Yes, it can be done.
In my book, Reclaim Your Wild, I take you on a 30 day Walk About Yoga Journey back to your authentic self. With the help of yoga poses, journal prompts, and active adventures.
I have put together several ways to tame those wild monkeys! With the help of Deepak Chopra and Marelisa Fabrega, I have put together several ways to tame those wild monkeys!
Buddha described the human mind as being filled with drunken monkeys, jumping around, screeching, chattering, carrying on endlessly. We all have monkey minds, Buddha said, with dozens of monkeys all clamoring for attention. Fear is an especially loud monkey, sounding the alarm incessantly, pointing out all the things we should be wary of and everything that could go wrong. Anger, unresolved conflicts, self doubt , climate change, animal cruelty and to do lists are some of the additional worries my monkeys shout about.
Guess what, it is your circus and they are your monkeys!
The good news is we can tame them and by doing so you'll gain many amazing benefits.
Here are 10 realistic ways to get control of your monkeys 🐵
1. Know that Your Monkey Mind Can Be Tamed. The first step in your quest to calm your monkey mind is to know that it’s possible to do so. It’s very likely that up until this point you’ve allowed your monkey mind to run wild. But now you’re going to put an end to that. After all, your thoughts don’t rule you. You rule your thoughts.
2. Have no expectations. Sometimes the mind is too active to settle down. Sometimes it settles down immediately. Sometimes it goes quiet, but the person doesn't notice. Anything can happen. That is part of the journey.
3. Talk to Your Monkey Mind. When your monkey mind is in full swing, calm it down by having a conversation with it. Stop for a moment and listen to what your monkey mind is saying. Why is it upset? What’s all the raucous about? Then, do the following:
3. Establish a Journaling Practice. This is similar to the point above, but it’s more deliberate. By establishing a regular journaling practice, you’ll be setting aside a window of time each day specifically to address your monkey mind’s concerns. Do the following:
Tell your monkey mind the following: “Your session for today is over. Wait until tomorrow’s session. I’ll listen to you then.” Soon, your monkey mind will realize that it’s completely futile to make a fuss at any time other than during your journaling sessions.
4. Be easy on yourself.
Meditation isn't about getting it right or wrong. It's about letting your mind find its true nature.
5. Practice the A-B-C Technique. A lot of the time, monkey mind is caused by your thoughts disagreeing with what’s going on. That is, there’s a contrast between your thoughts and your surroundings. When the present moment doesn’t align with what your monkey mind wants, your monkey mind begins to spit and howl.
The A-B-C technique can help you deal with the disparity between what your monkey mind thinks should be happening, and what is actually happening. Here’s how it works:
6. Don't label or plan. The Spanish abstract artist Pablo Picasso once said the following: “If only we could pull out our brain and use only our eyes.” Although that’s a rather grotesque image, pause for a moment and reflect on the quote’s meaning.
What Picasso is saying is that you should simply allow your senses to take in what’s going around you, and then stop. Skip the step in which your monkey mind jumps in and starts judging, critiquing, and assigning meaning. Once you start doing this on a regular basis, you’ll notice that you begin to see things more clearly. In addition, you’ll be able to see much more than you did before.
7. Recite a Mantra. Interrupt your monkey mind mid-sentence and distract it by reciting a mantra. When you recite a mantra you draw in your scattered attention and focus it on a word, phrase, or sound. Make it positive, self-affirming, and loving. A mantra that I like to use is “ Om Shanti Shanti Om” Peace, Peace Peace. (feel free to use whatever mantra you want).
Although you can recite your mantra silently, it’s more effective if you say it out loud. That way, you’re also listening to the word, phrase, or sound, and you are sending it out to the universe!
In addition, by repeating a positive phrase–either to yourself or out loud–you’ll be listening to something positive, instead of listening to the negativity being spewed by your monkey mind.
8. Play a Game of Fives Senses. That first second when the monkeys start their monkey songs, you’ll know that it’s very likely that your mind has wandered off and that it’s no longer in the present moment. You can get the tribe of monkeys in your mind to quiet down by bringing your mind back to the present.
One way to bring your mind back to the present is by playing the Game of Fives Senses. Pause your train of thought and notice five things in your environment. It can be five things you see, hear, or smell. Then, fully experience the sight, sound, or smell. You can do this by pretending that it’s the first time you’ve ever experienced that sight, sound, or smell, and by adopting a sense of awe.
