Browsing Category

Travel

Mindfulness Mindful Bliss: 3 Simple ways to stay close to the source

October 5, 2016

Mindfulness is a practice of finding treasures in all life.

Lets be realistic for a second and agree that in general, no matter who you are, what you do or where you do it, life can be quite unpredictable and full of its interesting situations.

Mindfulness enables us space for presence in this roller coaster of experience. To acknowledge our feelings, be responsible for them, and take compassionate action in the moment to continue living our highest truth.

Over the years and connections and lessons and learning I’ve come to see how much the little things play such a tremendous impact on the big picture.

A dear and well respected friend once said to me “Your yoga classes are steeped in mindfulness. It’s just who you are.”

A piece of feedback that imposed a radiant whole body shine on an inhale, My over thinking is often just an under sharing.

On that note like a sweet herbal tea, I’ll soak out some added flavour by offering more of my own current journey into this exploration of ever-changing life on a rock flying through infinite space and time.


Lately I have been exploring the practice of staying close to the source.

Mindfully living there are many ways you can look at this, likely far more than what I describe below so be free in your exploration and honour what rings true by coming to the surface for you.


Stay close to the source in your food.

You can taste the difference between a carrot fresh from the dirt, And a carrot that has gone through a process to preserve its life, shelved in plastic packaging.

Keeping your food close to the source helps to eliminate all the steps disconnecting you and the earth.

  • Tune into the cycles in your area.
  • Buy local, seasonal items when you can – they naturally come with less or no packaging, and no added mystery ingredients.
  • When going to the supermarket choose items with fewer ingredients as often as possible.

Keep it simple and remember everything good that’s ever been said about eating your vegetables, it’s all true.


Stay close to the source in your body.
  • Dance.
  • Run.
  • Yoga.
  • Sing.
  • Sweat.
  • Lift Heavy weights.
  • Make the sexy time.
  • Meditate.
  • Do a Savasana Relaxation practice

Whatever tunes you happily into breath and body – do more of that – and every single day.
BONUS points for taking this bliss activity of yours into nature.

img_0524

Considering nature is the source of all sources to ever be sourced – Make time in nature a priority until it is part of the routine.
  • Swap out the car to hike, bike, or walk the commute to work.
  • Bring a blanket to the park and lay on your back breathing at the sky for 10 mins.
  • If you are battling the busy body and busy mind, step out of the fight, take a seat, find your breath, feel the floor. Simply.
  • Take a slow motion walk around the block.
  • Nature cleanse when you need to – Sometimes we become so saturated with the city vibration that a recalibration is essential. Cleanse your eyes from screens and machines, get out of the city sounds, off of the pavement, off your devices, and get into the woods, the water, the wind, the tall grass, the sunset, the crispy fall leaves, the barefoot feelings.

A short time can have longterm power for presence and focus. Even taking a moment of appreciation for the birds in the sky gives the mind an opportunity to focus on a natural flow.


Invite many moments to come back to the source today and this week – let me know how your practice goes!

Practicing a committed time set-aside is wonderful and so is the practice of integration, refinement in the moment, release of the old reaction, presence in the only time that matters, Now.

Be Here.

Presence is the source of all power, enjoy your connections!

R

Canada to Cozumel

January 12, 2016
The sunset was warm on my right shoulder.
Graciously the fellow sitting next to me said I could have his window seat, much to my delight.

Continue Reading…

Alignment Awakening

January 11, 2016

Its the first time my dad ever dropped me off at the airport without tears.

Could be its the first time he’s better at waiting until the car ride home to miss me or perhaps that he knows by now that unlike him I don’t plan on leaving home only to return 20 years later. Continue Reading…

Making corn tortillas

April 1, 2015

In Central America, the corn tortilla is a delicious standard with almost every meal. From my experience in Canada, I already long loved the wheat tortilla but let’s be realistic, wheat gives me an uncomfortable bloated belly.

Nobody has time for that.

So here’s the best part, making your own corn tortillas is SO darn simple you could do it blindfolded.

The amazing women in The Yoga Forest of San Marcos, Guatemala are clapping together some of the tastiest corn and blue corn tortillas everyday!

Now that I am back home in Canada I’m going to try my hand at making some of my own perhaps with a couple extra special ingredients.

