Author: Aerin Alexander

Cuicuilco, Where I Reconnect to My Legacy

cuicuilco

By Aridana Vasquez

The Mexico Valley has movement and stillness at the same time.

What if when exploring the city, we suddenly find ourselves in this inert space between kaos and stillness? We could enter and leave the city’s labyrinth with a single blink, and thus find our own voice, purpose and legacy; accepting our duality as the flow of light and life that we are and of the stillness, darkness and death that we also are.

cuicuilcoIn the attempt to live my life with awareness, whenever I can, I take a break from work and I take a moment to sort out my thoughts.

I walk towards Cuicuilco, the Mesoamerican archaeological zone of the Preclassic period located in the south-east of the Valley of Mexico. Cuicuilco is translated as the place where songs and dances are made. This city existed long ago in apparent linear time, and at the same time it feels so alive and present. I feel it in full connection with our ancestral spirit. It has been a refuge of ideas, a silent refuge of calm seas. And it is in the middle of the city, near my work!

When arriving to Cuicuilco, I take a deep breath and a collection of old memories send me into that isolated space and stopped in time. I feel that Cuicuilco is calling me, and that it wants to share its secrets with me. I like to feel protected by its lava fields. The volcanic eruptions of Xitle buried and destroyed Cuicuilco. This disaster caused the dispersion of the Cuicuilca culture towards Toluca and Teotihuacán; its inhabitants had to be reborn and strengthened again.

cuicuilcoPerhaps it is the energy of all that space covered in lava, the thousands of vessels and bones that were trapped in the volcanic rock, in containment; Maybe those secrets are covered and trapped in those eruptions of the Xitle where the lava eternalized the moment. As when I’m here standing time is suspended and my thoughts get clear.

Cuicuilco opens up to my eyes like a vigorous core of restorative energy.

Its circular pyramid brings me the memory of the wind that flows without barriers and cleanses my dual being, awakens it.

I sit down with Ernesto Sábato’s book, “Sobre Heroes y Tumbas” and this sentence calls my attention:

“A mysterious event is proceeding in these moments: dusk.”

What would happen if we really saw the days go by, wrapped in mystery? …

What would our lives be like if we were surprised by the complexity of the night?

If we really put all our attention in a single terrestrial rotation, and at the end of the day we found other answers about our species or about our being?

What do I feel about seeing me here, at this moment, in this space of time? “

I have been asking myself these questions since I was very small: I always thought about the duality of life and death. When I felt fear, from one moment to another, the wind would come to calm my spirit … the wind of a night full of mystery.

In Cuicuilco, the wind flows and whistles a music for me inside, and sometimes meets the edges of my thoughts. Its circular pyramid feels flowing, embracing and reconstructing each idea, each thought until its liberation; the roundness of its main pyramid makes it possible.

This is how the song and dance of the place are received, without any obstacle; it just flows and takes flight to new perceptions. My daily worries fade and I dance in silence. My heart opens even more and an impetus to recognize me as part of this mystery that surrounds me.

The wind touches my cheek while reminding me “I’m here, I celebrate my time, my steps, my darkness and my own singing. I am the way where times converge.” My heart grows.

“I am life.”

What I Learned in my Encounter With La Venerable , leader of the Mayan Solar Tradition

Dear Community,

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to teach Being Energy® movements at a special event guided by Nah Kin, la venerable abuela, in Merida Yucatan. Nah Kin, La Venerable, is the leader of the Mayan Solar Tradition and for the last 10 years she has been fully dedicated to downloading the Codes of the Maya New Era. Trained by her own grandmother in the Mayan knowledge and arts, La Venerable is the real thing.  I felt it. It felt like a calling. Meeting her was something that I had been, without knowing it, waiting on for several years: a connection to the knowledge of the Mayan Solar Tradition.

I arrived to Cancun in the early afternoon on Monday and took a bus for 4 hours, arriving  in Merida just before midnight. I was delighted to share this trip with Ariadna, my chaperone who joined me in the adventure. The next day we were both ready early and arrived at “Casa Del Sol” with enthusiasm and purpose.

