Past Lives

Narasimha

 

One who knows that the position reached by the means of analytical study can also be attained by devotional service, and who therefor sees analytical study and devotional service to be on the same level, sees things as they are. — (5:5) Bhagavad Gita

Cleanses make you do funny things, like look back at all your past lives and go, “Ok, what should I learn from this experience?” or even just your past from this life and ask the very same question. It has been a bit rocky, to say the least. Having all this anger and fear come up, trying to let go of things that I NEVER had control of in the first place, disassociating feelings with situations going on now that I saw in the past, and the list goes on and on and on…

Well I am going to tell you about one of my past lives that I feel is a bit important especially now. Since I was very little, I had reoccurring dreams about being a man. I didn’t speak English and it sounded very similar to Hindi, but I was able to understand everything. I would talk to groups of people and they would listen to me and ask me questions about life. I remember practicing yoga and waking up early to do my devotions; mantras and I would meditate. I even remember meditating once and I was able to levitate and when I woke up I said, “I remember how to do that!” and so I did exactly what I did in my dream. I scared my self a little bit doing so, but hey, it happens.

Some of you are probably going to say that I was just around some Hindus and I picked up on a few things and I let my imagination run wild. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I grew up in a VERY white bread community and didn’t know anything about that stuff at all. I wasn’t ever exposed to it. I just gravitated towards it as I got older and that is when I started putting pieces together. For awhile, I thought they were just dreams, till people started meeting me and telling me about said dreams that I NEVER told anyone about. “Oh, you were my guru in a past life.” “Do you remember levitating? You were an Ascended Master.” “Oh my God I found you again!” At first I was like O_o and asked, “How the hell do you know this shit?” but then I sat with it and continued to put pieces together. I figured with all the people telling me these things then I should PROBABLY look into it.

Last Summer, I had an experience where it all came full circle. I was with my best friend and my boyfriend at the time. We were doing a spiritual cleansing because I felt like I had some sort of attachment to me that was extremely old and really needed to go. My body was in dire pain, everything literally ached to my very core; even my hair hurt. I was trying to breathe through it, but whatever it was, it would not let go. I felt helpless, then all of a sudden I hear this voice boom into me and say, “Do these asanas.” And so I got up with no warning and started doing a series of yoga I had never done before. I heard mantras being sung in my head and all I did was breath deeply and continue until I heard the voice say, “That is enough for now.” The entire time, my body had this wave of warmth run through it and i felt like things were being rearranged. Once I stopped, I sat there in silence and just breathed. after about 10 mins or so, I opened my eyes and both of them looked a bit befuddled.

The next thing I heard was the word Kullu and I went, “hmmm…that sounds familiar. I wonder why?” so I did a search on my phone and BAM! It is a place in India and you know what else? There are devotees to Lord Narasimha there AND it lines up with all of my dreams, previous experiences and what just happened. So basically, I was like…”Oh my God, it all makes sense!!!” Since that point, I have had a lot more experiences and being able to remember things from that life time. I have come to the conclusion that who was talking to me was Narasimha and he stayed with me for about a week after and then just faded out.

So, why am I bring this up now? Well, like I said, cleanses make you reflect on things and I feel I needed to reflect and share this with all of you. I also have been doing comparisons between The Tibetan Book of the Dead and The Bhagavad Gita to help get me through some of these “emotional hangups” I have been having. I am trying to get myself out of this thought tunnel I have been stuck in for quite a bit. I know it is going to take time and lots of effort to do so, but I am fairly confidant I will be ok. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and anything really is possible. I hope you all enjoy and Namaste!

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Status Report

What I look like after 1 week of going vegan

What I look like after 1 week of going vegan

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.–Ernest Hemingway

So, I promised a status report and here you go! This is Day 8 of my vegan adventure and so far so good. I have gone through the cravings and lived, started to sleep better and have been inspired to organize my environment. Not to mention the motivation to actually want to move around and exercise. I have also successfully cooked a few vegan meals this week, started meditating and last but not least I have lost 5 lbs.

Yes, I have lost 5 lbs which in a week is amazing. I have not really changed my routine much except for sleeping deeper, drinking a little more water and being vegan. My yoga routines have not been very strenuous so it is not like I am exerting more energy than normal either. My guess is some of it was water weight. I am not as puffy looking as I was and I don’t have the little extra pudge underneath my chin that plagues oh so many people.

My dark circles are also going away, my skin isn’t as itchy as it was, I have more energy and I am also calmer. The biggest thing I had to deal with was craving sugar and caffeine, as well as the smell of dairy products (grilled cheeses still smell amazing might I add). Thankfully fruit has helped alleviate this issue as well as cacao nibs with coconut milk. It’s a lot better for you than plain old hot chocolate and it tastes just as yummy I might add. As for cheese, well I have just had to grin and bare it.

