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How to live your yoga rather than someone else’s so you can cultivate a deeper relationship with your spirit- June 25, 2019:

[highway with a quote by Adrienne Maree Brown]

Many look to the on-the-mat practice of yoga to lead deeper and more meaningful lives with their spirit, but yet cling to mainstream structures and limiting beliefs that prevent them from achieving this very goal. Taking yoga classes, joining a studio, getting certified as a yoga teacher or going on a retreat are all great places to start, but they do not need to end there. In the same vein, following rules and norms that make no sense to you in other off-the-mat realms of your life, will prevent you from going deep. Here are 3 ways to help you do this so you can live your own yoga rather than someone else’s, whether you keep your yoga on-the-mat or take it out into the world.

1.Try not to judge yourself or others

Both on-the-mat yoga and off-the-mat yoga (aka life) is often more about appearances rather than processes. Appearances judge and processes feel. Are you saying the “right” words, thinking the “right” thoughts and taking the “right” actions that others will “approve” of, rather than risking doing something “wrong” that may feel better to you. It often becomes more about pleasing others and doing what others expect rather than following your own inner compass.

Notice what comes up for you when you encounter a challenging pose or alternatively when you find ease where others don’t. How do you react when you come into contact with a hostile person, uncomfortable situation, receive criticism or face negativity?

This often boils down to how you manage your ego. Is it inflated or deflated? When the ego is inflated it encourages you to feel superior to others and when it’s deflated it pushes you to feel inferior. Whether Inflated or deflated, the ego compares and enslaves you in judgments. A balanced ego knows its place, sitting peacefully in the back seat, with your will driving the car and your inner wisdom gently guiding you in the passenger seat.

The invitation is to heal your ego. For more, read Chapter 3 on the Ego Stepping into Consciousness- A Guide to living a Life of Joy, Meaning, & Abundance.

You are not what you do, what you have, what others think or your physical body.

2. Show vulnerability

When we pretend to be perfect it is impossible to actually remember that we are already perfect. We are perfect when we are loving, kind and compassionate, but we are also perfect when we make mistakes, cry, get angry, feel resentful or even hurt others. I have discovered that most people do not wish to harm anyone and only do so when they are wounded, afraid or have not been exposed to love and compassion.

Vulnerability is not a sign of weakness but rather a sign of strength. It takes strength to show your fears and only when theses shadows are brought into the light can they be healed. If you are committed to deepening your connection with your spirit and do not wish to fall prey to spiritual bypassing, this will need to be done at some point- you can choose the easy way or the hard way.

The invitation here is to heal your shadows. For more, read Chapter 3 on Shadows in Stepping into Consciousness- A guide to living a Life of Joy, Meaning, & Abundance.

3. Tap into your own truth

As long as you look to others for truth you will not able able to connect to your spirit at a deeper level. Learning to make that leap from “student/ teacher” mindset to a “teaching student” mindset will help the process. We are all students and teachers, alternating between these roles. At times we learn from others, at times we teach others, and sometimes we learn as we teach and teach as we learn. I believe it’s important to get out of the “teacher knows best” mindset that really only fosters wounded patriarchal structures.

The invitation here is to discover your truth. For more, read Chapter 6 in my book Stepping into Consciousness- A Guide to live a Life of Joy, Meaning, and Abundance.

Conclusion

When you live your own yoga you no longer define yourself on-the-mat by the type of yoga you teach or practice, the teachers you follow or the philosophy you prescribe to. Consequently, in life, off-the-mat, you no longer define yourself by the work you do, the people you surround yourself with or the beliefs you hold. You see each of these as fluid and you dip into and out of each as you craft your ever changing truth until you discover the one great truth that you are Truth.


Namaste,


Nicole


The Path to Unconditional Love- Where to start? - June 11, 2019 

Where to start? How to begin the journey towards unconditional love?

Pop Up Yoga in Montreal this June

4 weeks to come home and start loving yourself unconditionally so you can connect to who you truly are and to what matters to you. Step into your magical self when you shed the limiting beliefs holding you back.

Week 1: You are not what you do- your job, the many roles you play in your life …

Week 2: You are not what you have- your possessions, network of people that you surround yourself with …

Week 3: You are not what people think of you – your reputation, status, stereotypes, gossip, judgments…

Week 4: You are not your physical body – your age, your gender, your sexual orientation, your talents, your skills, your DNA, genes, your health, your beauty, intelligence, athleticism….

When you realize your true self can never be defined by these that do not last, you will be better positioned to handle life transitions and losses with the wisdom that will carry you through whatever comes your way. This is the path to loving yourself and others unconditionally.


Namaste,


Nicole

Financial worries? How to climb out of fear and start trusting life - May 26, 2019 

[women looking worried and scared clasping her hands to her mouth]

Are you worried about your financial security? Do you fret about not getting your fair share? Have you perhaps noticed a growing disparity between those struggling financially and those who seem to have access to a bottomless pit of resources? Are you exhausted keeping up or perhaps discouraged that you can’t? Are you yearning for less complexity and more simplicity? If this sounds familiar, I offer five tips to help you climb out of fear and start trusting life.

1.Stay connected to your inner guidance

Fear is internal and comes from a place of judgment, comparison and limiting beliefs, whereas trust comes from a deeper place within you that only knows love and peace. Trust connects you to your inner guidance and it’s this inner guidance that steers you away from disaster and potential harm, as long as you let it do its job. We get into trouble when we shut down, close off and stop listening and watching.

So close your eyes, connect to your breath and bring your awareness to that part of who you truly are and to what really matters to you…

Trust life by keeping your eyes and ears open

2. Appreciate what you already have

Always looking for more, bigger and better sends a message that what you have is not enough…that you perhaps are not enough. Choose to nourish what you have and allow it to grow. When you ignore what is there and chase after something new, what you have will eventually dissolve. This does not mean you ignore opportunities, it just means you make sure your existing garden is well cared for before you plant a new one.

Trust life by taking care of what you have first

So close your eyes, connect to your breath and look at what you have and appreciate it all.

3. Connect to what you love to do

It’s difficult to connect to what you love when you don’t know what it is. Many are conditioned to love money rather that what truly nourishes them on a soul level. This boils down to connecting to your inner self first before looking outside. I have noticed that some feel guilty when they indulge in something they love, believing instead that life needs to be about struggle while others are too afraid to take a risk and prefer to stay in their comfort zone doing what they have always done. Imagine if everyone, followed their hearts and devoted time and resources doing what they loved? When you follow your heart, the universe supports you.

Trust life by listening to your heart

So close your eyes, connect to your breath and bring your awareness to what you love to do. What makes you feel complete and whole?

4. Embrace your vulnerability

As I discuss in my book “Stepping into Consciousness- A Guide to Living a Life of Joy, Meaning, and Abundance” everybody is vulnerable on some level and much energy is wasted pretending they aren’t. No amount of influence, power or money will protect you against a natural disaster that strikes out of nowhere, a freak accident, a mystery illness or a trusted confidante that suddenly turns on you. When you can accept that you, like everyone, are vulnerable and “bad” things do happen in life (and that’s ok), you can use your precious energy to live life rather than protecting yourself.

Trust life by accepting all parts of it- the good, the bad, the ugly

So close your eyes, connect to your breath and bring your awareness to your fears and what you do to protect yourself.

5. Open yourself to the world

When you can open yourself to the wider family of man and to the world, rather than hide behind your loved ones, your group of friends or otherwise inner circle, you send a message that you trust life. Treat your neighbour’s children as you would your own, an acquaintance as your best friend, a stranger as a cherished friend. This does not mean you invite strangers into your home or stay up all night caring for a stranger’s child, ignore your responsibilities or let go of boundaries, it means that you open your mind to the value of everyone’s life.

Trust life by moving to an “I” and “my” mindset to a “we” and “our” mindset

So close your eyes, connect to your breath and bring your awareness to your loved ones- to your inner circle of family and friends and start to open it up and include others. Notice how wide you can cast your net.

Conclusion

When you trust life you trust that your needs will be met in the face of whatever adversity is thrown your way. You may have moments of doubts, fear and even freak out, but when you come back to your centre you trust that everything will work out just fine. you know that you will always get what you want even if you don’t always know what it is. People suffer because they are conditioned to believe that they need certain things to be happy rather than focus on being who they want to be. The universe works in mysterious ways and as you connect to who you truly are and to what matters to you, you come home to your soul.

Redefining Mental Illness- May 6, 2019 

[Narcissus, from Greek mythology, gazing at his reflection in a pond]

As I am reminded of the tale of Narcissus, the boy from Greek mythology, who was so in love with his outer beauty that he lost his life to it, I can’t help think of the many people who drown in the illusion of who they they think they are.

Certainly loving oneself for who one truly is, is fantastic but when we love ourselves for our material possessions or accomplishments we easily fall into Narcissus’ trap. Not realizing we are trapped, we easily continue to fuel dysfunctional patriarchal, ego driven structures and mindsets that inevitably lead to more pain and suffering.

Today, I invite you to consider how unhealed narcissism may lead to places where unhealthy people think they are healthy and healthy people think they are unhealthy- perhaps offering a new way to look at mental illness.

Mental health labels

Mental health professionals have created a whole slew of labels to describe people who cannot cope in society. According to UPMC HealthBeat mental illnesses can be categorized into five categories:

Anxiety disorders.
Mood disorders.
Schizophrenia and psychotic disorders.
Dementia.
Eating disorders.

We are often conditioned to believe that there is something wrong with a person suffering from any of these conditions. Of course, anxiety, mood swings, confusion, forgetfulness and not being able to feed ones body adequately make it difficult to function and contribute to society.

I offer a different perspective. Given the way many people are treated and still segregated today, perhaps we ought to look at those who do not suffer from any of these conditions, as out of balance, rather those who do.

A narcissistic mindset that plunders the earth, and rewards cut throat competition, unfair distribution of resources, abuses of power, lack of empathy, stealing, cheating and lying may very well give rise to a “healthy” person losing all sense of clear thinking.

Let’s take a closer look at how patriarchal pillars that have become toxic may lead to confusion over what it means to be truly healthy and well.

Controlling

Patriarchal structures and mindsets that have become toxic seek to control what people think, do and say. Countless examples of this are found in many of the judicial, legal, corporate, educational, government and medical institutions still standing. Is someone truly healthy when they control people and events, or are controlled in return?

Close your eyes, connect to your breath and bring your awareness to how and why you personally collude with these controlling structures and mindsets. How and why do you control or are in turn controlled at home, at work, socially with your friends and in society? Notice what comes up for you….

Hierarchical

Patriarchal structures and mindsets that have become toxic fuel a sense that certain people or groups of people are more deserving of resources than others. Countless examples are seen today where certain professions, countries, talents and skills are more valued than others. Is someone truly healthy when they accept that certain people are more deserving of having basic needs for food, shelter, safety, respect and kindness met while others are not?

Close your eyes, connect to your breath and bring your awareness to how and why you personally collude with these hierarchical structures and mindsets. How and why do you support hierarchies at home, at work, socially with your friends and in society? Notice what comes up for you….

Competition

Patriarchal structures and mindsets that have become toxic feed into behaviour that supports deceitful behaviour and the wearing of the false mask to meet goals. Think of the student who cheats in an exam, the aspiring social climber who hides his true thoughts to be accepted into a group, the athlete who takes drugs to win a race, the ambitious employee who discredits a fellow colleague to win a promotion… Is someone truly healthy when they do, and are encouraged to do, whatever they can to get what they want just because they can get away with it?

Close your eyes, connect to your breath and bring your awareness to how and why you personally collude with these competitive structures and mindsets. How and why do you compete at home, at work, socially with your friends and in society? Notice what comes up for you….

Conclusion

Dysfunctional patriarchal systems create a divided society. As more and more people come into balance and heal what they need to heal, there is certainly a good argument to be made that these traditional structures, support and are perhaps even the cause of much of craziness, confusion and may I even suggest “mental illness” in the world. The invitation is to rediscover the light in these patriarchal structures so they can continue to offer the needed structure without squashing the human spirit.

What you need to know about stopping narcissistic abuse in the work place- April 7, 2019 

[A business man's hands manipulating a string puppet]

In my last blog How to protect yourself against emotional, mental and financial abuse in marriage I discussed narcissistic abuse in the context of marriage or in a relationship with your significant other. Today, I would like to continue the discussion with respect to the workplace where emotional, mental and financial abuse can run a mock as well. How do you stop narcissistic abuse when you believe your boss, your employee, a subordinate, a colleague or even a client is engaging in abusive narcissistic tactics?


All abuse relates to misuses of energy and losses of power. The abuser takes energy from another and the abused allows the energy to be taken on some level. As a result, power is lost and equilibrium is looking to be re-established. The work environment is ripe territory for this to happen as power relationships are unequal and often unstable. Employees want to keep their jobs, employers want to hold on to their staff while keeping them motivated and productive, companies want to satisfy their clients while making a profit, and colleagues want to get along with each other. Generally speaking most people want to avoid conflict and are reluctant to rock the boat.

Identify where, why and how you are losing power

The first step to stop the abuse is to look at the power you are losing. Here the point is to build awareness of your energy and how the energy drainage is affecting you without judging or trying to fix the situation.

Where is it happening? With whom …
Why is it happening? What unmet needs are at play for both so called “abuser” and “abused” : Needs for recognition, to be liked, to stand out, to get promoted, to get job done, to stay under the radar, to make enough money to give you the freedom you are seeking, to be profitable….
How is it happening? What strategies are being used: triangulation, gazlighting or silencing?

Narcissistic abuse is all about taking someone’s energy to boost their own power rather than learning to cultivate, manage and grow it themselves. This can be done by using narcissistic weapons of triangulation, gaz lighting and silencing . To learn more about power you may like to refer to chapter four “Embracing and Growing Power” in my book Stepping into Consciousness- A Guide to Living a Life of Joy, Meaning and Abundance.

Close your eyes, connect to your breath…Bring your awareness to how you are losing your power: Working too many hours, not being paid a fair wage, surrounded by uncommitted staff, being taken advantage of by your employees, being belittled, criticized, facing too many demands at work, not having the needed resources/training to do your job, not understanding your job, not having a safe, clean environment to work in…

Take responsibility

If you are losing your power you are allowing this to happen on some level. Notice what fears are controlling you and permitting the abuse, without judging or trying to fix anything. Are you worried about losing your job, not getting that promotion you want, being short staffed, not being liked or admired, not wanting to complain or rock the boat, not getting the job done. Compare these fears with needs that you outlined earlier.

Close your eyes and bring your awareness to these fears and notice whether or not these fears are creating the situation and if they are a result of any unmet needs outlined earlier. Notice anything else that comes up for you.

Take action

Taking action always starts with accepting the situation as is. Once you have a clear picture of how you are colluding with the behaviour and notice the tactics being used, you can gain a new perspective on the situation. You suddenly move out of victimhood and realize you have a lot more power to reclaim your energy and restore equilibrium within your energetic system. Sometimes the awareness will cause the shift you need, sometimes the awareness will need to move to acceptance and sometimes more drastic action will need to be taken to resolve the conflict. The goal is always to honour both parties and find win/win solutions rather than pointing fingers, punishing or getting rid of the problem which will simply perpetuate a narcissistic culture at work.

Conclusion

When you work towards stopping narcissistic abuse at work or in any area of your life, you are really healing your own narcissism which is simply the shame you hold where you do not accept yourself for the perfection you are, as well as, any associated fears and judgment that go along with denying your true nature. Yoga, meditation and mindfulness practices help you heal your narcissism by building awareness of your body, mind and spirit so you can connect to who you truly are and to what really matters.


