The Buddha Spotlight: Giesel Arnold

Namaste y’all

The Buddha Spotlight introduces you to Yogini, Giesel Arnold!

GieselArnoldYoga.wordpress.com

GieselArnoldYoga.wordpress.com

 

Goddess Mena Love:  When did you fall in LOVE with yoga?

Giesel Arnold:   I don’t know when I fell in LOVE with yoga. I do know that I don’t know where I would be without it in my life.   I found yoga in 2009 at a time when I was very weak mentally and physically. I was hiding an eating disorder from my friends and family, I’d recently moved from Belize and I had separation anxiety and depression from leaving my family, friends and routine back home, AND to top it off I was being treated for unbearable back pain induced by stress. Yoga became my escape from it all, it was more than a coping mechanism, and it brought so much light to my life and comfort within right when I needed it.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What style of yoga do you practice?

Giesel: I practice Vinyasa Krama yoga. I did my training at The Yoga Institute with Lex Gillian who teaches that method. I connected with that style of yoga and I am drawn to teachers with that same foundation; Shiva Rae, BKS Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois, and Indra Devi. The word vinyasa means: vi = order + nyasa = placement; and the word krama means “the uninterrupted sequence of events from beginning to end”; so combined, the entire term means “the ordered placement of the sequence of events.” Usually shortened simply to “vinyasa,” it refers to a flowing sequence of asanas linked by breath and intention. I strongly believe that without the breath and intention, one does not practice yoga, they are merely contortionists.

GieselArnold3

 

Goddess Mena Love:  Do you have days where you just don’t feel like practicing yoga? If so, what keeps you motivated to continue your practice?

 Giesel:  This question touches me at a very core, because as teachers, we are humans. Of course there are days I don’t feel like practicing. But practicing and teaching is not about me. It is about everyone who showed up for their practice. They are my responsibility. They are my motivation. I remember clearly, at the end of last year, December 2015, I had a migraine for about 3 days straight. I lost sleep and cried because I was in so much pain. I was scheduled to teach yoga that Monday and I considered canceling. I pulled myself together and taught the class. I went through the sequence and my students had no idea I was ill. At the end of the class when I gave my students the final salutations, my voice broke and I cried in Namaste because I gave it all I had through the pain. My students depend on me to guide them through their practice. That keeps me going.

 

 Goddess Mena Love:  What is the biggest life lesson you learned so far?

Giesel: The biggest lesson I have learned so far is self-LOVE. It’s like we are conditioned to seek love outside of ourselves; in other people, ideals, and of course our beLOVED things. Yoga has helped me realize that true LOVE starts with you, right where you are, wherever that may be.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  Do you have any advice for people who are just starting out on this path of awakening?

Giesel: For the yoga curious I say, don’t judge an entire practice based on one experience. Its like finding the perfect shoe, there are different styles of yoga, so try them all until you find one that’s a perfect fit for you, your personality or your spiritual journey. I don’t think I’ve told anyone this, but my first experience with yoga was horrible. I walked in a class and it was hotter than Belize in the summertime. In what felt like a lifetime, I couldn’t catch my breath, I was on my knees, in child’s pose, I was on my back, in savasana and I finally raised my hand and told the instructor I CANNOT breathe I need to leave. I went to the front desk for some water and found out I was in the class for only 15 minutes and I unknowingly walked into a heated advanced yoga class. I did go back, but to a beginner class and I’ve practiced ever since.

GieselArnoldYoga.wordpress.com

GieselArnoldYoga.wordpress.com

 

Goddess Mena Love:  When you fully extend is when you fully release.

 Giesel:  When you fully extend yourself, in the any yoga poses or in life, your body starts resisting. Resisting comes in the form of holding your breath. It comes in the form of saying, there’s no way I can do that. When you release any form of resistance in your body and your mind, you are able to sink deeper into the pose, you are able to melt within yourself, you are able to let go…and then you fully release.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  Finish this statement. Yoga gives me access to….

Giesel:  Peace of mind. I used to be such a hot head, filled with anger just waiting for someone to push my button.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What’s your favorite song/movie/book?

 Giesel:  Favorite Song: Magic City by Buju Banton. The beat and the lyrics transcend me. This song was my first mantra. Every time I sing this song, I feel so elevated and everything becomes so small. How can any of your problems consume your life when the universe is within you. “I tell you once more, where the mystic is all around, you enjoy the sights and the sound, so high you don’t want to be down, this is where I can be found.”

Favorite Movie: Sweet November

Its about this woman with a terminal illness and gives her lover the gift of her verve of life for only one month. There are so many people out there and they all love differently. She never told them she had a terminal illness. Her last lover in November, loved her so deeply he was not willing to accept her terms and fought for her, and changed all her calendars to the month of November so they could be together forever. He fought for her LOVE and to spend the rest of their lives together, even though he knew it would be short lived.

 Favorite book: You can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay

This book saved my life. In her book, Hay highlights physical ailments in your body as they are connected to emotions we are feeling and living. The first time I wasn’t ready to receive the message. I thought, no no no, don’t tell me what to do. These things I am going through are not my fault. As I went through the exercises and started practicing affirmations in my daily life, I began to heal my nose bleed, my anxiety, my eating disorder. I had a higher value of the things I felt and thought because they make up who I am and who I present to the world. To this day, I still practice affirmations. In traffic, at work, at home. They are everywhere. “All is well”

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What kind of music are you listening to right now?

 Giesel:  This very moment, I am listening to I am by Nirinjan Kaur.   Lately, I find peace listening to music, mantras, chants that come from Kundalini Yoga. I believe that your vibrations are raised by the music you listen to. Sometimes that might be as mainstream as Ed Sheran, Beyonce, Sam Smith, Taylor Swift- don’t judge me. I know you know the lyrics to shake it off in your sleep or as slow and conscious like some Bob Marley, Morgan Heritage, Lucky Dube, or cultural like the legends of Garifuna Music, Paul Nabor and Andy Palacio.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  How important is it to change your diet while living a more spiritual life?

Giesel: I strongly believe when you know better, you do better in all areas of your life, especially with your diet. I remember coming out of yoga class and going straight to McDonalds for French fries and ice cream. I can really be philosophical, but I will keep it really simple with this classic example. Lets use a topic a lot of people wonder about… eating meat. Some might ask, do I have to give up meat to be spiritual? You can advance along your spiritual path and still eat meat. But know that when you remove meat and other lower frequency food from your diet, entirely new spiritual realms will be available to you. There are levels to this shit. I believe that the more you refine your diet, the higher your spiritual attainment.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What’s your favorite healthy comfort food?

Giesel:  Hudutu luma falmou. Hudut with coconut gravy. This is my healthy comfort food. It is a traditional Belizean dish from the Garifuna culture and my mom would make this every Saturday. You use ripe and green plantain boiled and mashed together and the gravy is coconut milk with herbs and vegetables. It is traditionally served with fish, but you can omit that based on dietary preference.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What is LOVE to you?

Giesel:  LOVE to me is infinite and truly unconditional. I believe that once you truly allow LOVE to blossom in your life, there is only acceptance. There is no measurement for a reason. I’m sure if someone could come up with a scale to measure how much one person LOVES another, just to prove it, they would.   It is one of those wonders that you just have to let be and enjoy the miracles in your life it brings when you are open to it.

When I say LOVE is truly unconditional, I mean that it comes without judgment and without the lingering dot dot dots we are so used to. I believe that you should LOVE with your whole being, not just with what you are able to see. I found LOVE in the most unexpected place, in my beLOVED Cardessa Kerr. There were many thoughts going through my mind; one of which was, “what does this make me?” and thought of the only definition of LOVE I knew which was that between a “man and a woman.” Was I in for a treat! I found the most supportive, LOVING, friendship, partnership, relationship in her soul and it felt so fluid. I couldn’t deny that kind of life from myself in this lifetime.

GieselArnoldYoga.wordpress.com

GieselArnoldYoga.wordpress.com

 

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from teaching yoga?

 Giesel:  As a teacher, I wanted to give people of color a yoga instructor who looked like them, for them to feel its ok to come in and try yoga. My biggest lesson so far from teaching yoga has been that yoga is color blind that people come to class inflexible, no matter their race. My original motivation to teach was rooted in separation, that we are different, but yoga literally means union. I’ve learned that we are the same.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  When you’re not at home, how do you create peace for yourself?

Giesel:  The flow of my breath is the anchor post of my practice. It’s how I know to remain peaceful even when I am not home because I remember how I breathe in my practice, I remember how I breathe at home and when I am not home, I may not be in my space, but I always have my breath.   I would drive and do breathing exercises. I would be at my desk and do breathing exercises and that brings me to a state of peace.

GieselArnoldYoga.wordpress.com

GieselArnoldYoga.wordpress.com

 

 

Goddess Mena Love:  Share any experience that stands out significantly about the role of The Law of Attraction and how miracles have manifested in your life?

Giesel:  I will share a Bible Verse to help illustrate: As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7. Its so important to understand what you think in your heart is how you really feel. When i thought about becoming a yoga teacher, I mixed them with feelings of a thought I wanted to teach yoga and here I am a certified yoga instructor.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  Who or what inspires you?

Giesel:  I am influenced by the strong women around me. I have nine aunts. And each one acts as a teacher in my life and influences who I have become today. What inspires me the most is the growth that occurs from the lessons learned from my family and apply them to make myself, and those around me- whether my friends, students, coworkers and so on.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What’s your favorite yoga pose? Why?

Giesel:  My favorite yoga pose is Ustrasana- Camel Pose.   This pose was the most challenging for me when I started my practice. I felt a lot of resistance, physically and mentally. I was a very reserved person and thought that if you open yourself up to people, to situations, you will get hurt. When I finally learned the art of Ustrasana, camel pose and I felt my rib cage open up and my heart expanding, it felt like a rose in full bloom. I felt a lot of emotions rushing to the surface and I was overwhelmed. Tears were streaming down my face as I came down to take child’s pose releasing every feeling of insecurity and fear I had towards life.

GieselArnoldYoga.wordpress.com

GieselArnoldYoga.wordpress.com

 

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What’s next for you, in yoga and life?

