Materialist to Minimalist – How We Downsized

Two weeks ago we announced that we are selling it all, paying off all debts, and living life a little differently.  Since then, we have had a ton of questions about our decision and HOW we are actually doing the downsizing and purging.  I feel super qualified to talk about my journey into a minimalistic life since I came from such a materialistic one! Seriously, the girl who previously lived in my brain was a shopoholic maniac with an insatiable thirst for MORE and now I am here cleaning up her mistakes and erasing the credit card debt that accompanied them. Okay so in the sake of keeping this blog useful and not overflowing with junk, (like my closets a few weeks ago) here are the main 3 reasons WHY we are radically downsizing: To feel lighter.  I am experiencing this already!  It's like a new corner of my mind has even opened up to allow more creative and positive thoughts as more and more psychical junk clears out.  Items can weigh you down mentally, emotionally. To clear off debt. We are not ashamed to admit that we spent a lot of money over the last couple years and racked up some good ol' consumer debt!  But it just SITS there collecting interest, and the things we bought SIT there collecting dust… so something doesn't add up. To be more location independent.  Nothing says ‘stay home and go nowhere' quite like a huge mortgage payment. But HOW right?  Although we are minimalists with training wheels, and no two minimalists rules have to be the same, here is our playbook on how you can get started too! How We Downsized and Embraced Minimalism Step 1: We determined NEED vs WANT The hardest (but most crucial) part of downsizing is to identify what you NEED and what you WANT.  Trust me, I know how much a ‘WANT' can feel like a ‘NEED!' I have had many moments in my life where I NEEDED those shoes, that car, those blender attachments and that crop top with the tags still on it from 5 years ago. The first step on your journey will be to ask yourself when faced with any object: “Do I need this?” or better yet “Does this bring any value into my life now?  Does it serve me?” My socks where knocked RIGHT OFF when I discovered how many of my once treasured items and mistake purchases did NOT serve me or fulfill a need whatsoever.  I was merely holding them ‘in case'. In case of what? I wanted to open a professional garage sale of crap? Step 2: We just DID it. All of the following will mean diddly squat unless you just DO it.  It's so easy to say ‘next week, next month, next year' and that is exactly how we wound up with piles of crap surrounding us.  Just get er' done! Step 3: We started in the drawers. Or the closets. [...]

2018-06-14T20:01:23+00:00 By |

Eternity in an Hour

Following tragedy, any tragedy, eternity and mortality become close companions. Anyone who has been through trauma—any trauma, however defined—will understand how an hour, a minute, a day can seem like an instant or an eternity. In those moments we are lifted so far out of ourselves that time ceases to have meaning. Even in retrospect, those moments take on the outside-of-time quality that they first possessed. This time travel, if you will, is not a superhuman feat, and it’s not a phenomenon belonging solely to tragedy. Think of the best day of your life, think of the anticipation of that day. One flew by, the other dragged on interminably. Here’s the thing: we can cultivate this ability to time travel. Meditation gifts us with the ability to stay solely in the moment so that there is neither eternity nor fleeting flash of time passing. Everything is eternity; everything is a flash of time passing. The first time you sit down to meditate and the ten minutes, the hour, whatever, flies by as if you had just closed your eyes is an experience almost beyond belief. It hasn’t happened to me all that often (probably because I’m constantly trying to replicate it), but when it does, it reminds me so clearly and so sharply of my own mortality. The experience of time in and of itself is a crazy, exhilarating meeting of expansion and contraction, of assumption and perception. It’s what cues you into the idea that your reality is just one eternal moment which can stretch or snap, depending on where you put your attention. And here’s where it gets (even more) interesting. When you have this insight in meditation, you suddenly see both how fragile and how indestructible everything is—all at the same time. You are going to go on and go on and go on until you don’t. When you realize this, when you are aware of this aspect of mortality, then you become aware of how important your choices are. Tragedy teaches this, but meditation does it with less violence. Suddenly we wonder why we’re wasting our time with road rage, with people we don’t like, with people or situations that don’t support us. Why are we squandering even part of this eternal moment on backbiting, gossiping, boredom, or anger? Horrible, heartrending things are going to happen. But we don’t need to choose anger, frustration, hatred. We have the superhero-like ability to step back from the monkey mind, always swinging from branch to branch, and choose how to react to any situation. I can sit in traffic and I can allow anger to build, wasting all of this valuable life energy, or I can choose differently. I can choose where to put my focus. This eternal moment in which we spend our lives really does go all too quickly. Why do we choose misery? Why, when I get home, do I look around to see what chores are or aren’t done? Why [...]