How to protect yourself against emotional, mental and financial abuse in marriage- March 25, 2019 

[miniature couple sitting on a heart]

If you are in any kind of relationship with a narcissist, the risk of losing your power to emotional, mental and financial abuse is great. To learn more about how shame, silencing, fear and judgment fuel narcissism you may want to go back to my blogs What is the root cause of narcissism and what can you do about it, and How to stop narcissistic silencing so you can start listening. The point is not to shame anyone for being a narcissist or try to eradicate it as a “necessary evil” as that will just reinforce it, but rather to build awareness of how you manage your energy and the energy of those around you. All too often we end up losing so much more than we bargained for and become diminished as a result. In the context of marriage or a relationship with your significant other, narcissism can lead to devastating results- emotionally, mentally and financially.

Narcissistic abuse happens between partners when one of the partner takes more energy from the other than the other has to give. No one is to blame and it is everyone’s responsibility to manage their own energy- again, please stay away from shaming anyone- your partner or yourself. Because narcissists have so much unhealed shame, they believe that the only way they can increase their power is by taking it from others. They do not see that they have the ability to manage and grow their own power. As a result they play dirty: they can lie, make their opponent question their sanity, silence, belittle, discredit, isolate and triangulate to list some examples of tactics they use to empower themselves at someone else’s expense.

Who is at risk ?

If you are fully enmeshed in a narcissistic marriage, you and your partner are embroiled in tit for tat power struggles: your partner criticizes you, you criticize in return, she steals your money so you steal hers, she makes fun of you so you make fun of her, he has an affair so you have one….Society reinforces and even rewards this with the limiting beliefs and lies we tell ourselves: it’s ok to have an affair- everyone has them, I am entitled to more of our joint assets because I make more money than you, If I am paid more I am worth more, your contribution is less important than mine….

Close your eyes, connect to your breath and bring your awareness to how you engage in power struggles with your partner…

Narcissists need to feel needed

Because narcissists are so disconnected from their true nature, they need to feel important in relation to others. They will make others needy so that they are needed. As a consequence, they create dependency relationships with their partners, children, parents, employees, colleagues. Whenever there is any kind of dependence, the risk for abuse is great: dependence for money, security, friends, affection, status, recognition… As long as you associate these with your identity you will do whatever you can to amass more money, security, friends, affection, status, recognition… to ensure your survival.

Close your eyes, connect to your breath and ask yourself what you believe you absolutely need to survive in this world? Notice what comes up…Who would you be if you lost this? What would happen if you lost it?

Narcissistic abuse in marriage

Narcissistic relationships foster inequality where one partner is entitled to more of the resources than the other, competition where partners compete over their share of the available resources, division where partners seek to isolate the other with a divide and conquer mindset and control by controlling their domain of influence ie. money, children, home, friends…This inevitably leads to emotional, mental and financial abuse.

Emotional Abuse: When there is a limiting belief that one partner’s needs are more important than the other’s so it’s ok to have affairs, isolate, reward and punish.
Mental Abuse: When there is a limiting belief that one partner’s thoughts are more valid than the other’s so it’s ok to belittle and make fun of, engage in gossip, lies and triangulation.
Financial Abuse: When there is a limiting belief that one partner is entitled to a larger portion of the financial resources so it’s ok to make unilateral financial decisions and not show transparency.

How to protect yourself

Identify the pattern and take responsibility. If you are married to a full blown narcissistic you obviously attracted it in the first place and gave permission to the dynamic- you no longer need to perpetuate the pattern.
Take charge of the situation Emotionally: Manage your emotions, go after your dreams and do what you love. Mentally: Regain power over your mind and thoughts. Seek professional help to discover your truth and establish your boundaries. Financially: Regain power over your finances by taking back half of your joint assets and building your own wealth. Get legal, accounting, as well as financial planning advice.
Take action: Once you have established the presence of abuse, you are then well positioned to decide to stay and work at the relationship or cut ties. This all depends on whether you and your partner together decide to heal from narcissism. If one partner wishes to heal from narcissism and the other doesn’t it is impossible, in my opinion, to remain in loving partnership. If this is the case the one who wishes to heal from narcissism needs to unplug as quickly as possible. If neither wishes to heal, I believe you can work together to set new boundaries, find compromises, and continue to bargain and barter power to maintain a semblance of equilibrium. If both partners wish to heal, this to me is the perfect opportunity to help each other reach their greatest potential and may even be the reason why you were attracted to each other in the first place.

Conclusion

As you begin to connect to who you are and are looking for ways to manage your own energy without needing to take it away from someone else, your narcissistic tendencies will slowly melt away. You will then gravitate less and less to narcissistic people and will become more and more self sufficient. In turn, I believe the narcissistic institutions of old will be replaced by more caring government that cares for all its people, compassionate legal system that focuses on rehabilitation rather than punishment, intelligent education that rewards learning rather than results and prestige, wise financial counsel that highlights equitable distribution and possibility for greater wealth for those who wish it, holistic health care that integrates body, mind and spirit. Learn more about how my principles of OTFG together with a daily yoga, meditation and mindfulness practice will help get you there so you can help others get there too.

How To Use Humour To Overcome Self Sabotage And Create Positive Growth - February 28, 2019 

[man on a branch cutting himself from tree]

Have you ever done something you regretted? Perhaps said something to a friend that you felt badly about, did something that hurt someone, thought an unloving thought that you know does not serve you well, or perhaps you unknowingly shot yourself in the foot? These are all ways you can sabotage your goals. Though laughter is often the last thing that comes to mind when this happens, finding that place of humour is often an effective way to remove the bullet and heal the foot. So let’s get playful and look at how you can use humour to overcome self sabotage and create positive growth.

Note: A wounded foot will probably not kill you, bullets can usually be removed and feet can heal.

Find a scapegoat

Get playful and forget the rule of taking responsibility (just this once!) and blame whatever you did on a scapegoat. The scapegoats I invite you to explore hark back to medieval imagery of the proverbial quirky devil on your right shoulder and the peaceful angel on your left, each vying for your attention.

Close your eyes, connect to your breath and imagine those adorable characters hovering around you. What do they look like? What are they doing? ….

Recognizing your devil

The devil, in whatever guise, will try to fool you for sure -That is what he does. He is a trickster and often pretends to be an angel, looking out for your best interests. Whatever tactic he chooses, your little devil barters fear and mischief to gain power. He speaks the language of the narcissistic and embodies the ego. He lifts you up only to tear you down. He keeps you trapped in doubt, judgment and conditions as he alternately bolsters and deflates your confidence. He is a teacher, a task master, a rescuer and, also a helper. However challenging he makes your life, he will help you grow if you allow him to.


Recognizing your angel

Your angel on the other hand, is not as loud or flamboyant so she is not always easy to hear. Your angel loves you unconditionally- that is what she does. She sees your light and wants you to shine. Your little angel deals in trust, forgiveness and gratitude. She speaks the language of the heart and embodies your wisdom. She looks for balance and will guide you back to center when you have gone too far to the right or too far to the left. She wants you to be curious and embrace your sense of wonder. When you fall, she gently holds you so you can pick yourself up. She is a guide, a motivator, a holder of space and helps you fly.

That devil in your life can spice up a seemingly hum drum life, but too much may keep you trapped behind steel bars. By the same token, that angel in your life keeps you connected to your true nature, but too much may keep you locked behind glistening bars. Accept your devil as part of who you are and he will keep you lively company. Accept your angel as a part of who you are and she will offer you sweet ground to walk on from which to reach up to the stars.

Use humour and play with imagery to help you move past challenging situations and see the funny side of life. So take a risk and maybe you will occasionally shoot yourself in the foot, but with a dash of angelic salt and a sprinkle of devilish pepper and a hearty dose of laughter you can overcome anything that comes your way.

To learn more about these funny characters and get additional healing tips visit the blog section of my website where I share complementary info on the blogs you read here.

Have fun with those devilish angels of yours…


Five Tips To Enjoy Mindfulness Intimacy With Your Love Partner- February 4, 2019 

Close-up of couple’s feet at luxury resort

February and Valentine’s day go together like two peas in a pod and are the perfect opportunity to discuss topics of Romance and Love- Mindful style. Together these move you to experience sacred love that connects you with your inner divinity. If you are into mindful living this is definitely the type of intimacy you want to enjoy with your lover.  


Here are my five tips to make your intimacy more mindful.

1.Release expectations. Mindful intimacy is all about enjoying the moment without looking to what’s next or what happened before. Focus on the journey and not the destination. When you can cultivate the discipline to focus on today and love what is without expectations, what happens down the road can never disappoint you.

2. Remove Judgment:Mindful intimacy is about practicing non judgmental awareness. Judgment happens in the head and mindfulness happens in the heart. You may be addicted to living in a transactional society so love that does not come with conditions may seem hard to believe in. The heart feels so if your love feels right go with it and enjoy the moment, even if it does not make complete sense in your head. If you truly are in your heart, it will eventually.


3. Transparency:  Mindful intimacy is about being open about who you love. If there is a need to keep the relationship hidden from your parents, children, friends, partner or other, you may like to rethink your relationship until conditions allow for transparency. Any worry will prevent you from being present. Be open about the relationship and private about the rest.


3. Sensual: Mindful intimacy is about engaging all seven senses so choosing the right sounds, textures, scents, food and drink, decor to encourage the gradual building of heat. Don’t forget about the sixth and seventh senses – your sense of intuition and oneness, these are key to finding the right partner to experience the divine with.  I discuss these senses in Chapter Six of my book Stepping into Consciousness- A Guide to living a Life of Joy, meaning & Abundance.


4. Simplicity: Like all things mindful, Mindful intimacy is all about keeping it simple. Simplicity helps you live in the present moment by removing stimuli that can distract, worry or make you anxious. 


And of course, don’t be shy about using your favourite essential oils- a few drops in your bathtub, massage oil or in your candle. Here are my five top Essential Oils for Lovers of Romance: Cinnamon, Ylang Ylang, Cardamon, Clove and Passion that you can get from my essential oil shop.

Release Expectations, Remove Judgment, Be Transparent, Tap into your Senses and Keep it simple so you can enjoy mindfulness in your intimate relationships, as well as, all your relationships. When you focus on loving what is, in the here and now, regardless of what happened yesterday or may happen tomorrow nothing can take away from the love you are feeling right now.


Enjoy the love!


 How To Stop Narcissistic Silencing So You Can Start Listening- January 21, 2019

Do you ever feel silenced or notice that you are silencing someone else? Being silenced, in any form, is never a pleasant feeling. By the same token, listening to a truth that makes you uncomfortable is equally unpleasant. A truth feels good if it’s one you agree with and live by. However it feels less good when it ruffles your feathers. Though the need to silence is a legitimate one and I get that, having experienced being silenced myself, as well as, silencing others, silencing is not a loving thing to do. I offer some tips on how to stop the silencing cycle so you can start listening and move into your heart.

What does it mean to silence others?

Silencing to me is all about not listening to a truth and preventing someone (including yourself) from sharing the perfection of their true nature. Humans are meant to shine so when they are prevented from shining (or preventing themselves) from shining they are being silenced. To shine of course means different things to different people. Take a few minutes and bring your awareness to how you like to sparkle? What do you do that makes you glow with the radiance that you are? Breathe…and notice what comes up for you.

I see that all truths are part of the one great Truth that we are Truth. I discuss this more fully in Chapter Six “Discovering and Living Our Truth” of Stepping into Consciousness- A guide to living a Life of Joy, Meaning, & Abundance so in effect all truths are equal. If this is something that resonates with you and you are curious about expanding your consciousness to the frequency of love you may want to get a copy of my book .

Get Your Copy Here

Silencing is also a narcissistic tactic used to uphold a truth as being right rather than wrong. Narcissistic behaviour is fearful and distrustful. It fears being wrong, made fun of, isolated, making a mistake… When you question the motive behind a truth being shared or the authority of the person sharing a truth, as if some people have a right to share truths and others don’t, you are choosing a narcissistic viewpoint.  I believe that if you are committed to living from the heart you absolutely need to get over this limiting belief. To learn more about my views on narcissism you may want to go back to my previous blog What Is The Root Cause Of Narcissism And What Can You Do About It?

As a self protective mechanism, silencing can also protect you from truths that are painful or that you are just not ready to hear. There are countless examples that demonstrate this point. For instance, the world was not ready for Galileo’s truth that the world was round so he was silenced, Germany did not have the courage to silence Hitler but Hitler was all too eager to silence others. Leaders and followers of all kind continue to silence others by ignoring, threatening, punishing, hurting, excluding, insulting, with holding favour, not taking responsibility, playing “dumb”…

How have you been silenced? How have you silenced others?

The Silencing Cycle

Living in Fear and Judgment……>Silencing….Not accepting the Truth of who you are….>Living in Fear and Judgment…

Bring your awareness to how you collude with this cycle in your various interactions and notice what comes up for you:

At home: with your partner, siblings, parents, children…
At work: with your colleagues, boss, employees, clients, competitors…
Socially: with your friends, your acquaintances…
Out in the world: with strangers, social media, the internet, professionals, institutions…

Now bring your awareness to how you could stop colluding with this cycle by adopting the following principles of living from the heart:

Practice non judgmental awareness rather than judgment
Practise OTFG: Openness, Trust, Forgiveness and Gratitude
Accept yourself as whole and perfect
Be guided by your soul rather than your ego
Bring in qualities of allowing, letting go, unity, equality and cooperation

and notice what comes up now for you…


You Are Not A Robot- How to avoid becoming swallowed up by technology- January 9, 2019 

I don’t know about you but sometimes I fear technology is trying to take over the world and turn us into robotic versions of who we truly are. It almost feels like we are on the brink of  WWIII- Humans against robots. You no doubt, like myself, appreciate all the conveniences of our modern world and may worry that you are becoming too dependent on technology.

Perhaps, you also notice how the world around you is becoming increasingly automated. You may wonder how you or the next generation will be able to effectively compete against artificial intelligence. You may even believe that you need to become more and more robotic to have a secure place in society.

If, like me, you value being human and are looking for ways to prevent yourself from becoming sucked into a robotic way of being, here are five tips to prevent you from becoming swallowed up into the vortex of technology.

1.Keep your vibration high

Spending time in nature is the most important thing you can do to mitigate the harmful effects that technology may have on your body/mind and spirit. It re-calibrates your vibration to the frequency of nature. The more time you spend on your phone and the internet the more you attune yourself to the frequency of man-made technology. To learn more about raising your rate of vibration you may want to read Power vs Force by David R. Hawkins M.D. Ph.D.

Other ways to keep your vibration up for example, include following your passion and tapping into your own well of creativity, practicing heart-based yoga, chanting high frequency mantras, listening to music…. If you need an extra boost, try getting a healing massage or receiving energy work such as Reiki, Sound Healing or Cranio-Sacral. To Learn more about rates of vibration you may also want to read Chapter 2 “Understanding and living the universal principles “of Stepping into Consciousness- a Guide to Living a Life of Joy, Meaning, and Abundance.