La Maestra Loly received us with warmth affection and La Venerable Nah Kin made us feel at home. The event was focused on women, to recall the divine feminine essence byNah Kin connecting to our wombs and to the energy of the Sun, as a source of energy and as a source of consciousness. Oh what a delight!

There were many guided visualizations and meditations involving the image of the Golden Egg as a source of creation and the image of the Golden dragon as a source of connection with the divine. We prayed to the Virgin of Guadalupe in her day, with candles and burning copal. We sang songs guided by La Maestra Chantal, daughter of Nah Kin. Nah Kin

The praying invoking Kinich Ahau the God Sun, the chanting, the spraying of a special balsam to clean my aura, the wearing of a yellow band on my forehead, and a red sash on my waist, all created an atmosphere of heightened awareness and purpose. I felt so connected to the knowledge and the rituals, as if I had been always there. It was my home, it was my people.  I felt so thankful.

La Venerable shared so much interesting information and knowledge, including  updating the ideas and beliefs our culture holds about menopause and its not-so-cool symptoms. La Venerable taught us all that this period is the moment where women become the butterfly that can really fly: it is a period for rebirth, for auto-generation. It is the precious moment to be free and to follow the inner calling for growth and for evolution.  La Venerable also talked about the Mayan Calendar and how December 21, 2012 marked the end of a longer period and the beginning of a new one and that 52 years after, by 2064 there is going to be a period of rebirth for humanity.

Nah KinLa Venerable shared an incredible amount of information. But, the most important for me was how she did it: with authenticity, honesty, vulnerability and deep love. Nah Kin

It was a true delight to guide all participants through sequences of energy passes including the Gathering Energy form and The Plumed Serpent: Kukulcan.  I am grateful for having lived through this unique experience.

All in all, I realized that much of what La Venerable teaches and what we teach in Being Energy® overlaps! Now, we are closely connected to her and all of the wonderful people that work with her.  We are looking forward to creating an event together soon!

Dreaming Forward,

Aerin

Welcome 2018! How to Prepare for New Year’s Eve

“The world is unfathomable. And so are we. And so is every being that exists in this world” ~ Carlos Castaneda

What a powerful moment this is: we are crossing to a new year cycle filled with gratitude and awe for our lives. What lessons did you experience in 2017? What triumphs? What failures?

We have been recapitulating and reflecting upon our 2017 experiences and we just had a wonderful FREE ONLINE CELEBRATION last Saturday. Click here to watch the video if you missed it!  Read more here.

how to prepare for new yearsAlso, we are sending you below the NEW YEAR’s RITUAL our teacher Carlos Castaneda taught us many years ago. It is a ceremony that starts during the last days of December, and finishes when the clock strikes midnight on January 1st. Castaneda would tell us that, at midnight, the light of the Spirit or Universe comes and “watches us”—a force descends upon us, and this is a very powerful moment to be present and aware—to feel it and become acquainted with it.

Practicing this ritual without failure for the last 22 years has brought a sense of direction, purpose and inspiration to unfold our goals and intentions for the New Year, as well as a sense of connection with the planetarian phenomena. We hope that the benefits ripple out through your life, your relationships, your community and the world.

The steps are these:how to prepare for new years eve

1. Clear out the old before the New Year.  From December 27 onwards and even throughout the day on December 31, clear up some space in your home. Remove clutter, donate clothing that you aren’t using anymore, clean out and organize cabinets and drawers, and vacuum your floors; clean your windows and water your plants—all with a feeling of openness and readiness. The aim is to clean your home physically and energetically. There are four essential ways to do this:

Throw things away that are not needed or that are not bringing you joy

Give things away to charity, with the intention of benefit others while freeing you of any energetic bondings to the objects

Pay your bills, including utilities, credit cards, etc. Do you best to cross to the New Cycle without pending debts

Dust off, wipe and wash your home, or at least a selected part of it, such as your kitchen, your bedroom and desk area

Rearrange things; change the placement of furniture, artwork and/or other objects to revitalize the energy flow of your space(s)

2. On December 31, before midnight, attend to your desk or writing space. Organize books and papers, and clear space so that you can comfortably sit to write a list of Intentions, projects and dreams you want to manifest in 2018.

