Marco and I spent the weekend in a training with one of our teachers and a big part of the training is about getting neutral to life. What do I mean when I say neutral? It means not having a charge or giving your energy to an outcome or circumstance. Or in LeRoy’s words, “becoming at Ease with one’s dis-Ease. Being neutral is not reacting to anything that you, another person, a group, an organization, a government, or a country — thinks, says, or does, or doesn’t think, say or do.”
When people are first introduced to this topic, I often hear them say that it sounds like you are learning not to care about something which is far from the truth. You can still care about something and not allow yourself to go weak to it. It is allowing you to not be bothered by it, to maintain your calmness and peacefulness. You learn to stop giving your power away to the thing you are addressing.
Let’s look at an example.
When Mesías was born, the hospital scared us with SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and told us we must always lay him on his back to sleep, that he should be swaddled and that he should never sleep in our bed. Well don’t you know Mesías slept the best on his stomach, unswaddled and in our bed. HA! Figures! In fact, the kid wouldn’t sleep any other way! So of course Marco and I were scared that he would get suffocated! We constantly checked on him to make sure he was still breathing and sometimes I still catch myself doing it! We were NOT neutral to this at all!
So HOW DO YOU GET Neutral?
Step 1: Worst Case Scenario
What is the worst possible thing that could happen? – Mesías dies.
What’s worse? – Mesías dies. Everyone blames me. Marco and I divorce because of it.
What’s worse than that? – I can never get over the death, I’m all alone and miserable for the rest of my life. Marco feels all the same things too.
What’s worse than that? – This misery continues for all eternity.
In practice I could keep going to worse and “worser” case scenarios if I needed to or if they came to mind.
Step 2: Best Case Scenario
What is the best possible thing that could happen? – Mesías sleeps.
What’s better than that? – We all sleep.
What’s better than that? – We all sleep and feel refreshed.
What’s better than that? – Because we can sleep and are refreshed we can engage more fully in life.
Again this could continue to additional better case scenarios . . .
Step 3: Check Your Energy to the Best Worst Case Scenarios
When you focus on the situation, does anything still bother you? In my example it doesn’t but if your energy is still going weak to either the worst case or best case scenario, then you would continue to worsen the worst case scenarios, and improve the best case scenarios.
Step 4: Get Neutral
Why do we get neutral to those best and worst case scenarios? Accept that neither is likely and reality often falls somewhere in between. Get neutral to reacting to the downward spiral of the worst case scenario. The worst case scenario might be obvious, but why do we get neutral to the best case scenario?!?! To avoid building anticipation, expectation, or anxiety around an unrealized reality. It’s great if it happens and we can still enjoy it if it does, but if it doesn’t that’s ok too!
THEN! You will have found neutrality.
Another way to do this quickly, but involves awareness… If you catch yourself doing “what ifs” then flip the what if to a positive or negative.
What if I let Mesías sleep on his belly and he suffocates? … What if I let Mesías sleep on his belly and he has the best sleep ever?
What if I let Mesías sleep unswaddled and he scratches himself? … What if I let Mesías sleep unswaddled and he sleeps soundly?
What if I let Mesías sleep with me and I suffocate him? … What if I let Mesías sleep with me and he sleeps though the night?
Now, doesn’t that just take the drama out of it all? I love to claim I want a drama free life… if that is true I just found the answers!
Let me know if you have any questions or need help getting neutral to something!
There are many of you who are distraught, anxious and fearful of what may come and there some of you who are excited through the moon, but please know that everything always works out! There has never been a time that this hasn’t been the case. What happened today is just a reflection, a projection of truth. It is a mirror image of where society really is and to deny that is just compressing it. We are all racists, all sexists, and all judgmental. A lot of these thoughts are kept within ourselves because we are judging them to be terrible things. I admit to those qualities within myself and I have seen them in reactions towards his behaviors. Here is a person who is just able to state his thoughts out loud – to be really vulnerable. The true question you need to ask yourself is what is it about him that really upsets you because it is a reflection of what you don’t like within yourself. How can you take that knowledge then and do something different?