Giesel:  That’s a loaded question. Currently, I am teaching yoga at a nationwide gym. In yoga, my next step is to continue create awareness and about my brand, yoga and to integrate of the practice so that is multicultural rather than one dimensional. I took a leap to host international yoga adventures in my home country of Belize, so I plan to make that an annual event. Also, I recently engaged, so I have a wedding to plan.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  Finish this statement. My life is so cool…..

Giesel:  I get to do what I love every single day and make a difference to everyone I come in contact with through my practice and in everyday life. Also, I get to teach yoga and be a student of the world’s most renowned Yoga Masters.

GieselArnold.wordpress.com

GieselArnold.wordpress.com

 

Giesel was born and raised in Dangriga Town in Belize, Central America and is now a Houston, Texas based yoga instructor with a passion for holistic health and nutrition, and self-acceptance.

On her journey to share her passions through yoga, Giesel incorporates her Garifuna and Creole culture, yoga philosophy, and awareness to attain self-love.

Giesel specializes in Vinyasa Krama Yoga, which is a flowing sequence of asanas linked by breath and intention.

She is a registered member of the National Association of Certified Yoga Teachers.

© Copyright 2015 – Goddess Mena Love. All Rights Reserved

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The Buddha Spotlight: Carmen Carriker

Namastè y’all!

The Buddha Spotlight introduces you to Yogini, Carmen Carriker!

 

CrownSoulYoga.com

CrownSoulYoga.com

 

Goddess Mena Love:  When did you fall in LOVE with yoga?

Carmen M. Carriker:  I fell in LOVE with yoga when I apprenticed at Yoga Vida in 2012. I took classes during the summer. A friend referred me to the Union Square and Soho locations where I took free vinyasa flow classes in exchange for working at the studio. Prior to this I had taken yoga in college as part of my dance curriculum but I didn’t value it as much. I began a workout regime at home that consisted of 1 hour of yoga in the morning and the evening. My goal was to get over my fears of being upside down in handstands and forearm balances. I saw myself grow stronger and more confident. I loved how I began to feel at work. I felt more aligned and centered as a dancer and I had a sense of clarity and peace mentally. Unlike dance, I felt no need to look in the mirror. There was no judgement. I could feel the changes in me internally.

Goddess Mena Love:  What style of yoga do you practice? Why?

Carmen:  Kemetic yoga is what I practice because I connect with it spiritually. I incorporate Kemetic YogaSkills for rules of breathing and geometric progression in all classes I teach. My certifications require knowledge and use of Sanskrit, references to the Indian sages. Kemetic yoga references Egyptian gods and goddesses; and poses are those seen on the hieroglyphics. What better way to seek higher consciousness than to call upon your African ancestors. The 42 laws of Maat are what I live by. I find inspiration in the stories of Aset, Asar, and Heru. I study also the philosophy of kemetic life expressed by the Dogon people of West Africa by Neb Naba Lamoussa Morodenibig founder of the Earth Center, an organization that preserves Kemetic culture. I have studied Medu Neteru language and incorporate two chants in my daily practice as well as the Nia Yaa Nebthet’s Ra Sekhi (kemetic reiki) practice. I also do a fusion of yoga and dance or pilates before I perform.

 

 

CrownSoulYoga.com

CrownSoulYoga.com

 

Goddess Mena Love:  Do you have days when you just don’t feel like practicing yoga? If so, what keeps you motivated to continue your practice?

Carmen:  I always enjoy yoga. It’s a part of my lifestyle and I’m very disciplined. I have passages in my journal on Laws of Maat and Egyptian proverbs from the Book of the Dead that I reflect on daily. I have Kemetic chants recorded in my phone so I can meditate on the train. I practice deep breathing or alternate nostril breathing at work in the bathroom when the day is hectic and I need a moment of peace. Sometimes my practice is 10-15 min or four hours. Its all yoga/meditation. It usually helps me be more creative and my friends notice when I’ve been teaching because I’m always in the place of Zen. I share words of wisdom and inspiration at my job. I love it! Sharing is caring!

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What was the turning point for you, to get you started on your existing spiritual routine?

Carmen:  My turning point I would say happened after the Hurricane Sandy in NY. A hawk came to my window and it had a cardinal in its mouth. It was a sign. All this meditation brought a real life sign to my window.

Which one was I?

I did some soul searching. I discovered that my nana’s family were a part of the Cherokee Red Paint Clan. The animal or bird that represents them is the cardinal. Red has always been my power color. I understood! Don’t let anyone take your power. Be like the hawk, oversee and over stand and take what’s yours. Don’t be prayed upon. From them I felt connected to my spirituality. Yoga and meditation helped me cope with stress, conquer weakness, be more in tune with my emotions, and feel physically stronger. Dealing with life changing situations deepened my personal practice and I’m grateful that I found my calling in yoga.

 

kemetic yoga workshop

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What is the biggest life lesson you learned so far?

Carmen:  The biggest lesson I have learned is non-judgement. I teach to the level that is in the room. I know that my personal practice strengthens me so that I can assist clients and students and help them reach a higher level of consciousness. I also learn from them. If your back is turned on your students in class you may not be focusing on them like you should.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  Do you have any advice for people who are just starting out on this path of awakening?

Carmen:  My advice to yogis is to begin a practice that speaks to your heart. Practice on your own and don’t get discouraged with yourself. The days you fall off balance, rest and reflect on your experience, and always return to the breath. Set small goals, then medium size, then big ones, and you will surprise yourself by how much you grow.

 

CrownSoulYoga.com

CrownSoulYoga.com

 

Goddess Mena Love:  Finish this statement. Yoga gives me access to….

Carmen:  Yoga gives me access to my psychic abilities. My dreams are colorful and vivid and I’m more intuitive to the feelings of others. Yoga gives me access to places I never dreamed I would travel to and amazing people I’m so happy to meet. Yoga gives me access to peace of mind which I need to reach Maat (balance) in the hectic world we live in.

Goddess Mena Love:  What’s your favorite song/movie/book?

Carmen:  My favorite jazz songs are “Afro Blue” , Midnight in Tunisia”, “Orange Moon” by Erykah Badu and “Light” by India Arie. My favorite book “Sacred Woman” by Queen Afua, God is a Brown Girl Too” by Cecilia B. Loving, Octavia Butler Parable of the Sower and “The Alchemist” by Paul Coelho. My favorite movie is “Carmen Jones”

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What kind of music are you listening to right now?

Carmen:  Meshell N’Degeocello “Comfort Woman” album. I listen to a mix of soul, jazz, house and rock

 

Goddess Mena Love:  How important is it to change your diet while living a more spiritual life?

Carmen:  You are what you eat and your body is your temple. With that being said be mindful of your eating habits, your self talk also plays a part in how you enjoy the food you eat. Bless those who prepare the food. If possible grow your own or purchase locally grown foods that are not processed. The more alive these foods are the more alive you feel. You are able to achieve higher consciousness and spirituality. When you are living on higher vibrations, healthy foods will lead you to a happy life. A vegan diet is the best choice for me. I love to have treats like cupcakes and cookies too. I also love tea. I have teas from all over the world. My friends travel and bring me herbs and spices back, which I LOVE. Eat what makes you happy and share with the less fortunate.

 

CrownSoulYoga.com

CrownSoulYoga.com

 

Goddess Mena Love:  How greatly does your diet impact your spiritual life?

Carmen:  My diet consists of lots of veggies, which make me feel energized. Not eating as much processed food helps me focus while meditating, praying or performing music or dance. When I don’t eat properly I feel unfocused and my mind, body and soul are not in harmony.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What’s your favorite healthy comfort food?

Carmen:  My favorite healthy comfort food are avocados and mangoes

 

CrownSoulYoga.com

CrownSoulYoga.com

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What is LOVE to you?

Carmen:  LOVE is pure and unconditional. It is the most powerful emotion. God is LOVE! The purity in the hearts of children is LOVE. If we LOVE ourselves others can love us too. We teach others how to show us kindness, trust, love, honesty, and patience. 1Corithians 13:4-8 pretty much sums it up. LOVE is not self-seeking, not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. My friend at the Kemetic Yoga Retreat in Jamaica taught me the Prayer of Light that I often share with others when they need inspiration and a reminder of the presence of LOVE in their lives. I will share it with you. LOVE before me, LOVE behind me, LOVE at my left, LOVE at my right, LOVE above me, LOVE below me, LOVE unto me, LOVE in my surroundings, LOVE to all, LOVE to the Universe. It also repeats with the words peace and light which I learned later while reading Gurunam’s book “Lifting the Veil.”

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from teaching yoga?

Carmen:  The biggest lesson I’ve learned from teaching yoga is nonjudgement. Learn to let go of all fears and surrender to the power of the breath. You are here to help others, listen to suggestions and incorporate them in the practice. “Be like Water,” adapt to all situations and enjoy the practice of yoga and live life to the fullest.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What advice would you give your younger self from everything you’ve learned thus far, on your spiritual journey?

 Carmen:  Always follow your heart. Take care of your mind, body and soul through fitness and holistic healing. Never give up on your dreams. You will be successful and achieve your goals.

 

CrownSoulYoga.com

CrownSoulYoga.com

 

Goddess Mena Love:  Share any experience that stands out significantly about the role of The Law of Attraction and how miracles have manifested in your life?

Carmen:  “We become what we think about. Energy flows where attention goes.” –Rhoda Byrne “The Secret.” I believe strongly in the power of the mind and manifesting your destiny. Visualizing myself successful in performance and teaching has led to my dreams coming true. I’m living and thriving in NYC which was my dream since the humble age of 8. I place objects that reflect what I want to occur in LOVE, relationships, and career on my alter and pray and meditate on them every night. I thank the ancestors for preparing a way for me and I thank God for blessing me.

Goddess Mena Love:  Who or what inspires you?

Carmen:  My mom is my inspiration. When someone LOVES you, encourages , and makes the ultimate sacrifice for you, that gives you inspiration to continue. In yoga practice and artistic expression nature helps me connect spiritually and inspires my creativity. I like to have plants and flowers in my apartments. I LOVE jazz and soul music and collect African art which I keep in my house as inspiration. It also keeps me connected to my roots.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What’s your favorite yoga pose? Why

Carmen:  My favorite yoga pose is the lotus or sesh pose in kemetic yoga. It’s my favorite for meditation. I also like to go into headstand after a long day at work. It helps to center me and give me peace of mind.

