We Are Constantly Seeking Presence

We Are Constantly Seeking Presence

During my recent trip to Costa Rica, I had a moment of inspiration. I was laying in a hammock and focusing intently on the words I was reading in the book Proof of Heaven. For a long while, there were no thoughts in my head, only the mental comprehension of the words. When a thought finally popped into my head, it came in the form of a question. I wondered if part of the reason I’ve always loved reading is because it is an activity that allows me to be intently Present. In fact, reading almost forces a person to be attentive – maybe you’ve also had an experience where your mind wandered and you had to go back and re-read an entire section!

The extension of my thought about enjoying reading for the Presence it elicits is that we tend to like activities that call us into the Now. This can easily be seen with adrenaline activities (try jumping off of a 100 foot bridge if your mind is elsewhere!), but it is also evident when it comes to things like sex, alcohol, drugs, and situations that evoke intense emotional reactions. I wonder if this principle could also be applied to travel – when you’re in a new city everything is fresh and you’re very attentive to your surroundings.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with engaging in activities that center you in the Present, but I do think it’s important to note that we can experience Presence outside of circumstances. After all, it’s all internal! I really enjoy frequent meditation and yoga – I find these two things in particular really facilitate presence.

I’d love to know if you’re on board with the thought that everything we do is trying to draw us into the moment or if you think there’s more to the picture! Also, what activities do you find really center you in the Now? 

 

Rising in Love

Rising in Love

For the longest time, I thought humans just fell in love. But the truth is, love in its purest form is not falling, but Rising. The beauty of this is that when both parties inevitably separate – whether this be through passing into the next realm or through a mutual agreement – they leave the other in their risen state. Imagine the space for growth created by ending a relationship feeling enlivened and fulfilled, instead of heart broken. Unfortunately, most love is egoic in nature and since both parties “fell” into it, they are ultimately left at a lower level.

Isn’t it odd how when we fall in love with someone, we desire to possess them? Suddenly, we want to have a claim to their heart, their mind, and their body. In fact, we often hear the term “love sick” to describe this experience. We yearn for them, we ache for them, and the thought of them with someone else can literally make us sick…“love sick.” The thing is, this type love is egoic and possessive. In fact, I believe it’s a mere imitation of what unadulterated, unconditional love actually is.

Today, there is so much emphasis on instant gratification. We live in a “fast-food society” in which the quick-fix is valued above all. Sadly, this often still applies even when not taking the easy route provides a more desirable outcome. Avoiding this involves taking a step out of your current life situation and really examining your intentions. I would love to tell you that taking the higher path will be easy, but in earnest, there will be growing pains. When you deny the ego, it will desperately grasp out and try to latch onto anything else. As Eckhart Tolle states, “The ego wants to want more than it wants to have.” The ego isn’t actually concerned with attaining a specific thing. That goal is just a guise. The ego thrives on wanting and there will always be something else for it to chase…something which does not reside in the Present.

While the death of the ego will not feel initially comfortable, the result is opening up your heart to be able to love unconditionally. In fact, you will be able to drop into a state of unconditional love without any intervening time or space. If two people are in a place to do this, the result is magical. A beautiful component of dropping immediately into a place of love is releasing attachment to any specific outcome. When we are attached to getting something, somewhere, or someone, it takes us out of the Present. Our goal becomes future based, opposed to just existing and appreciating the moment. Instead of being consumed be a future-based goal, why not be fully Present in the moment and really experience life? Go deep, open up, and Rise in love!

Rise in Love

Acknowledgements

I was first introduced to the phrase “rising in love” through a man quoting his beautiful vocal alchemist friend, Tiffany Tatum. The term really resonated with me and there are many other books and articles written on “rising in love” that I recommend checking out. While I have conversed with many individuals on the topics of love, attachment, and conscious relationships, my first introduction to the premise of non-attachment/possession and dropping immediately into love came from a dear friend, Kyle Cease. I highly recommend exploring the wealth of information in his content. 

Highlights from Costa Rica

Highlights from Costa Rica

I’ve just returned from sixteen blissful days in Costa Rica. My friend and I met in San Jose and then took a journey to Manuel Antonio, Montezuma, Sámara, Nosara, and Arenal. I kept a record of the highlights of each day and now have added pictures!