This next week I am planning on cooking more, upping my exercise and yoga routine, and trying to go to bed earlier. Not to mention making meals ahead so I can take them with me to work so I don’t have to rely on peanut butter all the time. Oh, here is a note. DO NOT BUY NONDAIRY SPREAD FROM TRADER JOES!!!!! I really wanted cream cheese for bagels so I thought it was a good idea…no. It’s awful and tastes like watery sadness with a bitter taste. If you really need a cream cheese substitute, buy Tofuti. I know that it’s at my local Whole Foods and comes in a few flavors. My favorite is the onion.

Also, on another note, when you ask a server if you can get something made without butter or dairy in The South, you get very strange looks. I went out with a good friend of mine to a fairly nice restaurant here in Winston Salem. I ordered a portobello wrap and a side of sweet potato fries. I asked them to not use butter with the veggies and not to add cheese. The waiter got a glazed look on his face, then our food took forever for it to come out and then to top it all off, they brought me a big blob of butter on my plate to go with my fries. WHO IN GODS NAME WANTS CINNAMON BUTTER ON SWEET POTATO FRIES?!?!?! And at the very end, he even asked if I wanted dessert. I was quite irritated. Needless to say I will not be eating there again. This is why I like Mediterranean and Asian food. I do not have to worry about butter for the most part.

So, that is what is up for now, I will have another status report next week. I hope you all enjoy and namaste!

Moving with Purpose

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So, today I woke up with the urge to “exercise”.  Now, I do practice yoga on a daily basis and that is a form of exercise in some sense, but this is more like a “I want to go run on a treadmill and lift weights” kind of feeling. It boggles my mind a bit to be honest. I don’t really like to run unless its in a game of soccer, so the fact that I even want to do so is a bit strange. However, I will be honoring what my body is asking of me. If it wants me to run, then by golly I am going to do so!

Too often we ignore what our inner voice is telling us to do. This can be through cravings and feeding ourselves the wrong food, ignoring the need for movement and becoming a couch potato, drinking in excess after getting to the point where our body is telling us to stop, or even not speaking up in a conversation where you feel it is important for your feelings to be heard. We have been taught that we should have self control, not speak out of turn, not to break tradition and generally don’t rock the boat. Sometimes though rules ARE meant to be broken. We are moving from an “industrial society” into a more liberal one. More people are able to communicate their feelings and thoughts in this age of technology. We don’t have to rely on getting our news just from word of mouth, one news paper or what our preacher told us. All we have to do is go to any number of bookstores or libraries or even just look at the internet and do our own research.

This is wonderful, but also incredibly scary at the same time. Do we choose to stay with tradition and rely on what our forefathers have done, or do we break out into this new world and become a independent being? Most of the time, we just stay quite and try not to step on any toes instead of listening to that inner voice that’s telling you to bust out of your rut and be the amazing being that you are. We don’t want to step out into the unfamiliar and then get burned. Taking chances are wrong and we just need to stay the course and hope for the best. Well, this is where the “moving with purpose” comes in.

Take the time to examine your day to day routine. Are you repeating the same thing over and over again and not branching out into new territory? Have you become a creature of habit? Do you feel like you are lacking in some areas and not feeling whole? Do you eat the same general things all the time? When is the last time you tried something new or went on vacation? All of these things are important for our general health. It doesn’t just relate to keeping active,  but also to our inner well-being. So, try something new!

Instead of sitting down all day, make an effort to walk more. Change up your exercise routine and maybe try a different class. Read an author you’re not quite familiar with and expand your perspectives. Talk to that person you see all the time at the coffee shop. Try a new recipe or a restaurant you’ve never been to before. Just listen to what your inner voice is telling you to do.

“But Michelle, what if I can’t hear my inner voice? I have a disconnect with my heart and my brain. They don’t speak to one another.” Well, my best advice is to sit and listen instead of clouding your thoughts with random noise of everyday life. This means TV, cellphones, computers, video games, and the like. Sit in a comfortable place in a quite room and just listen. Breath deeply and slowly, and ask yourself what it is that you need. Eventually, you’ll start to hear what it is that your body wants. By slowing down, we are able to understand more. Thus, moving with purpose. If sitting isn’t your thing, then doing the same thing while taking a walk in nature will archive the same affects. The point is to move with purpose and not rush yourself.

So, now I am going to go strap on my running shoes and hit the gym. I am thinking this will be a regular thing from now on. I am going to shoot for 3 days a week and the rest of the time I will still be doing my daily practice. What will you do that is new today?

“It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.”–Buddha 

The Vegan Supper

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So, in short I love to cook. It is one of my favorite things to do, especially when I get to cook for others. The way their faces light up when they eat the goodies I have made just makes me beam with joy and thankfulness. However, with becoming vegan it has been interesting when it comes to food. The normal things I would reach for on a daily basis are now off limits. Cheese in salads to give it that extra kick, cream in soups to make it velvety, some bacon to go with the collard greens to make them smoky, you get the idea.

This is the first vegan meal I have really cooked in awhile. I have been too busy to really “cook” this week so I have just picked up things at local places and made salads. Tonight, however, I made something amazing! Stir-fried veggies with an orange turmeric sauce, black rice and coconut flakes. It was quite spicy, totally unintended but delicious. Most of my food has an Asian/ Indian inspiration to it. I cook lots of different dishes, but most of the time I am making Thai or something along those lines.