 

CrownSoulYoga.com

CrownSoulYoga.com

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What’s next for you, in yoga and life?

Carmen:  The next step for me is continuing to build Crown Soul Yoga non-profit as well as complete new designs for my fashion line Crown Soul Creations Knitwear. I plan to make a trip to Ethiopia in 2015 to further my studies and share what I’ve learned with others. I’m hosting Kemetic Yoga- Find Your Inner Goddess Workshop February 7th-28th at Yoga Collective NYC on Saturdays. Four day Workshop participants receive a FREE class offered on Feb.14th with a special treat! I’m also teaching core yoga classes at Nesh Mind Body Soul in BedStuy Brooklyn Wed & Friday 7am and 8:30am.  This year I also received a certification in prenatal pilates. I would like to further my studies and help women especially women of color stay healthy mind, body and soul at every stage of their pregnancy. However I can help others I will continue with the help of mentors, teachers, friends and family.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  Finish this statement. My life is so cool…..

Carmen:  My life is cool because I’m doing what I LOVE and making a difference

 

kemetic yoga workshop

 

 

Carmen Carriker is a graduate of the Fordham Alvin Ailey BFA Program. As a dancer she performed with Balance Dance Theater, Urban Bush Women , Jazz Ain’t Dead, Brown Girls Burlesque, and as dance captain/actress in the jazzical “Scandalous People.” Choreographers she has worked with include Ronald K. Brown, Robert Battle, Mickey Davidson, Obediah Wright, and Dormeshia Sumbry Edwards. She was featured in television shows Dance Moms, 30 Rock, and reality show M.A.D.E NYC as a fashion designer/stylist. She was Brooklyn Bikini Under the Bridge designer featured on CW11 News for Crown Soul Creations Swimwear . She was also in short films” Lifted” by Randy Dottin,” When The Apple Falls”by M.A.D.E NYC and music video by Melissa Laveaux “The Post Man” directed by Terence Nance. She is featured in 2014 Cinematiq Magazine New Faces of Cinema Calendar and the upcoming issue. She currently dances with the cast of Sophisticated Ladies at the Harlem Cotton Club every Monday night and performs as a swing in the musical “On Kentucky Avenue” at the Triad Theater in matinee and evening shows monthly. As an instructor she has taught dance and fitness classes for 11 years. She has taught ballet, modern, jazz, tap, and pointe at Ballet Tech, Perfection Dance Center, and Uptown Dance Academy to name a few.

She received certifications in Pilates, Prenatal Pilates mat, Iyengar , Kemetic yoga, and CPR in 2012-2014. She is a member of Yoga Alliance and is a registered 200hr instructor .She has attended the Healing Sun Kemetic Yoga Teacher Training and Retreat with Yirser Ra Hotep in Jamaica, Afro Flow Yoga Training with Leslie Salmon Jones in NYC and Boston, and recently Prenatal Pilates Mat Certification Workshop with Brigitte Arle at Bent Pilates Studio. She is the founder of Crown Soul Yoga and host events and classes in the tri-state area. She is faculty at Pratt Institute Brooklyn where she teaches yoga and pilates mat as credit and non-credit courses. She has worked as an apprentice at Yoga Vida Studio in Manhattan. She has also taught candlelight pilates mat at Move With Grace Studio, Hatha Yoga at AbunDance Studio, One Love Kemetic Yoga Partner Workshops at Cumbe, Afro Fusion Yoga with DJ, Barre Flow, and Yogalates at Align Brooklyn. She is excited to have recently joined the team of instructors at Nesh Studio in BedStuy Brooklyn where she will teach Core Yoga and Vinyasa Flow. She has a great passion for teaching others and dedicates her life to helping others grow mind, body and soul.

 

© Copyright 2015 – Goddess Mena Love. All Rights Reserved

 

The Buddha Spotlight: Afriye Michelle

Namaste y’all!

The Buddha Spotlight introduces you to Astrologer, Poet, Vlogger, & Creator, Afriye Michelle!

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Goddess Mena Love:  Who is Afriye Michelle?

Afriye Michelle:  Afriye Michelle is a beautiful soul who incarnated into the body of a black woman. I am ever evolving, and seeking ways to learn as much as I can, live as much as I can, laugh as much as I can, LOVE as much as I can, and savor every beautiful moment while I am here on this physical plane of existence.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What was the turning point for you that got you started on your existing spiritual journey?

Afriye:  After my grandfather passed away, I started to question everything. It was such a traumatic experience for me because I watched him battle lung cancer in the hospital and then eventually at a hospice center where I arrived about 15 minutes after his transition. It was hard. Before then, I had studied metaphysics a little, but AFTER THEN I wanted MORE. I prayed and I asked God to show me who He/She/It was. I said “I don’t want to know who other people tell me you are, I want you to show me who you are personally.” And the rest was magic lol.

 

Goddess Mena Love: What is LOVE to you?

Afriye:  A friend of mine once said, “Love is an infinite mathematical equation that must be worked daily.” I think the operative word is work. Love is a commitment to caring about a person enough to take action towards maintaining their well being and growth, spiritually, physically and otherwise. Love is a force. Love is the gas in the vehicle of life. There are many adjectives and metaphors and similes I could use but something else about Love is that it still is very much a mystery, and THAT is what keeps people drawn to it, interested in it, and on a lifelong quest to keep experiencing it in its many forms.

 

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Goddess Mena Love:  What are ways you show LOVE to yourself?

Afriye:  I am constantly LOOKING for ways to love on myself more. I’ve recently started this mantra/way of thinking that is “Do not make fear based decisions.” So that’s a way. I do little things that make ME feel good like get my nails done lol. I fill my mind with positivity. Positive words, books, and music. I SET BOUNDARIES and say “No” when I need to. I demand respect from people. I only maintain relationships that honor me. I recognize my need to be more gentle with myself. I say kind words to myself. I forgive myself when I make mistakes.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What’s your meditation destination?

Afriye:  Still working on the quieting my thoughts part. I’ve read to just let your thoughts happen and then release them. But I still get stuck on them often. I want to be able to quiet my mind for 2 minutes, then 5, then 10, then eventually 30!

 

Goddess Mena Love:  Finish this statement. Meditation gives me access to…..

Afriye:  ANSWERS! I always find answers when I meditate…especially when I add in chanting. And peace. And the understanding that everything is happening for my good. *smile*

 

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Goddess Mena Love:  Explain your deep connection with Astrology? What stands out to you the most about learning  Astrology?

Afriye:  The most important GIFT that learning Astrology has given me is ACCEPTANCE. Especially self acceptance. Through acceptance I have learned how to love myself more deeply. I’ve also been learned to understand that for everything there is a time. There is a time for perceived loss and a time for gains. There is a time to learn lessons, a time make more money, to take a vacation. The Universe is so intelligent and so perfect. Nothing is by chance. Everything is divinely timed. Now when it comes to free will, all that means is when you operate from your higher self you are able to call things forth that serve you higher good. You are able to be more of a creator because you are in tune with the will of your higher self. You subconsciously are working with the energy you’ve been predisposed to have to produce your highest good.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  Any advice for people just awakening on this beautiful path, we call LIFE?

Afriye:  Learn to honor yourself. Trust that even during challenging times you are still divine and everything is happening as it should be. Be gentle with yourself. If there comes a time where people don’t understand or accept your journey, that is the time you need to love and accept yourself more. Always affirm yourself and find that quiet place within yourself, your core, and always operate from that place.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What’s your favorite song/movie/book?

Afriye:  I love music so much that’s it impossible to choose one. But my favorite song at the moment is “Beautiful Skin” by Goodie Mob.

My favorite movie is Love Jones. Favorite book at the moment is The Voice of Knowledge by Don Miguel Ruiz.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What’s in your playlist?

 

Afriye:  My playlist that I’ve been listening to lately is called I titled ‘Wave’. It has artists like The Wknd, Iman Omari, Sza, James Blake. I’m not sure of the genre but I like the ethereal beats and electronic feel with a pinch of soul/r&b. It gives me so much LIFE! I also have been bumpin a playlist called ‘I’m the shit’ lol. And it has Brown Skin lady by Black Star, Beautiful Skin by Goodie Mob, Whatever you want by Tony Toni Tone, Soul Sista by Bilal. Just songs that affirm who I am as a woman, as a black woman, and as the divine creatress that I am hunny! Yaaaaaas! lol

 

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Goddess Mena Love:  What’s the biggest life lesson you’ve learned thus far?

Afriye:  TRUST MY INTUITION. Plain and simple and real.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  When you’re not at home, how do you create peace for yourself?

Afriye:  I tap into my core being and I focus on how I want my day to go. If I am in a situation that I am not the happiest in, I get quiet then create how I want to rest of the evening to go. In the past if I was invited to a party that I wasn’t enjoying I would focus all of my energy and say “There will be at least one person here who I will connect with.” And it ALWAYS would happen. I’m just imagine what peace would look like, feel like, sound like, and I create it. I create the best possible outcome.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  Any advice for women beginning to discover their goddess power?

Afriye:  Your Queendom is going to be different from every other queen’s Queendom. Don’t compare yourself. Create what you want YOUR life to look like. Set boundaries for yourself. Start creating an air around you the commands respect and it will be given. Imagine how you want to be treated and it shall be so! If there be any negativity to seep through in your life, have courage enough to address it and handle it how YOU see fit. YOU are the creator! Create the life you want. You don’t need approval from anyone. Forget the rules, what everyone else says and create what YOU want.

 

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Goddess Mena Love:  Share any experience that stands out significantly about the role and impact The Law of Attraction has in your life?

Afriye:  Even before I knew what the Law of Attraction was I was using it. Every job or opportunity that I’ve had since discovering the Law of Attraction has been the result of what I mentally focused on and put out into the Universe. Think it, Speak it, Write it!

 

Goddess Mena Love:  What miracles have you manifested as a result of The Law of Attraction?

Afriye:  My Car!!! MONEY when I NEED it most. Both are miracles lol. I had to keep it real. Money is important and I always have it when I need it most.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  Who or what inspires you? Why?

Afriye:  OPRAH!! I love that she is very spiritual and grounded and also has attained material success. I know that money is good, lack is wack and it’s wack to be spiritual and broke!

 

Goddess Mena Love:  In 2015, what would you like to create?

