Life lessons from 32 laps around the Sun

At the beginning of December I celebrated my 32nd birthday. The last three years I have arranged to celebrate my birthday traveling in a new country and saying yes to a new experience. On my 30th I was in Bali  scuba diving for the first time and absolutely loved every second of it, followed by traveling around India on my 31st. This new tradition of celebrating the day I came into this world has been absolutely amazing and I do wish to continue it hopefully inspiring others to say yes to life, fully.

This year, since my partner and I will be traveling to a new country over the winter holidays – Guatemala, here I come – and my birthday is on December 6, I celebrated it in U.S. at home while still saying yes to a new experience – floating. I will soon create a dedicated post about that experience, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, while spending this birthday at home and taking time to reflect, I wrote a list of life-lessons from these 32 years in this world which feel like the highlight messages from all that I have experienced so far in life. So, here they are, may they inspire you in some way:

  1. To live, truly live, you must leap, even when you can’t see the other side. That’s how you got here anyways. Crying was just your way of announcing your arrival.
  2. Love and affection are vital. You learned this as a newborn. As an adult, that love and affection must come from you, first, then reflect it to others.
  3. Curiosity keeps creativity alive. Life herself stems from creativity. If you can imagine it, it can be done.
  4. It takes courage to be alive, truly alive by choice. Courage is the most important muscle that you get to work on your entire life. It’s never finished.
  5. Cherish family and be grateful that you have one even with all its flaws and complications. You choose them for this life time. Honor your soul’s choice by loving them unconditionally. And let them teach you whatever it is that you need to learn from them.
  6. Play like no one is watching. Especially when you grow up. Sing, dance, move, make up your own world and rules. This is essential to keeping your heart and mind young and healthy.
  7. Animals are your best friends and can be your most loyal companions. Don’t be afraid of them no matter their shape, form or sounds. They can be your wisest teachers, too. Listen and observe them.
  8. Anyone can be your teacher, if you pay close attention; humans from all walks of life, animals, situations especially ones that challenge you, environment as well. And above all, Nature teaches you the most important lessons of them all: how to be.
  9. Nature is your sanctuary. Make time to honor her by being with her. You can commune with her anywhere, for you are part of her through the air that you breathe. Fill your cup with her essence.
  10. You can always start over. No matter the timing. Not matter how many times. Remember courage. You don’t need to know how, yet. Just be willing.
  11. When you fall, feel first, and then get up. Only once you learn to embrace the mud, you will learn to fully appreciate the beauty of the lotus.
  12. Express yourself. Others cannot read a closed book. Speak your truth and stand by it. Give others the opportunity to truly see you in your light of truth.
  13. Love and appreciate this body, every inch of it, just as it is, every moment of every day. It is as beautiful as the starry night, for it is made of those stars.
  14. To honor your feelings, you first need to fully feel them. Feel them before you label them. Then you can process them and release. Give yourself time.
  15. When in a sea, ocean, river, lake, waterfall or any other natural body of water, let your inner mermaid play wild. Embrace the depth and the beauty of the unknown. Remember courage.
  16. Embrace heart aches, even if there have been many, and there will likely be more to come. Each one grows your heart stronger for it teaches you how to heal.
  17. Even though you think you know so much, there is always so much more to learn. Always be open to your path and your journey. (thank you Nahko!)
  18. You are unique and sacred, so honor yourself as such. Love will always show you the way.
  19. Trust the unknown, explore your edges and always stay curious.
  20.  Learn to say no, and mean it. It will create space and get you closer to your true yes.
  21. You can only help someone else if they want to be helped. Otherwise you are doing both a dishonor.
  22. When someone or something is sucking your life force out of you, summon the courage to walk away, even if you are scared of any consequences. Set yourself free.
  23. The biggest gift your can give yourself is time and space to heal. Appreciate silence.
  24.  Allow others to cherish you, appreciate you, and love you. Even when you are having a hard time to do all these things for yourself. You deserve it.
  25.  Get out of your own way. Step back and allow things to take their course. Take your time to shift prospective, rather than take action from a skewed one.
  26.  Dream and seek your own dreams. Don’t spend your life trying to live out other people’s dreams for you, or their unrealized dreams. You are your own person.
  27. Plan, but also leave room for creativity and serendipity to play out. You never know how amazing the unknown can turn out, until you trust.
  28.  It’s ok to not know, even if you feel like you should or it would make you look bad to admit it. Always embrace the opportunity to learn.
  29.  The only effective way to teach someone else is to lead by example. Talk the walk, but also walk that talk.
  30.  Leap. Leap again. Trust, trust again. Courage always. Enjoy the ride, with all the ups and downs, as well as the blind corners. It’s all part of this journey called life.
  31.  Adventure keeps you young. Never let go of the opportunity for one. And if no opportunity shows up, create it.
  32.  Honor what has come before so you can love what is, and appreciate what is ahead. Every breath is a new beginning.