I also don’t really follow recipes unless I have to. This was one of those “hmmm, what do i have in my kitchen” kind of days and I am quite pleased with myself. So, here is the “recipe” if you would like to try it out.

  1. Chop up a cup or 2 of preferred vegetables of choice. In a pan on medium heat, toss vegetables in a tbsp of oil of choice and cook for a few mins.
  2. Squeeze the juice of one orange into pan, add a pinch of turmeric powder, 2 dashes of Hungarian paprika, and add salt and pepper to taste. Then add in a pinch of sugar (or sweetener of choice) and a tbsp of soy sauce (or liquid aminos, that’s what i used). cook till tender and sauce has reduced.
  3. In another pan, cook your gain of choice with a little sesame oil, salt and pepper till done (Quinoa would be great as well if you aren’t a fan of rice).
  4. Place a serving of grains in bowl as well as your stir-fry on top. Top with coconut flakes or another nut of choice. Then eat!

Simple as pie. 🙂 I used cucumber, spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms. You could also add a little seaweed here for extra yumminess! Be creative, enjoy cooking your food as much as you would eating it. After all, love is always the secret ingredient. That’s why grandmas food always tastes so good! I hope you all enjoy and are inspired to be contagious in your cooking. Enjoy!

Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship. –Buddha

Mindfulness

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Yes, that is me doing yoga. I have been practicing yoga on and off since I was 16. My first exposure to yoga was in an article from my Seventeen Magazine where it was talking about having a Spa Day and they incorporated yoga moves in it to help relax and rejuvenate you. I think I was 12 at the time and completely fascinated by this exotic approach to calmness. So, I researched, read books and started coming into this world of yoga.

Needless to say, my classmates thought I was nuts; but at that time in my life more people were concerned about being popular, Britney Spears, and who had Adidas “shell toes” than some weird way to contort yourself from India. I have always been the odd one in the bunch, more concerned with worldly things than most. It’s not a bad thing, but the teasing and tormenting wasn’t fun to say the least. I would do “stretches” in gym, and the rude comments would abound. “Close your legs! You look like you are in missionary position! Why are you doing that, you look ridiculous!” Ignoring them didn’t help either for that matter…I even had a teacher tell me I needed to stop what I was doing because I was “being disruptive in class”. Now, if that isn’t ignorance then I don’t know what is! 

At that time though, yoga was mysterious and new to most of the United States. It was what hippies did and people in Portland, Oregon. And as it’s popularity grew, so did my interest. Investing in books, trying to develop a daily practice, reading works about Hinduism and Buddhism, and just generally expanding my world from the small town existence I had been living.

Looking back on those moments at the age of 23, I can see why people said what they did and acted so hatefully. At a young age, anything different is “wrong” because it is not like you. This is why children tease each other, because if someone is not like them then they are “not cool” or “weird” or “bad”. It’s a product of fear in our society, if they are not with us then they are against us! Or so the saying goes… Sometimes the best way to deal with things is to forgive and forget. Honestly, it is kind of hard for me to forget some of the things I had to go through growing up, but it has made me stronger.

So, where does the “mindfulness” come into this? Well, as I have been on this diet I have had a lot of emotions come up that I didn’t really know were there in the first place. To deal with them I have meditated, practiced certain asana’s, read through a few of my favorite books and pondered old thoughts. All those memories that I was holding onto begrudgingly, all the people I let control me, and all the things I let bother me I have decided to let go of. It’s a lot of work to be honest…It’s easier to hold onto things and cling for dear life than to let go of them. Why? Because it’s safe. Yes, most of us would rather be comfortable in misery than to start fresh and be scared out of our minds.

I am scared, I honestly am and I am OK with that. I now have found others who are supportive in my endeavors and love me just the way I am. They want to see me happy and to secede in life, and they are quite fine with my perspective. They don’t all think the same way as I do, but that is good because it is nice to get a fresh perspective on life sometimes.

So, here goes nothing: For all the people that I scared silly growing up because I was not like you, I forgive you. I hope that you all are successful in your paths that life has given you and find happiness, love and light. I don’t know if you read my posts I put up here, or ever will, but just know that I do mean this with all my heart. You are a fantastic being and have so much to offer the world, so don’t dim your light and just shine so that others may see it and you too can brighten others as well. You are your own worse critique, so don’t beat yourself up over old meaningless things. Just be your best self, that’s all anyone can ask for.

So, here is what I as of you my readers. Think of all the things you are holding on to. Ask yourself, “Why does this bother me, hurt me, or scare me? Why am I holding onto this? Will it matter in five years? Is this holding me back from being my best self? Does this serve me for the greatest good?” and then let it go. Make a list, write a letter to someone who hurt your feelings and not send it, pray for them, do whatever you feel you need to do to let things go. We have a choice. We can let things define us or refine us. The refining part is hard, you can’t give up on it. It has its ups and downs, but in the end it is always the best way to go.

I will leave you all with a quote from the Bhagavad Gita, Namaste.

Governing sense, mind and intellect, intent on liberation, free from desire, fear and anger, the sage is forever free.