5 Ways to Have Effective Communication

Great teachers and great leaders all have something in common they know how to communicate.  The way to progress in society, relationships and personal life all happens through effective communication.Whether it be how we communicate with our souls to how we communicate with others. Verbal and non verbal communication is important for our success, to be understood and to move forward with our goals and objectives. If we can’t communicate, we can’t express.

It is for this reason I am writing this post; to share methods of communication that have helped me through conflicts and in day to day life.

1) Listen: 

To effectively communicate you have to listen, not just hear. Often we are distracted by what we will say in response that we do not even take into account what the other person is trying to express. We are reacting before we can even know the situation. Thereby, stop, listen. Be present! Give the person you are with your full attention. There is nothing more distracting than a person who is checking their phone, or is thinking about something else. Put everything aside and give the person who is speaking your undivided attention; it will save you time and it will make them feel heard.

2) Empathize: 

Feel the feelings the other person is trying to convey but do not take them on. Take their perspective and acknowledge that their feelings are real and justified. Just because you don’t agree, doesn’t mean they are wrong. It is the other persons experience and it has as much value as yours. Be open minded and see where it leads you. Take a walk in their shoes and feel how it feels to be them.

3) Be personal and Be open:

To communicate effectively it has to be authentic and it is through sharing, being open and vulnerable that is comes across that you care. Even if you are a private person, use your discretion, but be open. People need to feel you are ‘real’ and are coming from your heart not just trying to be a certain image or present a persona. Show you care and be aware.

4) Leave Out All the Circle Language:

Don’t dance around with what you are trying to say. Be courageous. Say it! If you can’t be truthful than you are living a lie. If you want to create a life you want than you gotta ask for it.  Drop the ums.. the likes… the avoiding language. Be direct and be clear. If you want to have someone understand what you are saying, be specific. Be kind and caring in your language but don’t dance around the truth. Be honest! I cannot stress this enough. Tell the other person how you feel from your heart. Lying, or disguising your feelings will not heal the root of the issue. Being unclear or dishonest will only cause more issues down the road.

5) Keep the Communication flowing:

When you don’t want to talk is when you need to the most. We all have had situations in relationships and in business life of wanting to avoid and hide from another person because of a disagreement or just not feeling understood by another person. As much as we don’t want to talk to the other person in these situations it is when we need to talk the most. If it is left too long it can lead to resentment.

The way to get through the communication blocks is to talk it out.  Don’t block yourself off and get defensive, stay conscious and aware and keep yourself open to allow communication to be effective. Be honest, be clear, listen and then explain how you feel. By opening the energy flow then one is able to dive deeper in communication and create a stronger relationship. When both parties know how the other feels than there is no mystery, it is transparent and it allows trust to be built.

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Meditation: How, Why? Tips

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Meditation is something that has become quite popular, almost mainstream in a way to treat stress, anxiety and depression. There’s a lot of talk about what meditation does, but many people do not know how to ‘meditate’. As well, just getting started can be very difficult for the beginner.

It is for this reason I am writing this post to share some tips that have helped me.

How to Meditate:

Create a quite relaxing atmosphere somewhere in your home where you will not be disturbed. Ideally it is best to sit on the floor with a comfortable cushion or in a chair. The spine as straight as possible, with the neck slightly tucked in. The purpose of the spine being straight is to allow the Kundalini energy to rise upwards from the base of the spine. As well, the spinal cord houses all of the  nerves in our body and allows energy to flow to every organ. In the seated posture begin by focusing on your breath. Breathe deeply into the abdomen, expanding the diaphragm. Then continuing to inhale expand the middle part of the chest and then the upper part, till the point that your lung is at maximum capacity. Suspend the breath, for as long as is comfortable and then slowly exhale, brining the belly button to the spine. This will naturally allow all the air out. Once all the air is completely out of the lungs, suspend the breath again. Hold for as long as comfortable. Repeat the process for as long as you like. The mudra ( hand placement) for this meditation is to have the left hand on the heart with the arm parallel to the floor. The right arm has the elbow tucked into the ribs and the fingers are pointing to the sky. The index finger and thumb are touching. The breath is continued with this mudra. This is a meditation for a calm heart. It is great for calming oneself down after work or after an argument, or just generally anytime. It allows us to slow down and enter a meditative state with the use of breath and mudra. The eyes are closed are directed straight forward.

Here is the link for a photo and clear discription of this meditation :

http://kundaliniyogavictoria.ca/xrdocs/meditation_for_a_calm_heart.pdf

Meditation is the process of clearing the mind, it can be done many different ways. Generally, the consensus is to just allow whatever happens to happen. To watch the thoughts and not be identified with them. Even though many thoughts with continue to come, just surrender to them and let them go. They will continually be replaced by more, but this is the mind clearing itself out. When we do not react or buy into the story of the thought, it looses energy and dmeditation roomissipates. With continued steady practice we get to point where the mind is stilled and no thoughts come, this is Suniya, deep inner silence. We will all get there if we ‘keep up’ and don’t identify with the thoughts but allow them to pass. Eventually we will carry this state of peace with us through out our day and even through stressful events.


