Feel it to heal it!

This photo was taken by my beloved in the outskirts of Austin TX the one time we chose to break our quarantine of over a month so we can take a ride out in the country side for our mental wellbeing. The Universe had other plans for us that evening. The car broke down on us and we had to reach out for help, having to come in contact with our helpers. One of them was a dear friend who I was very happy to see and very sad to not be able to hug, as we still maintained physical distance the best we could. Oh, the cosmic joke!

IN ORDER TO HEAL WE GET TO FEEL

(words by Adam Roa)

These words are ringing truer right now than ever before.
How beautiful that we get to feel what it’s like being ALIVE!
And even when it is so painful, sometimes. Often times, lately.
All the sadness, all the sorrow, all the anguish, all the pain…

Maybe your experience is completely different; maybe it’s filled with joy and pleasure, and that’s completely valid, also.
Each journey is unique, and each psyche gets to unfold in its own due time. Plenty of ebbs and flows for all flavors.

It took millennia of ancestry to bring us to where we are. The timing of what’s unfolding, in comparison, is a blink of an eye.

What’s going on out there is a reflection of what’s unfolding within each of us.
With all its shadows and light, each gives meaning to the other, all coming from the same Source.

AND, we can no longer afford to haul our past, our pain, and our trauma along where we are headed; it is time to compost it all!
It all serves its purpose, until it no longer does. It is time to let go…
This is a one way journey to Oneness.

And while on this journey…
May you see the beauty that is your existence, with all the shadows, for they give meaning to light.
May you choose love over fear, as you feel and heal within and without.
May you remember the ephemeral nature of it all, joy and sorrow, sadness and pleasure, and everything in between.
And may you finally realize the Oneness that we all are, unconditionally, eternally.

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As deep as you feel it

Some days I lay face down on the grass, feeling caressed by the Mother, feeling her heartbeat, as she soothes my pain and drinks my tears. While I hurt feeling the collective suffering, I feel her heal.⁣⁣⁣
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Other times I stare at the sky, the marvelous vastness and beauty of the mystery beyond my human mind’s understanding of all that’s out there. I bathe in the sunlight, healing my deepest crevices. I reach for the clouds and stars with my voice and prayers, as I cry a little inside… ⁣⁣⁣
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The Moon is my witness and my nightly companion. As she ebbs and flows dancing with shadow and light, my heart does, too.⁣⁣⁣
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I cry, I sing, I dance, I laugh and weep, for all those who can’t. ⁣⁣⁣
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I feel the pain for all those in suffering, physical and mental. The root is all the same.⁣⁣⁣
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I bow to all the angels who are holding us through these times; ethereal ones and the human ones in the frontlines and hospitals. ⁣⁣⁣
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I practice compassion for all those who continue on the path of shadows. For all those who choose to repeat rather than evolve. You can’t rush healing or learning. That I’m coming to understand the hard way. ⁣⁣⁣
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The times, they are changing, and my heart remains open, as I gather her pieces and remember the dance, once again… ⁣⁣⁣
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“…go as deep as you feel it, ⁣⁣⁣
the deeper you mean it, ⁣⁣⁣
the more the stars can hear it. ⁣⁣⁣
The deeper you mean it, ⁣⁣⁣
the more healing can happen, ⁣⁣⁣
the Earth heart opens, ⁣⁣⁣
connects to your own…”⁣⁣⁣
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Beautiful music 🎶 by Ayla Nereo

Entering the 33rd Portal

2019 has been the most profound year so far in my inner journey of awaking since I made that conscious choice in 2012. And there have been many outstanding moments during these last 7 years filled with lessons and experiences I could have not imagined. I have watched my life unfold and transform multiple times taking unpredictable turns that have stretched me way beyond my comfort zone over and over again.

This year I was taught to trust in surrendering, in the unknown, in the non-sense, in the darkness, to trust my shadows, to allow my mind to not make any sense as the heart took the lead. I have witnessed my ego die over and over again, remembering my true identity as an eternal soul. Some of these micro deaths have been surrounded by a dance of fear, acceptance, and love that by letting go, I might have let go of this reality as the human experience that I’ve been on, let go of all the suffering, release any contracts, transcend all dimensions, with the promise of the ultimate self-realization. As I watched this dance, realizing there was another play of my ego, my human body persevered as my heart reminded me of a bigger purpose that is still unfolding, my soul’s journey.

I have been working with the healing powers of the Earth, her sacred medicine in many forms. I have undergone some of the most beautiful out-of-this-world experiences that as a human being I can only dream of. I have lost and found myself over and over again across realms, deep in meditative states, down under in the depths of my own shadows, and highest up heights in the source of it all, returning to my soul’s Earthly home. Yet, here I am, still attempting to put into words the non-sense of the soul’s journey, witnessing through the lens of this human experience.

