up and go work out with a personal trainer, and it was brutal. He made me work my butt and leg muscles so much that I felt like jello afterwards but again, there was no room for thinking for a whole hour, just to be in the moment, focus on the present pain and do my best that I could.

So that’s what happened to me in the last 24 hours. I am exhausted beyond words and I feel like I could be falling asleep in a matter of seconds but on the inside I am so calm, happy, relaxed and full of creative energy that I feel like my chest is about the pop open.

In my whole life I have treated my body as if it was an oversized vehicle that’s only purpose was to carry my head around (that had my thinking trapped in it.) Ok, and providing occasional sexual pleasures here and there, but even that for me was a lot of brain work….sex….can you believe it? I had to think and concentrate so much to actually feel something. But now that I have left the upper room (like Rapunzel trapped in the the tower), I feel like I have finally discovered a whole new world. I have discovered that this house (AKA my body) has many many other rooms and facilities in it, and it is amazing. I am not gonna live and do everything only in that tiny little space anymore (sleep, eat, poop and more :)) but I am gonna live with this spacious housing that I’ve been given to and explore every little section of it. I am gonna tune into feeling more, being present with the movements, flow with the music and the energy and just breath in between dances.

Whatever it is, it was a life changing discovery to finally discover that my body parts are good for many other purposes and movement can bring so much joy to me. Either in dancing or work out mode, my brain was quite for a minute, and my body was active and in the NOW. And that is heaven. That is pure bliss. And I want more of that…. a whole lot more.

zouk-dance-2

I quit trying to “make an impact”

Today I was walking around at Target hunting for the 10th birthday present I had to buy in this summer season for all those summer birthdays my kids are invited to, when I noticed the T-shirt sold for kids with these writings on them: “Make waves”, “Make a difference” “Make an impact”.And it made me very uneasy in my stomach. I realized how culturally brainwashed we all are in this Western Modern world we live in,  especially in this capitalist, individualist-worshiping American culture. This self advertising, egotistical and arrogant message has been the motto for so many years, and it is getting loud and proud by the minute. “They” tell it to anyone and everyone to “make a difference”, “change the world” “go out to the world, become a leader and make an impact”. And this ideology is not just the motto of the materialistic world, but also crept into the spiritual world and teachings as well lately. So many self-helping, self-proclaimed home made gurus are preaching that the secret to happiness is you becoming something different than what you are now, achieving your dreams and goals and making an impact on others and the world around you. But holy crap, there are soooo many flaws with this theory.

First of all: if everyone is a leader, who the hell will be the follower? It takes two to tango, and if both of them are trying to lead, it will be more of a disaster than a flowing, beautiful dance. So not everyone has to be a leader, and a follower is not any less either ..but an equal. Following is a skill as well. It’s like a yin-yang form. Both are opposites yet equally needed to for a whole.

Second : people are dumb as f@ck. Me included. People don’t know shit. Yes, we explore the world and we discover things, but we haven’t figured out the answer to the most basic and burning question of all time: who we are, how did we get here and where are we going? Who are we and what is consciousness? Plus how to live in peace and harmony with the life and habitat around us without destroying it and biting the hand that feeds us. All we have done was “concurring” lands, each other, torturing humans, animals and the field around us….and you are telling *these people* to “go out and make a difference”, “voice your opinion” and “leave your imprint on this earth”. Please don’t!  You wouldn’t tell visitors of a museum standing next to a perfectly composed, beautifully painted piece of art to go ahead and “leave your footprint on it”, “make a difference” or “make a video of it and preach your opinion to the crowd because your opinion matters”. NO! You would tell them to shut the hell up, don’t ruin it with your dirty fingerprints and appreciate the beauty that it gives you or leave the museum. Yet, with Mother Earth, we think we are the shit, we are the ultimate catharsis of creation and we are here to make a difference (but notice, any difference we have made so far has only been ruining the originally perfect creation, not adding anything positive to it).  We are dumb humans, we don’t know how to live without causing damage and messing with the perfect masterpiece. Let’s not be so cocky to think that our ideas, thoughts and ways of life is the only good way of being/thinking because ideas/self perceptions and opinions change ALL.THE.TIME! So why do we think that where ever we are in this moment is what needs to be voiced and shouted from the top of the hill to convince everyone that they are wrong, and we are right. Because that’s all what it comes down to after all. The battles of the EGOS.