3. Next, take a pen or pencil and piece of paper, and get ready to make a list.

  • Mentally review what dreams and projects you were able to accomplish in 2017. What things stood out? What new relationships have you established? What came to a close? What new things have you learned, or insights have you gained with respect to your:
    1. Healthhow to prepare for new years eve
    2. Emotions
    3. Thoughts
    4. Your work or job
    5. Family and community
    6. Larger global community of planet Earth
  • Now list all of these on a piece of paper labeled 2017. The idea is to review and distill what 2017 brought to you, and write it down so that you can be consciously aware of these experiences going into the New Year. Notice as you write if new insights or ideas come to you.

4. Take a second piece of paper to start a new list. Name the list 2018, and write down what you want to accomplish or see unfold in this New Year. It might help to think of the categories of:

how to prepare for new years evePersonal development: What new things do I want to learn, what do I want to accept about myself, what do I want to heal in myself at the physical, mental, emotional and energetic levels?

Family and friends: What relationships do I want to commit to, what relationships do I need to let go of, what relationships do I need to heal?

Work: Am I loving what I do? What can I change in 2018 to thrive?

Health: How do I plan to take better care of myself in 2018, what specific actions will I take to restore my energy?

My legacy and contribution to the larger world: What ONE action can I do to help others in need.

5. Take a pause. You’ve cleared space, reviewed the year that’s passing and set forth dreams and goals for the year ahead. Now that you have your lists, take a little break to attend to any responsibilities or other commitments. You may want to add music to the atmosphere or dance for a while.how to prepare for new years eve

6. At around 11:30 p.m., return to your writing space (it’s almost midnight!) Sit in silence for a moment and put your attention on the things on your 2018 list—those things that you want to see unfold in the New Year. You may even want to write an outline of what you would like to do, or draw a picture of yourself getting the job of your dreams, etc. Sit with it as long as you like, making sure you feel connected with it all, with your personal life path, and with the Universe by the time the clock strikes midnight.

7. At midnight, on this first moment of the New Year, let the wave of your dreams wash over you.

how to prepare for new years eve

As we set our collective intentions, we hold best wishes for you all—for your joy and growth; for your freedom; for your daring, for your creation of new, inspiring projects; and for your kindness to all those around you. We celebrate together your becoming!

May our light and love radiate out to our friends, families, communities, and to the whole world.

Aerin and Miles

 

Why I Think About My Legacy Every Day

“Every bit of knowledge that becomes power has death as its central force. Death lends the ultimate touch, and whatever is touched by death indeed becomes power.” – Carlos Castaneda

Almost no one likes to talk about death. A least no one in my family growing up did. And yet, death was happening.

Every week I went with my mother to the cemetery to bring flowers to my godfather who passed away when I was two. Then, we brought flowers to my little sister who didn’t make it out of the womb alive when I was eight years old. Then, more death came. To my grandmother, then my boyfriend, then my brother, then my own mother, then my father. I had been to dozens of funerals. Death has been hunting me, guiding me somehow, encouraging me to set priorities, to put aside my stubborn old ideas and embrace new ones. My own death is something I think about often.

One of the reasons I was hooked by Carlos Castaneda’s work on the teachings of the Seers of Ancient Mexico was because he talked about death, almost daily. He wrote about death in his books and saw death as the ultimate enemy, and the ultimate liberation. A force impossible to overcome and even comprehend, and yet, a warrior could offer it a big fight.

One of the ways Death inspires us, as Castaneda did, is by making us think about leaving a legacy behind for others to overcome fears and connect with who they really are, “a being of energy.”

With Castaneda, I learned gratitude and to live each moment as my last. Before going on stage the first day of a workshop, he would say to me, “Go and give your very best, because you don’t know if this is your last day. Live it as if it was.”

When I think this way, that today, this week, or this month can be the last of my life, I instantly feel grateful and realize how precious each and every moment is. How powerful each and every thought I think is. How there’s no better time to start living intentionally and crafting my legacy, than now.

In an intellectual way, I started thinking about what I wanted to do with my life while learning from Carlos Castaneda. Consistently, he would ask me, “What do you want to do with your life?” I had no idea. He would ask me, “What imprint do you want to leave behind. What imprint do you want to leave every day?

