Stop Judging Yourself

A few weeks ago I attended my first Daybreaker. For those of you who don't know what that is, it’s a conscious, burning-man inspired, multi-generational, early-morning dance party. (Ph-ew!)

It starts out with an hour yoga class and then a party ensues that makes it difficult to tell whether you’re in a club at 2 AM, or that it is in fact, 7 AM on a Wednesday. The yoga class is heart opening and inspirational, beautifully soundtracked by the legendary, Above & Beyond. (Above and Beyond has actually DJ’d Daybreaker live, however we weren’t that lucky.) After the music began, people loosened up and we started to get after it.

In a previous life, I used to frequent clubs, raves, and festivals, and far too indulged in the party favors that are ubiquitous with the scene. They were fun times no doubt, however, if you stick with that routine for long enough you’re sure to meet it’s barriers, and feel it’s wrath on your well being. Years later, post a life altering decision to not drink or do any drugs, it felt like I was stepping back in time. Only this time there were no pills or powders, just a new perspective and appreciation.

Day breaker is a sober event. (which you’d hope for 7 am on Wednesday) So while people can stoke their caffeine and kombucha via the free drinks, there is no substance intoxication to be found. As the music turned up, we got to dancing. As time passed people grew more comfortable and freer with their bodies. Beyond the 808 kick, and trippy art installations, what struck me most was something that the MC periodically came on the mic to announce.

All he would say was, LET GO - Stop Judging Yourself.

I thought, “Wow. How good of a cue is that!?”

One “positive” side to alcohol and drugs, is that it gives us is the ability to let go of self-criticism and be free in our bodies. (Often to our detriment) But with being sober, it’s a whole new level of practice to access this nonjudgmental freedom. In essence, it’s a meditation. And the MC’s words were the main teaching of the practice.

Can we let go enough to be free, and express in the way our spirit is moving us?

It’s not easy.

I couldn't get over this thought of 150 people dancing in a room together, all fearing what they looked like to others. When in reality, everyone else was fearing the same thing. If you could project a screen that showed everyone’s internal narrative, it would be hilarious. We’d see that the way we humans act is insane. No one is judging anyone, We are all judging ourselves.

We judge ourselves in almost every area of our life, and too often the strongest victim of criticism is the body. For some it’s where we hold the most discomfort. That means it is also the place where our greatest transformation can occur.

The body is as much of a place for self-realization as anything. We can find awakening in the experience of pure movement. We can find ascendance in transforming judgemental thoughts to self-love. We find freedom and release when we shift our thoughts to one of others judging, to one of loving others.

It’s not easy. Our body shaming runs deep. That’s exactly why it’s the work we must confront.

I hope this meditation will help you access new levels of awareness and appreciation for your body and who You are deep inside.

Listen here: Stop Judging Yourself

 
 

Postscript: One of the funnest parts of this morning was leaving the event with a glittered face and entering the New York City streets at 9 am. The look on racing business folks was priceless. It’s certainly a fun contrast to a typical morning. :)

If you’re interested in Daybreaker the host events all over the world. Go find one in your area.

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Trusting Your Guidance

If you’ve been following me the past year, you know we ran a backpacking & mindfulness retreat in Yosemite, California. It’s obvious that walking up steep cliffs with 35lbs of weight is challenging, however, we had no idea what we were actually in store for.

Day 3 was the toughest day of the hike. On this day we were traversing 4,000 ft in elevation. Our goal was Cloud’s Rest, a peak known for its majestic 360 views of nearly all of Yosemite park. Let’s just say, this day was rough. The weight was getting to some, people were sick, a few even had diarrhea which, never an ideal situation, poses even less joy when you’re walking up a mountain, dehydrating & carrying out your own toilet paper. (Sidenote: you get real comfortable with our humanness when traveling in the woods with a group.) Poop stories aside, we were eager to get to our peak and experience the reward for our struggle.

Earlier in the day, Alasdair our co-facilitator and trekking lead, had mentioned that the hike to camp was the toughest physical challenge, but the last part might be tougher psychologically. Since I hadn’t done the trek before, I had no idea what he meant. I was like yea sureee, let’s just get to camp and we’ll be good.

So we trudged on, Alasdair and I taking weight from those who were struggling, and step by step, made it to camp. We put our bags down, set up our tents and got ready for the last walk towards the peak. Since we could lower the weight of our packs, we thought this last part would be a breeze.

