Day 106: A Preacher and a Cop in a Church

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Lately, there has been a video circulating on social media regarding a cop-preacher who has called for the elimination and execution of gays.  This not only reminds me of the insane laws against ‘gender traitors’ from Gilead from a Handmaid’s Tale but I remember a time long ago when these was everyday.   Perhaps the man and his words stand out so much now because of how far we have come to except those around us.

I pity this man because he probably had something horrible happen to him as a child or has suppressed homosexual tendencies himself.  He needs to let those feelings out somewhere and this is the group that he has targeted for his frustration.  I wish that it was just his frustration that was disturbing but it is not.  He seems to be even paranoid that the gays are tampering with his food.  Regardless of if he was paranoid before, he should be now. 

He specifically targets men in his ‘sermon’.  This is what leads me to think that he has something deep inside of him that he is afraid to let out or some insecurity that is leading to such hateful extremes.  He talks about the man at the Clinique counter and how he has rejected God.  Can a man just do his job?  Many of these types of videos or even people set a fire off inside of the gay community along with their allies but they go to the same place that this man does - extreme hate.

You cannot combat this negativity in this way.  You have to approach the pain of a person like you would if a child was hurt because, most likely, that pain comes from their childhood.  Instead of throwing stones at this person, we should look into why he has these feelings and help this person heal.  He has obviously some form of phobia stemming from a trauma that he is suffering from. 

When we look at people as our brothers and sisters in the good and bad times, this type of hatred has no place.  When we start treating everyone with the same respect as you would God, there would be no war.  However, we, as a human race, can’t even let someone have their own idea of what gender or race God is.  It is sad to see this type of public display of hate.  My prayers are for this man and any closeted person in the congregation that lives in pain and lies everyday that they find peace.  Erase hate out of your heart and the world becomes heart-shaped peace sign. 

 

Day 105: 3 Things People Constantly Ask Me

I have been proclaimed a super human with extraordinary powers but I’m just like everyone else with the same potential.  I always feel awkward when someone compliments me because I truly feel that what I did is possible for them to do as well.  We all have the same abilities.  Here are several questions that people ask me when I have achieved something or performed well.

1. Where do you get your energy? 

Sometimes, I wonder where my energy comes from.  I try to eat the right foods, exercise and meditate regularly.  I tend to stay away from people and things that contain negative energy or gives me a negative vibe.  I would have to say that eliminating the things that do not provide anything positive is a huge contributor.  I am able to do my work and still have energy when I’m done.  It goes without saying that I do hit low periods of energy and I avoid people completely.  So, most people never get to see the low energy side of me. 

2. Do you ever sleep? 

This question makes me laugh because I love sleep probably more than anyone.  I know how many hours of sleep I need so I plan accordingly.  I go to my bed at around 9pm every night and am asleep or about to fall asleep at 10pm most of the time.  Sometimes I fall asleep early so that I can wake back up and spend some time with my partner.  With his work hours, we fit in as much time as we can.  I get generally around 8 hours of sleep everyday.  Sunday’s are my cheat days so I’m sleep in a little more and get 9 hours of sleep.  Knowing how much sleep I need to be at my maximum capacity is a responsibility and duty to myself.   So, yes, I sleep.

3. Is there anything that you can’t do? 

Yes.  There are lots of things I can’t do because I haven’t tried everything.  I love music, art and theatre and for the longest time I thought these things were going to be my livelihood.  I sway from thinking that I’m just not into it or it was too hard or political. I absolutely hate politics.  Someone can be the most talented person in the world but when politics are involved forget any chances if you have enemies.  I can’t get along with everyone even though I have nothing but nice things to say about everyone.  I can’t be fake.  The things that I can’t do are all within me just like anything that is possible is within you.

Being in Marketing and Public Relations you get to see a lot of people and personalities.  These are just a few of the questions that people frequently ask me. I have done many things in life because I’m not afraid of failure. I have failed many times but I always walk into a situation consuming the abundance of lessons that will come regardless of failure or success.  If you have any question that you would like to ask me, feel free to reach out at jeremy@thejeremyeaton.com and I will respond.   

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Day 104: Distance

In my twenties, I did not understand the importance of distance in the relationships that I had.  I smothered everyone afraid that they would leave and that I would have no friends.  Even worse, I was terrified of being by myself.  Over the past 5 years, I have come to not only understand the importance of this distance but appreciate it as well.  Here are 3 benefits that intentionally creating some distance can help you ignite that flame upon coming together.

1. You Have Stuff to Talk About

Life can be mundane at best sometimes.  We wake up to our morning routines, go to work and come home to do our evening routines.  Doing the same thing day in and day out can seem pretty boring to talk about.  When there is distance in your relationship with one person going on a trip, there could have been some exciting news or some funny story to tell. When two people that are close are separated for a while, the urge to talk is greater so you find that there is more to talk about when they return. 

2. The Sex is Amazing

If you have ever been away from your partner long, you know that the anticipation of sex is high.  Before your suitcases even become unzipped, you find that other things have been unzipped and ready for action.  With the anticipation high and the feelings of longing, you have an emotional plot line for some savory sexy time.  Enough said about that.