2018-01-17T19:03:00+00:00 By |

The Importance of Getting Grounded: My Experience Using a Grounding Mat

I think we can all agree that in a world of digital EVERYTHING, it’s pretty easy to get disconnected from nature.  We move to big cities, depend on our phones for pretty much everything in our daily lives and spend a lot of our time on mainstream entertainment.  We have forgotten how important it is to ground ourselves every day to the Earth in order achieve and maintain optimal health. As an Ayurvedic, Sports and Holistic Nutritionist and Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda Author, health is of upmost importance to me  So when I first heard about the Grounded Wellbeing Sleep Mat from the Jiyo team (Deepak Chopra‘s amazing social network where I host an Intro to Ayurveda show!) I wasn’t sure it’d do anything for me since I’m already a healthy person, but I decided to give it a try anyway. After the first night of using it, I immediately noticed that my lower back pain, something I’ve been dealing with for the last couple of years, had significantly reduced. This was an eye-opener for me because it was then that I realized that perhaps this pain was actually due to the lack of grounding in my body. How It Works Grounding yourself connects you electromagnetic frequencies of Earth to receive its healing energies. Historically, we walked barefoot on the soil and were constantly receiving the negative ions the Earth provides us with to balance out the positive ions in the atmosphere. However, research shows that since the invention of rubber soles, our health has deteriorated, which may be attributed to not receiving the balancing negative ions Earth naturally provides us with. Benefits of Earthing & Grounding According to emerging research, earthing may be beneficial in: Reducing inflammation Reducing chronic pain Improving Sleep (I totally experienced this!) Increasing Energy Lowering stress and promoting calmness by reducing stress hormones. Normalizing biological rhythms including circadian rhythm Normalizing blood pressure and blood flow Relieving muscle tension and headache (I noticed this) Improving menstrual and female hormone symptoms Speeds healing- used in some places to prevent bed sores Reducing jet lag Protecting the body from effects of EMFs Shortening recovery time from injury or athletic activity Reducing  snoring Helping  support adrenal health   For a person like me that lives on the 16th floor of an apartment building with over 40 Wi-Fi connections channeling through me day-in and day-out, you really notice how much Electromagnetic Frequencies (EMF) actually affect your health. EMF is electromagnetic radiation that runs through your body because of wifi, laptops, cell phone reception, etc. It can affect your energy levels, clarity of thoughts and in worst cases lead to long-term illness without manifesting any symptoms for years. Crazy right? Grounding helps you reverse those frequencies so you can think clearer, feel more energetic and balanced in your body. The Mat Brings Earth To You So you may be thinking “Yes I know spending time by the Earth is so good for me, but how can I do so when I’m working in an office all day and by the time [...]

2018-01-10T13:36:06+00:00 By |


The courage to say no. Courage to say no comes from an understanding of your own boundaries and the fact that saying no actually saves you from personal or professional harm. It is better to say no than to say yes and be crushed under the stress of possibly producing poor product or disappointing the requestor. When we say ‘yes’ instead of ‘no,’ it’s because we’re afraid of disappointing someone, or we think it will affect how we are looked at as an employee or friend. A YES in that situation isn’t a sincere ‘yes.’ It’s not an honest ‘yes.’ It’s a YES out of fear. So a NO that is coming from healthy boundaries is better in the short and long run than a yes that is fear driven. It takes courage to say NO. We can keep from saying yes when we mean no. Take a breath. Give yourself a minute to think and say to the person, “I need to think about that for a moment,” or “I need to see whether its possible. I need to check my calendar.” Being an automatic YES without any intervening thought trains everyone in your circle to request things of you because you always say YES. Taking the time to be honest with yourself and therefore the requester over time will lessen the requests and your stress. I learned how to say NO when I got breast cancer. Being a “do-er” and a people pleaser for 55 years had me at an automatic “YES”. Once I was in Chemo and Radiation, I had to say NO because I didn’t have the energy. It came as a surprise to me that the people closest to me, whether personally or professionally, didn’t have an issue with me saying ‘no.’ I was so in my head about disappointing others than I was really in fear of what NO would mean in terms of my relationships.   When to Say No In our culture, it is the norm to give an immediate answer to a request. Because of that we sometimes don’t think or take into consideration our own needs and boundaries. Having a sentence or a particular body language that allows you to think before you speak is probably the most important first step in the process. Having had that time to think, your explanation will come from a point of sincerity which always lands much better in the requestors mind and heart. A few good sentences to use if the unexpected request needs you to quickly answer are: 1) "I'm sorry, I'll have to check a few things before I can give you an answer," or 2) "I'm not sure if a can do that. Can I get back to you? Both of these allow you to defer a definitive 'no' while you prepare your reason.  Respect dictates you get back to the person who asked, but at least you will have an answer with which you [...]