At that time, I understood what he was saying on an intellectual level. But, the birth of my child took my understanding to a whole new level, a physical level, a tangible level. My baby was right there in front of me. I started thinking, who do I want to be for this person? What kind of mother? What kind of principles, what kind of beliefs, what kind of world do I want to leave behind for him and the next generation? 

That was 10 years ago. Now, I think about my legacy each and every day. I actively make choices that align with the message of my life. Because the way I show up to my life on a daily basis, the way I relate to others, THAT is my legacy. I leave an imprint wherever I go.

Besides my child, another important area of my legacy are the Path witH heart Online classes I created with my husband, Dr. Reid. We started teaching these online classes for self-inquiry and discovery in early 2010.  Now, we are about to launch our 25th Series!

A wonderful community of leaders, artists, homemakers, teachers, and professionals from over 26 countries, get together every Sunday to practice sequences of movements and breaths. We guide them through a series of exercises to hone our attention, to be present and to stay loyal to our commitment to grow in all areas of our lives.

Path with Heart, Lead Your Legacy, begins December 3rd. The focus of this cycle is to creatively find ways to take the reigns of our lives and be the drivers of our destiny. Leading your legacy means getting out of the victim mindset and taking charge. It’s about transitioning from the mentality that says, “There’s nothing I can do about this,” to “Yes, I can do something about this, I can co-create my life.” Leading your legacy means living intentionally with a thriving purpose that fulfills your life, and ignites every action and step you take with love and vitality!

The series lasts for 12 weeks, with classes every Sunday from December 3rd to February 25th. The setup for the program is truly unique, allowing you to learn in a live online class format while connecting with our global community of students.

The classes address your whole being, and not just on Sundays! You receive encouraging daily and weekly emails to support you in between classes. You can also participate in small witnessing groups to build relationships with others outside of class.

It’s not too late to register for our  Path With Heart series! Start your journey today!

TEACHER’S EXPERIENCES: Transforming Fear into Real Power

I was so moved when Tom, Ari and Erika, our Being Energy® teachers called me last week to tell me about their successful event in Guanajuato, Mexico! They have been dreaming about guiding a Being Energy event in Mexico for several years but, they felt didn’t feel ready.transforming fear into real power

However, this year they decided to go for it! They said the Path with Heart classes on overcoming fear gave them the final push to make the decision and jump. They overcame the fear of failure, the fear of making mistakes, of being vulnerable, and of loosing face. They not only led a successful event, but they also loved and supported each other through the process unconditionally!

Tom, Ari and Erika’s victory reminded me of Carlos Castaneda. He supported me and others, encouraging us to learn, to explore and to experience moving from fear to real power.

Together, these three created a wonderful event for healing and energy restoration called “Bienestar Energético” – “Energetic Well-being” – a two-day Workshop in Guanajuato, Mexico. Guanajuato is a historic and picturesque city northwest of Mexico City.

BRAVO Tom, Ari and Erika! Thank you for inspiring us to keep overcoming fear and accessing the power within!

We love you!

Aerin and Miles

Here is a look at what they said about the event and some pictures they shared:

transforming fear into real power“For me, the fear that I am turning into power feels more like a kind of inertia, but one that has fear at the bottom. To explain: this cycle of classes has coincided almost exactly with the conceiving, promoting, arranging and carrying out of a live all-weekend Being Energy seminar, together with Erika and Ariadna, in my city of Guanajuato, Mexico. After my initial enthusiasm for the project, I begin to fear that it would not be successful, that people wouldn’t sign up, that I might disappoint them or my co-leaders. And my mind said, why bother? I’m fine just as I am, taking classes, giving occasional small classes. No risk, no big effort. So the resistance was a kind of inertia, that how I am now is good enough, but beneath was the fear that if I really reach for something more, it might not turn out well.