Thirdly: this puts a lot of pressure on everyone to live up to this social hype& expectations of “becoming” someone, leaving an impact on the world around us and takes the focus away from actually just “being” and enjoying what life has to offer. Why do humans always feel the need to be in charge, in control…when in reality, they have no idea what they are doing?! We are just dumb children trying to drive a car we know absolutely nothing about, yet so convinced that that’s our job…to drive, to control…and that only makes us crash into the first tree or house anyways. Instead of constantly trying to impose our ideas and world views on the world we are living in (and that functions just perfectly without our control over it anyways) we could just relax into this being, living, observing, appreciating, and following the natural flow of life. No need to put so much pressure on ourselves to be someone or something else other than who we already are. How do you know that the success you achieve is not gonna be the first step of the biggest failure you experience? How do you know for sure that what you think is your most delicious dream is not gonna turn into the worst nightmare once it comes true?! How many times have you gotten what you wanted and turned out it was not good for you at all? How many times did our best ideas backfire once we made them come true?! How can people still trust their own limited, ego-centered and arrogant ideas and world views, super imposing it on others and trying to make profit off of it. And deeming others a loser, or a failure if they don’t get in line and try to climb up on the ladder that’s leaning towards the wrong wall. Why do we hint this idea into the western people’s subconscious that the only life worth living is the one where you are admired, approved by others, conquering others, achieving high goals and becoming rich. Why is a simple life that lives in harmony with nature and doesn’t create chaos or harm to others not equally as admired or noticed or worshiped?????

Let me tell you why! Because there is no profit in it for anyone and the only person who benefits from it is the one living in peace with his life. No one else around him will be able to make money off of a person who is content with his life (what do you sell someone who has it all?), his body (who will be able to sell a diet pill or plastic surgery to the one who accepts and loves his/her own body?!), or who is present where ever he is,( instead of trying to get to anywhere BUT present moment). This idea of constant dissatisfaction is the breeding ground of all profit hungry corporations and also behind those self-help guru messages (because you will sign up for their news letters, subscribe to their YouTube channels and pay for their courses of “life changing events”.

I believe everyone has and knows this truth deep down inside, but we have been so separated from our true nature, our inner voice and our intuition that underneath all these outside influences, chatters, noises and preaching, we can’t recognize and trust what’s real anymore. And the more we listen to these noises around us, the more lost we will feel in this rat race, in this doing, achieving and accomplishing, and we will never reach the finish line, but will die in exhaustion chasing our own tails.

Instead we should just stop, quiet down and give space and time to hear what’s real, what’s underneath all this outside noise and follow it. It’s there in everyone. I think…. I hope…but again, I am not imposing this idea on anyone, because what the hell do I know?! The only thing I know for sure is that I know nothing. And the more I discover, the less sure I am about anything and everything.

mothernature5_8954

I quit being ashamed & shy about my naked body.

My friend asked me to go with her to Breitenbush Hot Springs and since I had nothing better to do, I agreed to this plan. I’ve never been to this place, but I’ve always heard the name floating around, so it was on my bucket list of things to do anyway. I packed my swimsuits, towels and flip flop and was ready to roll. Little did I know that I was in for a surprise.  As we rolled up to the property, and I asked my friend where I could change into my bathing suit, she looked at me surprised then bursted out in laughter. She then informed me that it was a nude hot springs and people don’t wear bathing suits or fig leaves around here.  I was immediately drenched in cold sweat, my face turned bloody red and I was contemplating my escape route, but she was the driver and we were pretty far from my home, so I stayed.

