My summer solstice meditation at noon was beautiful. I sat outside in my backyard on the grass with my face to the sun. I breathed the sun in through my crown chakra. It's as though my entire crown was a buzzing halo. I felt the sun penetrate every molecule of my physical body from my face and through the buzzing halo of my head all the way down to my toes like a warm drink being poured into me. The energy of it strengthened from the outside to my inner core where I felt a luminous flow. As this energy settled in, I was filled with a beautiful multi-toned moving magenta colour.
Then I put my hands on the ground, ran my fingers through the cool, crisp grass and felt the earth below. I visualized and allowed the energy of the core of the earth rise up and into my body. It was glowing crystalline emerald green and felt like pins and needles from my feet up to where the two colours collided in my heart chakra....heaven and earth connected and a beautiful vortex started spinning from my heart and getting bigger and bigger. It started as a spiral around my spine and expanded out until my body and then the entire planet was enveloped in a bright opalescent, technicolour light. I was aware of a triangular coherence between myself, above and below.
I became one with everything around me as the sounds of the birds, the cars, the hustle and bustle of people walking by all moulded together in a 360° awareness. I am restored, I am recalibrated and re-energized today.
Benefits of Meditation
I have begun to meditate daily. Here is a list of benefits from www.mindpowerplus.org
1) Meditation reduces the heart rate, as well as the respiratory and metabolic rate. This helps to reduce the workload on the heart. It is highly beneficial for people suffering from high blood pressure.
2) Cortisol is often called the stress hormone and is related to a wide variety of health related problems - especially when it is in high levels in our body. Meditation lowers cortisol levels and provides relief from the adverse effects of cortisol on our health. Meditation helps to reduce stress in this way. It also reduces muscle tension and enhances the quality of living.
3) Regular practice of meditation reduces the creation of free radicals that are responsible for tissue damage and premature aging.
4) Meditation improves the breathing process. This helps to increase airflow to the lungs and has a revitalizing effect on our overall health. It enhances the level of strength, vigor and energy.
5) Meditation boosts the immune system and slows down the process of aging.
6) Meditation helps in reducing the symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome.
7) Meditation enhances the functioning of the brain. It is helpful in curing migraines, headaches, etc. and other neurological and nervous system problems.
8) Research has shown that stress is one of the major causes in almost all the physical and psychological problems that the modern man is facing. It points out that a lot of physical ailments also have their roots in emotional and psychological turmoil within. Meditation is one of the best ways to lower the levels of anxiety and stress. It is very helpful in leading a healthy life free of any stress-related ailments.
9) Meditation enhances the level of creativity and intuition.
10) Meditation techniques help our mind to enter alpha, theta and delta waves very easily, which are the basis of deep relaxation and stress-relief. It calms down the mind deeply and gives a
relaxation that is deeper than deepest of sleep.
11) Meditation reduces anxiety, depression, moodiness, irritability and brings greater emotional
stability. It helps to develop the willpower, boosts the level of self-confidence and helps foster a positive attitude.
12) Meditation provides a deep level of physical, psychological and spiritual relaxation. It fosters a greater level of emotional equilibrium. Meditation techniques such as yoga nidra are highly effective for achieving this equilibrium.
13) A regular practice of meditation improves memory and our learning ability. It also improves the level of concentration, focus and productivity. A good concentration is essential to achieve success and our peak potential in any field of life.
14) Meditation is a one of the best stress-busters. It improves the level of serotonin in our body. A low level of serotonin is the precursor to problems such as obesity, depression, headache and insomnia. Meditation brings more happiness and joy in life and gives the feeling of rejuvenation throughout the day.
15) Meditation benefits include overcoming fears and phobias. Their presence in life causes a lot of stress and ill health. It is also helpful in getting rid of habits such as alcohol addiction, smoking,
16) Meditation improves the communication between both the hemispheres of our brain. This sharpens our intelligence and improves the perceptual ability.
17) Meditation reduces the dependence on sedative pills, drugs and other tranquilizers. It is very helpful in curing insomnia and sleep deprivation also.
18) Meditation enhances the level of tolerance and patience. It gives more integrity to our personality and makes us a more balanced person by improving our emotional maturity. It teaches us to live with equanimity amidst the day to day turbulence in life.
19) Meditation helps us to find the inner source of happiness. It results from a total peace of mind.
We come to know that happiness is not something that is found outside, but in fact it is within us at all times.
Meditation techniques help us to easily draw that happiness and bliss when we want to. It gives us the source of happiness that is not dependent on outer events and circumstances.
20) Meditation benefits us by improving the human qualities like compassion, self-actualization and gratitude.
21) Meditation improves our wisdom and provides a deeper understanding of our self and other people.
22) Meditation helps in a greater acceptance of our self and brings a more positive
attitude towards life.
