2015

3 Steps to Delicious Success in Candidasa

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STEP 1: Befriend Peng, a local Balinese fisherman.
STEP 2: Get invited to his house to meet his family.
STEP 3: Stay for an epic BBQ fish dinner!
… and now back on the road, bound for Amed on the north east tip of Bali to scuba dive some WW2 wrecks!

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Dream Worlds at a Small Ashram on the Balinese Coast

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I spent Christmas reading Osho’s concepts on Joy (update: he has some good insights …even if he went a little off the rails in the end!), meditating on the theme of acceptance and doing various types of yoga. I’ve also been dream journaling and it’s been fascinating to witness my subconscious create scenarios for me to practice some new skills. Last night I had a very vivid conversation with a family member with whom I’ve had a tense relationship in the past. In the dream I was able to employ both breathwork and affirmations to remain calm amid their emotional volatility. How useful is that?! I have also been playing with creativity in my dreams and recently had a lucid dream *within* another dream in which I assembled and flew drones, chasing my friend Dustin around a warehouse 🙂 I also had an unexpected moment of connection which started with a vivid dream about India, full of color and texture. The next morning I started a new book by OSHO and the first part I read was about his ashram in India. When I brought this up over breakfast later that morning, two people eating right next to me had actually been there! Coincidence? Or maybe a sign that I’ll be thing to India sometime soon! Meanwhile, here’s a dreamy picture of my bungalow at the ashram: accommodation, 3 meals a day, tea coffee and snacks plus daily yoga for $35USD/night. Maybe this is a dream too!

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Holidays at the Gedong Gandhi Ashram in Candidasa

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Sending holiday love from the small town of Candidasa on the north east coast of Bali. Candidasa is home to the Gedong Gandhi ashram, which is spread across a thin slice of land in between a lagoon full of lily pads and lotus lotus flowers, and a clear calm ocean. Can you spot the distant island off the coast? My bungalow is just to the right of that 🙂 The Hindu-centric ashram is run by a wonderful family that prepares all the meals, and there is daily ceremony, yoga and a library full of amazing books. I just checked out Osho’s musings on joy which should make for some solid holiday reading. May peace and joy be to you all, wherever you may be!

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Going Deep at the Bali Silent Retreat

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So this is my modest room at the Bali Silent Retreat for the next few days. It comes equipped with a small bed, wooden chair and a large screen which shows the Jungle Channel 24/7. With a daily schedule of yoga, meditation, healthy food and plenty of time for reading, writing and self reflection I have no doubt it will be a very beneficial experience and a good opportunity to focus on increasingly subtle habits and behavior patterns. I’m currently going deep on the topic of self love, something that might well be the number one most important thing we can master but that many of us still find elusive. This inability to truly love and accept ourselves causes all sorts of misery for ourselves and others so I am grateful to have had the book “You Can Heal You’re Life” by Louise Hay recommended to me. So far it’s been a fascinating insight into all sorts of unhelpful stories, beliefs and assumptions that we have about ourselves and the world around us, as well as strategies for how to create upgraded, healthier stories that actually benefit us. After all if I am truly taken care of, then my ability to be of service in this world increases dramatically. And that is a cycle that feels great for all involved 🙂 OK, phone off! See you on the other side.

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Scooter Rented… Hitting the Roads of Bali

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Scooter rented, hitting the road! I’m incredibly reluctant to leave the paradise that I found in Ubud but for the next two weeks I’m traveling light, exploring the mind / body / soul offerings of Bali. A couple of sets of clothes, swimsuit, basic toiletries, smartphone, tablet, Bluetooth speaker and a thin yoga mat is all that I’ve packed. The lighter the better 🙂 I’ll be living at a silent meditation retreat for a few days and then for the holidays I have volunteered my new yoga teacher skills at a Hindu ashram on the east coast of the island. Traveling by scooter is a little white-knuckling but incredibly exhilarating, zipping through rice paddies and small towns, all while avoiding stray dogs and pot holes. In one ear I listen for hazards and in the other, GPS directions from Google Maps (thanks to an unlocked smart phone with a cheap local data plan) help me find my way through the organic mesh of roads and alleys. Occasionally (life’s) roads dead end or no longer exist at all but inevitably there’s a way around and we get to where we’re going…