This is not a linear journey; that I have come to inner-stand. I continue to explore, discover, and experience what I came here for. I continue to connect, touch and be touched by fellow souls, seeing my reflection all around, as the mirror for the Divine to experience BEing. This is not writing for the mind. Only heart can decipher this manuscript. Welcome hOMe, Sacred ONE! May you love your way through this process of unBEing.

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

The Purest Form of Love

This is an anthem to LOVE. All kinds of love, starting with self-love. Self being i, I, you, You, we, We, and everything before, after, and in between. Because in order to truly love anything or anyone, we must first learn and experience loving our own existence. At the end we realize that, just as at the beginning in the womb, we emerge from one, live to remember love, and to oneness we return.

~ ~ ~

from love i came into existence

and into love i shall return

for i am made of love

and with love i am created

i channel love

so i can create love

i make love to feel love

and to breathe love

i emanate love

to share love

i give love freely

and in love i live

for the sake of love

i take each and every breath

breathing in, out and through love

because love is what i am

and in love i recognize you

and in you i see me

through the purest love

you and i become we

as at the beginning

so at the end

there is no you

there is no me

love is all that has ever been

and all that will ever be

~ ~ ~

This love anthem-mantra-affirmation-poem was channeled through me in a state of profound meditation, inspired by the beautiful song ‘Bliss’ sang by Sirgun Kaur. Listen and enjoy it below.

With deep gratitude,

~ Erinda

 

The Heart of an Elephant

~ This story was first published on World Nomads. ~

“This is a story about my experience with the natural beauty of Thailand, Thai culture and people. But mainly this is a story about a beautiful creature named LD, a baby elephant I met while traveling in Thailand. She was just 32 days old when I met her, but held lifetimes of love and joy in her heart.

It was the end of November and I had been in Thailand for just under a week. Among other experiences, the week had been filled with a very long overseas flight, loud traffic in the streets of Bangkok, sketchy hostel stays and awkward attempts to properly request vegan meals from street food vendors. I had been reading about all the beautiful temples and breathtaking natural sites in northern Thailand for weeks and weeks prior to my trip. I had been looking at the all gorgeous beach photos shared all over the internet lusting to be there. I had even attempted to learn a few phrases in Thai, but the locals would just stare at me with a half smirk and what I first thought to be full on judgement while I’d end up finishing my statements in English. It had only been a few days, but I had experienced so much! And I was tired, so tired. I had not slept a full 8 hours length since I left home, that place that seemed so distant on the other side of the world…

I had made flexible plans to head up north from Bangkok, eventually making my way up to Chiang Mai. I had read so much about this place, supposedly being the hip spot in northern Thailand. And once I got there I found that it was, sort of… After an overnight train ride I made it there bright and early, with no set plans of where I was going to stay. Upon arrival I felt overwhelmed and a little lost among all other backpackers, mostly from northern Europe. Secretly I wanted to blend in and pretend I was local, but I sure did not. Deep down, all I wanted was to learn the culture, to better understand it and experience it.

After wandering the streets of Chiang Mai for 2 days, I decided it was time to make it up to the hill tribes, the place where the true locals were. And the place where the elephants were… After a lot of research I found a place that really cares about the elephants, and the native people there. My visit was a frozen day in time that I will never forget. I got to spend all day with the sweetest group of elephants caring for them, bathing them and feeding them. Words cannot describe how much love and happiness those creatures emit.

That was one day I will never forget. That was one day that when I felt most at home, away from home! ”

This place that I visited is called Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Chiang Mai Thailand. Eco-travel and animal rights is a topic of high importance to me so I always research places that offer encounters with wildlife to assure their ethical practices. From my research and personal experience I found that EJS does just that. Even though this post was in no way sponsored, solicited, or even asked for by the organization, I felt inspired to share it with the world to help other travelers and animal lovers in their research as well.

One of the most common issues that is encountered in Thailand and other countries with, what we may consider, exotic animals is the tourist entertainment offers for animal riding or circus type animal performance. These types of performances have a great negative impact on the health, well-being and longevity of the animals, hence they are highly non-advisable even though some places try to convince tourists otherwise. This is a topic of great controversy so I highly recommend doing your own research from various sources before making decisions and bookings. I was fully satisfied with my experience at this place, hence I decided to share this post. If it perked your interest you are welcome to learn more on their website.

I hope you enjoyed this sharing, and above all I hope that you explore our beautiful planet with a light foot and an open heart! The elephant story as well the rest of my experience traveling around Thailand and southeast Asia will be continued on other future posts…

With gratitude,

~ Erinda

 

Nature Therapy

Musing . . .

When it seems like the world is about to boil over with turmoil and pain, it is crucial to find your inner peace and anchor yourself in whatever self-care practice works for you. For me, Nature is my therapist and I am immensely grateful to live in a place where natural paradise like this is in the backyard of the city I call home… What  makes you feel grounded in the most loving way? There lies YOUR answer for inner peace!

These photos were taking during our visit at River Place Nature Trail this past weekend, a beautiful hiking spot just 14 miles from downtown Austin TX. For trail maps and more info, including how to get involved to help maintain this natural paradise, please visit their website linked above.