23) Meditation is the alchemy to attain enlightenment. It helps us to be totally rooted in the present moment and helps to overcome the habit of the mind to wander here and there.
24) In our general state of mind, we consider ourselves separate from the rest of the universe and are aware of only our ego and our body. Meditation benefits us by making us realize that we are a part of the universe and are united. This is the realization of cosmic consciousness. The first-hand experience of this reality gives us a glimpse of our true eternal nature.
Meditation is free of any kinds of side effects. There is nothing to lose by practicing meditation, but
there is a lot to gain. It is very easy to learn and can be practiced at any time of the day. Meditation gives such a joy and bliss, that one easily transcends all desires very naturally. Given the long list of benefits of meditation, you might be wondering -- "why haven't I started meditating
If you want to start meditating, I recommend you start with a simple 5 minutes a day which can be guided meditation (google search for some good ones), transcendental meditation, silent meditation or even focused breath with prayer.
Isn't it time you stop following your life, and start creating it?
Tiffany, Cristina and Gabriella at the summit of Mont Tremblant August 2010.
Recently, I was reminded of a family adventure we took about two and a half years ago. What came to mind was just how much we all learned by taking on a challenge as a family that none of us had ever taken on individually.
Back in August 2010, we set out on an 8 hour drive from Richmond Hill, Ontario to Mont Tremblant in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec. Our intention was a weekend of relaxation and fun with friends. Two other families were meeting us there so we knew there would be lots of pool time, restaurant group meals, riding the gondolas, go-cart races, late nights, great conversations and company for adults and kids alike!
Lesson One: HAVE A GOAL
The weekend started out to be just what we had thought it would and everyone was having a blast. Now, I must say, my husband and I have never been the type of couple that could just sit in a chair, relax and get a tan and as it turns out, neither are our children. So by the second day we decided that we wanted to climb Mont Tremblant.
Lesson Two: BE PREPARED
At the time, our girls were aged 6, 8 and 11 years old. We tried to enlist the other families to take the journey with us but they gracefully declined. So, off we went determined to conquer the mountain with one bottle of water and 2 granola bars in hand, wearing flip flops to take the "strenuous Path C" climb 6.5 kms upwards to reach the summit at 875 meters / 2871 feet. The map suggested that it would take about 2+ hours.
Lesson Three: BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS
At first, all was going easy. By the time we were about an hour in, the sun was beating down on us and we were very thirsty, winded and sweaty. Trying to travel light, we only brought 1 bottle of water thinking this would be a breeze. We were all grabbing for the water like we'd been in the dessert for 6 hours on our first stop. Of course, our girls got to drink and we took only a sip to wet our mouths. As we finished drinking our precious water, we saw a couple come walking down the path. We smiled, said hello and asked about their journey on the mountain. "There are bears on the mountain, be careful" were the last words they spoke as they rushed on. At first we thought they were joking but then we realized they were sincere. They hadn't encountered a bear themselves but told us that a friend had encountered a bear on the mountain recently. Great! Now we had 3 "goldilocks" scared about the 1 bear that we could encounter on the mountain. Okay, okay, I was scared too!
Lesson Four: STAY FOCUSED ON THE GOAL
Onward we travelled and as we did, each daughter took turns whining, complaining and stopping. "my legs are tired", "I need to rest", "I don't want to do this anymore". I tried to keep everything positive and worked hard at painting the most powerful image of what it will feel like when we "conquer the mountain". There were certain points on the trail where it was necessary for us to create a human chain to help each other over, under or around obstacles.
Lesson Five: WHEN THE GOING GET'S TOUGH, KEEP GOING
Then it happened! About 2 hours in, our middle daughter got her ankle twisted under a tree root. OUCH. Then the youngest daughter tripped and hurt herself and decided she couldn't go "one more step". Well, we did what any parents would do, we each grabbed a child and tossed them onto our backs and continued the most vertical climb EVER for another 30 minutes while giving piggy backs. As the girls were on our backs, we were getting very tired and hurting in places we didn't know we could hurt. As we whined and complained, our daughters started to speak words of encouragement and they told us to imagine what it will be like when we "conquer the mountain".
Lesson Six: HAVE FAITH TO BLAZE YOUR OWN TRAIL
Two and a half hours in and we just wanted to get to the top! As we passed a clearing, we saw tall grass and open space. We put the girls down and investigated. It looked like we could almost see the top of the mountain, the air was definitely thicker now! "Okay Pita family" I said "We are going to blaze our own trail to the top". There was no resistance from anyone. We all agreed that we wanted this journey to be complete. As we started walking up the open space, there were no markings, no trail, no foot path and not even disturbed grass. We had to have faith that by walking almost completely vertical (truly) we would somehow reach the goal of the summit.
