It's come to my awareness that everything that comes into our field (physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally), are all serving as tools for our personal transformation on this incredibly intricate grid.
I was chatting with my girl friend the other day about how watching fear-induced films, or even the trauma we take on via social media (getting cyber bullied), has a detrimental impact on our mental health.
Our body spits out stress hormones in the case of survival. Your body doesn't know the difference between you witnessing someone get chased on a drama film or you actually getting chased by a predator.
Why is this meaningful?
You are signaling your brain that you are getting attacked (weather you are watching a movie or not) and therefore your body is in a constant state of worry or fear.
The stress shower began when I submitted to watching the 1992 Basic Instinct, an erotic thriller film featuring the seductive temptress Sharon Stone and Michael Douglass. My boyfriend turned it on. The title sounded appealing and I am a fan of 90s movies (I am a 90s baby and everything within that era appeals to me), the scene opened with an erotic sex scene, my Scorpio nature was hooked in.
I became the prey in a mind of predators.
I'm looking back at this blog draft, its been 9 months since I initially had this stress-provoking experience. I've had a deeper attention to understanding why I am turned off (or should I say turned on) to these experiences on a subconscious level.
You may be addicted to the stress or pain and you don't even know it. It's taken time for me to take inventory on my experiences and investigate my behaviors with compassion and acceptance.
This may seem extreme to take it this far (it was just a movie), but there is much meaning in my experience. So much that it has me typing this at 1 AM to shift and release this energy (a stress response to old behaviors I'm working through).
We had erotic sex midway through the movie, and a part of me is sure that looking back on it, was a total trauma response to the side of me that was addicted to the stress, eroticisms and the pleasure pain principle.
I sat beneath Father Sky and the Great Mother entwining me from all directions, I lit my tobacco and asked for their attention, most of all, I asked for forgiveness. Sure, there are worse things to be forgiven for than watching a trauma-induced movie, but it triggered something in me for a reason. A reason of recognition. Recognition of myself, my emotions, my behaviors and my response to those behaviors.
After watching and opening discussing with my partner about this agreement we both mutually signed into (another way of me saying turning on a drama that fed both of our pain bodies simultaneously), we decided to watch movies and docs that are educational and empowering, HAHA!
Stress and adversity open the door to change and growth.
This experience has allowed me to look at where I have a tendency to suppress my emotions, and rather than "stuff my feelings" with sex, food, or movies, I can choose to REFLECT and TRUST my process.
You can choose to recognize your relationships, and stress responses' influence on your energetic body and observe the experience with patience. It's not about getting rid of it, but rather integrating and becoming the observer.
"And once the storm is over, you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won't even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won't be the same person who walked in. That's what this storm's all about."―Haruki Murakami
Be gentle on yourself. Sometimes my mind has a tendency to skip ahead a few steps but then I have gratitude for the step that I am standing on right now, this is the most important step of all because I am here right now! How liberating, right!?
Feed the animal in you which brings you joy and pleasure! Anything less is a dis-service to yourself. Take intentional action on things which are serving your greatness... you're a star!!!
I've come from a codependent upbringing. During childhood and teen years, my parents were "abusing" themselves with alcohol and other fixes, and at a very young age, I witnessed this behavior and confused it for love.
Do you ever feel so stuck, you're just praying for the signs to be heard and answered? My prayers were answered, at least for today. Tomorrow is the unknown. Something so simple can spark such great inspiration. And so, in times of chaos and duality, the one thing we can control is ourselves, our focus, and our attitude towards a person, place or thing.
Now that I am an adult, I am experiencing love at first hand and I recognize my tendency to avoid it or "run away" from it, as my little child had done or made the decision to do when she was vulnerable and afraid.
Now that I am an adult, I am my own mother to my inner child. I know that previous illusions of "love" can be dissolved and I don’t need to hide away or run from current relationships (including the relationship with myself) because I know what is safe and supportive for me (and my inner child). I have the opportunity to tell her she is safe and she can be direct about how she feels and when she feels it (and then I give her a long embrace, literally.)