Afriye:  Love. I’m like any other woman. I want to be in love. I am creating the perfect relationship FOR ME. And I’m also creating a means to generate income on my own terms. Everyday I’m thinking of ways to have multiple streams of income via entrepreneurship.

 

Goddess Mena Love:  I LOVE your mind! Can you please share a poem with my readers?

Afriye:  Sure! Here is a sort poem I wrote in honor of the Sun and the Spring Equinox.

“Rays that warm, but do not burn…things once dark now glow. It is the food for life itself, helping all things grow. It melts the snow on barren land, a push to cycle on. Give thanks and salutations, old blues become undone.”

 

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Goddess Mena Love:  What’s your favorite quote?

Afriye:  ONE of my favorite quotes is by Queen Toni Morrison. “If you wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.”

 

Goddess Mena Love:  Finish this statement. My life is so cool….

Afriye:  Because I know exactly who I am and who I am not. My life is so cool because I have the knowledge and understanding to create my reality. My life is so cool and I’m looking forward to this beautiful journey. It’s going to get better from here! PEACE!

 

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The Buddha Spotlight – Sarah Sumnauth, CEO & Founder of Urban Minerals

Namaste y’all!!

The Buddha Spotlight introduces you to CEO and founder of Urban Minerals, Sarah Sumnauth!

Hailing from Toronto, Urban Minerals is the creation of eco-entrepreneur Sarah Sumnauth.  The extensive line of 30 organic loose mineral foundations was created to represent women of every colour, race and ethnicity. Each foundation is hand-made with natural, organic and locally-sourced ingredients keeping you healthy and beautiful from the inside out.  The collection is a true reflection of the multiculturalism represented in the streets of Toronto. 

 

Goddess Mena Love: Tell me about Urban Minerals.

 Sarah Sumnauth: Urban Minerals is a loose mineral foundation that I created, that’s homemade, natural, 30% organic, gluten free, vegan, and locally made where I live (Canada). I wanted it to be as Canadian as possible. I wanted Urban Minerals to be a representation of Toronto, because I felt like there was just not enough foundation colors out there for women of all diverse backgrounds. I also felt that I needed to be the one to make that change because accessibility in the natural industry is a real thing!

I launched Urban Minerals in 2013’s Summer Solstice. I’m so excited to be celebrating the one year anniversary of Urban Minerals this summer! It’s been a whirlwind, it’s wonderful, and it’s growing!

 

Goddess Mena Love: So, how did you get into the beauty industry?

 Sarah: Originally, I went to school for environmental studies. I have a bachelors degree in environmental cultures, the philosophy arts technology education, and that was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself! I am a student of life, in general, and I always had this connection to mother nature. Somehow, my parents who are first generation Guyanese immigrants, decided to put my sisters and I into Girl Guide (similar to Girls Scouts). I was in Girl Guide for about 10 years. I just had a real strong connection to the outdoors. While I was finishing my degree, I actually got a job in a place that sold all eco-friendly products. For any of the products to be sold in any small department store, it had to be recycled, organic ingredients or non GMO ingredients. They sold a fair number of “green” beauty items.

Some skin care and make-up brands, I noticed that over time, people were coming in, and it didn’t really matter so much how dark their skin tone was or how light they were. A lot of people had problems with finding their shade and didn’t want to buy two, only one that would be the right shade. I kept thinking to myself, “I think I can do this!” That’s where the idea to start a business came from, and at the beginning of 2012, I decided to just go for it!

 

 

Goddess Mena Love: What’s the process of how you make it?

Sarah: I hand craft with organic natural minerals and botanicals, such as aloe vera, chamomile, willow bark, rosemary, and calendula. I found out that a lot of women were breaking out with conventional store bought brands and were having issues with skin balancing. I wanted Urban Minerals to be gentle and to have a fair amount of good quality botanicals, all of which are grown and made here, in Canada. Once blended all together, I infuse Reiki. I am a level one Reiki practitioner, so I infuse Urban Minerals with LOVE and universal life force energy.

Goddess Mena Love: Yes! I am also a Reiki practitioner, and definitely can relate to infusing many things with the same energy!

Sarah: I decided I wanted to chronicle my experience. I set myself the intention to write every single day for a year while I was starting Urban Minerals. I wrote a blog every single day! If you’re ever interested, you can check it out on UrbanMinerals.ca.

 

Goddess Mena Love: So, what’s in your playlist right now?

Sarah: I like all genres! Currently, I’m listening to Disclosure, and a little bit of that electronic house music. I LOVE hip-hop! I LOVE R&B! I LOVE house, funk, and Motown, all the good stuff! I don’t close myself to really anything.

 

 

Goddess Mena Love: What’s your spiritual practice like?

Sarah: Every single day when I wake up, I read a quote and afterwards I lie in bed with my eyes closed for about five minutes. In those moments, I just breathe and set an intention for the day. If there are moments throughout the day where I feel stressed and feel the need to take time for myself for a centering practice, I simply just ground myself anywhere. I like to go for walks in my area, being conscious of what I’m seeing and being mindful of where I’m going. I’m very connected to animals, so I’m always fully aware of animals that show up for me. My practice is always changing and always evolving! I like

 

Goddess Mena Love: A spiritual connection to animals is always very interesting to explore. What animals are showing up for you?

 

Sarah: I see robins, sparrows, and really just connect with the winged-animals a lot. Yes, swans and hawks, too! Hawks are my main animal totem. It’s interesting, because when I first got the idea for Urban Minerals, I was intuitively hit on the side of the head, and started to see hawks everywhere, I mean, everywhere, like soaring next to me! I would ask myself, “what is this?” because this was kind of before I tapped into the synchronicities of what this all meant. I started doing research and asked around, and finally landed on animal totems, which has always been a terminology I’ve heard of. Upon doing the extra research, I realized that the hawk totem is the ability to soar above and have vision in your life. To be able to hone in and dive down into something once you have looked at all the greater parts of the whole. It was definitely something that guided me through my practice.

 

Goddess Mena Love: What is the biggest life lesson you’ve learned on your spiritual path?

Sarah: Instilling the belief that you can do anything you put your mind to. Truthfully! Being forced to kind of see the different aspects of what can comprise as a business and recognizing that I’m the soul driving force in all of this, and if I want to see it happen, I have to make it happen, are the kind of lessons that are big for me on my spiritual path. If I can imagine it, if I can envision it, then I can make it happen. That’s so true for a lot of things! It’s not that things just happen or just come true, I am definitely manifesting things on a higher level.

 

 

Goddess Mena Love: When did you become aware of being spiritually led by your intuition?

Sarah: When I started my business, is when I really began to see a spiritual connection. However, I’ve always been spiritual, I’ve always been connected to what’s beyond the veil, and I’ve always seen things. For me, there was no one particular moment, it has always been a leading up to a greater experience type of thing. I think, potentially, it was also part of that cocooning period before I even had an idea for Urban Minerals.

As I was finishing up with the University, starting out, and figuring out what I wanted to do, I started meditating and I downloaded this Deepak Chopra stress app. I couldn’t understand why I was feeling so much stress and anxiety, so I downloaded his app, and it had tips on things that clued you into Ayurveda, meditational practices, and honing in on what is the feeling of stress and how to work through the process of de-stressing. That was quite a large catalyst, because it definitely clued me into figuring out what I wanted to create, what I was feeling, understanding my emotions, what is in my gut, and things I needed to see to make things happen. I’ve always been a writer, so when I tapped into that energy is when I really started to see some momentum.

 

Goddess Mena Love: So, you keep a journal?

Sarah: I keep a journal on my iPad, whenever I feel inspired to write. I wrote everyday for a year when I started Urban Minerals and since then I release a monthly newsletter. I’ve stepped back from writing consistently because my mother passed away, and right now, it’s just something that I can’t force to happen.

Goddess Mena Love: How’s your yoga practice?

Sarah: I have a budding yoga practice. Currently, I’m in school, but when I have my time at home, I get up in the mornings and do some yoga.

 

Goddess Mena Love: When did you fall in LOVE with yoga?

Sarah: I registered by business in June of 2012. In April of 2012, I decided I would get myself a yoga groupon. I was trying to figure out if I really had the time to commit to yoga, but I needed inner peace and didn’t know what else to do with myself. So, I got this groupon to attend a yoga class and it was a really small intimate class. I was able to really see how I’m suppose to stand, stretch my body, move my muscles,  how to strengthen myself, and it was just so powerful. Currently, I do yoga at home,  it’s kept me very strong and it’s just something that I continuously go back to. If I’m feeling out of sorts , I will stop and do a full on sun salutation, and then get right back to life. I think apart of my work, this lifetime, is to be a bit of a messenger, but also a warrior, and I do feel very powerful and very strong in my femininity. I do use my yoga practice as a means to feel like a warrior.

 

Goddess Mena Love: What’s your meditation destination?

Sarah: Meditation, normally for me is attempting to quiet the monkey mind and to pursue that beautiful blue inner pearl of quiet. It’s funny you ask that question because as the spring started here (Toronto, Canada), and the snow thawed, and as the green buds began to emerge, I was starting to see a lot of black birds. With research, I found out that black birds are messengers, they represent magic and omens of good luck coming to you. Black birds are also a very good meditational tool to help you move to the next level in your life. I meditate on different animals that come to me and just think about what their potential message is for me, or even ask what messages they bring to me.

 

Goddess Mena Love: What about diet? I know health and beauty go hand in hand with diet, and being natural, and all of that. What is your eating lifestyle?

Sarah: (giggling) Mine is up and down. I mean, I’m not perfect by any means. I just have access to really good information and my day job for the last two years, was at Whole Foods. I was their body care buyer. I’m blessed to have been able to get trained on supplements and good wholistic eating practices. Generally, my mantra is “lean and green, when in doubt, just green”. I do bless my food when I eat it, saying “Thank you, Mother Earth for this food. Thank you, for nourishing my body”. I also try to be aware of when I feel full and paying attention to what my body is asking for.

 

Goddess Mena Love: What’s your favorite healthy comfort food?

Sarah: Hmmmm, my favorite healthy comfort food is chaga tea. Chaga is a kind of medicinal mushroom that grows in bush trees, and it is a potent immune booster. It also helps to open up your heart chakra. I’m a bit of a tea junkie! I LOVE herbal tea like chamomile, lavender, ginger, and cinnamon.