2. Awaken your 7 senses

I believe that the combination of aging, societal norms and life experience numb the senses. For instance notice how with age, senses seem to need an extra boost to do their job: salt and flavour enhancers are added to food, chemicals to scents, noise to sound, synthetic fibers to natural coverings and make up to natural beauty. You may not even trust your own intuition because you are so used to relying on outside gurus rather than your inner truth. Even the sense of oneness that you came into the world with, when you were connected to your mother and the world through her, often gets forgotten and needs to be remembered. To learn more about my teachings on the process of ascension of the seven senses, you may be interested in chapter 6 “Discovering and Living our truth” of Stepping into Consciousness- a Guide to Living a Life of Joy, Meaning, and Abundance. 

Once you start to smell, taste, feel, hear and see vividly through these five primary senses you can then sense with your heart and soul your interconnectedness with the world around you. This enables you to preserve the human qualities that make you human rather than robotic. No need to look, speak or think like a robot.

3. Show affection and share true feelings

Only once you have re-awoken your seven senses can you feel comfortable showing real affection and sharing true feelings. Perhaps you already do this within the confines of your circle of loved ones but cannot fully open up to the love around you. This is normal, you have no doubt tried and been hurt in the past. It is imperative that you try again, take baby steps and remember everyone is in the same boat. Until this happens you will continue to live in fear about embarrassing yourself, being made fun of, being judged as weak, negative or whatever prevents you from showing up as “you”.

Real strength comes from sharing who you truly are, not by wearing a strong mask glued on with crazy glue or erecting fortifying walls around your heart. Having a positive outlook has little to do with saying positive things but more about being honest and accepting of what is.

4. Show vulnerability to heal shame

You are vulnerable on many levels, regardless of how many “resources” you think you have at your disposal. You can get sick, have an accident, get hurt, taken advantage of, or get caught in a natural disaster at any moment, just like anyone. Placing your attention on what doesn’t last rather than on what does – the perfection of your very soul, just makes you all the more vulnerable. When you focus on your perfection, that part of you that is always whole, you become truly invulnerable because you have nothing to fear. Make mistakes, welcome them in and share them with others so mistakes become celebrated as opportunities for growth rather than daggers to reinforce shame.

Learn to be you, not a robot.

5. Spread love where you go and in all you do

As you embody the love that you are, you will naturally spread love to all you meet and in all you do. Don’t neglect spreading love on the internet and using your technology in loving ways. This will influence AI in a positive fashion so the robots you do come into contact with be loving, compassionate and kind ones 🙂 Spread love as much as you can and to the best of your ability. Set your boundaries and protect your energy first and foremost by following my five pillars to spiritual living.

Watch my Five Pillars to spiritual living on my Youtube channel

Let go of expectation
Manage your ego
Face fears
Take responsibility
Connect to a larger purpose are five ways to help you spread the love that you are in a way that not only makes you and others feel good but that also feeds AI the love it needs to build its own loving intelligence.

Namaste and many blessings to you,


What Is The Root Cause Of Narcissism And What Can You Do About It?- Dec 12, 2018

Narcissism can be considered the shadow side of healthy self love where a person falls in love with an image of who they think they are rather than their true self. Narcissistic behaviour will go to extreme lengths to protect this image. Narcissists are disconnected from their  true nature and enjoy using patriarchal tools of  control, division, establishing hierarchy, and fostering competition to meet their needs. Matriarchal qualities, on the other hand, favour letting go, unity, equality and cooperation. I see that the dual reality is more paternalistic, whereas oneness is anchored in a matriarchal mindset (Please note that in my teachings patriarchal and matriarchal have nothing to do with gender so please do not go into any gender bias here). So, what causes narcissism?

Shame leads to narcissism

Shame is archetypal and thrives in duality and dies in oneness. What does this mean? Basically the more you live in a reality where you judge something as worthy/unworthy, right/wrong, good/bad the more you will live in a place of shame. On the other hand, when you are able to move to a place of oneness where everything is perfect just the way it is there is no shame because there is no judgment of right/wrong, beautiful/ugly and good/ bad. There is simply what is.

 Shame goes hand in hand with judgment

Wherever there is judgment there will be fear. Wherever there is fear there will be shame. Ergo judgment, fear and shame are one and the same. There can be shame in being a woman, but also in being  a man; in being poor, but also in being rich; in being ugly, but also in being beautiful; in being young, but also in being old… Remove the fear and the judgment and you remove the shame.

Judgment….. > Fear ….. > Shame

What is at the root of shame?

The root of it all in my opinion is the fear of being “you”- a “you” that is unique and different from the rest. I believe this fear is deeply ingrained because of the fear of being judged. Who likes to be judged? From working with many clients over the years, not many is the answer. What would you do to avoid being judged? What have you done in the past to avoid being judged? What have you judged? Take a few minutes, breathe and notice what comes up for you….

Perhaps  you felt compelled to hide your true thoughts and feelings to fit in, to not stand up for something you believed in, or conversely, to stand up for something you did not believe in. Whatever strategy you chose, you chose it for a reason that made sense to you at the time. Thankfully, you can now learn more about your fears and how to move past them so you can live mindfully in my Ten Week Mindful Living Program which begins September 19, 2019  in Montreal. You will finally get all the answers you need to love yourself for who you are, just the way you are. 

The root of all shame is pretending you are like everyone else and hiding your uniqueness 

How are shame and narcissism connected?

The more someone buys into the dual reality of the patriarchy, the more that person is surrounded by judgment and fear. As a result, he may feel pushed by the need to prove that he is right at all costs. Narcissists do this by elevating themselves by putting others down. A narcissist cannot see her own perfection so cannot rely on her own inner power to elevate herself. Consequently, she steals it from others. Learn more about narcissism by reading my blogs on narcissism .

How to heal shame?

The more you buy into a story that being “you” is wrong, the more difficult it will be for you to remember your true self. When you can tap into the perfection of your true nature, you can heal the deep seated shame of being uniquely you and find your place in the oneness of life.

Oneness Does Not Mean Sameness 

Just like your arm is different from your leg- they are both one with your body and when they work together they can help you get from point A to point B more efficiently than if you relied on one or the other. So too are you different from your neighbour, but just as important. 

When you heal shame, you can heal any narcissist tendencies you have that you or anyone else is better/worse, superior/inferior,  or more/less worthy somehow. Here are three steps to heal shame:

Practice self- acceptance: Step out of judgment and fear
Build community that is right for you: Find your tribe 
Show vulnerability: Connect to your inner perfection  

To properly understand how to remember the perfection that you are and have always been and to apply the principles you need so you and your loved ones can heal from shame once and for all, it’s important to read Stepping into Consciousness- A Guide to Living a Life of Joy, Meaning, and Abundance.

Get your personalized copy of Stepping into Consciousness- A Guide to Living a Life of Joy, Meaning, & Abundance Today.

Namaste,

Nicole



What Is The Root Cause Of Narcissism And What Can You Do About It?

Narcissism can be considered the shadow side of healthy self love where a person falls in love with an image of who they think they are rather than their true self. Narcissistic behaviour will go to extreme lengths to protect this image. Narcissists are disconnected from their  true nature and enjoy using patriarchal tools of  control, division, establishing hierarchy, and fostering competition to meet their needs. Matriarchal qualities, on the other hand, favour letting go, unity, equality and cooperation. I see that the dual reality is more paternalistic, whereas oneness is anchored in a matriarchal mindset (Please note that in my teachings patriarchal and matriarchal have nothing to do with gender so please do not go into any gender bias here). So, what causes narcissism?

Shame leads to narcissism

Shame is archetypal and thrives in duality and dies in oneness. What does this mean? Basically the more you live in a reality where you judge something as worthy/unworthy, right/wrong, good/bad the more you will live in a place of shame. On the other hand, when you are able to move to a place of oneness where everything is perfect just the way it is there is no shame because there is no judgment of right/wrong, beautiful/ugly and good/ bad. There is simply what is.

 Shame goes hand in hand with judgment

Wherever there is judgment there will be fear. Wherever there is fear there will be shame. Ergo judgment, fear and shame are one and the same. There can be shame in being a woman, but also in being  a man; in being poor, but also in being rich; in being ugly, but also in being beautiful; in being young, but also in being old… Remove the fear and the judgment and you remove the shame.

Judgment….. > Fear ….. > Shame

What is at the root of shame?

The root of it all in my opinion is the fear of being “you”- a “you” that is unique and different from the rest. I believe this fear is deeply ingrained because of the fear of being judged. Who likes to be judged? From working with many clients over the years, not many is the answer. What would you do to avoid being judged? What have you done in the past to avoid being judged? What have you judged? Take a few minutes, breathe and notice what comes up for you….

Perhaps  you felt compelled to hide your true thoughts and feelings to fit in, to not stand up for something you believed in, or conversely, to stand up for something you did not believe in. Whatever strategy you chose, you chose it for a reason that made sense to you at the time. Thankfully, you can now learn more about your fears and how to move past them so you can live mindfully in my Ten Week Mindful Living Program which begins September 19, 2019  in Montreal. You will finally get all the answers you need to love yourself for who you are, just the way you are. 

The root of all shame is pretending you are like everyone else and hiding your uniqueness 

How are shame and narcissism connected?

The more someone buys into the dual reality of the patriarchy, the more that person is surrounded by judgment and fear. As a result, he may feel pushed by the need to prove that he is right at all costs. Narcissists do this by elevating themselves by putting others down. A narcissist cannot see her own perfection so cannot rely on her own inner power to elevate herself. Consequently, she steals it from others. Learn more about narcissism by reading my blogs on narcissism .

How to heal shame?

The more you buy into a story that being “you” is wrong, the more difficult it will be for you to remember your true self. When you can tap into the perfection of your true nature, you can heal the deep seated shame of being uniquely you and find your place in the oneness of life.

Oneness Does Not Mean Sameness 

Just like your arm is different from your leg- they are both one with your body and when they work together they can help you get from point A to point B more efficiently than if you relied on one or the other. So too are you different from your neighbour, but just as important. 

When you heal shame, you can heal any narcissist tendencies you have that you or anyone else is better/worse, superior/inferior,  or more/less worthy somehow. Here are three steps to heal shame:

Practice self- acceptance: Step out of judgment and fear
Build community that is right for you: Find your tribe 
Show vulnerability: Connect to your inner perfection  

To properly understand how to remember the perfection that you are and have always been and to apply the principles you need so you and your loved ones can heal from shame once and for all, it’s important to read Stepping into Consciousness- A Guide to Living a Life of Joy, Meaning, and Abundance.

Get your personalized copy of Stepping into Consciousness- A Guide to Living a Life of Joy, Meaning, & Abundance Today.

Namaste,

Nicole


Thoughts On Forgiveness- How Never To Say Sorry

Jesus’ words from the cross – “Forgive them for they know not what they do” asking forgiveness for those who put him to death reminds me of the hurt we unwillingly inflict on each other and mother earth- not because of malicious intent but more because of neglect- neglecting to remember our true nature.

What happens to a neglected garden? Weeds take root, spread and prevent the planted flowers from blossoming. The same holds true when you neglect your spiritual garden- lies take root, spread and prevent your truth from blossoming into remembering the one great Truth that you are Truth.

The one great Truth is you are Truth

Why does this happen?

The ego does not want you to remember your true nature which explains the direct correlation between ego driven people and unloving behaviour. The ego loathes true love as it gets in the way of upholding the patriarchal values of control, division, competition and  hierarchy it holds so dear.

The ego of course, also plays a useful role in keeping you safe, and it’s only when it tries to take over your inner wisdom and you allow yourself to be defined by it that it becomes problematic.

So what to do?

Forgive yourself for neglecting your garden and make amends. Don’t bother saying sorry- that is another empty word in my opinion, like the words nice, happy and successful. The word “sorry” keeps you trapped in the dual reality of feeling guilt and shame- guilt that you have done something wrong and shame that you are wrong. Instead, you want to move past saying sorry and go straight to making amends.

What is an amend?

An amend, in my opinion, is an action that reflects the fact that you have remembered the Truth of who you are.

How to make an amend?

One way, is to connect to that part of you that is always loving, kind and  compassionate and then make a gesture- in thought, word or action. You return like with like. If you regret an action you did to someone, you make amends with an action. If you uttered words you wish were never said, you choose new words and, in a similar way, new thoughts will make amends for thoughts you would like to undo. The other person doesn’t even need to know about it. The energy of the action will be enough to wipe the slate clean.

Namaste,

Nicole

How To Step Back So Mindfulness Can Step In

Living mindfully is all about living in the present moment in a place of non judgment and acceptance- this takes time and patience. You cannot expect to achieve this after an evening seminar, a thought provoking book, a weekend workshop, a teacher certification..and no, a trip to India will not bestow enlightened status either.  In fact you cannot be looking for it at all, it just happens gradually, in its own time, guided by an invisible force that leads the way. So, How to step back so mindfulness can step in? Here are 5 tips to help you live more mindfully.

Let go of expectations.  Though every action leads to a reaction, when you let go of expectations you are not placing a hope on a intended reaction. Instead, during interactions, do not think about what you may or may not get out of the exchange or feel that you need to protect/defend your point of you. Simply allow the exchange to unfold. Replace expectation and enjoy the experience.                                                                                                                                                        
Stop judging. A judgment keeps you trapped in duality – right/wrong, good/bad, better/worse. It also keeps you tethered to expectation where you risk disappointment. If you do something better than someone else you will get a higher reward: more money, increased status, a promotion, more friends…  Replace judgment with observations.                                                                                                                              
Step way from consumerism. Consumerism equates with needing more to satisfy the ego. The ego is never satisfied with what is. It pushes you to acquire more so you can feel that you are more somehow.  This does not mean you need to deprive yourself in any way. Instead, choose to fill your heart with gratitude.  Replace needing more with having what you need.                                                                                                  
Embrace contradictions. It makes sense to want clarity. However, the issue arises when clarity pushes you into an “all or nothing” binary mindset. For instance, you can be successful, smart, disciplined, loving in one area of your life and ignorant, weak willed, sneaky and manipulative in another. To  bring polar opposites  of black and white together to create the colour grey accept all parts of your multifaceted self. Replace “all or nothing” thinking with acceptance of all that is.                                                                                                              
Don’t get discouraged.  Give yourself a second, third, fourth, fifth…. chance when you make a mistake. When learning basic skills like reading, writing, and arithmetic  you don’t quit after a setback. You do what is needed to learn to read, write and do your sums so you can function in the world. Learning to live mindfully is a skill that is just as important. When you find yourself giving in to worry and fear, get curious about new ways to move into the here and now present tense. Replace discouragement  with  curiosity.                                                                                                                                                                       ….and then perhaps, the more you can let go of expectations, stop judging, step away from consumerism, embrace contradictions and limit discouragement, you may notice that you are spending more and more time enjoying the present moment without even trying.

Allow yourself to step back so mindfulness can step in

Nicole


How To Keep Your Ego In Check So It Does Not Hinder Your Spiritual Growth?

Living aligned with values and truth is not always easy and, even less so, when you feel pressure to compete in order to survive. With the recent explosion of all things related to wellness and health, yoga is feeling the pressure too. The proliferation of yoga has attracted a lot more resources than it has in the past, making yoga a more attractive commodity. However, dovetailing on this popularity is “bottom line” thinking needed to survive in what has become, to me, a cut throat market. This in turn, compromises yoga’s very foundation as a spiritual practice.

I believe yoga is spirituality and spirituality is yoga- they are one. Spirituality is in the realm of the soul and resides in the loving heart. It is not possible, in my humble opinion, that spirituality is connected to something other than true love. That to me, is just not spirituality. Running a business, on the other hand,  happens with the help of the ego in the head. Inevitably the ego will but heads (excuse the pun 🙂 with your Spirit. So what can you do, as a student of yoga to keep your ego in check so it does not stand in the way of your spiritual growth?