The moment in which you do this all of your attention will be placed on the present moment, and your monkey mind will be silenced.
9. Engage Your Mind. I’m sure that you’ve experienced moments when your mind was completely still. Perhaps you were so involved in a book, or in a movie, or in your writing, that the monkey mind went silent. You just experienced directly what was going on, without your mind chatter giving you a running commentary of events, as they occurred.
This is because one way to silence your monkey mind is by engaging your mind. The next time your monkey mind is driving you nuts, look for an activity that draws you in completely, so that all of your attention is placed on what you’re doing, and there’s no attention left over to listen to the monkey mind.
10. Try Piko-Piko Breathing. Piko-Piko breathing is one of the basic practices of the ancient Hawaiian Huna philosophy. “Piko” means “navel” or “center”. The technique involves doing the following:
Rhode Island Clam Chowder
🍲JANUARY IS NATIONAL SOUP MONTH! YAHOOOO🍲
I am obsessed with Rhode Island Clam Chowder. Here's my favorite recipe!
1 pound container freshly shucked clams
3 cups clam juice
3 cups vegetable stock
¼ cup butter
2 onions, diced
2 large stalks celery, chopped, with leaves
2 large red potatoes, diced
3 tablespoons dried dill weed
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 drops hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco®), or to taste
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)
Here's what you do:
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion and celery; cook and stir until the vegetables are tender. Add stock, clam juice, clams, and potatoes Season with dill, black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper, and hot pepper sauce. Simmer 15 minutes longer. Sprinkle with parsley to serve.
Set Your Intentions on Fire!
Nature remember what we humans have forgotten:
Every cycle must return to stillness, silence, the dark:
Every out-breath requires and in-breath
Every outer endeavor turns back inward to its origin, its center and begins again;
From death comes new life, and from the darkest night, the new dawn is born
The Winter Solstice occurs the moment the sun enters the tropical sign of Capricorn. This year that will be on December 21st at 8:48 PM PST. At the solstice the sun appears to stand still in the sky. Time goes by so fast. Years whip through calendars like ravenous monsters of the future. Taking time on the solstice to remind ourselves of the timeless stillness within us can be tremendously powerful.
We are all so busy this time of year so, I'll get right to it!
Let's harness the power of the Winter Solstice and set our intentions on fire! I will literally be doing this later during my Winter Solstice Celebration. It's time to rebirth our light. Whatever your celebration is here are a few thing to sit with as you set your intentions for the upcoming year.
Solstice warmth to you and yours,
Check out this beautiful Winter Solstice Carol by the Wyrd Sisters :)
Yule and Winter Solstice MeaningThe spiritual meaning of Winter Solstice is celebrating the longest and darkest night is here, and the slow return of the sun is upon us. We look forward to the brighter and warmer days ahead.
However, one needs to only look outside to see Nature’s reminder of slumber and dormancy. Now is a
time forrest, reflection, growth, and being fully present during this beautiful season.
Allow yourself to fully experience your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Only then can you begin to understand your darkness that may need healing. Working through these shadows allows transformation and emergence of inner strength, enlightenment, and wonderful beginnings.
Trust your emotions to inspire you because they are authentic, raw, and pure. Here in the stillness and quiet calm of Winter embrace healing, rest, and deep reflection.
Celebrate with a Family Ritual
As the Yule Log burns, all members of the family should surround it, forming a circle.
If you normally cast a circle, do so at this time.
This first section is for the adults–if there is more than one grownup, they can take turns saying the lines, or say them together:
The Wheel has turned once more, and
the earth has gone to sleep.
The leaves are gone, the crops have returned to the ground.
On this darkest of nights, we celebrate the light.
Tomorrow, the sun will return,
its journey continuing as it always does.
Welcome back, warmth.
Welcome back, light.
Welcome back, life.
The entire group now moves deosil–clockwise, or sunwise–around the fire. When each member has returned to his or her original position, it is time for the children to add their part. This section can be divided among the children so that each gets a chance to speak.
Shadows go away, darkness is no more,
as the light of the sun comes back to us.
Warm the earth.
Warm the ground.
Warm the sky.
Warm our hearts.
Welcome back, sun.
Finally, each member of the group should take a moment to tell the others one thing that they are thankful for about their family–things like “I am happy that Mom cooks us such wonderful food,” or “I’m proud of Alex because he helps people who need it.”