Then I want to you ask yourself what is the worst thing that could happen out of all of this? Really get down there in the worst situation and then just keep going. Then ask yourself what is the best thing that could happen from all of this and then keep going to the best thing ever! After you have done this find somewhere in the middle to sit because this will most likely be our reality and then you can find that sense of peace in balance, find the space of neutrality. Have feelings about it, but continue to remind yourself that it will all work out!
Hopefully through all of this it will just allow more space for love and compassion instead of hate. All these things are coming up because we have been pushing them down. Now it’s time to be passionate about something – passionate about changing yourself first! We can only make a difference that way. We can only love fully and be compassionate towards others when we have mastered that within ourselves. So instead of weeping about today, think of what a great opportunity you have been given to do some work within yourself to get to that space of complete love and acceptance for yourself first and then for others.
At the end of the day we know that in our society one man/woman doesn’t have all the power – there is a whole group of people who have to make the decisions. BUT the power you do have is within yourself – how you decide to move forward with how you love and take care of yourself.
Nourish yourself with postpartum practices and foods! Read on…
In honor of our first monthly mama’s playdate at the studio (and Sherri’s approaching due date), I want to call attention to some ways to support mothers postpartum. In my experience as a new mother, for some reason it was difficult to overtly ask for help, although when help was freely given, I desperately drank it up and wailed tears of gratitude. The later stages of pregnancy and early stages postpartum have been in my experience a time of high emotion, general fogginess and the fierce softness that comes with labor, delivery and the precious time with a fresh new baby. My mom describes this time as existing “between two worlds” and I have not yet found a better way to describe it. Becoming a mother is to be the vessel of the incarnation of spirit. The veil between the two worlds is sheer, leaving the mother feeling both otherworldly and animalistic, both spirit and entirely human in all its rawness. This kind of sensitivity may be new, or not, but either way, there is nothing quite like it.
I can not speak to every woman’s experience of pregnancy but the second time around for me was settling, a call to slow down. After the baby was born, it was a time to do less and take rest, to be present with new baby, and to allow the healing process (and rest and relaxation is an absolutely necessary state for healing). There have been so many blogs written about ways to support new mothers postpartum. Do the laundry, bring meals, don’t stay too long (if at all), come by and hold the baby while mama showers, etc. All of this advice is very helpful. I want to delve a little deeper into who to invite as a supportive caretaker after the baby is born and the most nourishing foods to eat for the optimal digestion and healing.
Here’s the thing: Whether you’ve had a textbook birth, a long labor with emergency c-section, an epidural, a natural homebirth in the tub, etc., birth is traumatic for the body! And you are still between two worlds months after the baby is born, so you may feel like you’re floating (free floating emotions are very real at this time – LOVE in a way you’ve never felt before, worry, anxiety, exhaustion, sadness, etc. all in the same minute). So here’s the message I want to convey through this post – ASK FOR HELP and NOURISH YOURSELF with healthy, healing, womb-friendly foods. Your digestive system will be delicate and in need of restorative and balancing foods (see recipe list below!). You will want to be surrounded by those you love and feel supported by. Your mother and/or mother-in-law may be lovely women, but depending on the nature of those relationships, you may want to put limitations on those visitations. You can have your partner gently direct visitors to protect you and your space. In my experience, women friends who prepare delicious foods are my favorite. They come by and kiss your forehead, ask if you need any help, and leave the food. An idea I borrowed from a friend, I sent out an email before the baby came to all the women I love and feel supported by to ask for their help – a beautiful exercise for me in opening up and acceptance. (Pictured below is Christine lovely delivering fresh juice and nut milk to a postpartum friend!)
Postpartum doulas and caretakers are available for hire! It is worth the money to spend this precious and glorious time in peace and wellbeing.