Mind you, I have no problem being naked or hairy (down there) …in the comfort of my home, maybe even in front of my children, if I want to be adventurous, free spirited and wild. 🙂 But I have NEVER EVER in my 35 years been to a nudist beach or hippy dippy hot springs where people of every shape and sizes ( although unfortunately there wasn’t much of the color variety ) walk around in their birthing suits, hairy as God has intended them to be. Well, I thought, this is gonna get me out of my comfort zone immediately, so I proceeded on this wild journey, and did drop my clothes as we approached the first outdoor hot tub. The scenery was serene, gorgeous and calming, but on the inside I was shy, embarrassed, nervous, stressed, my heart was beating so fast it almost jumped into the pool before me. I might have even been sweating, but it is hard to tell in a hot tub. But I made it all the way into the tub and quickly folded and twisted my tiny body into a little pretzel, trying my best to disappear and become invisible, with not much luck. Then I started noticing all the inside chatter that was going on in my head: “I bet these people are watching me. I wonder if they notice my pancake boobs with the dark areolas and big nipples. No to mention that they are soggy like war-ridden,  deflated socks. Or my pussy…oh, boy, better hide that. At this point I was actually happy that it wasn’t perfectly shaven, which would have caused me to die of embarrassment if I was caught in bed like that during intercourse, but here it was a shield of protection at least. But it is definitely not in porn star shape, by far. (Actually, not bad at all, but I am so hard on every little piece of my body, it’s not even funny anymore.) Or my belly button, boy, they will see that it is an outie. Or my posture, not straight and confident enough? But how could it be? I am trying to shrink over here, like Alice in wonderland.”

Oh, the thoughts. Then I didn’t even want to look at anyone else, I felt so weird, as if I was invading their privacy. But they dangled their privates in front of me freely, as they were exiting the sauna or the tub like this was the most natural form of existence.
In reality, it is. Underneath our clothes, we are all naked anyway. But our social and cultural conditioning got us thinking that covering up is the normal and most natural way of being. It is not the same with tribal people, but here in our “civilized” society, we believe that modesty is noble.

Once I overcame my initial shock of being naked -and so are other people around me as well-  I started talking to my friend about hang-ups, inhibitions  and where do all these things come from. My 4 yr old is already self conscious about her ARMPIT 🙂 because it has lines in it (facepalm) and that she has a side-boob if she wears a tight leotard. Where on earth does this come from, especially at this age??? So I asked my friend about the time when she first became conscious that something on her body was not “supposed to be” the way it was? Because before that thought enters your mind and we believe it, we have absolutely no problem with anything on our bodies. But once someone says something (because most of the time it is someone else pointing something out, and usually not in a nice way) and we believe it, we become aware of that body part, and we become ashamed of it. Like when I was about 13 yrs old and I was wearing my shorts at PE class, this nice “gentleboy” (cuz he wasn’t a fullbloom man just yet) next to me looked down and said: “Wow, what a mammoth legs you have. You should shave.” Never once occurred to me that my body wasn’t right the way it was, until it was pointed out to me. Just like I never realized that there could be a problem with your privates,too, until I heard guys making fun of “met curtains or beef sandwiches” or criticize someone else’s “pancake butt” or people talk about ” innies and outies”. Once you are aware of it, you create a complexion in your mind and you try to hide it or change it in order to appear “normal”. In worse cases you develop mental illnesses like anorexia, bulemia or body dysmorphic disorder.
Our prude culture sure doesn’t help this phenomena with us never being exposed to REAL naked human variety of body shapes and types. Even if we are, it’s either photo shopped, picture perfect female bodies in magazines sponsored by big beauty companies banking on our insecurities, or porn star girls with their many plastic surgeries like labioplasty, boob jobs or anal bleaching….yes, you heard me right! So how can a regular human being compete with this? When that’s your only exposure to other naked human bodies, and automatically you start comparing yourself with them, and you will fall short (cuz most of us do) then you are bound to feel less than them.  But when you do hang out with these “hippies” in nudist beaches and hot springs, you do realize that there are human bodies in ALL shapes and sizes, and no matter if you are tall or short, fat or skinny, hairy or shaven, big or small boobs or penis, innie or outie, you are all perfect as you are. You have a body, that is your vehicle, takes you everywhere, let’s you experience the hot water, let’s you enjoy earthly pleasures, helps you feel so many things that otherwise you wouldn’t be able to….and they are all perfect as they are. Anything other than this is just what YOU THINK AND BELIEVE onto them, nothing else. In reality, a body is just a body….and what I decided to think and believe onto them, is what makes me suffer or enjoy it. If I believe my body is not OK as it is, I will suffer. If I accept it as it is, and I actually appreciate it, I might even enjoy this worldly experience I am having.

