Tag Archives: Oprah

Breaking Through Resistance

machureversenamaste

Resistance is a “Force of Nature”, a Universal Law, like gravity, according to author Steven Pressfield. In his book, The War of Art, he explains how resistance appears to everyone through fear, procrastination, distraction, anxiety, thoughts of not being worthy or good enough, etc. Steven writes that we all have our own unique creative genius, but this force called resistance often keeps us from expressing it. It’s the force that keeps us from changing careers, running a marathon, writing our novel, starting a business, even falling in love.

Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday replayed her 2013 interview with Steven this week, as his 15th novel, The Knowledge, hits book stores. Clearly, Steven is not slowing down or  giving in to resistance. Here is what he has learned in the 40+ years of tackling this force:

Resistance is strongest as we approach the precipice of our dreams, or are on the verge of growing spiritually closer to the highest version of ourselves. Watch this amazing short video clip as Steven describes “The Six Things We Resist Most in Life.”  

If this clip doesn’t launch, here is the quick list of where resistance hits most:

  1. The launching of any entrepreneurial venture (profit or nonprofit).
  2. Any diet or health regime, especially an activity to tighten abdominals.
  3. Any program of spiritual advancement.
  4. Any program to overcome an unwholesome habit or addiction.
  5. Education of any kind, even in the endeavor to help others.
  6.  Any act that entails commitment of the heart, such as the decision to get married, to have a child, to weather a rocky patch in a relationship. ANY movement away from petty EGO-based viewpoint to something more noble, “to be generous, to be kind, to be open to love,” according to Steven, attracts much resistance.

To me, resistance is very much like the law of hiking long distances. If you’ve ever hiked for days with only a compass and a topo map, you know this law. The hike will be at its most treacherous point: raining, fog, encounters with wild animals, etc. a few moments before you find your way, or make the clearing that lights your path. That’s Resistance to me. And it requires that we just keep going. We just keep doing what we are meant to do to grow, to evolve spiritually, to embody love, to create art, to fulfill a goal; any goal.

Those dreams that are the dearest to us ignite the loudest resistance due to this Universal Law. The good news is that since resistance is a force of nature, that means the voices in our heads saying we are not enough: ARE NOT US. They do not represent our souls, our highest selves. Resistance is an outside force must be pushed through, faced, in order to rise to a higher level of being, a higher level of consciousness, to LIVE our Purpose. To face resistance, we just simply have to “put our ass where our hearts want to be,” as Steven puts it, meaning, just do it. If you want to write, write. If you want to love someone, push aside your EGO and just love him or her. If you want to start a company, keep taking baby steps and start it. If you don’t know what you want to do, just meditate and start dreaming and exploring what you like in life without judgement. 

When I heard Steven Pressfield’s Super Soul Sunday interview, SO many bells went off.

Steven, who has written 15 books, as well as screenplays, said he, too, felt resistance his whole life. It took him nearly 20 years before he began earning any money from his writing. It took many years before he allowed his writing to be his vocation rather than his avocation—meaning before he just started writing every damn day. It required a shift in thinking. A push through resistance. He had to mentally embrace that he was a professional writer and each morning just go to his desk and sit his ass where his heart wanted to be. Once he started writing, all fear vanished as he entered the Universal flow of being exactly where he was supposed to be to create art, to be a conduit of something greater than himself. If you’ve ever lost yourself in creating something, you know what that feels like. Time floats by. You are so in the zone. You forget yourself, your troubles, time, and you focus on being a conduit of creation. It’s a dreamy state to be in.

I could so relate. Listening to this interview last night, I realized that I had major resistance to push through. I hadn’t written a word in my next novel since May. In early May I had flown my mother-in-law in town to watch the boys and I spent a week away writing every day. I had accomplished so much. Then my mom died. I returned on my birthday at the end of May, with summer approaching, I allowed myself to focus on my boys; their activities, and earning as much money as I could via journalism articles and teaching yoga. But at the end of the day, it was resistance in the form of distraction, fear, the need to be the perfect mom, the need to prove that I can take care of myself financially, the need to not feel, as I was filled with grief that I couldn’t allow out.

