All posts by Aubrey Nicole

About Aubrey Nicole

Aubrey is passionate about living life all the way and believes that meditation can help anyone move into a truly engaged state of being alive. She is grateful to have discovered the practice of meditation and enjoys sharing her experiences about how awesome the world becomes when you're finally able to slow down and feel into your body. You can connect with her on Twitter @MokshaDestiny or sign up to receive free guided meditations at MokshaDestiny.com

The Feast Before The Famine

I’m sitting here in bed at 7am and feeling grateful for the incredible blessings that continue to show up in my life. I’m also sitting here feeling a bit apprehensive about what’s to come over the next few weeks.

I am attending a 10-day silent Vipassana meditation retreat that starts on Wednesday. Ten days of silence. No yoga or exercise. No reading or writing. Very little food and 10 hours and 45 minutes of meditation everyday. That’s about 110 hours of meditation in under two weeks.

The schedule is intense, as is the food regimen , so I’m taking this opportunity to feel VERY grateful that my retreat begins after Thanksgiving. I plan on eating way more than I should in an effort to fatten up before I drive out to the desert to waste away. The feast before the famine, so to speak.

Besides my immense gratitude for this opportunity, what I imagine to be a life-changing experience, I am also especially thankful for these 3 realizations that I’ve come to understand over this last year.

My Mother’s incredible dedication to my development

My mother made the long trip to come and visit me for a week and we spent our time going through her old journal entries and listening to audio of me as a child. She had recorded a few of our conversations and one stood out as being very interesting.

I was 8 years old and my mother was asking me all kinds of questions and out of the blue I said something about my baby sister being “so fat and cute and she must have been born again” and basically I began telling my mother that good people who die go to heaven so they can come back and live again.

I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic schools so reincarnation was definitely not on the menu for any curriculum I would have been exposed to. My mother listened to me and began to explain that I was describing reincarnation and proceeded to give me a very intelligent and in-depth lesson in who believed in reincarnation and why.

This was cool for me on two fronts: 1) Seeing that I’ve had ideas about energy and life that were uniquely my own since I was very young. Ideas that had to have originated from somewhere outside of what my parents or school were teaching me; and 2) Seeing that my mother was open to my curiosity and did everything she could to educate and encourage me.

These audio conversations between 8 year old me and my then 31 year old mom have been such an incredible gift this Thanksgiving.

Learning the full art of forgiveness

Last night I enjoyed a little feast with an old friend. Someone I used to have an on/off relationship with over the course of many years. It wasn’t the healthiest or kindest relationship most of the time, but I always felt a connection to him that seemed like it was important for me in some way. Anyway, it had been maybe 3 years or more since we’d had any real contact and earlier this month he reached out to me to say hi and apologize for his behavior in the past.

I had been reading “A Course in Miracles” (ACIM) and was at the part where the act of forgiveness was being discussed and it felt like appropriate timing for me. When he apologized, I accepted it and told him not to let it worry him any further. It’s taught in ACIM that forgiveness is more than just saying “I forgive you” or “just letting it go” – forgiveness is actually taking the step beyond those things and doing whatever is in your power to balance the energy again.

In this case, that meant going to meet him and his new baby son for dinner without carrying anything from the past with me into the situation. We ended up having a really nice evening and it felt awesome.

Because I chose to release pride, ego, past hurt and all the other junk, I was able to reconnect with my old friend on the things that were always good between us. I felt incredibly happy holding his son and seeing parts of his dad in his little baby blue eyes. By truly forgiving and taking the final step in forgiveness to reset the balance in the energy between us, I gave myself the gift of having this relationship transform back into a positive force in my life, rather than a sad or injurious one.

The ability to feel from the inside and radiate out in a way that connects with others

Through all of the yoga and meditation and self-guided study I’ve undertaken this past year or so, I’ve come to a place where I’m able to feel my way through life more. Where in the past I was living from a place mostly inside my mind and thoughts, this year has brought the blessing of being able to trust in the sensations presenting in my physical body. These sensations are the manifestation of an intelligence that is always available to me if I take the time to slow down, let go and get quiet.

Because of these new practices, I’ve witnessed my love of self flourish and my capacity for love increase. I feel more love being attracted and drawn into my everyday life and I feel so grateful for all that it’s brought to me. My close friendships are growing even closer and feeling more and more like family everyday, and the relationships with my family members feel easier and more transparent.