The first seminar day went from 9:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. That night I returned home in a very peculiar state. I was relaxed, communicative with my wife, tired and at the same time very alert. Above all I was quiet. I had given my very best, without any self-concern (or as little as I have so far experienced), I was totally stimulated and at the same time totally at peace. There was nothing I could add. I believe this is power, though very different from how I had conceptualized power before. This feeling continued through the end of the seminar. I am not don Juan or Carlos Castaneda or Aerin or Miles. I am just me, but if I can get out of the way by suspending my personal history and ego, my being can be a conduit for the spirit. In a sense, this disappearing becomes real power.

Hugs to all of you, my traveling companions!

Tom

“Our seminar in Guanajuato was wonderful, a dream where from the beginning we were collaborating and working without expectations, finding the best of our time and ourselves to share it, joining our differences in something that we welcomed with amazement .

A medieval hallway led to our living room, with a stave floor, large windows with a colorful view of transforming fear into real powerthe city. This room was filled with a large group of people who came to share and co-create this dream with us. The present spirit felt, everything flowed, we were happy, engaged in the common attempt to experience true well-being, that of the energetic body. There were new and experienced practitioners and all opened themselves to investigate within themselves to have new views of their daily lives, to be transformed little by little. It filled my heart with their feedback and the interest they showed. I am proud to have delivered from my heart something of myself so that this could be possible, every time I become more aware of how much we all need moments and spaces like that!

Our walk to Cerro de la Bufa on Sunday reminded me how powerful the mountains are around the city, full of minerals and silence. A strong wind was blowing towards us that helped us to take us on the wings of Tom’s guided meditation. I felt the sun and the warmth of others around me, I felt so much strength and happiness at that moment after two days of practice, sitting on top of the hill! It was the best time to be aware that the group is very powerful and that we are in a wonderful time and place together on this planet … Thank you for the support!”

Erika

“I ENJOYED EVERY MOMENT! And so it was … From the preparation, having the weekly meetings with Erika and Tom, I was opening my heart to this new adventure. It felt very harmonious at all times.

In my case I had only taught the Being Energy daily classes online, and I was a bit afraid to do it in person. Although I think teaching online for two years gave me the experience and confidence and once we started, I felt happy and connected with everyone.

At the time I accepted this challenge, I knew I had bought a ticket with no return. I felt connected with Tom and Erika, I was inspired by them too. We got along very well, planning the logistics for the event as well as what each of us wanted to teach and share. The process suddenly opened parts of my brain that re previously closed.

transforming fear into real powerI also learned to appreciate my friends and learn about who they are. Tom cleans his car of dry leaves before driving it. While I waited inside the car to go to the seminar the first day, I observed him with his soft duster, cleaning the windshield sheets with elegance, great delicacy and love.

That image helped me breathe and connect to myself. With the same delicated attention and care that he put on removing each leaf from the windshield of his car, I would like to put on each of the seminar participants, I thought, and on my own breathing.

So it was. This is how it vibrated. Erika’s voice guiding movements is beautiful and I’m sure, everyone felt connected to her.

The power of his thoughts towards us (Miles and Aerin) helped us find our best way to teach and pay attention to everything. Thank you!”

Ari

Schweibenalp Retreat Highlights: We Had A Great Time!

Dear Community ,

What a dream-like and wonderful experience we had last weekend in Schweibenalp!

schweibenalp retreat

We stayed at an incredibly unique center, located in the midst of the beautiful Swiss Alps, 4,000 feet high! It was the perfect place to restore our energies and get in touch with our dreaming body, our energy body.

We practiced standing sequences of movements, emphasizing breathing and the opening the chest area. Then, we practiced movement sequences while laying on a mat, focusing on lengthening our connective tissue and recalibrating our nervous system.

We also meditated and spent time connecting to our breath, to our source of consciousness, and to our hearts. Another highlight from the retreat was the food! We shared delicious homemade organic foods that included vegetables from the Center’s Permaculture Garden. schweibenalp retreatschweibenalp retreat

We were blessed to experience different temperatures and  weather changes throughout the weekend. We arrived to light rain. The next day was sunny and warm. We just had to take a  walk through the forest to a magical green lake!

Fog moved in the next day and we spent the day inside a cloud. Literally!

Some participants experienced “Lucid Dreaming” for the first time, a state of being conscious and aware in one’s dreams.
Other participants mentioned that in the past, they weren’t able to remember their dreams. But,  after the first night at the workshop they were able to remember their dreams clearly.