Lesson Seven: THE HARDEST PART IS USUALLY JUST BEFORE YOU SUCCEED
The vertical "created" path was the hardest part of our journey. The girls could barely make it up the tall grass and uneasy terrain with bugs, burrs, mud and ragweed (which our middle child is extremely allergic to). Every single one of us needed to help each other at this point with our bodies and our words. We were fully exposed now to the mid-day sun bearing down on us with no mercy near the top of the mountain, exhausted and with no water!
Lesson Eight: THE SWEETEST SUCCESS IS SHARED
The most beautiful sight ever was seen at 3 hours into our climb, we all saw the summit! We saw people on the lookout, fluffy clouds sailing across the sky and a beautiful golden sun that looked close enough to reach out and touch. The adrenaline, determination and euphoria we all felt at that moment was equal to that of an Olympic athlete realizing they are about to win a gold metal. We started running for the top holding hands all five of us. As we raced towards the finish line I began to cry, tears of joy, tears of the proudest wife and mother in the world, tears of exhaustion, tears of accomplishment from a woman who was able to share in the sweetest success with her family.
As we got a few steps away from the summit I yelled "stop" and said "let's take this moment in and cross at the same time" and we all casually crossed the line to the summit and embraced each other, holding each other up and all crying. People were looking at us like we had just escaped from captivity in the Congo or perhaps a nut house but we didn't care.
Lesson Nine: HAVE GRATITUDE
We turned back to see how far we had climbed, how vertical that last part of the climb actually was and to praise and thank each other for a job well done with sincere gratitude. Alone, none of us would have even wanted to take this challenge on but as a team, we made it through and each one of us was integral.
Lesson Ten: KNOW YOUR LIMITS
It's amazing that after 3 hours of climbing and 10 minutes of rest at the top, our minds had switched to "I can do anything" and we even contemplated walking back down the mountain. But, even though the mind was exhilarated, our bodies were tired and we had to recognize our limits. We accomplished something amazing together just climbing up...and that was enough.
I'm looking forward to a new adventure this year with my family. Our girls still talk about "climbing a mountain" with great enthusiasm and pride. My hope is that they will have an entire book of adventures to draw lessons from by the time they have their own children.
The past few days I have been trying to live more in the moment, more aware and more consciously. The following is a detailed recounting of my five minute
experience into awareness today.
When you stop to take five simple minutes and feel the sun on your face, I mean really experience it, a whole new world can open up.
Today, as I was sitting outside in a park, I decided to try and pick up on every possible sound, smell and sight that would come into my awareness within five minutes.
There I sat with eyes closed. The first thing I felt was the warmth of the sun on my cheeks, then the feeling of heat spread to my head, down my hair, on my lips, the tip of my nose and through my eyelids. As I thought about the beauty of the sun and all it gives us, my body filled with the heat from head to toe. Suddenly, like the change of a movie scene, I instantly began to smell the grass, it smelled so green, sweet and fresh. I could smell mother earth and feel her blowing gentle wind through my hair like a
whisper. Crunch, crunch, crunch, what was that sound? I heard the crunching of grass under foot that sounded like someone biting into a granny smith apple as people were walking by. There were birds chirping many different songs and ducks
quacking. I was too tempted to look so I opened my eyes.
As I opened my eyes, I noticed not just the people walking by, but also the green grass, the many different shades of green and yellow of the different blades and lengths of grass. The grass was calling me to run my fingers through it. As my fingers gently swept through the grass, it felt like time slowed down and I saw frame by frame as my fingers picked up the moisture from many blades. My eyes quickly hopped over to some small black ants carrying probably twice their weight on their backs. They were marching with determination over towards a big tree. At the base of the tree was a monarch butterfly who had landed and spread its wings open wide. It's the first time I ever noticed how beautiful the colours were and how the wings actually vibrate much like a hummingbird.
I looked up and noticed the beautiful big maple tree whose leaves were only starting to unfold, bright, brilliant, smooth and green. My eyes are drawn to the incredibly detailed patterns and caverns of the bark on this tree. It resembled the Grand Canyon or perhaps a miniature version of the Canadian Rockies. Her branches spread out in every direction, reaching out to the sun.
Ahhh, back to the sun, and I feel that warmth on my face again. I suddenly feel like the whole scene makes sense. The sun is our creator, the heat I fill myself with is my beliefs, the grass is the earth I walk on. The ants are those following their lives, feeling burdened while the butterfly is the possibility and the metamorphosis we can all experience. The tree is representative of the strength we all have, our connection to heaven and earth and the many different ways we can connect to each.
As I bring my attention back to my children, they are looking at me wondering what I'm doing and why I'm not paying attention. My husband is wondering what kind of herbs I've ingested! I stay there a moment longer smiling from ear to ear feeling invincible, infinite and at peace.
If I can notice another world within me and around me in five small minutes and feel glorious, what could I experience in other areas of my life if I brought in the same awareness?
Helping people to realize their potential, become empowered and start creating the reality they desire is my passion and my pleasure.