Good News!!! My Mermaid Blog is back!!! I’ve been taking the year to just go on my journey through the elements to focus on my health both mentally, physically, and spiritually. Dance has always been a catalyst for me since I was a child, but somehow, I never allowed to myself to embrace this EARTH ELEMENT and fully dive into the practice. This past year, I realized that If I didn’t do it now, I wasn’t getting any better with my health. I was going to go for it, or die trying. As the constant karma cleanup in my life was NOT going to bring me down. I know I am not alone in this, as I’m sure many others are going through this. So here’s how I work with the elements.
It’s always been something with me, another illness, a compromised immune problem, allergies, female issues, anemia, MCS, the list seems to go on and on. What I didn’t understand was my sensitivities to people and energy. As a highly trained healer, I’ve had to give up my practice because of one major reason, I kept taking on everyone’s stuff. Well, no more. Besides the fact of the world we live in today, toxic elements are everywhere, our food, water, and air. How are we empaths to survive? Well, I was going to find a solution.
My holistic training has given me tools to use to take care of myself, so I am very grateful for this. But what about my joy? My happiness? I had to look deep inside myself to find such a solution, and the only one I could find that made me truly happy was to dance. So I jumped into this, without 100% of my energy, but I didn’t care, for my will was much stronger than my body.
Could something so simple as the concept of what brings someone joy be the answer? Well, I was going to figure it out one way or another. My journey started with Diwali last year, it was at my second home in Sebastian, at Kashi Ashram. I don’t think I would be able to make it throughout that performance, but somehow, with the FIRE ELEMENT beside me, I got through it. I was winded, tired and didn’t think I could stand afterwards, but guess what? My will power pushed me through and I was able to do it successfully. I was going to finish, as one of my teachers, Ma Jaya has always taught me is the power of my mind and my heart.
There were many great adventures after this, I got to meet many amazing teachers. I also got to find teachers who make dance their spiritual practice, as dance is so cross cultural around the world. From the Buddhist community, to Indian Hindu practices, I was able to share the joy of dance with a Lama in a Buddhist temple, plus study with Prema. She has created, Tara dance, a movement practice of Buddhist prayers. She taught me that there are other ways to practice Buddhism, and I really resonated with the dance of Tara, as that is my name…..What a fantastic group! Thank you Lama Lobstsul for your beautiful temple.
I searched and searched for a bellydance teacher who also taught Indian dance. This was a practice that was so close to my heart as I’ve practice yoga and its philosophies for almost 20 years. I never thought I could find such a creature, but I did! Colleena Shakti is one of the hardest working dance teachers I have ever met, she brings the BAV, to the table, the essence of the dance. I have never seen anything like her.
She pushed my past all my comfort and demands all that I have….I simply loved it!!! Plus being so grateful for the experience with this group of lovelies! How can I help but not follow her for the rest of the year? I was able to find my strength, my energy and my heart. Who knew that all of that was still in me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I was totally cured and I had unlimited amounts of energy, not at all. I did what I could, and sometimes, had to collapse into a coma afterwards. I choose to accept the fact that anything and everything can be healed! …with the help of many great inspiring people I got to meet along the way.
Now you all should know by now, my love for this FIRE ELEMENT, it’s the power of transformation. Tony Robbins has been a super genius in understanding the power of your mind. I was lucky enough to do this with my dear friend, Ali Valdez as we both needed a good fire walk to push us to the next level. Four days of jumping and flushing out our lymphatic systems as well as detoxing all the negative patterns and belief systems was the jump start I needed to get to the next step. As "thoughts create things” and what we feel is so important. As someone who always thought feelings were for the weak, this and all the crying was necessary as I needed to tap into my WATER ELEMENT and flush out all the past. As a mermaid, water is deeply important to me, I live by the ocean and find that when I move away from here, I am not as strong in my immune system. So it’s fascinating to me that I always seem to end up near water, one way or another. It’s the element that is about emotions, reflection, and inner change.