Goddess Mena Love: Oh, you sound like me! I LOVE tea! Do you drink your tea straight up or with a sweetener?

 Sarah: Generally without sweetner, if I do, it’s with raw honey. I tend to stay away from refined sugars. Again, I am not perfect. Sometimes, when I don’t have honey, I’ll use raw brown cane sugar.

 

Goddess Mena Love: What’s your favorite herbal plant?

Sarah: Well, I like rosemary, basil, mint, green plants! I have a pretty nice garden outside.

Goddess Mena Love: I really want to get into herbal gardening. I’m trying to nurse a flower back to life right now.

Sarah: Talk to it! They listen, they totally do!

Goddess Mena Love: They do listen! My family and I did the rice water experiment, saying “I hate you” to one covered container of rice water, and “I LOVE you” to another covered container of rice water, and you really get to see how words affect your environment. It was awesome to see, and I’m kind of doing that with my plant.

When you’re not at home, how do you create peace for yourself?

Sarah: I guess it starts before I leave home. I try to be in a state of zen or calmness, and I’ve experimented a bit with projecting my energy out into the world. I think I have a pretty good strong energy about me. It’s interesting, because I tested this recently, I was at a bar on a Friday, it was a Friday 13th, full moon, and I was there to see this Norwegian DJ, Kygo. Before he came on, people were ancy. It was very interesting to see how tense people were, and so finally I felt like I couldn’t deal with this energy, and just got centered. I started to project a calm energy out into where I was, and I could see people starting to calm down their energy. I do this on the subway, too. If I feel ancy, I just take a moment and take control of whatever I can to get into that centered space.

 

 

Goddess Mena Love: That’s awesome! That’s that light worker in you, to be able to center yourself in an instance to change the energy around you. Speaking of sending energy, I just received my ART in Reiki, and it’s such a really good feeling to be in tuned with healing energy and projecting it where it needs to be. What inspired you to become a Reiki practitioner?

Sarah: That’s a good question. The beginning of 2012 was big for me, in terms of big changes. I received my level 1 degree in May of 2012. So, I actually think the big changes probably contributed a lot to my spiritual expansion and growth because, as soon as you go for it, as soon as you have those attunements, you’re wide open to whatever is coming through.

Goddes Mena Love: (laughing) You made me think about my own experience, I had to pause for a second, like, “yeah, that’s right”, so right on!

Sarah: Yes, (laughing), it totally changed my life! I think it was such a beautiful experience that I just started to explore into learning, growing, and wanting to find out more stuff on philosophical topics. It totally changed my perspective on life and spirituality in a big way. It also strengthen me in a lot of ways. The day after I received my Reiki certification, I felt strong enough to smudge my house for the first time. Progressively, things started to happen. I started to feel so good when doing this and I felt like this was something I needed to incorporate in my daily lifestyle. I don’t know if I would be doing sessions with people, but now I incorporate Reiki in Urban Minerals, which is a wonderful thing.

 

Goddess Mena Love: Yes, well you are definitely helping people with infusing Reiki in Urban Minerals.

So, I don’t like to wear make because I don’t know how to apply it. I don’t know if I’m ready to start getting into it, and I want to make sure I look as natural as possible. I wear a little bit of eyeliner and lip glass or gloss. My major thing is looking natural and not like a whole different person. I would LOVE to play with eye shadow colors, but I’m very hesitant. I see people, at times, who wear an excessive amount of make-up and I’ve gotten offers from MUA’s to let them make up my face. My whole issue with that is, “can you get me to look as natural as I am, right now, with a few enhancers?”

I say all of this to say, I feel like my complexion is somewhat of an awkward color.

 Sarah: Awww, you’re beautiful!

Goddess Mena Love: Thank you! (laughing) I didn’t mean to come off in a negative way, my skin is weirdly beautiful to me. It’s like a glowing, orangey, golden brownish, caramel color, and that shade of foundation is really hard to find!

 Sarah: I can find it for you. I made it!

 

Goddess Mena Love: Another problem I have is trying on packaged make-up. What’s an easy way to find your tone?

Sarah: The first thing you need to do is get good lighting. I am a medium skin tone, I’m not very light, I’m not very dark, I’m kind of in the middle. I would say you’re a medium to dark skin tone. Importantly, you want to find what your under tone is. Your under tone refers to the tone of the shade of color you are. Tone is how much gray you have in your skin tone, and also how much yellow and red. So, you’re trying to figure out what that balance is. For me, I have a fair amount of yellow in my skin tone. A good way or a barometer for checking that is to look at your wrist and see what color the veins are. If they appear to be a blue or a purple, then you know you have a very cool skin tone. If your veins appear to be green, then you know you have a warm skin tone, like yellow and orange. From that point on, that’s where you want to get the actual physical product and start checking it on your skin to see how it looks and match. The best place to check, would be right on the jawline. You want to put a few swatches next to each other. The color that disappears totally, is the color you want to choose, because that’s the color that’s going to be flawless and easy to apply, probably do just a few swipes and then you’re done.

Goddess Mena Love: That’s totally awesome information. I’m so thinking about exploring Urban Minerals. Something I can apply by myself, with the right shade, that doesn’t break me out, would be perfect.

 

Goddess Mena Love: Any book you’re reading right now, that’s so awesome?

Sarah: In my free time I’m reading, E Squared by Pam Grout. It’s essentially a session or a bunch of experiences to test manifestation. So, I know that I am a very good at manifesting, I’ve manifested a lot of stuff, but this book is interesting because the author (Pam Grout), is linking a lot of what she’s talking about to physics, in terms of synchronicities and how you can influence the set intentions and manifest them. There’s also different exercises in the book.

I always keep Eat, Pray, Love, at my bedside because I LOVE Elizabeth Gilbert. I think she is a wonderful, author. She’s actually one of my heroes. I LOVE her voice, I think she is so funny, so smart, and so witty. Honestly, if I feel a certain way about something, not knowing what to do about something or feeling off, I just pick up her book and flip through. It’s a really good book.

 

Goddess Mena Love: Do you have any advice for people who are just starting out on their path of awakening?

Sarah: Just be curious. Be open. The more open and the more curious you are, the more you’re open to amazing enlightening life experiences. Be willing to re-examine and be a bit of a feminist about your own ideals, and ways you look at the world, and the patterns. Be willing to change your opinion about something, there’s so much out there.

Goddess Mena Love: I like the idea of being willing to changing your opinion, because your opinion changes all the time. We are always growing and transforming into things that we need to re-examine in our lives. It’s such a healthy mindset to have.

Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge, experience, and journey with me.

Sarah: I LOVE your blog! I am very much like you, too. Thank you for inviting me to share about Urban Minerals and my spiritual journey .

© Copyright 2014 – Goddess Mena Love. All Rights Reserved

The Buddha Spotlight – Monette Chilson

Namaste y’all!!

The Buddha Spotlight introduces you to author of Sophia Rising, and yogini, Monette Chilson!!

Goddess Mena Love: Can you give a brief synopsis of your book, Sophia Rising?

 Monette Chilson: Sophia Rising is a guide for those wanting to let their yoga inform their faith (and vice versa). I use a combination of research—from both yogic and theological sources—along with my own experience as a long-term practitioner to help readers explore the unique ways practice and spirit intersect in their own lives. Part of that process involves an exploration of the feminine aspects of God that have been suppressed in nearly every religious tradition.

 

Goddess Mena Love: As of lately, there’s been a new rise of strong feminine energy and feminine movement. In the future, do you think feminine energy will be recognized as more of a balance to masculine energy in our society?

Monette: I certainly hope so, Mena! A significant portion of Sophia Rising is dedicated to helping people begin to recognize the void that’s left when feminine energy is left untapped. Sometimes people want to skip over embracing the sacred feminine and go right to an ungendered view of divinity. My feeling is that to achieve true balance, we must spend some time exploring God’s feminine nature to bring the exclusively male view of God we’ve been presented with into perspective. We can’t change the fact that divinity has been masculinized for the past two thousand or so years, but we can begin to see the divine—and our power to reflect it—in a different light.

 

Goddess Mena Love: What’s your perspective of the duality of God?

Monette: Big question! This really gets to the heart of my book which is an encouragement to stop setting up false and unnecessary barriers between yoga and spirituality—or on a macro level between body and soul. Too many devoted yogis feel deep down that their practice conflicts with their faith. This belief is rooted in a perspective on God that is deeply dualistic—that is to say deeply  divided (God is this but not that), deeply defined (God is this but definitely not that), and deeply knowable (God is not a mystery because I know exactly who “He” is). My hope is that people will begin to venture away from who they’ve been told God is and find out for themselves.

Goddess Mena Love: Yoga is a great peace enhancing activity to religiously practice, why do you think people of different religious practices can’t get over yoga’s beneficial spiritual growth to go along with the principles of their faith?

Monette: I think misinformation combined with the different terminology of yoga and religion keeps many people from seeing how compatible their faith and yoga practice really are. In my book, I break down yoga’s eight limbs in ways that bridge the two worlds, especially for those from a Christian background. A classic example of how word choice can create a road block is yoga’s eighth limb, samadhi, which has been translated in terms including bliss, ecstasy, enlightenment, liberation and union with the divine. Some or all of these phrases might seem foreign to someone from a traditional Western religious tradition. But when we look beyond word choice to true meaning, the idea of samadhi, as well as practices to help   cultivate it, can be openly embraced by people of all religions to  experience “a peace that surpasses all understanding.” (Philippians     4:7)

Goddess Mena Love: Your personal goddess/feminine deity you connect with is Sophia, while on your spiritual path, are there any other goddess/feminine deities you connect with? Why?

 Monette: Discovering Sophia a decade or so ago was a revelation to me. I always knew that I connected with God in feminine form. I just didn’t know that there was a name for her within my faith tradition. I am also greatly inspired by Mary Magdalene, though less as a deity than as a women in whose footsteps I’d like to follow. Her relationship with Jesus is enigmatic, and the fact that her reputation survived so many attempts to ruin it, a testament to   her strength and goodness. In many ways, the Church’s treatment of Mary Magdalene mirrors its general suppression of women. One female icon from Jewish mythology that I’d like to spend more time getting to know is Lilith, who was purported to be Adam’s first wife, created from the same earth as him rather than from his rib. I find this legend and the strong female archetype it creates fascinating.