Commit to your spiritual growth. One of the  many Universal laws that govern life states that if you are not growing you are shrinking. Therefore, in my opinion, when you commit to your spirituality you are also committing to growing spiritually.  Spiritual growth cannot happen unless your spirit is running the show so your ego needs to take a back seat. There is a steep learning curve here and it doesn’t take long before realizing that moving your ego from the front seat to the back takes work and then getting it to stay there takes time.
Understand growth is out of your control. Growth does not happen in a vacuum. Your Spirit is unbounded and limitless and cannot be contained. There are many components to spiritual growth. First of all the three dimensions of Body/Mind/ and Spirit need to expand. Sometimes the three grow in unison and sometimes they don’t. Furthermore your B/M/Spirit needs to keep pace, without getting too far ahead or too far behind, with the growth of others around you. This further gets complicated by the fact that every living thing has a consciousness that vibrates differently and is seeking others that vibrate at the same speed. Growth seems to have a mind of its own so all you can do is learn to flow with the river. Like a flowing river, at times the flow is strong, at others it is weak and then at others it appears stagnant.                                                                                           
Notice the role your ego is playing. Your ego will want to keep you trapped in fear where you will be worried about your “safety”- lacking in financial resources, in danger or isolated somehow. This fear will push you to be in a constant state of wanting more- To fortify your fort and stockpile resources, as it were. This need for more is what keeps you trapped in stress and anxiety until you realize that you will only feel safe when you connect to your true nature. Nothing outside of you will ever provide true safety. No amount of money, status, friends, job will ever be able to create the  “safety” you are looking for. Greed and waste are the bi-products of the ego chasing after what it thinks it needs to be safe rather than what it truly desires to be free. The ego is never happy with what is. Spirituality is all about dwelling in the perfection of the present moment.
Notice the role your soul is playing.  When you experience love, peace, trust and are in a place of oneness with all there is, you are living in your soul and being guided by your inner wisdom. This wisdom wants you to remember your soul and connect to its perfection.  In Oneness there can be no competition only cooperation. How can you compete with yourself?  Does your hand compete with your foot? No they both work together, honouring the different roles they each play. Likewise, how can you compete with your neighbour who is part of the same whole as you ?

Notice attachments and practice detachment.  Notice what you are attached to: money, spouse, friends, family, children, pets, home,  status, health, job, addictions, youth…Detaching from your attachments does not necessarily mean letting them go, it means realizing that your “happiness” does not depend on them. Like everything in life, the magic happens when you begin to accept.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Namaste,

Nicole

Six Practical Tips to Stand Up To The Patriarchy And For What You Believe In

I don’t know about you, but I am rather distraught about recent news items. It’s easy to feel powerless and ignore egregious injustices happening in the world and this trend seems to only be gaining momentum. Rather than waiting for the proverbial saviour, I believe we can each help reverse the tide by pushing out of our comfort zone. This means standing up to the patriarchy and for what we believe in.

I have said this before, the patriarchal mindset was helpful for a long time, it has accomplished great things and a lot of good has come out of it. However, I also believe it’s gone as far as it needs to go. What is needed now is change- Change to a more caring and loving way of interacting with one another.

In a previous blog “Is Colluding With The Patriarchy The Only Way?“, I defined what the patriarchy means to me- as any structure that is controlling, divisive, hierarchical and competitive, I  offered five things you can do to build awareness and suggested a new vision of how you could live more lovingly with your neighbour. Today, I share some actionable steps to stand up to the patriarchy and create change. Yes, change is possible- when everyone does their bit together, mountains can be moved.

Get Angry                                                                                                                             


Get over any limiting beliefs that your anger is wrong. This notion that anger is wrong is a foil the patriarchy uses to control you. When basic human rights are violated you have every reason to get angry. Face any ingrained fears of being labelled angry, an angry person, having anger issues, crazy, hysterical, irrational,  or being accused of having some kind of mental illness…                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Historically real change has happened in the wake of  angry men and women who have allowed their anger to fuel action: The Civil Rights Movement, the Sufragettes, the Resistance, Political Revolutions… Leaders of these movements did not always appear to be zen, peace loving people, they wanted change and their anger galvanized action. By the same token, some of the most calculating psychopaths we know of appear calm, composed and charming on the surface. Healing anger is not about eradicating it but learning to express it in healthy ways.                                                                                                                                                       

You don’t need to start a movement or lead a march to make a difference, but you can give yourself permission to feel what you are feeling and hold it in a loving space. It then becomes easier to express in a safe way, and used as a catalyst for change. Anger (and all emotion for that matter) appears to make people uncomfortable when it gets unleashed. Inevitably this happens as a result of it being kept under lock and key.                                                                                                                        

Learn to safely express anger and harness it to support rather than harm 


2. Share concerns                                                                                                                 

There is a genuine need to belong and be part of a pack and that is fine, but when this need is also laced with a fear of being kicked out for expressing valid concerns this becomes problematic. Rather than respecting differing points of view, these concerns get perceived as criticism and negativity by the narcissistic mindset rather than ideas and opinions worth listening to.                                                                                                                                                  Whenever any group punishes, in any way, its members for voicing concerns they are reinforcing principles of control, division, hierarchy and competition. This can unwillingly push people to become so enthralled with embracing group think that they become  cheerleaders, often cheering just for the sake of being seen as a team player rather than cheering because their heart is truly into it.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Learn to voice and listen to concerns with compassion  

3. Get curious 

When you are learning to stand up for what you believe in, judgement is not helpful. Whether you are judging yourself or someone else, judgment will get in the way by keeping you trapped in duality. Instead, choose to become curious. Curiosity helps foster empathy so you can look at a situation from different angles without getting emotionally charged. “ummm interesting that she/he/I said/did/thought…wonder why that was said/done or thought…” Get over any worries about making  a mistake, being misunderstood or judged .                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Your ego may fear standing out from the pack because you have no doubt been punished in the past for ruffling some feathers. You may have received the message that it was safer to stay on the sidelines. I believe that your true self always accepts the reality of any situation you are in without judging it in a binary fashion. As more and more stand up for what they believe in, it becomes easier for others to follow suit. This happens  because the quantum field of consciousness changes each time a new person finds the courage to say “enough is enough!”.

Learn to practice non judgmental awareness 

4) Take action                                                                                                                       Weigh the costs of taking a stand and determine how much you are willing to risk. Are you willing to leave your job because your boss is asking you to act out of integrity with yourself? Are you willing to share a controversial opinion at a party with your peers? Are you willing to defend a friend, a colleague, a child whom you believe has been unfairly treated? Are you willing to post a concern on Facebook when you are in the minority, “FB like” a controversial comment or simply share a personal message no one else will see. Whatever your comfort level, take some kind of action and push yourself beyond what you would do normally.

Learn to weigh the cost, decide how far to go and take some form of action

5) Trust Life  

The patriarchy teaches us that if we don’t follow the rules or when we make a “mistake” we will be poor, alone, unprotected and therefore will suffer and be unsafe in the world.  This belief keeps us shackled to the patriarchal mindset. My opinion is that when we believe our needs will be met they will be and when we believe that they will not be, they will not. If you want to free yourself from the hold the patriarchal mindset has over you, you can start believing that it is safe to be yourself and to be your own master.                                                                                                                                                                            In your heart, you know you will be fine if you leave that job that depletes you, that marriage that demeans you, those friends that criticize you, those colleagues that don’t respect you. It is in your head, that you feel worry and fear. You have the power within your heart to do what it takes to feel nourished, honoured and accepted.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Learn to trust the wisdom in your heart 

6. Keep It Simple 

The patriarchy wants you to believe that you need a lot of “stuff” to be safe and you need to be “busy” to be productive. This is another limiting belief that keeps you shackled to the patriarchal system. How can you afford your house, cars, schools, clothes, trips, parties and fun unless you continue to accept the rules dictated by the patriarchy? You have choices and there are alternatives. You do not need these distractions you only think you do.                                                                                                                                                                          Learn to connect to what you truly desire rather than what you think you need.  

Change can happen, mountains can be moved and everyone can make a difference when they stand up for what they believe in by unshackling themselves from the hold controlling, hierarchical, divisive and competitive patriarchal systems and people have over them. Replace judgment with curiosity and practice non judgmental awareness. Use your anger to fuel you towards positive action. Trust that everything will be fine by listening to your heart and then it will be easy to simplify your life.

Remember, you are doing your best and are a student in the earth school of life learning to love, just like everyone else and this, like everything else I say and write about, is just my humble opinion.  

Namaste, be kind to yourself!

Nicole


How to Hold Sacred Healing Space for a Loved One?

Let’s face it, most people are uncomfortable with strong emotion- be it anger, sadness, negativity, fear, passion and even love often scares people. As a result, many will go to great lengths to avoid being confronted with emotion in themselves, or in others. They are then surprised when they witness violent outbreaks, pandemics of depression, suicide, drug abuse, mystery illnesses or even homelessness.

Emotions are catalysts for growth and change so a potent healing tool is not being used each time an emotion is suppressed.  In fact, I believe we are each being invited to learn to honour our emotions for the gifts they truly are. What can you do to allow your emotions to guide you and your loved ones into deeper levels of health and wellness?

Choice to wound or to heal 

You each have the capacity to heal or to wound with every word you utter, action you take and thought that goes through your head. (Of course, the recipient also has to make the choice to be healed or hurt). When children are forced to swallow tears, anger, criticism, or sadness for example,  feelings of shame are perpetuated  where it’s not ok for them to get their needs met by the outside world. When needs are met, children learn to trust and when they trust they can grow into adults that learn to meet their own needs. The reality is that many children, despite well meaning parents,  do not learn this lesson in the safety of the family nucleus so they need to learn it as a grown up. It’s never too late to learn this skill.

So how to learn to navigate strong emotions?

The first step is to give yourself permission to feel. Ignoring an emotion or using your will to push it away does not teach you to navigate the emotion, it simply strengthens the wound. When you skillfully navigate an emotion you allow the emotion to lead you to the healing you need. Growth happens when you heal and decay happens when you avoid.

For many, this is no easy task so you may need a loved one to be there to support you through the process- This is where learning to hold sacred space can be very handy. The trick is to become a compassionate, silent witness to whatever emotion is being expressed without allowing yourself to be triggered. If you are holding space for yourself you do this by separating yourself from the emotion. You are not the emotion after all, you are simply experiencing it at this time.  You then can become your own personal witness to the emotion you are feeling.  By the same token, if you are holding the space for someone else, all you need to do is  to compassionately witness their emotion without reacting in any way. You become the mirror that validates their experience. So, for instance if your child is crying inconsolably you can just hold them lovingly in your arms until the crying stops. If your partner is raging you can lovingly hold your ground and let them vent as much as they need to. The key is to not try to stop the flow of emotion, try to fix, argue back or give advice in any way.

Watch out! you may become triggered yourself 

What often happens here is that the pain you are trying to hold space for triggers your own pain, and you suddenly find yourself overcome with emotion. When this happens, unless you learn to hold space for your own pain, this emotion will be directed to the person you are trying to support and negate any support (and possibly even deepen their wound).

If you become triggered by your loved ones pain, you can hold the space for yourself by noticing what you are feeling- sadness, anger, frustration or whatever is surfacing for you. Get curious “Ummm, interesting- I wonder why these feelings are coming up for me as I show support for this person.” Accept the feelings without judging them, breathe and allow them to wash over you until the charge is gone.

What I appreciate most about this process is how we can each heal each other – Teacher/ student, parent/child, therapist/patient…. The limiting belief that certain people, by virtue of the role they play, are more entitled than others to heal or to teach is just not correct.

Notice the shaming statements you perhaps experienced by a teacher or a family member when you were growing up and probably even used yourself at some point: “Stop crying! Don’t be a baby! Crying is for sissies! Stop manipulating me! Stop making me feel guilty! “You may have some others to add here. As you bring your awareness to these memories,  hold space for yourself and enjoy some gentle healing.

Visualize your sacred healing space

When I hold space for others or myself, I like to visualize a bubble that fills up with the emotion and then when the emotion has been fully expressed and the charge is gone the bubble vanishes. You could also visualize a mirror, a container, a body of water or anything that makes sense to you. Simply setting an intention does the job too if visualization is not your thing. There is no right or wrong way to do this. A genuine desire to support a loved one in pain is all it takes to get the ball rolling. When you “hold space” for someone the space suddenly turns into a healing space and you become a healer.  This healing space then becomes a “sacred healing space” when this space moves you one step closer to remembering the wholeness you are, have always been and will always be.

Namaste,

Nicole


Is Colluding With the Patriarchy the Only Way?


You most probably collude with the patriarchy to some degree and who can blame you? The patriarchy has been running the show for a long time  and appears to provide a strong foundation to an affluent and secure life. I believe it is now time to let it go and replace it with some thing else.  There are certainly benefits to buying into the patriarchal way of life hook line and sinker, but there are pitfalls as well. Lets take a closer look…

First of all, let me clarify what I mean by patriarchy. I am referring to structures that are hierarchical, competitive, controlling and divisive in nature. I am not referring to any version of the “me too” movement, or women controlling the world in any way shape or form. For the purposes of this article I am discussing alternatives to the patriarchy (which include both men and women) controlling the patriarchal systems that were  established  thousands of years ago  with  the fall of the Pagan earth ways. These structures have served us well in many ways. Though we are beginning to see new structures take root, the old patriarchal systems do continue to govern how we live, how we love, how we raise our children, how we worship, how we learn, how we punish, how we are entertained and how we interact with friend, foe and neighbour. Perhaps they do their job, but do they do it as well as they could and at what cost?

The problem with these systems , as I see it, is that they have created too much separation between people and have disconnected us from our true nature. People are stressed, depressed and living in fear. Eventually, this fear burns a hole in the soul and pushes people to act against personal principles of integrity. Sure, many people know the difference between so-called notions of “right” and “wrong” and have some form of moral compass but to what extent do they live by this compass.  What do you do to stand up against what you believe to be an injustice? Society teaches us at a young age to stand down and to shut up. The patriarchy teaches us to value status, money, appearance and public recognition above all else. But, what about its impact on heart and soul…

Furthermore, we need to examine whether the patriarchy truly offers us the affluence and security we believe it does. Every day we read about hard working, educated people that have followed the “success” rules of the patriarchy and are suddenly made redundant, lose their jobs, see their pensions wiped out, fortunes stolen, families broken up or possessions destroyed. And yet we continue to believe that this system is the only way – a system that enslaves us to money, status, possessions, where nothing is ever enough. And then, for those who have managed to hang on to money, status and possessions well into their old age what have they lost in so doing? health, family, love….

Mother nature is sending out a cry for help and she has had enough. She is tired of being abused and seeing many of her children suffer while others look away. You can take a stand by doing your bit to let go of the hold the patriarchy has on the world. I am pretty sure this will happen soon enough in any event (the signs are obvious)  so you can chose to dig in your heels, erect higher walls around your personal  kingdom, refuse to accept that the current situation is not sustainable and needs to evolve or you can chose to be a leader and help the process along. If you chose the latter, here are some tips you may find helpful:

Notice the role that money, status, possessions play in your life. Just notice without judging yourself in anyway.
Notice choices you make to attract more money, increase your status and acquire more possessions.
Ask yourself who you would be if you lost your money, your status and/or your possessions and conversely if you suddenly acquired any/all of these.
Take a risk, a small risk perhaps, but a risk all the same to stand up for something you believe in.
Imagine a world where people were loved for no reason at all, just for being who they came into this world to be- Imagine and dream….