My quest continues, as I continued my dance studies with Oddissi Dance. This practice is one of the most challenging practices up to date! OMG. Can we say painfully beautiful? Sitting in an extreme dance position called Chouka Pada (which is an extreme turnout of the legs) is as unnatural as it gets. But the fact we get to wear sari’s and practice many ornate mudra hand positions makes it all better. Here is the group of Gopi’s waiting for Krishna in this most amazing tree!
With all of this dance, of course, music is involved. From chants of monks, to classical music of India, this AIR ELEMENT fills you with a sense of freedom and joy bringing you energy and inspiration. Sound carries us to new beginnings and fresh starts, moving forward and letting go. Music inspires us to dream up new ideas, and moves us so we feel the oxygen energizing our spirit.
It wasn’t enough to get all that Oddissi training in me, I had to go for round two. As my dedication and will power moves forward, so does my dance. At this point, I am pushing past every part of my soul, all my inner demons, and constant feelings of unworthiness, including every part of my body that hurts. Oh but I drive forward, tired, beaten and exhausted, I move on. I get my rest time in, and I continue. Because for me, there is no looking back, and there is nothing left for me but to succeed. For I already know what it feels like to fail, and for me, failure is not an option.
How I mange is constant check-ins on what my mind is saying, constant detoxing of my mind body and spirit. Also, by being around positive people and communities who care about our planet, our animals, and the world. I fill myself up in nature’s elements, that’s my elemental medicine, and I am a Elemental Goddess.
So here we are, a year later, and will be back performing at Diwlai, at my second home in Kashi, for this years show. Pushing through all my so called “limitations” and no matter how hard life tries to pull me down, "I am titanium…..I put my armor on and show you how strong I am….I put my armor on and and show you that I am….unstoppable today…."
Check me out at Diwali this year!!!! On my Events Page.
Aloha!!!!! My Mermaid Blog continues with many stories and adventures to share!!!
This elemental goddess is still recovering from my west coast adventures, and this mermaid is beat...I celebrated my 40th with wonderful friends and had many amazing experiences….Where can I possibly start my tales???….
It all began in Seattle with my west coast Sattva Yoga crew, Ali Valdez and Madelaine Erhart, lots of food, mischief, art and nature. The infamous Pike Place market, and so much yoga. The most amazing part of my trip were the rainbows that seem to follow me everywhere I went!!! In Seattle, Kauai, Seattle and back to Florida again!!…all good omens to help uplift whats been a most challenging year to date. But a little challenge never breaks my spirit, just makes you stronger as the old saying goes. (Seattle mountain rainbow).
The most amazing thing about Seattle is the enormous earth elements that form the core of the planet. I mean the gigantic trees! WOW…I must say, that’s a lot of oxygen, so much that my body needed it for healing. Just like the Chinese herbs and homeopathic remedies, fresh air like this is pure medicine. EARTH ELEMENTS are balancing and grounding, so natural and the source of all healing. The element where all our remedies come from, plants and trees…I am so grateful for nature, as it's always been a tool for healing. I find dance has the properties of Earth, keeping our feet on the ground and connect to Gaia, mother earth. This MA energy is also protective and helps us to release all which no longer serves us. This kind of coverage, free from EMF’s and chemical pollutants. No wonder people are wanting to live in the woods!
And finally..Kauai!! It’s been almost a decade since my last visit to Maui, I finally got to experience this beautiful island of Kauai. Home of Wayne Dyer, I totally understand why he choose to be here. (Kauai Island Rainbow)
The amazing mountains just say it all. Compare the lush, time worn cliffs of the Napali Coast with the fresh black lava shores of the island and you’ll understand what makes Kauai the oldest island in the Hawaiian chain. Kauai’s distant past is filled with legends, the most well known tells of the Menehune, a mythical race of small people talented in construction and engineering who created Kauai’s aqueducts and fishponds, often in a single night.
