This is the only picture you can actually see me wearing my shoes, pardon the PDA!
I had to throw away my wedding shoes today. I wore them one last time to work today, a long 11 hour day, and when I got home, they went in the trash bin. It was sad. At the same time, I knew I had to let go. I thought “what if I keep them in a box all destroyed just for keepsake”, but I’m not a collector. I’ve never been. I use everything I own. The last three years though, it has been hard to let go of material things. I’ve been hoarding everything I own because I had to give up so much to give birth to Denis’ baby. I used to clear clutter regularly, every month I would get rid of things that I wasn’t using. But when we had to open zm, I remember all the things I had given away that could have used there, and it became hard to let go.
What brought peace as I threw my wedding shoes away was that I wore them until they were not wearable anymore. How many brides get that chance? Same with my wedding dress. I’ve been lucky to wear it several times since our wedding day.
It’s time to let go and clear my clutter. I’ll keep you all posted! I’m excited to be back!
Today I woke up with tons of emotions. Anger, frustration, fear, and who knows what else. I knew Denis would ask me what was going on. But I didn’t know, until I asked myself and told myself to be 100% honest.
The answer was, I feel frustrated that I’m 33 yrs old and I can’t afford to buy the books for my teacher training.
It took a lot of guts to admit that I don’t have the money to afford about $100 worth of books. Yes, I can put them on my credit card which is what I do with everything nowadays. But the reality is that I (like thousands of ppl here in the US), cannot pay my full balance like I used to before we open Zen Mystery. And that makes me feel like BIG HUGE failure!
I know looking from outside my life looks amazing. I live by the beach, I have two businesses, I have a loving caring husband, and I have great friends. I’m grateful for all of this. And in moments like today I have to remind myself of these, the things to be grateful for.
However, when I get to this point, when I fear for my future, it’s hard to see them. To see that the Universe has actually provide for me all these years. And to shake the feeling that all these was a mistake, takes longer, usually until I have cried and taken a breath.
I know the more selfish thing would have been to stay where I was, in my safety cushion, on a nice corner office, with my 10 years of experience as an engineer, traveling the world, and living the lifestyle that would afford me. Instead, we choose to teach, share, and open a place for the community. On days like this, I feel it was a mistake. I feel I got rid of my suit and heels too soon!! On days like this, I want to stay polishing my resume and look for a job, where it’s someone else’s responsibility to find the money to pay me.
I know I’m not alone. I know many of you feel the same way. We took the plunge, jumped in and did it and now we are barely swimming above water.
On days like this, ALL WE HAVE LEFT is OUR PRACTICE. So we need to let the tears flow and cry it out, and go back to our practice. Maybe put some music and dance it out. Because the reality is that we will learn either way, by failing or by succeeding. We just have to let go of the attachments and be patient with the process. So whether you meditate, do yoga, or anything else, keep at your practice. And know that moments like these are not a breakdown, but a BREAKTHROUGH!!
Today is my 13th year anniversary with Denis. And I haven’t even been able to enjoy it because I got stuck in this FEAR & pity party. But now I’m ready to move on thanks to a friend in FB that shared a post that made me wake up. So hopefully this post will also help you wake up and we can begin a wave of gratitude instead.
When I met Denis in 2001, he was going to school for a Bachelor in Liberal Arts. I laughed thinking, what is that? who studies Liberal Arts? Of course, that was me back then. I used to think that if someone was going to pay for college, they should major in either engineering, law, or medicine; anything else was a waste of money and time. So I asked him what Liberal Arts entail and what kind of job he would have. He replied that he wanted to open a spiritual school where he and other people could teach spirituality and an integral program similar to that of Ken Wilber’s.
When we started dating and things got serious, I worried for him because finding a job with that degree was going to be difficult and opening a business seemed horribly scary to me. I had always said that I didn’t want people to depend on me to earn a living, I had rather let someone else worry about my paycheck. So a business, to me what not an option. He went back to school and got a master’s degree in Educational Technology, and I was very proud of him and his new career.