3. The Love is Stronger

These days couples go through such extreme pressure from family, friends and society at large.  If a couple can spend periods of time without each other, the love that they share actually grows stronger. You have to trust someone in order to feel comfortable leaving them alone for several weeks or even months in my case.  Since they are not around each other all the time, the love is fresh and new all the time.  

They say that distance makes the heart grow fonder.  This statement is very true.  When you have distance and space both people are able to be free and explore more of who they are.  Becoming solid in who you are will help any relationship that you have.  The largest struggle in life is to be comfortable in silence with yourself. 

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Day 103: Jump Off The Diving Board

I have never thought of myself as a person with great fears. For the most part, I’m pretty much fearless. I have never liked being near the ocean at night but that didn’t stop me when I pedaled my bike 27 miles from San Francisco to Half Moon Bay on Independence Day several years ago. I didn’t let physical pain stop me from pedaling all the way back to San Francisco the next day.

There are several moments when I knew the moment was right and I jumped. I jumped without the contemplation of what could go wrong or not knowing all the details that could have helped me in the long run. I’m not looking for a perfect end product but rather one that was discovered with excitement and curiosity. So, when did I develop self sabotage and this hesitancy that I am starting to feel?

Over the past several years, I have learned that I can literally do anything I want to if I’m willing to put in the work. However, I still stand on the diving board wobbling every time the board moves. Why can’t I just jump into the water without looking around at better options? I have found lately that I want to do everything than what I need to be doing. With the recent attacks on my two chihuahuas, I have become lazy and undisciplined. The first time left me paralyzed as I had no idea what to do for the 3lbs beings.

I started thinking about all the things that I feel I am not enough in. The list was insanely long and I have no idea where that came from. I started to feel that I have nothing to give the world because of one accident that took my smaller dogs to the hospital. I had to make sure that they were eating, pooping and peeing and eventually they did. These very tiny beings consumed my life but I jumped all in and nursed them back to health. I left the television off at points throughout the past two weeks.

I feel that jumping off the diving board scares me because I have preconceived ideas about what happens when I go all in and succeed at something. This keeps me from being my authentic self and protect me from responsibly of the fabulousness that would surely ensue. I am scared of the Jeremy that really doesn’t care about the opinion of others and who can concentrate for hours on end without wavering. The shiny object syndrome is losing its shine and the dullness of routine is grinding down time.

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Day 102: 3 Ways Filtering Yourself Isn't Serving You

We all have those situation where we need to ‘know our audience’.  However, perhaps it’s the audience that needs to expand and not you that needs to filter yourself or change per your environment.  It makes me very sad to see a grown adult do this in an adult situation.  Pull up your boot straps and get your raincoats on because someone is bound to cry.  In this post, I will point out 3 ways that filtering yourself is just not working.

1. You Turn the Filter Off in Situations Where It Doesn’t Matter (Gossip)

In many, if not all, social circles, we ourselves gossip or we listen to gossip.  The real question to ask is - Where does that gossip go?  I have yet to meet a person that doesn’t or hasn’t participated in some form of gossip.  In these situations, I often find that people have no problem ripping that filter off like a bandaid, but in situations where their opinion would really matter they choose to remain silent or slap the filter back on.  It’s a strange phenomena where people limit themselves where they could do good and uninhibitedly rant for no more than entertainment value.  So, if not anything for the world just to be a better place just stop it because your gossip doesn’t matter.

2. You Don’t Feel Important/Valid/Worthy

You matter.  In my observation of people, they tend to always want to be nice and, generally, good human beings.  It is a mystery why the worst is always assumed of people when this principle is true.  In today’s culture, it often feels like people already come to a situation defeated or depleted.  In work environments, schools and homes, people filter themselves because of their feelings of irrelevancy, unworthiness and invalidity. 

3. You Are Giving Away Your Power

When I have found myself putting my filter over my lips, I feel like I gave away some of my power.  There is one simple answer - Just don’t do it.  It is always ok to say that you need to take a moment to yourself and breathe.  When confronted with a situation that requires you to be silent or be the bad guy, always - always - be the bad guy.  The truth is way more important than sparing someone’s feelings and probably hurting others.  Stand in your power and do what’s right.  The same applies to situations where you need to reach out for feelings of loneness or depression.  You become empowered just by not giving away your power. 

In normal everyday life, people are constantly trying to be nice and not rock the boat.  After all, there is enough negativity in the world, right?  Standing up for what is right is not adding to the drama in the world.  It is shining light on the darkness.  It is joining someone that needs help.  So, the next time you feel that you need to put the filter on take a deep breath and remember the courage that you have while you are gossiping and use that power to save the world. 

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Day 101: Television

The next place I live will have my own separate living room or no television.  The past few days, I have watched everything you could possibly watch on Netflix.  I was sucked into the television vortex so much that I started rewatching a series that I have already watched twice, Schitt’s Creek.  This show is absolutely hilarious.

However, with all the television I watched over the weekend, I don’t feel that it benefited my brain or wellbeing.  I enjoy television, but lately, it has been too easy to sit in front of the television and forget about the passing time.  I have too many things to do to be watching the television.  I knowingly procrastinate using the television as an excuse to not do anything. 

