Holy Shiitake: The Sacred-ness of Satiety

Eating food is something holy. Swiss cheese would understand. Sorry vegans. Bad joke.

Before I go into detail, it’s important to know I am not writing this with the hopes of you adopting some sort of new ritual around food. I don’t expect you to bow down to your collard greens before chewing 108 times prior to swallowing. There are enough extreme dogmas and dietary theories being practiced at the moment, and in my humble personal and professional opinion, these seemingly strict behaviors, although disguised as ‘health trends’ are further disconnecting us from the true healing power of food and ultimately our inherent self-healing capacity

Food has the power to heal and sustain us not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well. I trust this is not news to many of us. My guru believes that meditation is not possible until our food is correct. And by ‘food being correct’, he is referring to our relationship with food. Having survived and cured myself of Orthorexia, I have first hand experience of the mental delusion involved in glorified eating plans and how my excessive mental impact on diet took me further away from anything ‘healthy’. I was highly mechanical. I deluded myself into deprivation disguised as discipline. I was disciplined to follow a ‘plan’, not my truth. Not my instinct. Not my gut.

If I am not following my educated intuition around food then how is it possible for me to be aligned with my ultimate purpose as a human being? Perhaps a large claim to make, but let’s play with it for a bit…

First off, it’s important to define the term educated intuition. When I suggest that eating should be an instinctual natural act, many of my clients exclaim that if they were following their intuition, they’d happily devour a bag of Oreos. Habit is not intuition. Cravings are not intuition. In fact, the more we mindlessly stuff our bodies with unhealthy toxic food the further we stray from our center… from the proper functioning of our gut, which is the home of our deepest knowing. Educated intuition is a feeling based on moment-to-moment awareness and sensation as opposed to thinking, emotions and memory.

What we choose to feed our bodies with has a direct effect on the entire course of our lives. This is very important to grasp and consider. The process is a subtle process. When I chose to adopt a vegan diet at the age of 22, I suffered from severe anxiety and confusion as I literally felt completely different than I used to… both physically and mentally. I had different interests than I used to… and different thoughts than when I was unconsciously eating fast food and unhealthy food growing up. I would rather stay at home and read an inspirational book than go out to the bar and drink. I felt isolated. The transition was not smooth but eventually I found my tribe and realized I was not the only one. I chose to surround myself with like-minded people and have literally grown into a new person. I feel like I have lived more than one life in this body.

As sexual energy creates us in the first place, physical food is what sustains this temporary body we live in. The quality and amount of food we eat governs not only our bodily functions but also dictates our thoughts, feelings and emotions. We are only a small portion physical, and even the solid matter of ourselves is energy vibrating at a high frequency. Thoughts feelings sensations and emotions are also formations of energy that are effected by the food we eat, among other factors.

To overlook this miracle is to overlook our own healing potential. The answer to health cannot be found in a book or a system. All systems are of the mind. And the more we depend on the mind to guide our nutrition, the more the mind will be in charge of our worldly pursuits, whether it’s scrolling a dating app searching for love or subscribing to a job we dislike because we think we should. I’m not suggesting that any of the aforementioned pursuits are inherently ‘wrong’ in nature. Instead, I am attempting to paint a picture of how much more is available to us when we gently consider our magnitude beyond the thinking mind and physical body. We as human beings are complex mysterious biocomputers that depend on a deeply integrated sense of self in order to thrive.

When I was suffering with my eating disorder, I never felt full. Even during and after a binge, I  was not satisfied. I was always starving and incessantly thinking and fantasizing about food. There was no pleasure, no relaxation. It was unnatural. I have come to learn that this fullness we seek is something beyond food. Beyond mind. And beyond body. Through mindful eating, each of us has the opportunity to re-discover ourselves and live from a place of self-knowledge and true nourishment.

Tips To Stay Sacred:

  1. Eat fruits and vegetables (big surprise, I know… but do you know WHY?)

They come from the earth and are some of the most natural foods we can take in. The more natural foods we eat, the more we align ourselves with nature and the greater chance to tap in to our subtle body. Vegetables that from up from the earth such as leafy greens have a flexible strong center (like a spine) and are growing towards the light. Eating these vegetables on the regular will enhance creativity and inspiration. Similarly, ingesting grounding root veggies such as carrots, sweet potatoes and beets provide a feeling of stability and support.

2.  Breathe while eating

Put your fork down between bites and take a few breaths. It doesn’t have to be a big deal but instead a gentle inner acknowledgement that you are eating. Enjoy the flavors. Let it be a joyful meditation.  Notice your thoughts and feelings. Smile.

3.  Avoid eating in front of TV or computer

Try both. One day, eat your meal in front of the computer. The next day, eat the same meal with no distraction. Take note of the difference. Many people claim their digestion is better when they eat without external stimulation. Also, you will likely eat slower and have more of an opportunity to be present and grateful with your meal.

