yoga, life, love, travel

focusing your drishti

Drishti (IPA: [ d̪r̩ʂʈi ]; Sanskrit: दृष्टि; IAST:dṛṣṭi), or focused gaze, is a means for developing concentrated intention

Is there someone (a different ‘you’) that you believe you are supposed to be? Does this dream of who you want to be set your heart a-flutter? Do you think about being able to be this person, this authentic you, in the quiet moments when your heart can speak its truth? If you do, then my advice is to not let that idea of that person go. Keep hold of that dream, that desire for authenticity. Harness that feeling of living your truth and direct your drishti, your focus, to embodying this person, fully.

A drishti is called upon in yoga to direct the gaze or focus, usually between the eyebrows to the third eye, to help cultivate concentration and withdrawal of the senses for deep meditation. For the sake of this blog post, I will use the word drishti as a metaphor – as the intense, unwavering focus we can apply in our lives towards achieving and living out our dreams, our greater purpose, our true authentic selves.

Do you ever feel like you are working towards a greater purpose or are destined to be/become something more? And I don’t mean ‘being’ or ‘becoming’ someone superficially, like ‘being’ a state: better/happier/skinnier, or a title: dr/mrs/manager, nor do I mean it in terms of achieving material worth, money or status. I mean ‘being’ or ‘becoming’ in a deeper sense. Without the ego. Being more authentically you.

remember who you are

Ask yourselves, who do you want to be, truly?

This question might hit hard. You might not feel you can be your authentic self. Or you might not know; ‘How can I can be someone other that who I am now? Huh?’ If you don’t know yet, that’s totally fine. But I want to float the question in case there are those of you who believe that underneath the ‘person’ you present to the world is in fact someone else entirely, someone more you.

For those who have an inkling that there might be someone else, a you you really truly want to be, embody, and express, then I urge you to feel empowered to honour that person, that authentic you, and let them come into the world.

Does what you do in your life bring you joy and align you with who you really want to be? Or is there something else you’re not expressing, some other you that you’re keeping bottled up inside…

I have discovered over the last year and a half, thanks to my eye-opening travels, countless conversations with Lucas and hours of doing and breathing yoga, is that living here, living a life that nourishes me in mind, body and spirit, and in an enivornment where I can truly appreciate the beauty of the world is where I can live in my authenticity, practicing yoga and teaching yoga, too. But that wasn’t always the case. The ‘me’ that is now wasn’t even imaginable when I lived in London, no way Jose. I felt so disconnected from everything and was living all in the ‘I’, the ego.

That yoga would play such an integral part in unravelling this ‘authentic living’ I only realised about a year or so ago. Before then, yoga (asana) had just been something I liked to ‘do’ physically but it was during those quiet hours in practice that would allow me the connection to my authentic self. At the time I didn’t realise its significance and my drishti, my focus, was on something else entirely. I was all ego and all external. But over the last 18 months, the deeper I have dug within myself and asked myself what really makes me feel like ‘me’ and makes me feel more ‘whole,’ and the more I began to deepen my practice, the more I found clarity: yoga (union, the eight limbs) was part of who I wanted to be; it was tied to being able to fully express and live in my authenticity, and live a life that nourished me, and so it became the target of my metaphorical drishti.

My (loose) ‘focus’ previously had been climbing the career ladder in London, like most people’s are. I was blinded and numbed by the distractions of city life running at a hundred miles an hour, overloading my senses, which was definitely keeping me separated from any sort of authentic being.

My focus next moved onto travelling the world, quite a leap from corportate life to a life of leisure! It was from the toxic ego-driven city environment that I was slowly peeling off the layers, and inching off the shroud, that hid away who I really wanted to ‘be’ while unlearning those years of conditioning that had come part-and-parcel with living in today’s world.

Now, many of those layers have been shed (and some are still a work in progress) and my drishti is on point. There’s nothing to distract me from who I want to be. I already ‘am,’ I’ve become this person more than I’ve ever been. I am living the life that I want to and in it I am incomparibly happy. I am driven to stay aligned with this life, to supporting my authentic being, my authentic living through yoga. I practice yoga, I teach yoga, I live a ‘yogic’ lifestyle as best I can; we eat organic food, we live in the jungle and breath fresh jungle prana every day, and we are surrounded by a community which uplifts us and offers endless opportunities for growth. Here, and through yoga, I can find greater purpose while living a life I love and being my truest and best self.

Now, this isn’t to say that I am a mental off-grid, gluten-and-dairy-free, straight-edge vegan, t-total crazy person. Don’t be silly. My drishti is inclusive, not exclusive; it includes things like chocolate and wine. Who am I kidding, I’ll never give those up! It aims for balance with nourishment and challenge.