2018-06-10T23:34:37+00:00 By |

Training Your Mind as Well as Your Body

Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or someone who regularly hits the gym to stay in shape, you know that summoning up the power to finish your workout takes mental strength just as much as, if not more so, than physical strength. Without the mental fortitude to keep going and finish strong, your body may give in to the stress and decide to quit. Exercise is a form of beneficial stress to your body, particularly when you engage in vigorous or high-intensity activities. This is why it’s so important to take adequate time for recovery and also why mental resilience and focus is crucial to a successful training session. Your mind, like your body, can grow weary, however, and researchers have begun looking into how training your mind via meditation and other tools may in turn help you train your body. Meditation Boosts Athletes' Well-Being During Demanding Training Taking the time to "train" your mind using meditation may be a simple way to enhance your physical fitness and well-being, according to a study published in the Journal of Cognitive Enhancement.1 College athletes (Division I football players) took part in either relaxation training, in which they listened to calming music while relaxing their muscles, or mindfulness meditation, which involved focusing on breathing and staying in the present moment. The sessions lasted just 12 minutes and took place in the gym following strength-training workouts for a period of four weeks during preseason training. The students were also asked to engage in the techniques on their own during the week, but all sessions were voluntary. While all of the athletes tended to show signs of mental strain as the preseason training progressed, there were benefits to those who took more time to train mentally as well. The New York Times reported:2 "The more an athlete in the relaxation group had practiced relaxing, the less his mood had tended to decline, the researchers found. And those in the meditation group, if they had practiced often, showed considerable mental resilience, with higher scores than the other athletes in either group on the measures of both attention and mood." In other words, by tending to their mental needs, the athletes were able to alleviate some of the cognitive strain that occurred during the demanding athletic training, with mindfulness training showing an advantage over relaxation training. Even for non-athletes, the research suggests that mindfulness meditation may give you a mental edge that helps you stay on target during challenging workouts (and also has benefits in other areas). Increasing Research Supports Mindfulness Training for Athletes The topic of mindfulness training for athletes, including those in high school and college, is becoming increasingly popular, especially as evidence continues to emerge that mindfulness-based interventions may help improve physical and mental well-being in this injury- and stress-prone population. In 2016, a study published in the Journal of Sport Rehabilitation asked whether mindfulness for student athletes between the ages of 13 and 24 years would help reduce stress [...]

2018-01-02T14:00:26+00:00 By |

50 Ways to Be More Peaceful and Mindful Throughout Your Day

“Peace is not something you wish for. It’s something you make, something you do, something you are, and something you give away.” ~Robert Fulghum Recently I’ve been spending a lot of time visiting 1000 Awesome Things, a blog devoted to the many simple pleasures in life. Some of them remind me of being a kid, like this one about celebrities on Sesame Street. Others remind of me I’m stronger than I think, like this one about getting through difficult situations. With that in mind, you can imagine how excited I am to receive a copy of Neil’s upcoming book, aptly named The Book of Awesome. I’m even more excited that I’ll be able to give away two autographed copies when I write my review. (Coming soon!) In the meantime, as a way to pay tribute to this awesome book and my awesome new friend, I’ve decided to create my own awesome list, tinybuddha style. Here are fifty peaceful things to help you be mindful and happy throughout the day: Laying in bed for a few minutes in the morning before hopping into your day. Eating breakfast slowly, at a table, instead of grabbing something on the go. Listening to your favorite music on the way to work and remembering when you first heard it—where you were, who you were with, how you felt. Hugging someone you know long enough to make it meaningful. Appreciating something you take for granted, like your feet for taking you where you need to go. Focusing solely on the smell of your coffee as it brews. Noticing something thoughtful a stranger does for someone else. Watching a coworker get proud about doing something well and feeling happy for them. Getting into the zone typing, like finger-moving meditation, maybe set the rhythm of a great tune on your iPod. Doing only one thing, even though you have a lot to do, to fully enjoy what you’re doing. Knowing you did a good job and taking a few minutes to bask in self satisfaction. Expressing how you feel and then letting it be without feeling pressure to explain (pressure we usually put on ourselves). Taking a break without anything to do besides breathing and noticing little details in your environment–how soft the rug is after having been cleaned; how sunlight from your window leaves shadows on your desk. Holding someone’s hand in both of yours when you thank them. Listening to someone talk—really hearing them—without thinking about what you’ll say next. Remembering a time when you felt peaceful, and going back there in your head. Writing a thoughtful, hand-written note to someone, even if you could email, because you feel more connected when you write it out. Savoring a cup of loose leaf tea. Forgiving someone, not just in words, but by feeling compassion for them. Writing down thoughts that keep racing through your head, crumpling up the paper, and throwing it away. Letting yourself have lunch without any thoughts of work. [...]

