Month: September 2017

Walking Meditation – The Labyrinth

Hello Lovely!

Last week I had the opportunity to try a new method of self care – walking meditation.  I joined a few of my coworkers and took a quick walk to the aboretum near my office for an afternoon wellness break.  While we were there, one of them introduced me to the Labyrinth – a tool for “walking meditation”.

I’d never heard of walking meditation before last week, and to be honest, I was a bit skeptical when it was explained to me.  In my mind meditation is a serene experience where I close my eyes and focus on breathing while letting my mind clear of anything I’ve been holding onto during the day.  Needing to have my eyes open while walking around a rather complicated and specific pattern seemed counterintuitive at best… but I decided to give it a shot.

Man, am I glad that I did!

When I got to the labyrinth, my co-worker explained briefly how it would work.  We were to stand at the beginning of the path, and walk along it slowly, and with intention, until we made our way to the middle.  She also explained that the pattern is positioned specifically to draw on the energies of each cardinal direction when you step into that area.  There are three basic stages of experience in the labyrinth:  release (while entering and walking toward the center), receive (the energy and wisdom of the Universe while in the center), and return (the peace you should feel when leaving the labyrinth and going back out into the world).

The labyrinth is not a maze – rather it is a specific path that you follow toward the center.  It winds and weaves, and may be rather complicated at some points, but as long as you stay true to the path, you will not get lost.  It is not like a maze that may lead to dead ends and requires you to think about which direction you should take.  The path of the labyrinth is already laid out for you – all you need to do is take it.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the labyrinth, and, moreover, enjoyed the feeling of peace and relaxation that I felt while taking part in the exercise.  As I made my way toward the center, I found myself being overcome by feelings of peace and serenity – I did not have time to worry about anything or wonder how this was even supposed to work – I simply focused on following the path and that was enough to empty my mind of other erroneous thoughts.

I highly recommend experimenting with incorporating walking meditation into your every day self care routine when able.  Even if you cannot visit a labyrinth, simply taking some time to walk outside in a relaxing and serene area will help you to remove your focus from the distractions of the every day and place it on things more important to you and your life.

If you are specifically interested in checking out a labyrinth, look here for locations of known labyrinths nationwide.

Hope that you’re having a great week – feel free to drop a note for me in the comments and let me know how you are.  As always, love and light.

❤ Kioshana

 

Transparency Moment – Letting Go of Feelings of Lack

Confession:  I’m a bit high strung when it comes to my personal finances.

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If you’ve read my book (shameless plug here), or followed me for a while, you probably know that I filed for bankruptcy a few years ago after chronic illness and an emergency surgery left me with tens of thousands of dollars in medical debt.  Though I am grateful every day to be alive, I cannot say that I went through that process unscathed.  There is something terrifying about filing for bankruptcy.  Not only can it be incredibly humiliating and humbling, but it alters the way that you look at yourself and the way that the rest of the world looks at you.  Before 2015 I was a homeowner, and a bright young professional who was well on her way down the path of success.  Though the successful part remains true, there are certain things that have become very difficult for me as a result of having filed for bankruptcy.  I find that people are less willing to take a chance on me – even when I can demonstrate that I’ve been paying my bills on time – because the bankruptcy is like a scarlet letter of irresponsibility attached to my chest.  People don’t care WHY I filed, they only care that I did.  And therefore I’m usually no longer considered worth the risk.

Though I don’t regret my decision to file for bankruptcy, I have to say that I was not expecting it to change the way that I look at money and finances as much as it has.  I haven’t used credit in more than three years – in part because I don’t like to, and in part because I don’t feel it’s worth the hassle of trying to qualify.  It’s draining to be required to explain to people several times over why this black mark on your record exists, and so most days I’d simply just rather not.  This means, however, that I spend only what I make each month – there is no credit cushion to help out in times of stress, and when unexpected bills arise, they have to be paid for with current cash – there are no credit cards to defer them to later on.

Which brings me to my topic for today – letting go of that feeling of lack.

I wasn’t a child who grew up without things that I needed – I was fortunate enough to have parents who always made sure that I was fully provided and cared for.  As I became an adult, I’ve learned how to take care of the things that I need and want on my own, and as a result, live a very comfortable life.