By living in inclusivity and not exclusivity allows me to keep a better and much larger perspective and keep an unwavering focus on the bigger picture developing in the background, on my authenticity and being the real me. I’ve learnt from my mistakes and I’ve binged on all the fun and bad things, squashing and silencing the the real me, blinded by overindulging on things to heighten or dull my senses, and it has thrown me off completely and, no surprise, that led to dissatisfaction, frustration and unhappiness in myself. And long term, what does that achieve? Instead, holding a steady gaze, keeping my drishti consistent while finding balance is a much better strategy.

side crow

So who is this person that, when you think about this ‘you,’ lights you up and makes you want to get out of bed every day and be that person? Be someone empowering. Someone who makes you feel whole, someone who you feel nourished by, fulfilled by. Then all you have to do is focus that drishti of yours on being this authentic you, all the time. Focus, focus, focus.

Again, I’m just sharing my experience; there’s no pressure to figure out this ‘you’ and direct your drishti one way or the other if you’re not ready or not sure of who you want to be, of if you have absolutely no idea about what I’m talking about. As I said, we’ve been conditioned to follow certain paths (careers, marriage, kids) and follow conventional rules set by society (job, house, pension), so digging deeper and listening to the little voice within telling you who you really want to be and what you really want to do might be a scary thing to do. Hey, it took me nearly 30 years to figure this out and still, who knows, in a few years’ time, my drishti might be pointing somewhere else and my ‘authenticity’ looking a whole lot different. But for now this is it and I welcome in change, too.

What I would like you to ask yourselves is what can you do to start becoming more true to yourself? Can you look outside your ego and into who you really want to be? Where can you direct your drishti to embody this truth? Honour that little voice that might have been silenced.

Allow yourself to start believing in the authentic you.

 

 

 

*Drishti definition by Wikipedia.

 

journalling

When I was younger I used to keep a diary. I remember it had bears on the cover and a padlock that I locked religiously to keep my brothers out. I used to write all sorts in there; which boy I fancied at the time, whose house I was sleeping over at – deep stuff – but also things I wanted to manifest, my deepest desires (usually to go out with the boy I fancied) and other wishes and goals important to a pre-pubescent.

I fell out of the habit of writing in my diary during my teens when I didn’t think it was ‘cool’ enough, I suppose. But what a shame.

It’s taken me a long time to get back into the habit of writing, personally, intimately, for noone else but myself. I write my blog, but that’s different, I’ve written for magazines, for my work, all for other people, but I found it hard to write for a reader closer to home: me.

For years I have noted down thoughts, inspirations, quotes, and intentions on my phone but putting pen to paper and striving for a consistent journalling practice, for some reason, was so much harder to do. I didn’t think it was important enough, I guess.

journalling

Recently, that’s changed and I’ve tried my hardest to make it a routine – surprisingly, it actually came quite easy. Now, I take the time, usually each night before bed or during a quiet moment in the hammock, to write. To release. Whatever comes out; stream of conscious, zero censor, verbal diarrhoea, to be crass. It’s not all gushy ‘Dear Diary’ dreaming, some days I’ll have nothing to say – as much as I try. Others I’ll surprise myself and write pages and pages at a time cramping up my hand. There are also days I’ll be more attuned to my emotions, deeper needs and higher Self; there are also days I feel uninspired and unmotivated and the only thing I can think to write about is what I had for dinner. But that’s ok. It’s the process of writing that’s the point – and sticking to it.

Journalling is cathartic. You’re releasing, no matter what you write. Some people even go back and make a habit of rereading their entries to chart their growth or changes in their life – not a habit I do, personally. And not for any reason in particular other than I don’t feel the need to. If I’ve released, I’ve released. But maybe I should. One day.

So my question to you is: when was the last time you wrote anything that wasn’t a shopping list or a to-do list? Did you have ‘Dear Diary’ days like I did as a kid? If you did, I challenge you to try and rekindle that habit of writing, of journalling, and to look within. If you didn’t, I still challenge you to try. Humour me.

I want to encourage you to start writing for yourself. About yourself. About what inspires you. What scares you. What ails you. Even if it feels like escapism rather than release, it doesn’t matter.

What you write doesn’t have to be an essay-length entry, just a few sentences at first. You can even start with what you did that day. Then move onto observing how you’re feeling. Maybe try putting into words your deepest desires, goals you want to manifest. Later, you can reflect on how you are moving forward to achieve these goals.