Over the years though, as I worked on my spiritual journey, and opened my mind to trust the Universe, I realized that I liked Denis’ idea of a school. I didn’t like to call it a school, I called it a Center, an Integral Lifestyle Center.
Visualizing Zen Mystery
For a few year I dreamed about it, visualized it, and even made a vision board with everything I pictured having there. I had even picked the building where it was going to be. And two years ago, as a trial, Denis and I opened a consulting business in online marketing which is another area we were experts at. Inbound Den opened in August 2011 to help conscious businesses promote their companies online.
Last year, Denis quit his corporate job to work full time on Inbound Den. That gave us the opportunity to feel comfortable in owning and running a business.
Taking a Leap
I’m a big fan of Marie Forleo, Kris Carr, and Mastin Kipp, and I had been dying to go to RHH Live because I was ready to take the leap into our Spiritual Center. But the price, the time, everything wasn’t working out for me to go to NYC and learn how to run a business. Sad about this one day, I opened my email and saw a message from Omega Institute about a workshop on how to start your own business and taught by Stephan Rechtschaffen, founder of Omega and former CEO. The price was right, the time was right, the topic was exactly what I needed, and who better than Stephan to learn from? WOW. I book that baby right away and went without a doubt.
I had told myself that I was going there just to take notes for Denis so that he could make his dream of a school come true. But the reality was, that I was the one that needed the hand holding. And boy, what a great place to shed the fears away! Omega in Rhinebeck was the perfect space to do just that. I learned a lot from Stephan and my classmates that weekend and was so inspired each minute I was there that I just couldn’t contain myself. I was ready to give birth to our baby: Zen Mystery.
Zen Mystery, Spiritual Center, Tea Room, and Boutique
We found the perfect place four our center. As of today, we are working very hard to open our doors in February 2013 and share with you all Denis’ vision that has been cooking in his heart from over a decade. We will be offering meditation classes, yoga, tai chi, dance, and more. In the tea room we will have vegan pastries and snacks like sandwiches, soups, and salads. In the boutique, we will have some clothing, accessories and other products that are aligned with the Integral Lifestyle. We also want to make the classroom available to anyone in the community that needs space for workshops or classes since it’s difficult to find a central location with plenty of parking.
One of my good friends moved to France about two years ago to study, and she recently asked me for help with yoga. So I typed up my favorite simple yoga sequence for home, which is the one I also use when I teach or substitute teach for my friends, and send it over to her in Paris to try. Many people since then have asked me to create a routine for them to use at home that is easy for them to do alone without having to watch a video or plug in their computer to get someone in youtube. So here is my favorite yoga sequence for a one hour class/routine.
Simple Hatha Yoga Sequence
This sequence is divided in several parts or sections that will create a complete routine that is easy to follow at home.
Come to a comfortable seated position. Grab a towel, bolster, or block to support you if you need to. Bring your hands to your knees or to your heart.
Take a deep breath and relax your mind.
Begin with chanting 3 OMs inhalin and exhaling OM.
Take a deep breath and think of all the wonderful amazing things that happened to you today.
Awakening & Standing Breathing Exercises
These are the warm up exercises
Rotate feet 3 times each way.
Rotate knees 3 times each way.
Rotate shoulders 3 times front and back.
Rotate hands 3 times each way.
Rotate neck 3 times each way.
Rotate head 3 times each way (look to the left, back to center, look to the right, back to center).
Bring your arm over your head, clasp thumbs from both hands together for side stretch (Inhale pull to the left, exhale back to center. Inhale pull to the right, exhale back to center).
Sun Salutation are done in rounds meaning one round is both sides. I suggest a minimum of 3 rounds, 5 max.
Simple Sun Salutation Sequence
The simple sequence is as follows: Inhale (IN), Exhale (EX)
Start by standing in mountain pose at the front of your mat. Face East to do your sun salutations.
IN arms up over your head.
EX bring your arms down and to touch the math or toes (bend your knees if you need to).
IN look halfway up up.
EX bring your right foot to the back of the mat.
IN bring your left foot to meet the other one for plank pose, and hold your breath while in plank.