 

Goddess Mena Love: Any advice for those who have trouble implementing yoga with their religious practice?

Monette: Yes! Don’t take anyone else criticism of your spiritual practices to heart. Instead, look into the compatibility of your faith and yoga  practice yourself. Look at all eight limbs of yoga and draw your own conclusions. I walk through the limbs in my book and make connections between religious pillars and yogic ones. The ethical foundation of yoga—the yama and the niyama—are made up of specific precepts that are all found within the Ten Commandments, as well as in the Quran and within Buddhist philosophy. This coalescence reaffirms to me that spiritual paths really do share the same divine destination.

 

Goddess Mena Love: Share one of your life lessons that you’ve learned from your yoga practice (relating real life to the yoga mat).

Monette: One of the most important lessons yoga has taught me is patience.  The real pay-off in yoga comes from waiting and not forcing. From breathing through instead of barreling through. People think that this patience is a natural attribute of us yoga devotees, but I actually think many of us (including me) are drawn to yoga because we lack patience. Indeed, we are in desperate need of it. On our mat, we slowly re-teach our bodies about the beauty of mindful movement and of being gentle with ourselves. As I’ve experienced  success with this foreign way of being in my practice, I’ve become more willing to test drive my new-found patience off the mat.

 

Goddess Mena Love: In your book, Sophia Rising, you speak about humility and not being the most flexible in the class because of an injury. What advice can you give to yogis of all levels that may feel insecure within their personal yoga practice?

Monette: Insecurity on the mat comes from the same source as it does off the mat. Anytime we look outside of ourselves for validation, we set ourselves up for failure. There will always be someone smarter, richer or better looking than us. And that’s OK! We truly never know what’s going on behind others’ stellar veneers. Smart, rich, and good looking does not ensure happiness. The key to feeling secure is to focus on the practice rather than the result—in life and in yoga. Don’t shy away from creating your own home practice because you’re afraid it won’t be perfect. Just show up on your mat—even for 15 minutes—and listen to what your body’s saying to you.

 

Goddess Mena Love: When I practice yoga, I notice the slower I move into each asana, the more I feel aware of my body and the spiritual connection I have with God because I am focusing on the flow of my breath integrated with the thought that my asanas speak like prayers. Can you relate?

Monette: Absolutely! That is one reason I enjoy my home practice. I probably don’t push myself as hard physically when I practice at home, but I am more in touch with the spiritual side of my yoga because I am moving at my own pace, establishing that rhythm of breath and body that begins to feel sacred. When we can trust ourselves enough to create a living, breathing prayer with our bodies, we recapture the holistic expression that we often miss out on in the more cerebral Christian tradition.

 

Goddess Mena Love: Can you share a personal discovery you’ve found by keeping a gratitude journal?

 Monette: Ironically, I have found that the very things that I cite most often in my gratitude journal can irritate me if I am not in a particularly spiritually sound place. For example, I see “my children’s singing” pop up often on my gratitude list, but if I am feeling ungrounded or inpatient, that same singing may grate on my nerves. That paradox shows very clearly that my attitude makes         all the difference in my   experience of the world around me. It really drives home the truth behind the Greek philosopher Epictetus’ proclamation that it’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters. We really do have a lot of power to change our perception of reality.

 

Goddess Mena Love: I really like that your book, Sophia Rising, bridges the gap between yoga and Christianity. How has the Christian community supported you and your book?

 Monette: I have been pleasantly surprised by the positive reception my book has received in Christian circles. I was prepared for a bit of   backlash since I tackled two different taboos—yoga as an expression of faith and the recognition of God’s feminine form —but, honestly, I haven’t received any criticism from within  Christian circles. I have had Christian groups decide that the book was too progressive for their book clubs, and I’ve modified my language to use more familiar, non-Sanskrit terms for some          audiences, but the response has been overwhelmingly positive. My own church, Chapelwood United Methodist Church, has been extremely supportive, carrying my book in its store and inviting me to sign books and lead talks on several occasions [Thank you,    Christian Washington & Kris Jodon!]. The definitive stamp of approval for me came when I was notified that Sophia Rising had    been awarded the Illumination Book Awards’ gold medal (spirituality category) for the year’s best new titles written and     published with a Christian worldview. That designation made me feel truly supported and embraced by the Christian literary   community, something I wasn’t sure I’d find with this book’s publication.

Sophia Rising has also opened doors that revealed the true breadth and depth of Christian community, allowing me to speak at venues like the Wild Goose Festival where cross-dressing reverends lead worship alongside some of the most recognizable names in progressive Christianity. In places like this, I find so many people longing to bridge the illusory rifts that separate God from all the ho-hum parts of daily life. We all know God is in the details as well as the grandeur. Helping Christians connect those dots in ways that transcend the intellect has been one of the most joyous parts of this journey.

 

Goddess Mena Love: When did you fall in LOVE with yoga?

Monette: When I was 25, I “won” a package of yoga classes in a silent auction  at a charity event. I remember thinking that I might have committed a professional faux pax by outbidding a city council member I was supposed to be wooing in my role as PR manager. But I didn’t care. Something in me wanted to try yoga that badly! I remember walking into the studio the first time and feeling, paradoxically, like  I was coming home in a setting that was unlike any I’d ever experienced. For you long-time Houstonians, this was the Yoga Institute on Alabama back in the mid-nineties when Lex Gillan owned it—old school yoga. I was enchanted by the words, the smells, the zafus (meditation cushions) and, of course, the intense physicality of it all.

 

Goddess Mena Love: Finish this statement. Yoga gives me access to…….

Monette: Yoga gives me access to the me that exists underneath all my self-created busyness.

 

 Goddess Mena Love: What’s in your playlist right now?

 Monette: I don’t have a playlist! Can I change this to, “What’s in your book stack right now?”

I am finishing Meg Wolitzer’s exquisitely insightful novel, The Interestings. Up next are two review copies I just received in the     mail—When God Was a Little Girl by David Weiss and A Woman Called God by Peter Wilkes.

 

Goddess Mena Love: What’s your favorite quote?

 Monette: “If you judge people, you have no time to LOVE them.” – Mother Theresa

 

Goddess Mena Love: Do you have any advice for people who are just starting out on their path of awakening?

Monette: Definitely! I think when it comes to spiritual awakening, we are all beginners in the sense that each of us is continually beginning again. There is no graduation ceremony; no advanced degree in spiritual mastery. It helps to picture spiritual awakening as a process, not a destination. It is a way of being present in each moment life hands us—whether it’s beautiful, heart-wrenching or somewhere in between, as is usually the case. We begin to awaken by not running away or escaping. By accepting that we will not arrive at a blissful place of peace everyday. By showing up and surrendering to what is—just like we do on our mats. Of course, the act of living mindfully will bring us more peace, but that can’t be the goal. It is simply a lovely by-product.

© Copyright 2014 – Goddess Mena Love. All Rights Reserved

The Buddha Spotlight – Davidji Pt. 1

Namaste y’all!!

The Buddha Spotlight introduces you to meditation expert, Davidji!

Goddess Mena Love: Why should we all meditate?

 Davidji: Well Goddess, most people are crisis meditators. They have an interruption in their flow of life, a disappointment, or some kind of issue, and suddenly they sit down and say “I’m gonna meditate, now”. It’s sort of like brushing your teeth. If you only brushed your teeth when the dentist said you had a cavity, it would be too late and you would have no teeth left. That’s why having a consistent daily meditation practice, even if it’s for short amounts, is so much more powerful.

 

Goddess Mena Love: I am so GROWING through that right now! I’m not a quick-tempered person, but in certain situations I have very low tolerance for ignorance. I have a sharp tongue, so if you say something to me that crosses the boundary of my ego, I will tell you off with no restraints! Lately, I feel like certain people in my life know that I’m working on myself, the ignorance and attitude from others is coming so hard, as if it’s being done on purpose.

Davidji: That’s what meditation brings us, AWARENESS.

Goddess Mena Love: Yes!

Davidji: It doesn’t make you not be a jerk, but it makes you recognize, “ Oh, I was a jerk”, and the more you recognize that “Oh, I was a jerk”, the more you’ll want to shift that behavior.

Goddess Mena Love: That’s exactly what’s going on!

Davidji: Let me share something with you. I talk about this a lot in my workshops, I call it, your winning formula. So, your little sharp tongue , and mine too because I’m from Queens, but your sharp tongue, your attitude, the way you swagger, what you’ve brought, THAT, has got you to this point. That was your winning formula. That’s what allowed you to thrive, to step up, to bring yourself into this world, to not be stepped on, to really hold your own, and to teach others in your circle. It was a great strength, but, you know what? It’s not going to serve you from this point forward. So, you need to take that contact lens out and go, “Oh, that’s my winning formula”. There’s some things in there that could save me, because I AM quick-witted, I AM pretty smart, I AM pretty savvy, I DO have a good sense of humor, I DO know when someone is stepping on me. We need to dust that all off and figure out what are better ways to do it. The winning formula that got you here, is not going to move you forward. It’s going to get you to the next level.

If you can get your way, if you can accomplish what you’re trying to, without stepping on someone, without making someone feel pain, the key is to find your grace point. Find that way where you can get all those things, but you don’t have to kill everyone and break all those ankles in the process. Meditation is a powerful tool to doing that.

Goddess Mena Love: Why?

Davidji: Because most people on the planet are living either in the flight or fight, or this emotional flight or fight, where people get very defensive about stuff because they’re always trying to protect their emotional turf. Meditation acts as the pattern interrupted in that normal condition response that’s been going on for 10,000 years. The more you meditate, every single day, for 20-30 minutes, some of that stuff would ease. It would ease because when we meditate the exact opposite thing happens to our physiology. Instead of our breath being rapid, it slows down automatically. The next amazing thing that happens is we perspire less, because the body is not feeling threatened. The perspiration threshold goes up and we sweat less. Our bodies says, “let’s nourish our growth hormone, let’s nourish our sex hormone, let’s nourish our immune system. We don’t need that other cortisol, adrenaline, and glucagon, let’s just suppress that.”

And then, your body says, “ let’s let the blood flow more easily”. This is the exact physiological opposite to whatever happened.