Allow your journalling to be a stream of conscious; an uninterrupted flow of words, thoughts. It’s ok for your mind to be on one track and then suddenly switch to another, like that game of lateral thinking. Just keep writing. And whatever you write be truthful. Write honestly. There’s no judgement between these pages. Use your journal as a place of 100% transparency. It’s only you who will be reading it – and maybe not even at that.

journalling on the bed

Once you start, you might find you enjoy journalling so much you keep your journal in your bag or take it out with you in case you feel called to write something down spontaneously. Even if you don’t have it with you when you need, jot your thoughts or inspirations down on your phone or a scrap of paper to remember for later. Sometimes if I’ve had a burst of inspiration I literally stop myself in my tracks and get out my phone to write it down then and there. If I don’t, I forget – the curse of a colander brain.

Your journal – physically – doesn’t have to be anything fancy. I bought mine (a bright yellow exercise book for school kids now water damaged from the beach) in the sale at the supermarket. Classy. It doesn’t have a padlock on it either, like it used to, and I no longer hide it away under my pillow or stuffed deep at the back of my drawer. Usually it’s lying open, pages to the sky, beside my side of the bed. [My boyfriend will never read it. That’s an unspoken rule.] You can get a fancy journal though if it helps you cultivate this ritual and a feeling of sacredness. Also, if you feel like you want to keep yours more private and secure then do whatever you need to do. What happens between you and your journal is your business.

Ok, then what? It might help to have a nice bath or enjoy a contemplative yoga practice or meditation beforehand. Next, sit down, open up a clean page and try muster up a few sentences. See how it goes, even if what comes out seems forced or a little twee at first – it doesn’t matter. Then, can you can dig a little deeper… What are you really feeling. Be honest.

Don’t be afraid to let your pen run away with you. And remember there’s no wrong answer.

You’re just doing this for you.

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Some questions to kick off your journalling practice:

  1. How did I feel today? (Or: How do I want to feel today?)
  2. How did I step out of my comfort zone? (Or: How can I?)
  3. What am I avoiding?
  4. What am I taking for granted?
  5. How can I grow?
  6. What can I let go of?
  7. How can I show more compassion (to self and others)?
  8. Who can I appreciate more?
  9. What did I learn from today/yesterday?
  10. What is my goal (short or long-term)?
  11. And if all else fails – What did I have for dinner?

[image credits]

the power of manifesting

 “You have the power to do anything if you put your mind to it”

How many times have we heard that? It’s on every ‘inspirational’ Instagram profile you’ll find. But it’s TRUE! The power of manifesting has proved itself time and time again, in my life certainly. But what’s not to be taken lightly is the hard bloody work that goes behind it all!

Manifesting your life is, actually, quite simple. If you want it badly enough – if you dream it, breathe it, envision it – then you can imagine it into existence. And I’m not the first one to claim this works. Just google Will Smith, Denzel Washington and Jim Carrey on the subject, they all claim the same and look at where they are.

I think I can pinpoint the pivotal moment that I knew I wanted to – and COULD – shake up my life in a big way; it was when I was backpacking around Australia at the end of 2015/start of 2016. I remember quite vividly the moment when I decided: “OK, I’m going to move to Australia. I think I need a change. I’ll make it work.”

the dream is real - the power of manifesting

From that moment on, a noticeable shift happened in me, inside. Suddenly I became consumed with this new reality. This new future. All my thoughts turned towards myself leaving my life in London, packing up, and starting a new chapter half way across the world, by myself. But the biggest realization was that I BELIEVED it would happen. I knew I had the power to manifest this dream.

In just 9 months from that ‘aha!’ moment I had spent every day working towards making my move to Australia a reality and had planned it all out until I was physically on that plane leaving Heathrow Terminal 3, bound for my new life.

I had quit my job and timed it so that the lease on my flat ended as I was to leave, and other than those two major things, thankfully I didn’t have many other loose ends to tie up – I was pretty much free to go. But I had kept it that way on purpose. Nothing was going to get in my way. It couldn’t. I’d already created a new life for myself (in my head). It just hadn’t started yet (for real).

During the 9 months I planned, and planned, and planned. And every waking hour I dreamed my new life into existence. I imagined where I would live, the friends I would have, the job I would work at. Literally, I was making it happen through the power of my mind – and of course with hours of work behind the scenes. I created Pinterest boards on places to go in Australia, connected with flatshare websites, I emailed recruiters in Sydney and had basically lined up interviews for when I arrived. I even planned my travel itinerary for South East Asia where I’d be stopping on the way. I dedicated my every spare moment to creating this future for myself.

make a plan - the power of manifesting

So many things fell into place in the months running up to my departure and when I think back, so many things aligned beforehand to make this new life possible, too: a big break-up released me from a life in which I was unhappy and that didn’t serve me anymore, and then a brief new relationship introduced me to travelling and being happy again and an insatiable taste of freedom. The powers and forces beyond were in my favour and I became so abundant and so filled with joy that everything then kept falling into alignment still, as I kept working towards my new life.