When everyone has had a chance to speak, walk sunwise once more around the fire, and end the rite. If possible, save a bit of this year's Yule log to add to the fire for next year's ceremony.
More Yule Rituals to TryDepending on your particular tradition, there are many different ways you can celebrate the Solstice season. and remember, any of them can be adapted for either a solitary practitioner or a small group with just a little planning. Hold a ritual to celebrate the return of the sun, do a home cleansing as you celebrate the season, or even bless donations you're giving away to charity.
The Beaver Full Moon
Full moon Fun Facts!
And maybe not so fun:)
Full Moons can keep you up at night. The lunar energy is believed to be at a high point during the full moon, which can cause us to feel more energized.
You might be more emotional: the moon is the planet that rules our emotions, feelings and vulnerabilities. Making our emotions intense and even tumultuous.
They can make us more social: Humans are hard wired to take advantage of the extra light from the full moon, which can lead us to be more social.
Prepare to be illuminated: Full moons are known to illuminate our minds! Get ready for information, ideas, and feelings to bubble up to the surface.
They can help us break bad habits. As the moons begins to wane, get smaller, that is our opportunity to let go of things that are no longer serving us!
I love the moon and all her energies and phases. I hope this information helps you navigate what the moon has in store for you!
The most popular name for November’s Full Moon is the Beaver Moon. Named after the diligent beavers who are eagerly completing their lodges and food stores for the cold Winter season ahead. However, beavers stay active all Winter long even when ice covers the water’s surface
November’s Beaver Moon spiritual meaning symbolizes the beaver’s ability to be the architects and creators of their own life. #reclaimyourwild. This is something we can all endeavor to be! Use the Beaver Moon as a final motivating push before Winter to create action and transformation in your life.
Now is a time to finish the goals and intentions that are most important to you before Winter is officially here. Figure out what dams you need to create to stop draining or negative energy from influencing your physical and spiritual wellbeing.
The November 2021 full moon eclipse is taking place in the sensual sign of Taurus, therefore the spiritual meaning is centred around aligning with our values and finding security in times of chaos.
Symbolically, the lunar eclipse highlights the things we need to feel warm, safe and secure in a time of increasing cold and scarcity. Therefore, it will help us to determine what is truly valuable to us and what is no longer worth our energy.
As this moon comes during the peak fall season, with a nod to the ushering in of winter, you can try rituals that offer something to the spirit of fall.
Try the cornucopia: the quintessential symbol of Thanksgiving. While the special turkey-stuffed holiday may have already passed, it’s still a wonderful contribution to the fall season. The cornucopia, or Horn of Plenty, has an interesting origin story. Legend has it that the Greek character, Amalthea was caring for baby Zeus who is said to have broken off the she-goat’s horn. The horn then supplied unending nourishment to the growing infant.
The horn is also connected to the Goddess of Harvest, Demeter, and God of Wine, Dionysus. It’s the perfect representation of bounty, fertility, and good times! Take advantage of everything these symbols have to offer by invoking the cornucopia into your Beaver Moon ritual.
Try filling one with your favorite crystals and host a full moon ritual. We recommend turning to Moonstone, with its feminine vibrations akin to that of the moon. You can also turn to Selenite, connected to everything related to the moon. After the traditional moon-hued stones, we recommend Black Tourmaline to propel negative vibrations that may be hindering better communication between you and your family. After that, Tiger’s Eye can help motivate you to be the busy-bee you’ve always wanted to be! Just like the beaver, you’ll be putting together amazing projects that leave everyone in awe and earn you more income and more respect.
Here’s an idea:
Charge your crystals under the full moon
Grab the crystals we recommend above or any gemstone that is calling your name during this time. You’ll want to leave them under the Full Moon’s rays, ideally the day before. You can cleanse a crystal under the moonlight but the day before the full moon can also cleanse your crystals. If you need to cleanse them now, try using a Palo santo for the smoke method so you have fully cleansed crystals in the next step.
After cleansing, program them with your intention. With a clear head and pure heart, think of your intention. Now transfer that powerful energy to the crystal. The energy will work its magic to help supercharge your crystal. You can leave them outside to charge, ideally in a crystal grid or altar. But anywhere you have on hand will do! You can also leave the offering on the windowsill where it can capture light without being outside.