How To Keep Up To Be Kept Up

Beginners can find it difficult to start meditating. I believe this is a combination of many things.

First of all, it is that they are not sure what the benefits are and so there is doubt. If one doubts they don’t really feel like giving the time to do it. Therefore, it doesn’t become a priority. My advice with doubt is to learn as much as you can, experience and try different types to see what works for you. Eventually you will find a meditation technique you really like and you’ll know the benefits which will make it easier to commit to it. From my experience, there is many benefits to meditation like relaxation, calmness, focus, concentration, increased creativity, being more present, awake to sensations etc.

Second, it is hard because its  not a pattern/habit we have. We aren’t used to meditating and so its hard to do it. Our culture is not focused on being silent and if anything there is is over use of chatter. It is important to take a moment to be reflective, contemplative and integrate our experiences. Therefore, by committing to the practice and doing it daily, even for a minute a day it will really help to just get it in you daily schedule. Once you do this for a couple weeks than it will be something you don’t want to miss. It will be your sacred time with yourself, where you communicate with You.

Third, too busy. In our world we are bombarded with so much information, people, things to do etc. There is just too much going on and we get hyped up. It can be hard to just sit down and meditate when we are totally not in the mood because our body just wants to keep going. But this is when we need it most! So set a time to do it and even if your body is resisting just be aware that it needs this time to just stop. Perhaps, take 15 minutes to wind down before bed ( warm shower, oil body massage and aromatherapy) and then proceed to being your meditation practice.

Fourth, the mental blocks to meditation. Many say they just can’t start, theres no time. Well, make it a priority. Stop giving into the bullshit that your mind is telling you and sit down and do it. Take charge. Your mind is living by old patterns, it doesn’t want to change. However, you’ll keep living the same way, repeating the same patterns if you don’t just sit down, observe them and let them go. To create change, we have to take the steps to the solution. No one is going to save us but ourselves.

Fifth, distractions. Turn off your phone, turn off your electronics and give yourself this time to connect with You. You have given so much attention outside, now its time to give attention inside.


When To Meditate:

It is possible to meditate anytime. Traditionally the best times are 4am-6am in the morning and 4pm-6pm in the afternoon. This is the time when the mind is calm and so meditation is easier. However, you can do it whenever it works best for you. Before you start work or before bed is always a nice time. I find meditation before setting out for the day allows one to be centred and approach challenges with a clear, calm mind.  In the evening, it is nice to relax and clear the thoughts which leads to a deeper rest.

As well, full moon and new moons are great for meditation. During the full moon we can release all that doesn’t serve us and which we wish to let go of to live our life more fully. New moons are great for manifesting what we wish to bring into our lives.


Tips

– Make yourself comfortable

– Turn off electronics

– Focus on the breath, as soon as you get carried away in your thinking just come back to the breath, be easy and loving with yourself, its practice. Not meant to be perfect

– Commit to your practice. Start with 1 minute a day for a week, then increase to 3 minutes a day for a week, then 5 minutes a day for a week and then 10 minutes a day for a week. Continue till you reach 31 minutes. Progress slowly, but be consistent.

– If you miss a day, don’t feel guilt just get back on track the next day.

– This is your practice meant for you, not anyone else

– If your mind is very active and your having a hard time focusing on the breath, choose a mantra and recite it out loud for a while till the mind steadies then either continue saying the mantra silently or go back to just focusing on the breath.

– Keep up, keep practicing, if your steady you’ll see results. You have to give it a chance for it to give you a chance.

Ah Ha Moments: The Fire of Wisdom

You know those times when a light bulb goes off and you finally get it. Feels great right?

Well those are the moments that we learn, our mind literally lights up. An electric impulse is send from one neuron to another; yet this time a new connection is made, a new path is formed and we understand things from a completely different angle. A chemical change occurs, a new wiring in the brain and we come to really ‘know’ something.  

Many times we say we ‘know’, but all that is really happening is that we intellectually understand the concept trying to be conveyed. Yet, ‘real knowing’, or what we call wisdom is gained through experience. It is when we have felt the feelings, went through the process and can explain from a deeper part than our mind. It is as though the knowledge has sunk a little deeper and is now a hearts truth, rather than a mental concept. c85dac670af71f8c58eff72fb48a475e

Wisdom is experienced through our senses. We ‘know’ when something is hot when we touch it and we know the effect of it. The connection of heat and that object is ingrained in our mind. Whereas, someone can tell us something is hot for days, we will be able to describe it and reflect back what they have told us, but we won’t necessarily know. It will be coming from a shallow place.

This may be why enlightenment and spiritual truths don’t always make sense. If we aren’t at that capacity yet or haven’t had the experience then we won’t know what they are talking about. It is why we can read a book many times and each time get more meaning out of it. As we open our mind and experience more, we hear different things. But it is through experiencing spiritual truths that we understand them and integrate them into our life.