The choice is mine. And thankfully by the end of the day, I switched my mindset and I was confidently walking in and out of the tubs as if being naked was the most comfortable, natural state I could ever be…. because in reality: IT IS!

 

nudist

I quit chasing the next moment…

pole-dancing

As I watched back my pole dancing videos (Yes, I do pole dance, and NO, I’m not a stripper…mind-blowing, isn’t it?) I was not happy with what I saw. Others seemed to like it, but I was bothered by something that I couldn’t really pinpoint. Something just didn’t feel right. Seemed rushed, pretentious, timid… something was off. So I sat with this feeling and instead of being ashamed, and run away from it, I was in this uncomfortable mess, trying to analyze where the feeling was coming from. What was the source of the “off-ness” of the dance?

And then I found it. I located it. It was the “not validating this moment, not lingering in it, not living it and being in it, but already thinking about the next move, and feeling like I am already behind”. Like “I’ve done this, there you go, now I gotta go, otherwise I’ll miss that invisible train.”.  While I am at the post where I have to be in that moment in time, I feel like I am already behind, because I’m not at that imaginary next step already. But that made the whole performance unenjoyable -at least for me – was that anytime I enjoyed watching someone  dance on the pole was exactly because they weren’t scared to linger in the moment, to hold the pose for 2-3 spins straight, instead of rushing into the next move too quickly. They take their time to get into a pose, and then stay in them while breathing into them for many spins and they are not afraid to be vulnerable in it, to get lost in it and show that they actually enjoy it. They are just there and we get enough time to take it all in. Because without a witness, what is the art worth?

pole-dance-photo

So that’s how I learnt that this is exactly what I do in EVERY other single area in my own life. I rush through every phase in my life as if it wasn’t important enough because I already know it, I am already in it, and that’s not where I need to be but at the next step, next phase, next anything that brings me closer to happiness. Because happiness as we all know it, is only the “next pose, next step, next job, next house, car or boyfriend away only”. 🙂 Right there, just an arm reach away, never where we are right now at the moment! 🙂 (if you haven’t caught up yet, I am being sarcastic)

But (I don’t know how to not start my sentences without a BUT or an AND…and none of them are appropriate sentence starters.) in order to create a masterpiece, and enjoyable art out of my life, I need to linger longer in each pose, in each step and each phase, without rushing into the next chapter, thinking I am already late from the movie of my life. I already missed my chance. There is time. Mostly because time is an illusion. There is nothing ever real but the NOW, the present. And the more “time” I put into it, the better the piece will look. Some poses require more time to sink in, to give the chance for the audience to take it all in and admire it, and some poses are quicker, more surprising. But (here again!…”BUT”) i I rush through it all, and there are no dramatic pauses, longer lingers, breathing into shapes and forms, therefore the harmony, the rhythm and the beauty of it is all lost in a hectic, chaotic hot mess and this is not what I am aiming for.

Take your time in each day of your life,  each step on that ladder and each phase of your life. The more painful the pose is, the prettier it looks, and the more you have to be in the moment to really do it well. Just like life. When it really hurts, that’s the time to really zone in, get centered and breath into it, relax into it and not rush getting out of it quickly.

Now go and make that masterpiece, God and Goddess! 😉ad_121400460

Quit the busyness of life

Have you noticed how busyness in this modern world became a thing to brag about? Every time I ask people how they are doing, the answer is ” I’m good but very busy. Just running around like a headless chicken.” And have you notice that most people are never busy enough to make sure that everyone around them knows how busy they are. They are posting it on social media, text it to friends and they talk about being busy all day long. As if being busy is a validation for their existence, their hard work in life and it qualifies them as a good, important citizen of the world. We have to be busy, or seem busy, to fool ourselves and others, that what we are indeed doing something important. So important that if we had stopped doing it, the whole world would collapse without our assistance.