You may find that you are more hungry breastfeeding than you were during pregnancy. Postpartum, I craved warm soupy protein-laden foods (my baby was born in March so it was cold outside) like oatmeal and rice/lentil dishes with lots of Indian spices. Kitarchi is an Ayurvedic dish made with mung beans and rice that pacifies all the body types and is very healing and restorative. Fennel tea, molasses, and sunflower seed butter helps to bring in the breastmilk. A cup of tea with sunflower butter and hemp seeds (and maybe some honey or maple syrup) on toast is a nice snack. Fresh juices made with beets and greens are really also really nice. Here are some links to recipes that I really enjoyed. I also recommend the book, The Whole Pregnancy Handbook for pregnancy and breastfeeding nutrition information.
Healing Ayurvedic Kitchari by Natureal Mom
Nepali Rice Pudding Recipe by Real Foods Witch
Here’s a nice resource from Seed to Health – my favorite recipe is the Lentil Rice Casserole.
I ate a lot of oatmeal with coconut butter and dressed it up with goji berries and hemp seeds (PROTEIN!), bananas, cinnamon, or whatever flavors you are feeling.
Feeling supported and nourished allows us to heal, grow and learn. It is so very important.
Eating seasonally is best for the body and the planet (and Lord knows, she needs some love right about now). Michael Pollen, longtime advocate for local, slow, seasonal food, is also a huge proponent of cooking at home primarily because we as consumers make better health choices by planning in advance and home-cooking is proven to be better for the environment.
That all being said, FALL IS MY FAVORITE FOOD SEASON. Most every season I participate in a yogi seasonal cleanse with one of my fabulous teachers. She is trained in Ayurveda, the sister science to Yoga, the Dharma Yoga diet and raw food cuisine – she has combined these principles to create a compassionate and updated diet that will bring radiant health to the body and mind. I have learned SO MUCH from these cleanses; it’s unreal. What we choose to eat is loaded – politically, emotionally, socially – so we all must do our best to make personal upgrades. Another message that has seeped into my heart-mind: we all deserve the best ingredients to support the best health possible. This notion is especially potent when coupled with mindful buying, paying attention to labels, fair trade products, etc. I think it’s also important to note (I can’t write this blog post with this left unsaid), you can eat well within your price range! Make a few updates at a time – for example, smoothies for breakfast – using fruits and vegetables, even if you can’t afford the organic variety (check out the dirty dozen list to help you decide what to buy conventional or organic).
Okay, so what’s on the menu for fall? During this windy, dry season, it’s good to bring balance and grounding with nourishing soups and stews, seasonal root vegetables and squashes, and as always, LOTS of greens. I want to share a recipe that was shared with me via the cleanse group. This soup is perfect in every way (especially with the fresh ginger and turmeric root) and sooooo easy/inexpensive. Check it::
1 cup red lentils
5 small garnet yams, peeled and chopped
2 Tbsp fresh turmeric, grated or finely diced (if you don’t have fresh, 1-2 tsp powder will do it)
4 Tbsp ginger, grated or finely diced
1 Tbsp coconut oil
6 cups vegetable broth
¼ cup coconut milk
1 tsp salt
Black pepper to taste
Garnish with A TON of chopped cilantro
Add coconut oil to soup pot at medium heat. Get the pan nice and hot, then add grated turmeric, ginger and lentils. Saute for 3-5 minutes until fragrant and then add yams. Toss until coated and slightly caramelized. Add stock and bring to gentle boil, then simmer until yams and lentils are soft. Turn off the heat and add coconut milk and cilantro. (When I made this soup, I also added chopped kale for extra greeeeens).
A tip from a friend: when you reheat this soup, add a ton more fresh cilantro!!!