4.  Don’t eat too much

I’m not suggesting you start a three-hundred-day juice fast. I am simply pointing, once again, to the fact that we are a very small part physical and what feeds us comes in many forms. Too much food can cause blockages in our physical and energetic systems. If you think you’re hungry, try taking a walk in nature, getting a massage or being with someone you love. Love nourishes us. Think back to a time you were in love. Re-visit the scenario in your mind. When you were with your lover, did time not cease to exist? Were you concerned with your next meal? Or were you in the moment? Completely fulfilled…

Nutrition comes in many forms, and eating physical food is only one. The way we nourish ourselves is evident in our relationships, career and self-care practices. If you’re hungry for more, please join me on one of my upcoming soul getaways and feel free to contact me directly shayna@shaynahiller.com. I look forward to serving you…

Why You Should Love Yourself Less

First off, one thing you may not know about me is I have an abnormal obsession with creating captivating titles…

The aside, I mean it.

You may have heard the term ‘self-love’ being thrown around as if it’s the secret recipe for an epic life. Well, that and broccoli. I’m not necessarily referring to narcissistic self-absorption but rather an approach to wellness that stems from fullness instead of emptiness.

Sounds pretty harmless, right?

Well, let’s take a deeper look… It seems like self-love has the potential to be the antidote to self sabotaging behaviors or compromised sense of self. Though this portrays itself as an appealing remedy, things may get tricky…

Who is this ‘self’ we are attempting to love?

For example, if I am an emotional eater and it’s causing health issues I may go seek out a Health Coach or read up on what I can do to bring myself back to a balanced state. Often, the holistic approach involves various lifestyle shifts; one of them typically being self-love. But if all I have known is self-hatred or self-denial or self-sabotage, then how in the world do I leap from one to the other? Of course it is an inspiring concept, yet the reality of it isn’t so clear cut or easy to navigate. If there is a part of my current ‘self’ I desire to release, then how can I love my‘self’ if that other part of my‘self’ is still present? Make sense? What a conundrum! Einstein was on point when he remarked that we cannot fix problems with the same mindset that created them in the first place. This is true…

The issue lies in the probable fact that we are identifying with our minds and not our true authentic self, which one may call our ‘Soul’, or ‘Atman’ as it’s referred to in Hinduism. It doesn’t matter what you call it, and in fact words are not enough to express the enormous capacity of our multi-dimensional nature. It’s beyond logical comprehension and intellectual understanding. According to yogic philosophy, we have integrated a ‘small self’ which is the ego, social conditionings, belief systems, labels, etc. and a ‘higher Self’ which is our true nature… our inner wisdom, our true purpose, and our light.

An example: The small self is the clouds and the true Self is the sky. Clouds are impermanent… shifting and changing form constantly. Our bodies are impermanent, as are our thoughts. This is important to reflect upon if we desire sustainable uninterrupted wellbeing and lasting peace of mind. The more we identify self-love with our physical and emotional selves, the further we move from our inner light… our immortal self. The more we get swayed around back and forth… repeating unhealthy cycles… The goal is not to push the clouds away for they serve a purpose, yet if we fail to peek behind the clouds or at the very least consider that there is a vast sky then we may feel perpetually unfulfilled in our personal aspirations.

Too much of the wrong type of self-love can result in fooling ourselves into thinking we are loving ourselves but we are simply avoiding going deeper inside. We are attempting to love the very part of ourselves which is constantly changing.

So the real work of self-love lies in self-acceptance. Without acceptance of what is, nothing can shift. The more we attempt to radically shift our perspective of self when it doesn’t feel natural, the further we veer from positive personal transformation… the further we move outside and away from ourselves instead of deeper within. Acceptance of what is does not mean holding on to it or keeping it. It simply means acknowledgment and awareness. Less resistance. Nothing can move or shift when there is tension and grasping. A released attitude… a gentle accepting attitude creates more room for change.

The Downside of Living as if it Were Your Last Day

You may have heard it exclaimed before, ‘Live as if it were your last day…’ or ‘Live as if you were going to die tomorrow.’ At first, the phrase may seem inspiring. Imagine having one more day to make every moment count, to be completely present and celebrate being alive? Sounds good, and also sounds like a lot for one day.

I do believe that being more present and grateful paves the way for a richer, more fulfilling life on so many levels, yet the concept of living as if it were my last day has never sparked my interest. If I knew it were my last day, I probably wouldn’t feel the motivation to enhance my current situation. That’s just me. The phrase implies a general consensus that we take life for granted, and if we knew we only had one more day perhaps we would shift our mindset. Regret, guilt, and sadness are the byproducts of a life taken for granted.