I’m especially grateful for the connection I’ve made with a new person in my life. Someone I met last month who I never ever ever in a thousand years would have come to know if I hadn’t been available to accept and respond to the tiny sensations in my body telling me to remain grounded, listen and finally take action to speak up and connect in a vulnerable way.

So these are my things… What about you? What are you grateful? What lessons can you reflect on from the past year?

***

Like this post? Share it on Twitter 🙂

I create guided meditations about once a month. Sign up to get them delivered straight to your inbox!

Letting Go Feels Like the Answer for Everything

relaxingguiltJust relax. Let it go. Don’t worry about it.

I’ve heard and read that advice a thousand times over, but it never made sense to me before. I knew what the words meant, but I didn’t actually get it because I couldn’t feel it.

Things are different for me now though and it’s in large part due to yoga and meditation. Yoga provided me with a quieter mind, which led to a curiosity about the infinite space that was revealed to me in the new silence of my mind. That new silence then grew naturally into a daily meditation practice.

Letting go of expectations around and my attachment to outcomes in relation to things, people and relationships is something I’m learning how to live. I’m not saying it’s always easy, or that it happens instantly, but sometimes it is and it does.

What I’m saying is that now I understand why it makes sense to let go and I feel confident in being able to do so when it is what will serve me best.

As I become more aware of and accustomed to the following three understandings, letting go becomes easier and even preferable in most situations:

† I have everything I need and can access it at will by simply closing my eyes, returning to breath and turning inward to watch emotions and feelings as they flow through me.

† Everything is temporary.

† Connections and relationships don’t end or stop existing because of time or distance. This is because time and distance are simply illusions.

The days I feel the happiest are the days when I’m able to relax into the flow and remain present with my breath in each moment.

***

Like this post? Share it on Twitter. I create a new guided meditation every week. Sign up to get them delivered straight to your inbox!

photo by: gnuckx

Be Like the Trees: 3 Steps in the Art of Mindfulness

Learning to Listen
Learning how to listen to your body and trust in the information coming to you through sensations is so important. Over the last few weeks I’ve taken a little unplanned and unexpected break from my yoga practice. I rarely miss a day, so to wake up in the morning and feel like I didn’t want to go wasn’t an easy feeling to have, mentally speaking.

It started with just two or three days where I didn’t go to the studio. I felt that my body was exhausted and needed a break. Then I wasn’t exhausted anymore, but I didn’t want to go. It didn’t feel like an issue of discipline or laziness, I just felt in my body that I did not want to go. I wanted to write and sleep and do other things.

I decided to listen to my body and over the last twenty one days I’ve only practiced about six times. On the days when I haven’t gone to class, I tend to feel a sense of guilt or hear a critical voice telling me that I “should” go, but by staying mindful and returning to breath I’ve been able to remind myself that it’s okay not to practice somedays.

Identification Issues
Why was this even an issue? Well, it hit me in class today that I have been deriving a large part of my identity with the fact that I usually practice yoga daily. It also became clear to me that when we identify strongly with something that is external to who we are at the core of our being, whether it be a practice of some sort, our career, friendships, a hobby or talent — we can become susceptible to relying on it too much.

This new awareness is another reminder of why it’s good to take time to sit in silence and *feel* who we are. We are not our yoga practice, our job, our children, our guitar playing, our baking.. we’re not any of that.

I think my little break from yoga was my inner wisdom’s way of reminding me to not look externally for validation about how worthy I am as a person. I am valuable and incredible simply because I exist.
Period.

I don’t need to do anything else besides breathe and stand tall to let my light shine and contribute positively to the collective consciousness.

The Trees

About two weeks into my yoga break, while driving down into a valley on the 2 freeway, it seemed that the morning light was communicating in an act of reciprocity with the incredible array of trees that dot the hills of Eagle Rock.

It hit me so hard at that moment that I should strive to be like the trees. They stand still in confidence for the entirety of their life. The only practice they attend to is one of mindfulness.

They breathe in, and breathe out. They stand bare and naked in the world, bold in their beauty, while focusing solely on their purpose — to absorb the carbon dioxide and return life-giving oxygen to the universe.

They grow where they are born — on rocks, in fields, near freeways, on flatlands, the beach… they do not complain about their lot in life. They do not run away and relocate to escape hardships. Instead, they make do with the nutrients provided to them in the soil they were conceived in. They embrace challenges and remain rooted firmly into their place in life.

Trees are so simple, yet they’re each unique. They don’t need to perform or achieve or move to get your attention. We can all see that each tree is individually unique. They all look different and make us feel different things. Just simply by existing they are valuable and important to us.