I’m say that because walking down the hallway to pick up my Zomato order seemed to be too much on Sunday evening.  The weather in Mumbai has been very humid.  It zaps the energy right out of you.  Also, with watching too much television, you want to eat all the bad things.  I did find a place called The Barn Grill that has the best veggie patty I have had to date.  The brioche bun tasted just like my aunts.  It was delicious and definitely worth the walk down the hallway to collect it. 

I tend to watch things that don’t require a lot of thinking.  So, television is strictly for entertainment purposes.  I did watch a documentary on a guy who photographed all the modern day Guru’s in India.  I couldn’t tell you what I learned but the cinema photography was outstanding.  They made everywhere this man went look completely gorgeous.  The photographer took photos of a lot of famous American Film stars. 

With this said, television is going to be on the list of things that changes when we figure out where in the world we are going to live in this next chapter of life.  I should be documenting this more so that this journey would possibly be on television.  I would love to be the host of a show that explores new places on National Geographic or something.  With my new found love of travel, I feel I could bring a lot to this realm.

 

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Day 100: 100 Days

I am writing today on the 100th day of writing in the blog of The Jeremy Eaton. I have learned so much by adding this daily reflection into my life. I have learned that people in Garden Grove love my blog. I have went through all the feelings of wanting to give up and stop writing. I have procrastinated until right before I go to bed sometimes to write. Keeping this simple everyday task has already changed my views on being committed to something.

Since the self is a duty, I have been treating this writing as such. I still can’t believe that it’s been 100 days. Over three months ago, I had this blog but had no desire to use it. I have really no expectation out of writing this except that one day I will be able to look back and reflect on how far I have come. I will be able to look at all the trails and errors that I took along the way. What was not funny may become hysterical and what was once sad may be happy.

I am feeling more independent lately. I don’t feel like working in groups on things. I have also found myself missing home. More than anything, I miss my mom. I have been taking care of the pups during their time of injury. I feel like I need to start writing more about asanas, pranayama and meditation but regurgitating information that can be found on thousands of sites seems completely mundane.

I have started building my course materials so that I can start a teachers training as soon as I move back to the states. At this rate, the money I make off of that could be for a move to Puerto Rico. I am very ‘up in the air’ about what I actually want to do because there are so many different possibilities for me to choose from. With my new idea of creating a yoga school, I have been dreaming about this life where I work two months and take two months off. This is very exciting to me.

Celebrating these 100 days isn’t a celebration, it’s a reflection. A reflection of trying to figure all of this out. Trying to figure out my feelings and observing some of the behavior I have exhibited over the past three months. Writing feels less like a chore and more like a duty to myself. I am excited for the adventure that awaits.

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Day 99: And, Repeat.

Today was a bit of a challenge. After showering and getting ready to head to Bandra at 7am, the same dog that attacked the first time has attacked again. This time she only got to Maverick. I jammed my middle knuckle on my right ring finger. Again, it happened so fast.

The giant fluffy dog was creeping up on us as Maverick and Tyson were going to the restroom. I looked back and there she was. I ran to Tyson and, by the time I could get to Maverick, she already had him in her mouth with him screaming in pain. She let him go and he laid on the ground screaming with a broken, bleeding tooth. This time he has a puncture wound on his right back leg.

This is the second time in a week that this has happened but the other dog has no clue that she is hurting my little boys. She sincerely wants to play with them. I’m afraid that opportunity has flown out the window. The owner wants to coordinate times to take the dogs out. I told him I needed to deal with the matter at hand first and we can talk about that later.

I went all the way to Mahalaxmi again for the Chihuahuas to be evaluated. Tyson’s appointment was today anyway for his checkup so I headed down there. It took about an 1.5 hours to get to the Vet Hospital. I still had blood on my leg. After waiting for some time, the vet came and looked at Maverick. They took him all the way in the back where the owners can’t go. I hate that. I just want to be there for my little guy.

I think Maverick’s going to be alright. He escaped with a missing tooth and another one loose, a puncture wound and a cut lip. He is already wanting treats and is going potty outside. I had to miss class again today and won’t be able to teach in the morning as I have to closely supervise Maverick for 24 hours. Although, I’m going to regret it later, taking this break was needed. I have gotten to catch up on my own life and check in with myself.

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Day 98: Back At It

After taking several days off from my schooling to be with my little dogs during their recovery, I noticed several old bad habits trying to creep in.  It is easy to fall back into old habits when stress and time are in abundance.  I had every intention of picking up that book and typing my anatomy notes but they stayed next to me on the couch as my remote stayed in my left hand.  I had plans of getting some stuff done over the past few days but taking care of my little babies, Maverick and Tyson, was the highest, and only, priority.

I wanted to work on school stuff but didn’t have the motivation to actually start working.  I have this stress already forming about an exam that is still 3 months away.  I have fear of failure and fear of not performing well.  Yoga is all about going with the flow and I have been practicing this for a while now.  I have stopped worrying about time while walking my dogs.  I used to think that 30 minutes was long enough to walk the big boys but have learned that they will tell me when they are ready.  Sometimes, it takes them 45 minutes to smell and pee on everything and other times it will take 20 minutes.  This is good relaxation time for me until I have to pick up dog poop.w

Instead of homework and studying, I cuddled my little boys and made sure that I did everything that helped them get better.  I provided a space of calmness and peace for 4 days.   Honestly, my house still feels and smells like peace and relaxation.  I went long periods of time without the television on.  I laid next to them in silent just praying that they would get better and heal quickly.  The first couple of days were almost paralyzing because I couldn’t do anything but give Tyson medicine to feel better.  It was very sad at my house.