Yoga is spreading like wildfire across the country and the world, and with good reason! The sacred science is just that, a science – meaning with consistent practice, Yoga will systematically take you as deep as you are willing to go. Once you get a taste of the bliss, or “yoga high,” it will leave you wanting more, which is why you see so many folks walking around with yoga mats on their backs and yoga studios filling up daily classes. Culturally, we tend to binge on entertainment to stimulate and satisfy the senses, but bingeing on Yoga will only lead you deeper into infinite knowledge and union with your higher Self (!!). Bingeing on asana, or postural yoga (the exercise), can surely create exercise junkies and enable more activity in the mind and body. Eventually you may notice that it is not working anymore. So you have to go deeper, more subtle. Here’s what I’ve learned in my many years of practice and from my Yoga teacher, Sri Dharma – with constant practice, you will reap the benefits. To practice a little everyday is better than practicing A LOT OF YOGA two or three days a week. This makes sense for me now more than ever as a mother to a 4 year old and 6 month old. Gone are the days when I could practice 2 hours everyday! I mean, binge all you want! But don’t neglect the practice on the days you don’t get to a class.
What does “practice a little everyday” look like? For me, it means 20 minutes of meditation in the morning and 30 minutes of asana with a baby rolling around next to me. Sometimes it looks like 10 minutes of pranayama and reading a Yogic text or article to fan the flames inside my heart. I practice asana in the grass while my boys play outside! It looks different everyday according to my needs. Sometimes I make it to a 90 minute yoga class! That being said, taking classes and connecting with community through your local studio or practice space has been so nurturing to me. In my experience, the safe learning space, a haven if you will, of a trusted studio will provide you with the Yogic techniques and support to integrate the practices in your life, and to do a little everyday.
The concept integration always comes up for me. We are constantly integrating new teachings, processes, information. After my second son was born, we went through a process of integrating a new member into our family. More and more integrating. So seek out the highest knowledge and teachings available to you and integrate your own personal lessons into your daily life.
It’s also nice to share tricks and experiences – it helps us support and share with each other. How do you practice a little everyday? Post below in the comments!
Do you desire to find healing and live a more balanced, harmonious, peaceful, purposeful life? Are you a curious student? A seasoned healer? A seeker? Come check out LeRoy’s free workshop at Be Here Now THIS WEDNESDAY from 7:30-9:30. ALL ARE WELCOME! I read his book, Knowing and Living your Purpose: A Practical Guide to Being the Real You, and he is truly a masterful energy worker. I will attempt to provide you with an overview of his work, but I highly suggest you come see the magic for yourself.
What is the Energetic Well Being Process?
LeRoy developed the Energetic Well Being Process (EWBP) later in his life drawing from the many sources of energy work he has both trained in and discovered through his spirit seeking. The language surrounding his method is simple, to the point, accessible – and the practical application is also very notable. Three concepts vital to the EWBP are: weak energy drains away your life purpose, the positive power of being neutral, and clearing away our symptoms by identifying root causes. Let’s break it down.
Weak Energy Drains Away Your Life Purpose:
We continually block ourselves with thoughts and emotions, beliefs and assumptions. A lot of this programming is “inherited” from our ancestors, parents and relatives, social groups, society, environment, etc. As the blocks, or weak energy, accumulate overtime, they create patterns and play in the background of our minds and bodies and eventually becomes symptoms. The symptoms are communicating to us and if we don’t respond, they turn up the volume! Understanding how our energy goes weak will help us notice patterns and eventually reduce or eliminate symptoms.
The Positive Power of Being Neutral:
It’s easier to understand the practice of neutrality by exploring its opposite. We are NOT neutral when we are reactive, creating drama, worried, anxious, depressed, judging, blaming, frustrated, fearful, angry. When we are neutral, there is less bias and more understanding, open-mindedness and balance. Being neutral does not mean a lack of connection, rather it a way to clear negative emotions as they arise and act from a place of calm (instead of RE-ACT). He has developed a protocol to practice neutrality that is very detailed and helpful which he lays out in his book.