Imagine and dream a world into being where it is possible, safe and actually encouraged to be loving, kind and compassionate to everyone you come into contact with and in all you do. Imagine a  world where you not only tend to your garden but to your neighbour’s as well, a world where everyone matters, a world where  you look to serve and to support. Imagine if everyone did this…..Let your imagination soar.

Namaste,

Nicole

Top 10 Ways to Love - Angel Style

Angels love differently. As an earth angel or an aspiring one, you may find my top 10 ways to love- angel style  useful to help you ride the angelic wave of love. When you learn to love like an angel you can easily pick yourself up when you trip and fall. It is my opinion that angels, like everyone, have accidents.  In fact, they often do because the very qualities that make them angels are the ones that make them accident prone. The important thing is to know when you have fallen and to get yourself back up again as fast as you can.

Connect to your angelic nature and step into the earth angel you are and have always been.

Take a time out- Love is not conditional                                                              


Angels do not set conditions to their love. They just love you the way you are. They may chose not to spend time with you and that’s ok because angels have a special responsibility to manage their energy. Angels understand that everyone vibrates at a special speed that is right for them. It is exhausting to keep up with the faster ones and it is frustrating to wait around for the slower ones.  You may even notice that some days you vibrate at a certain speed and other days you vibrate quite differently. You cannot force others to fly at your speed. Just take a time out and then see what happens.


Release Expectations –Love is not transactional                                                      


Angels do not transact in love but focus on sharing instead (for more on this, read my blog ” A quick tip to recharge your battery so you don’t get depressed”). Though they respect the causal nature of the Universe and understand that karma is always at play they do not feed energy into this exchange. You know when to rest, play, work- each activity seamlessly flows into the next. You always have what you need when you need it so there is no need to expect anything at all.                       

                                                                                                                                  
Embrace Abundance – Love does not have a price tag                                                   


Angels live in abundance and appreciate the simple pleasures in life. Many are gifts from Mother Nature and are available to everyone- a glowing sunset, a vibrant rainbow, a blooming flower, a frozen pond, towering mountains or the golden foliage of fall. You may also appreciate your shiny new car or dress and that’s fine too because you live in a place of gratitude. Fortunes come and go, abundance is always available.


Accept Perfection- Love is not judgmental                                                                       


Angels practice non judgmental  awareness. They do not judge in the binary paradigm of right/wrong, worthy/unworthy, good/bad, crazy/wise but rather expand their awareness to accept all that is. They do not see mistakes but see learning opportunities. They do not see enemies but see teachers instead. You, too, no doubt are on a learning path where you are learning what you need to learn.  There is no judgment either way because nothing is better or worse than anything else- there is no duality in the angelic realm on earth. Everything originates from the same divine source so how can anything be anything other than perfect just the way it is.


Speak your truth- Love speaks truth                                                                                  

Angels try their best to be honest and sincere. They speak their truth and listen to the truth of others. When you are upset by someone’s political opinion, personal value or belief system you take responsibility for being triggered and tend to the healing you need. You see all truth as valid as they all originate from the same place. The one great Truth that we are Truth never changes, truth does. ( For more on this- ch 6. in my book “Stepping into Consciousness- a Guide to Living a Life of Joy, Meaning and Abundance).


Let go of any agenda – Love does not manipulate   

                                                 

Angels do not hide behind false platitudes, nor do they pretend to be “phoney nice”. This phoney niceness is done to manipulate a situation or person to be who or what they want. Angels feel and angels have emotions- they are not robots. You accept your  emotions and do not use emotions to manipulate others. You try to align your actions, words and thoughts to the best of your ability. You practice discernment to protect yourself but not to manipulate others or a situation.


Listen to your inner wisdom – Love knows what and who it is                               


Angels manage their ego and do not let it run the show. Angels understand that external constructs such as wealth, possessions, titles can all disappear from one moment to another and these do not define them. You may see these as tools to being an angel on earth. Naturally you need food, shelter and relationships. You connect to your inner wisdom and keep your ego in check so you can balance your material and spiritual responsibilities.


Be of service and show support – Love cares     

                                                             

Angels are sensitive beings because they feel and they feel because they are sensitive. When you feel you naturally care. On a macro level you may be concerned about being of service to humanity in whatever way you can and on a micro one you may be thinking what you can do to support a loved one. Angels always have time for this important task. As your ego is in check you are not consumed by being too busy or too stressed. There is always time to do something- whether big or small, any gesture can be done to show caring.


Take nothing personally- Love forgives and stands up for itself   

                         

Angels do not shame, punish or reproach but on occasion they do need to take a stand when their energy is compromised. They try to bring together rather than separate to the best of their ability. When you fall off your path, you forgive yourself without saying sorry but rather by making amends. When you feel hurt, you feel the hurt. When the hurt turns into suffering you ask why you are choosing to suffer and make another choice instead.


See love in everyone and everything- Love turns poison into nectar     

              

Angels trust and believe in the intrinsic loving nature of humans. Whatever is being expressed, be it anger, fear, sadness, the root is always love.  Whatever is dished out can be turned into a healing balm. You are an alchemist, a magician, an angel and can heal the world.

Remember my tips on loving- angel style and you too can be an earth angel. Spread your angels wings and ride the angelic wave of love. When you trip and fall just get yourself back up. I will be waiting for you.

Namaste,

Nicole

A Quick Tip To Recharge Your Battery So You Don’t Get Depressed

Imagine if you never needed to recharge your battery? Imagine if everything you did filled up your tea cup so you were never left feeling exhausted, sad or empty in any way? Your friends and family nourished you, your work inspired you, your mate complemented you, your surroundings uplifted you and your chores relaxed you. Would this be possible? Take a few moments, breathe and look at your life…

In my last blog, I spoke about balancing the activities you do with what you receive so you don’t get depressed. In other words, I  was talking about balancing feminine and masculine energies- the energies that allow you to receive with the energies that allow you to do. Chinese philosophy speaks of the yin and the yang where seemingly opposite forces are actually complementary and interconnected. In yoga, the cosmic sound of the Universe “Aum” connects these masculine and feminine energies. The Tao speaks of the action of effortless action- non doing or Wu Wei. In this article, I would like to look at these energies differently.

By replacing the words “Doing” and “Receiving” with the word “Sharing” you may gain a new inclusive and loving perspective to your interactions.  How would your relationships look if you viewed them in the context of each party sharing what they can rather than exchanging something in order to receive something back? Sharing time and resources in a spirit of everyone getting what they need. Perhaps, this would make your relationships appear less transactional and would help you move to that place of unconditional love you may be looking for. There is of course, always an exchange of sorts but the point is to become motivated by something other than getting your needs met. This may be a more conscious replacement to the “what’s in it for me” line that sadly so many live by.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if life would all be about sharing- What would you share?

Under this scenario, you would naturally do your “share” and receive your “share” and no one would be measuring. When you live in a spirit of generosity and love you are not comparing your free time to another person’s or the size of your home to that of your neighbour’s, but you trust that your true needs are always met. It may very well be that focusing more on simply “sharing”  rather than “giving” and “receiving” may alleviate some of the heaviness you may experience from time to time and keep your battery from running on empty.

Namaste,

Nicole


3 Steps to Manage Emotional Ups and Downs Without Getting Depressed

People are suffering. They love the ups of life but don’t love the downs. Those with busy careers are “depressed” as they fight burn out and juggle too many demands. Those retired or unemployed  are equally “depressed” as they feel useless in a culture that values youth, enthusiasm and energy. Those with lavish lifestyles are “depressed” because they always want more and then those with less are “depressed” because they feel left behind. The list goes on and on. The point is depression is today’s pandemic.                                                                                                                                                                                         Of course, I am not talking about severe cases that require medication and the expertise of a health professional but rather this general malaise so many are feeling that brings about feelings of numbness, despair and hopelessness that noone wants to talk about.

So let’s get started tackling this vast, complex and important topic. In the first blog of this series  I will share 3 steps to manage these emotional ups and downs.

1. Embrace your ups and your downs. Stop viewing the “ups” as better than the “downs” and view them both as equally important to your health and wellness. Why label the “downs” as “depression” when in fact they are just part of the natural ebb and flow of life. So embrace the “ups” when they happen and then embrace the “downs” when they happen as well. Create space for them, welcome them into your life and feel grateful for being able to feel your emotions. So many people can’t feel anything so the fact that you can feel is a true gift.

2. Redefine how you define your “up” and how  you define your “down”. Already the word “up” sounds more appealing than the word “down”.  Let’s use the analogy of a battery and look at “up” as running the battery and then “down” as recharging the battery. In other words “up” is being active, doing, giving and “down” is resting, replenishing, receiving. Both activity and rest are equally important. If you do too much you will burn out and feel resentment and on the flip side if you receive too much you will feel uninspired, bored and useless.

3. Look at the proportion of time spent expending energy and then time spent building it up                                                                                                                     Is your rest time giving you what you need to recharge your battery? If you are doing a job you hate, surrounding yourself with people who exhaust you or even rob your energy chances are the rest you are getting is not enough. This lack of energy will deplete you to the point of exhaustion. Over time this burnout turns into “depression”.  Perhaps you need to look at shortening your work week or working from home a few days a week, set some new boundaries, hire some help, book a regular weekly massage or go on a holiday retreat….                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Is your activity time using up your energy? If you are sitting at home bored and feeling useless chances are you are not engaged in enough activity. This excess energy will be turned inwards, making you stressed as you regret the past or anxious as you worry about the future. Over time, this too will bring up feelings of depression. Perhaps you need to do some volunteer work, learn a new skill or take up a hobby, do some babysitting  for a friend, become a mentor to someone struggling in your family or community.                                                                                                                                                                         Naturally you have your own unique rhythm and cannot look to your neighbour to see how much rest and how much activity you need to feel balanced. Giving and receiving is a very personal thing and cannot be measured. Time spent doing physical labour or studying for an exam will deplete your energy just as much as a parent emotionally caring for a child or a friend being there for another. You alone have the answer. Go within and connect to the wisdom of your heart that always knows exactly what you need to bring balance and harmony into your life. Take a few minutes today to connect to who you truly are and find that balance you need to ride the waves of life.

Namaste,

Nicole

The Fall of Feminine Power and the Rise of the Feminine

I have been thinking a lot about feminism recently. Certainly the movement has come a long way since the Suffragettes of the late 1800’s century, Rosa Parks in the 1950’s, the rise of the career woman in the 1970’s, the stay-at-home dad in the 1990’s and then the recent US presidential loss of Hilary Clinton of course. What does this notion of being a “feminist” mean today and how does this help us connect to who we truly are and to what really matters on a deeper level?

I am concerned that, with the current fashion of feminism, rather than gender inequality lessoning it is simply moving from one power base to another. When we speak of feminine power, we risk falling into the trap where women simply usurp the traditional role of the man and abuses of power remain. Perhaps this is not the initial aim, but over time, the same tactics used to compete and manipulate continue to create the same result and nothing really changes.

Until we stop competing over scarce resources, wasting what we have and yearning for what we don’t, and as long as we continue to focus on materialism at the expense of kindness, compassion and love we will not see an equality in how genders are treated and nor will we see the gap between the haves and the haves-not lessen.

I believe a truly egalitarian  society (and please do not get sidetracked  by communist and socialist idealism here)  will happen with the rise of the feminine rather than the use of feminine power. The feminine is feminine energy that is within each of us. This energy represents the gentle, receptive, allowing, intuitive, non competitive, wisdom heart- centered part of each of us. The masculine, also within each of us, represents the opposing qualities of domination, hierarchical structures, competition, reason and ego head-centered energy. This latter energy has served us well in the past and continues to do so to some extent, and it must be respected. It has however, moved us to a place where we are invited to go “home” 🙂

So close your eyes, connect to your breath and connect to the feminine and to the masculine energies that live within you.

Are they in harmony with one another or is one trying to overtake the other?
How are they affecting your relationship outside of yourself? at home, work and in your community.
Notice any patterns with the way your parents treated each other when you were a child and how you perhaps treated your own children in turn.

Just notice without judging and then let your feminine intuition take over and see what happens….

Namaste,

Nicole


Stick to Your Guns and Share Your Truth


Foreword: Please note that sometimes I preface my opinion with “I believe” and sometimes I do not. Whatever I write or say constitutes part of my world view. My aim is not to convince, merely to share in the hope this may help you formulate your own life view.


All truths lead to the One Great Truth, that we are all Truth.
(Stepping into Consciousness- A Guide to Living a Life of Joy, Meaning, and Abundance).I get it, it’s not easy to share your truth especially when it goes against popular opinion. When people lack awareness (or consciousness) they are basically living in darkness or what I refer to as the proverbial “hell”. In darkness, one easily gets triggered when contradicted or surprised. Departing from the herd’s group think mentality can make people very uncomfortable.
Think for yourself…


Even if it gets you into trouble, start exploring differing points of view. As parents, we need to let our children do this. When they can do this in the safety of childhood they are given free reign to grow into strong adults.


One only realizes one was living in darkness when one moves into lightness. I can’t help think back to the old me and to my old life. If someone were to have told me that I was living in hell I would have thought them crazy- I had all the obvious constructs of an outwardly “successful” life without the solid foundation of a rich inner connection.


The more easily we share our truth, the more able we are to listen to the truth of others without feeling triggered in anyway. People who lack awareness are living in a right/wrong space. When they hear something that makes them uncomfortable they get angry.
Why get angry?
Why did people get so angry with Jesus’ message? He was killed for it after all…

In Richard Hopper’s book Jesus, Buddha, Krishna & Lao Tsu- parallel sayings, he notes, with a charming sense of humour, the difference in environments in which Jesus and the Buddha were born into.“What impresses me the most about Jesus as a person who “woke up’ is that he tried to explain his mystical insights to people who didn’t have the slightest idea what he was talking about. The Buddha was fortunate enough to “wake up”in India- the most mystically oriented culture on Earth. When people met him after his enlightenment they would say “Congratulations, we knew you could do it!” When Jesus woke up in first century Palestine, he must have looked around at his situation and thought Uh-oh!”


Luckily this did not deter Jesus from spreading his message of love, compassion and forgiveness.


Hopper continues “certainly Jesus could have kept his new mystical understanding of reality to himself. Had he done so-had he just enjoyed his private bliss in the Kingdom of God- he might have lived to a ripe old age, and died a peaceful death like the historical Buddha. But Jesus was passionate and felt compelled to share his wisdom with as many other people he could reach. This meant that he had no choice but to try to explain himself within the doctrinal and social confines of a religious culture that was completely unfamiliar with, and most antagonistic to, mystical insights about reality.”
What if Jesus or others like him did not share their mystical insights with the world? What if YOU keep your insights bottled inside?


Hopper on community support


“While Siddartha Gautama was supported by a community of mystics, many of those who Jesus talked to thought he was crazy, or blasphemous or both. His own family rejected him and thought him demented. Most of Jesus’ disciples while obviously charmed by his charisma, often didn’t understand what he was talking about. In the end, one of them betrayed him, another denied him, and the rest deserted him in his greatest hour of need. “
Was Jesus’ message “wrong” because others did not understand him and felt compelled to prosecute him? Did Jesus make a mistake by teaching about love and freedom?