Why wait until the end? Why operate under the mentality that only when things come towards a close can we actually open our eyes? Instead, I would prefer to live as if it were my very first day. Yes, now we’re talkin’! You may not remember, but you were once a little baby. With no mind… in a completely new world… curious, open, innocent, and free. You had no ideas of right and wrong or good and bad… no judgments, no anxieties, no worries (besides perhaps when your next meal will be), no regrets and guilt… just a blank canvas… full of potential.

The inevitable accumulation of society’s conditioning has the potential to fog up the clarity of our soul, which is just as pure as an infant. The more we understand our minds and use them as the handy tools they are, we may come in contact with our ability to tap into that authentic state of wonder, no matter what our life circumstance is. I am often reminded of the miracle and reality of this childlike state of awe when I travel to new places. My mind is opened up to a place I have never been, and my internal operating system refreshes itself completely. I feel fully aware and alive. Refreshed and rejuvenated. Inspired. 

No travel is needed though. When we choose to recognize the miracle of each day, the ‘brand new-ness’ of each moment, we in return gift ourselves a daily rebirth. When we believe in the notion of ‘same old’, or ‘just another day’, then that reality shall remain true as well. It is simply a choice of how we perceive our reality. Our lives can be severely limited or endlessly expansive based on our minds. Pay attention the the small things.. the details, the sound of the birds, a smile, and a hug. Every moment is sacred, and when we learn to live as if it were our first day, anything is possible.

Home is Where the Moment is…

I’ve been in Bali for 4 days, though it feels like much longer. Since I’ve been here, several people have asked me if I live here. It seems to be standard protocol for any new interaction with a fellow foreigner.

As I observed myself responding to this recurring inquiry, I couldn’t help but notice that, though I’m fully aware that the place I came from and the place I plan to return to is Los Angeles, I actually do live in Bali… right now. This subtle yet important mental shift has radically transformed how I interact with my surroundings. It allows me to be completely in the moment. Fulfilled. Relaxed. Comfortable. Exhaled.

When someone asks me if I live in Bali, I can easily respond and say ‘NO, I live in Los Angeles’, but technically I only live in Los Angeles in the past or in the future. Much of linguistic conversation happens to be past and future oriented. We either talk about something that has already happened or discuss our plans for the future. Of course! If we were to talk about the present, what could we possibly say? We would just sit there and stare at each other, which is awkward so let’s distract ourselves through memory and/or anticipation filtered through vocal vibration.

To live a meditative life not only includes practice on the cushion but practicing mindfulness in aspects of life as seemingly insignificant as verbal communication. This way, we will feel ‘cushioned’ wherever life’s journey takes us.

Currently I am here, and therefore currently I live here… for I am living, and I am here. Simple. 

Wherever we are in the moment is home, for life after this moment is not guaranteed.

The Reason You Don’t Need A Reason

I am sitting on an airplane on my way to Bali, Indonesia for the first time (in this lifetime at least). Altogether, I’ll be traveling for approximately 24 hours. I am traveling alone. The seat next to me is empty, which makes me unreasonably gleeful. I have some friends in Bali, but all in all, this is a solo trip. My beloved is home, and boy was it difficult to leave his loving arms. But I knew I had to. Or should I say, I know I have to. For now.

Many have been asking why I am going to Bali. Is it for work? Is it for pleasure? In my world, work and pleasure are one. And that’s not because I am ‘lucky’ or ‘blessed’. I believe we all have an opportunity to be fortunate, by not only tuning into our intuition but honoring it, even when it seems illogical. By making choices that elevate our personal condition. By recognizing the immense value of accepting full responsibility for the creation and direction of our lives. Like a work of art. No one else can paint your picture. True fortune is not dependent on the exterior material world… it is an inner accolade. An inner treasure.

Would it be okay to say I am going because I am going? I am going because I desire to go? If there’s one thing I know for sure, this trip is not logical. It does not make sense in terms of timing, finances, work, etc. But I am still going. Consciously. 

Have you ever felt a force greater than just your thinking mind at play? A gut churning sensation? In my opinion, the mind is basically a storehouse of memories of the past and anticipations for the future (which are somehow projections of past memories). But ‘now’ is never in the mind. Now is simply now, which eventually will become a memory and will be stored in the mind. It’s actually impossible to be in the ‘now’, because the moment you realize that ‘now’ has occurred, it has become the past. In fact, you will need to lose ‘you’ in order to be completely present.

Presence is so delicate, it’s quite challenging to talk about. It’s very simple and mysterious and almost invisible yet absolutely all there is. The ultimate paradox. Have you ever woken up and exclaimed, ‘Wow, it’s tomorrow!’ Of course not. It’s just today. Always. Yesterday and tomorrow only exist in the mind.