At the end of our weekend, we were moved by listening to feedback from our participants, including Michael who said the experience has been “life-transforming” for him.

After taking so many workshops in the past, I finally feel that I do belong here. In the past I felt isolated. I used to be loyal to others, but never to myself. Now, I’ve set a new intention for myself: to be loyal to myself and to my heart always. I can feel the change within me already and it feels great.schweibenalp retreat

It’s truly amazing to be a part of our wonderful community. For those of you who missed our Schweibenalp retreat and those who joined us, we’ve got something special planned for you next year!

Save the date for July 27th- 30th! We will be hosting a four day workshop in Worcester, U.K. to explore our legacies.

What kind of legacy do you want to leave? What legacy has been left before you? These are the kinds of questions we will explore.

Together, we will  acknowledge the gifts of our ancestry, unleash wisdom buried at the core of our life experiences, deepen our knowledge and connect to our higher power. Get more information here!

How I Learned To Reduce Stress By DREAMING a new TIME

“Warriors face the oncoming time. Normally we face time as it recedes from us. Only warriors can change that and face time as it advances on them.” – Carlos Castaneda

Dear Community,

Do you ever feel like time is accelerating? Like it is going super fast and running away from us? I know I do.

Last Tuesday, I was rushing through traffic to get back home. I had a full day that started early in the morning with my dance class. Throughout the day I worked at my office seeing my clients, then I picked up my son from school, and went grocery shopping. Even though I do what I love and enjoy my work very much, I found myself rushing from one activity to another without a pause.

My head was spinning with thoughts  like “Gosh, I don’t have time, I have so many things to get done!”

“I need to get back home to finish my emails and then I need to cook.”

I was caught in the groove of daily demands where “I have no time!”

As soon as I got back home, I decided to shift my state and lay down on the living room carpet and take deep breaths to release all my stress. Then, I remembered what my teacher Carlos Castaneda taught me about time. His voice came back to me clearly:

reduce stress

“You have been trained to perceive time as it recedes from you. So, you rush, puff and push things and events through according to this interpretation. You are running on imaginary time where you are a victim of daily demands…You have no voice and no decision over “time.” Time seems to be something that you cannot control. You become a victim of your own interpretation of time. I, instead, choose to perceive time as it advances on me.”

Castaneda’s interpretation of Time being something that advances on us brought a smile to my face. As I continued stretching on the floor, breathing and releasing the tightness in my joints, more memories of his talks on Time came to me:

“Time advances towards you like when you are in front of a train that is running at high speed and the landscape advances towards you. You can choose to welcome your time.”

He told me to welcome my time. To welcome myself in this time.

“Your job as a dreamer is to dream yourself in this new way. You wake up every morning and you welcome your joy, your power, your warriorship, your strength. You welcome this life that advances towards you filled with opportunities to grow, with challenges to overcome, filled with mystery to amaze us, filled with possibilities. You welcome it, instead of engaging in the nonsense of your pseudo-victimhood. Chola, don’t run away from who you really are.”

I spent the rest of the night welcoming time, taking time to make eye contact when my child needed help with his homework. When cooking and washing dishes, I embraced and welcomed time. I welcomed time when putting my child to sleep and then I welcomed sleep and dream time before closing my eyes.

What Castaneda taught me has revolutionized the way I go about my life. It allows me to be at peace even when I’m busy and it feels like my demands and responsibilities are piling up.

Lately, I have been specifically meditating and practicing this new concept of Time daily in preparation for our upcoming retreat in Schweibenalp, Switzerland, where we are going to enter into a different time to dream and manifest our purposes.

Take just 4 days off from your calendar and join us to dream a new understanding of time for you. It will allow you to accomplish your intentions and create new thought patterns.

My mantra is “I always have time for what is meaningful, joyful and uplifting.”

What’s your mantra?

Join Us in Schweibenalp, Switzerland for Our Retreat, Seven Gates to Dreaming

You too can experience the peace that comes from allowing time to advance on us! Get more information about our retreat in Schweibenalp here.