With love,

~ Erinda

 

The Rising Phoenix

Notes from the heart . . .

Redefining yourself is never easy. But just like the seasons change, so do we. It is not easy but it is natural. You get to look at your old layers, stories, patterns, facets that no longer represent you and learn to release them. Judgement too. It never served you anyways. One by one, slowly and maybe painfully as they’ve become part of your skin. You get to shed… It may hurt, it will hurt, but one thing you’ll soon learn is how strong you really are. You’ll see.

Shadows may come up, monsters from under the bed and skeletons from the closet will all make themselves at home in your house of fear. Old patterns may attempt to replicate themselves, over and over, until you learn to observe them. Self-doubt will show up to join the party, all uninvited taking up the space you need to breathe in…

You may find yourself in an inner storm of questioning everything, self-worth first and foremost, sanity next. It is all part of shedding. Just like the caterpillar, you may not know what’s coming. You can choose to let fear masquerade you from the inside out… Or, you can choose to trust. Allow a spark of hope to ignite within. It’s there, it has always been, since the womb. Find your breath, bathe in it. Find the eye of the storm deep within you and allow everything else to fall off. Doubts, fears, stories, patterns, limiting beliefs… Let their madness storm up around you and stay strong in your breath. It will all pass… It is all passing… Keep breathing. Let the cocoon fall off, you have wings now. It is time for you to learn how to use them!

Spring is here. Allow yourself to open up to the sunshine and let yourself bloom. Like the wildflowers, your redefined beauty may pop up unexpectedly in the most random places. Nothing is random. You brilliance will be noticed exactly where you are meant to be. Come through the cracks of the pavement and spread your beautiful petals toward the light. Rise, step up, grow, embody. Like the phoenix, ignite from your ashes…

The world awaits for your magic. Now go ahead and spread it!

~ Erinda

Demystifying Indian Food

DISCLAIMER:
This blog post may make you drool, so prepare yourself accordingly 🙂

Indian food feast – photo by Erinda Martin

I already loved Indian food before going to India. But while traveling and living there for three months, I quickly discovered how few dishes I had even tried from this vast and delicious cuisine. I vaguely remember way back when I first started going to Indian restaurants in USA and trying to understand the menu so I can decide what to order. Usually, I would end up confused and just order some type of curry with rice and naan bread, missing out on so many other dishes because simply I did not understand them or had not seen them before. This was before the time of “googling” your food. I bet many people have experienced this before, whether it is with Indian food or some other exotic cuisine. With this in mind, I prepared this blog post in attempt to simplify some Indian food staples for anyone out there who is curious to try it but is not familiar with it yet. Some of these dishes may not even be available in typical Indian restaurants outside of India. At least, this list of dishes with photos and explanations will give an idea of the variety and options there may be available when considering ordering something else in a restaurant, instead of some type of curry dish with rice, naan bread…. Are you ready for a delicious ride?

 

Breakfast Dishes:

Masala Chai, spiced black tea with milk. Traditionally this is made with cow milk, but I found places that offered plant based milk options as well. Visit my previous blog post here for the step by step recipe including the full list of spices.

Kashmiri Chai, spiced tea from the Jammu and Kashmir area of northern India

Lemon Ginger Honey tea, a staple in every eatery I visited across northern India

Paratha, a pancake type flatbread, with porridge and Masala chai

Paratha with poha, flattened rice mixed with spices, veggies and roasted nuts, served with sauteed vegetables and curd

 

Lunch and Dinner:

Thali, a buffet style dish typically served for lunch or dinner

Matar Masala, a spicy sauce dish with green peas  served with rice and Chapati, unleavened flatbread

Khichri (or Khichdi), a dish made with lentils, rice and variety of spices and ghee

Dosa, an Indian style crepe made with spices and fillings, served with chutneys

Masala Dosa with sambar,  a spicy stew, and coconut chutney served with chai

Masala Dosa in the making

Dessert Dosa (Banana Chocolate) in the making

Dessert Dosa (Banana Chocolate)

 

Street Food and Snacks:

Alooo Chaat, mashed potato cake with lentils, spices and chutneys

Aloo Chat in the making

Aloo Chat ingredients

Pani Puri, also known as Gol Gappa, crispy puff balls served with sweet & spicy sauce

Momos, a type of dumpling, filled with veggies and served with chili sauce

Steamed momos

Fried momos

Aloo Bonda, potato bread roll made with spices

Vada, a savory doughnut made with spices

Papad, crispy spicy and savory bread chips

These are only a few of the dishes and snacks I experienced (and loved) during my time living in India. Keep in mind how large of a country and vastly diverse India is, even though in the west we tend to categorize Indian food and culture as one size fits all. Each region of India has its own style of cooking, spicing food, and preparing as well as serving dishes. My experience was primarily in northern India, but I know for sure that soon enough I will experience the rest of this beautiful country and its cuisine.

I hope you enjoyed this read and feel motivated to experiment with your taste buds.

~ Erinda