What Our Society Says About Feelings
Our culture splits our feelings into two categories: good and bad. Anger, pain, fear and shame are labeled as bad or negative. Joy, passion and love are considered good or positive. Pia Mellody (Facing Codependence) says that "this sort of black and white categorizing is erroneous and dysfunctional.
We are constantly being labeled and worrying about which emotions are acceptable or not. This puts a lot of pressure on us! For example, if a man is afraid, he's a coward. It's acceptable for a woman to be afraid because she is weak and vulnerable, but if a woman is angry then she is a witch, but a man's anger is him exerting his power…" it’s all a bunch of crap!
Another message society imposes on us is that pain is not acceptable (for men or women). The code I interpret when I hear this is that "I don’t have a right to have pain, or I am not worthy of pain, so I should take what I need to numb it", which leads to higher rates of drug and alcohol abuse/ addictions.
Pia says that, "wisdom and maturity come from facing pain and learning from it... we are a nation of very immature people who don’t have the willingness to experience the pain that leads to authentic wisdom. We haven't learned how to tolerate pain and deal with it as an agent of positive change."
"Emotional damage most profoundly sabotages our lives as adult codependents," says Pia. The moment I decided to understand my emotional numbness (rather than being in denial of it) and slowly open to feel is one great step towards liberation!
A behavior that codependents often have trouble expereincing is setting functional boundries and owning and expressing their own reality. Their needs and wants get mixed up in a storm of what other people need and want (people pleasing) and their personal expression is not being met moderately, nor is it being owned. I've always been very passive aggressive in my words and actions. And up until now, I didn’t realize it was a defect, I took pride in it. (HA!)
I can relate a lot to this… in fact, I am slowly recovering from this dysfunctional, less-than nurturing "parenting" style. As a child, it was all that I knew, the intensity was normal and if I didn’t feel this intensity in myself, in my relationships, sex life, family, food… then I thought something is wrong with me! And worse, I tried to numb myself (and my emotions) for many years in thinking that my behavior was valid and sane when in fact, the more I come to think of it, my life had become unmanageable!
A Willingness to Heal
In Pia Mellody's, Facing Codependence, she explains that feeling healthy emotions is a positive experience. And that as long as each emotion is expressed in a healthy and functional way (not bypassing or numbing), each of our emotions has a specific purpose and can serve as a teacher for us! Below are core emotions and perspective on each:
Joy gives us hope and a sense of abundance or "I have enough."
Passion gives us an energy that motivates us to create and to survive.
Love is a sense of warmth for self or another that motivates us to treat ourselves and others well. It gives us a sense of inherent worth.
Anger gives us the strength we need to do what is necessary to take care of ourselves. We can use anger in a healthy way to our own best interest by facing it and expressing it in non-abusive ways (to ourselves or to other support).
Fear helps us protect ourselves. We become alert to the possibility of danger when we feel fear, that way we can safely protect ourselves. Healthy fear keeps us from getting into relationships that would not be in our own best interest. (A question I asked myself during meditation... "Would... be of my best interest? "Would it be of my best interest to...?" and so on... listening to my body's reaction/ and considering your heart).
Pain motivates us to grow towards increasing maturity. Life is full of pain-producing "problems", that is normal and healthy. Feeling the pain produces growth, ability to heal from past events, and a maturity to learn and move on. Repressing the pain and not facing it (or medicating/ abusing substance in some way) keeps us injured and immature.
Guilt is a healthy warning system telling us we have transgressed a value we considered to be important. Meaning, what you thought was important and was previously damaged/ hurt by it, is serving as a gentle sign for you to recognize your behavior and evolve. By feeling our guilt, we can shift our behavior and decide to live up to our values.
Shame tells us that we are imperfect and that we are not God. Although, according to our culture, we may feel shame but "we're not supposed to talk about it... our lives are filled with experiences of shame." Pia says, "codependency is a shame-based illness and it's hard to recover when the one thing we need to talk about is not supposed to be revealed or discussed." Our own healthy shame serves as a reminder to self that we are perfectly imperfect (as I like to say), and we can learn to be accountable and responsible for our own actions and the world around us.
Walking Through the Door
These times bring up so much uncertainty. In a world with so much chaos echoing all around us, it is most important that we listen to our greatest M.V.P... our heart!! As well as trust ourselves and ask ourselves, "What is most important for me right now?" or "What is good for my soul right now?".
