A Juicy Life

Meditation

Meditation, mindfulness, and minimalism: all tools I have discovered of late. I vividly recall my first awkward attempts at meditation. Forget about emptying the mind; my thoughts quickly grew to prolific proportions, incessant flashing neon lights on my horizon.

“How the heck am I supposed to sit still for so long? My back hurts. Will it be ok if I change positions? I don’t care. I am going to move my legs. Empty mind?! How on earth can I trash these thoughts that keep piling up? Please, please – let this be over already. Enough! I can’t stand this music. There are some very strange characters here. I signed up for a juice fast, not a spiritual retreat. Let me out of here …”

Fast forward.
Post weekend meditation retreat.
Post one on one coaching.
Post Deepak Chopra’s online SynchroDestiny course

Without that initial meditation immersion which my colleague and friend nudged me into, I probably would be detached and disjointed with no story to tell. Thank you, Gabi for opening the doors to a magical journey.

Freedom and Liberation

I began a daily practice.

As I meditated, so I danced. Meditation freed my mind; dance liberated my body. Surely the combination gifted wings to the voice of my developing song.

Unbridled joy – I’ll wager that for most it’s not an emotion which frequently comes calling. Any mother can recall that warm wave of joyous love which erupted with the birth of her firstborn. Indeed, there are other spectacular moments which come a close second.  Many of “the firsts” tend to carry reminiscent emotions: first touch, first kiss, first love, first passion of love, … But did you know that routine meditation can lead to spontaneous bouts of this delicious sensation?!

As my practice deepened, here and there I began experiencing these joyous moments, at times able to recall at will. Sporadically this sensation began to appear out of nowhere: while driving my car, during a “Team – “Nivcheret” time management session (Alon Ulman), and even now as I write these words. The challenge is to remain connected, to lavish the intense feelings and “ride the wave” for as long and as far as possible.

Inspirational Goals

Not long ago, I embarked on an intensive yearlong leadership coaching process with Alon Ulman’s Team – “Nivcheret”.  As part of this process I was asked to create three inspirational “C Type” goals: personal, relationship and professional.

The courage to dare quickly became an underlying theme around all three of my goals. I sensed the hidden power of meditation as a potential source to rev up my super powers. Gaby directed me to a mediation coach.

I learned to recognize this feeling of expansion as a yes, feelings of contraction as a no.

These days I am learning how to connect to my inner guidance at the end of a meditation session by asking questions and interpreting the following sensations within my body.

Out of curiosity and a will to deepen the relationship between my husband and I, a desire to attend a weekend tantra retreat was born. The word tantra carries an aurora of mystery and excitement as well as a fear of venturing into the unknown. As half of a whole, I felt brave enough to commit.

Although hubby gave his consent, he was hesitant going into a whole weekend sight unseen. We arranged a private session with the workshop facilitator. So, began a surreal journey to rebirthing (a breathing technique which can relieve pain and disease).

We entered a brand-new penthouse apartment and made our way into a large expanse of almost wall to wall mattresses. Between two seas of cushions were two small battered sofas and a small wooden table. Directed to choose a place to sit, we chose convention.

A shanti character sat in front of us on his meditation seat. As he spoke slowly and breathed heavily in and out of his mouth, my only thoughts were “Run Forest run!” I quickly glanced at my partner. Sensing no signs of distress on his part, I had no choice but to follow through.

What followed was a joint rebirthing session. We were positioned on adjoining mattresses, standing on all fours. For more than 45 minutes we inhaled and exhaled solely from our mouths, in and out with no pausing in-between as our core body danced in circular motion. We were encouraged to allow our breathing to become vocal and primal like. Throughout the process our coach alternately guided us by forcefully placing his hands energetically on various pressure points.

More often than not, when we are faced with danger, be it real or imagined, imminent or distant, we stop breathing and freeze. These moments, void of oxygen and movement, create a buildup of unreleased energy, which is buried deep within our bodies. In the animal kingdom, on the other hand, a moment such as this is always followed by intensive movement, shaking away any potential traumatic memory.

From an initial panic, dry mouth and breathlessness to an immense physical effort, we weathered through. For me a feeling of “Wow” followed. Initially I did not want to move from the fetal position I chose at “birth’s” end. I felt renewed and excited regarding the potential power this technique could have over me. Fight, flight or freeze: so many frozen traumatic memories buried deep within me… My other half emerged with a headache and nothing more.

I chose not to pressure him into joining me for the weekend retreat. While he initially agreed to join, an urgent business meeting found its way into his calendar. I believe that he was rather relieved to be let off the hook.

Peace by Peace

Thus, I found myself making my way down south to Desert Ashram (a spiritual center which hosts festivals, as well as spiritual and therapeutic retreats) with two strangers in tow. At least I had help with the long drive.