EX bring your knees down, chest down chin down to the mat,
IN and come and up to upward dog or cobra (which ever you prefer)
EX to downward dog
IN bring your right foot to the front of the mat
EX bring your other foot to meet it
IN come up, arms up
EX bring your hands to prayer (chest)
This is half of one round, then you would do the left foot and that would be 1 complete round.
Some people do chaturanga instead of the knees-chest-chin, come thru before up dog or cobra. But if you have never done a correct chaturanga, is better to stick to knees, chest, chin come thru. I had been doing chaturanga all wrong for 8 years until 2010 when a teacher in an advance class showed us!!! It’s sad but most teachers don’t teach a correct chaturanga, specially at gyms
Advanced Sun Salutation Sequence
Include warrior poses in the simple sequence above, in round 3, after downward dog when your foot comes to the front and you are in a lunge position, start with warrior I, then II. I never do warrior III in sun salutations though.
And then after one round of warriors, the next round will have triangles (trikonasa).
Add trikonasa from warrior II to simple sequence (in combination with either 2 above).
Tree Pose on both sides. Release each side with control. Shake legs after coming out of Tree Pose.
Dancer Pose on both sides. Release each side with control. Shake legs after coming out of Dancer Pose.
After the balance poses, I like to start working the spine.
Begin with Dandasana, hold for a few breaths and do a forward fold.
Next is, Janu Sirsasana, hold for a few breaths on each side and fold.
Lay on your back and bring knees to chest, head to knees, hold for a few breaths, and release.
After working the spine, I find that detox poses are best to follow.
Start with a twist from Janu Sirsasana on both sides. Hold for a few breaths in each side.
Laying down twist, knees to chest and bring to each side. Hold for a few breaths in each side.
Laying down twist one leg to the side, do both sides. Hold for a few breaths in each side.
The core is extremely important and one of the hardest to workout in a regular gym routine or yoga routine. I like to do boat pose and when I have advanced students or athletes, I will have them do boat situps, never touching the ground 🙂
My favorite inversion to do in class is dolphin. I don’t believe in head stand for myself. I do enjoy 90 degree hand stand on the wall, but I don’t include either in my routine or classes because they don’t call to me. It’s an inner voice that tells me head stand is not for me. So I practice other inversions such as Dolphin, Plow, or Shoulder stand instead. For this simple routine, Dolphin works great.
Dolphin and Dolphin push-ups (10 if possible and increase as days go by)
For more advanced students, dolphin pushups with one leg up
For the final meditation, enjoy about 10 minutes in Savanasa, reflecting on your practice or giving thanks to yourself for doing something for your body and mental health. And when you are ready, come up to a comfortable seated position and chant OM.
What other poses would you add to this routine to make it your own? Share with us!
Another one of my blogs for MentalBlox.com on meditation. Many people ask me where they should start. I always recommend finding out what type of meditation will work from them and the reason is that I don’t believe meditation is well understood at the beginning. So starting with something that works for you, will help you enhance your spiritual practice.
Three Types of Meditation
Meditation is key in spiritual growth. We hear it all the time on the internet, in the streets, on TV, etc. But most people avoid it because their image of meditation is of someone sitting still in a dark room quieting their minds. Creating a meditation routine is the first step to start, but finding the right type of meditation that works for you is most important.
In high school, attending a catholic girls-only school, I enjoyed going to mass every day. I now understand it was my meditation routine. It was a guided meditation lead by the priest. It worked for me because it is difficult to quiet my mind on my own. Guided meditation works for me the best, whether is chanting or simply visualizing the words I hear. I’m able to work on different aspects of my life, relax, and quiet my mind. You can design your own guided meditation and recorded and play back to yourself. Guided meditation can help those that are just now getting started in their spiritual path.
I know people who have no problem with quieting their mind. However, their issue is not being able to “quiet” their bodies. They are the ones you see in yoga not holding still the poses, not being able to sit for a long period of times and not because it hurts their bodies but because it’s simply too hard to stay put. These are the people that enjoy always being busy and physical work. These people may benefit from dynamic meditation and Kundalini Yoga, where the body is moving while meditating. It doesn’t work for me, I have to keep my body still to go deeper, but for those that find anxiety in not moving, dynamic meditation would work best.