I bow to my meditation practice which has put me in touch with a force deeper than my mind. I am aware that this journey to Bali stems from deep intuition, and I was justified as tears streamed down my face the moment the airplane left the runway! Tears of some emotion I have never felt before. I was also listening to one of my favorite songs, Om Purnam, by Deva Premal. Perhaps that had something to do with it. 😉

I spent the majority of my late teens and early twenties traveling different parts the world. Many of them were as far away from home as possible, yet familiar to my soul. It’s been nearly ten years since I took a trip by myself. For myself. Without any expectations. Without a plan, yet structured. Am I scared? You bet! That’s why I am going. I have learned that intuition and universal guidance are sometimes disguised as fear.

I credit my travels for shaping me into the person I am today. Not what my upbringing expected of me, not who my friends think I am, not who society sees me as, but who I actually am. Similar to discussing presence, trying to dissect and explain the ‘self’ is nearly impossible as it is a discovery you will have on your own… if you want it. If you don’t want it, you will not have it. And that is fine too. I am simply explaining what is possible in this human experience… or in mine, at least.

As a health professional, I firmly believe self-discovery is a crucial and somewhat underrated foundation of health. Understanding our authentic self allows our lives to move in the most fulfilling direction. It increases meaning and allows purpose to rise to the surface. In order to be able to serve from the fullness of our ‘personal love tank’, we must take care of and prioritize ourselves, not only physically and mentally. In fact, what blows your mind? Go there. What inspires you to the extent that you sense a vaguely familiar lightness stream throughout your entire body? What takes you out of your comfort zone? What makes your heart dance? You don’t necessarily need to get on an airplane to experience these life-altering and third eye-opening experiences. And you most definitely do not need a reason.

So that’s the big picture. And on a more grounded note, I do have some practical desires for this trip. One is to sharpen my meditation practice, restore myself in nature, absorb the spirituality of the sacred land, write an infinite number of poems that flow to me by the grace of the universe, and practice yoga with monkeys.

I look forward to sharing my journey with you. Namaste.


{RECIPE} ‘UN-Chicken’ Vegetable Curry

I have been dying to learn how to make a good curry dish, but I stayed away because I thought it would be super challenging and time consuming. Plus, despite my knack for nutrition, I do not consider myself ‘chef quality’ by any means. And I’m okay with that. Give me some quinoa and an avocado and I’m a happy camper. So the fact that this recipe was a success says a lot.

I adapted this recipe from another similar recipe which calls for chicken and does not include any vegetables. I do not eat chicken but still wanted to crete a similar consistency and texture so instead I got creative with different types of mushrooms, mainly shiitake. The dish is outstanding, super simple to prepare, grounding and so incredibly healthy. It literally contains over ten of the healthiest foods on the planet which include a variety of immune boosting anti inflammatory spices.

Whoever thinks Indian food is unhealthy, think again!

Here’s to your new fave meal!



  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • A small pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 large onion, sliced root to tip
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 14-oz can organic coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice, or to taste
  • 12-20 fresh basil leaves, torn roughly
  • 4 large shiitake mushrooms
  • 8 oz crimini mushrooms
  • 2 cups broccoli
  • 4 handfuls baby spinach
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa mixed with basmati rice


1 Mix the spices: In a small bowl, mix together the sea salt, ground coriander, cumin, ground cloves, cinnamon, ground cardamom, black pepper, cayenne and turmeric. You can alternatively use a ‘curry’ powder to make it easier, but I prefer portioning them out separately for the best flavor. Set aside.

2 Sauté onions, ginger, garlic, mushrooms, spices: In a wok or deep sauté pan, heat the oil over high heat. The moment the oil begins to smoke, add the onions and toss to coat in oil. Sear the vegetables for 3 minutes, stirring only enough to keep them from burning, but still allowing the onions to sear. Add the mushrooms, ginger, garlic and spice mixture and toss to combine, cook for 1 minute.

3 Add coconut milk, broccoli, simmer:  Add the coconut milk and broccoli. Stir the mixture so that the broccoli is coated in the coconut milk. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat, cover and cook for 5-10 minutes or until broccoli is steamed. 

4 Add basil, spinach and lime juice: When veggies are tender, turn off the heat and add the spinach basil and lime juice. The spinach will steam quickly. Add more lime juice and salt to taste and serve over pre-cooked basmati rice/quinoa mixture.



Food & Sex

With a title like that, why write anything more?

I don’t know, but I’m going to.

People are either obsessed with food or with sex. Or with both. Or with neither. And the people who are obsessed with neither are technically obsessed with both because aversion is still directed energy. Obsession can be positive or negative. Thinking a lot about someone you hate is kind of like love because all your thoughts are directed towards that person. When thoughts become extreme, it is obsession. The mind is not at ease.