Breathe, Relax, Feel, Watch and Allow….transformation within and around you!


Namaste,
Nicole


40 Ways Yoga Heals

According to Yoga as Medicine- The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing by Timothy McCall, MD there are 40 good reasons to do yoga:

YOGA

Increases Flexibility
Strengthens Muscles
Improves Balance
Improves Immune Function
Improves Posture
Improves Lung Function
Leads to Slower and Deeper Breathing
Discourages Mouth Breathing
Increases Oxygenation of Tissues
Improves Joint Health
Nourishes Intervertebral disks
Improves Return of Venous Blood
Increases Circulation of Lymph
Improves Function of the Feet
Improves Proprioception
Increases Control of Bodily Functions
Strengthens Bones
Conditions the Cardiovascular System
Promotes Weight Loss
Relaxes the Nervous System
Improves the Function of the Nervous System
Improves Brain Function
Activates Left Prefrontal Cortex
Changes Neurotransmitter Levels
Lowers Level of Stress Hormone Cortisol
Lowers Blood Sugar
Lowers Blood Pressure
Improves Level of Cholesterol and Triglycerides
Thins the Blood
Improves Bowel Function
Releases Unconscious Muscle Gripping
Uses Imagery to Effect Change in the Body
Relieves Pain
Lowers Need for Medication
Fosters Healing Relationships
Improves Psychological Health
Leads to Healthier Habits
Fosters Spiritual Growth
Elicits The Placebo Effect
Encourages Involvement in Your Own Healing                                                                                                                                                                


These are all fantastic reasons to do yoga. You may not find the perfect class or the perfect teacher for you the first time around but don’t give up. There is such a huge variety of types of yoga, types of teachers and places that offer yoga that it won’t be very difficult for you to find the right match to suit your style.                                                                                                                                                                            

Namaste,

Nicole


Spiritual Self Awareness Tool to Move Out of Chaos and Stress

If you are feeling chaos and stress you are not alone. The good news is- this is temporary. Many people suggest it has to do with the consciousness movement that is sweeping the planet today which is basically all about remembering the love that you are, have always been, and will always be. This movement is causing us to look at ourselves and examine our lives differently. However, This shift in awareness, rather than creating more unity in the world appears to be creating an ever widening schism. As the awakening souls begin to outnumber those still asleep- chaos and stress seem to be taking root and disrupting lives.

Chaos and Stress

The world is moving to a higher frequency and as a result time appears to be flying by. For many, there seems to be no “time” to socialize, relax, read a book or even call a loved one. Others, suddenly have too much time, yet find their lives equally stressful. People are scared.

There is a polarizing parting of the ways between people clinging to their “stuff” like a life line and those able to let go of what no longer serves them. This separation is fundamentally between those who have found their freedom and those who are still trapped in slavery.

It’s not what you have or don’t have, it’s the value you place on having them and how you use them to define your identity. When you have a clear sense of who you are and what matters you understand you are not these things.

Take a few minutes, breathe… and notice what you are clinging on to?  your job, partner, home, possessions, friends, children, family, job, money, status, roles, reputation, lifestyle….and let it go….

Choosing what to let go of

Let go of what is holding you back in the old consciousness.
Let go of what no longer vibrates at the higher frequency state you are now vibrating in.                                                                                                                                                                                                                 To manage your stress levels and reduce chaos in and around you, you need to calibrate your vibration to the vibration of everything in your life: your home, possessions, you friends, your partner, your family, your work, your thoughts….as long as there is a dissonance between these you will be trapped in chaos and stress.

You cannot enjoy the new energy until you let go of what you need to let go of. This is different for everyone. It’s always what is bringing you out of balance with your true nature and it’s probably what you think you could never live without.

Anything/anyone that makes you angry, sad, resentful, stressed, anxious needs to go. It need not be done dramatically but it can be done gently, compassionately and without judgement. It may come back and then again it may not…It does not really matter.

Take a few minutes, breathe… and notice what is moving you away from feeling the unconditional love that you are?  your job,  partner, home, possessions, friends, children, family, job, money, status, roles, reputation, lifestyle…. and let it go….

Yoga and meditation are the best tools to assist you as you let go, embrace the new and raise your vibration.

Namaste,

Nicole

What Do You Hunger For?

“Twenty million people are at risk of starving to death in the crisis-afflicted countries of Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen” and most Americans (85%) are oblivious to the starvation crisis overseas, reads the Huffington Post this week. With today’s global network of information dissemination how is it possible that so many people are unaware of such a disaster?

It is true that relief often comes in the form of copious amounts of money and time being thrown to a problem. Luckily we have many organizations whose mission it is to offer assistance to people and countries in distress. However, this comes at a price when it releases us of responsibility. We easily refer to any crisis that happens outside of our front door as a  “Someone else will take care of this” type of problem. This kind of thinking simply fuels future crisis to take root and to be ignored.

People who are consumed by greed are so focused on their need for “more” that they cannot process distress that does not directly affect them.

What can you, as a spiritually aware and mature person, do?

You need to care and this means you need to feel. If you can’t feel, you probably don’t care and you most certainly need to heal on some level.   Everyone is responsible for their life and is being called to take responsibility for the life they create for themselves. In todays world, the need for others to play “rescuer”, “victim” or “saboteur” is increasingly being replaced by the need for others to “care and hold space”.

Bottom line is you cannot do the “work” for someone else but you can care and hold sacred space for people and countries who are learning. Caring is not feeling pity, because that suggests condescension. Caring is not trying to solve problems for others because that is disempowering. Caring is not trying to teach anything because that suggests inequality and caring is certainly not blaming others for the situation they may find themselves in- no matter how dire. Caring is really a state of offering love and sharing in the trust that a solution will be found in due course.

Satisfy your hunger

So connect to your breath, breathe deeply and send prayers to the people in Africa now in distress, to the suffering countries and to their governments. While you’re at it send blessings and prayers to every soul on this planet who is suffering from their own personal brand of starvation and then connect to what you hunger for….and know that with love and trust you will no longer hunger for anything.

Namaste,

Nicole

Greed- Move Past your Greed to Embrace your Life

Greed is a highly emotionally charged word- If you told someone they were greedy they would consider it a personal attack and would become no doubt very angry. Likewise, if someone told you you were greedy you would no doubt have the same reaction. So calm down, take a deep breath and know that it is time to receive.

The fact is many people suffer from greed. Greed halts spiritual progress on both a personal, as well as, a collective level. Greed prevents humans as well as countries from living peaceful and healthy lives. Dealing with this is important.

What is greed?

Wikipedia defines greed as “an inordinate or insatiable longing for unneeded excess, especially excess wealth, status, power, or food. As secular psychological concept, greed is an inordinate desire to acquire or possess more than one needs.” How to define what one needs? not an easy concept.

Greed is not only associated with wealth, food, power and status, nor is it about its mere accumulation, but more about the fear that resources are scarce. With feelings of scarcity come behaviours linked to hoarding, fortification and the need for more.

More, More, More….more money, friends, security, power, status, homes, sex, affection, travel, fun, parties….

Why do people want more?

The Ego, that keeps us trapped in separation always wants more. When we want more we are not living in the present moment and are not remembering the wholeness that we are- we are not connected to our true nature and are not living spiritually rich lives.

We think that if we acquire enough we will be safe and we will have the love we need to be happy. This is not conscious thinking and will only lead to disappointment. Just look at the record number of depressed or overly stressed out people around you. People that have everything yet feel so bereft.

What is the antidote to greed?

The antidote to greed is trust- trust that your needs will be met no matter what and that there will always be an ample supply of what you need.

Trust in yourself: that you will be able to do what needs to be done to meet your needs.
Trust that the resources you need to do this will be there for you.

Until you learn to do this, you will continue to miss the boat in spiritual understanding. Until you can appreciate that you are so much more than what you think you are/have/do and that you are neither better nor worse than your neighbour, you will continue to be lost and searching for more….Trust, Believe and Have Faith. 

Start by facing your greed

Face your greed by first becoming aware of where you are greedy in your life. Where do you hold fear? You may live a simple life but are greedy for recognition, knowledge or respect. You may live extravagantly but are paranoid that you will be robbed or taken advantage of. You may have more than you need but have difficulties sharing or giving freely to your loved ones. Greed can manifest in so many ways so connect to the way in which greed plays out in you. The next step is to accept it. This will happen automatically with the awareness.

Greed exists when we are fearful we do not have what we need. 

Release any guilt that may arise. Greed is a normal by-product of the society you were brought up in and of the old ways of interacting with one another. As more and more people Step into consciousness and connect to their true nature they are discovering new ways of treating themselves and their neighbours.

Open your eyes 

Open your eyes to what is being offered to you right now. Release expectations and judgments so you can receive what is there, staring you in the face. Let go of antiquated thinking of deserving more or better and accept what is being offered. Whatever is offered will match your vibration. If you vibrate true love you will get true love and if you vibrate fear you will get fear. Remember that a treasure covered in dust is still a treasure- it may just need to be wiped over with a fresh cloth.

Breathe…..There is no need to be greedy anymore. You have everything you need. You always have and you always will.

Spend money, more money will come. Lose a friend, a new one will come. Your heart breaks, new love will appear. Your home is destroyed, a new home will appear. Your reputation is lost, you will get a new one. A client goes away, a new one will come knocking. Your possessions get stolen, you will acquire new ones. Your clothes no longer fit, you will find new ones. Your fridge is empty, you will find food.

Open yourself up to receive the treasure, trust that it is what you need, let go of any expectations and allow yourself to be delighted with the treasure of your life….

Namaste,

Nicole

Calm Down the Monkey Mind with the Practice of OTFG- June 25, 2017

If you are like many that struggle with an overactive monkey mind you may find that my 4 tips to opening the heart will prove to be a helpful recipe to feel more peaceful and calm.

Opening the heart is all about healing the heart. Believe it or not, you no doubt carry a lot more grief, sadness and pain than you think. Over the years you have perhaps learned to close off your heart and cover it with a protective shell to be able to get on with life. You have no doubt learned that emotions and success do not go hand-in-hand. Today you are perhaps beginning to hear something quite different.

A healthy heart leads to healthy emotional responses and these are key to true happiness and happiness is key to long-lasting success.

The practice of OTFG will help you heal your heart. Beginning to open the heart can be painful so doing this gradually, surrounded by others committed to this process, is a good idea. The more you heal your heart the more comfortable you will be there. As your comfort level increases, you will naturally begin to gravitate away from the worrying fearful space in your head toward the more loving space in your heart.

You literally can learn to move out of your head and into your heart to recharge, renew and recenter. You do this by building awareness.

Step 1: Practice Openness- Get curious about people, experiences and yourself. Try new things, make new friends, challenge beliefs.

Step 2: Become more Trusting- Trust that your needs will be met and that it is safe for you to live a loving, compassionate and kind life.

Step 3: Forgive Yourself- Take responsibility for your life and your creations. See life as a school filled with learning opportunities rather than wins and failures.

Step 4: Practice Gratitude – Move to a place of optimism. No matter how challenging a situation may be there is always something to be grateful for.

When you get stuck practice Acceptance– Doing this on the yoga mat or in meditation will offer the magic you need to cycle through these steps. The more you do this, the easier it will become to move into your heart space and calm the monkey mind in your head.

Namaste,

Nicole

Is Your Job Running Your Life? How Yoga Can Help Prevent Burnout- June 15, 2017

Are you trapped on a treadmill doing a job that is taking more and more of a toll? Do you feel that the demands being placed on you exceed the resources available? Not sleeping, eating, exercising or really having much fun?

If this sounds familiar you are not alone. You are probably headed towards the burnout zone. Sure, you can run on empty for a time but eventually you will hit a wall and crash.

What can you do to prevent this from happening?

First off, you need a holiday – a holiday from your “job”. And then you need an ongoing maintenance plan to replenish the energy you expend.

Bringing yoga into your life is no longer a luxury, a fad or a preference but a necessity to survive in today’s world. As long as you allow the practice of yoga to do its job-to yoke together Body/Mind/Spirit your job will never control your life and you will never experience burnout.

Here are my 4 tips to allow yoga to do its job so you never experience burnout:

1. Chose an appropriate yoga activity.                                                            


Any activity that joins together Body/Mind/Spirit will truly nourish you and provide the sustenance you need to stay grounded and centred with who you truly are. Whether it’s a yoga class, some quiet meditation or reflection time in nature, an artistic or sporting pursuit, reading, writing, cooking – anything really that brings you into the present moment – is an appropriate yoga activity. If your chosen activity leaves you feeling inadequate and in a place of judgment you are not engaged in an appropriate “yoga” activity.


2. Commit to this yoga practice                                                                        


Allow this activity to become a practice and show up regularly – no excuses. That does not mean going to that yoga class when you have nothing to do or treating your appointment at your art studio as the least important appointment on your agenda. This means refill your tea cup as needed – called listening to your body. Everyone has their own unique rhythm. Learning what yours is, without looking at your neighbour’s, and then learning to honour it is a big step towards allowing your practice of yoga to do its job.


3. Build awareness                                                                                           


Learn to understand what is driving you. Are you being driven by the demanding voice of your ego that always wants more, bigger and better or by the gentle voice of your loving soul that wants you to remember the wholeness and perfection that you are? This is important. Don’t get me wrong: your ego is helpful and plays a crucial role in your life but it needs to be tamed. If you are working crazy hours, skipping meals and generally not taking care of what really matters, you are being bullied by your ego and have lost control.


4. Feel the love                                                                                                   


Chose a heart-centred practice that helps you connect to the wisdom of your heart. If you are not feeling the love that you are and the love that is around you, you are not in balance. Think of the unconditional love you feel when you look into the eyes of a baby. Whether you are a busy, follow- the-leader type or a seasoned yogi committed to living a life of meaning – everyone goes into fear and amnesia at times. It’s your ability to restore balance and your awareness that homeostasis is missing in the first place what matters here.    


Regardless of your job – executive, entrepreneur, stay- at- home mom or dad, socialite, student – it’s helpful to allow whatever your yoga practice is to do its job so you don’t end up shattered. The effects of burnout can be devastating, especially if you don’t have a strong support network to help you pick up the pieces.                                                                                                                                                    


Press pause, take a breathe and connect to who you are and to what matters.                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Namaste,                                                                                                            

Nicole


4 Tips to Deepen your Yoga Practice- January 27, 2017

Today more and more are turning to yoga to stay healthy, fit and find inner peace. Many are even looking to add more depth and meaning into their lives as well- deepening a yoga practice is a good place to start. So what makes one yoga class more profound than another? and what can you do to get the most out of each class?

Whether you are new to yoga or have been practicing for years there is always some new terrain to explore, wisdom to embrace and another layer to shed on the wondrous journey back to remembering the wholeness you have always been. Here are my 4 steps to deepening your practice- It’s all about opening and healing the heart.

1- Open. Allow yourself to receive the fruits of your practice  by showing curiosity and excitement. Cultivate a beginner’s mind ripe to possibilities rather than staying trapped in probabilities with the jaded minded of a scarcity based mentality.

2. Trust. Show faith in a  higher force at work orchestrating your heart’s desire. Allow this force to align your outer life with what you truly desire. Accept that whatever happens on the yoga mat is happening for a very good reason- you do not even need to know the reason.

3. Forgiveness. Take responsibility. In the same way you are responsible for what happens in your life, you are responsible for whatever happens on the yoga mat. Do not blame, criticize or put anyone down, least of all yourself. As you take responsibility there is no need to apologies or even receive apologies from anyone.