Day 1: San Jose

- seeing the view of Pura Vida from the plane

- my little airport adventure 

- meeting an awesome couple who were raising their kids in the mountains

- relaxing in the pool

Pura Vida

My first glimpse of Pura Vida

Relaxing at Adventure Inn in San Jose and waiting for my friend to arrive.

Relaxing at Adventure Inn in San Jose and waiting for my friend to arrive.

Day 2: Manuel Antonio 

- being blown away by the awesomeness of the view from the  backpacker’s hostel

- listening to the warm, Costa Rican rain falling on the tin roof

- taking a midnight swim in the hostel’s pool (it was surrounded by jungle and the rain poured down on us)

Bakpacker's Manuel Antonio Hostel

Bakpacker’s Manuel Antonio Hostel

 

Day 3: Manuel Antonio/Montezuma 

- hiking through Manuel Antonio Parque

- playing in the ocean and collecting rocks

- drinking straight from a coconut en la playa!

- seeing an adorable monkey yawn

- taking another late night swim and looking up at the stars. I have never seen them look so near before.

 

The view from the hike in Manuel Antonio!

Playing on the beach we found during the hike!

Beach yoga sequence

Beach yoga sequence

 

Day 4: Montezuma

- doing yoga with a view of the ocean, the warmth of the sun, and the coolness of a breeze.

- taking a four wheeler across the peninsula

- driving through two herds of cattle and seeing horses roaming on the side of the road

- exploring the little beach town of Montezuma

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This is the result of flying through a huge mud puddle

Our adorable little place at Casitas Sollevante

Happy in a hammock

Happy in a hammock

Day 5: Montezuma/Sámara 

- meditating and relaxing by the pool all morning

- seeing the extreme back country of Costa Rica (we actually had to turn around because we couldn’t ford a river)

-seeing the breathtaking sunset and eating a candlelit dinner literally on the beach in Sámara

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Our amazing pool at Casitas Sollevante.

I spent at least 25% of the trip in hammocks!

I spent at least 25% of the trip in hammocks!

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Dinner time in Sámara – it was so amazing to eat with my toes in the sand!

Day 6: Sámara/Nosara 

-  stand up paddle boarding – it was really tough with the waves!

-  found a tarantula on my friend’s pants…after he’d put them on.

-  discovered an awesome raw restaurant on the way out of town

-  had a crazy driving experience and had to turn around because of a flooded river

-  arrived at the amazing Villa Mango

Our little friend...

Our little friend…

The view from our room at Villa Mango

The view from our room at Villa Mango

 

Day 7: Nosara 

- did morning yoga surrounded by jungle

- had delicious banana/chocolate-chip pancakes for breakfast…while watching monkeys play!

- went to Playa Pelada

Mono

Mono

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Playa Peladas

Sunset from the terrace at Villa Mango

Sunset from the terrace at Villa Mango

 

The played me a song!

The played me a song!

Lovely beach

Lovely beach

Day 8: Nosara 

- did yoga on the terrace of Villa Manga

- felt super amazing and then the universe gave me a big lesson in self-growth

Felt blissed out and made a video on Presence (click photo to be directed to YouTube)

Felt blissed out and made a video on Presence (click photo to be directed to YouTube)

I love getting in touch with my feminine energy!

I love getting in touch with my feminine energy!

During our yoga session, the monkeys were playing in the trees and a beautiful, gentle rain came.

During our yoga session, the monkeys were playing in the trees and a beautiful, gentle rain came.

angry sea

Day 9: Nosara

- saw the black beaches at Ostienal

- drew in the sands

 

the black sand of Ostional

the black sand of Ostional

fly on black

 

Day 10: Nosara 

- ate breakfast with a birdy on my head

- spent most of the day in the hammock

- went to Playa Guinnes and saw amazing sunset

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Soon after, he migrated to a more comfortable spot…on top of my head!

Sunset on the beach

Sunset on the beach

Freedom

Freedom

horses

Day 11: Nosara/Arenal 

- had a long drive to Arenal…but with gorgeous views!

- stopped at amazing restaurant, Macadamia

- saw the lake views

Flutterby.

Flutterby.

The view on the drive from Nosara to Arenal

The view on the drive from Nosara to Arenal

Windmills...do you see them?