I have every device you could imagine that would make it possible to my work from anywhere but had no desire to pick them up and actually start working.  I did meditate and practice yoga asana.  I enjoy being silent.  Before class on Monday, I meditated from the time I laid down my mat to the time the teacher started class.  It was only about 15 minutes but having that mental clarity is a great way to prepare for classes that are sometimes in a different language or has a ton of foreign terms to learn.  I feel that this is why I’m already so uneasy about the exams.  There are so many terms to learn. 

While I feel as though the last several days have been spent taking care of my two little patients, all the love and affection that was given to them has paid off.  Tyson is going to the bathroom and Maverick is becoming his old self again.  It is so crazy to think a little less than a week ago, things could have turned out really bad for them.  I went through my first real crisis since the course began and I feel it helped me be calm and in the moment.  There are small subtle changes happening within me all time and they are measured by my lack of emotional reaction.  My dogs got hurt and it threw me the first night but then it turned into me judge needing to take care of my babies as if it were a duty.

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Day 97: 3 Things That Will Help You Work on Patience

How many times have you been on your way home and need to stop at the grocery store?  The lines are long and you always avoid the store at this time.  You are already disturbed because you don’t want to be there in the first place.  Then, the checkout clerk has to do a price check for the customer in front of you.  Three customers behind you have a screaming toddler.  You are losing your patience when you learn that the clerk’s first day is also today.  We have the control to reign in our emotions at anytime.  Here are three ways that will help you the next time you want to storm out of the store.

1. Take Deep Breaths

While the heart rate is up, it is important to realize that your heightened emotions are a symptom of that.  Breathing deeply from your abdomen is not even recognizable.  If you patience is about completely gone, close your eyes.  Abdominal breathing has been proven to reduce any feelings of agitation.  While it may feel impossible to close your eye and mindfully breathe in the moment, taking this conscious step will help you in that next situation where you are going to explode or say something that you won’t be able to take back.  Your breath is with you always and is the best mood stabilizer you should ever need.

2. Don’t Place Blame on Anyone

Usually when we are late, we try to blame the traffic, the Uber driver or a phone mishap.  When you find yourself feeling impatient, don’t place blame on anyone, including yourself.  It is no one’s fault that it is raining outside or that some people take longer to do things than others.  When we try to place blame, we are trying to focus all of that negative energy on someone or something.  Normally, it is unwarranted because no one is at fault.  Evaporate that energy completely by placing compassion where the blame wants to go.  This will go a long way especially with the children crying and the cash registers with all their different alerts and sounds feeling like they are piercing your skull. 

3. Focus on Gratitude

While you are at the grocery store there are many families that are struggling to make ends meet.  Even if waiting in line for a really long time is annoying, start being thankful for all of the little things that allow you to be in the store in the first place.  Boredom is a devil’s den.  When we get bored we forget the very things that are at our fingertips all the time.  We take for granted that our job is going well.  So, in our routines we need to allow time as a varying factor.  An extra 10 minutes at the store means an extra ten minutes to reflect on our day or let go of the negative energy we collected at work.  Being grateful is one of the best superpowers in combating negative emotions and feelings. 

You have tools that are free at your fingertips all the time to prevent emotions of impatience.  Realizing that this feeling of impatience is a choice, sometimes helps people discover that there are other choices that could be made.  When we can do that at any point at any time, there is a radical shift in the compassion to others.  Maybe next time you get frazzled at the store because of some small children, you’ll ask that mom that is panicked over pissing everyone off if she needs help with the child or in general. 

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Day 96: ‘I Want To Change’

During my childhood, change meant that my father was unhappy with something about you as a person, something in his own life that he was unhappy with or anything that was indifferent to his own views or standards. I got really good at changing certain parts about me. Later, this translated into an identity crisis because I was changing myself for everyone or any giving situation. I would agree to things that I didn’t agree with, hang around with people who didn’t value me as a person and give up anytime there was something else easier.

Many people want to change for various reason. However, my lesson from the past made change about everyone else but myself. Authenticity is the only thing that keeps you being who you are. When you lose this ability or feel trapped, are you being yourself or fitting to a situation to make life easier for someone or yourself? That’s not authenticity.

Authentic people are rare. I would say the largest group of authentic people I have met were in San Francisco while I was studying for my BFA in Fine Art. I had 6 roommates that I admired and loved very much. We all lived in a 3-bedroom apartment. It was cramped but the universe blessed me with these amazing souls. We cooked together, had tea together and shared some of life’s most intimate details. I discovered so much of myself in that apartment with my brothers and sisters.

They had no problem to change jobs or complete life paths. Besides the family that was created in Hotel Broderick, its branches extended far and wide and, now, even wider. I have a friend that is a chef all over the world and a yoga instructor, a friend that made her all the way to live in Paris and several friends living in the mountains making the most of life. They chose all of these. I heard them talk about their dreams around our dining room table. Then, I watched them come true at that same table.