September’s desert weather could not have been finer, a wonderful break from summer’s humidity with a cool breeze to boot. It was an eclectic gathering: men and women, single and married, with and without partners and even a few “groupies” with multiple attendance records.

Tantra, revealing yes, but not in the conventional manner, baring your soul, piece by piece.

Much time was invested exploring yes and no. The implications of this lesson were nothing short of life changing.

Yes is YES and anything else is a clear NO.

Maybe? That’s a NO.
Not sure? NO.
I don’t feel like doing it but ok, I’ll do it. That too is a NO!

Say YES. Saying YES to opportunity, even when it is scary, intimate and personal. This is another common underlying theme around all three of my goals. But I cannot help but wonder how many of the yeses in my life should have been noes…

We were introduced to the masculine (Shiva) and feminine (Shakti) energies which exist within us all. The masculine energy is presence while the feminine energy is movement. We partnered into inner and outer circles, practicing both energies in turn, all the while one of the circles moving forwards and switching partners. It was fascinating to bear witness to the unique web of energies and much fun to practice.

The weekend included a massive rebirthing session under a heavy mask of trance-like music. From my understanding, the music was meant to camouflage the primal cries of others. I much preferred our initial intimate rebirthing experience. I did experience an emotional release, both laughter and tears, but felt that a more intimate surrounding would have been more beneficial for me.

The rebirthing circular breathing technique was expounded upon and we were coached to choose a partner to practice with. The positions were of a highly sexual nature although the exercise was done with clothes on (although a few chose to partially disrobe). I was pleased with myself as I contemplated asking a male partner to join me. Before I had a chance to follow through, another woman asked to partner with me.  I rapidly agreed. She quickly became uncomfortable, but for the exercise or but for not feeling well, and I was left without a partner. I was fortunate to receive one of the assistants as my new partner.

From one intimate experience to another, between Rosh Hashana (new year) and Yom Kippur, we found ourselves in the midst of a Tashlich (cast away our sins) ceremony. The goal was to release ourselves of unwanted habits, rituals and patterns of behavior. As we sat in a large circle, one by one each participant stood in turn to bare himself and cast away the unwanted. Following the man or woman would raise his/her hands up high and parade around the circle. Those who dared disrobed, partially or in full. Those who hesitated said “pass” and waited for the second round. After my initial “pass”, as part of my courage to dare and say YES year, it was clear to me that I would follow through. Believe it or not, the exercise was spiritual and not sexual in nature.

Finding My Voice

As part of my effort to cultivate the courage to dare, I decided to learn to sing. Just as I never called myself a dancer or an artist, I have never called myself a singer. I love singing, off key as it might be, but never in a million years would I have thought that I could be a singer.

An artist is anyone who masters an art, be it painting, dancing or singing. If I, who had two left feet, could suddenly be asked by strangers off the street if I am a dancer, then it goes to reason that I have it in my power to master whatever art I choose.

So, I find myself being coached weekly by the very talented Abigail. Thus far it has been a combination of movement and exploration. I am in the process of playing and teasing my voice out. It’s called vocal yoga but I am flying. A voice box? What a wonder to discover I have one. Through my voice, I am discovering the expansive nature of my heart and soul. Much like meditation, when it’s good I soar high above. I allow the sounds to surface whether in tune or not. I no longer cringe when I hear a note off key and there are times when I think to myself: “hey that ain’t half bad!” In the meantime, I sure am having fun testing the waters, out loud and free to peel off more layers of my soul.

Directly following the tantra retreat followed a field day of sport and other challenges with Alon Ulman, “The Day You Discovered Yourself”. With our appointed team we faced challenge after challenge whilst in the background each of us took stock of his or her leadership and innate tendencies to dive in, or not.

Again, continuing the year of YES and the courage to dare, I went ahead with each challenge. As we began, however, I noticed how I chose again and again to be on the sidelines and let others lead, preferring to be in the background, never volunteering to lead, not forging forward with tasks lacking personal (mine) mastery. Neither was I much of a cheer leader.

Today I choose to focus on wins. As I forge my path and reveal my inner aura, I like what I see. From day to day I am more connected to my true potential and choosing vibrancy with each step. There may be many more obstacles along the way but: “Hey babe, look how far you’ve come!”


If you have not yet read about the rocky part of my journey, you can read it here.‎

I would like to thank you for your patience in reading this post to its end.‎

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You Tell Your Future – The Power is Ours!

Imagine you had a looking glass where for a very short window of time you could observe, live the ‎final moment, day, year or years of your life. The picture that you see is clear. Startled, you clearly ‎do not like what you see. A wave of sadness and fright paralyzes you.

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