Choose a mantra and repeat it. For people that practice physical yoga, there might be mantras they know from their yoga class. I choose mantras from my spiritual books and chant them. I also enjoy practicing Bhakti Yoga, which is devotional yoga, a way of chanting mantras in a call-and-response way also known as Kirtan. Attending Kirtan is a way of mantra meditation and even movement meditation if you dance. Mantra mediation and Kirtan work for me because it quiets my mind and calms me. Many yoga studies offer Kirtan in addition to meditation and yoga classes, but if you are unable to find Kirtan in your area, simply play a few Kirtan CDs and sing along. Sirius XM recently launched Krishna Das radio, so if you have Sirius in your car, you can chant while driving!
Meditation comes in different forms. Finding the right type of meditation and creating a daily routine will help you grow in your spiritual path.
Which of these above would you try first? Share with us your thoughts!
If you are on Facebook, you’ve seen that picture floating around that has an arrow that points to your name and says “This Person is Allergic to Negative People” or the one of the button that says “I’m allergic to Negative People”. There are several versions of these pictures, and I had posted one on my profile a few months ago. I received many likes and was shared by several of my friends. That inspired me to “unfriend” a lot of people on Facebook that are negative or use FB as a way to rant. I told a friend at work about getting rid of negative people, and she shared with me that she had done the same both in real life and in FB.
It made me think of so many people I know that are nice but are afraid to “break-up” with the negative people in their lives. It’s the hardest detox I know! So I wrote a blog post on MentalBlox.com about this. Here is the post:
The Hardest Detox | Getting Rid of Negative People in Your Life
Detoxing is a very important step in recovery; it frees you and empowers you by resetting your body to start the new life you want. However, there is a type of detoxing we all hate to do. We can survive all sorts of cleansing and withdrawals, but this type of detox is one of the most difficult ones to do and can sometimes delay our recovery process: Getting rid of the negative influences in our life.
Without the correct support, it is difficult to stay strong. Having people that support you on your path is probably as vital as taking the first step. If you have people in your life that are holding you back, your chances of staying strong decrease significantly. I have seen it with many of my friends that refuse to let go of some of the people in their lives that contribute to either addictions and/or have not taken that first step of admitting they have a problem too.
Letting go of negative people in your life is simple, yet challenging. I find that breaking up with friends and family has been harder than breaking up with a partner. We tend to hold tighter to our friends and relatives and we defend them against almost anything. So how do we “break up” relationships that are not serving us? Well, the first step is to stop denying that a person is holding you back or contributing to your addiction. Voicing it, saying it out loud helps: “(fill in the blank) is no longer serving me and my greater good.” “(fill in the blank) doesn’t have my best interest at heart”, “(fill in the blank) causes drama and negativity in my life”, “(fill in the blank) is not supportive of my health and recovery path”.
I finally broke up a relationship that was draining me; a friend that for years fed me her own drama and addictions. I stayed in the relationship because I thought I could help her, but also I was in denial that I enjoyed her weekly calls with drama and stress. It was hard to admit that to myself, but once I did and was honest that I was feeding my addictions thru her drama, I was able to let go.
Learning to Build and Nourish Healthy Relationships
After being in abusive relationships or accepting life with negative people that bring you down, it’s hard to recognize and accept those in our lives that bring us joy and have our best interest at heart. It will take time to heal and learn how to build new relationships that are honest and loving. Once you have broken free from the negative people in your life, you will have space for new healthy relationships. If your cup is full of negativity, how can you fill it with positivity? Empty it first, and make room. That’s how! Remember, most unhealthy relationships are one way street, where only one person gets heard. Once I stopped taking the weekly calls from my negative friends, I gained so many wonderful, healthy friends and learned to have two way friendships instead of just being “the sponge” that soaked up all the other person’s junk. Now I have true friends and we love each other for who we are… and we all get time to share our lives with each other. Now that’s healthy!