I want to bring light to this subject because it’s actually so deep and dark there unless light is brought to it, it will literally stay in the dark forever. It will not be visible unless light is brought to it. It runs deep throughout much of humanity. This issue is being skirted around and rarely addressed directly and honestly. I believe that the lack of awareness regarding the link between food and sex is the underlying cause of many eating disorders, among other health imbalances.

Wherever you go, you are bound to be inundated with an advertisement of an attractive person trying to sell you something to eat that will bring you pleasure. Mmm… a big juicy burger! Sexy people selling sexy food? Well, that’s just sexy. I mean, come on, the term ‘food porn’ exists, and for some, it’s actually just porn. For some, a basket of truffle fries and a rich dark chocolate bar is as satisfying as sex, or perhaps even more enjoyable because the other is not needed. It is much simpler.

But would anyone actually admit that food turns them on? Probably not. And if so, it is a red flag. When sexual energy is not flowing correctly, it will be directed towards food. This direction towards food is understandable, as food is widely accepted and celebrated in our culture. It’s completely normal to eat and to rejoice in eating. Just walk outside in any city and you are bound to see a line up of restaurants and cafes. Food is everywhere. It is widely accepted. It also happens to contribute to the onset of many illnesses, such as obesity and diabetes to name just a couple. Food, just like sex, can be healing or harmful depending on one’s own awareness and mindfulness.

It is important to understand the biological implication of food. As far as I know, my body, and yours too, is made up of physical matter. I am not talking about all of you, i.e. your thoughts, dreams and feelings, for you are far beyond your tangible self. There is research, however, which concludes that your thoughts produce ‘wave-like particles’ which can actually be measured. I am referring simply to your physical body. The part than can be touched and felt by a hand. Bones, tissues, skin, blood, etc. In order for your body to exist, it must be comprised of various building blocks that are generated by what you ingest. Food literally keeps your body in tact. It’s what you are made of. Without food, the body will not function and eventually will wither away. Food is vital. Whether or not you are a healthy eater means less when it comes to viewing food and physical matter as the gross elements that sustain your body.

Okay, now let’s move on to sex, shall we? If food sustains the living human organism, what created it in the first place? Sex. Sex creates your body which requires and depends on food in order to function at any level. Sexual energy is the creative force that brought you into being. When any type of shame exists around sex, shame inevitably exists around self. When we are ashamed of sex, we are ashamed of our own essence, which is sexual energy. If you are skeptical or even slightly curious about this topic, continue reading. This sex-related chagrin is usually not experienced on the conscious level. Again, it is usually buried deep in a dark corner of our consciousness.

Sexual repression is the backbone of compulsive eating in my humble opinion. Anything that involves all-consuming thoughts is an obsession. An obsession may not seem like a ‘bad’ thing. I personally do not like to use the words ‘bad’ and ‘good’ anyway. Food obsessions are totally accepted in our culture. They involve much more than the traditional ‘eating disorders’ (I do not like that term very much either). An obsession with food may seem as innocent as considering oneself to be a ‘foodie’ or dedicating one’s life to nutrition or intensely following a specific diet or better yet… spending more time in the kitchen than the bedroom. Food and sex balance each other. They are literally two sides of the same coin. When one is lacking,the other will take over. It is a signal to pay attention to.

Adam and Eve. And an apple. Let’s not forget about the apple, my friends. There is a connection here, a correlation. Perhaps subtle. The two are forbidden, yet the two are completely natural. Food and sex are as natural as trees growing and the sun shining. Not only are the two natural, but they are necessary. Our relationship with them is the issue. And for many of us that relationship is currently out of control and severely off balance. Our society takes food and sex way too seriously. We have made them unnatural. We are poisoning the very essence that creates and sustains us.

Under eating or over eating results in a blockage of our love energy. Love energy cannot flow. If we cannot love our bodies, we are incapable of allowing others to love our bodies. So we must become more loving to our bodies if we want to be healthy and feel truly fulfilled on all levels. It is imperative. It is more important than going on a new diet. We must be gentler with ourselves and begin to clear space for love energy to flow. When there is more love energy flowing, there will be less desire for food. It is law. It is science. It is truth.

When the energies of sex and food are in balance, life actually begins for the first time. There is an opening. An exhale. There is no more hankering for the next meal and no more hankering for the next orgasm. The moment is full enough. Now is enough. The joy of being at peace in the mind is the ecstasy that lasts for eternity.

photo source


The Hidden Danger of Meditation

Did I catch your attention? Ok, good.

You may have heard somewhere that meditation is good for you. In fact, more and more research is suggesting that meditation can reduce stress, improve cognition, and even combat physical illness. While these studies are all valid, I am here to play the devil’s advocate.