However, as we got up to the last section, Alasdair’s comment had made complete sense. We had entered a psychological mindf***. You couldn’t see the top, the path was narrow, and the mountain fell off on both sides. It was daunting. This had a bone-chilling effect. To say people freaked out is putting it lightly. One person had a panic attack, two people stopped dead in their tracks and started confessing fears in other areas of their lives, two others said that they just weren’t going to be able to do it. One was ready to put in the towel and said, “Isn’t this view enough?”.

Unfortunately at this point I could not offer them any help. Because to be honest, I was scared too. Someone mentioned they had a fear of heights, and I thought "Wow, this is scary to those who don’t have a fear of heights, I wonder what that person must be going through!"

Alasdair our lead, had already made it to the top with half the group. I was in charge of the rear, which is how I was put into this position. I didn’t know how to proceed. Instead of having them follow me towards their deaths, I had them wait, and decided to walk up and let them know what was going on. Once I made it to the top, beyond being awestruck, I now could now speak better towards what was ahead. It wasn't as scary as it looked. Plus the way down, what many were just as anxiously scared about, looked easier to the mind.

I brought back with me our fearless leader, Alasdair. I did my part in motivating a few that they could do it and it wasn’t as scary as it seemed. Alasdair was there to guide each person up. His instructions were simple: look at his feet, follow his steps & don’t look anywhere else.

Step by step, I watched people overcome their fears and make it to the top. We then shared what I feel safe to say, was one of the most beautiful and fulfilling moments in each of our lives. The views were insaneee. Some pics here.

Beyond the views, was the bond that formed through what we overcame together to make it there. And the triumph each individual felt in pushing past boundaries.

The symbolism of this is profound. Being on a physical journey breaking through perceived limits helps us to overcome other psychological limits we set for our life. One of the main symbolic insights for me is that when we don’t believe in ourselves, we need people in our lives that do. We need people who have walked the path before and can say, "Hey it’s not as scary as you think, you can do this.”

That's a big part of my intention with what I share with you. We are on the same journey. I hope that what mine has shown me can add value to yours. I’ve been shown time and time again the truth of the adage, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”

We are supported more than we can comprehend.

It’s that trust and guidance I hope to impart with you in this weeks' practice: Trusting Your Guidance.

 
 

I hope it helps you to trust your journey and overcome a challenge you may be facing.

If our Yosemite Trip interests you, we’ll be going back in 2020. Find out how to apply here.

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All Things Are Possible

The two things most people disagree on...Politics & Religion. Two things this post is about? Politics & Religion. Well, kind of. Let me explain...

The way I teach is from taking inspiration from my life. This meditation is not about Politics & Religion, however it is inspired by them. So I hope you put down your guard and hear me out.

Here in America, there is campaigning going on for the 2020 presidential election. One of the people whom are running is one of my greatest spiritual Teachers, Marriane Willimson. Some of you I’m sure are familiar with her, and for those that aren’t, you can look her up. However, this isn’t about promoting her or her views, this is more about observing what is coming up for me as she’s progressing.

For those not in America, (or not into politics), she is a complete longshot. Many have written her off, and no one actually thinks she’s going to win. Regardless of this, what I’ve been inspired by is that for her, that doesn’t seem to matter.

To quote her most famous saying, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

Although others don’t believe in her, she believes in that power. And as you see her talk, you can sense that. What I sense is a deep harnessing of her power and connection to God. Or... to Love, Or to Spirit, Or to the Universe, Or to Source, Or to her higher self - whatever word you use to describe the mystery that unites us all. What I feel and what I believe is that she has that power on her side.

I don’t consider myself "religious" in the common sense, as I believe all wisdom traditions point to the same truth. With that said, there is a Bible verse in the Gospel of Matthew where Jesus says, “With (hu)Man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” That’s what I feel watching Marianne. That yes, she is a long shot, but, with God, All Things Are Possible.

Whatever you’re working on or towards... Your goals, your dreams, your vision. What if you stopped using your limited mind, and let go & believed that “With God, all things Are possible.

For those of you where a word like God has been sullied, pick what resonates for you. With the Universe, With Spirit, With Source, With Love, With Compassion, With Awareness, With Faith, With Ease, With Trust…All Things Are Possible. This practice is about helping you find your word that you can use when you start to doubt the things you’re capable of.

Listen here on soundcloud.

 
 

This was released yesterday as a Daily Insight on Insight Timer. It's quickly become one of my most popular practices. If 20 minutes is too long, on the app you can find both a 10 & 5 minute version.

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