Essential Oils to Support Your Through this Full Moon
HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS ON THE FULL MOON
This is a good time to use any of your favourite oils with any of those properties (there are lots!), or any oils you feel intuitively drawn to. Here are some options to get you started:
Let me ask you something…. What do you love about nature? The trees, forest, animals, the ocean. Can you even narrow it down to one thing? From time to time I am able to widdle my love of nature to one single thing. Right now, it’s dandelions. I am obsessed with them.
My love of nature began at an early age. It was something I found on my own. My family didn't do nature! Maybe, the beach. MAYBE! But, my curiosity and nature won. Whew!
As a little adventurous girl, I would gather the neighborhood kids and lead them on nature walks. Which wasn’t easy living in a town that had very few outdoor spaces. On these walks, I would encourage my pack to touch, smell and even eat leaves, berries and other foliage. Most of which I had no idea what they were and might have been poisonous! I had no idea that these adventures would set the tone for the rest of my life.
I offer monthly Full Moon Gatherings on Silver Sands Beach in Milford, CT. While prepping for the event, I remembered those walks and how we’d create Dandelion Crowns. I decided to make Dandelion crowns at the event.
As I walked around gathering the Dandelions, asking permission first of course, I found them to be absolutely beautiful and saddened by the bad wrap they have. I needed to understand more about them.
Here’s what is so magical about Dandelions:
Around the globe dandelions symbolize happiness, simple joys, good companions and the presence of our inner child who often forgets to play.
Dandelions are a welcome ( in my opinion) sign of spring and one that makes us smile.
Dandelions are wanderers and yet have incredibly staying power. Their seeds can travel up to five miles and flower longer than many other plants in their environments.
The dandelion is the only flower that represents the 3 celestial bodies of the sun, moon and stars. The yellow flower resembles the sun, the puff ball resembles the moon and the dispersing seeds resemble the stars.
Dandelions open to greet the sun in the morning and closes in the night to sleep with the moon.
Dandelions are delicious, medisional and nutritious. The entire flower is useful.
They are also sort of sassy. Did you know that when you mow a dandelion they grow shorter stalks, kinda a floral FU.
So, before you pull these “weeds” get to know these flowers and rediscover their power.
Rainy Days and Outdoor Yoga Classes
You know who I sympathize with….. School SuperIntendents and here’s why..
Let’s start with what sympathy is…Sympathy involves understanding from your own perspective. Sympathy is having a direct experience with a similar situation. Sympathy is “feeling with”.
Superintendents are responsible for a variety of duties. The superintendent implements the school board's vision by making day-to-day decisions about educational programs, spending, staff, and facilities. The superintendent hires, supervises, and manages the central staff and principals. They work nights, weekends and are up at the crack of dawn. Worst of all, they have to make the snow day and delayed opening decisions. How do you predict the weather?
My history with weather is downright horrid. There literally is a black rain cloud that follows me around. One thing is for you sure, don’t travel with me! One sailing trip we planned in the Leeward Islands needed to be relocated due to a direct hit from Hurricane Jose. So, it’s hysterical that I have an outdoor yoga business.
Like a School SuperIntendent, I am solely responsible for many day-to-day decisions about running WalkAboutYoga. I do all the administration, marketing, social media, scheduling, and teaching. And just like your local SuperIntendent, I have to predict the weather.
I have every weather and radar app on my phone known to mankind. I check it 17 times a day. It’s exhausting. It’s okay if it’s a complete rainout, decision made. It’s those trickier times when there’s a chance of rain, sprinkles beginning at 7 am, winds 15-20 miles an hour. It’s so stressful.
I want to be there for my community. I want them to have the best experience they can. I want consistency in my offerings. So, I stress, worry, and make the best decision I can with all the information I have. And still, I sometimes make the wrong call. The worst is when I cancel the class and it doesn’t rain...ARRRRG!
Thankfully, my students are hardy, fun-loving, and understanding. We have practiced in the rain, had our mats blown away by strong gusts of wind.
I say to kind to my kindred decision-maker, the School Superintendent. It’s a tough job that we are happy to do.
Author, Reclaim Your Wild
Many yoga practitioners, when they start to delve deeper into their yogic studies, eventually come across Maharishi Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, a text written between 100 BCE and 500 CE. The most famous section pertains to “Ashtanga Yoga,” where Maharishi Patanjali outlines eight limbs to refine the mind and move towards the goal of Self-realization.