 

Meditators have this third gear, does it make us perfect all the time, NO! Deepak Chopra’s yelled at me! The Dalai Lama lost his temper, he’s written about it in books. What we have to recognize is that the more we meditate, the more our physiology shifts, and the more our conditioned response of, “what did you say about me?”, lessens! Someone will then say something to you and the first thought in your head will be, “You know what? I am such a goddess, I can’t even imagine what their issue is that they’re having a problem with me. They must be in pain, I’ll go give them a hug!” Rather than snapping at them, you instantly have compassion for them. You think to yourself, “Wow, they must have been so damaged or wounded as a child, to feel so less than, and for them to reach out to me and try to push me down lower than them, they must be so low for me to get pushed down below them. I can only have LOVE and compassion for them”.

Now, you don’t just magically become that, but if you show up and meditate everyday, NOT A CRISIS MEDITATOR, we clear away a lot of that defensiveness. One of my favorite books is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. It’s basically about four steps in living your life,

Being impeccable with your word

Don’t take anything personal

Don’t make assumptions

Always do our best

 

That thing about not taking things personally, you have to realize that if I’m commenting about you, it’s not a comment about you, it’s a comment about me. If I asked you, “where’ d you get those earrings?” that’s all about me, it has nothing to do with where you got them. I’m noticing something, and I’m commenting on it. Let’s stop giving such attention and such importance to everybody else’s comments. It’s all tough here, in the age of social media, where people who shouldn’t be allowed to speak, have platforms to announce to the world to attack and say mean things to people, and put all this negativity out in the world. That’s why it’s so great to have someone like you to come down and bring positivity. Your job isn’t to shut down every nasty blog, your job is to flow the LOVE. Just like your job isn’t to just snap at somebody, your job is to feel LOVE inside you.

 

We need to live with our soul and lead with our heart.

 

Goddess Mena Love: Do you have a good meditation technique for beginners or people who may need help restarting their meditation practice?

Davidji: I have a technique that I use and introduced to people in the military, law enforcement, business people, and yogis. I call it 16 Seconds. When I’m teaching yogis, I call it 16 Seconds to Ananda. Ananda means bliss in Sanskrit. For businessmen and women, I call it, 16 Seconds to Clarity. When I’m sitting with people from the military, I call it Tactical Breathing. We always have to use the language for the people, so that they can get the best understanding.

 

Let’s try 16 Seconds now.

 

Think about something or someone that’s irritated you.

Envision that something or someone in your mind’s eye.

You may begin to get a little irritated.

The only thing that’s required for this thing to work is that as you breathe, you have to watch your breath.

Keep that something or someone in your mind’s eye.

Think about how what happened, has pissed you off.

Close your eyes.

Through your nostrils, take a long slow deep breath in, and feel it going down into your belly.

Watch that breath.

Observe it.

Witness that breath as it sits in your stomach.

Now allow that breath to come out of you,

and watch it as it moves into your chest,

your throat,

to your sinuses,

out through your nostrils,

 just keep watching it and observing it.

Watch your breath as it flows out and dissipates into the air.

When it feels comfortable, slowly open your eyes, and breathe normally.

That was 16 seconds.

Notice that when you watched your breath as you held it in, as you breathed out and watched it dissipate, you weren’t thinking of that person you just envisioned in your head. For 16 seconds, you introduced a pattern to interrupt. Remember, you were pretty pissed at that person. Right now, you may be even pissed off at them where that irritation is still in there. We know that for those 16 seconds, you were not in the past, you were not in the future, you were living in the present moment.

16 seconds, do that four times, that’s a minute; if you do that 20 times, that’s five minutes. It’s such an easy way for us to practice when we are feeling less than, or angry, spiteful, or pissed off. We can actually take this break.

Here’s what happened when we took that break, we mirrored what happens to our physiology when we meditated. So, for those 16 seconds we were totally present, not in the future or past, not thinking about stuff that happened or projecting stuff that we’re going to do. We slowed our breathing, we suppressed adrenaline, cortisol and glucagon, we elevated our growth hormone, sex hormone,  our immune system, and our platelets became more fluid and sticky.

Now that we’ve done it, you know that everyone on the planet has 16 seconds, even the busiest people like Oprah has 16 seconds. The question is, “what are we choosing to do with our time?”

You can teach that 16 seconds to a 5yr old – 95yr old. It doesn’t matter what they do for a living, where they are, where their job is, none of that matters.

 

Goddess Mena Love: What about those high-powered people?

 Davidji: Well high-powered people have a lot of fire, a lot of pitta, and that pitta creates a little craziness sometimes. Of course, when that fires is burning out, they can lash out and scorch a lot of people. After the fact, they regret their behavior. We can help ourselves, because it’s all conditioning. I have a technique called, Reaching for S.O.D.A.

First you have to identify your emotional tail. Like you, I’m also prone to striking out, lashing out, and shooting some flames out of my fingers.

 S.O.D.A. is based on the fact that we all have this emotional tail. It’s like an emotional tip off that no ones else sees, but we see it. Usually we have about five seconds until we go off. For me, when I start to get irritated, when someone pushes my button, I feel it in the middle of my chest. No one else can see it, no one else can feel it. No ripping off my shirt, no red cheeks, no extra perspiration, I just feel a little flame. The more irritated I am, the more it starts to move up. From experience, I know that as it starts to move up, if that heat crosses my jaw line, I will scorch the village! So, I have five seconds before I blow, five seconds before I’m snarky, five seconds before I’m sarcastic, rude, mean, or violent with my words. In those five seconds, the second I feel my emotional tail, I reach for S.O.D.A.

What’s your emotional tail? What’s the first thing you feel before you lash back?

 

Goddess Mena Love: I feel that anger in the gut.

Davidji: Ok, you feel that! And sometimes it can be an emptiness, like you’re gonna throw up. Sometimes it can feel like a sharp pain, like someone just stuck a knife in your belly.

 Goddess Mena Love: It’s a knot.

Davidji: Ok, it’s a knot in your belly, perfect. The moment you start to feel that knot, you have five seconds before you go off, that’s when you reach for S.O.D.A.

 S – STOP, and in that moment, I say to myself, STOP.

O – OBSERVE, I float up above the two of us, until I’m high enough that I’m just looking down at two children of God. Sometimes, I need to get to the roof of the house. Sometimes, I need to get to the top of the empire state building. Sometimes, I need to get on top of the moon! But at a certain point, I look down and say, “You know what? We’re just two children of God”.

D – DETACH, You need a physical separation and an energetic separation. So, if you’re with someone that’s made you angry, step back about five to six inches and take a deep breath in. Feel that breath, take that breath in and feel it come down into your core. This also works if you’re on the phone with someone, if you’re texting someone, and you’ve just read something that’s about to take you over the edge, if you just read an email that’s made you angry, there needs to be a physical space, as well as an energetic space between me and the irritant.

A – AWAKEN, to your most divine self. Awaken to the best version of you. What would the Goddess do in this moment? What would the best version of me do? Because the best version of me sees the bigger picture. The best version of me isn’t trying to win a fight right now in this moment. The best version of me is trying to LOVE somebody. The best version of me is trying to grow and not have stuff impact me. How’s the best version of me, in this moment, responding to life? The best version of me is the child of God, the best version of me has divine essence flowing in me. Really LOVE yourself in this moment.

 S.O.D.A. is a great technique and gives you about five to ten seconds to just step away from the emotional charge of that moment. When there is a lot less emotional turbulence, your button isn’t pushed as much. S.O.D.A. allows us to see things without the feeling of hurt, wounding, or pain. For someone like me, who used to scorch the village consistently, I’ve said to myself, “I don’t want that to be what people think about me. I don’t want that to be how I flow through the world.” I want people to say, “That Davidji has such grace”. But, I need to be graceful if I’m going to be on the other side of that.

16 Seconds and S.O.D.A. has really, truly transform the way I respond to life, to the world, and to the people in my life. They’re not gonna change instantly, they’re gonna be waiting for that explosion for a couple of weeks or months, but if you’re consistent, at a certain point they’re gonna say, “you’re a lot more fun to be around”.

 

Goddess Mena Love: I really have to do this. I feel like I’m calm for the most part, and sometimes the person I usually have issues with, will do things to me on purpose to get that “bitchy” reaction. There are times when I’m like “forget this” and I want to be mad, I want to be angry, and I want him to feel that emotion.

 Davidji: You’re self-fulfilling a prophecy! Here’s what you’re doing. “Here’s my button, this is my button” And then, when they push your button, you’re like, “You pushed my button”. Well, you were holding your button out to be pushed! We can’t hold out the button and expect someone to not push it! We need to move that button to the side and know that button doesn’t serve us any longer. We need to retrain ourselves that when someone pushes the button, the first thing we do is smile, almost laugh, and say, “ Was I holding that button out there that far? Was it so easy for you to push that one?”  That’s a powerful shift that we all can make. We all have the power to start right now.

 

 

© Copyright 2014 – Goddess Mena Love. All Rights Reserved

The Buddha Spotlight – Davidji Pt. 2

 

Goddess Mena Love: What was the turning point for you to get started on your existing spiritual routine or practice?

Davidji: The thing that really launched me to reconnect to these teachings and to explore myself more deeply was pain. I was in deep emotional pain and spiritual pain after 9/11. I worked in the world trade center for a period of time and for some reason when that happened, I had a very deep, profound sense of loss inside me, and a loss of purpose. I questioned myself, “why am I here? Why do I belong on this planet?”

I think that pain can be a very strong motivator. We can either use pain to lay like a lump and curl up under the covers, and I did that for awhile, or we can use the pain to get busy. I believe for each one of us, that when a door closes on us, when someone breaks up with us, when someone fires us, when someone reneges on us, when someone betrays us, we can either use that as an excuse to why we can’t do stuff or we can use it as a motivator.

I remember in the wake of 9/11, I was walking through downtown New York City, passing cardboard boxes full of people, and a guy reached out of one of those cardboard boxes, grabbed my pant leg, looked deep into my eyes and said, “What’s gonna be on your tombstone?” That was too much for me, that was way too reflective, that was just too intense! I wandered around wondering if that was God speaking to me through that homeless man. All I knew then, was that I needed to get busy. I started exploring , and did my own version of Eat, Pray, LOVE, went to India without the eating and the LOVE, just sort of praying, in search of the guru. After six months, I realized that the guru rests inside. The answer to every question we could ever ask ourselves rests inside. We have to just be willing to quiet ourselves down so we can hear the whispers of God.

