Through the Rapids

How fitting that Easter would fall during this challenging world event. It means dying to the old self. It means rebirth.

It may seem difficult to see ahead but it is possible. Yesterday in a women’s conference someone mentioned that her husband compared what we are going through to white water rafting. There are really calm rivers- That’s a level 1. The level 3 has more turbulent rapids and narrow passages. By the level 5, there are so many drops, difficult passage ways, and difficult maneuvering that many people get hurt or die. According to him, we are going through a level 5. We are all on the same boat and aware that what we do affects the person on the other side of the boat. The only way to get through is to focus on the path – Not the obstacles. You have to be prepared as much as you can to deal with obstacles, and you have to deal with them, but your attention is on the through line.

So, the questions to ask ourselves are:

Who will I be when this is over?
What have I learned that I can apply?
Who am I in relation to humanity?
Who am I in relation to nature?
What is my place?
What is essential?
What will I pass to my children that will help them in the future?
What systems and structures will I support?
How can I make a difference to contribute to a better world?

I invite you to grieve the old (because it’s important) and let it go. Then, embrace the new, transform yourself, and transform the world.

Be new and be well,


PS. Working on it myself😏

On Parenting

I didn’t have much guidance when I became a parent.

I had my parent’s example and I am grateful, but I would have liked to know more of what was involved. I was not ready physically, mentally, emotionally or espiritually, and neither was my partner. We did the best we could with what we knew. My kids picked up so much on their own, and grew up to be independent beautiful beings, and I am grateful for that.

As a teacher and a yogi, I’ve learned a thing or two that I would have liked to implement when they were young. I would have liked to guide them earlier and deeper in some areas in order to prepare them for life.

1. One with all- The understanding that my actions affect others as well as myself- My thoughts, words and actions are powerful energies that can hurt or heal others and myself. A repeated thought can make me sick and can make someone else sick.

2. I am more than my mind- My thoughts should not be in charge of my life. I, as the observer, can make the decision to align my thoughts, my words and my actions. My thoughts cause my anxiety or my sadness. When emotions arise, I can make proactive decisions on how to deal with them. The mind can be trained.

3. Gratitude- So many of us have been taught to focus on what we don’t have. To make the shift to be grateful for my life, for opportunities, for possibilities, for what I am and what I have, brings peace.

4. Letting-go- Living and loving without harmful attachments has been the subject of many lessons in my life. It’s much easier to let go when you love freely and without conditions.

5. Putting my mask on first- if we don’t put our mask on first before our child, not my child or I may survive a plane emergency. The same goes for life. The parent needs to eat, sleep, exercise, rest, and have opportunities for laughter and creativity to have the energy to be a caregiver.

6. Going in- understanding the importance to getting to know myself, to accept myself, and to love myself just because I am. Only when we are here, can we love others freely. We need to stand strong before partnering with others.

7. Living a purposeful life- One where we are at peace with ourselves, one that helps us grow in all areas of our life, and one that makes a difference in others.

8. Living a life by design- Understanding that we are not the stories we live. That we can learn from them and move on. And understanding that I can cocreate experiences in my life to make me a better person and to enjoy life.

9. Disconnecting from the world-
Understanding that the world can be overwhelming and that’s important to rest the mind and the body daily. We are not Superman or superwoman.

10. Stop, analyze, and decide- we live in a fast world. It requires some planning, organizing, prioritizing, and making decisions. We need to make sure those decisions are good for us in a week, in a year or in 5 years.

Unfortunately, there is no school in our society that helps us become capable parents. We can at least grow and change with our lessons in life, and hopefully, that will help our grown children or others around us.

Is Life All About Relationships

-How we relate to ourselves
-How we relate to each other
-How we relate to beliefs and ideas
-How we relate to what we call things
-How we relate to the world and the universe

If all, including us and our ideas, is composed of particles of energy, when we enter something or someone else’s field of energy, we are affecting theirs and they are affecting ours.

It’s important to understand this to make decisions about what fields to enter and if we need protection. We may decide to help someone who is in anger, sadness or is physically sick, and sometimes how we are affected is visible to the eyes, sometimes to the emotions, and sometimes it’s deeper.

Today I invite you to relate wisely. Give and help others in ways that your energy is not diminished, and make sure to recharge with people, animals, plants and situations that raise your energy level.

Independence From What

For thousands of years people have fought to be free from others. I learned that first I have to be free from my mind. My mind was a chatterbox and I believed everything it said. It mostly said to follow unwritten rules and concepts that were probably used by my ancestors or by others around me. Some of those concepts included: “You have to blindly obey;” “you don’t have enough;” “you are not worth much,” and “you are not capable.”


Once I realized that I was accepting these behavior patterns, I was able to make the decision to become free of them. It’s not an easy process, but one worth pursuing. It requires that you become an objective evaluator.