To Read another Blog about Time written by Aerin here

Hike To The Lake: How the 2016 Schweibenalp Retreat Helped One Woman Connect to the Joy Within

The following is a testimonial written by Barbara Vencelj, who attended our 2016 retreat in Schweibenalp, Switzerland. Barbara shares about how the retreat helped her connect with herself, nature and her community. 

During our six-day retreat in Schweibenalp in October of 2016, we had a wonderful time. We were practicing movements, breathing, witnessing exercises and learning energy passes to activate and open the body and heart and fully express heartfelt intention.

Together, we shared days in a beautiful environment in nature in the mountains above the lake, connected with the universe and earth, and with each other. We shared nourishing meals and glistened with life. My heart was singing in celebration of life. I was filled with joy seeing all the colors and thinking about the abundance that life on earth offers.

 We also shared an unforgettable walk towards the lake in the mountains. It was a bright and clear morning with a crisp, blue sky and white clouds wandering around. Mist hovered above the lake. We walked on meadows above the big lake into the woods. I remember how the sun shone through the trees. The path was nice and smooth. I walked with ease. I felt connected to the mother earth and connected in breath, with my energy body and my physical body.  Silence gently stopped my inner dialogue and I was one with the universe. 

retreat

retreatI remember walking with Aerin, holding for hands and chatting like old friends. Oh how we laughed! I was so happy. It’s such a nice feeling to hike with people you love. The air was cold and Aerin was cold. She let me borrow her green gloves! That made me even happier.

Along the path to the lake, there were many friendly wooden sculptures of people and animals that inspired and brought joy to me.

After an hour and a half, we reached the lake, the green eye of the mountain, softly reflecting the mountains and the trees, gathering the heart of the mountain spirits in the silence.

We gathered on the shore of the lake, experiencing the silence and peace. Above the lake mountains, the sun rose high above us and shined down, like a dear friend sending shiny laser-like beams through the clouds. It looked truly magical. We all felt blessed to be a part of nature and the universe so, we sang songs of joy and gratefulness, celebrating this beautiful life. 

retreatIt was truly a beautiful and unforgettable hike, and I am gratefully looking forward to returning to the mountains again.

-Barbara Vencelj

Barbara is a medical doctor, and part of an outdoor emergency rescue team in the mountains of Slovenia

 

About Our 2017 Retreat In  Schweibenalp, Switzerland

You can experience joy, peace, connection and community in Schweibenalp, Switzerland just like Barbara did. We will return to Schweibenalp for a 4-day retreat October 26th – 29th for another incredible weekend learning to unlock the seven gates to dreaming. Learn more about the retreat here! We cannot wait to connect with you.
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Four Mindfulness Exercises For Overcoming Fear

 

The first time I felt paralyzing fear was one evening after dinner, my mother and father left our apartment and went upstairs to take care of grandma. I was left with my brother, who was 7. I was five years-old.

We were in the kitchen area that was illuminated by a single light-bulb, sitting on a bench against the wall. The rest of the house was dark and it was very quiet. We looked at each other and crunched. It was the fear of the unknown, of what could happened, of feeling unprotected and unsafe. I held tightly onto my brothers’ arm, clenching my jaw and crunching my belly until my parents came back.

I felt fear many times growing up in a household with older brothers who thought waking me up in the middle of the night and holding a white sheet over their heads as they made ghost sounds was ‘funny.”

I used to lie awake until the sun came out. But, at just thirteen years old, I experienced another kind of fear. I was walking to school as I usually did one morning when I saw a solider with his gun in hand standing fearfully on the corner of the school.

Since 1974 the military army had taken over the government in Argentina and declared a “Dirty War” against terrorism. Every time I saw the soldiers I avoided them and took another street. I knew that I could get in trouble. I didn’t have an ID and I had heard that without an ID you could get detention. I also knew that many innocent students and teachers had been arrested and then “disappeared.”

I slowed down my steps and took another street, away from the school. I figured that I could go around the entire block and get to school from the opposite corner, where there were no soldiers.

The moment the soldier was out of his sight I started running as fast as I could. I didn’t want to be late for school. I did not want to go to the principal’s office.