4. Gratitude. See the glass as half full and find the blessings in your life. You are so lucky to have the support of a yoga practice. The more gratitude you feel the more your practice will support you on the mat as well as off it.

With this mind set you are well positioned to yoke together Body/Mind/Spirit and bring yourself back to who you truly are and to what really matters. The more you can move between the levels and see interconnections the more profound your practice will be. Notice what happens to the mind, body and the spirit in each posture and flow. Notice how this then spills over into your life.

Namaste,

Nicole

Facing Fear to Push Through Resistance and Handle Uncertainty- December 5, 2016

Growth happens when we expand out of our comfort zone. As we move to another level in our healing journey, it’s normal to feel insecure. Layer on political, economic and environmental uncertainty, a general malaise is being felt by many. So how to use this fear to propel us forward, to push through resistance and handle the uncertainty of these times?

The first step is to notice the fear and accept it. As we accept it our awareness expands and we can better see how it plays out in our life. I can’t tell you how many times I hear people say that they have no fears- that is their ego talking…

Fear manifests itself in various ways:

We exhibit overly controlling and manipulative behaviour : When we try to control the behaviour and actions of others to create a feeling of certainty, there is an underlying fear that resources are scarce and our needs will not be met. Whenever we feel we need to tell someone what to do, spin a story, play political games, hide intentions and motives we are acting out of fear.


We become consumed by the notion of “Time”: When we become overwhelmed and hide (our true nature) behind an overly packed schedule- we use being “busy” and “lacking time” as an excuse for not meeting expectations. This can hide a fear of failure which in turn can lead to behaving out of integrity or not getting the job done properly.  We forget that “Time” is a man made construct that the ego controls to keep us in fear- running out of time, I don’t have time, I need more time… all spell fear.


We become closed: When we close ourselves to new opportunities for growth such as new experiences, new ideas, new relationships we go against our expanding nature. This reflects a fear of reaching our potential or of not being able to reach it, as the case may be.


We Harm others: When we prey on other’s weaknesses or vulnerabilities we abuse our power. All abuses of power stem from a fear that we do not have access to the power we need to succeed. As a result, we believe we need to take from others rather than rely on our own reserves of inner power.
We stop caring : When we become complacent and stop supporting ourselves and others, we are in fear. Our abiding nature is one of true love, support, kindness and compassion. When we do not exhibit these qualities we are living in a place of fear and disconnection.

We tend to downplay fear, resist growth and discomfort as a way to handle uncertainty. However, the irony and reality today is that to handle the political, economical and environmental uncertainty of these times we need to face our fears, grow out of our comfort zone and embrace the change- within and around us.

Namaste,

Nicole


This week I turn 50! Dare to Connect to Your Deepest Yearning- October 21, 2016

This week I am turning 50. 10 years ago on the eve of my 40th I knew something BIG was happening. However, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it…I began to look for profound and meaningful connection with myself, those around me and, of course, the Universe.

I got curious, hungry and very greedy to learn and to understand (I hate to admit it but yes, I got greedy).  I took as many classes, workshops as I could, went on retreats at every opportunity and read every book I could get my hands on. I meditated for hours and my brain began to change- I started to see relationships and make connections that surprised me. I was not alone, many others were learning to tap into the glorious fountain of inner wisdom that is within them as well. 

I taught and practiced what I learned on friends and family and sparked a curiosity in them. In turn, they sparked a curiosity in others. We can each make a difference. It’s the small things we do to spread love, light and awareness that matters- We don’t need to be Oprah or even on her show to affect lives. 

Today the world is very different than it was even just 10 short years ago, and I am pleased to see that people around me are trying to be kinder, more loving, less judgemental and succeeding too. This is what the awareness and consciousness movement is all about. However it can’t happen until we begin to heal, face the demons, the ugliness and then love the whole kit and kaboodle. 

We have what we need to succeed and reach for the stars. How arrogant and ignorant it is to assume that healing in not necessary, is only for the “less fortunate”, or that we don’t have the time for it? Either way, healing will happen, and when it wants to happen we might as well let go, get out of the way and enjoy the ride…

Namaste to all you beautiful souls out there!

Nicole 

My latest Video- 5 Pillars to Living Spiritually

Living Spiritually is all about connecting to who you truly are and to what really matters.

So what is that to you?

I can’t give you the answer, you need to find it out for yourself.

but when you follow my 5 pillars, you will find the nectar you seek to live the life you came here to live.

View my Youtube Channel and watch my latest video

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPX67WoS557Q7E42zgnwWug

Manage your Ego
Face your Fears
Let go of Expectations
Take Responsability
Connect to larger Purpose                                                                                                                                                                


Namaste,

Nicole

3 A’s to Create Change- Aware, Accept and Allow- August 29, 2016

Whether you are interacting with a friend, a family member, a colleague, or even a stranger you may never come across again, you are projecting your energy onto the canvas of their life. What the other chooses to see in you will very much depend on their shadows. A shadow is a repressed aspect of the self. As we heal our shadows we create change within and around us.

Healing Shadows

For instance, if you have repressed anger (everyone has some) your neighbour will only become emotionally charged by this anger if it resonates with some deep seated anger they have as well. However, if your neighbour does not react to your repressed anger then they have done a good part of healing this aspect of themselves. This has to do with healing shadows and what I refer to as bringing shadows out of shadow and into the light.

Like attracts Like

“Like attracts like” as stated by the Law of attraction. What you attract to yourself and what you are attracted to in return is a reflection of what you are.

So what does this mean? Does this sound like “new age quackery” or like something more profound worth exploring?

Ancient yogic texts, as well as religious and spiritual leaders the world over, speak of moving from the darkness to the light. This is in fact the purpose of yoga and certainly a bi-product of the practice. If your practice keeps you trapped in darkness, your practice may be giving you something you need but it’s not necessarily a true yoga practice, a yoking of the body, mind and spirit.

About Dark and Light 

Darkness is what is anchored in fear and leads to separation- “I am separate, different, superior or inferior to you”. Light is anchored in Unconditional Love and leads to Oneness- “We all matter and are all in this together.”

Fear shows up in transactional relationships where the focus is on what’s in it for you. Whenever there is a feeling of lack, there is fear. Love shows up as kindness and compassion without looking for anything in return. When you trust that your needs will always be met no matter what, you can love unconditionally.

The world is still very much anchored in a scarcity based mentality. We believe it’s human nature to fight over resources where we take away from each other rather than work together to create a larger pie. At the same time though, many are also beginning to realize that there is an alternative to this cut-throat competitive mindset that leads to a burned out and desensitized society- the rhetoric of the diversity of our politicians’ platforms reflect this.

You are being asked today to flush out the darkness.

So take a few minutes, close your eyes, connect to your breath and breathe….

Look at your relationships- what are you projecting onto the canvas of your neighbour? and what is your neighbour projecting onto your canvas? What gives you an emotional charge and what gets your neighbour riled up?

Whenever there is an emotional charge, there is an invitation to heal.

Aware-Become aware of your shadow

Accept-Accept your shadow

Allow- Allow the healing and magic to happen 

Namaste,

Nicole


Moving Beyond Stereotypes, Labels and Judgment- August 21, 2016

In an effort to calm our often harried nervous system, our ego helps us make sense of the world. We do this by labeling, stereotyping and judging as we place people, places and things into tidy little compartments. While this coping mechanism does seem to offer some relief in the short term, over the long term it simply creates more stress and unease in our bodies as we move further and further away from our abiding nature of inclusiveness, love and Oneness.

How do we label, stereotype and judge? 

We apply labels, assign stereotypes and judge others all the time. While a label gives a snippet of information about that person, a stereotype is a widely-accepted and often simplified view attached to a person or group based on race, creed or culture. We often make judgments about individuals based on this label or stereotype without holding a complete and accurate picture of the person.

Most of us know that basing our judgments on labels and stereotypes leads to inaccurate conclusions, so why do we do this?

Let’s look at how archetypes fit in

At play behind the scene is an orchestra of characters known as archetypes, influencing our behaviour. These archetypes are streams of consciousness that we all share. They represent fundamental human motifs of experiences.

Though they all spring from the same well, you can chose to activate some and deactivate others throughout your life. Further, how you experience a particular archetype will differ from that of your neighbour. Much of this is beyond our conscious control. Within our control, however,  is the choice to find the beauty behind an archetype presented or to focus on its more negative counterpart, Also known as the shadow self.

So why does this matter?

Understanding archetypes and learning to see archetypes within yourself and others not only provides a powerful tool for self healing but also helps you build compassion and tolerance towards others.

Below I have made a table of the 12 main archetypes, XVIV century psychotherapist Carl Gustave Jung identified. Beside each, I added how each can show up in shadow and easily turn into an unflattering label.

The Innocent- A fool

The Guy/Girl next door – A nobody

The Hero- A show off

The Caregiver- A co-dependent person

The Explorer – A reckless person

The Rebel – An angry person

The Lover- An emotional basket case

The Creator- A dreamer

The Jester – A non serious person

The Sage- A Know it all

The Magician – A heathen

The Ruler – A dictator

So take a moment and look at these archetypes:

Notice which ones you resonate with, the light as well as the shadow side
How they affect the labels, stereotypes and judgements you make of  yourself and others.

At the end of the day is labelling, stereotyping and judging truly necessary? or could we Perhaps it’s time to move beyond this and embrace each other’s similarities rather than differences.  

Namaste,

Nicole

Why Shiva?- July 18, 2016

[lord shiva]

Why do I love Shiva? Why have I chosen Shiva to represent my yoga business and philosophy? And why is Shiva one of the most recognized symbols for yoga, together with, the symbol “Aum”?

In the pantheon of Hindu deities lies Shiva- the Destroyer along with Brahma the Creator and Vishnu the Sustainer. They represent the 3 primordial creative energies of the Universe. We cannot have one without the other. Shiva destroys what no longer serves us so we may bring in what does. In this context, destruction is a positive and nourishing force that maintains order in the Universe.

With his 5 heads, as depicted in certain renditions, Shiva reminds us that we are multifaceted beings. As we shed the layers and step out of our need to be compartmentalized and to compartmentalize others we move to a place of ego awareness where we realize we are so much more than what we do, what we say, what we think or how we live.

Shiva, with his many arms, teaches us to grab hold of opportunities, to follow our many passions and, holding his trident, he teaches us to use weapons when needed and, clasping flowers, he reminds us of the potential for enlightenment always within our grasp.

As a dancer – the Nataraj, Shiva shows us how to dance through the fire of death, birth and rebirth. We learn to fight for what we believe in, set and enforce our boundaries, show our claws when required and to chose our battles well. There is very little place for complacency or apathy. Rather anger, rage and strength is often needed to bring in the new and then comes the dance of love, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, and gratitude that follows in its wake.

As a karma yogi, Shiva teaches us the path of serving others, where we see ourselves as part of the human family, which goes beyond our tight circle of family and close friends. We become more sensitive to the suffering of Man, of our brothers and sisters. We cannot help but want to serve. We celebrate our service to others, as well as how others chose to serve, without worrying about “ulterior motives”, suspiciously wondering what’s in it for us or others.

As a husband and family man, he represents the bond of family headed by 2 equal partners: the stability of being supported, the need to procreate and continue without ever giving up. While Shiva was doing what he needed to do, his wife Parvati was lovingly tending to the home fires. In this, we learn that no matter what happens we can always come home to love and compassion.

Through sexual union, Shiva plants the seeds for Tantra- divine true love – and we learn to honour and bring balance to both the masculine and feminine forces within each of us. The creative force of the Universe is a sexual force and through Shiva we embrace our physical, mental, and spiritual union with a beloved where body, mind and spirit merge with the divine avatar with whom we each conspire. The Shiva Linga and the serpent are its symbols.

Shiva, the celibate ascetic, also choses a life of meditation and hardship and demonstrates that we can be many things and play many roles at once as we frolic gingerly on the poles of opposites to find the sweetness in the middle, without being trapped into a specific one.

Yoga, the union of Body, Mind and Spirit, helps us understand that we are all One, on the same pole and part of the same whole. We each carry all the potentials within us and can switch on one and all at will.

This is the path of the yogi that walks through the flames of transformation, over the hot coals of desire and loss, to burn through old patterns, beliefs and ways of relating so he may remember what he has always been and will always be.  Yoga helps us remember…

Namaste,

Nicole

So we are energy- July 6, 2016

What does energy do?


[Blue & purple space galaxy]

Energy swirls around and around and around.

Energy vibrates at a certain speed.

Energy coalesces into and out of form, it never dies, it simply transforms.

So we are constantly transforming, death is not an option.

What are we transforming into?

This is the million $ question…

“To reach up to heaven we must have roots deeply anchored in hell” – ancient Sufi proverb.

We are each transforming into our highest potential, bringing in the light, bringing in the love of who we truly are.

Some of us are anchoring down into the proverbial “hell” and that’s ok because only once this is done can we reach up to heaven.

Let’s be compassionate, loving and forgiving- to ourselves and our brothers and sisters.

We are each learning after all…

Namaste,

Nicole

Nicole Rolland


Wire it Up! March 21, 2016

[brain and cervical cord]

So, you have started to pay attention, you are now working at bringing energy into the front of your brain; into the space between your eyebrows where your frontal lobes are located. This creates a natural biofeedback mechanism that stimulates our pituitary and pineal glands and creates the blissful sensation that helps us recharge and connect. So, what’s next?

Where do our thoughts fit in? Is it really important to fill our head with positive thoughts anyway? Do we understand how positive thoughts affect our life? And I mean really understand? It all boils down to becoming more aware of what goes on in our head and to building brain awareness – it’s all in the head after all!

Examine the thoughts in our head

Just as energy moves within our head and activates different parts in the brain so too do our thoughts and emotions move within our gray matter either reinforcing existing patterns or creating new ones. As we bring our attention to a toxic thought or a hurtful memory a chain reaction is created as electrical impulses are transmitted from one nerve cell to another. These neurons, and we each have about a trillion of them, are interconnected and form a pathway sending messages and signals throughout the brain.

From thought to outcome

As we travel along this pathway a thought creates a feeling which generates an emotion which in turn pushes us to do something. This action finally results in an outcome, either one we like or one we like less.

Thought → Feeling→ Emotion→ Action→ Outcome

Rewiring the brain: override and reinforce

I like to think of our brain’s neural pathways as set in putty and not in stone. To rewire our brain we need to override unhealthy pathways and reinforce healthy ones.

Overriding an unhealthy pathway

To override an unhealthy pathway and get rid of it entirely we need to starve it to death. I apologize, if this sounds unkind but in this case this is the best way to go. We feed thoughts with our energy so we can eliminate a negative thought by simply depriving it of energy. We then put energy into a positive thought that will create a more positive outcome. Whenever you think of something you send energy to that which you are thinking of. For instance, if you think fear and feel fear you will create fear. The fear you were feeling was generated by a fear based thought which then manifested your worst case scenario; the”how could this have happened to me?” scenario.

What is a fear based thought?

A fear based thought is any thought you have that is anchored in the belief that you do not have what you need or that you are alone, different and separate from the whole. Some examples of fear based thoughts I often hear include:

– “It’s just not done”

– “What would people think of me if …?”

– “I couldn’t do that because…”

– “How could I support myself if I…?”

– “It’s different for me…”

– “I am not lucky (or smart, or pretty or rich or…) like you

….blah, blah, blah. Do you get the point? Sound familiar?