One benefit from this for me was improved relationships. I did not need to be controlled anymore because I didn’t believe anymore that others had to tell me what to do. I was and am capable to be, to do, and to make decisions for my well being. So, I learned to say, “No.” I learned to weigh my choices. And I was also able to evaluate relationships in order to ask for dynamics to change if necessary.


If your life is not yielding the results you would like, the problem may be stemming from a paradigm that is no longer serving you. Freedom is a wonderful thing!

Happy Independence Day!

Face to Face with Death

Do you know how you feel about death? Are you ready for the death of a loved one especially if they are old or sick? Do you think about the fact that you could die at any moment? How would you live your life if you had conversations with yourself about death?

My idea of what death is has changed over the years. I believe that the idea culture puts in our heads about what death is, and our experience with it, determines how we feel about it.

According to the dictionary, death is “The cessation of all biological functions that sustain a living organism.” Most of us on this side of the world see death as the end of a person. Some may accept a little mystery beyond the body but refuse to discuss it. So, loved ones may go through feelings of sadness, anger and loneliness for years. There are cultures that have a different idea of death. They see the essence that makes the body be alive separate from the physical body (a vehicle). That essence continues evolving in a different dimension. Just having a different relationship with death, allows them to be less attached and less selfish, for it is everybody’s purpose to evolve. Not only that, there is an understanding that we are all part of the same essence, so we are always connected.

My experiences with death started young where I observed others and learned how you should behave: One must feel very sad, pray, go to church, not talk about it, and avoid people. It wasn’t until I started meditating that I thought that there could be another way I could approach it. It wasn’t until my uncle’s death that I saw it as a beautiful part of the journey. He was ready to go, so, our conversations took us to his “dreams” of when he slept deeply, how he saw life, and what he had learned. He also talked about where he thought he was going. It was an opportunity for me to be present for him, and it was beautiful.

My grandmother, on my father’s side made her transition a few days ago. We had been told that she was on her last days the day before. So, that day, I dropped off my parents at the airport around 4:00 am to go see her. I went back home to take a nap. I had an interesting dream in which I went through a stressful experience followed by floating down to a most beautiful forest; it was really peaceful! My sister and I decided that it was about me coming home to myself and feeling good about it; however, I think that that feeling prepared me for the news I received a couple of hours after the nap. I could only feel love after my grandmother’s parting; I was not sad. I knew that she was ready to go. She was entering her 101th year. She had lived a full life. I know in my heart that her essence is moving on and evolving. All is well! It is my idea of death that gives me a feeling of peace and love.

What could we gain from changing the idea we have about death? If we come face to face with the realization that at any time, our parents, siblings, partners, children, best friend, or even we can physically stop living, then we would have more meaningful relationships, and we would take care of each other and ourselves more. If we are not afraid of the natural process of someone leaving their body, we can be really present when someone makes their transition. If we are not afraid, we can think about what if my departure date was tomorrow. Would I be ready? Is my conscious clear? Are my relationships at peace? Are my finances in order? Am I leaving many problems for my family?

We would probably lead a completely different life. Wouldn’t we? Maybe you remember the song, “Live Like You Were Dying”? So, let’s take risks that move us forward and give us joy, let’s love deeper, speak sweeter, forgive always, and live as if tomorrow was a gift.

Be well!

Love, Attachment, or Both

You have probably heard that love is good, and attachment is bad. I don’t think that things are black or white -everything is relative. There are degrees of attachment and misunderstandings in love. My initial thought when I hear of attachment is my psychology class in college that explained how children made an attachment with the food, and then with the source of the food, the mother. They did experiments where they removed the monkeys from their mother when they were young. They also did studies with abandoned children. Even though a surrogate mother was provided, the monkeys developed harmful behaviors relating to themselves and others including their own offspring. Something similar happened to children. So, there is a deep connection that we build. Experts also say that attachments should evolve. If we have an initial healthy attachment, where there is a balance with the time and quality of time spent together, when school comes around for example, the child should be a little uncomfortable leaving his parent but should settle into an appropriate school setting without much problem. This in turn forms the basis for healthy relationships with friends, partners at work, and romantic relationships. Unhealthy attachments may be a byproduct of fear, such as fear of being alone, of not being loved, of not having enough to survive, of not being accepted, or of not being enough to yourself. A fear that comes from traumas that have not been healed.