I've been the "love avoidant" all my life, because I witnessed a distorted version of love as a child and decided back then to turn away or "avoid" love. Now that I am an adult, I can walk through the shadows, pain and sorrow (all those "black" emotions") and allow them to come up and out without judgement or shame. This is so liberating! I can now see and feel with a new pair of spectacles (and an ever evolving skin suit)! But of course, I had to experience all that I did to come to this realization, how magical!
These days bring so much distortion and it is hard to tell what is true and what is false. Asking ourselves, "What is true?" or "Is it true for me?" is a good place to start when making decisions about your future!! Let's not forget to always invite JOY and PLAY into our relationships, intents, words, and actions!!
It is okay to ask for clarity and take as much time as we need to process our daily experiences. Imagine you get in a car accident and the little child is in the back seat... post accident, everyone is safe, but the little child is traumatized by such an extreme experience. We have to hold our inner child and tell him/ her that we are okay, we are going to be safe, and allow as much time as you need to walk through the door. I always say "take baby steps" or as my mentor says "micro-commitments". And remember, saying "no" is a sentence. When you say "no" to someone else, you say "yes" to yourself.
“Even when I detach, I care. You can be separate from a thing and still care about it.” ― David Levithan
Featured Photo @rosa.scipion
Other photos taken by me on my most recent adventure to Kauai
Highly recommend books "Love Addiction" and "Facing Codependency" by Pia Mellody
What's a leader? What defines a leader in our world? We have been conditioned to think that a leader is someone outside of us; which can be true; although, in times like these, we must center on our inner (cheer) leader.
Think of anyone who's always intrigued you, challenged your beliefs, caused you to feel a certain way, sad, happy, angry; someone that inspires you... why? What qualities do they possess that allows you to put so much of your attention on them?
In truth, we cannot be looking outside for the answers. We can be curious and ask for help, but it is certain that your answers are already stored in your very own tool box; the toolbox called your heart. Your intuition is your most sacred and valuable tool, which has been given to you to use to navigate this earth and the life that you create for yourself. We are so fortunate. Not only do we have a heart to navigate, we have a mind to constantly challenge incoming and existing thoughts and beliefs that we encounter everyday.
With our heart to come to for direction when we are stuck, our mind to process our internal dialogue, and our spirit which embodies our physical... who would fear intimacy with such an intelligent creature? We were never taught how to consume, digest, process, store, purge, and heal... as complex as life may seem, it is so simple you see. I could (and I have) spent lifetimes simply discovering and uncovering my own body's unique and authentic faucets. This is part of my process. Your process may be completely different.
When we love our individual process and we honor our metamorphosis, our transformation becomes like a drug, and we fall madly in love with our "home".
The difference between us and an animal is that an animal knows one thing: survival. On the other hand, we are given the gift of intuition; a direct connection to Source/ God itself, a connection that created us, drives us, and powers our sole/soul purpose here on this wonderful Earth. Because we hold the tool for being/ existing in our core, we are meant to lead others which have not discovered their tools yet, on the path of discovery, to let them know, "hey you have a toolbox, if you need help using it, I am here to guide you, but you possess it, it is not going anywhere, and it will bring you home".
The process to discovery is meant to be challenging. If it was easy, we wouldn't need tools. We don't need to know where we are going and we don't need to put pressure on ourselves. Pressure comes from conditioning of society, conditioning of the self and how we should be, who we should be; we weren't given a manual at birth, a manual that says who you are and what you will do. No, that would be boring and meaningful and completely lifeless... you might as well be dead. So now you see why it is okay to feel lost, lonely, and vulnerable, it is our nature (only for a short time). We are given tools (I am referring to your heart, intuition, mind and body), tools to pick up, and practice, again and again and again.
I came into this body with one big heart and so did you. I possess a heart that feels for your heart and that wants to play and unite other hearts. Drop all expectations and beliefs of being separate from one another. You are alive right now to make clear your "why", your reason for being on this planet at this time, because by you being alive in a fully functioning body (you could not have a body or a leg or something... think how fortunate you are); you are beautiful because you are you.