2018-01-07T19:32:57+00:00 By |

Kids Meditate Instead of Taking ADHD Medications, See Amazing Results

Firmly embedded into our culture now, pharmaceutical companies create so-called cures and treatments for every human condition, and modern psychiatry has become an institution that works to create lifelong dependencies on medications to help people adapt to the stress of modern life and to conform to the rigid corporate/consumer culture that has come to be known as life. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) has become an industry in and of itself, and it is huge. Attention deficit hyperactive disorder is big business. That’s the conclusion of a new report, published by the market research firm IBISWorld, which showed that ADHD medication sales have grown 8 percent each year since 2010 and will grow another 13 percent this year [2015] to $12.9 billion. Furthermore, it projects this growth will continue over the next five years at an annualized rate of 6 percent, and take in $17.5 billion in the year 2020—making it one of the top psychopharmaceutical categories on the market. [Source] The pharmaceutical industry profits by changing people’s perceptions of what health is, then training them to believe that pills offer the most practical and convenient solution. This applies as much to statin drugs, painkillers and diabetic treatments as it does to psychiatric and psychotropic medications. The result is a nation of medication dependent people who have no idea to heal themselves naturally, and an ever-increasing corporate profit stream for pharmaceutical companies. There is a ton of money being made selling ADHD medications to people of all walks of life, but much of the growth in this industry is in prescribing these drugs to children, sometimes even to toddlers. The truth about ADHD is that to many prestigious physicians it is nothing more than a fictitious ‘disorder,’ something that describes a varying set of symptoms, contrived by the American Medical Association. “…after 50 years of practicing medicine and seeing thousands of patients demonstrating symptoms of ADHD, I have reached the conclusion there is no such thing as ADHD.” ~Dr Richard Saul READ: The Difference Between My Psychiatrist and My Shaman Over diagnosis is now commonplace even though some are beginning to acknowledge that the medications often prescribed for ADHD are chemically identical to speed, or methamphetamine, a class I illegal street drug. In the case of Adderall, Dr. Carl Hart has explained that this is in fact the case, and the explosion in recreational use of these drugs has many agreeing that ADHD medications are the real ‘gateway drug’ to addiction, not cannabis, as popular drug war propaganda would have us believe. But what if there were away to improve the behavior, mood, and concentration levels of people with symptoms similar to those described as ADHD? What if this treatment was free and led to many improvements in the patient’s life, including increased happiness, confidence and spiritual wellness? What if all it took was an improved diet, exercise and training in mental focus to overcome these symptoms? Meditation is scientifically proven to bring about many health benefits for practically [...]