Please note, if you don’t already know me, I am an avid meditator and have been for the last decade. I meditate ‘A-D-E-D’ (all day every day). For real. This article is for those of you who believe that meditation is the way to peace, yet peace is not happening. This is for you who rely on meditation as your primary source for creating something amazing in your life and are not experiencing any type of lasting positive transformation.

Throughout my yoga journey, I have learned quite a bit about the potentially life-enhancing side effects of becoming more aware and mindful. Actually, I blame meditation for molding me into who I am today. However, there was a time when I literally believed that meditation would solve all my problems. If I were feeling ‘stuck’ in life, I would sit with my eyes closed and witness sensations in my body and allow all of my thoughts to flow by like clouds in a clear blue sky. These methods are highly effective for many people in certain circumstances, especially those new to meditation.

This is for those of you who are not new to meditation or for those of you who are unsure how to incorporate it into your life and literally have it work for you. Meditation can absolutely offer us a vacation from the constant roller coaster or thoughts otherwise known as the ‘monkey mind’. Do you worry about events that either have already passed or have not happened yet? Do you anticipate the future? Do you live with regret, guilt, judgment of self or others, or an overall feeling of stress and anxiety? Of course these feelings come and go, but if you feel you are a victim of these inevitable mental waves, then meditation will undoubtedly offer you a break from this chronic cycle. But unfortunately, vacation is temporary. You will eventually have to come back home to yourself.

The danger of meditation arises when we see meditation as something separate from ‘normal life’. At first, it is good to meditate in a seated posture with eyes closed as is so often depicted in texts and images. Even the Buddha is infamously known for sitting under the Bodhi tree at the very moment he became enlightened. It was very significant and extremely sacred. His years of seated meditation eventually led him to enlightenment. He was sitting under the tree at that moment. The he became enlightened. In my opinion, Buddha’s enlightenment was something like an AHA‘ moment when he realized he did not have to sit under the tree any longer. He did not have to separate his meditation from his life.

In Buddhist meditation teacher Jack Kornfield’s best-selling book The Wise Heart, Kornfield describes his many years in silent meditation in Thailand, Burma and India. He eventually returned to America and started a family and a business. He was trying desperately to maintain his monkhood, such as wearing special robes and keeping a shaved head… in New York City. Eventually, he let go of needing to separate meditation life from ‘real life’ and allowed the tools he received during his years of meditation to absorb and literally become his waking reality. No more separation.

Another component of this interesting perspective is the idea of utilizing the immense power of our minds. For years, when I was experiencing times of personal turmoil and confusion, I would resort to silent ‘vipassana’ style meditation. While this gave me a break from my mind, I was not able to fully harness my potential. Our minds create our reality. By learning how to focus my mind on a desired outcome, I have now learned how to take appropriate action towards my ultimate intentions and make them real in my life. It’s seriously almost magic. Actually, it is magic. 

So instead of neglecting our minds or looking to take a vacation from them, why not use them to create powerful goals and then structure action steps in order to reach them? When we become the master of our own minds, the temptation of meditation will seem less and less appealing. Because we have befriended our brain. What if you no longer feel you need a vacation? What if there is nothing to escape?

So this article is less about pushing away meditation but becoming more aware of how we can fully integrate all that we are so meditation becomes a natural part of life. When we feel in control of our minds, focus on that which inspires and uplifts us, take necessary action towards our dreams, then all of life will take on a positive spin. When we are self-aware, it does not matter whether we are sitting in a lotus posture, on a yoga mat, near the Himalayas, in our car, at a restaurant, or doing the laundry. Meditation is now.

photo source

The Reason I Could Never Be A Gold-Digger

I’m talking about the Kanye West type of gold-digger, by the way… not the type that actually go into mines and dig for gold. Though, I could never be that either.

I started working when I was twelve years old. I worked for $5 per hour at a bakery in New Jersey. My parents instilled a hard work ethic in me, despite my resistance. Eventually, after school jobs became the norm and I learned how to earn money in order to support some of my (many) material desires. I remember dreading going to work and wishing I could hang out with my friends. While at work, I can vividly recall watching time go by, minute by minute and longing for my shift to be over. The only enjoyable part of the job was eating apple crumb pie. Three slices.

Fast forward to my late teens and early twenties. Before and during college, I took up the popular hobby of going out to dance clubs. It started in New York City, where I would leave my parents’ house in New Jersey at 11pm and arrive at the club just after midnight and party until 7am the next morning. For real. I somehow managed to get VIP access to some of the city’s hottest venues and partied with many celebrities and people of that ‘caliber’. My unconscious ‘networking’ skills were on point, and I was able to score free drinks, free access, and eventually free vacations and dinners and designer handbags! A dream come true, huh? Not so much…

As I continued to mature, I eventually discovered yoga and meditation and embarked on what I’d call my ‘soul pilgrimage’. I spent nearly a decade living alone, traveling, learning and discovering my authentic self for what seemed like the first time in my life.