They were believed to have lived in the woods and were shunned by Hawaiians. Today, you can still see their work at Hawaiian fishponds like Alekoko, known as Menehune Fishpond, near Lihue.
We got to see even more rainbows!!!, the Zen Buddhist temple on the south shore, as well as Allerton Gardens. Simply a MERMAID paradise!!! This Kuan Yin stature was over 40 feet tall.
The locals grow all there own food and harvest sea salts and spices.The best part about the whole trip were the beaches, waterfalls, snorkeling, the fish, and mermaid tail swimming. As you can see, I really enjoyed sitting on the rocks and soaking all the sun!! What a great way to spend my birthday…Mermaid style!!!
This WATER ELEMENT is purifying and yin. Allow your feminine side to come in, experience your emotions….Take time for more rest and reflection, self care is a must. Appreciate your inner beauty, be a mermaid! (Photo by Katari Grassell)
Now, the Na pali Coast, this fifteen-mile stretch of rugged coastline on the northwest shore of Kauai literally means "the Cliffs.” So much history, the first settlers on the Nā Pali Coast were Polynesian navigators around 1200 AD. Soon after, many Tahitian migrants followed, shaping the culture of Kauai and other Hawaiian islands today.
After Kauai was discovered by Captain Cook in 1778, many Westerners began traveling to the island. Since then, the last known native Hawaiians to live along the Nā Pali Coast were sighted in the 20th century. Many movies, videos, and print have captured the intense sights of this magnificent coastline.
Now let’s talk about Luau Kalamaku... graceful Hula dancers, Fire Dancers, Poi Ball twirlers, traditional dancing, lavish buffet of delicacies and talented, vivid storytellers all come together for this “once-in-a-lifetime" authentic experience. Kalamaku, means “flaming torch” in Hawaiian. It signifies the passing of the torch from one generation to the next, as they journeyed from Tahiti to the Hawaiian Island of Kauai.
This story touched my heart as it was about a father passing the torch to his daughter and future generations to come, with Pele, showing her visions of her future…..Needless to say I was in tears, I miss you DAD! ...This was the first birthday without you and you were truly missed! I know you were there in spirit!!!!...Pele is the fire goddess of the Hawaiian Islands. FIRE ELEMENT is a purifier, connecting more to your passions helping you to transform and release. I loved my fire people.
And finally, the AIR ELEMENT of Rainbows, which fill you with a sense of freedom and joy. New beginnings and fresh starts, moving forward and letting go. Be inspired to dream up new ideas, and feel the oxygen energizing your spirit.
All in all an amazing birthday, filled with rainbows, laughter, art, elements, and adventures. I am so happy and grateful for all my wonderful friends and experiences. Thank you to Kat, Nathalie, Ali, and Madelaine for making my birthday so special and one that I will cherish in my heart forever! Stay tuned for more amazing pictures to come. I have more sound healing mermaid WORKSHOPS to come…STAY TUNED!!!!!!
September marks the end and the beginning of a great journey for me, the death of my third decade of life on this planet and the rebirth of my fourth decade. I’m very glad to release the last 10 years as they surely have been the most challenging to date. I finally feel like a lucky virgo as Jupiter is in my birth sign which denotes a golden 13 months for all those born in this astrological time period plus a new moon solar eclipse in Virgo…some glimmering hope….
As I have been looking toward the nightly heavens this late summer, I have been deeply connecting with the energy of Sirius, a brilliant celestial star of light illuminating the nighttime sky. I started to hear the heartbeat of the universe and it sounded like this: Nam Myoho Renge Kyo - Daimoku of the Universe
Sirius, also known as the Dog Star, is the brightest star in the night sky. The name Sirius comes from the Latin Sīrius, which is derived from the Greek Σείριος (Seirios), meaning “scorcher” or “glowing.” She is 26 times more brighter than the sun and actually helps illuminate it.