Windmills…do you see them?

Lake Arenal

Lake Arenal

 

Day 12: Arenal

-  went to hanging bridges

-  got stuck in a thunderstorm

Sunset at Nepenthe, our hotel for the first couple nights in Arenal.

Sunset at Nepenthe, our hotel for the first couple nights in Arenal.

I like leaves!

I like leaves!

The view from the hanging bridges!

The view from the hanging bridges!

Hanging Bridge

Hanging Bridge

Day 13: Arenal

- hiked up Volcán Arenal

- met a honey badger

Arenal Volcano

Arenal Volcano

Volcan Arenal

Volcan Arenal

Honey Badger don't care

Honey Badger don’t care

Flower at Nepenthe

Flower at Nepenthe

 

Day 14: Arenal 

- got rained out of our hot springs plans

- relaxed at Hotel Linda Vista

Typical breakfast

Typical breakfast

Hotel Linda Vista - if I were to return to Arenal, I'd definitely spend more time here.

Hotel Linda Vista – if I were to return to Arenal, I’d definitely spend more time here.

View from Hotel Linda Vista

View from Hotel Linda Vista

Day 15: Arenal

- spent the day in bliss at Ecothermal Hot Springs

Heavenly hot springs

Heavenly hot springs

So relaxing

So relaxing

Pure bliss

Pure bliss

Day 16: San Jose

- parted ways in San Jose

Although our foot prints have now been washed away, Costa Rica and the experiences I had there left a lasting impression on my heart.

Although our foot prints have now been washed away, Costa Rica and the experiences I had there left a lasting impression on my heart.

 - To see more photos of the trip, check out my Facebook album by clicking HERE. -

The Costa Rica adventure commences

The Costa Rica adventure commences
The Costa Rica adventure commences

Early yesterday morning, I sleepily pulled myself out of bed and boarded a plane for a sporadic trip to Costa Rica.  After the layover in Toronto, the flight lasted about five hours – not bad, considering that’s how long it took me to get to California! Despite having little sleep, my excitement didn’t allow me to rest at all on the plane.

My friend and I arranged stay at Adventure Inn and, wonderfully, they had a free shuttle from the airport to the hotel. This was especially helpful, because it meant I didn’t have to spend seven hours waiting in the airport for my friend’s later flight to arrive. The night before last, I realized the time the shuttle was set to arrive wouldn’t allow me enough time to get through customs and collect my backpack from baggage (Side Note: I am very impressed with all of you who can manage to make your packs carry ons). I quickly emailed the company and hoped to hear back in the morning. Although I hadn’t gotten a reply when I checked my email during my layover in Canada, I figured I would once I got wifi at San Jose Airport.
I hopped off the plane in Costa Rica, excited to see the hotel, and went to check my email….but there was no wifi and I hadn’t bought a SIM card yet to use my phone. As synchronicity would have it, I had struck up a conversation with a young Canadian a few minutes prior. He flew into the airport so often, that he happened to be friends with the man who arranges the shuttles. With our combination of broken Spanish and broken English, we discovered that the last shuttle from Adventure Inn was “randomly” (nothing is really random)  at the airport! He whisked me to the bus and explained that, although I was not technically on the list to be picked up, I was actually staying at the hotel.

Anyway, although there were a few confusing moments, things aligned perfectly.  Besides, that’s what adds the spice to life and keeps us in the moment! Today holds new adventures and I look forward to sharing them with you!

The view of Pura Vida from the plane!

The view of Pura Vida from the plane!

 

Written: June 1, 2013

Embracing Minimalism

Embracing Minimalism

Like many people, I’ve spent the majority of my life collecting things. While this process was never intentional, the more time passed, the more “stuff” I accumulated. Clothing, candles, purses, lotions, makeup…you name it, I’ve got it.  

Recently, I experienced what it was to live without 90% percent of my possessions.  After living in Tennessee for the past three years, my time in the southern state came to a close. I packed up the majority of my possessions and sent them on to be stored in Ohio, where I’m originally from. I intended to follow behind just a few days after, but ended up extending my stay for two weeks. (Granted, I have spent more than two weeks living out of a bag before, but sleeping in my nearly empty bedroom felt different.) My extra time in Tennessee was spent crashing on my roommate’s air mattress near Chattanooga and couch surfing in Nashville. Although I probably only wear half of my wardrobe as it is – another reason to sell/donate clothing! – it was rather foreign to have only the random items that had been left behind. My drawers full of beauty supplies (okay, ladies, do we really need six bottles of lotion?) were in a different state and I got a chance to see how little I need. 