However, experiencing financial hardships as a single woman has left me with a very different view of the way my finances are managed.  What’s more, my quests toward minimalism, and toward financial independence require that I see everything that I do as transactional.  So, when I look at financial decisions (even very small ones, such as buying a book or going out to eat), I don’t look at them as “This costs ____ dollars” – I look at them as “This costs ____ hours of my life” – however long it took me to earn the money to do the thing.

I realize this is quite an odd and neurotic habit to have developed, but for the most part it has been a good thing.  It makes me slow down, and not spend my money frivolously.  Looking at it this way gives me pause, and I have time to reflect on whether or not this is a thing that will add value to my life – whether it is actually worth the trade-off of sacrificing my time in order to achieve it.

There are times, though, when unexpected expenses arise, and I find myself fighting to stave off a panic attack because I get frustrated at needing to spend money on things that are not in my “plan”.  For example, yesterday I went to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription, and was surprised (and horrified) to find out that a medication that I generally pay about $15 for each month will now cost me $156 per month.  My first thought was “I don’t have $156 for this!” and it took everything that I had to not break down crying in the middle of my grocery store.

When I got back to my car and managed to calm myself down a little, I was able to gain some clarity on two things:

  1. – It isn’t that I don’t have the money to pay for this – it’s that I don’t WANT to use my hard earned money on this because I do not find enjoyment in it.
  2. – I am fortunate and blessed beyond measure – and life is both too short and too sweet to allow setbacks like this to ruin my entire day.

The thing is, I remember a time in my life where I did not have the $141 to make up the difference.  I remember a time when this would have been completely devastating to me, because I would have had to choose between having this medication that I absolutely need, or having something else (like food, gas in my car, etc.).  I have lived through not having enough, and there’s a sort of post-traumatic stress that remains with me because of that.

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But I don’t live in that space now.  Now, an unexpected $141 is an annoyance (albeit a big one), not an emergency.  Spending money on my medication is necessary, and my family will not go without food because I choose to do so. I’m not squeaking by on $28,000/year anymore.

And you know what?  Even when I was, somehow, I was still provided for.  Whether it was luck, or family, or grace, I’ve managed to make it through to this day.

It takes remembering that on days like yesterday, when I want to fall into a fit of worry and frustration, that the Universe hasn’t let me go just yet.

I don’t live in a place of Lack – I have everything that I need, and operating from that space of scarcity simply blocks my ability to receive the things that I both need and want for my life.  And if I don’t live there anymore, why would I continue operating my life from that place?

❤ Kioshana

Weekending – Mind, Body, Spirit Expo!

Hey there Lovelies!

Yesterday, I had the immense pleasure of trying something very new, and attending the Universal Light Mind, Body, Spirit Expo here in Columbus, OH.  It was a wonderful experience for me, and one that I am excited to share a little more about with you!

The Expo is a two day immersion into all things spiritual and healing – there were experts in every type of existential healing and growth process that you could possibly imagine present.  I was immediately overwhelmed and excited by being there – the energy of the expo room was palpable!

I visited many different stations and tables, where there were people waiting to bless me with their gifts.  Healing shamans, psychics, and more were available.  I experienced my first reiki session, had a tutorial on the power of crystals and gems (and even picked up a few for myself!), and purchased a Himalayan pink salt lamp.  It was an experience that was bizarre and wonderful all at once!

The most striking thing that I took away from yesterday’s experience, however, was how comfortable everyone was simply walking in their respective truths.  There were people who wholeheartedly believe in the spiritual/mystical and embraced it with open arms, and there were people (like me) who were curiously skeptical, but were just happy to be in the presence of such good vibes.  Regardless of where anyone fell on that spectrum, though, there was no shortage of love and acceptance within the space for themselves and for each other.

More and more these days, I find myself seeking out spaces where authenticity is valued above everything else.  There’s an incomparable amount of peace that comes with being your true self without hesitation or limitation.  Doing so around a group of people who are happy to accept you without judgement or reservation (or even needing to know you at all) is also incredibly liberating.  It was a grounding experience for me at a point in my life where I find that I have less and less room for things that worry me or otherwise disturb my peace.

All told, this was a great experience for me, and I am happy to have had the opportunity to meet and commune with these special people.  It was an adventure in self-discovery that I’m not likely to forget any time soon.

– Kioshana ❤