One of my favorite hobbies is clearing clutter, as in physical junk in my surroundings. However, now I knew it was time for me to “clear the clutter” in my relationships. It’s scary at first, but so are all new journeys we take in life. You will know who those people are and the universe will guide you when you are ready to take that step. Try to recognize these unhealthy relationships sooner than later so they don’t take a toll on your health and recovery path.
How different would your life be without negative people in the picture? Share with us three positive things of not have negative people in your life.
Last year at Bhakti Fest, one of the MCs talked about a lifestyle challenge he entered as a way to improve his health. As he started the new vegan raw diet, he realized that his new diet is part of what Ahimsa in the yoga world means: Non-violence towards animals. I connected to that because being a vegan for me now is more of a choice-of-energy that enters my body than non-cruelty towards animals. But I knew Ahimsa meant much more beyond food. I was inspired by this topic and wrote about it on my post for MentalBlox.com. Here is a copy of the post:
Ahimsa | The Non-Violent Spiritual Diet
If you are a student of Yoga, whether it’s the asana practice only or all the other parts of yoga, you have heard the term Ahimsa. It means non-violence and avoiding harming ourselves and others including animals. Many yogis and yoginis are vegetarian or vegan, because, a true practitioner of yoga will take a vow of non-violence. Eating animals is part of Ahimsa because of the suffering and the violence animals are submitted before they died to become food on a plate. Vegetarism is a start, but Ahimsa is much more beyond being a vegetarian.
You Are What You Eat
I chose to become a vegan many years ago, at the beginning for health reasons, but now I choose to stay vegan for energy reasons. I don’t want the energy of another being in my body; I feel it affects my spiritual path, especially if the animal was hurt and tortured during the dying process to become food for humans. I’m fortunate to be allergic to eggs and dairy and therefore I’m not able to eat those either. Many of my friends have been able to get deeper once they adjust their diets to the principal of Ahimsa. And it’s no surprise that many religions avoid eating certain animals because they might not be as “pure” as others or because some animals are sacred and cannot be consumed.
Walking The Walk
When I started learning more about yoga, deepening my practice thru my teacher training, I became more aware of the term Ahimsa and why it was important in order to advance in my spiritual path. I felt great I was a vegan and thought that was all to it. Ahimsa doesn’t just refer to food and the killing of animals for food. It refers to everything in our lives, not having harmful thoughts about ourselves or others and other violent actions that lead to negative emotions like anger, frustration, fear, rage, and anxiety. So I had to stop wishing people on the road traffic tickets for bad driving, getting angry at my cat for spitting hairballs on my white couch, or killing roaches that come in to my house after a rainy day.
But the most difficult part has been not wounding and hurting me with my thoughts. Every time we judge ourselves and say mean things, we hurt our souls and self-esteem. I know it sounds corny but it’s true. Saying “I’m fat and ugly, nothing fits me”, or “I have a horrible hair day”, or “I’m so stupid”. Even not saying it out loud but thinking it, we are hurting ourselves. And if you have children or siblings that look up to you, they are learning from you to say those things about themselves too.
It may take a while for us to get used to being more loving towards ourselves and others. I started moving to the middle lane when I see a car coming fast behind me on the left lane, so instead of wishing them a ticket, I let them pass me. I stop telling myself how “fat I feel” when clothes don’t fit or calling myself “stupid” for closing a drawer on my fingers. One might be clumsy at times but it doesn’t mean we have to call ourselves a name or attach a negative feeling to that. Love your clumsy curvy self and the roaches or other animals that share this earth with us. That is the first step to Ahimsa.
Are there other ways you have come to realized Ahimsa applies in your life? Share with us!
Since I have memory, I remember not liking mornings. Specially when I was in school and had to wake up at the crack of dawn to get on a bus and be at school bright and early for prayer, etc. Even in college I had to get up early because of the kids and now because of work. In 2010, I decided I was going to stop saying I wasn’t a morning person and instead decided to try to wake up early and do things, fun things. I also decided to find what makes me wake up in a bad mood.
So I started asking myself: Why do people wake up in a good mood every morning? Is that the rule for everyone? Am I the only human that wakes up in an awful mood and ready to “kill someone and destroy the world”? When did I become this way? Was I always so angry in the morning? I found out a few of my friends don’t like morning either, but they don’t wake up angry. Denis didn’t used to like to wake up early and most days doesn’t get enough sleep, but his mood is best in the morning.