Wouldn’t it be cool if we could all be a little more like the trees?

Stumbling Onto The Path of Awakening

meditation2
My path to awakening began in 2005, when during a time of major transition and deep personal sadness, my mother suggested I might find relief with yoga. She put me in touch with her friend, Grace, a yoga instructor at a fitness center in Indianapolis where I wound up taking my first yoga class. Five years later, on an afternoon lunch break, a co-worker introduced me to meditation for the first time. Yoga and meditation would continue to flow in and out of my life like waves in the ocean. I would dabble here and there and then get distracted and return to the way things had always been. These practices were nothing more than nice things to do sometimes if I was in the mood, but I didn’t feel connected to them in any meaningful way. They were more like novelties.

Two years passed by and in April 2012 I sought a Jyotish (Vedic astrology) reading from Swati Jr*. Her words didn’t make sense to me logically back then, but something about what she shared did feel true on an emotional level. Like she was whispering to parts of me that were hidden away from myself.

Six months later, on October 1st, I was lured into Moksha Yoga LA by a $40 special membership rate advertised in bright paint across the huge windows of their studio. I remember feeling overwhelmed by the heat on that first day, but I didn’t stop. I pushed through all of the sensations that come along with participating in a hot yoga class and left the studio feeling a bit out of body.

My general perspective of everything felt lighter and more expansive. It seemed to me like I was in on a secret and the people walking and driving by me didn’t appear to know what I now knew. I just felt a strange happiness that’s hard to explain in words and I couldn’t wait to go back. By my second or third class, I distinctly remember getting the sense that I was being pulled towards something that would change my life.

Thirty-one days after that first class, my life appeared to implode. Within the span of one month, my live-in boyfriend of two years ended our relationship, I was forced to find a new place to live and before I’d even had time to unpack the boxes, I was given the news that I was being laid off from my job. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Fuck. My. Life.

The main thing that kept me sane during this time was my then brand new yoga practice. I felt something when I was in the studio everyday. Something that told me to keep coming back. I listened to that feeling and stuck with a near daily practice.

During the five months I was unemployed, I took off on a lot of hikes through Griffith Park, abused my library card and booked a last minute trip to Bali and The Gili Islands, where I traveled solo for three weeks and experienced a sense of mindfulness for the first time in my life.

I didn’t know at the time that what I was experiencing was mindfulness, but when I look back, I recognize that that’s what it was. Slipping under the surface of the water off the coast of Gili Trawangan, snorkeling for the first time in my life and feeling rolls of amazement take over my being as I laid eyes on a fantastical underwater world. Willing myself to stay present in the indescribable perfection I was feeling in those moments. Overcome with gratitude as I experienced the feeling of something new, something absolutely, mind-boggling new, for the first time that I could ever remember in my adult life.

Sleeping when I was tired, eating when I was hungry, listening to my instinct and sharing myself with the people around me without thought or reservation. I traveled with a backpack and my yoga mat, stopping to breathe in the air around me, talk with strangers, wander without purpose and just be. I wrote and cried and listened and laughed and swam and kissed and danced and rode bikes and practiced yoga, but most importantly, I let go of time and other people and expectations. I just was.

When I came home to Los Angeles I felt different. Really different. And really good.

Then at the end of June in 2013, I began meditating everyday. A few weeks later, I participated in a 21-day meditation challenge hosted by Deepak Chopra and that’s when things really started becoming more clear for me. I was transitioning into a new awareness of my life and I have never felt more certain that I am living exactly the life I’m supposed to be living right now.

Since this time, I’ve devoted almost every energy to exploring the possibilities with meditation because I’ve become fascinated by the universe living inside me. Also, I feel as if someone wiped a layer away from my heart and now I’m capable of feeling the world instead of just living through it.

I read books, watch videos, seek out people who practice regularly, ask questions, sign up for seminars and classes, and look for opportunities to learn more about higher consciousness at every moment of the day. Discovering and understanding myself and the energy field we all exist within, make up, and move through, feels like it’s my reason for being here. It feels like I’m supposed to be collecting this information so that I can share it and talk about it and live it fully.

***

Aubrey is passionate about living life all the way and believes that a daily meditation practice can help anyone move into a totally engaged state of being alive. She published a book about her old life and is now busy living her new life so that she can write a follow-up about how awesome the world becomes when you’re finally able to slow down and feel into your body. She creates free guided meditations about once a week and you can connect with her on Twitter @MokshaDestiny

If you’re interested, I send out free guided meditations about once-a-week. Sign up here!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...