I had many more revelations of life lessons from my years in this world so far, but I chose to narrow the list to these 32 points, as they felt the most prominent ones. Which ones resonate with you the most? Do you have any other ones you would add? I would love to hear from you. Reach out and share with me on Instagram.  Meanwhile, I hope this has inspired you to reflect on your own life-lessons and say yes to life more.

With love and gratitude,

~ Erinda

Simple Tips to a Healthier and Happier You

Here are a few simple tips to help you reach a healthier happier level in your everyday life.

Utilize your Breath
– Pause and take three deep breaths, anytime, anywhere. You will immediately feel a little more calm, present, and grounded.
– Give yourself at least one full minute of slow breathing whenever you feel a challenge coming, triggered or emotionally hurt. While you help your nervous system calm down through breathing, you can then choose to respond if you wish to, rather than react as if you had to.
– Gift yourself time before making any big decisions, and initiate that time with breath. No bad decisions are made by waiting for an extra breath or a few. Initiate that wait time with slow calm breathing and you will soon know when the time is right to act and what is the best decision to make.
– There are multiple styles of breathing techniques out there serving various purposes. If you want to learn more about this, start to research various Yogic breathing techniques in the category of Pranayama, which have been used for many centuries in ancient India by Yogis and householders alike. I will be sharing a post soon with some of the main styles that can be used by everyone in everyday life.

Be with Nature
– Immerse yourself in nature whenever you can. I call this ‘Nature Bathing’ and it has been one of the best self-induced therapies I have discovered. This is a common practice in Japan called ‘Shinrin-Yoku’ or ‘Forest Bathing’. If you live somewhere in the countryside, that’s great. Look no further than those trees, that mountain, the jungle, the river, or whatever natural element you’re surrounded by. If you live in the city, you can look for a park or just a patch of trees. Get yourself close to the natural elements. Lay on Earth. Put your feet in that river. Feel the grass and those leaves with your bare feet and hands. Hug a tree. Yes, hug a tree and release your forehead to the tree trunk. Close the eyes and listen to the sound of Nature soothing your soul. There is a reason why they’ve created Nature sound therapy machines. They can be deeply calming and healing.
– If you can’t access a park, a forest, or trees, you can have this communion with Nature through house plants. Be with them, breathe into their leaves. They love the carbon dioxide you will release and they will love you back as they purify the air you breathe.

Optimize Sleep
– Create a simple wind-down routine to start at least an hour before the time you’d like to be asleep. Mine includes lowering all the lights to minimum or using candle lights, changing music to soft instrumental and acoustic tunes, shutting off any screen, computer and phone, drinking a small cup or warm chamomile tea, and some evenings it also includes journaling. While I lay down I also apply Lavender essential oil on my chest so I can smell it as I fall asleep. I will soon share a blog post entirely dedicated to essential oils and how to utilize them to optimize your health and well-being. Stay tuned!
– Try to keep your phone outside the bedroom. I have acquired a simple alarm clock so I no longer keep my phone in the bedroom. However, if you have to keep yours there, set night-time hours in the privacy settings so both sound and screen brightness lower after a specific time in the evening and come back up in the morning. Overall, avoid any screen time, TV, computer, tablet, at least one hour before bedtime. Give your brain time to decompress before falling asleep.
– If you journal – even if you don’t usually – it helps to write down any thoughts from the day and any thought for the next day, any to-do lists etc. so you don’t think of them as you’re falling asleep.
– Drink some warm sleep-time tea helps to calm the nervous system preparing for rest. Avoid taking in much liquids in order to avoid waking up at night to use the bathroom. Keep a glass of water by the bed for the morning but only take small sips if you feel thirsty.
– Take a quick hot shower to relax the muscles. Utilize calming essential oils under the hot water to help keep open breathing pathways while you sleep.
– Keep the bedroom temperature moderate, not too warm nor cold. Air out the bedroom before sleep and if you use essential oils, spray some lavender or rose water on the pillow and sheets.
– If there are sounds or light coming from outside even with closed windows and curtains or shades, utilize earplugs and eye mask. Another option is also to use white noise machines.

This blog post was inspired by a recent Facebook live I did with my friend Sheila Janan, AKA Health Tip Girl. You can watch the video here. Let me know on Instagram if you find these tips helpful and if you have any other tips to share that have helped you become a healthier happier version of you.

With love and gratitude,

~ Erinda