2018-01-07T19:31:24+00:00 By |

9 Rules for Living as Learned from Proper Ayahuasca Shaman

“All the authentic drinkers of yagé in the Amazon that I have met share a great love for nature and all humanity, and they are outspoken protectors of the rainforest and the good way of all that is right.” ~Jonathon Miller Weisberger, Rainforest Medicine By itself, ayahuasca as a transformational medicine offers us profound opportunities for spiritual awakening, physical renewal and reconnection to the most important aspects of life and nature. Journeying with the vine of souls is unlike anything else in this world, and while many have shared their personal stories of harrowing nights in ceremony, another chief aspect of this medicine tradition is less often discussed: the valuable lessons to be learned from time spent with traditional plant medicine masters. Sadly, true Amazonian medicine elders are a dying breed. To be in the presence of a genuine master is a treasured experience, and those of them still with us exemplify the virtues of living a life aligned with nature, devoted to spiritual development, and focused on the well-being of others. I have been blessed with the good fortune of spending time with and learning directly from Secoya elders, who are the torch-bearers of a unique lineage of spiritual masters in the upper Amazon. Their tradition, that of Gods Multi-Colored People, as they know it, is the longest un-broken and non-syncretic tradition of working with the sacred brew Yagé, or Ayahuasca. The attitude, demeanor, habits and character of these ‘abuelitos’ symbolize the simple purity and deep peace that may be found with dedication to this spiritual path. Reflecting on my time spent with the Secoya, I’ve realized that many of the best lessons come not when they are teaching, but when they are just being themselves. Here are 9 simple rules for living, as learned from proper Yagé shaman of the Amazon. Abundant laughter is the hallmark of spiritual achievement. Laugh first and laugh often. All life is beautiful and priceless, and even the most pitiful or comical of creatures is infused with the sacred. Always be productive in the service to others, and even if all you can offer is a smile, your positive contribution is important. Love everyone equally, for we are all equal in spirit and life. Silence is golden. Communicating without speaking is more penetrative than attempting to express the infinite with language. It is in stillness you will find that which you seek. The ability to highly control one’s impulses is the key to spiritual advancement. Gentleness is often more powerful than force. Sincere dedication to spiritual development is the highest calling in life. Follow nature instead of following man, for the lessons in nature are universally true and infinitely pure. Final Thoughts “In the collision between the remoteness and purity of the rainforest realms and the crassness of consumer culture, the difference is so extreme that for the most part there has been no authentic or practical method for this medicine system as traditionally practiced to integrate and adapt to the changing [...]

2018-01-02T05:11:07+00:00 By |

A Wise Sage Reveals the Practical Truth About Your Third Eye

There are countless descriptions of the powers of the pineal to transport us into other realms, but perhaps no other explanation is as clear and concise as that offered by Jaggi Vasudev, commonly known as Sadhguru, the Indian yogi, and mystic. This wise teacher tells us that the mysteries of the pineal are found beyond its physical location in the body. He explains that we can believe in peace, but true ecstatic union with the Divine can only happen through the pathless path – that is a transcendence of the physical reality which we currently are experiencing. “This is a dialectical culture. You don’t take these things literally, logically. You need to always read behind it…. The third eye is not a physical thing. It is just that if your energies reach a certain peak within you, you have a new clarity of vision of  life. You see everything from a completely different dimension.” – Sadhguru Sadhguru discriminates between the myth of the God, Shiva, who will open his third eye, and see the entire Universe, clearly for what it is, or destroy it by burning it all up with an awakened power, and the actual reality which this story represents to any seeker of an opened third eye. He describes the ‘dialectic culture’ from which this story originates, and says that it has been confused by a literal translation. When we remove the distortion of the story, it is similar to eradicating the distortion of our experience which is also so badly slanted towards egoic, physical fixation, such that we cannot see ourselves, and our world as other, more enlightened individuals may from ‘other realms’ of consciousness. As Sadhguru has said meditation cleans the flashlight so that our third eye can function as it should: “Intelligence is like a flashlight. If you flash it, it’ll just show you what’s in front. Knowledge is like a projector; if you switch it on, it projects its own story. Now, if you came with a flashlight and you flash it on these paintings here, you will see the paintings just the way they are. If you came with the projector, which also has light in it, and you turned it on; you don’t see the paintings. You will see something else, maybe Jackie Chan fighting. That’s the difference between knowledge and intelligence.” Sadhguru further explains: “Now, the moment your intelligence gets entangled with identifications, it is all screwed up. It doesn’t show you things the way they are. It’ll distort everything. Knowledge means a certain accumulation. In that sense, knowledge is an impediment, but if you see things the way they are, that is not an impediment. That is the only way you can walk clearly. When you become meditative, you will see, your intellectual capabilities will increase many times more than what it is right now. Not because meditation makes you intelligent, but because meditation clears up the mess, the muck that’s gathered on the glass of the flashlight. [...]

2018-01-02T03:58:56+00:00 By |