We can talk, we can write, but if we don’t experience it than it is empty. It is just sitting in the mind. The fire of wisdom is waiting but action is what will spark it. 

Experience, live it and know it.

Adventures in Bolivia: Mysterious Cultures

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Passing the border from Peru to Bolivia seemed like  a time warp; that nothing had really changed in the last hundred years and that things still proceeded as they always had. It finally sunk in that I was thousands of miles away from home and in a totally different part of the world. A part that was timeless and still was connected to the traditional ways of living.

I travelled from the border of Peru  to Tiwanaku and what I found there was more than I bargained for. The drive was beautiful, scenic but mostly for how the people lived. Still immersed in agriculture and traditional dress. They practiced the same methods of growing food and the housing was simplistic and minimal.

After a couple hours we arrived in Tiwanaku, the ancient city, with a very peculiar culture. Tiwanaku  was surrounded by a  dry landscape, circled around with mountains and clear blue skies. It was dry and almost desert like. Yet, it is said that it once was covered by a large body of water.

DSC02281Large perfectly cut stones resting all over, sporadically placed. The archaeologists have only unearthed about 20% of the site.

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One can only imagine what treasures are still waiting to be found. From alien carved faces, large portal doors and magnificent stone work. I was amazed, I felt I was standing in an ancient city that had been covered in a sand storm. The stone work was the most detailed I have ever seen and the energy was like a completely different time. As well, the steps were so large, that they had to build stairs beside them so we could walk up. So apparently these ancient people were very tall!!!

There were also rooms for meditation.DSC02263 The religion they practised worshipped the feminine as well as the masculine because there were Patchamama statues and sun gate temples.100_1770It was fascinating and one could spend hours marvelling at the ancient clues that were scattered all over the area.

Puma Punko was another site that was fascinating. How they had cut the stones so precisely, modern science still cannot explain. Even just trying thinking of what the site was used for and why they needed these stones allows the imagination to run wild.

Leaving Tiwanako and Puma Punko I felt I had witnessed a part of our human history that has long been forgotten. Yet, the day was not complete as we still had one more major site to explore. On the way back,  we crossed the border effortlessly and made our way to a site near Puno called  Amara Muru. It was mystical and I have never felt so much energy at any other place. The site is pre-pre Inca, they do not know who built it and it feels like a portal into another world. The energy is like static and I felt like the material world would dissipate in front of me.

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It was a great experience and one I will have to reflect on to fully understand everything I saw and felt. I recommend if you are interested in doing this to book with a tour guide for they can tell you things you wouldn’t have been able to gather from just going alone. Also, it makes it a lot easier at the border crossing because it can be confusing.

It was a great experience, and I will definitely travel to Bolivia for a longer amount of time in the future!  So many adventures and discoveries to be had.

Mis-(sed) Interpretation of the Eastern Teachings

Yoga, meditation, ayurveda are practices that are thousands of years old. Their roots are from the East, from a very different place and time then where they are being used now. The western world has really taken on these practices in the last 20 years and their popularity is growing. This is great news! There are other alternatives to healing that is more in tune with how our bodies operate and easiler on our physical systems. The world of medicine is expanding!  The knowledge of the East is bringing the West to heights of consciousness it has not yet experienced. However, the cultural placement of these healing methods must be taken into consideration. The east has a very different temperment in how it goes about things and therefore this effects how the medicines can be applied. 

In the west we are head centered, we analyze, rationalize and are very determined in what we do. Yet, the East is easy going and more heart centered, it  is more focused on feeling. 

I am writing this article because I have noticed some yogis have lost the actual point of  the teachings. I myself have been a victim to this,  and yogis can loose themselves in the mental drama of health and wellness ( meditiation, yoga, diet) if we dont realize that we are doing it from the head space, rather than the heart. Instead of feeling whats right, one gets caught up in a mental spin of doing it ‘ perfectly’. Not flowing, but anaylzing every action thats done. When we think too much about what we are doing, we are not healing we are causing stress. Many yogis are wondering if they are doing it right and try too hard. The over achiever and perfectionist mind is activated. Thinking that if they can be sucessful in doing this ‘healing’ the best way they will conquer their mind and body health issues. (This motivated attitude is great, but only when balanced. When this drive takes over your peace of mind, then it is no longer serving its purpose). 

It doesn’t work that way. 

To use these eastern medicines is to do what we can and allow the medicine to work. We cannot force it, we cannot control it. All we can do is use what we have with the best of our knowledge, surrender to it and live life. 

Worrying and stressing about our diets, our yogic practices etc are causing us to live from a place of the mind rather than the heart.  The fact that you are trying to improve your lifestyle is great in itself, there is no point in beating yourself up if its not perfect. Eventually it will be, but guilt will not get you there. 

So have that pizza once in while, break the rules just to let go a bit… 

Yoga and meditation are meant to help you live a better life, not to imprison you.  

Get out of your head and live the principles yoga teaches, its in the heart! Dont let your mind fool you….

Sing, dance, listen to funny stories, get back in your body and smile.