In ancient times, the Dog Star’s heliacal rising marked the flooding of the Nile in Egypt, while the Greeks associated it with the “dog days” of summer, referring to the period from July to August, when the star rises in conjunction with the Sun. Sirius is behind the sun as seen from Earth in Northern Hemisphere summer. It was associated with the Egyptian god Osiris and other gods. In India, Sirius is sometimes known as Svana, the dog of Prince Yudhistira. The prince and his four brothers, along with Svana, set out on a long and arduous journey to find the kingdom of heaven.
Other beings called the Nommos are a race that takes the physical forms of dolphins, whales, and mermaids/mermen. Their home world is a planet in the Sirius star system that is mostly warm aqua-blue water. The Egyptian Goddess Isis, who is sometimes depicted as a mermaid, is also linked with the star Sirius. In case you were wondering were the Mermaid came from?
Is there a common thread to these myths about Sirius? The dog star is invariably associated with divinity and is regarded as a source of knowledge and power throughout the dawn of time.
As I observed this natural phenomenon, I’ve come to the conclusion of why she has been shown to me at this particular time in my life. I have been in transition for so long and shedding my skin. I needed to look into the heavens for strength and guidance. As I saw the connection between sirius rising with the sun, I wondered about the mythology associated with the sun…..and saw the phoenix!
In ancient Greek and Egyptian mythology, the phoenix is a mythical bird, and is associated with the Egyptian sun-god Re and the Greek Phoibos (Apollo). The phoenix is a long-lived bird that is cyclically regenerated or reborn. It obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor and becomes reborn.
The connection between star, sun, and moon for this star seed child is all making sense. I looked into the heavens for strength, courage and guidance. As I shed myself from the old, and rebirthing into the new… I’ve reached a culmination…..
I released all the old habits, negative karma, patterns, and replace them all with the new…with faith, practice and study…. Into the sun, I rebirth myself into a phoenix, filled with fire, inspiration, justice, and clear vision…Yes, it’s time to look ahead…and be filled with excitement for the next chapter to come….
~“A mythical bird that never dies, the phoenix flies ahead at the front, always scanning the landscape and distant space. It represents our capacity for vision, for collecting sensory information, about our environment and the events unfolding within it. The phoenix, with it’s great beauty creates intense excitement and deathless inspiration” -The Feng Shui Handbook
PTSD is a worldwide epidemic affecting millions of people. Everyone has been affected by stress and stressful situations in their lives. I have been seeing this illness deeply in my surrounding goddesses and truly am wanting to help by reminding practitioners that a yoga practice can bring long term relief and a fresh perspective on life for PTSD sufferers. It can bring clarity on such a shattered sight of the world, a false Maya, or illusion.
Below is a copy of my list on Rest and Recovery:
1. 2 Hours of Restorative Yoga
2. Richard Millers "I Rest" book and downloadable cd
3. Art Therapy
4. Music and Dance, Sound Bowl Healing,Chanting
5. Professional therapist program on Trauma
6. Nature, Ocean Swimming
7. Therapy Dog
8. Remove yourself from stressful situations
9. B12, Bach Flower Remedies, Chinese Herbs
At the heart of PTSD is the fight or flight response. This response is a reaction that prepares the body to fight or flee from perceived threat. My re-ocurring issues with this is my constant battle with adrenal fatigue is not being helped by my workaholic tendencies. Some people can have symptoms of recurring flashbacks, avoiding thoughts or people associated with the traumatic event, or numbing of memories of the event, and hyperarousal (high levels of anxiety). Driving can also be a frightening experience as it can trigger anxiety and flashbacks for others.
On a physical level, headaches, muscle tension, chest pain, fatigue, changes in sex drive, upset stomach, sleep problems and urinary disorders are experienced. Psychologically, nightmares, restlessness, anxiety, lack of motivation or focus, irritability or anger and depression are common to this condition. Even chronic health conditions, surgery, and childbirth are considered a trauma. Events involving death, serious injury, threat to self or others, where intense fear horror or powerlessness is experienced causes such symptoms.
