Costumes and Masks

I don't know if I really loved dressing in costumes when I was little.  They came in ready made, one size fits all boxes.  There weren't many choices for a girl to pick from back then.  Wonder Woman (the only female superhero at the time, kinda still is), a cat, a ballerina, a princess.  After 4 years, I could rotate through this list again.  I see kids now dressing up and WOW!  So many more choices, what creativity! I mean they really bring it!   

Having gone to Burning Man (amongst other influences) has opened my eyes to the amount of play we can have as grown ups.  It gives all of us permission to be whoever we want to be.  Total freedom.  Since then, being in costume not only feels liberating, but a must.  It gives me the opportunity to flex the muscle of 'permission' to expand beyond the parameters of my daily responsibilities and roles. To exercise playfulness, creativity and sheer joy.  For years now, every Halloween my entire office dresses in costume.  Every year we create a theme and enjoy the planning of our outfits weeks before.  My team and patients love it!  I like to think we inspire all that come into our office that's it okay to dress up still and connect to their inner child.

All of this has become a norm for me and it feels more authentic than the proverbial masks I used to wear depending on the environment I found myself in.    The masks I wore I was hiding behind, thinking they were really me when they weren't.  No one knew they were masks, not even me at the time.   I am thrilled to have shed them and have found tremendous freedom in doing so.

I guess thats the difference between costumes and masks for me.  The ones I cant wait to put on and the ones I am so excited to be rid off.  It takes a long time to grow young.  I am having a blast finding out.

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When I play, I ....

My favorite four letter word is PLAY.  It might be the most carefree, natural feeling I can embody.  Its through playing that I feel like I can flirt with life, no matter what I am doing.     When I play, I feel young, timeless even.  

I was at the Chopra Center in San Diego this weekend taking the course "Journey into Healing".  One of our assignments was to rate from 1-10 different aspects of our life.  The categories were: Finances, Career, Fun and Recreation, Health, Family & Friends, Spiritual & Personal Growth and Romance.   My total average score was 8.5.   I was so happy to see that although I could take more pristine care of my health, career and finances, there is an element of fun I have with each.  Every minute of every day certainly not, but for the most part, I try not to take all of it too seriously.   Once I really committed to understanding and accepting that I cannot control Life, I made a decision to enjoy it.  

Its a choice I have to make every day.

I might as well play.  

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Vices and Virtues

This truly is one of my favorite topics. I first became enchanted with it when I began thinking of mantras and how to make them more meaningful to others. Of course there were the mantras from the Vedas that I learned during my studies in the ashram, but to the very many who haven’t experienced that, they meant very little. I came across a book while in Rishikesh, India called “How to Cultivate Virtues and Eradicate Vices” by Swami Sivananda. A very distinct and intellectual approach on how to live a more virtuous life and shun engaging with vices. I thought, we can use the virtues as the mantras! If our thoughts become our words which become our character and destiny, then how vital it is to have our inner conversation be virtuous! I agreed with Swami Sivananda that every step toward virtues is a step toward the Divine and every step toward vices is a step away from the Divine. I began looking deeply into all the reasons why I loved to dance between these two things.

I did not agree with shunning our vices. In fact, I have loved my vices. I have enjoyed each and every one of them until I didn’t enjoy them any more. They have made me who I am. The fun to my serious, the shake to my milk, the skip to my march. When they no longer served me, I learned to integrate them into my Being. This took a lot of time and a lot of patience, which by the way is a virtue. I am in no means finished, which is the fun part. I really get to pay attention to each one and invite them in.

A lot of people try to deflect their vices with shame, suppression, and regret. I’m suggesting to celebrate them, they are what make us up and woke us up. Hopefully, we can all learn to be playful around them and allow humor in, because if we fight them, they will win.

I believe that living a more virtuous life connects us to our divine nature, that which is outside of and inside of us. As long as we balance the dance between vices and virtues with the energetic flow and attention going towards living a more virtuous life, we are moving towards our True Nature, which is to be Self Realized.

So smoke that cigarette, have an extra martini, and know that one day, hopefully soon, you can sit with each and really listen to what they want to say. Then lovingly let them know, its time for you now to drive them home.

Sacred

In preparing for this post on what this word means to me, I reflected on what it is I truly hold sacred in my life. What came through me is that it can be categorized into 3 spheres.  Physical, Emotional and Energetic.  The altar in our meditation room filled w pictures of all the incredible Gurus in our lives, the artifacts that we’ve collected from around the world along with scriptures are all sacred to us on the Physical level.  The memories I have of special moments and events that have brought me both tremendous happiness and sadness (as both are gifts from beyond) are sacred to me on an Emotional level.  The tingles I feel around my heart and aura when I know I am having direct interaction with the Divine or my Beloved is sacred to me on an Energetic Level.  All of these sacred experiences I bow to and have reverence for, for there is nothing higher, in my opinion, than to cherish that which is sacred.  What do you hold sacred in your life and how do you cherish and honor it?

Photo credit: Lord Coltrane