A Time for Reflection and Growth

I came across this post on my other blog while preparing for a workshop I’m hosting at my yoga studio on Reflection and Resolutions. I thought it a fitting time, days away from the new year and my birthday, to see exactly what difference a year makes. I did lots of hard work and some serious manifesting in 2013! Here is the post as originally published on the Kristin Daemon journal blog.

Today is my birthday.  I feel fortunate that my birthday comes along with the fresh start of every New Year.  As an adult, I have come to appreciate this and take advantage of that opportunity to check in with myself and look at how far I’ve come, not only in the scope of a new year, but also in the greater scope of my life.  

Our lives stack up so quickly and so densely that it’s necessary for us to look back at intervals after time has made sense of our experiences and removed us from the emotion and fog of it all.  Every year we take on new responsibility and obligations.  We meet new people and have new relationships; we also mourn the loss of people and relationships, and alternately welcome and resist change.  As beings in constant motion, experiencing things on both physical and emotional levels, it’s rare that we take time to sit still and reflect and recognize our process and acknowledge our progress.  When we do take time to do this at the beginning of each year, it’s important to look at these experiences objectively and not to judge anything we did as a mistake or a misstep.  Everything positive and negative we go through leads to a bigger bank of knowledge about ourselves and the world and helps us evolve and make better and better choices moving forward. 

It helps to consider that we often don’t notice the little changes a thing takes to grow, be it a child, a pet or a plant.  But to an outsider looking in who only sees that progress intermittently, the small changes along the way contribute to a great body of change over a period of months or years.  Our lives and our personal progress work like that too.  When I think about all the little changes I made over the course of this year that stacked up to put me here in this time and place under an entirely different set of circumstances than the year before, the progress I made, though it didn’t feel like it along the way, was quite significant. 

Like most people, I think, I tend to get wrapped up in the discomfort of a moment or a series of moments and it’s hard to see the big picture and see that the moments of discomfort I’m feeling during this period of great change are actually baby steps in the right direction; a direction that will take me to my end goal, a life where I get to live my dreams and my passions.  So instead of looking at the discomfort in these moments as obstacles or challenges and dwelling on the sense of unease they create, I need to start looking at them as growing pains.  Instead of feeling down or sad or impatient that I’m not exactly where I want to be right now, I need to appreciate that these moments are exactly what I need to be going through in order to experience expansion.

So now, I set my intentions for a year full of surprises and gifts, challenges and knowledge.  I will leave behind my fear, anxiety, stress and worry over the unknown and choose to embrace it instead.  I will leave behind my unhealthy attachments and create a life of freedom, choices and adventure. 

Happy New Year!

Being Present in Divine Moments

There are moments when the world around me falls away; when it’s just me and an overwhelming sense of peace and contentment. There was a moment in Bali swaying in a hammock on the beach, listening to my iPod. There was a moment walking through Brooklyn on a cold evening toward the water. There was a moment on a spring afternoon in Morocco when my work was done for the day and I sat in mediation and recently walking past a rose bush on my way to the grocery store. There is one thing these experiences had it common; and that was their capacity to break open my heart for an instant. They provided a rare surge of divinity, helping me tune into my inner knowing on a deep level.

Back in the Hammock

The power of living in the moment was fully realized for me during those seconds in time. In them, I felt fully present and I saw an undisguised truth. When I experience indicators of my authenticity in this way, I know I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. Since I’ve begun the journey to finding myself and my purpose, these moments occur more and more frequently. The clarity and sense of knowing they leave me with are so comforting in my seemingly constant state of transition.

It was an important realization for me that my moments of clarity and peace have not come during the time between bookends or commitments.  They only come to me in freedom. They only come when I allow myself to detach from the web of distractions like work, parties, relationships and other obligations. It’s tough to return to that place of detachment and rare to find yourself there to begin with. Perhaps that is why in our fast paced lives we lose sight of what we’re passionate about and the reason we’re here.