So how do we get through all of this??? I know for me, taking time off and stepping back helps immensely, a place to gather, gain strength, and regroup. The ocean, which has been my home for decades, has been a place of serious healing. But to see true lasting change, it takes consistent practice and care to remove the subconscious branding of trauma. I also helped myself by releasing my co-dependant tendencies of trying to heal everyone, very toxic. I will be able to contribute a greater value to the collective consciousness as I heal myself.
Being awakened means releasing the ego from such a shattered sight and into more positive expectations for yourself. I know that KARMA CLEARING can be intense, believe me, no one understands this better than I do. My wounded warrior goddesses must take rest and respite. As the last red moon is very intense and we need to conserve our energy in order to prepare for the next chapter. Do not allow PTSD to control your life any longer. Take time to regroup and make your sight clear.
I have spent my entire life clearing this karma, sometimes I want to give up. But NO, I refuse... All I can tell you is that I will never give up, I will continue to be a warrior, fight for justice, and transform all darkness that surrounds me into light.
I am finally here, starting my mermaid blog and I really am ready to share all the knowledge that has been given to me by the ocean and the Magical Mermaid Springs of Florida. What a adventure it has been!! Last week has helped me resolve so much in my life, I know that we are all processing this energy together as we are getting closer to the last RED MOON of October 2015.
The messages have been abundantly clear….It's time to slow down, well actually, it’s time to STOP!!! As Cristina and I made our way to Mermaid town, our secret destination also brought us to Manatee Central. One of the shooting locations we were supposed to go to was bombarded by 300 manatees! The park was actually closed down because of this. We had so many other red flags, but as determined artists, we were pushing our way though, needless to say we almost crashed our boat in the process. Luckily, a manatee showed us we were going the wrong way, so I turned the boat around and made our way back to the shore. What was the manatee trying to tell us? Well, I looked up this totem animal and here is what it said:
“If a Manatee has made his presence known in your life;
It’s time to slow down and take the time to swim through your emotions. Let your emotions wash over you so that you can feel what is all percolating there. By allowing yourself to feel you are also allowing yourself to move forward and as you move forward you release the old emotional baggage that no longer serves you”
WoW! This couldn't be more on point. This was clearly telling me to STOP and REST but not only that…to FEEL.... Why do we keep doing this? Pushing our way through life like a rushing train and ignoring our feelings? My father has just passed away only 6 months ago and I have been working like a crazy person trying to run my office, teach my workshops, see patients, and much more. Well NO MORE!!!!
I’m sick of doing what other people expect of me, trying to please everyone else, and not listening to my own intuition. And so, this has propelled me to take ACTION. Closing up my new office was the first step to freedom, (this happened yesterday) It has been a HUGE weight lifted off my shoulders. I felt like I could breathe again. The second step was doing what brings me JOY, and lastly, I am now canceling everything else until further notice.
I’ve realized that I have many different kinds of gifts I can share with the world, all which need to involve not hurting my own energy in the process. I have found a way to heal the Collective Consciousness, and that is through Art. Art is the key to heal any drama, trauma, and negativity. I can be of NO SERVICE to anyone until my own healthy energy has returned. I hope all of you can understand that it’s NOT selfish to take care of yourself, put your own needs first, and heal yourself once and for all. It’s your birthright to be HEALTHY and HAPPY, this is your service to the world. Healing yourself will help heal the world. It’s ok to be a Mermaid…….
(Photos by Cristina Rivera Photography)
It seems that we are all transitioning into the new, from ascension symptoms, to major life challenges, the rollercoaster just keeps on moving. As we get closer to the fall equinox, I am happy to report that I have been feeling much better lately. After a week of detoxing, that seemed to put my body back into gear. I am still mindful of not going into overwork mode and honor my body as she is wise and reminds me of what is needed each day. As a practicing yogi, I do what I can and practice santosha, contentment, even though things are not moving as fast as I would like them to be….I continue to remain present.