Garlic tortillas?

Cheese + Chili tortillas?

CHOCOLATE tortillas?!!

Now that’s worth singing about!

 

xo

R

Whatever keeps you going, keep going.

March 24, 2015

I left Canada on February 11th, with a big hope in my heart to be a diver.

Somedays it feels like yesterday, today it feels like at least a year ago.

A year of experience.

A year of ocean.

A year of love and trust and dancing with glitter on my cheeks.

I’ve been through the jungle, and took rest in the ocean’s shore,

To the depths of beautiful ocean reefs,

and into the busy streets with pavement so hot it warms your shoes.

I’ve made some new friends.. and used old fears to fuel new courage.

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 2.35.26 PM

I’m always so amazed, yet unsurprised at how travel accelerates learning.

All of our hidden dreams and insecurities come to the surface.

What might take days to reveal itself in the comforts of home, comes up and out in an instant under water.

While in Cozumel, Mexico I (finally) got over myself and stopped letting my good old fear of the ocean hold me back from being a diver.

Yes I absolutely love the beach, and I’ll splash all day as long as I can still touch the bottom, but there’s just something too big to understand about the ocean.

So kind, inviting and calm, or rough rugged rip your boat or your house or your houseboat apart in the blink of an iguana eye.

I’ve had so many dreams of the underwater world over my years since watching The Little Mermaid but I was so so scared that one of many things would happen.

1) Drown

2) Equipment malfunction = no air and drown

3) Shark attack and then bleed everywhere while I drown

4) Panic and.. drown.

So to summarize, I watched Jaws too young, and let my grandmothers water fears take over the dreams in my heart.

 

So we found an awesome little dive shop in Cozumel, Mexico. (there’s one on every corner I swear)

The day before I started my certification I was able to snorkel on the same dive boat my sweet Mike was going diving with.

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 3.13.19 PMHe was SO excited to get diving again. And I thought Yippee. I’ll be able to snorkel above the expert divers and prep myself mentally and physically for my upcoming course, so they can’t see how scared I am.

Fail.

So. Much. Vomit.

Win.

Vomit brings lots of pretty fish!

The combination of having to mouth breathe while battling with ridiculous waves was totally intoxicating, so much seawater in my mouth! I thought snorkelling should be so darn easy, people snorkel with their tiny children, in theory it should be much easier than diving but it is NOT!

I was quite happy to experience first hand the ocean example I have used so many times in my yoga classes.

At the surface, things are choppy. There are so many elements you need to navigate and conquer. As soon as you come below the surface, everything is quiet. Movement is easy, breath is effortless.

4 days later, and only a few more power pukes from the side of the boat and I’m PADI certified!

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 3.04.44 PMI never thought I would see the day! Conquering this fear and this personal goal opened up a whole new world of beauty and possibility!

If I can breathe underwater, and see sharks and not die, and have my gear malfunction not once, not twice but THREE times and have sinus problems and ear problems and get mega seasick and still come up smiling every single time – this is true magic.

Im meant to be a diver.

Diving is yoga.

The more relaxed you are, the better it gets.

Listening to every breath, moving in tune with the earth.

Im meant to awkwardly fall off the boat backwards and swim amongst the coolest and most colourful creatures.

Wonderfully enough I was the only one doing my Open Water Certification on those days so I had my incredibly patient and oh so lovely dive instructor Kristina all to myself.

Watching how peaceful she is in the water was so inspiring.

The girl is practically a fish and even found me my very first little seahorse!

We had many a wonderful dive off the coast of Cozumel. She took her time with me and even held my hands when my ears didn’t want to clear right away – it hurts amigos!

She could tell fear was present for some of my underwater drills, and because we have our regulators in our mouth we can’t smile or say a word so she smiled big with the bluest of blue eyes and I knew everything was ok.

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 5.23.53 PM

 

To all of my fellow ocean fearing friends…

Once you are below the surface of the water, of the mind, of the fear, everything is peaceful and clear.

Things went wrong, and I was ok.

I ran out of air twice, and I was ok.

My equipment malfunctioned, and I was ok.

We swam in a school of sharks, and I peed I was so ok.