Since then, I have had many opportunities to stop what I am doing and be supported financially by other people. It has always been oddly easy for me to meet and connect with financially sound humans. Strangely enough, I have yet to take someone up on it.  And despite how tempting those types of offers may be to some, I could never bring myself to allow that. This is the reason…

Since becoming deeply aware of myself through meditation and self-inquiry, I know that I have a purpose here on this Earth. We all do. In fact, I moved back to the states from Costa Rica for that reason alone. I could have stayed in Costa Rica, however I felt that after hanging in the jungle for a few years, it was necessary for me to come back ‘into the world’ and teach what I have learned. Literally, to be of more service to the greater whole. Living in Costa Rica was partially an escape for me. A necessary one. But eventually I felt I was ready to blossom. So I moved to LA. I will say, I did not and still to this day am not 100% clear on what my purpose is however I am in touch enough with my intuition to feel the magnetic pull of my soul towards living in a more populated area for now.

That being said, I have been on quite the journey when it comes to manifesting my life’s purpose. I feel that money is simply a form of energy. It is an exchange. For every inhale, there is an exhale. For every day, a night. For every service of the soul, a necessary material compensation will follow. I never looked at money in this way until a few years ago, and that’s when my financial life began to flourish. We are, after all, physical beings living in a material world. As long as that is the case, material sources of energy are inevitable. Money is natural. It is when we become fearful or greedy that the true value of money takes a turn for the worse. Money is kind of like food. A healthy relationship with food will fuel our bodies and improve the quality of our lives. Food can also kill us, depending on how it was handled, how much we eat and so on. Similarly, money can be an addiction, a fear, or a friend depending on how conscious we are with it.

Culturally, we have been conditioned to fear not having money, as if money equals life. Of course money is important in the society we live in, however that unreasonably intense subconscious fear is at the root of people working jobs they dislike. It’s as if society has ingrained the fact that working is inevitable and chances are high that you will not enjoy your labor. But it’s a necessity, so we push through. Really? Is that really the point of life, considering more than half of our lives is spent at work? It just doesn’t seem right. It seems like a slavery of sorts.

The negative connotation surrounding the notion of ‘work’ needs to be replaced. Work is actually the reason we are here! Soul work. Self-discovery. Service. Support. There is a reason the universe has expressed itself through you, as you. Please do not mistake this. When I express that we each have a purpose, I truly believe we do, yet our individual objective will undoubtedly express itself in an infinite number of ways. Just because I have a purpose doesn’t necessarily mean that purpose is to become the next Dalai Lama or to be a famous actor or the next President (thank God). Your purpose may be to raise children, to build houses, to deliver the mail or to work in a factory. There is no ‘better’ or ‘worse’ purpose. There’s only that which inspires you and stirs your soul. When we are choiceful in the pursuits of our lives, we can no longer be enslaved.

Now I understand that not all people are aware that they have choices around their professional undertaking. The truth is, I am not as interested in the external as I am in the internal… in the human mind. When human beings wake up and realize that they are being enslaved by believing that they must struggle in their work, then things can change. I am more concerned with people reclaiming their creativity and connecting with their hearts. I am concerned with people becoming more human and less mechanical. Money is not the issue. The real issue is the mind.

Slavery does not only exist when we blindly follow the flow of society and work ourselves to stress and poor health. Slavery also exists when we depend on others for money at the expense of our creativity and personal power. Please note the end of the sentence. For example, if I give birth and stay home to raise my child, I may depend on my husband for income. That is different. Purpose can be to raise children (that is a pretty badass purpose too). I am not talking about that. I am also aware that some people fall in love with someone who has a lot of money and therefore they receive financial support from that person. It is very possible that one’s purpose may be to share true love with someone who happens to be financially abundant. That is wonderful! I am simply referring to the fear-based way of living that propels people to sacrifice love for money. I am pointing to the reliance on others for financial security at the expense of true heart centered connection.

When I was receiving all of the gifts from others, they brought me temporary joy of course. Who wouldn’t want to be flown to a tropical island and have all costs covered? Every now and then it’s nice. It’s nice to receive gifts and acts of kindness. The problem arises when we live our lives based on it… when we fail to peek inside to uncover the treasures and the richness inside our own soul. We are literally cutting ourselves off from our purpose. In my opinion,  desperately depending on others for financial security is rooted in fear and self-doubt.

How to get out of the rut? One suggestion is to meditate. Get still. Be patient and gentle with yourself. Reflect. Journal. Volunteer. Practice yoga. Travel. For me, an immense sense of freedom, confidence and self-empowerment has emerged as a direct result of taking my finances into my own hands and knowing in my heart that I am capable of sustaining my own life. There are endless ways to transform fear into abundance and start building a sustainable framework for your life.