Clearing Away our Symptoms by Identifying Root Causes:
Working through our symptoms seems simple, and it is to some extent, but there is some priming involved; for example, having a strong desire to heal and practicing neutrality. He uses the analogy of symptoms as waves – one end of the wave can be thought of as the symptom/reaction and the other end is described as the truth. When you observe/find/identify the wave it “collapses.” To find the root cause, the question arises “where (in your entire universe) is the weakest point in relation to the symptom?” Again, he maps out a lengthy protocol that is clear and easy to use.
The purpose, or ultimate goal, of healing is to remember who you really are, which is in harmony with all of nature, centered in the heart, being and only seeing unity and wholeness, becoming stronger and more fit as you age!
Who is LeRoy Malouf?
Something I love about this book is that LeRoy shares his life story. In his eighties, he is full of life and vitality. He and his beloved wife raised 5 children. Over the course of his life, he’s had several careers shifts on the path to finding purposeful, satisfying work. Come meet him for yourself tomorrow from 7:30-9:30 for a free demonstration at Be Here Now Yoga, Healing and Wellness.
Let’s talk about energy healing. What is it? How does it work? In this blog post, I want to share with y’all some of my experience. There seems to be a lot of mystery surrounding energy work, but in essence, it is rather simple and highly transformative. Healing is heart-centered work to be experienced but it is helpful for the mind to understand the process. Maybe it freaks you out. Maybe you are a skeptic. Understandable. My goal is to simplify the explanation. Let’s see if I can pull it off..
So for me, like many, the physical yoga practice was my entry way into a more nuanced understanding of energy and mind-body connection. We start with the gross body and work inward. After years of practice, I felt more tuned and in-tune, as if I had it all figured out (how naive…). I got more involved in the yoga community and eventually I was led to energy workers and healers. I did NOT know what I was getting myself into – in that very first session, I was cracked open and my secrets, both conscious and unconscious, were revealed. Awh shit, so began a deeper journey into myself than I could have ever imagined. I did NOT have it all figured out, and this realization was not disappointing at all, on the contrary it was freeing.
So what is energy medicine/energetic healing and how does it work? You may have heard of Reiki, a healing modality from Japan that has become popular in the West in recent decades. And there are plenty of others: Past Life Regression, Chakra Healing, Intuitive Healing, VortexHealing, Rainbow Therapy, Avatar Healing, Life Force Energy Healing, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), Accupuncture, Shamanic Healing, and the list goes on and on. Aside from the formal modalities, many healers are innately sensitive and intuitive. But really, what does this all mean?
A basic understanding of energy and the subtle body anatomy (also called the energetic body) is not necessary to receive energy work but may help you to conceptualize what is actually going on during a session. Put (very) simply, everything in the universe puts out a vibration, or frequency, expressed as energy. Emotions are also energy, which affect the energetic field (called the aura) surrounding the physical body as well as the energy pathways and systems contained within the body. All of your cumulative thoughts (and I’ve read we have upwards of 60,000 thoughts/day) stem from and influence the emotions, which have a great impact on the subtle body. The subtle anatomy consists of energy pathways (think meridians in accupuncture, although there are several other pathway systems), the chakra system, as well as others. Even the physical body is dense energy. We as human (especially in this culture) go to great lengths to suppress and repress the emotions, which causes blockages and stores throughout the body. Physical body work like massage and yoga definitely facilitate release, but the energy medicine works on the subtle level to bring to the surface a deep build up of emotion, old patterns and karmic junk so that it can be acknowledged and eventually worked through or “cleared”. This deep inner work allows us to get re-acquainted with ourselves, including the dark, ugly bits that we hide away from the world. As you move deeper and deeper inward toward your truths, the outdated habits, thoughts and patterns begin to fall away and the heart begins to open. Sometimes these shifts and releases cycle back and become more refined, sinking into consciousness at deeper levels.
As Einstein says, energy cannot be created or destroyed. Everything is energy. This is physics! My yoga teacher, Sri Dharma Mittra, believes in the next 50 years or so, someone will have invented a camera that can capture pictures of the aura. Just think, the iPhone 7 has a 12-megapixel camera with 2 lenses! (I honestly don’t know what this means but I hear it takes AMAZING pictures).