The only thing to fear is how incredibly long your bucket list instantly becomes when you allow yourself to discover you have a whole new world to explore!

 

xo

R

Goddesses are Humans, too.

July 17, 2014

“Let every breath be a sacred offering to the Goddess that you are.”

That came out of my mouth while teaching class today to a group of beautiful ladies, I had to stop and write it down.

Bold sentiments young Jedi.

Sometimes being a Goddess is a challenge.
I talk about it.
I teach about it.
I tell other women they are.
I have taught Goddess Empowerment workshops for girls aged 5-13.
We reflect on beauty, self-confidence, trusting our hearts and standing up to bullies.
I know that I am a Goddess.
But honestly, sometimes knowing I am is the hardest thing I have ever done.
IMG_6480

I’m not talking about the sugar and spice and all things nice.
I’m not talking about how we are all beautiful, perfect as we are.
Or that secretly we are all mermaids and princesses and always will be, forever and ever and happily ever after.

I’m talking about how some days even though we are, we have a collection of moments, experiences and insecurities that cause us to question it.

I’m Rachel.
My name comes from the name Rebecca already being taken by my cousin born a year before me.
I spent many formative childhood years as a happy, bubbly, kooky little sprout through health problems and long hospital stays.

IMG_5918

I’m thankful to come from a supportive, loving extended family who have believed in every step I have taken, even when it didn’t make sense to them.
I’m mixed race. I don’t even know if that’s how I say it properly because I don’t see race anymore and frankly, don’t care about it but some people do.

One year on Halloween, I dressed as The Little Mermaid. I was 5.
I wore a bright green mermaid tail. Oh man, I felt like a million bucks.
I said “Trick or Treat” with dramatic confidence, after all, I am Ariel.

One woman asked; “what I was dressed up as.”
“IM THE LITTLE MERMAID!”
‘what?’
“The Little Mermaid!”
‘No, Ariel is white.’
“why?”
She offered an awkward hint of a smile, tossed candy in my pillowcase and slowly closed her door.

Ariel is white?
It took me a long time and a lot of colouring with scented sparkle crayons to figure out what this whole ‘white’ thing was all about.
Apparently it’s a thing that my Dad is and so are snowmen, but my Mom is definitely not and neither am I.
The most mystifying of all this was though I am half of him and half of her that I am actually cappuccino or so say my crayons.

This whole black and white mystery carried me through to grade 3 where kids often called me the ’N’ word.
I didn’t really know what it meant but knew it made me feel bad and they only said it when they were being mean.
I asked my dad what it was one day, it was the most upset I have ever seen him.
“If you knew how much suffering your mom, your uncles, your grandparents, and so many people in the world have had because of that one word you would never, ever speak it again.”
And so I didn’t.

Teachers regularly used me as a reference point when touching on anything or anyone black, ever of all time.
“Lets talk about the colour black. I’ll give you an example to start – My shoes are black and so is Rachel. What else is black?”

This felt really, really embarrassing.
Every single time.
I wanted to scream “Im not black!” but instead I used my hands to hide my red face.

I can’t say I’m not black, because I’m not white either, so what am I?
I really just don’t want to be different.
I guess I’m a riddle.
At school, I am black, but my cheeks still get hot and red.
At home I am Rachel, And we never use colours as ways to describe people.

Then Michael Jackson’s Black or White came into my life.
Mystery solved.
Check and mate.
I danced my lanky little body around in my room, I tossed my curls in all directions and put my tape player on full blast.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white.”

No, it doesn’t matter!
Someone else finally understood my anguish, and that was enough for me.
From then on I proudly wore my Thriller nightie until it wouldn’t fit anymore and didn’t mind being a riddle.

I am me.
I am Human.
I am a Goddess.

Fast forward 10 years and I’m uncomfortable in my skin again.
I moved on from a very unhealthy relationship, antidepressants and losing myself in the mix but I had somehow found an extra 60 pounds along the way.

My friends and family didn’t seem to notice, but I couldn’t have been more insecure.

IMG_0266

Where did you come from?
I hated my body.
I told it so everyday.
I couldn’t stand what I saw in the mirror, let alone love it.
I never wore shorts or skirts above my calves, even when it hit 35 degrees outside.
A swimsuit hadn’t come near my body in who knows how long.
In fact the only thing that did was black clothing.
I had the shape the magazines told me was fat, and listened to their many “how-to” lessons on hiding this shape I have.