So, rather than saying that you want to change other people or your environment, start changing those things within yourself. You will be surprised how much the world will seem different because of changes you made for yourself and by yourself. Instant and change are two words that don’t generally belong together if you are changing with long-term goals in mind. Long-term change is slow moving. Start with the first brick and, eventually, you have a whole house.

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Day 95: 3 Ways to Keep You From Losing Your Shit

During moments of crisis, it may seem like there is not any room to breath. Often we have so many choices to make with no time to rationally think through them. There are techniques to combat this anxiety in the moment that anyone can use. These techniques may help you in a moment in crisis or just when you have a spike in your anxiety level.

1. Remember: Everything is Temporary

During times of pain or uneasiness, it is easy to forget this very simple concept. We often feel angst when we forget that any situation is not forever. Remembering this in a moment of crisis can give you the peace of mind that you need to breath and make correct choices that you won’t second guess later. Knowing that everything is temporary helps to not hold onto emotions or negative emotions towards others. I often do a negative emotions inventory to see where I can forgive and where I still have work to do. Unfortunately, this is a technique, not a magic wand. However, if you put in the work and this becomes a part of your everyday practice, you will start to notice that this thought kicks in anytime you are feeling trapped or stuck in a situation.

2. Breathe

What is something. that is cheaper than therapy and we carry around with us all the time? Our breath. It is easy to forget that breathing controls our heart rate. During moments of tension and pain, our breath rate goes up our heart rate goes up as well. There is never a situation that you can’t take a moment to breath to gather your thoughts and control you bodies’ hormonal response to your emotions. When I am upset, I eat. I eat everything in sight. When I became present to this, I started breathing instead of eating. Taking as little as two minutes every time I start to feel anxiety has helped my confidence, my emotional intelligence and kept my blood pressure down. For example, you are in a fight with your child. You notice that you are just screaming at each other. There is nothing wrong with stopping that screaming match and taking a break to breathe. This goes with coworkers, friends and other family members. Never be ashamed for need to take space and time.

3. In That Moment, Think Positive Thoughts

We have all had that boss or coworker that will take us immediately to a negative place. While the responsibility of our emotions and the way we feel about people is ultimately up to us, we need to have the strength to take ourselves out of the situation and into a positive space. I find myself doing this when expats are complaining about the way Indians work, crowd grocery lines and their systems of work processing. I have to tune it out. It happens every time you get a group of expats together with a glass of wine. I start thinking about my trips to Sri Lanka or the time that I took the train to Paris for a day to go to the Louve and see the Mona Lisa. It helps me stay in a positive space while everyone else is spewing negativity. We can often become consumed in the negativity. Then, we start to take on those emotions. Staying present in body but protecting your positivity by thinking about things that make you happy will save your mind.

We have all had those moments where we are so close to losing our shit. These three things are simple on their face but extremely hard to practice in the moment. I have been practicing for about two years now and still run into situations that don’t go textbook perfect. There will always be someone or something that bothers us as none of us live high in the Himalayan Mountains with little to desire and an abundance of silence to reflect and meditate in. Until then, we have so much at our disposal to help in these situations. Using these things will spare your mental heath even if it for the moment.

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Day 94: Yelp

I celebrated last night because Maverick and Tyson ate something. Maverick has urinated but until this evening Tyson had not drank water on his own or peed. I’m so excited to see that Tyson is finally on the mend. They are both very strong dogs despite their size. I made the boys chicken and rice with carrots and zucchini. All four of the dogs ate theirs. This was Tyson’s first actual meal since Thursday.

Still, their energy is not at the level is was and Maverick yelps when you pick him up. His ribs are still bruised pretty bad as you she where the dog clamped down around his rib cage. Tyson acts like his right shoulder is hurting him. He has stopped yelping when you pick him up. Maverick’s yelp is heartbreaking. You have this animal that is less than 3 pounds yelling because he is pain. I believe he is still traumatized from when he was picked up because now he pees a little. It is heartbreaking. Tyson drank water on his own today out of the normal dog bowl. This is a victory.

Doug is also celebrating a victory in the US. His mom has had a good day as well. I guess she had a lot of visitors at the hospital and sat in a chair for several hours. The last time we chatted on video, he looked just completely exhausted. I’m so grateful for him. It makes me sad that I can’t be there with him to comfort him.

I have been focusing on my eating habit because I’m starting to see the benefits of my choice to become a vegetarian almost three months ago. I have more energy since cutting out Herbalife Tea and Yerba Mate tea. I have not had coffee in almost two years. My body is a work in progress that requires daily care, maintenance and love. I’m starting to put food that is prepared with this same care in my body and it is paying off.

Tomorrow starts a new week. I will be doing a meditation workshop on Thursday, Friday and Saturday with The Art of Living to learn a new meditation technique. I’m excited for this because after this past week, I’m sure that I will need it.

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Day 93: Tired

Day 2 of watching over my babies, Maverick and Tyson.  They have been in so much pain today.  Tyson hasn’t peed or pooped since the incident.  This whole experience has made me see the importance in being gentle in all things in life.  At first it showed up as stress because in the lack of the amount of calm that I create in my life. 