Think back to the leaders.... what makes them so powerful to you? They are so incredibly different from you... and you are so different from them. They have a purpose, a message to convey to the masses, and guess what, so do you. Have that conversation with yourself, what brings you joy? Why are we all here connected to each other? The answer is to unite and empower each other in authentic ways.
Why are we faced with challenges and with the constant illusion of fear blanketing the earth? It is there for us to observe and detach from the low vibration. Break out your toolbox, the earth is under construction right now, and same for each of us individually.
Its time to lay out all your tools, observe, touch, study, wonder, and make use of the time for ultimate pleasure. As much as you may want to pull up a "how to..." with all the resources we have available at our fingertips, always challenge what you see and hear, and use the knowledge as a stepping stone as you pave your path to your almighty heart. This is not the time to detour another way because all paths lead to your heart. That being the case, face your truth now so you can lead together. If you want to detour that's cool too, do what you have to do. Only you know whats best for you.
Be like the little child that has all the toys/ tools scattered all over the floor, picking one up, one at a time, going slow and existing in you right now for a reason. Tune into its vibration and share conversation with it. The whole universe is working with you to be breathing right now. Create the moment. Craft a story. Build a strong foundation for your empire. You have to clean up all the toys if you want to start a new project.
Use this time (because you have and you always will, have all the time in the world) to pick up the pieces and clear the space/ unwanted energy that isn't serving you or your higher self. Start there. Take your time. One block at a time. You got this. Let's concentrate on our toolbox so much that we can trust one another to operate in each others field. It is essential that we show up for our individual process while showing up with acceptance and compassion for each other. Facilitating in the healing of the collective is the foundation of our future.
You are your own (cheer) leader. Focus your energy and emotion on what brings you joy and pleasure and plant this seed deep into the rich soil. Nourish your seed with patience, pure water, high alkaline foods (plant-based), a strong like-minded conscious community, peace, loving thoughts, and courageous work. Craft the spaceship of your dreams... then don't stop there... keep creating and helping others craft. We are one heart. Let's work on the construction of our home together. We need each other. We are coming home.
"Leadership is ultimately about creating a way for people to contribute to making something extraordinary happen."
Think about a the state of a baby. The abundance of nature happening all around them remains interlinked with their true nature. Their breath is in effortless harmony with the gust of the wind, their emotions express a bird's deprived cry, they don't know the difference between their mother's warm embrace or an animals furry hug because all is love in their big sparkling eyes. No one has conditioned the baby (yet), or made them believe what is right or wrong, good or bad, who they are or what role they have to play. Their very existence is one with everything that surrounds them. As above, so below.
"We live in a world where we are taught that to survive we need to be strong (masculine) and that vulnerability (feminine) is something negative or dangerous."
Most of us, in some form or another, have grown up disconnected from the core of what makes us human, our feelings, and this plays a major role in our view of the world and the relationships we have. We are told at a young age that doctors are the ones to heal us, fix us, and make us feel better when we feel "bad". Under acute circumstances, we are given "medicine" or directed to take some form of action to mend what's been "off" in our body. Over the years, we are prescribed remedies for a short term-effective fix, or worse, medications on a long term basis to cure chronic illness. Observing the relationship between the vehicle (your body) and the driver (your mind) will open doors in which you didn't know existed before. The solution is simple: you drive your body or let your body drive you.
Every memory we have in our life imprints in our cells. Those cells dictate our response to reality and the world around us. Rather than letting your anger or stress control you, take responsibility for what you feel right now. When you no longer associate yourself as a "victim" of your environment or body, you literally step into your super power as an awakened conscious human being. It's as if the Gods descended from the heavens above and bestowed super powers upon you. The Gods have already chosen you and your super power(s), its called birth.
"When we learn to respond to hurt in new and healthy and empowering ways, we literally are changing the chemistry of hurt in our bodies." (Gregg Braden)
We are human... sometimes we give our power away, or loose ourselves in the illusion of reality, and/or have weird days... that's okay and that is what makes this life so authentic! Embrace your weirdness (your super power) and draw your boundaries. Don't give too much power away to your doctor, nor to your best friend. Listen to your body and follow its feeling. Strive for a harmonic balance between a healthy diet, exercise, conscious breathing, and self-love. When your body feels good, so do you!