Back to black.
I don’t like black.
I am vibrant.
I was born a runner and I can’t even run around the block. 
Just thinking about running made me feel gross, but I really wanted to play rugby and be fast again.
Something about running made me feel free like that quirky little curly haired girl I once was who ironically enough got made fun of for being “too skinny” and called “bean pole” among other equally lovely acclamations.

Running was distressing.
Running in public was terrifying, someone might see me.
I avoided it at all costs.
I bought a new pair of cleats and ran laps in my grandmothers back field.

I ran.
I used my puffer.
Nanny brought me fruit punch.
I ran.
I wiped sweat from my face.
Gramp smiled from a plastic lawn chair, he knew what I was up to.
I ran.
I puked.
I cried
I rolled my ankles.
I duct taped them up.
I cried.
I got huge blisters.
I duct taped them too
I ran.
I jiggled.
I ran.
and jiggled.
I ran inside the house,
and put on a 2nd sports bra and kept on running.
IMG_1120

Then I tried yoga.
Holy shit.

Yoga.

whats. up. yoga!
How have I been running all this time and not breathing?
Everything changed.

I stopped wearing so much black.
I stopped eating food that didn’t make me feel good inside.
I started kickboxing.
I bought above the knee shorts.
I did more yoga.
I wore above the knee shorts outside, during the day, people definitely saw me and I didn’t care.
I ran more.
I ran further.
I ran faster.
I started running half marathons everyday.
I ran sprints before and after the most gruelling rugby practices of my life.
I ran loops around the bridges and when that wasn’t enough, I ran loops of the city limits.
I learned how to teach yoga.
I forgot about the mirror.
It didn’t matter what I looked like anymore.

IMG_7096

I am me and that’s enough.
I am Human.
I am a Goddess.

Now, I’m 26.
The age I thought as a teeny little Cappuccino latte that I would certainly have it all figured out.
And you know what, I don’t. Maybe I never will.
I am so ok with that.

I have come a long way from Ariel, and MJ and Quadruple sports bras, and thinking growing meant hiding who I really am.

I still run and wear above the knee shorts.
I also wear dresses and crop tops and sometimes no bra at all.
I wear all colours, black included.
I wear socks that don’t match.
I wear stripes with floral prints and styles that aren’t in season.
And you know what, In special circumstances I even wear no bra and no shirt when it is permitted because fuck it.

I am Human.
I am a woman.
I am a Goddess.
I have lovely, perky mid 20’s breasts and heaven forbid I know what its like for my girls to feel the sunlight.
If I don’t love them as they are now, when will I ever?

I hope you let your girls see the sunshine too. It doesn’t have to be for anyone else. Just for you is enough.

Yoga taught me how to love.
Myself, my body, my life, my full moon mood swings and my insatiable hunger for dark chocolate.
Yoga still teaches me everyday that just when I think I’ve got a good grasp
everything falls
through my fingers
like little grains of sand
and sometimes it impossible to find all the little pieces
But I’m ok with starting all over again.

I’ve finally learned to love my spine as it is with all of its oddities and fused vertebrae and curves.
Even if that means I might never physically get to do a pike handstand.
Or touch my toes on my head like a fierce and fiery little scorpion.
Or do a drop back without it being a drop flop.
Or ever enjoy pigeon pose.

So to the ex-boyfriend who once said:
“You are the least flexible yoga teacher I have ever seen.”
Thank you for your judgemental nit-picking and criticism.
You wouldn’t possibly know how to be with a Goddess anyway.

To the students who come to my classes in rain and sun and ice and snow:
You have taught me more than anything what it really means to be a Goddess.
and that I am human, too.

And somedays I feel insecure.
And Sometimes I don’t have it all together
And somedays my hair is a complete mess.
and I wonder if you noticed my chipped toenail polish.
But most of all
I am me and that’s enough.
and knowing I am enough is yoga too.
I am here.
I am Human.
I am a Goddess.
I am still going to be on my mat everyday breathing with you and whatever “it” is that needs breath today.

“Let every breath be a sacred offering to the Goddess that you are.”