The best part of this experience was that I genuinely thrived! Sure, some strategic planning to keep things like my vibrams would’ve been helpful, but overall, I was just fine. I got back to Ohio a couple days ago and was greeted with boxes of stuff. I was shocked at how unappealing it all was to me. While I once looked at my full closet with a sense of pride, I now stare at it and mentally calculate the next item I can get rid of. I’ve had multiple friends who have managed to cut down on their possessions so much that they’ve been able to fit everything they own in the backs of their cars. Lately, this lifestyle seems so much more appealing to me. 

The problem with living a lifestyle geared toward materialism is that it will never be enough. There will always be a new version of your smart phone, the perfect addition to your closet, a nicer car, or diamonds that somehow seem shinier than the ones you already own. That said, I have no problem with investing in quality purchases. It makes far more sense to me to spend a bit more money on something that will hold up, opposed to having to continually re-invest in cheaply made items. However, there is a big difference between “living for the next purchase” and allowing said purchases to enhance the quality of your life. I think the real contrast is in the non-attachment to possessions. If you live your life in pursuit of possessions, you will feel a sense of loss when they are gone. Instead, I encourage you to appreciate how “things” can enhance your life, but be so grounded internally that losing them would not truly impact you.  

Find your serenity outside of possessions, people! Whether it’s through meditation, being in nature, quality interactions with other humans, or any other sort of practice. The best time to let go and start being present is Now.   

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Anatomie Review: Best Travel Clothing for Women

Anatomie Review: Best Travel Clothing for Women

As a woman, I feel like most of us are in constant search for the ideal travel clothing. After seeing Travel Fashion Girl’s glowing review on a pair of Anatomie’s travel pants, I knew I needed to try them out. I had a specific image in my mind of the perfect travel pants (lightweight, neutral color, quick dry, good fit, etc.) and they fit the bill. After exploring the Anatomie Wear website, I couldn’t believe I’d never heard about their line before!

Recently, Anatomie Wear hooked me up with a complimentary pair of Skyler Skinny pants and the Tatiana Travel Tank. I could hardly wait to try them out! I wore the tank top on a night out with the girls and, despite their diverse tastes in clothing, they all approved.The pants are advertised as quick drying and lightweight, but I underestimated the extent to which this was true. Over this past weekend, it was continually raining in Tennessee and I had the task of moving 90% of my possessions out of my house. While clear skies would’ve made the move easier, I got to see how the pants held up both in the rain and while loading boxes. Not only were they comfortable enough to lounge around the house in, I barely noticed the rain and they dried so quickly I didn’t even need to change pants after coming inside.

These two items passed the test with flying colors and I am so excited to take them on my journeys abroad! Undoubtedly, these are going to become staples in my closet and I look forward to trying out more clothing from Anatomie Wear.

- To shop, click here!  

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Tatiana Travel Tank Breakdown

This fashionable top wears great and can be matched with nearly any sort of bottom – it will definitely be coming with me on future adventures!

Key Aspects: fashionable, multi-use, doesn’t wrinkle 

 Fabric

  • Very soft
  • Not see-through
  • Doesn’t wrinkle
  • Lightweight

Style

  • Mesh portion adds detail and makes it more fashionable than a typical black tank
  • Flattering Shape
  • Looks great under a blazer/jacket
  • Can easily be dressed up or down

Color

  • Neutral colors (black, navy, white)

Other Perks

  • Modest enough to not draw unwanted attention
  • Comfortable
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Tatiana Travel Tank

Skyler Skinny Pants Breakdown 

This extremely versatile pair of travel pants has quickly become a staple in my wardrobe and is now a go-to for long flights, train rides, and car rides!