So, the healer helps you to see the truth of what you’ve worked so hard to push down and away. Why would anyone want to do through this?! Some would say, what else is there to do? This is the important life stuff. And an important side note, the word healer is somewhat of a misnomer, because the healer does not heal you, rather the healer facilitates the movement of stuck energy and helps you to safely work through what comes up. You heal you. In the end, you must take responsibility for your own spiritual growth, although the healer is a great expediter!
Phew as I’m writing this blog post I’m realizing that I’m trying to unpack loads worth of information (and I will write an upcoming blog post about all of the fabulous resources on the topic for those of you curious cats). Let’s continue this conversation. Please post and comments or questions below! AND if this really interests you, try a session and see what comes up! We offer several healing modalities with skilled energy workers at Be Here Now Yoga Healing and Wellness.
Stay tuned for my next blog post. I will highlight LeRoy Malouf, a skiller energy worker with decades of experience. He developed the Energetic Wellbeing Process and he will be here SEPTEMBER 21st FOR A FREE DEMONSTRATION. NOT TO BE MISSED.
Fresh is always best but sometimes we have to make do with what we have in our pantries. This fast and healthy dinner recipe combines three staples I almost always have on hand: canned organic tomatoes, lentils and coconut cream. I did happen to have some fresh parsley so that made it’s way into the dish for a pop of fresh green!
2 cups cooked lentils
1 can tomatoes
1/2 cup coconut cream
lemon, parsley, salt and pepper (all optional)
Combine the first three ingredients in a pot and stir together over medium heat. Bring to a boil, once boil in reduce to a simmer to allow the flavors to meld. After 5 minutes remove from heat and serve. Garnish with a squeeze of lemon, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and as much chopped parsley as your heart desires.
Greer Gilchrist is a D.C. based Yoga Teacher and Plant Based Chef. Find her at Be Here Now on Wednesdays 9:30-10:45am and 12:00-1:00pm, on Saturdays 3:30-4:45pm for Power Flow, 5:00-6:00pm All Levels and 6:05-6:45pm Yoga Nidra. Catch all of her yummy recipes, veggie adventures and practice yoga alongside her with 30 minutes videos at Sagecityyoga.com and on Instagram #sagecityyoga. Namaste well fed, nourished and happy!
This Monday I want to highlight all the great online, free resources for those wanting to eat more plant-based. Whether you practice a vegetarian diet or are just looking to make a few changes, the blogosphere is a wonderful tool. Even if you are just interested in it for the beautiful and drool-worthy photos! Here are my favorites for you to peruse.
This lovely blog is D.C. based and packed to the brim with blended fruits, veggies and super foods. Beyond the great smoothies you’ll find beautiful and delicious raw and whole foods desserts that taste as good as they look AND are good for you. Winner!
You’ll feel greener and more nutritionally whole just from looking at these delicious meals. The recipes are seasonal, plant based and easy to follow. When you read the About Page you’ll see the author went to culinary school but credits her abilities and success to real world food experience, agriculture and eating. Her recipes reflect her experience in their creativity and accessibility.
The motto on this site is “Healthy doesn’t have to be hard” and the author proves this to be true. As a working Momma she’s got the plant-based meals down for ease, health and flavor. Her photos are of course beautiful as well.
Healthy desserts that are incredibly gorgeous to look at fill this blog. There are many savory options as well. What I love so much about this blog is the obvious care the Australian author takes in the preparation, presentation and writing of each recipe. She’ll make you want to meticulously make a raw, vegan cake…and then gobble it up immediately.
Probably one of my favorite blogs, I like the simplicity of the recipes, the love the author has for un-tapered veggies and fruits, and her quirky, kind of angsty, blog posts. She’s interesting and her recipes always include plenty of substitutions making them very accessible.