I kept the television off for hours with no music.  I usually have one or the other playing at all times.  All the televisions play CNN.  Then, I either forget that CNN is playing or I turn it off and discover new music.  However, today I sat in long swaths of silence and it was beautiful. 

Doug’s mom had a bad night in the hospital in Springfield, MO.  She had gall bladder surgery, started to recover and was readmitted to the hospital by ambulance.  It is so good that he is there with her.  During this stressful time, it is really nice to be able to notice the small things and be calm in the middle of a huge storm.  I am coming out on the end feeling blessed. 

There are so many things to be grateful for.  I was able to take my dogs to have veterinarian care and they are starting the process of recovery.  Doug is able to be with his mother and sister during this difficult time and to make sure that all of them are ok.  I got to have moments of complete silence and use this horrible situation and turn it into good.  All things are as they are meant to be. 

I was presented with this challenge of taking care of two seriously injured doggies and have managed to keep my shit together.  I create space for the dogs to heal in a loving, caring and calm environment.  I don’t expect for them to love me as they probably have no clue what that even means but I am attached to them very much. 

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Day 92: Dog Attack

Last evening, while walking my two Chihuahuas, a bigger, fluffy dog came to play with them. We have seen this dog before and they have all gotten along fine. This time, however, the other dog really wanted to play. First, he grabbed Maverick and bit down on his ribcage. Then, he picked up Tyson and ran about 8 meters with him. Maverick has escaped from the incident with bruised ribs. Tyson has two puncture wounds. They are both really sore and traumatized.

During this incident, I was completely in shock that it was all happening and so fast. Just as I had picked up Maverick who was yelping, the other dog ran towards Tyson, picked him up and put him down just before the steps to the restaurant. The other dog was innocently playing with my dogs but it resulted in going to the vet. This is a 1.5 hour journey.

The veterinary hospital I went to was familiar with my dogs already because our regular veterinary office is in the same chain, Crown Vet. Tyson’s foot had swollen double the size of his regular foot. The staff was friendly and the assistant I worked with was very friendly and very calming for my pets and myself. I was panicking because the poor guys were so sore. I have been keeping the apartment silent so that the little guys can relax and try to start the process of healing.

The other dog was being a two year old fluffy dog. How many times are we being the fluffy dog? How many times have you been ‘just playing’ but in the meantime hurt someone’s feelings? Our intentions are never to intentionally hurt someone. However, I bet most of us are not present to when we say things we don’t mean and hurt anyway.

There are no distractions of sound from the television or speaker on a Friday evening. I feel that my anxiety of the trauma that happened has worn me out as well. I did not go to class today and miss a lot of information on the Endocrine system. I am not teaching classes in the morning. I am using this time to create a space of rest and relaxation.

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Day 91: If I Only Could Means That I Should

I have been actively practicing the art of being present for several years now.  This allows for me to be spontaneous and do whatever I feel is right in the moment.  Looking back, not practicing this has had several consequences in my life.  Do you ever do something because you feel it is your role to perform those duties?  Have you ever felt that you need to speak up where your opinion is not the most popular?  Holding back and not giving space to those feelings or opinions can impact you more than you know.  Here are three ways that holding back is affecting the self.

1. You Hold On to Emotions in The Muscles

If you have ever had a moment where you know that speaking up wasn’t the most popular thing to do and chose not to, did you notice tension headaches and muscle soreness in your shoulders and neck?  When we say that we have a gut feeling about something, it is usually literally that our abdomen is tight and flexed.  The same applies to ‘butterflies’ in our stomach.  When we speak up or ‘vent’ it out, the muscles relax and you no longer carry those suppressed emotions in your body.  

2. You Don’t Breathe to Your Full Capacity

When our mind is disturbed so is our breath.  Taking long, deep inhalations is important for concentration, mental awareness and overall mood.  When we are upset or feel stifled, we literally suffocate ourselves by taking shallower breaths by breathing into the smallest section of the lungs, clavicular breathing.  This doesn’t get oxygen to the deepest part of the lung like we do when we are breathing into our abdomen.  Don’t deprive yourself and your brain of air.  Take deep breaths in so that you have the courage to speak about what is on your mind. 

3. No One is Invisible  

We have all had those moments where we wish we could disappear into the background.  The truth is that this is impossible.  Any emotions that we have can’t be hidden on the face.  After tasting something horrible, we can’t hide our disgust on our faces no matter how hard we try.  So, why do we try?  We all have reasons but mostly we are trying to not insult or hurt someone’s feelings.  Often in classroom settings, constructive criticism is feared because students don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.  When we are not giving that feedback, it hurts the student in the long run. 

None of us are exempt when it comes to suppressing words or feelings, but know what affects this has on the body is important for your awareness and never use words as weapons. When you are not speaking out with mindfulness you can’t blame a situation or person for not voicing your opinion.  You responsibility for your actions is owned by you which, for the most part, has no negative affect on the body unless it is done to harm someone.  This is this idea of karma, but that’s a whole different conversation.  For now, focus on being authentic because nine times out of ten people say, ‘I wish I could’, when we had the power to do so all along. 