 

Goddess Mena Love: What do you say about people who say that the whispers are more of a schizophrenic type of thing?

Davidji: Ok. Here’s what I know, I know this, you know this, everybody knows this, the person who’s bashing the whispers, they know that deep within, beneath these clothes, beneath this flesh, beneath these bones, beneath these organs, beneath all this stuff, rests our spirit, our soul. When all this stuff drifts away, we’ll return to something . This is just a physical casing that’s holding our soul. We all know this. How in the world can we hear what that soul has to say, unless we get really quiet. I like to say that prayer is talking to God and meditation is listening.

I would ask that person, who says, “that’s schizophrenia”, don’t you pray to God? Do you speak to some divine being? Do you believe in the anything bigger than you? If they don’t, I pretty much stop having that conversation with them, and it’s ok for them to think whatever they want. But, if they believe in a higher power, if they believe in source , spirit, the universe, Jesus Christ, or some God, then they’ve spoken to that God in some way. They don’t have to get on the end of their bed and pray at night, but they’ve spoken to this God at some point. Why do they expect to listen to what that God says back to them, unless they quiet down. Now, a lot of people wonder if it’s just their ego or God talking, get more quiet.

Get more quiet, and you’ll know.

 I can say to myself right now, “ Hmmm, you should have a double chocolate magnum pop”. I know that wasn’t God talking. I know that’s me, that’s not schizophrenia,.

 

Goddess Mena Love: Who is that? Your ego?

Davidji: Yes, that’s my ego. That’s my sense of self. My ego is all the stuff I claim and own. My ego is the preference in how I like to wear my hair. My ego is the thing that says who I voted for. My ego is the thing that says what I care about or what I don’t care about. My ego wants to make sure I let everyone know that I care about this or don’t care about that. My ego is my identity on this planet earth, while I’m in this flesh casing, and it has needs of the body, the mind, the heart, and the soul.

 

 

Goddess Mena Love: I’m still learning the difference between hearing ego vs spirit speaking to me. Are we supposed to be shutting down ego really hard? Is ego the devil on the one side of your shoulder?

Davidji: It’s so brilliant that you asked that! I talk about that a lot in my book, Secrets in Meditation. A lot of people say, “Kill the ego”. The ego is your sense of self, why would you kill that? What we want to do is understand it. Understand why it’s so important for me to want to defend this point of view.

Think about that.

Understand myself just a little bit better because I am in this world, I am moving around to this flesh world, this physical realm. We don’t want to stop the ego, we want to evolve the ego. Let’s understand our ourselves better.

 

Goddess Mena Love: How important is it to change your diet while living a more spiritual life?

Davidji: There is some foods that aggravate and irritate us. We can live an Ayurvedic lifestyle, we can become vegetarians, we can only eat seafood, we can all become vegans. I think diet really comes down to what makes you comfortable. What are you comfortable doing? I developed this concept called The Five Realms. The physical, the emotional, the material, the relationship, and the spiritual. The Five Realms gives us clarity. Take one thing in each realm, everyday to work on ourselves.

Physical – Have one less bowl of ice-cream, take an extra mile walk, workout

Emotional – How do I want to respond? How do I want to show up? Practice on not being so defensive or not taking things too personal.

Material – I’m gonna stop saying I don’t have the money to do this because I don’t have the money. I’m gonna truly go deeper into that process and know that there’s nothing that I can’t have! What do I really want? What am I spending my money on? Money is just a sign of abundance consciousness or property consciousness. Where are you gonna be in that flow?

Relationships – We can do four things with relationships. We can give birth to relationships, repair relationships, shift relationships, or end relationships. Pick one relationship, and actually do something with it. If it’s a relationship that’s eating and gnawing at you, you’re either gonna have to take it to the next level or end it. You shouldn’t want to be tortured by your relationships, you should want them to be full of LOVE and strength.

Spirituality – What’s a spiritual practice that I can do? Say Namaste silently to everyone I meet today. Try 16 Seconds of Bliss. Maybe it’s having greater compassion for someone I’ve been pretty mean to. Maybe it’s reaching and forgiving someone.

 

 

 

Goddess Mena Love: What’s your meditation destination?

Davidji: I go to Davidji.com, of course!! When I meditate, I usually just follow my breath. I’m in the universal heart space. I’m in the Anahata, the heart chakra of the universe when I meditate. I start off by saying a few things to myself, do some heart opening exercises, I ask a few questions, and then I let all of that go, and just start following my breath in and out. I’m not on an island, a mountain, somewhere in my backyard, I’m truly in my heart, or in the giant heart of the universe.

 

 

Goddess Mena Love: I always hear about people having these magical things showing up for them while in meditation. I want to feel that every time I meditate, and I don’t. I’ve gotten answers before, but I’ve not felt that magnitude of bliss that everyone speaks about.

Davidji: You had it for those 16 seconds when we were meditating, you were in a peaceful, tranquil space. If you try to find that tranquility, you’re not going to get it. That’s working too hard, instead of surrendering. Meditation is total surrender. Any other aspect of it is not surrendering, it’s activity.

So, if you’re like, “ C’mon, I want to flow in the gap. C’mon, I want happiness, peace and light. C’mon, I want I want to float through the sky”, that’s a lot of conversation!

What I found is that the more you surrender, the more you have pretty cool moments. What I would like to stress is that the magnificence of meditation happens after you open your eyes and you’re back here with the rest of us. The magnificent “a-ha” moment will come in the moment when your man says something to you that would normally push your button and instead you’ll say, “He’s a pretty sweet guy”. That’s the “a-ha” moment! Sitting in the dark with your eyes close doesn’t matter and doesn’t serve anyone on the planet, it’s when you open up. Do the practice, and live those answers.

 

Goddess Mena Love: And the best way for beginners to start their meditation practice would be 16 Seconds of Bliss?

 Davidji: Yes, 16 Seconds, and I would say to repeat four times. You don’t have to sit on the floor with your legs crossed or on a meditation pillow, you can, but you don’t have to. Do find a comfortable chair, and not the chair you sit in when you watch tv. The technique that I’ve developed is RPM (Rise, Pee, Meditate). If you can rise, pee, mediate, everything else that you touch throughout the rest of the day has a little bit of stillness and silence. Start with 16 Seconds a bunch of times throughout the day, while you’re stuck in traffic, before going into a meeting, waiting in line, on the phone, or anytime you’re feeling anxiety. On the next week, add a minute to the 16 seconds as a formal meditation, that’s 1:16. The week after that add another minute, that’s 2:16. If you can just incrementally add a minute, once you hit the 20 week mark of the year, before the ear is halfway through, you have a 20 minute easy practice. As far as I’m concerned, it’s all about comfort, giving yourself permission to surrender, and the opportunity to back things up and slow things down.

 

Goddess Mena Love: What’s in your playlist right now?

 Davidji: It’s funny you asked! Well, I just released my cd, Journey to Infinity, which originally was an ayurvedic opera, and now it’s a spiritual song cycle. You can find it on Davidji.com. I wrote this opera and merged with the sound healers from Canada, Sacred Fire, and we created 16 tracks that have binaural beats flowed into the music. So, you’re sitting there and suddenly your brain waves turn into theta waves, we’ve got guitar, drumming, chanting, and it moves you through the five elements of Ayurveda, Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth. If you’re a little fiery, you would not put on the fiery tracks. You would put on the soothing , cooling water tracks, that would help you bring down your fire. Journey to Infinity is now available online as an mp3 download or you can buy the cd at Davidji.com. It’s a 90 minute cd set, so you can just put it on and no matter what age you are, you will transform from it.

Journey to Infinity is number one on my playlist. I’ve also got Arianne Grande, who’s a student of mine. I’m a fan, to a certain extent of Iggy Azelia. I also LOVE Metallica and everything in between.

 

Goddess Mena Love: That’s awesome!

Are there any natural fragrances that will enhance my meditation experience? Currently, I’m hooked on Lavender, Nag Champa, and Sandalwood.

Davidji: One thing that’s great is if you only use a certain scent when you meditate, every time you light that scent, it will chill you down. The most relaxing and pitta balancing fire soothing aromas are two of what you have, Sandalwood and Lavender. Sandalwood is very soothing and calming. Lavender is awesome, good for relaxing, especially for people who have a hard time sleeping. Citrus flavors are also very balancing. The aromas of lemon or orange are very soothing and relaxing. Vanilla is very relaxing. Rose is another relaxing fragrance. If you pass a rose, stop and take a long deep breath, it calms your emotional state and your physical body.

 

Goddess Mena Love: Do you have any advice for people who are just starting out on this path of awakening?

 Davidji: Yes, I do. First of all, remember there’s 8 billion people on the planet, so there’s 8 billion different styles of everything. Next, whatever you think you’re doing, you’re not doing it wrong. So if you’re like, “Awww, I haven’t seen the Budhha yet! I’m not having those blissed out experiences, it must be the wrong hand mudra or maybe I’m not sitting right!”, just relax and surrender more and more, you’re doing it right.

Give yourself permission and start slow. Don’t try to knock out 30 minutes of meditation the first time, because then you will think you can’t do it. Start small, with 16 Seconds and build on that. Everyone should remember that we transform the world by transforming ourselves. There’s a lot of stuff out here that we disagree with, there’s a lot of stuff out there that we can be militant about and very activist about. So, rather than telling people on how they should live their lives, or what they should, how they should do it, let’s work on us. If we’re more LOVE, everything in our life will flow more LOVE. If I’m hitting you over the head and telling you to be more LOVING, then clearly I’m not displaying that LOVE. It always starts from the heart. Everyone should be more gentle on themselves, more self-forgiving, self-compassionate, and self-giving, because we’re the source of everything that flows out of us. If that’s filled with LOVE, then we’re going to flow LOVE. If that’s filled with self-doubt, then we’re going to flow that doubt. Fill your heart, and your world will flow magically.

 

Here’s my little commercial, everyone should adopt their next pet, because there’s a million dogs out there being euthanized every month, 50,000 a week in Florida alone.

***Peaches joined us in our conversation, she meditates every day, too!***

 

Goddess Mena Love: Thank you so much! Blessings to you! Namaste!

Davidji: Thank you! Thanks for taking the time and inviting me! Namaste!

 

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