An attachment is something that is not part of you. It should be something temporary, but you make it a part of you through your emotions because you don’t want things to change. According to Don Miguel Ruiz Jr., the level of your attachment depends on how you answer the question, “Are you using knowledge or is knowledge using you?” It reminds me of the yogi’s quest to gain control of her mind through the practice of meditation in order to see the options and have some control in the decision process.  He says that there are five levels of attachment and compares us with a flower. The flower is completely open (Authentic Self) as we realize that we are a living being regardless of what we think or believe about ourselves. The second level is Preference where we use knowledge as a tool for transformation, so we can attach or detach as needed; the flower opens and closes slightly.  The third level is Identity, where I can identify myself as a vegan, yogi, or teacher, for example. The flower is not fully open; however, it still connects with others. Knowledge is beginning to have some control. The flower closes-up some more in Internalization where we allow learned patterns of behavior, and previous knowledge to control us. We no longer live the present moment. We are attached to the past. At the last level, Fanaticism, we believe that only by following those rules or past learned behaviors can we truly be. By reflecting on where we are at a specific time in our life, or a specific moment in a situation, we can decide if an attachment is harmful or not. Ask who is incontrol.

As I am writing this, I am visualizing a game of tug-of-war between unconditional love and the Fanaticism form of attachment as we go through the learning curve of relationships. Sometimes it’s so difficult to be present without allowing our prejudgments of ourselves or others to take control. It happens to me when I feel overpowered by others and old patterns of behavior surface. I look down and respond the way the other wants me to respond. I am glad I don’t stay in those situations for years as I previously did. It takes me a couple of minutes after an incident to realize what has happened. Little by little I am learning to avoid them.

Now, what about love or the misuse of the word love? The problem may be in our lack of communication. We may not be specific enough in what we want in a relationship. So, the people involved come with different interests. Some say that in English we don’t have enough vocabulary to express it, and that we may have too many expectations of one relationship. For this I turned to the Greek, for they have so many words for love. The ancient Greek used the word eros to describe a romantic, sexual relationship. Some saw it as dangerous because it could get out of hand. In the yoga philosophy, as I understand, this energy is the energy of creation, a powerful energy, not to be taken lightly. Philia relates to brotherly love, loyalty to friends, and sharing. Storge is the connection between parent and child, and last but not least, is agape or unconditional love. Some say that Ludus which is playful affection may be part of the list. It is possible that we want all of these or several of them to be provided by one person, instead, the Greek tell us to nurture the different types of relationships with different people.

Not only our expectations of a specific relationship could drive us apart, but also our lack of love of self. According to Aristotle, all friendly feelings for others are an extension of a man’s love for himself. So, this brings as back to attachment. How we have dealt with attachment to others, to things, or to our feelings in our past will determine how we will relate to others in the future. So, ask yourself, are you using knowledge or is knowledge using you?

Be well!

Decisions, Decisions

Every moment of every day, unless we are asleep, we have decisions to make. Should I get up now or in five minutes, should I have fruit or eggs for breakfast, should I take the day off, should I start this project, should I exercise, should I call a friend, should I cut somebody off on the road because they are going to slow… Everything is a decision. All these decisions affect our life now and in the future. What kind of future do we want? Are we equipped to make all these decisions and be content with what we have done with ourselves in a year, in five, or in ten?

I have come to realize that decision-making is an art, and only through continuous observation of ourselves, and love for ourselves and others, can we be satisfied with what we have decided and have become.

Observing yourself and getting to know yourself requires inner work. You need to understand why you behave the way you do, and why you like the things you do. For a while, I worked with a bioneuroemotion coach who helped me see those patterns of behavior that were part of my culture, and my ancestors that didn’t serve me. Beyond that, I learned that there are unresolved traumas or events in my past that blocked or filtered my thoughts. The only way to heal so deeply, for me was and still is, meditation. I have used different types of meditation in my healing process. Just being quiet and still is a great beginning. I have used kundalini meditations, voicing mantras, or using a personal mantra given by my guruji. The latter is a technique that helps in clearing the mind by decreasing the number of thoughts and increasing the quality of the thought. Your thoughts and decision process become more productive.

Observation of your actions and reactions to others and situations is also very helpful. You need to become a third person as if you were a bird overlooking your interactions in different situations. This observation must be objective. You are not here to judge, but to learn why you act the way you do. This will help you decide what you want to be, and what you can and cannot live with in any particular situation and in your life. The process of observing yourself is never ending because we change, and that is good.

As I observed myself, I realized that there were parts of me I didn’t like so much, and some that I could not change right away or maybe not in this life. I learned that if I didn’t come to terms with that and accept myself just the way I was, I could never be free to be me and to accomplish my goals. So, I began to love myself no matter what-No matter what I looked-like, no matter what my past was like, no matter what things I was not good at doing, no matter what! I stopped trying to measure up to anybody’s expectations including mine. Loving others and accepting others was not as much of a problem for me, but this part is also essential in making decisions because our goal should be to “Do no harm.” We are all connected, and our decisions affect those around us. And the results of those decisions come back to us.

Now that all this is in place, making decisions is a matter of keeping some things in mind and practicing. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you make decisions.