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Day 90: Reflect

Back in 2004, I used to be so depressed because I knew that life had so much to offer than what I was getting in a community where the art world is almost nonexistent.  I had all of these talents but nowhere to put them.  Naturally, I found myself in the world where everyone that is bored and more ambitious than their surroundings, drugs. Drugs were the thing that made everything ok because I wasn’t focused on my lack of anything except for the next score.  How do people end up this way?

During high school, I was the least likely to turn out the way that I did.  I had tried alcohol and marijuana but I was too afraid of my parents and getting trouble to make getting high or drunk a habit.  I was drum major and, ironically, drug free superstar for 1998.  During college, I tried new things and started to notice a downward spiral all the way until my eventual move back to my hometown.  Community leaders should be aware of the things that lead people to drugs before they judge the person that once had dreams of doing good in the world.

When people are trying to do their best, failure can cause a mental meltdown.  Failure can show up in life many different ways.  A failed marriage because someone cheated, a bad grade on an exam, a failed attempt at creating a stable household or a strict working father that wasn’t aware of his actions or words can lead to the a person not feeling worthy of life itself.  If you have ever been down a dark path in life, you know that something triggered that series of actions taking them away from their dreams.

We often blame the person that is on drugs for their addictions.  This is true to a certain extent but aren’t we all responsible for the way we treat others?  Are we not all reliant on each other in this world?  So, isn’t it fair to say that someone’s drug addiction is our problem as well?  Somewhere along the way, something happened to that person to where they wanted to feel numb.  We all deserve kindness regardless of circumstance or stage of life we are in.  

I’m happy that my life has turned out the way that it did.  I eventually got on a path of helping others after a lot of working on myself, becoming stable and realizing that I am worthy of life and anything that comes my way.  I learned that the actions that others took were just because they were dealing with their own stuff.  They lacked the understanding because they didn’t feel able or didn’t have to energy to help.  We all have things that we are not proud of in our past, but if you look at these things as blessings instead of regret the world becomes a brighter place full of possibilities.

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Day 89: 3 Ways to Add Peace to Your Life

Everyone these days is talking about meditation and mindfulness, but many of them are on a marketing jargon bandwagon.  I have been listening to podcasts and reading inspirational materials routinely for the last 3 years.  I have met some of these top bloggers and influencers and, I have to admit, most of them are phony and have no idea what a peaceful life looks like.  Most of them are talking about meditation and mindfulness because they have been following marketing trends. 

One example, a man that supposedly had a successful podcast talked about going to a meditation retreat and expected alcohol to be there and couldn’t stay there even a full day.  This man did meditation on his podcasts and lead people on these adventures in finding themselves.  In reality, he targeted people that had money, had family/marital problems and lured them in using buzz words that reeled them in.  Unfortunately, for him and several others in that circle, they are all grasping at straws now.  I wonder how peaceful their lives are?

1. Be Authentic

There are not many things in the world anymore that are real.  Our fruits and vegetables are genetically modified.  Even organic produce can’t be trusted.  We see successful people on the internet with high rankings on Google or iTunes.  I see, firsthand, that all of their reviews are fake and paid for.  Anyone can say that they have been on ABC, NBC, and CNN without any repercussions.  These ‘influencers’ can be on TedTalks, be a complete fraud and people will still pay thousands to work with them.  I say this because I witnessed this and started to learn that I had nothing to lose by being completely truthful and authentic next to these guys.  If you want to learn more about my experience please read Day 5: A Lesson

With all the lying that is happening digitally, it really pays to be honest with your potential clients.  Show the photos of your belly sticking out, don’t hesitate to hit post on that truthful and heartfelt blog entry and don’t use filters.  Beware of the person that posts pictures of herself with her Starbucks cup, perfect hair and makeup preaching to you that being real is important because, most likely, she’s plastic as well.  Watch out for that guy that brags about getting the video in one take because he probably spent all morning trying to get his hair right or get the correct manipulative words for you to click on that button.

2. Be Unapologetic

Most people take this wrong.  I’m not saying to never apologize when you are wrong.  I’m saying the opposite, never apologize when you know that you are right or doing the right thing.  While the others are sweating whatever is wrong in this situation, you will still find peace because that is their problem.  When I was scammed out of thousands of dollars, I never received an apology from Wesley for being completely fake and phony.  Instead, I got a message saying to never contact him and his wife again.  I would take it all back if he proved that he wasn’t a fraud but that call has yet to come and probably never will.  This is the same thing that happened when a friend stole a shampoo bowl from me and then threatened me with a restraining order when I showed up at her work to calmly ask her when I could expect to get my money back.  She lost it and started acting irrational when I told her I would wait to talk to her until she was done with a client.  People don’t know how to act when you aren’t afraid of them and when you aren’t sorry for that realization.

3. Know When to Give the White Flag

There is no rule book in life saying that you have to like everyone or have everyone like you.  When you see red flags from another person, know when it’s time to put up your white flag and respectfully ‘peace’ out.  As soon as you see the first red flag, your intelligence knows exactly what to do but we choose to not listen and be ‘nice’.  The title of this blog post is not - 3 Ways to Add Nice-ness to Your Life.  If you want to add peace to your life you have to cut out everything that does not bring you peace.  Nothing is off limits.  Adding peace could include cutting ties with that family member that is always negative, not going to that social function that you really don’t want to go to, learning to say ‘NO’ anytime you don’t want to do something and stop giving away your talents for free.  Life will certainly go on when you are not a part of the vicious cycle of negativity.  The people that you are associated with that bring you feelings of negativity will find others to cling to.  Save yourself the disappointment and stop the cycle on your own before it’s too late.