I have been busy planning a comeback, as everyone really loves that. I have been deeply meditating on what truly makes me happy and that is always being of service to the community and honoring all my teachers along the way. After a summer of extensive spiritual training, dance training, fixing my neck and spine from old injury, and healing my wounds from so much family karma, I am ready to get back into the world with a fresh new perspective.
I have always had a strong passion for creativity and art and will be displaying much more of this along my journey. As an Elemental Goddess (thanks Ali Valdez who coined my title) I will be displaying my work with each of the elements which have played a huge part in my healing process. My crystal singing bowls will be paired up with community acupuncture in many workshops to come, so stay tuned for more of this and more yoga events to come!
The crystal sound bowls have kept my vibrations strong. As Energy Medicine is finally going mainstream, the health benefits are remarkable. I use them in my private acupuncture healing sessions along with Biomat Infared therapy, Quantum Pad, and Biomat Amethyst pillow. (Click above for purchase)
Book your session now! (for office appointments)
I will also be launching my MERMAID BLOG which will be written and transcribed right under a palm tree at the oceanfront of my mer-pad. I have been channeling oceanic messages all summer long and I cannot wait to share this with you all. I have been very blessed and express much gratitude to be able to live by the seaside for most of my life…PARADISE.
I LOVE THE OCEAN….she is my healer, my wisdom, my guide, my everything!!…I am so happy to live here…There are many more mermaid adventures to come, I have photoshoots in secret mer-lucious destinations, more adventure blogging, plus a few other surprises….So stay tuned!!
Yes, this Elemental Goddess is back and the Mermaid has returned...I feel better than ever, and have more creative projects to share with you. Please check in with my Facebook pages from my personal, elemental goddess, and Alpha Omega Holistic Medicine pages. And all my Social Media, Instagram, and Twitter on this site:
Twitter and Instagram: Elementalgoddess
Hope to see you soon….
As an empath we tend to feel things very strongly, almost to the point of no relief. Emotions overwhelm us, certain people drain us, and the planet may even feel too toxic to even live upon. But alas, there is relief! I found it this weekend though my alchemy sound healing training, it was just that…sound…. healing…. our souls in the most profound way. In my younger years, I became a Reiki master, I thought that this euphoric feeling of higher plane consciousness would stay with me forever. Little did I know there were many things I had to be careful of for living in so much light. I felt like as I got older, I was becoming more and and more sensitive. Gifts would come and go, even transformed into other things. I always was grateful for all that I was given, as the path to healer is a great responsibility and with all responsibility, comes many lessons.
I feel like I have tried everything to be ok with myself, to perform the job I know I am destined to do, and to be able to live peacefully on this plane. Having this ability has taught me so much, about being compassionate, learning to love, and living in joy. But when did all of that disappear? When did the burden of life become so heavy….that the everyday mundane tasks of life weigh so much upon my shoulders. When did clearing my karma from so many lifetimes become debilitating? How do I shift from all of this and get back to what’s really important?…Helping others!
Why did I have to sacrifice myself in order to do this? This seemed very unfair to me. Carrying the burdens of so many, why couldn’t I simple release it all? Then it hit me….I was allowing the vibration of the planet bring me down. I recognized this within myself and needed to shift this way of being. No more….I shouted!! I was determined to figure out how to make this work, or I wasn’t going to be able to live peacefully on this planet.
Through this retrograde, I learned the most profound lesson of all….people were wanting to take care of me, do everything for me, and disempower me in every way. It was to the point of thinking that I wasn’t capable of being powerful. What a limited belief system? When the lesson looked me straight in the eye, I saw it for what is was….a lesson…and all lessons can be learned…and most importantly, …can be cleared.