Key Aspects: versatile, lightweight, quick-dry, tailored-look

Fabric

  • Extremely lightweight (nylon-lycra micro fiber fabric)
  • Comfortable
  • Stretchy
  • Form fitting
  • Quick-drying
  • Thin fabric (it’s thick enough to wear sans underwear, but I don’t recommend wearing brightly colored/pattered underwear)

Style

  • Well tailored (my ideal pair of travel pants should look like they were made for me and these are exactly what I’d envisioned)
  • Detailed pockets and snaps add zest
  • High waisted (this is awesome if you don’t want to give the whole world a free show when bending over or sitting, but there are low-rise options available)
  • Extremely versatile – while they look quite casual, it’s not hard to dress ‘em up with a pair of heels and a fancier shirt
  • Neutral colors options (black, grey, navy)

Other Perks 

  • While the fabric is thin and form fitting, it’s very forgiving!
  • Pant legs look great folded up to create the cropped pant look
  • Easily works with flats, boots, or heals
  • Leg length is not exorbitantly long (I’m 5’4, but I was not gifted with long stems and finding pants that I don’t need to have tailored is rare for me)
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Skyler Skinny Travel Pants

 - Finding properly fitting clothing online can be tough, but Anatomie

has an online guide to fit and style! Just click here. -

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Help other women find the best travel clothes out there – please share! 

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Disclaimer: Yep, it’s an affiliate link! But I will only ever advocate items I actually support. 

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Why are you traveling?

Why are you traveling?
Even if you’ve just skimmed through this blog, you’ve probably gathered that self-development is very important to me. I gobble up new books, podcasts, products, and information like it’s my day job. You also may have noticed my ever-growing Bucket List of places I want to visit, things I want to do, and experiences I want to participate in. While on a weekend trip to the East Coast, a good friend questioned my true intention behind wanting to experience these things. He did this simply by asking, “Why?”
 
At first, I gave the typical answers you would expect out of a young adventuress: “I want to have as many experiences in this life as possible,” “I want to immerse myself in the culture,” “There’s a whole world to explore,” “I want to understand the way these people think,” etc. Then, we really delved into the underlying reasoning. I’m going to share what I discovered with you, but honestly, my ego does not want to – it would rather hide in its little shell and maintain a good appearance. Anyway… 
 
Why I wanted to travel:
  •  unconsciously seeking self-expansion 
  •  to be seen by others as someone who is well-traveled 
  •  to try and enhance my sense of self-worth through these experiences
  •  to try and find myself 
  •  to impress others 
Why I want to travel Now
  •  Use this life to its fullest
  •  See the beauty this world holds 
The underlying reason behind us seeking all these experiences is to expand…and it is totally illusory! The only way we can truly expand is internally (e.g. through meditation). Travel and having exciting experiences isn’t at all wrong, it’s just vital to recognize the real thing we are seeking cannot be found through it. No matter how many stamps I get on my passport, how my times I jump out of a plane, or how many items I cross off of my bucket list, I will not be fulfilled. There may be a temporary high or a brief sense of accomplishment from these experiences, but we will be left wanting more. 
 
Why is that you travel? I’d love to hear about any similar realizations you’ve had or any completely different ideas you’ve thought on the topic! 
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Find romance in all facets of life!

Find romance in all facets of life!

A lot of us have a tendency to expect our romantic partners to fulfill all of our needs. The thing is, it’s totally unrealistic to expect one person to do so! Take the pressure off of him/her and start finding romance, joy, and fulfillment in all facets of your life!

“All journeys have secret destinations…”

“All journeys have secret destinations…”

What secret destinations have your journeys lead you on?

Yesterday, mine lead me to three amazing waterfalls in the Cherokee National Forest and a polar plunge (stay tuned for the video).

The Weekend Experience – Escape from mediocrity!

The Weekend Experience – Escape from mediocrity!

The Weekend Experience - Escape from mediocrity!

Fellow adventurers, I would like to introduce you to a very special individual, Kyle Cease.

If you’ve not heard of him, your world is about to be rocked! Kyle is an extremely accomplished comedian, turned transformational speaker. He is completely unique in his “conscious comedy” and has reached hundreds of thousands of individuals around the globe. I bring him up to you, because he is having an event this July, The Weekend Experience. If you are into self-development, transformation, consciousness, comedy, or are just ready to say “screw it” to mediocrity, this event is for you.

I encourage you to go to www.KyleCease.com for more information – tickets are selling very quickly – and I look forward to seeing you there!