A sudden feeling of unexpected gratitude for what is. That is pleasure; that is delight. The essence of delight, is that it is too quick and subtle to be called happiness, but it is strong enough to be distinguished from neutrality. It would be a fabulous place to spend more time and, maybe, by placing higher importance on living in the moment, it is possible to improve our everyday realities in just such a way. Maybe these moments don’t have to pass so quickly and maybe their longevity would result in a more lasting sense of happiness.

I find there is potential for encounters with pleasure and delight to shift us into a higher state of consciousness.  When we experience the fragrance of the sea, the cackle of a glowing fire or when we wrap our cold hands around a mug of warm tea, we touch this delicate state. In appreciating the small things in life, we practice knowing that all is as it should be; as it is meant to be.

By nature, delight is unexpected. It has the potential to surprise and inspire us. Its spontaneity draws us out of the mundane and helps open our eyes to the wonderful when we’re lost in the probable. It’s a feeling that sneaks from behind to embrace you in a tight hug and makes you feel warm and loved. When I’m out for a walk, lost in reverie, a perfect lavender rose or a hummingbird will catch the corner of my eye and I’ll suddenly remember to pay attention to the beauty of the world again. After all, what is the point of all of this if not to experience and witness the small and pretty things?

Walk a little slower. Stop to smell the roses and feel the sunshine on your face. When you see a pretty view, pull over and pay attention to it. Close your eyes and breathe into this special feeling and notice the sense of peace our connection with nature, beauty and warmth provides. Hang out in these fleeting moments as long as you can.

As published in the July 2013 issue of Soulwoman eMagazine www.soulwomansanctuary.com.

Find Your Secret Stash of Suppressed Self

Too often we let social norms dictate the way we live our lives and interact with one another.  More often than not, we neglect our true selves to avoid coming across as foolish, different, or confrontational.  Unfortunately, this “safe” pattern of suppressing the true nature leaves our lives and relationships lacking and empty.  This state of discontent we create by suppressing the true self, leaves us with a sense of loneliness that can persist even when surrounded by friends and family.  Ironically, this loneliness is exactly what the ego was trying to avoid by holding back the authentic qualities and action that it deemed foolish, different, or confrontational.  It’s no wonder we are attracting meaningless work and loveless relationships while neglecting our true selves.

To escape this cycle, ask yourself what it is you’re holding back or what part of yourself you are suppressing in this moment.  Maybe you’re at odds with a friend because you fear the confrontation of an open, honest conversation.  Maybe you have a brilliant solution or idea that you’re keeping to yourself for fear of being questioned or laughed at.  Maybe you have feelings for a man or woman that go unrequited for fear of being rejected.  Maybe you want to quit your job and move to a new town for a fresh start, but stay where you are out of fear of the unknown.

Once you find your secret stash of suppressed self, ask yourself what you’re so afraid of.  What is the worst that could happen if you reveal this part of yourself?  Chances are, it’s not death.  Chances are, if you release this part of your true self into the world, you will still have a roof over your head and food in your belly.  You may even find a connection with someone, or with a group of people, who share your true aspirations, hopes, feelings, and dreams.

I can tell you from experience, that the connections you’ll find with people who really see you, are powerful ones that will nurture love and keep you pushing forward in life.  These are the people who will encourage you to be yourself and try things you’re scared of.  As you grow into your true self, the superficial relationships in your life will fall away and new, more meaningful ones will emerge.  As you gain confidence from these special relationships, you’ll start to notice new people coming into your life who only know the real you.  They don’t even know that you who was cynical and only capable of superficial relationships.

Human beings are hugely resilient and capable of withstanding the onslaught of adversity one faces over the course of a lifetime.  Instead of shying away from change and fear, internalize that strong shield of resilience and use it to push yourself forward.  Exercise those muscles and go after the things that speak to you on a soul level.  Make connections with others who share your passions, and risk trying something new.  Once you find that sense of passion and purpose, you’ll experience the exhilaration of contributing something that only you can give to the world.

For a peek at my own, very personal, journey through this process, you can visit my blog: www.kristindaemontravel.blogspot.com.