The time of the four blood moons have been upon us for so long, it’s about to be the final stage this October and most times I am just bracing myself for this shift. Our loved ones who were refusing to vibrate upon our increasing energy field have sadly left us…but are not forgotten. I am grateful for all of us who have chosen to stay and create this new world which is about to form. They say in order to build the new we must get rid of the old, who knew that a lot of it would be so painful. At least the final outcome will be worth it the the end. The scales might actually tip and higher consciousness way of living may be all what we know. Our constant DNA changes morph our bodies in such a way so that we are able to handle this new energy vibration.
In order to assimilate, my sound healing practice with the crystal bowls have seem to be what the doctor ordered. They keep my vibration high and almost have been received as a tonic to my sensitive soul. Much like my time in the ocean and even with the dolphins. I LOVE my new dolphin bowl!!! Are we indeed entering back to the age of Atlantis? Well it sure feels like it…it’s beginning to feel like HOME. The home I have been constantly looking for and the space where I can breathe. Yes…..sound heals my every core of my being, and I finally feel like I am free….
Thank you to my amazing teacher and friend Jay Schwed, you taught me how to live again, how to live life though the eyes of a child, and continually play. But most of all you taught me freedom. I feel like I can breathe again, and live in the higher planes where I belong. Sound has healed me in such a profound way, I will never be the same. Thank you to my beautiful new sound healing family!!!
I always thought that the way to show strength was to do everything by myself and push through life like a unstoppable train. Boy does that philosophy not work, especially recovering from adrenal fatigue. Luckily, I had wonderful mentors and friends who helped and supported me through all these years.(Allaine Stricklen, Ali Valdez, Valerie Immore) Not to mention an amazing family. Through my 5 year recovery, I learned so much. Mostly, that I couldn’t do everything by myself, it was ok to ask for help, and lean on my community for support. This in turn, gave me so much strength and I realized that I didn’t necessarily need to scratch someone eyes out to find it.
What does it mean to be a peaceful warrior? Well for me, shoving my way through life wasn’t working. Over doing everything didn’t help either, I had to learn how to conserve and be calm. This in turn gave me great clarity when making important decisions and showed me that I was much stronger by not being so attached to outcomes, goals, and unrealistic expectations. After all, what really did I have to prove? And to whom?
After burying my father 6 weeks ago, I realized something major about my self. I kept attracting a controlling “dad” all these years while he was alive and our relationship was so estranged ,through my mentors, authority figures, and some teachers. All of whom I danced this “control” dance with as they mirrored my experiences. And why was this happening? What was the lesson I was missing?And then it hit me…..I had not really forgiven dad for all that he had done.
Death finally gives us the opportunity to forgive. I finally figured it out at dads 40 day memorial, and boy did I shift. After visiting his grave sight and it finally hit me….My dad is gone, I can forgive, I can stand on my own two feet, and I can be free. I didn't need all these “other” toxic relationships around me. I didn’t need anyone to control me, hold my hand, or make decisions for me. I realized I was able to stand on my own two feet. I found that I could grow back my wings, and began to fly, finally feeling that I was “enough” and completely worthy. I love you dad and miss you every day.
Well, I believe we are all given things in life to teach us, guide us, and push us past our comfort zones. I am constantly being tested and tried through life’s ups and downs. I always turned to my spiritual practices for strength and support. My vigorous yoga practice has dissolved into more of a practice of inner strength, not in my body, but in my mind. This is where true strength resides. Practices that are more meditative like pranayama, restorative yoga, and yoga nidra. All these internal practices have saved me. This is where I have found my true solace, my true peace.
As I finally return from a 360 degree journey and return to the path of healer and teacher, I am grateful to have worked with this amazing group of powerful yoga teachers at Sundance. I realized my path and my calling, is to teach people coping skills through life’s everyday problems and in helping them heal themselves is what matters. It’s about spreading kindness and compassion not only for ourselves, but also for everyone around us.