I made it to school on time and sat down at my desk in the classroom. My classmates were looking at me silently. I didn’t notice that I was soaked from head to toe with sweat. Not only was my hair and my face wet, my entire body was drenched. I was pale, wet and fearful.

From my childhood experiences in Argentina, I learned that I can overcome the paralyzing effect of fear. That there is a strong force in me, a voice that guides me to find the best solutions and the way out when I am in danger or in distress. I learned that I can trust myself, in spite of the terror around me.

And this is what I am still doing. Cultivating and nurturing this inner force of confidence and alignment in me that guides me to make smart, healthy decisions.

As a mind-body movement educator, I share these tools and practices with my classes. I teach people how to be in tune with their bodies and use the movements I learned from Carlos Castaneda to channel their inner strength, connect with their heart, and move past whatever is holding them back in their lives.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with fear in your life, try these simple steps to ground yourself. The good news is, we can overcome fear in our lives and with practice, we can train ourselves to push past fear and into our freedom.

Breathe

When we feel scared, our heart sometimes feels like it’s pounding out of our chest. Suddenly we’re breathing heavier, faster or even holding our breath. When you feel your body reacting in this way, stop what you’re doing and breathe. Close your eyes. Take several deep breaths, filling your lungs with air and the slowly releasing it. Do this several times, counting your breaths until you feel your heart rate start to slow down and you begin to feel calm. Our breath is one of our most powerful tools. Learning to use breathing to check-in with your body and return to a calm state is a valuable tool you can use in many situations.

Look around and take in your surroundings

Once you’ve taken several deep breaths, open your eyes and notice your surroundings. Notice what’s in your external environment that’s contributing to your fear. Take note of anything in your external environment that’s soothing your fear. Paying attention to where you are can give you discernment about what to do next. Often times, we may be overcome with fear but when we take in our surroundings, we realize we are safe. Other times, our surroundings enhance our fear and we need to seek a safe physical place before we can move on to the next steps.

Questions your fears, questions your thoughts

Sometimes, when we’re scared, it feels like our thoughts are going a mile a minute. But, we must take control and question our thoughts. When we do this, we can figure out the root cause of our fear. Ask yourself, what am I thinking about and why does it make me feel fearful?

Be in the present moment

Mindfulness is about bringing your mind, body and consciousness into the present moment. When we bring ourselves back into the present moment, sometimes we realize that we have nothing to fear. We don’t have to be paralyzed. We can keep moving forward and trust ourselves to be able to overcome any obstacle that comes our way. The present is a beautiful place to be.

October 26th-29th we will be working on overcoming fear and unlocking the seven gates to dreaming together in Schweibenalp, Switzerland. We’ve all been paralyzed by fear at some point of our lives. Working through it and growing together with a community of people from around the world is an amazing and inspiring experience. Learn more about what to expect and how to join us here.

How to reduce stress from our challenging political environment

As a mind-body movement educator, dancer, author, international workshop leader and integrative medicine leader, I know just how strong the connection between our mind, body, energy and feelings is.

The past few weeks have been particularly tense in our communities, due to our President’s divisive comments and behavior.

From failing to reprove white supremacist and neo-nazi thought in the wake of a rally that left at least one dead in Charlottesville, to standing by his comments at an Arizona rally, our President may have you thinking: How far is this going to go?

Regardless of our political affiliation, what’s going on in our country affects all of us. We are witnessing the fire of division, racism, and violence being stoked over and over by our President. Additionally, the seeds for violence are getting out of hand and now, are coming to California.

But, there is good news. We can take control of our minds, bodies and energy to combat stress and bring love back into our bodies.

How the U.S. President’s Behavior is Affecting Your Health and What to do About it

I wrote this Huffington Post article to encourage everyone to take hold of the energy within and be proactive about managing stress.  The constant fight or flight response caused by the political and social environment we are living in can be a major stressor. Luckily, we have the tools within ourselves to overcome our stress.

I’ve outlined the ways in which stress affects our bodies. In the article, I share simple tips you can integrate into your daily routine to decrease your stress.

Remember that fear responses come without an invitation, but we don’t have to allow them to stay. You CAN do something about it, right NOW. Stay vital and aware!