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Meditations on How to Deal with Anxiety

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I’m happy to have just completed Day 30 of Headspace.com ‘s anxiety themed meditation challenge. I never thought of myself as anxious until I stopped doing all my regular activities and just observed myself over an extended period of time. Again and again I kept wanting to distract myself with a creative project, old (often unhealthy) habit or environment change just to avoid feeling a persistent underlying anxiety. Fascinating discovery! The key take away of the 30 days is being able to label your thoughts/feelings as they arise in the following way…

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Mind Blowing Bali

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Bali is blowing my mind. I’m staying in Ubud and it feels like a mix of Thailand’s friendliness and ease of travel, India’s devotional Hindu culture and Japanese cleanliness and attention to detail. Amazing! This is the hand carved front door of my apartment which includes hot water, AC and breakfast for $20 a night. And there’s also a pool 🙂 It’s going to be hard to leave but I’m renting a scooter tomorrow and headed out on a mind/body/spirit treasure hunt around the island’s temples, retreats and ashrams for the rest of the month. Who knows what I’ll find out there / in here!

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Yoga Teacher Training – Graduation!

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After a rigorous month of emotional, physical and spiritual boot camp I officially graduated yoga teacher training TODAY! There were many brilliant highs as well as some soul-wrenching lows but through all of it a new and improved version of myself has been born. This latest version comes equipped with increased patience, compassion, acceptance and gratitude for myself and others. Also some awesome new flexibility, and much more to come! My final exam included teaching a class to my fellow students. The theme for my class was “Lunch break at a coworking space” 🙂 I put on some great tunes, got the bodies moving and grooving and rocked it! While I’m extremely proud of my accomplishment it is also very clear that there are still a lot of work ahead along my path of self discovery. Rather than feel disheartened or intimidated as I sometimes used to, I’m more ready than ever to face anything that comes my way. Bring it on, Universe! 

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Week 4 of Yoga Teacher Training – Almost There!

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I’m wrapping up the 4th week (of 5) of this unbelievable yoga training experience. All of my joints are aching as my bones are literally realigning in my body. Besides being the most physically demanding thing that I’ve ever undertaken it’s also been a deeply profound opportunity to rethink how I see myself, others and the world around me. My gratitude grows more deeply every day for all aspects of this human experience and the lessons each has to teach. Especially the tough stuff 🙂 I’m not sure where my next stop will be but wherever I go I’m excited to continue reuniting my mind with my body. I might stick around this magical island for the foreseeable future. Or not. I’ll make the decision next week. For now it’s the good life of amazing food, happy people, healthy activities, fresh fruit shakes and massages. And it’s all dirt cheap. Did I mention the $10 massages? So why leave so soon?

In other news Mark Steven Roemer and I MCd the local bars open mic night a few nights ago. We intro’d about 15 different acts and threw in some of or own skits such as announcements from the hotel’s spa (chakra waxing, 432hz sonic colonics, Thai chili steam room and jelly fish plunge, becoming your highest Alphalpha male workshop, communing with nature at the mosquito meditation and of course the world famous deep issue massage.) Roemer also channelled his sassy southern homegirl Deciduous for dream interpreting and I unveiled D.Lux, my inner transformational hip hop freestyle poet. A beautifully bizarre memory indeed.

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Thai Taxi Boats at Sunset

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I’m now into week 3 (of 5) of yoga teacher training. Last week was a tough one, my body ached and willpower was weak… but I pulled through by offering myself some much needed self compassion ?It was our day off yesterday so I went scuba diving at Sail Rock near Koh Tao. It’s little more than what looks like a small boulder but is really the peak of a large underwater rocky upcrop surrounded by little else. It’s for this reason many fish converge around it. At one point I broke through a wall of large silver fish into the vortex of thousands of fish swirling all around me. It was a beautiful moment in which I thought about what individuals can achieve when they collaborate 🙂

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