Once you strip out the fear and the separation you are left with loving thoughts and whenever you think loving thoughts you create a loving outcome. It’s really that simple.

Reinforcing a healthy pathway

To reinforce a healthy pathway, we engrain it in our psyche by giving it lots of energy. For instance, if you think love and feel love you will create an outcome that you love. The more you love your outcome, the more love you will feel and then the love will spillover into your other thoughts. Suddenly the “I am so lucky and so blessed” scenario has appeared in your life.

Tools to rewire the brain?

Bring meditation and yoga into your life.

Repeat meaningful positive affirmations

Tap into the love that is always around you

Open your body and open your mind

Apply positive psychology into your life

Replace a negative thought with a positive one

Make new predictions

Watch the language you use

Set some goals

Focus on what makes you happy

Lifestyle

Exercise

Eat healthy food

Surround yourself with supportive relationships

Enjoy fun friends

Slow down

Do what you love

Awareness exercise

So, close your eyes, breathe and bring your awareness to the energy moving in your head following the pathways you created with your thoughts, your feelings, your emotions, your actions and the outcomes you created. Bring your awareness to a recent outcome you created. What kind of outcome was it? Did that outcome make you happy? Connect to the thought that initiated the whole chain of responses that finally lead to that outcome. What do you notice? Breathe and know that you have the power to create whatever you want.

With Much Gratitude,

Nicol

Part 2 of a 3 part series on building brain awareness


Light it Up! March 15, 2016

Do you feel you are living an uninspired life? Do you crave sameness? Do you fear change? If you answered yes to any of these questions, chances are you need to bring more stimulation into the front part of your brain, known as the frontal lobes. Understanding how our brain affects how we feel is a hot topic these days and finding our way through all the research can be a challenge. So, here are some tips to help you build brain awareness so you don’t get bogged down by all the info out there.

[brain light it up]

Feeling inner peace, joy and tapping into wisdom is thought by many, to be a neurological process. Science says we can reach states of, what the mystics call, Samadhi (or bliss) by learning to pay attention. As we hone our skills of observation we activate the front of our brain and hold the key to physical health, mental stability, joy, happiness and prosperity. Now isn’t that a key you would like to hold?

So how do we pay attention?

Meditation is the perfect way to learn to pay attention. In meditation, we focus on a tool; whether a mantra, an affirmation, a symbol, our breath, a candle, some guided words…to bring our attention inward. As we do this, we deactivate the centers in the brain that keep us feeling stressed, anxious and paralyzed in the here and now. We then activate the center in the brain that helps us lose sense of time, space and causality so we can feel inspired and joyful.

As we activate the frontal lobes, suddenly the volume of our outside world decreases and the volume of our inner world increases. As a result, a world of new possibilities opens up before us. We start to see opportunities where others see probabilities. We become visionaries where others are stuck in antiquated ways of thinking and behaving. We are no longer incapacitated by stress but motivated by expansion.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that we no longer get angry or sad but, when we do, we embrace the emotions honestly and release them lovingly from our body. Emotions are meant to be experienced and they are a part of life. They are not meant to be ignored or hidden away.

How to light up those frontal lobes?

Learn to relax
Get curious and embrace new ideas
Try new activities and stretch beyond the comfort zone
Meditate
Heal what needs to be healed
Experiment with other ways of paying attention

So breathe, connect to your breath and ask yourself

Do you want to feel more peace?

Do you want to feel more joy?

Do you want to feel more wisdom?

Do you want to feel more love?

And remember, it’s always about balance and coming back into balance with who we are. So, bring energy into the front of your head and away from the back of your head, pay attention and notice what happens…..

In gratitude,


Nicole                                                                                                        

N.B: This blog has been republished from a Stepping into Consciousness blog I first published in February 2, 2010 and is part 1 of a 3 part series on building brain awareness

Getting Unstuck- Building Brain Awareness- March 8, 2016

Is it a challenge for you to turn a negative thought into a positive one? Do you notice that your thoughts are so scattered that you can’t think clearly? Or, that all this talk about stilling the mind works for others but not for you?

Breathe, connect to your breath and bring your awareness to your brain. Imagine your brain divided into 4 sections; the first three fit neatly into each other like nesting dolls and the fourth sits at the top of your head and extends down into your forehead. The first section is the inner core at the top of your spine and includes the brain stem and cerebellum. The second section is in the middle and wraps around the inner core that includes the hypothalamus, hypocampus and amygdala. The third section is made up of the outer shell called the neocortex that wraps around the whole. The fourth section, part of the neo cortex, also known as the frontal lobes, starts at the crown of your head, and reaches down into your forehead. Each of these areas, when stimulated energetically, engages you in what I refer to as jungle killer, herd, achiever or enlightened types of behavior.

 

Jungle killer behavior

We activate the inner, most primitive part of the brain, when our primary concern is survival. The law of the jungle prevails here where only the strongest survive. We feel territorial and competitive. We fight to get our piece of the action. This is the comfort zone of the “Tiger Mother” as in “The Battle Hymn of”. Here we are worried about winning so we won’t lose, succeeding so we won’t fail. We may need to activate this type of behavior on occasion but, when we are trapped in this inner core of the brain we are not leading a conscious and loving life. Here our actions are mainly instinctual.

[jungle]

Herd behavior

As we move away from the inner core, we activate the central part of our brain where our concern shifts to building social relationships. This is where we are concerned about following the “code” of what is acceptable and not acceptable. We are motivated by a desire to be part of the herd regardless of what personal values are compromised. We delight in power plays and enjoy games of manipulation. Our thoughts become less instinctual as more options open up to us. This part of the brain starts to make us more conscious but there is no need to get trapped here.

[zebra herd]

Achiever behavior

Moving outwards, we finally arrive at the outer shell, called the neo cortex. When we stimulate the back part of the neo cortex we access our ability to reason, to use logic and to problem solve. This is the brain that understands science, mathematics, law, medicine and philosophy. In this part of the brain, sits our ego. Our ego helps us push beyond our limits and grow. Our ego helps us, but only up to a point. After that, our ego prevents us from enjoying the moment and keeps us trapped in fear and stress. This part of our brain makes us more conscious than we were but not as conscious as we can be.

[graduation diploma]

Enlightened behavior

Once we move forward to the front of the neo cortex, between the crown of the head and just below the eyebrows, we are in our frontal lobes. Here, we reach the crowning glory of our human potential. This is where we start to see an infinite number of possibilities before us, where we become visionaries and where we make the final leap in consciousness. It is our frontal lobes that lead us back to unity and help us remember our wholeness.

[buddha]

So breathe, notice where you are now, where you were yesterday. Notice that each section of the brain has helped you learn important lessons. Thank each part of your brain that engaged you in jungle killer, in herd, in achiever and in enlightened types of behavior. Be grateful for the crucial role accessing each of the 4 sections of your brain plays in your evolution and in your journey back to remembering your wholeness.

 

How to get unstuck

We often get stuck in a certain part of our brain that keeps us repeating the same types of so-called “mistakes” over and over again. To change these unhealthy patterns, we need to get unstuck. To do this we move into our frontal lobes by bringing our awareness to the space between our eyebrows.

Start off slowly

We start this process off slowly. When we leave the frontal lobes, we do so for a good reason and then we come back to the front to recharge and connect. Slowly, we bring in more joy, peace and inspiration and we discover what many have already discovered. Lighting up the front of our brain helps us create the loving thoughts we need to create a life we love. Perhaps, this is what enlightenment is all about. Perhaps, it has less to do with walking on water and more to do with tapping into the love that is always around us. Building brain awareness is an excellent tool and a great place to start so Light it up! Wire it up! and Get unstuck!

Next Light it up! followed by Wire it up!

Namaste,

Nicole

P.S: My 4 sections of the brain are inspired by Paul Maclean’s Triune brain model of evolution. I invite you to learn more about this model.

“Getting Unstuck” part 3 of the trilogy of blogs I wrote in 2011 on Brain awareness has been republished here and can also be found at the end of Chapter 6 in my book.


What is Holding you Back from Stepping into the Full Potentiality of the Universe? February 21, 2016

The Universe is expanding consciousness and you are made up of this consciousness. In theory, you are each able to connect to the unlimited potentiality of the Universe, so why do you sometimes struggle?

Connected to Oneness from a heart space, the Universe satisfies your true desires. However, when connected to Duality, the Universe satisfies what you think you want from a place of Ego. In this place you will always be blocked from reaching your full potential. Your full potential is only realized when connected from your heart space.

Flowing in Duality to Flowing in Oneness

You may have noticed times in your life where you seemed to flow and then times you didn’t-You learned to flow in the dual reality and your love life, your friendships, career, money were all bringing you great satisfaction. So what happened? You hit a wall, and everything changed.

Call to Wake Up and Listen

When this happens, it’s a call from Spirit to wake up and to listen to the call of your soul. This is a sign to learn to flow in a new way- in Oneness. Over your life you may have received many such knocks at your door. Eventually the knocks become so loud that they can no longer be ignored. The Universe begins to block out what your Ego wants and shifts the focus more to what your soul is truly yearning for.

Acceptance 

ACCEPT that you are in fact receiving exactly what you asked for. The Universe will always give you what you want and desire.

Some Examples may help

Dual wants: Money, Popularity, Status, Happiness…

Oneness desires: Abundance, Connection, Meaning, Joy…

Take a few moments and write down your wants and your desires and notice how your wants come from what your head thinks you want and how your desires emanate from what your heart truly desires.  

Head= what you THINK you want

Heart= What you FEEL you Desire 

Moving forward with the Practice of OTGF

Openness-Get Curious

Trust- Let go and out of the way

Gratitude- Optimism

Forgiveness- Take Responsibility

The more you practice OTGF the more you will be able to flow with the wisdom the Universe in Oneness.

Order my book to learn more about Stepping into Consciousness and the Consciousness Movement that is sweeping the planet today. Stepping into Consciousness- A Guide to Living a Life of Joy, Meaning, & Abundance 2016 Edition now available on Amazon.
Visit our website to learn more about the workshops we offer in Montreal at Inspired Workshops and register for a workshop today.

Have a blessed day, Namaste!

Nicole

Why Bother Being “Good” When Being “Bad” Seems to Get All the Goodies -February 15, 2016

Many good, kind, honest, hard working, loving people are able to create and enjoy comfortable lives for themselves and others. However, all too often people who make fun, belittle and bully others are the life of the party, the flashiest people lie and cheat, the least conscious companies make the most money, and the most corrupt politicians  win elections.

How can you get to a point where your “goals and comfort” do not infringe on the goals and comfort of your brothers and sisters? How can you live a life of integrity where you respect and honour your brother and sister’s life as much as your own while taking care of your material needs and wants?

If you are trapped in the dual reality of material success, you live in the duality of being “good” or “bad” and are overly focused on the “goodies”. Here goodies are seen as material goods that satisfy your Ego such as money, possessions, status, titles, accomplishments….These make you feel safe by reassuring you that you are better and deserve more (or are worse and deserve less) than your brothers and sisters. This of course only leads to suffering and separation and may push you to act out of integrity. There is always a price to pay when we become  obsessed with these “goodies”. This price can manifest in different ways, for instance:

Internal Coldness: You no longer feel the suffering of your brothers and sisters and the suffering you inflict on others
Poor Health: Excessive attachment to external validations of success leads to fear which obstructs the healthy flow of Prana in the body
Inability to differentiate between conditional love and unconditional love: You become so trapped in fear that you can only see your brothers and sisters that give you what you need/want and you ignore the others
Disconnected from who you truly are and what truly matters: Stress, anxiety, burnout, depression take root
Individual suffering leads to global suffering

However, if you spend a good part of your time in the Oneness reality and are Stepping into Consciousness where you can navigate both these realities, you realize that there is no Good/Bad, there is just truth- your truth as you are experiencing it in this moment that is leading you to discover and live the one Truth that we are each love. You realize that the real “goodies” of Joy, Meaning, and Abundance do not come at a price. They come when you live in a place of Unconditional Love, the True Love that is your abiding nature.

So, Step into Consciousness, let go of fear and trust that you will always be taken care of and that you will be able to care for your brothers and sisters on the path as well.

Stay tuned for my next blog: ” What is holding you back from connecting to the Full Potentiality of the Universe?”

Namaste,

Nicole 


Is it Time? - February 10, 2016

We Run with the herd to demonstrate our attachment to the Rational Mind (in our head) and we Fly with the flock when its time to live from the Intuitive Mind (in our heart). At least, that is how I visualize these things…[Old brass pocket compass held in fingertips with a blurred gravel path and woods in background.]
Old brass pocket compass held in fingertips with a blurred gravel path and woods in background.

Needs for material security push us to follow the earthly compass of our Rational Mind, Head Brain, Ego and, Accomplishments that keep us safe whilst desires for spiritual connection lifts us up to the heavens and is guided by the heavenly compass of our Intuitive Mind, Heart Brain, Wisdom, and our passions. What compass are you using?

[change time for]

Our internal clock, also known as our intuition 🙂  tells us when its time to break away from the old paradigm of fear and competition and join the new one of true love and freedom. It takes courage and trust to use our angel wings to fly.

Next post- What’s in it for me? aka Why bother being good when being bad seems to get the goodies…

Namaste,

Nicole 


Are You Running with the Herd or Flying with the Flock? - February 6, 2016

Like so many of us, caught on the treadmill of life, you may feel like you need to run with the herd in order to feel safe and secure. In many ways you are right. The herd does provides a measure of safety and security, but is it real?

As children, we are taught the rules of herd behaviour. As we grow up we locate and join our herd- some of us become “chargers”, you know the ones I mean- the overachievers; that charge forth fearlessly, and others find their stride easily and keep up- I call them the “striders”, a third group the “strugglers” are those that never seem to get it together, and then the “helpers” are the souls that dedicate themselves to helping their brothers and sisters when they stumble and sometimes fall. A last group, the ones I refer to as the “saboteurs”, are often maligned, but their role is oh, so crucial. Saboteurs offer an advanced course in learning and growth. Saboteurs chose to hurt themselves, or others and get whacked by the karma stick in return.

Take a few moments here to identify your role within the herd-past, present and future…

Charger- Charging the way
Strider – Running in stride in the middle
Struggler – Struggling to keep up
Helper – Helping others when they fall
Saboteurs – Tripping themselves and others up

You have no doubt experienced each one, in varying degrees, at different times in your life, you may perhaps notice how each one plays out in your daily life. Each role has a lesson to teach, each role is important, no one role is better, no one role is worse. Honour yourself for each role you have played.

[zebra herd]

Learning to be part of the herd is a good thing. When we have mastered this lesson, we no longer need the safety and security provided by the herd. When this happens it is time to leave the herd, take flight and join the radiant flock ahead.

[butterflies emerging]

The radiant flock of brothers and sisters  who have Stepped into Consciousness before you, shed their limiting beliefs, faced their fears and transformed.

Just like the hungry caterpillar who has turned into chrysalis, emerged as a glorious butterfly, you too are transforming into the glorious butterfly you have come here to be. You too will join the radiant flock ahead of those who have transformed before you…

Take a few moments and notice where you are.

Are you flying with the flock?
Are you looking for your flock?
Are you getting ready to join the flock?
Other? …

Soar, Be Free and Join your brothers and sisters.

Welcome to the world of Stepping into Consciousness…

Namaste,

Nicole



 




 

 

 

 

 



 


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