However, another sutra in the text gives yoga practitioners an additional list. What is listed in this sutra? The obstacles we face on the path! Are there also eight parts to this list? Wishful thinking. When Maharishi Patanjali outlines the limbs, he names eight parts. When he speaks of difficulties though, he lengthens his list and mentions nine obstacles:
1) Vyadhi: Physical illness
2) Styana: Lack of enthusiasm
3) Samsaya: Doubt
4) Pramada: Carelessness
5) Alasya: Laziness
6) Avirati: Desire for sense objects
7) Bhranti Darsana: False knowledge, wrong understanding
8) Alamdha Bhumikatva: Inability to concentrate
9) Anavashitattva: Instability, slipping backwards from ground gained.
Sound familiar? Well, they should! Every spiritual seeker faces these obstacles. They verily define the spiritual path.
Initially, this sutra may seem daunting or discouraging to a practitioner. It can be a source of great comfort though. Remember, this sutra was written over 2,000 years ago. This means that yogis faced the same inner struggles during Maharishi Patanjali’s time as we face today. They come from within the human mind and are an integral part of the spiritual path.
Studying, acknowledging, understanding, and expecting these obstacles build confidence in the path and ourselves. If we expect the spiritual path to be smooth, what will happen when problems arise? We will think we’re doing something wrong and stop. But if we understand that they are an essential part of the path, it will be easier to continue practicing even when they come up.
No matter what our goal in life is, these nine obstacles will be faced. If we aim for enlightenment, if we want to practice yoga every day for a year, or get a PhD, or even bake a cake, obstacles come up. The greater the goal is, the greater the challenges are to get there.
So, how do we deal with them? How do we overcome obstacles?
First of all, we must understand that, essentially, the obstacles are not the problem. The problem is how we react and respond to the obstacles. When they come up, most people use them as an excuse to stop practicing.
Let’s say I’m sitting for bhajans, devotional singing, and don’t feel any enthusiasm, so I get up and leave the hall. Was the problem my lack of devotion? No—the problem was my running away from it. Or I’m doing my seva, selfless service, and I feel lazy, so I stop early and go back to my room. What went wrong? It’s totally normal to feel lazy. Actually, the seva is meant to help me move through the laziness. Or, what if I’m sitting for meditation and I can’t get any concentration, then how do I deal with this?
We have to have faith in the importance of effort. Sometimes the practices are sweet and we do feel devotion or concentration. But more often than not, these obstacles are present. Luckily, the main purpose of spiritual practices is to make us aware of the mind. In this way, even when there are obstacles, our efforts can benefit us.
Amma says: “If you take just one step towards God, God will take 100 steps towards you.” So, if I think I need concentration to meditate, then I probably will not practice very much. I have to expect dry periods. In order to not let these obstacles throw me off the path, I have to have faith in the importance of effort.
Sometimes Amma talks about the value of having love for the goal. Having love for and focus on the destination helps overcome all the difficulties that arise on the journey.
It is important to study the obstacles in order to become aware of them. Then, when they come up, we can recognize, “Ok, here is doubt. Here is desire for sense objects. Here is slipping backwards. I knew this would happen. Now, I’ll keep going.”
Just as the waves in the ocean will never subside so that we can take a swim, we cannot wait for the obstacles to cease before we dive forwards. Expecting the obstacles, having awareness, making effort, and keeping focus and love for our target are the ways to move through them.
As Henry Ford once said, “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal.”
Author: Devapriya Jessicah Marks
Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Breathing in, I dwell in the present moment.
Breathing out, I know it is a wonderful moment.
Breathing in, I know I am breathing in.
Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.
Breathing in, my breath grows deep.
Breathing out, my breath goes slowly.
Aware of my body, I breathe in.
Relaxing my body, I breathe out.
Calming my body, I breathe in.
Caring for my body, I breathe out.
Smiling to my body, I breathe in.
Easing my body, I breathe out.
Releasing the tensions in my body, I breathe out.
Feeling joy, I breathe in.
Feeling happy, I breathe out.
Dwelling in the present moment, I breathe in.
Aware of my stable posture, I breathe in.
Enjoying stability, I breathe out.
Breathing in, I know I am breathing in.
Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.
Breathing in, my breath grows deep.
Breathing out, my breath goes slowly.
Breathing in, I feel calm.
Breathing out, I feel ease.
Breathing in, I smile.
Breathing out, I release.
Dwelling in the present moment.
I know it is a wonderful moment.
Full Worm Moon
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.