Oh, and here’s my expert advice regarding career:

You may not love what you do, but you must not hate it.

BOOM! 😉 



Weight loss revealed: It’s not about diet, and it’s not about exercise.

Yeah, you heard it.

Why would you listen to anything I have to say, anyway? I don’t have my doctorate nor am I a bio-chemist. Yes, I do have some credentials in holistic health however the internet is completely saturated with this type of information.

So why would you believe anything I say?

Let me tell you a brief story about why I care about sharing this information…

Growing up, I was addicted to fast food. I didn’t realize I was addicted, as tends to be the case with most addiction. But I ate it every day. And it seemed ‘normal’. I was overweight as a kid, suffered from acne, painful periods, bloating, and anxiety. Fast forward to my second year in college. After being inspired by my athletic roommate, I started going to the gym to shed the ‘freshman fifteen’. I had never worked out before. Because of that, my body took to it immediately and I started dropping weight relatively easily. People began to notice and comment on my physique. It made me feel pretty damn good. The approval from others moved me to start paying more attention to my food. And by paying attention, I mean eat less. I lived on energy drinks, cigarettes, and gum for nearly two years. Yep. Not many people know this. My weight dropped from 120 pounds to 75 pounds in less than two years. At 75 pounds, I had tremendous anxiety, insomnia, and my menstruation stopped completely. My extreme weight loss shocked my system to the extent that my organs were in survival mode. I grew little hairs that would keep me warm since I was cold all of the time due to lack of body fat. This is just part of it, but I’m not going to go into all the details here. I realized I needed to gain weight, and so I did. I added healthy fats into my diet. This was around the time that I enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where I learned about the importance of eating real healthy organic whole food. I ended up dabbling around in many different diets, primarily raw and vegan food which seemed to be a perfect complement to my yoga practice. Despite my holistic knowledge, I was still micromanaging my body and my diet. I was constantly fantasizing about my next meal and my next workout. My brain was on 24/7. No wonder I couldn’t sleep.

Okay, that’s the nutshell version, and I must say I’m pretty proud of myself for not writing a novel. 😉

The reason I am sharing this is because I have actually mastered losing and gaining weight. It’s not hard to lose weight and it’s not hard to gain weight. Weight is actually not the issue. As I lost and gained weight, my mind was the same mind. I was judgmental and critical of myself no matter what weight I was at. I was never ‘good enough’, and there was always something to be ‘fixed’. It wasn’t until I developed a spiritual practice that I learned to co-habitate with my own body and start feeding myself from my heart instead of my mind. Our minds keep us stuck. Willpower is not the issue either. If your will is coming from the same mind that is judgmental and self-sabotaging, then it will not last. The mind must be modified. We must learn to love ourselves, even (and especially) when we don’t feel like it.

I will dare to suppose that we actually don’t want weight loss. We want peace of mind. We want to feel content. Happy. Loved. Accepted. It’s as if ‘balance’ is inherent in us and it’s just a matter of accessing our inner equilibrium, otherwise why would we strive to be healthy?

The rollercoaster journey of weight fluctuation finally ended when I embarked on a spiritual journey. I no longer saw my body as some problem that needed to be corrected but rather a divine temple through which the universe chose to exist. I literally feel like I’ve been reborn. How dare I not feed my body appropriately? Also, knowing that stress is one of the main root causes of many physical diseases (including inflammation and weight gain), I no longer entertain self-limiting or fear-based beliefs about myself. I have chosen to let go of my small controlling self and trust in my higher wisdom. We all have this wisdom. You have this wisdom… especially if you’re still reading. It’s in you right now. And you know it! It’s just a matter of shifting your awareness. Once your mind shifts, actions that follow will be different than before. They will feel effortless. I have been at the same weight for two years and eat in a relaxed way. I eat very healthy but am no longer obsessive. I feel strong, grounded and light in my body and, in return, the same way in my mind.

If you don’t have a spiritual practice, you can start now. Spiritual practice is nothing fancy. You don’t have to take a class or learn another language or become religious. You can start by writing your feelings in a journal, making a list of what you’re grateful for, taking a yoga class, carving out alone time for yourself each day with no distraction, taking a walk in nature, creating art, or making love. This may seem ‘woo-woo’, especially if you’re the type of person who wants a ‘plan’ for weight loss. Well I’m talking to you. You specifically. The plan is no plan. The plan is to start letting go a little bit. Slow down. Stop trying so hard. And enough being against yourself! This may be challenging, but hey, if nothing else seems to be working, then why not experiment?

When we only focus on the ‘outer’ and never address the ‘inner’ then it may seem like our health efforts are a losing battle. Only when we heal our relationship with ourselves is the door to wellness unlocked… and it will be unlocked forever.

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