  1. Does this option reflect a love of self, others and nature?  Yes
  2. Am I attached to the outcome? Do I have a specific expectation for the result? No
  3. Have I visualized the positive feeling I and others will have as a result of this decision? Yes
  4. Does it serve the purpose that it was intended for? Yes
  5. Do I see myself answering questions 1-4 the same in 6 months or in 1-10 years? Yes

I am a student of life sharing my lessons. Please use what I share after running it through the filter of your mind and your heart together.

Be well!

#Metoo

#Metoo is a synonym to fear beyond what most people think.

When looking at the early days according to history books, women were needed for breeding and rearing children. The family needed workers to maintain the land or to continue the father’s trade. It was a matter of survival. The man, who needed strong and healthy workers, would choose a woman, just like a breeder chooses a mare to be crossed with a precious stallion, to perpetuate the beauty, strength, and stamina carried in the genes.

In our DNA we carry our biological genes; however, we also carry our accepted believes coming from our ancestors. So, many men today come with a desperate need to propagate their genes and to continue the line. Carrying the family name and the desired respect from society is still a real need for many fathers today. So, men are, in a sense, afraid that they will not be man enough. Fear brings about irrational behaviors. That’s why chastity belts, burkas, hijabs, abayas, niqabs, and laws limiting women have existed or still exist today in some parts of the world. That is why in some societies punishment to women who do not want to have sex is still accepted.

Women, on the other hand, also bring with them not only their biological DNA from their ancestors, but their accepted belief-system from an oppressed culture. If you are born in one of those countries which accepts those ways of thinking, it is probably very difficult to rebel against them. There have been examples of women leaders who have fought for their right to be allowed in temples when they are of menstruating age because they are believed to be impure as the law states. There are women who also fight for their right to be educated in schools, or for the right to be treated with dignity if their husband dies. These women are breaking their bonds with the beliefs of their ancestors because times have changed. Societies do not require women just for breeding workers, or to be shown off as an ornament.

In a culture like the United States, it should be clearer that the role of women has evolved. I believe sometimes we go overboard with the feminist view in search for a way out of men’s control. Sometimes the pendulum must swing all the way to come back to the center. The old belief systems no longer serve us, but it is hard to get rid of them. Many men continue to have the belief that if they do not have sex they will not live upto the expectation of themselves or society. Women’s fear and accepted belief-system also puts them at risk of being overpowered because if they believe that they are not more than property, and allow fear to have the upper hand, they will attract and accept this type of behavior even when they have the option to say “no.” In many occasions, we have the choice to speak-up, quit, or run, but we do not see the option because it is clouded by our belief that we can’t. 

I invite you to revisit your belief-system. Reinvent yourself!

The Magic of Gratitude

Little Girl Laying on Grass

A 12-year-old girl and I were reading a passage about a major earthquake that happened in California a while back, and how Japanese students came to show their support to the victims. I asked her what the victims could do to thank them, and she said just say “thank you” because they don’t have anything to give. This answer is not right or wrong, but incomplete. There is magic in the word “thank you” when offered sincerely, there is no doubt about that. The word affirms what is good in your life, and it shows respect for others.

However, I believe that gratitude goes beyond saying, “thank you.” Gratitude is a sincere feeling which recognizes the value of the act of giving, and the abundance available to us all the time. Waking up and being in a state of gratitude during the day as much as possible allows you to see the goodness surrounding your life, and there is always goodness. You may have at least four senses functioning, you may have a bed to sleep on, you may have a body that supports you and takes you places, you may be able to see the sky and its magnificence, you may picture your family and friends and be grateful for them, or you may get caught in traffic and say, “the universe must be protecting me or teaching me something.” I don’t know if you remember some of the people that did not die on 9/11 but could have been working at that moment. One was getting donuts, one overslept, one went to get a haircut, one missed the train, and another one had to switch to a later flight. You never know, until you look back, that what you are going through is exactly what you should be going through.

An attitude of gratitude strengthens relationships, improves your health, helps you attract more of the same, invites others to say thank you, and keeps you in the present moment. The benefits of continuous gratitude are endless. If you need help being in a state of gratitude, here are some tips. First, have a reminder on your night table to say thank you for your day in advance. Second, keep a jar where you place pieces of paper with all the good things you are thankful for each day to be read at the end of the year. Finally, every time something “bad” happens, wonder how the universe is rearranging your world to protect you or to improve your life and move you forward. That’s it! All you need to do is to start being thankful.

So, we go back to why I believe the girl’s answer is incomplete. When we are sincerely grateful, the feeling comes from deep inside of us, and one word sometimes is not enough to express it. The earthquake victims actually wrote a letter to them, and also gave hugs, even though it’s not the custom in Japan, they understood. In our case, we can teach our children to be grateful, draw pictures for others, offer a big smile,  write a poem, give flowers, bake cookies, or do something else that would require our time to make. Gratitude is a magical state of being.

Be well!