I went through many theories in my head and testing each to see what affects me and makes me wake up angry. It doesn’t happen every morning, some are less than others. I’ve been lucky to wake up in a good mood a few times. Last year I counted three mornings when I woke up happy. Earlier this year, every morning I woke up angry and more angry as the days went until I dealt with a huge issue that was starting me up in the face for a few years now.
I know in my case, the anger comes from a horrible childhood and what happened to me during the night that makes me wake up angry. But if I dealt with all these issues why is the anger still there? It turns out we hold anger in our liver. I’ve been learning a lot about where we hold emotions. The Liver holds anger, fear, frustration, and jealousy; emotions I’m very familiar with. As I read more and educated myself on the Liver, I realized a lot of little things I’ve physically shown for many years were in fact symptoms of Liver Qi Stagnation.
I recently started acupuncture and Chinese Medicine treatment for the liver and the anger. It has worked well and many symptoms have left. I don’t get angry much often or in the way I used to before: ready to explode. I’m also being treated for stress and mood swings, which is awesome because that’s always been an issue for me.
Doing the Homework
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine alone are not the cure. Meditation, acceptance, forgiveness, and awareness is what helps to not have that moody morning. There is no pill to cure our issues, we MUST show up and do the work everyday! It’s hard, I KNOW! I hate doing the work, but I want to stay healthy, I have to do my spiritual work to stay balanced.
What are some of the emotions you are holding on to? Share with us and tell us what type of spiritual work you do to release them.
Denis and his friends started this project last week. It’s a documentary on whether a person with a strong spiritual practice can take their practice to a higher level with the introduction of a healthy diet. Here is some information on the current project as described by Denis below.
“Whole foods are foods that are unprocessed and unrefined, or processed and refined as little as possible, before being consumed. Whole foods typically do not contain added ingredients, such as salt, carbohydrates, or fat.” – Wikipedia
Organic when possible
Avoid stimulants (coffee, alcohol, drugs)
Multi-vitamin whole foods supplement
“In the Ayurvedic tradition, foods that are considered sattvic include most vegetables, ghee (clarified butter), fruits, legumes, and whole grains.” – Yoga Journal
Fasting on Ekadashi days (11th lunar day, twice a month)
Phase 2: Beyond Ahimsa – Vegan Diet (30 days)
All of the above
Avoid all animal products (no dairy, no honey, no eggs)
Each Spring, Denis and I plant hot peppers and other foods to grow. Living on the beach hasn’t change that. We have been able to grow kale, collards, red peppers, figs, herbs, and more.
We buy supplies and the vegetables we are planning on growing at different places. One place we like a lot is the organic nursery at Food and Thought in Naples, FL. We also get edible plants, vegetables, and other small fruit trees from our local farmers in Homestead and Miami.
We make our own compost in two batches and then mix it with the existing soil as well as new organic soil to grow food.
Even though we are not great at gardening, we have been able to get a lot of food from our own tiny urban backyard. Our neighbors also grow many greens and herbs in a much bigger space than we do and often share with us their collards and kale. And since I recently started to eat a little steamed vegetables, I enjoy steaming collards for less than 10 minutes to stay alkaline all the time.
Planting a edible garden is not that difficult even for busy people like Denis and I with no green thumbs! So I hope more of you get inspired to convert your backyards into a food source. Not only is a rewarding experience, but also a great family project!
After planting all new vegetables including hot peppers and herbs.
This website is for educational and informational purposes only and may not be construed as medical advice. The information provided in Panyvinito.com is not intended to replace medical advice offered by physicians. Please contact your primary care physician before making changes to your diet or lifestyle.
What is Pan y Vinito?
Pan y Vinito is my nickname. When I was born, a movie was released called "Marcelino Pan Y Vino." My grandfather saw the movie and named me after the movie. So from then on he called me "Marcelita Pan Y Vino." Years later the name became "Pan y Vinito."
The words Pan y Vino actually mean "bread and wine."