The manifestation of the life I envisioned in Sydney changed while I was in South East Asia, it morphed into something new as I changed the direction of my energy. I was now manifesting abundance to be able to keep travelling, to keep discovering more of the world, more of myself. I wasn’t ready to go to Sydney just yet. Or maybe ever. I had bigger and better things to manifest.

I then ended up manifesting love after meeting Lucas along the way. I started to dream and believe that we could last another month, and then a month after that, and then travelling to a new continent, and then starting a life together.

Since meeting in a hostel in the Philippines we’ve now travelled across 24 countries and 3 continents and have now settled in a beautiful jungle casita in Costa Rica. How did that happen – travel romances never work? Ours did. Of course there is something special in it (and it takes two to tango!) but perhaps it helped that I worked to manifest our life together, too. Knowing, deep down, that it wouldn’t end after a few months, that it would be more than a ‘travel fling.’ I worked hard at what I could give and to grow we had/have, as well as dreaming, believing, and trusting that it would work out.

The thing with manifesting anything is that it’s a bit like baking a cake. Once you have thrown your all into it – and I mean your ALL – you kind of have to let it be. Sit back and let it do its own thing. Trust the process. Trust the Universe. Don’t open that metaphorical oven otherwise your baking will lose its rise and will fall. And you don’t want that to happen.

Now, looking at where my life is compared to when I started manifesting change and more freedom back in 2016, when I believed I’d be in Sydney, it’s completely different.

passion - the power of manifesting

Since then I’ve set new goals, new dreams, that have since come into fruition. I wrote down some intentions for the end of last year to deepen my yoga practice and to design and live a life more inline with my core values, to live more consciously, attuned to the needs of my wellbeing and health, and more recently, to become a yoga teacher and teach before I’m 30. Well, I’m a few months off that milestone and I already have regular classes here in Puerto Viejo having completed my training in April.

Again, thanks to countless nights of going to bed dreaming it, imagining it, meditating on it, literally envisioning the classes I’d be sat in front of, writing out cues and class sequences in my head, I have manifested more dreams. And it goes without saying that it also included months of prep and hard work alongside. Remember, you have to dedicate ALL your efforts and energy to your dreams in order to manifest your goals. And they won’t just happen overnight.

When you start to dream it and believe it, you’ll also find that you start to attract abundance and opportunities that weren’t there before. Things will become available to you that weren’t previously there to help you on the path of manifesting your dream. The more you dream and believe it WILL happen, the more the Universe will provide and you’ll find yourself more than able to make it happen. It’s the law of attraction. What you don’t want are any negative thoughts creeping in there, or niggling doubts – which are hard to keep at bay all the time, and which are natural, of course. But do your best to banish anything that doesn’t support this process. Any habits, physical or mental, that don’t support this new life, this dream, let them go. Remember, if you can imagine it, you can realize it – so you don’t want to realize the negative or allow any barriers or obstacles to get in the way of this powerful process. You don’t want to manifest it not happening.

Dream it, Believe it, Achieve it. It’s my mantra. I’ve actually thought about getting it tattooed on my body I love it so much! Even when I journal before bed I often write it at the end of every day as I work towards manifesting new goals and new dreams, thinking of them as the last thing before I go to sleep. Maybe it’s a little superstitious but I feel that if I write them out, too, it will help towards the process.

buddha quote - the power of manifesting

You DO have the power to create the life you want, to play the hand of God for a bit. You have more control over the destiny of your life than you think. I believe fate is linked with energy, with effort, too. Everything you can imagine is already real. Your brain doesn’t actually know the difference between what is real and what is not; if you can imagine it, you can realize it. It’s science.

So go away and write a list of things you want to manifest. How do you want your life to look? What do you need to do to make it happen? What do you need to release and let go to aid the process? (Remember: it won’t happen overnight, it will take time but it WILL happen). Finally, when you’ve written your list, memorize it, ingest it and absorb it through every cell of your body. Perhaps even hold a little ceremony for your intentions under the New Moon.

Whatever you do: Breathe it, live it, dream it. Every ounce of energy in your body, send it towards manifesting this dream. Whatever it is. Whatever they are.

If you can dream it, if you can believe it, you CAN achieve it.

[If you can’t, I’ll give you a full refund.]