You want to add peace to your life but you are cheating on your girlfriend or boyfriend.  You want to add peace to your life but you can’t tell the truth.  Your peace in your life so bad that you are reaching out to people and gossiping about someone else.  Does any of this sound familiar?  If it does, your problems are most likely within.  It never hurts to reevaluate your surroundings, situations and social circles and choose something different.  You are in control of your life.  If you are wanting peace in your life, you need to ask yourself why you are not giving that to yourself.  You are worthy of the peace you seek.

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Day 88: What Yoga Is Pt. 2

After yesterday’s post, I thought I would continue by explaining what yoga is.  Yoga is a lifestyle.  It is something that exists outside of the yoga studio.  When you grasp even a fraction of what yoga is, there is no separation between the world and you.  You can’t deny the duality of this existence.  Yoga is simplified but provides an answer to any question with certainty and understanding. Yoga will never make you feel stupid yet make you realize that you have a pattern of thinking that is telling yourself that you are stupid.   

Space is something I keep reading about on Apple News.  Yoga Journal and other bloggers are asking the question about the ability of Teacher Trainings to teach students about this concept of taking space or commanding presence in a room.  As I understand it, taking space is the ability to lead or instruct in such a way that the dance between the yoga student and teacher is harmonious and graceful.  Taking space is what an emcee does at an event.  The teacher does this without ego but has the natural ability to get your attention.  

Yoga is your food.  Yogi’s follow a sattvic diet.  They eat foods that have high levels of prana or life energy.  They are vegetarians, the nice, friendly kind.  The food is made with love so much so that the person eating this food feels the love inside of it.  To compare, the restaurants in my hometown rarely have someone that is putting love into the food.  I have never made this correlation until it was discussed in a class.  Eating food that has joy in it can affect your mood?  It seems like such a simple association but we just don’t apply our minds in that way because, again, we are focusing on consuming.

Yoga is being mindful of what you do in every aspect. I had a yoga teacher once that said that he was present to walking on the grass and that even that act was going against ahimsa. His foot was harming the grass by walking on it. This is something that we do every day. This is something that I look forward to every day. My feet are bare in the grass as I walk my dogs. Practicing ahimsa by taking notice of the way that you walk. Being present to the energy being taken from you as you sit directly on the ground without a barrier. Things like not placing books directly on the ground or touching them with your feet become mindful acts in everyday life.

Yoga is so much more than a group exercise class. Yoga is a way of life that you can choose or not choose. You can pick parts of it that work for you or follow the 8 limb path to liberation. Either way, yoga will be there and not judge you. You will find comfort in the love and non-judgment that you bring to yoga. I started this journey as looking for a new path in life. Yoga provided not only a new path in life but a new life altogether.

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Day 87: What Yoga Is Pt. 1

As I am learning what yoga is according to Indian Tradition, I find it interesting to see what the west and capitalism has turned yoga into.  Some techniques are not even touched upon as, for the most part, yoga has been turned into a fitness workout.  As a practicing yogi, I cannot say or judge someone for their thoughts.  However, I can say that they are missing out on the large benefits by looking at yoga through such a small scope.  

In comparison, yoga looks different on one side of the world than the other and particularly in India.  A common misconception is that asana is just one aspect of yoga.  As outlined by the 8 limbs of yoga, asana is actually the third step or limb.  We completely skip over the first two limbs in America for the first part.  Again, I am not saying this is wrong.  However, it is doing such a disservice to the students as we are expecting them to come through the front door with the Yamas and Niyamas as a given. 

When looking at the west we have to look at the materialism.  American life and widely around the world is that we live to consume.  We consume everything - knowledge, food, clothing, electronics, literally everything.  For example, while examining Asteya, one forgets that stealing material goods is wrong but so is stealing someone’s credit for a job well done or their joy.  I feel like as an American, I lack the openness that so many in this world possess naturally.  I am not above this as I type this on my iPad Pro, listening to music on my Bose headphones from my iPhone and receiving text notifications on my Apple Watch.  

In an hour, we have to provide the space for our students to become present in the class, warm their bodies up, give them a workout where they feel challenged and relax them down.  When I first started to come to India, I used to think it was weird that some classes didn’t end with Shavasana.  Then, I took on the mindset that every asana is Shavasana.  Now, I’m completely grateful when a teacher takes Shavasana because it taught me that not everything is given in life.  Sometimes, you have to take that relaxation with you or go home and take Shavasana for yourself.  

It is a different world on this side of the Earth.  During this weekend, Doug and I looked at possibilities of what it would look like to open a yoga teaching center in Puerto Rico.  There are so many things possible at the end of the year and I am enjoying this process.  It feels so good to see that hard work really does pay off in the end.  I put out into the universe 3 years ago that I wanted to see the world and it is happening in ways that I couldn't even have imagined.

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