I inhale, In beautiful Guatemala.
I have now been living out of a backpack in Central America for over a month.
I haven’t worn makeup in even longer.
I have a really big dread lock forming in the back of my hair.
I have a little travel pillow formerly known as my abs.
I haven’t slept much in weeks because the roosters, dogs and I don’t speak the same language.
I have bug bites and furry legs.
I have stretch marks and some cellulite and no I haven’t had a baby, this is all me.
And its all real and its a pretty damn good reminder that I am real too.

And I love my body. Especially because it’s not perfect, but its mine. And its changing all the time.

IMG_0853

No thank you, I will not buy your cream to fix it.
And no, I wouldn’t change it for anything.
I wouldn’t change me for anything, or anyone.
and I wouldn’t change you either.

Hug yourself, Hug your mom, your grandmother, your sisters, your friends, your daughters.

Tell her she is beautiful.
Tell her she is a Goddess.
Tell her there’s a whole wide world out there that’s going to do everything to try and change her.
but you will always love her for who she is.

Remind her of this.

I promise every reminder will be remembered and appreciated.
Tell her that all the stuff that she tries to hide underneath the sugar and spice and all things nice, is exactly the same stuff that makes her beautiful and perfect as she is.
Tell her she is a mermaid princess Goddess queen, forever and ever and happily ever. after.

xo

R

The Pure Nicaragua

July 4, 2014

Arrived in Granada Nicaragua into the heat and into a stunning little city full of charm.

Granada streets

Its much hotter here than it was in Panama and Im very grateful to feel the warm sun on my face.

The Wandering Rachel’s tossed our stuff into the most hilarious cab. I cant say Ive ever had the experience of being in the backseat of a car where I can see the road passing by through holes below my feet. Well theres a first for everything and smiles too.

I made my way through the colourful streets to find my home for at least the next week.

pure

Pure!

I honestly cant really express how grateful I was to connect to such a loving yoga community.

Each meal was delicious, nutritious and such a perfect way to fuel my adventures.

Being here in this community gave me opportunity to practice my spanish and dive into my personal practice. Oh how my body craves a energetic shake up after so many hours on buses.

Classes were well attended and the connections with people from all over the world were aplenty.

Pure savasana

 

A gift to share the practice, a renewed love for handstands and an opportunity to develop clarity in my next steps moving forward.

I haven’t been able to practice many inversions in recent months since having pneumonia they make me so dizzy and often nauseous.

Isn’t it great to explore a new place and recognize all the new parts of yourself that unfold in the process?

If you find yourself in the lovely lakeside city be sure to check out the market.

The hustle and bustle, colour and smell is beyond anything I can even attempt to describe in words.

rice + beans

Granada was a bright sparkling Light along my journey and I will most certainly return again soon.

To the view.

To the Pure love.

To a new home away from home.

My heart will feel you always.

xo

R

The lookout

 

Then to now.

June 16, 2014

A bit of a life roundup.

Its been a little while since my last post and so many things have changed.

If you are uninterested in the past circumstances and more curious about what I am up to and where I am now, skip this post and hop right on over to my Panama post!

IMG_6167

My sweet adopted Grandmother Joan passed away in May and my mom asked me to come sing at her funeral with my brother. Checked flights and they were ridiculously pricey so quickly ruled out the possibility of coming home even though it was what my heart wanted and I was ready to move on from the Bahamas.
My mom called me the next day at the crack of dawn (thank goodness I was up filming the Bahamian sunrise) and had found a last minute seat sale and I was leaving at noon!

Om Mama!

Have I told you lately how incredibly blessed my life is?

I believe that the universe manifests exactly what I need, exactly when I need it.

I trust that all that is meant to be always is.

I trust in powers greater than me and when I am at peace in myself that I open to the full potential accessible moment to moment.

So, bye bye Bahamas and helloooo Fredericton.

Family time is the best. Every time I come home I always find a large list of things to be grateful for!

My brother graduated with his business degree just days before his big move across the country so it was really special for me to have more time with him and be there for such a big moment in his life.

IMG_1130

I also hadn’t seen my main squeeze in a month and a half and we took advantage of this time to take a beautiful adventure on Iles de La Madeleine together.

It was GLORIOUS.