In reality, most of us are just hiding behind this busyness. Hiding from our real feelings, our real pain and our own selves. Because if we had to slow down even for a day, silence our minds for a second, uncomfortable thoughts would pop up to the surface. Thoughts that are silenced with busyness on an average day. But in the silence they come up, full frontal to the surface, and we will have to hear them out, listen to them and deal with them. Acknowledge that they exist. And most of us are not ready to do that. So we bury ourselves in 16 hr work days, working out all day, growing a mile long to-do list, and at the end, drinking/smoking/etc so that we could handle the silence when alone.

I had two part time jobs and when I wasn’t buried in work, I had the kids to distract me from me. I did it while I could, but the beginning of this year I celebrated my birthday. January is my birth month and I did the unexpected. I looked at my finances and I realized that I don’t necessary HAVE TO work both jobs with full force, and I will still stay afloat somehow. I can take a break. I can give myself the luxury for a whole month to spend some time with myself and see what arises. After a little struggle from the mind, thinking ” but what are you gonna do? isn’t that too much of a luxury for you? how dare you being so lazy? (this thought came with my mom’s tone of voice 🙂 ) you are gonna be wasting your days when you could be earning money. blah, blah, blah”…

But I still did it. I cut my hours way back at my first job (that was stressing me out) and there I was, sitting face to face with me, myself and I with all that time on my hands.

At first I was struggling. Gosh, what am I gonna do? Funny how when I am very busy, I think I would do soooo many things if only I had time, but as soon as free time presents itself, I am lost and can’t think of one thing to do. Thankfully I didn’t have to think much, because as you know it, life is happening with or without your permission, and so it did in my case as well. Life was happening and I watched it happen, and after a deep breath, I even engaged in it wholeheartedly. I did everything it presented to me to do. I went on hikes, got a massage (haven’t had one in years), went to a sauna, I did yoga, I purged the whole house and got rid of so many things, I hung out with friends, went on walks, read books, went shopping for myself (which I haven’t done in months), started writing again, picked up pole dancing as an exercise and lived every moment as it came. I took every moment without judgement but let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. Judgment arises whether you like it or not, want it or not. It comes up. Self criticism, self hatred, in a form of ” you’ll never be enough if you don’t push hard, if you don’t work all the time, if you don’t make a lot of money, if you don’t figure out what you want to do in your life, time is ticking, quick, quick, hurry up, you gotta make something out of your life like yesterday.”

You know what? In reality, these thought were not new visitors. They were always there in the back of my mind, I was just too busy to notice them and to hear them out. And now that nothing was distracting me from them, I could hear them loud and clear.

So what am I gonna do with them? Believe all that they say and run back behind my cover of work and distraction? Hell no. No matter how much my habits and fears were screaming yes.

Instead I sat down with them, listened to them, heard them out and noticed them all. Then I stopped and asked if they were true? All the accusations, all the fear based concepts, all the threats of the mind…. turned out none of them were true. Turned out, all the hard wired, deeply drilled thoughts, concepts and “truths” were nothing but a lie. A lie I believed for 3 decades without questioning them once.

Once I discovered the true nature of my thoughts, ideas that were driving me crazy for so long, I gave permission to myself to just relax into being. Just relax into my body, my mind, my soul, my present moment, and stop future tripping about “what will be?” and thinking that I am in control of the whole universe. Instead I made my number 1 focus to do what seem, feels right to me. To listen to me more, to make myself a priority (which again, in today’s world, in mommyland, it is not a well-accepted idea) and by getting rid of soul and time sucking activities in my life, I provided the space and time for new ideas to pop up in my life. And they did. They had to. Something had to fill up the void that it created. And what a ride it has been. I am enjoying my days, I learnt to enjoy the art of non-doing, the gift of being, the listening, (to myself and others), the weightless being, the less panicking, and the more relaxing days.

There is life beyond busyness. Matter of fact, that’s where real life really starts.

So dare to “unbusy” yourself, and be brave enough to rest, relax, play and listen once in a while. It is worth it.

“It takes courage to say yes to rest & play in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a status symbol.” (Brene Brown)