After a 5 year battle with Parkinson’s disease, I am sad to say that my dad passed away last month on February 24th, 2015, he was 80 years old. He had struggled with losing his ability to walk and finally fell and broke his hip. He had to have a hip replacement surgery and unfortunately, developed a blood clot which led to a lethal heart attack. Thankfully, he passed in his sleep with no pain, this is what I had hoped would be the way he would pass, peacefully. Sadly, I didn’t make it to the hospital on time to be there when he left, but I am relieved that family was with him.
Nothing really prepares you for the loss of a parent, I stayed very strong for my family in the shock of his early demise, we always thought we would be prepared for something like this, and we were….for the logistics, but what about the emotional aftermath? I had many fleeting thoughts come to my mind, like, “He will never get to see any grandchildren” and “What if I ever decided to get married, who would walk me down the aisle?” All the “what if” questions in life, all thoughts that bring attachment of not accepting that he was gone…and that was the concrete realism…that he was really gone.
It was hard to see my dad’s mental and physical health deteriorate so quickly. Growing up dad was always a strong man to be feared, I never would of thought he would change so much in his older age. Along with that came a softer, more child-like presence, something I will always remember and treasure.
My father and I had a turbulent relationship all throughout my life, we never saw eye to eye and he had tendencies to be very controlling. As a yogi, I use my practice of compassion and forgiveness to make peace with our relationship, and thankfully, though his illness, we finally did. You see my dad almost died a few years prior, we were not on speaking terms for a long time, I was committed on fulfilling my dharma as a healer and my dad unfortunately, had other plans for me. Little did he know my training as a therapeutics yoga teacher would help rehab him to walk again and my acupuncture training helped make the rest of his life more comfortable.
It’s amazing how karma works out and allows us the opportunity to make right what was wrong. And now, I cherish the memories of sessions of chair yoga, the acupuncture and biomat treatments he finally allowed me to administer, and all the years of being by his side to finally get the time we never had when I was younger.
We practice our greek traditions on death and dying with a wake, a church memorial, followed by a burial. Funerals and burials are organized quickly, usually taking place within 24 to 48 hours, which reflects the Greek Orthodox acceptance of death. The service is called the Office of the Burial of the Dead. Conducted by a priest, the service includes ancient rituals and prayers.
(Greek church in Kos)
After the funeral, the priest and mourners gather at the cemetery, in which the casket is buried. An official mourning period of 40 days follows, which is Christ’s ascension to heaven. On the last Sunday of the 40-day mourning period, another memorial service is held at the cemetery, commemorating the soul's ascent into heaven. I am just so grateful I got to go to Greece before my dad’s passing to help reconnect our ancestry.
My studies of Buddhist insight into death and dying helped me to develop an awareness of my own mortality in a way that totally transformed my way of thinking on this subject. The reality of life is this, "We are alive, therefore we will die." This is the simplest, most obvious truth of our existence, and yet very few of us have really come to terms with it. I tried to be respectful of this awareness as people around me grieved in different ways. Buddhist principles states, when the body disintegrates at death the mind does not cease, our subtle mind may still remain in the body. Death occurs when the subtle consciousness finally leaves the body to go to the next life. I guess the most important lessons on death and dying is to cherish our loved ones all the time, as we will never know when they will be gone.
All of these practices and philosophies really did help me to accept and process this loss. It was such a beautiful Greek ceremony followed by continuing rituals. Even though I practiced other philosophical traditions in life, I still respected his last wish to have his funeral done in this way. It’s challenging to mourn for 40 days while in the United States, society usually doesn’t allow for this, I just remember him everyday as this time is sacred to me. Chanting “Om Mani Padme Hum” (which invokes the power and blessings of the embodiment of compassion) has also helped.
I have to say that Greek tradition has allowed me to go through the process of grieving in a healthy way. I sometimes wish I could just disappear for 40 days to mourn. Yes, I will always be very grateful for all the extra time I had….and I know that you are still here, Dad, watching over all of us, making sure we are guided and protected. I have spent the last 5 years being your guardian angel and now you will forever be mine….. Rest in Peace John Rhodis.