IMG_8705

A little bit of beach fun is so good for the soul

IMG_1214

Especially when the beach stretches on as far as you can see in both directions and you are the only ones there!

IMG_8715

I honestly could rave on and on (and on) about the islands but I will let my photos speak for themselves.

IMG_1259

I am so so grateful to have a man in my life who sees the world with the same sense of awe and wonder as I do.

IMG_1165

Someone who leaves no rock unturned.

No corner unexplored.

IMG_1263

And never misses a sunset!

IMG_1331

This time back home to the East Coast was perfect. I had no plan.

And no plan means everything is possible!

I contacted countless yoga studios all over the world and got a lot of really positive feedback and many job offers.

Ive always wanted to backpack through Central America and yoga there is booming so what better time to do so!

I booked my ticket about 5 days before my flight to Panama City.

Why Panama?

Well, it was the cheapest flight from Fredericton and although I didn’t have an offer to teach there I knew it would still be a cool start to my adventure in a place I have never been and a great starting place to learn some Spanish!

A new chapter begins!

xo R

No dream too big, no moment too small

May 4, 2014

A journey

fuelled by rice and beans

and corn on the cob

and trust

music

love

sunshine

and saltwater

I am alive.

I’m here for a reason.

This week I met some of the most incredible young people

I met them because we were meant to meet.

We met because I changed the course to follow my heart and it led me here.

Grade 7

Bright Eyes

Inquisitive minds

and silence.

Have you ever seen a group of 13 year olds sit still in silence for 30 minutes?

I haven’t either.

Until now.

We started with 5 minutes in silence to breathe

Watch your mind

Where does it go when it wanders?

What is it that brings you back to the present moment?

See how many thoughts you can remember having

IMG_7782

And then once the 5 minutes was complete we took 5 more minutes in silence to write about what we noticed, what we thought, what we felt.

We did 3 rounds of this and then we went around the circle to share.

Any and every one will benefit from this exercise,

grade 7 or not.

Cemented in your beliefs or free-spirited and wandering.

Be curious.

Be so curious about how your mind tries to keep you entertained.

and to what your mind says yes you can,

and no you can’t.

Be so curious about how your mind works.

How it holds stories about your strengths, weaknesses and your life.

The cool stuff,

The what-ifs,

The love, the loss, the everythinginbetween

And notice when space comes in

Between your stories

Between your thoughts

Between the moments spent drifting in the stream of consciousness

Notice

When you arrive in this moment,

The only one you can change,

The only one where you are truly alive.

Just because your mind tells you so, doesn’t mean it is true.

You can change your story,

in this breath,

this one,

this one,

this one,

this one,

this one too.

Transformation is here and no moment is ever too small to notice.

Notice

Are you consciously breathing,

or is it just something happening in your body?

Notice your breath in your belly,

bring that goodness all the way up to your heart.

Notice the space between the inhale

and the exhale

Notice the space your breath gives you to be a little more curious

about this moment, right now.

Breathe

2 days of teaching grade 7 and I know I am exactly where I need to be right now.

Screen Shot 2014-05-04 at 1.03.48 PM

I’m alive and happy

Theres a burning in my spirit for everything that makes me feel this beauty

We danced

We did a guitar meditation

We balanced on our hands

and our feet too.

We stuck out our tongues and roared like lions,

Because that is what we are.

You are too.

We stood as Warriors and I asked: “What do you do when life asks you to be stronger than you ever thought you could be?”

a beautiful voice said: “just close your eyes, and breathe.”

Breathe.

Breathe.

Breathe.

If the only thing I do in the Bahamas is plant a few seeds of awareness in these beautiful young minds,

I am so so happy.

Connection is everything.

No way to tell where this moment of awareness could lead

Notice

Space

Notice

Anything inside that tries to hold you back

Oh sweet little wanderer,

You won’t get very far wearing boots filled heavy with worries.

Be a lion.

Be the lion the whole world needs you to be.

Never let a moment be too small to make a change.

Make certain your dreams scare you a little.

It’s ok to feel like all you need is a hug some days.

It’s also ok to jump out of bed and roar.

Your dreams are waiting for you,

They are out there looking for you too.

Be hungry.

xo

R

IMG_8282