“Resistance is the highest as we come closest to manifesting our purpose.” It’s so true.

Last night, in a quiet house, with the boys in London, I picked up Between Thoughts of You, my latest novel, and started writing. Soon as I was back in the zone again.

If you are encountering resistance, just do the thing you fear. Just do it, without thinking too much about it.

Steven says resistance occurs whenever we are close to evolving in any way. So we resist allowing love in. We resist committing to marriage. We resist being compassionate, kind and giving when it means a friendship will deepen into something meaningful. We pause after we commit to starting a new career. We allow ourselves to get stuck. Why? Because that means we would evolve into the person we ultimately already are. We would reflect our highest self. Resistance is a force of nature that occurs as we approach this significant step onto the path of our growth.

Just do it. Sit at the chair and write. Sit by the easel and paint. Call the girl. Show up. Keep going. Cook that souffle. Take a class. Go on the interview. What do you have to lose?

Love & Light ~

Laura xo

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Wisdom about LOVE from an 105 Yr Old

We need to ask, not what we can get or what we need or when is the next break happening, but instead, to ask “what can we give?” And we also need to remember that it’s God’s plan “for us to give” so we need to listen to God, 105-year-old Edythe Kirchmaier explains in a video shot for Oprah’s SuperSoulSunday.

“God is like a voice in my heart. We need to learn that the voice is trying to lead us in the right way,” she adds, striking such a cord in my heart. When I heard her say that, I felt like I knew EXACTLY what she spoke of.

To get still and listen to the voice within is what connects me to you, and keeps me open and less judgmental and more forgiving. I love this woman so much. She reminds me of my mother a bit, who was a social worker and volunteer for as long as she was able. 105-year-old Edythe also reminds me of the four  88-year-old yogis I teach each week who all still volunteer and give back in multiple ways to their community, church, neighbors and friends. A body in motion stays in motion right? And it’s better to stay in motion like a dance with others—to lean on sometimes and to support at other times— rather than maroon on an island of isolation when life is difficult. All these wise women remind me, especially when times are hard, to find comfort in stillness and to  listen to the vulnerable wide-open heart that whispers truth and seeks hope and love in others. Then it’s so much easier to say thank you every day for all that I have, before turning my attention to help someone in need.

“Sometimes we are slow learners,” says Edythe. “I think if we could just love one another, there would be less pain, less fighting, more harmony.”

Watch this beautiful video and I dare you not to cry. 🙂

Off to teach my Wed. night class. Sending you lots Love!

Laura XO

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The Science Behind Sanskara

Photo on 2015-06-04 at 10.56 #2

When one carries years of regret, shame, guilt, resentment, pain within, it leaves a watermark, an imprint, on the mind and soul, resulting in a variety of behaviors and karmic experiences. It requires a burning off of all the embedded pain in order to heal. One must remember, if possible, and feel the painful experiences in order to let them go. Writing or talking isn’t enough, that’s intellectual. It takes a burning off physically and emotionally. In Sanskrit this is called Sanskara ( संस्कार). In Hindu and Jain communities Samskara (or Sanskara as most in the West know it) is described in ancient Sanskrit texts as a rite of passage. This is our journey in every lifetime. We must learn to burn off layers of pain lodged deep within the body through movement, through breath, through meditation. And then we become love again. We are stripped down to our original pure state when we were born. We strive to become the embodiment of Universal love, as nothing more is left but that. All the veils are lifted. No more self doubt, self criticism, negative programming from childhood, scars. It’s all gone. So we are now free to let go and live love. Forgiveness, joy flow through us and ripple outward lifting others and attracting others on this journey.  And of course, we are human, so to live in love can sometimes be difficult. So Sanskara may never completely end. We burn off ancient wounds (from this lifetime and others) and as we experience more loss, we continue with this burning off process. But once we learn how to do this and have burned off the oldest, deepest wounds, it becomes easier each time to accept, surrender and let go with love.

Letting go of pain and feeling love again for yourself (the Divine within you) and everyone around you—including your ‘teachers’ whom must be forgiven and thanked for the lessons learned—is transformative.

Yogis know this.