If you are stuck and need some guidance in accessing your super power to heal yourself and the collective, tune into your heart. "The heart knows the correct answer because it taps into the field of pure potentiality and infinite organizing power, and takes everything into account. The heart is intuitive and holistic; it has a win-win orientation. And though the answer may not seem rational, the heart is far more accurate than anything within the realm of rational thought." (The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success).Trust your hearts guidance. It will lead you down the path of highest protection and unconditional support.
Joe Dispenza says, "the power that made the body heals the body." The day you wake up and tell your body/ brain differently, you begin to train your body and mind into new ways of being.
We are like very intelligent animals. We create our environment which dictates the way our body responds to its surroundings. If you don’t tell yourself something different, your body goes into "sleep mode" and you are like a robot repeating the same patterns over and over.
Your environment (habitat, daily rituals, relationships,...) is a direct reflection of your internal manifestations. "The quantum field responds not to what we want; it responds to who we are being.” The only one who can physically and mentally heal you is you.
It is our nature to experience the unknown and gain different perspectives, weather that be with plant medicine, holistic healers, mediums, therapists, doctors, support groups, all are valid and some-what reliable, yet, at the end of the day, it's up to you to do the work and mutate the way you live day to day. Honor your intuition. Sometimes, it's just as simple as taking a breath.
The path of knowledge means taking responsibility for everything that you believe to be "yours" in this physical world (in reality, nothing physically belongs to you; you belong to the earth, and you will go back to the earth when you die/ reincarnate). It is our consciousness, our super powers, that drive us forward to ascend higher and higher. We are not meant to simply exist, we are meant to thrive.
“Hearts united in pain and sorrow will not be separated by joy and happiness. Bonds that are woven in sadness are stronger than the ties of joy and pleasure. Love that is washed by tears will remain eternally pure and faithful.” ―Khalil Gibran, Love Letters in the Sand: The Love Poems of Khalil Gibran
I woke up and honored the sun rising, beginning the day with a few sun salutations and a short morning flow of stretches and qi-gong that my body thanks me for upon rising. I enjoy to make up a flow as I go. It all depends on my body's feeling, so I listen to her (my body/my temple) and act. Every sun rise is different, so why not embrace the uniqueness in my body each day as well.
The enchanting island is alive and enriched with magic. She is growing with wild bush, cherry trees, fig trees, olive trees, wild herbs and wild flowers filling every space of her naked land. Her heart is in the middle which is guarded by the mountains. The story of Samothrace (aka Samothraki) is said that the island used to be virgin, which was held by the priests and priestesses that inherited the land throughout time. It wasn't until the fire was brought from Mount Athos (male/light) to Samothraki (female/dark), that radiated light from her crystal core, illuminating her mysterious presence from miles across the sea. Population of 2,500 humans and 100,000 goats.
She wore her elements beautifully.
The sun is alive and the birds are singing; it is a beautiful day. Today is "spiritual purification" day, meaning on this day, we allow ourselves to break free from the daily habitual norms and envelop ourselves in all the ways to spiritually purify our mind, body, and soul using the 5 elements: Earth, Fire, Water, Air, and Ether (Love).
This includes fasting and honoring the day in silence. Sometimes our ego/mind makes up a big story about fasting or not talking for a duration of time, the truth is, once you surrender, there are no barriers. Your mind and body is free to bathe in the abundant life spiraling all around at every moment.
"When I feel in alignment and in flow, it's as if the whole universe is dancing with me. And that dance wasn’t taught or learned, I know the steps because it is imprinted in my cells. My purpose on this earth is to do my dance. My steps are authentic and effortless. There is grace, passion, and laughter integrated in my moves. I can feel the sensations of my body dancing with joy, time doesn’t exist, I am a vortex of abundance and my heart is the music box."
Samothraki (Samothrace), Greece
Photography + Words by Dani
Infinite Love to Global Breathing Awareness―AGAPI ❤
Walking through a kaleidoscope of colors, filled with authentic art, vibrant food, doors to the unknown and a radiant energy filling the streets. As we accompanied many curious travelers, whom were passing through day by day, we felt safe, welcomed, and respected in the beautiful historic town. This is San Miguel de Allende.