We flow. We sweat. We find a position that stretches us to our limits, like pigeon pose that opens the hips, and then we sit in the stillness accepting what is, allowing the Universe to flow through our hearts and minds to help us get through the powerful ‘sensations’ now burning within our hips. And sometimes the fascia (connective tissue that surrounds or binds or separates muscles, organs and other soft structures of the body) releases and opens. And then a powerful emotional memory may appear in our mind and heart. We don’t just remember something. We are, for a moment, there again, feeling it all. While we lay on our mats, tears may roll down our cheeks and love fills our hearts as we comfort ourselves—our younger selves who need to let go of the loss of a loved one, or pain that someone once caused us, yet we refused to deal with. I know I stuffed many experiences, frightening memories and abuse deeply—or pretended that I had intellectually mastered a loss or a painful experience that I was too afraid, or too young, to know how to heal from.

It’s hard to explain if you haven’t experienced this. But once you do, you will not question that our bodies hold our pain, our regret, our shame, our guilt. It lodges into our connective tissues and we age faster, we spiral into injury, we form bad posture and we are more susceptible to a host of dis-eases that seems to mirror our embedded beliefs and pain and negative thinking. Yoga helps us heal and let go and find love, truth and worth for ourselves, while attracting and receiving love from others. And as we physically begin to heal, we also physically appear younger, feel more youthful, joyful, energetic, vibrant.

I’ve felt this for a few years as a yoga teacher, yet was thrilled to hear Dartmouth Medical School graduate, Christiane Northrup MD, a well-respected board-certified obstetrician and best-selling author of books such as Goddesses Never Age, confirm this.

In a recent interview with Oprah on her SuperSoul Sunday TV show, Dr. Northrup explained how scientists now measure and quantify the toil shame takes on our physical health via a hormone produced by shame that releases a toxic inflammatory chemical into our body. Aha! As Oprah would say. I knew it! Since a video of this entire interview isn’t available online, I transcribed part of it here for you:

On #SuperSoulSunday Oprah says: “Ok, this is a biggie: You say, shame can take a toil on physical well being, and that’s why SO many people age rather than just getting older because they are carrying all of this toxic stuff into-”

Dr. Northrup interjects: “OK, let me tell you what that is. Shame produces hormones of an inflammatory chemical called iL6.”

“What? They measured shame?” Oprah says, leaning forward in her chair. She continues excitedly, waving her finger in the air: “That is why when you carry all that stuff around, I’ve said this for years on all the shows I’ve ever done—that it lodges in your body and actually, physically does.”

Dr. Northrup interrupts: “This is interesting. Yes. And it (iL6) lives in the fascia of our body. The connective tissue. The fascia holds our belief system into place. So when you do yoga or when you do resistance flexibility, you are literally releasing that and getting a new life in the connective tissue of your body, which is where all the acupuncture meridians run.”

Oprah then tells a story about crying as a masseuse hits a spot that triggers a memory about an old boyfriend, She said she could feel herself re-living and letting go of the experience.

Dr. Northrup: “That’s why we have to use our bodies to be with our bodies.”

Oprah: “So that shame for not forgiving people or holding onto past grudges all of that’s in there.”

Dr. Northrup: “Oh yes. But what people need to know about forgiveness is releasing yourself from self entrapment. You gave them your self worth. You didn’t know, you were too young often. The little four-year-old girl who has been sexually abused, like hello, that’s not your problem. But the little kid thinks it’s her problem and she takes on the shame that the perpetrator should have been feeling, but didn’t. And then we hold it for them!”

Oprah: “I think little children do it for sure, but I’ve seen so many women who go through divorce and then just HOLD ON to what their marriage shoulda, coulda been. They are HOLDING ON and they are STILL mad at him. And their ex has gone on, has another wife, another family and they are holding on and they ARE STILL MAD!”

Both ladies laugh.

Oprah: “And it’s interesting because some of them actually look like they are shriveling in it. They gotta let it go.”

Dr. Northrup nods and adds: “Goddesses grieve and rage and move on. … What will keep you ageless is how you deal with loss. If you are carrying that on your back … It’s painful. But if you feel the pain, it’s the old adage, if you feel it, you can heal it. It’s not easy stuff.”

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Nope it’s not easy. But you know what is more difficult? Living within a hard, bitter, cynical shell that won’t allow light in, won’t allow love in. So feel the burn people. Let that shit GO. 

Until we meet again.

With Love & Light ~

Laura

Creating a Gossip-Free House

laughingbuddha

I decided over the weekend, inspired by Goldie Hawn (yes, Goldie!), to institute a new policy in my house. My home will be a safe, gossip-free zone. Wow. That’s an exciting concept. When I think about it, I’ve been on this path for a while. For years I’ve strived to create a safe, supportive space at home—especially for my boys. Since they were born I make them say ‘gratefuls’ every night. We also do ‘love bombs’ at the dinner table, which is hilarious as my boys have to say something they love about each other. (This has become especially hard for my cool teen!)

I’ve also become more conscious of energy and feng shui. (This is a cool article for feng shui decorating tips.) Three years ago one of my best friends gave me the Chinese coins pictured above. These are to protect from negative chi and bring in prosperity. The laughing Buddha card I have in my bathroom I bought for myself. He seems to say “Yeah! The Universe Has Your Back!” I wanted to raise vibrations, even before meeting Andy Dooley last month—THE vibration master, who inspired all us TUTers in Peru. (Click his name to go to his site. He’s an awesome life coach!) I read that the laughing Buddha inspires happiness, vitality and wealth. Cool beans.

 

For two years now I’ve had this Buddha quote posted on my fridge: “In the end, 3 things matter the most: 1. How deeply you loved. 2. How gently you lived. 3. How gracefully you let go of the things not meant for you.”

 

I even feng shui’d my bedroom…So…I thought my house was in positive order. But as I was reading Oprah’s book, What I Know For Sure, I realized that I have to practice what I preach to really create a positive and safe vibration at home. I often remind William, my oldest, to stay away from people who are gossiping at school. I tell him that if they will put other friends down, they will put him down too. Just walk away from that. But do I always follow my own advice? The answer, if I am brutally honest, is no. But awareness, self-compassion and an open heart can be a conduit to change. I’m ready!

In Oprah’s book What I Know For Sure, Oprah describes how Goldie Hawn created a safe house, a gossip-free home as part of her work with Words Can Heal, a national campaign to end verbal violence. Goldie asked her family to exchange words that belittle with words that uplift and encourage. I love the idea! Oprah’s powerful video really sheds light on how easy it is for women, especially, to hurt one another.

Now my fridge has another quote on it, placed underneath the picture of one of my yogi soul sisters Angie Hall ,who also has this on her fridge!

B4Uspeak

We all gossip sometimes. But I’m going to work hard not to. And every time I go to my fridge, and every time my son embarks on his midnight munchie raids, we will both be reminded of the power of the spoken word.

With that in mind, I’m challenging my yoga students this week to join me in creating gossip-free houses. It’ll be hard. I mean, how many of us watch TV and say things like: “What was SHE thinking?!” But as Oprah Winfrey says, gossip creates negativity in the house where you want to feel the most at ease.

Oprah also explains that gossip is poison. Whether you are a social columnist writing about wardrobe malfunctions and which celebrity is cheating—or whether you are a person in pain by a loved one’s actions or betrayals—it all boils down to the same thing. Gossip is a negative hex. It shows that the person engaging in it isn’t trusting and is not trust-worthy. It shows that the person engaging in it is insecure or can’t find the courage to speak to a person directly. (That’s my issue, a fear to speak up directly.) Or that he feels like a victim. Even if you don’t intend to cause another person harm when you gossip—say you are trying to garner advice over a hurtful situation—most of the time you will. Clearly if something is weighing on you terribly, talk with your therapist, priest or trusted friend.) But in most cases, I believe talking about others nearly always causes harm, most of all, to yourself/ myself. Maybe you can join me in pausing, even during a conversation, to ponder these four questions before speaking:

Is it Kind? Is it True? Does it Need to be said? Does it need to be said by Me?

And maybe you—and I—will become more mindfully conscious with our words.

Wouldn’t that be a beautiful thing?! ((( ❤ )))

Love & Light,

L. xoxo