Woke up in casa Air B&B. Cosimo took me upstairs to the rooftop terrace, where the sun was beginning to rise over the eastern sky. The sun filled us up on this beautiful clear morning. We park the car and begin our walking adventure! We are led by heart, into markets, shops, art galleries, and museums. The town is exploding with colors every step we take. The more we stumble upon the cobbled back roads, the more we get a taste of the vibrancy. The warm colors paint our hearts, as we soak up the authentic details of the old historical town.
The locals were very respectful to tourism and travelers such as ourselves, many smiles on faces as we wandered the streets. We capture moments, take rest stops for tea, indulge in street sweet treats, rooftop nap on the terrace, more tea time, and play in the colorful artsy shops. The town is a warm rainbow; as if all of my favorite colors threw up on the city and painted its skin with life. We walk on our path knowing that all those colors fill us up. We will continue to spill out our authentic colors every step we take.
In Zen Buddhism, an 'ensō' is a circle that is hand-drawn in one or two uninhibited brushstrokes to express a moment when the mind is free to let the body create.
Sophie, a soul that I briefly met once before, with her partner, after they stayed at my father's property when visiting California from Holland. It wasn't until our chance encounter during golden hour at Echo Beach in Canggu, Bali that we met again. There was this exchange of energy with the couple, that when I met them, I felt right to put the time and effort into the relationship. It just flowed, we flowed.
At the time, Sophie was nurturing her creative life in Bali, by checking up on her jewelry production, which was being produced locally, while also taking a spontaneous detour to enjoy the Island of the Gods with her partner. I've seen Sophie's work (photography) through her Instagram, and it was something that I was very fond of–abstract, moody, and raw. It didn't strike me as anything ordinary, in fact the exact opposite, which I was mentally and physically drawn to.
We had planned to get together, along with a make-up artist and a stylist to join in the creative project (whom as a result, did not end up joining us). The simplicity of the work of Sophie and I unaccompanied, was in fact the whole vibe itself.
Creative life takes form, just like a river in a storm.
"Woman's eyes flash as they create...their faces flush with life, their hair shines...excited by the idea, aroused by the possibilities impassioned by the very thought, and are meant to flow outward and continuously on their own unparalleled creative path."
"...the one who is aroused, the one who in her heart rushes to touch everything she can to make grow takes the form of this river." [Women Who Run with the Wolves]
Sophie and I met at the crack of dawn. She had some ideas to begin with, which she showed me previously, but these just came as a source of inspiration. It was just us and the nature surrounding.
The circular bond between two beings. The flow of energy within each body, and those bodies surrounding us. Me, Sophie and the nature in flow, creating waves of vibrations, moving in all directions. Some vibrations you can hear, like the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks at my feet. Some vibrations you can see, like the subtle breeze as it brushes against my scalp. Others, you can feel, like the sunshine crystallizing on my face.
My head space was empty. I felt the linen brush against my skin, the ocean splash across my ankles... it was as if Sophie wasn't even there, as if I was there, present among all the vibrations of the universe forming a circle around me.
The song of no mind—the lucid melody of nature at play.
"There is a continual dance of creation and annihilation, of mass changing into energy and energy changing to mass. Transient forms sparkle in and out of existence, creating a never-ending, forever newly created reality."
Sophie's brain sends an impulse to her fingers, which share a vibration to the camera, to trigger the lens to close and open manually. What we know as taking a photo is a choreographed dance of vibrations which will never be danced the same one-way again.
This dance never stops.
Activate your beating drum resonating inside of you. This melody can serve as a tool for you to access - a paintbrush to create.
Tune into your melody. Swim in the waters. Dance to the ecstasy of the inner flow.
Brian and I spent the golden evening frolicking around, on the somewhat quiet streets of Abbot Kinney in Venice Beach. We enjoyed playing around, like kids in the park before dark, producing content for brand @mvmtforher. Brian juggles three different cameras... I like that. One camera in specific being his 35mm film camera, which he had managed to have some captures left over on the roll. An unexpected surprise, apart from the usual DSLR camera. One week later the roll turned out a little something like this...