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Category: Inspirations

United in Tragedy

Every so often a tragedy strikes. Whether it’s a devastating natural disaster like Irma or a man-made catastrophe such as the recent shooting in Las Vegas, every one of these painful occurrences brings with them a subtle reminder of how fragile we really are. They reveal how gentle, soft and delicate we are at the core. They remind us how much we grieve when we lose someone we love. They show how much we hurt when we see others in pain. They demonstrate how sorrow is a universal feeling shared by each and every one of us, regardless of our background or upbringing.

We are reminded by these bone-chilling moments that despite our differences we are much more alike than we are different. Our bodies need water and our lungs demand air just the same. Our eyes shed tears and our wounds bleed blood just the same. We want love for our children and good health for our parents, just the same. We all harness a passion to care, to feel, to love.

Yet somehow, time and time again, we go astray from this natural way of being. When the dust of a tragedy settles we go back to our conditioned ways. We listen to the whispers or sometimes outright screams who tell us blame them, punish him or hate her. Pick a side they tell us, join our team. They’re wrong, we’re right. It’s us against them.

Whether its sports, politics or news, they want us to take sides, to separate, to divide. And we do, time and time again. We argue with our family over the next politician, we get sucked into race wars and finger pointing, we defend our beliefs with sweat blood and tears.

The harsh truth is each one of us is doing it because we think it is the better way. We wholeheartedly believe that we are on the right path and want our loved ones to recognize, validate and join our journey. But what we forget or neglect is that each individual is on their unique path and we cannot change or convince them otherwise. All we can do is support, understand and listen but most importantly unite. Unite in our love for life. Unite in our love for peace. Unite in our love for the world. Unite every day like we did after 9/11, Paris, Florida, Irma, Manchester, Las Vegas.

Let’s stand united in the name of all the victims of brutality with love and kindness in our hearts for their loved ones who have to cope with so much loss and pain.

The topic of unity always brings me back to a famous Charlie Chaplin speech made in a 1040 film The Great Dictator. His bone-chilling words continue to resonate almost 80 years later. If you have yet to see this speech, please take a moment to see it here.

Sending you love, peace and unity my friends. Be kind to one another. Love, support and appreciate each moment we get to share on this unpredictable journey of life.

With Love,
Alyana

Not getting what you want? Don’t worry, it’s meant to be.

Have you ever heard this quote from the Dalai Lama “sometimes not getting what we want is a wonderful stroke of luck”? I love this quote, it makes me think about all the things I thought I wanted and all the things I didn’t get.

Looking back at a younger me, I see a very different person from the one I get to be today. Just a few years ago, I had drastically different priorities and possessed what I would now consider to be pretty questionable values. Back then I hoped for things I wouldn’t want today. Just a few years ago I wished for a life I would go great lengths to avoid now. This doesn’t mean that I was wrong. It simply shows how much I didn’t know.

Isn’t it amazing how much can change within a relatively short period of time? Particularly when we make room for personal growth. This kind of growth takes patience and a whole lot of soul searching. It requires thinking outside of the box. It may call for visiting places we’ve never been before and it might demand of us to let go of predispositions we oh so cherish. If we pay attention, we can almost hear our inner selves silently screaming to break out of their tightly fitted comfort zones. If only we dared to try something new, something scary, just enough to shift our perspective. If only we gave our soul some room to stretch its legs. Imagine the wonder we could find.

Through my own set of experiences, I now see that not all of our wishes are meant to come true and I now realize just how wonderful that can be. Here are some examples of what I didn’t know just a short time ago and how grateful I am to know them today.

  • I didn’t know that the quiet of the forest sounds better than the noise of a bustling city.
  • I didn’t know that money is just a supporting role, not the lead.
  • I didn’t know that there is so much more to life than building a career.
  • I didn’t know that big mansions and fancy cars do not guarantee happiness.
  • I didn’t know that by chasing things on the outside I would never find inner peace.
  • I didn’t know that facing uncomfortable inner pain of the past leads to finding the ultimate freedom of the future.
  • I didn’t know that struggles and challenges don’t happen to us but happen for us, in order to propel us to become stronger and more resilient beings.
  • I didn’t know that being comfortable in my own skin feels way better than trying to fit in.
  • I didn’t know that trust is worth the effort even if there is a chance we may get hurt.
  • I didn’t know that vulnerability is much more attractive than perfection.
  • I didn’t know that being weird is actually much more fun than being normal.
  • I didn’t know that being myself was not only enough, it is the key to emotional freedom.
  • I didn’t know that I don’t need attention to feel validated.
  • I didn’t know that a walk in nature can help us solve some of our most complex problems.
  • I didn’t know that welcoming and accepting all beings just as they are, feels so much better than criticizing and judging them. I mean this for the smallest of things, like judging someone’s attire to bigger more meaningful ideas like criticizing someone’s lifestyle choices. I’ve learned to love letting people be!
  • I didn’t know that love is the answer to almost every problem. At the very least, it is at the core of every solution. If we think and act from a place of love, our lives will be better and more fulfilled.

I’m grateful that the wishes of my past did not become the reality of my today. So if you haven’t quite obtained what you are hoping for right now, perhaps it’s life’s way of telling you that there are better and more meaningful experiences waiting ahead. Don’t fret over not getting that job, not landing the deal or not getting a callback. Maybe it’s all preparing you for the future, more wiser, more resilient and more complete you. After all not getting what we want could be a wonderful stroke of luck.

Need help with soul searching?  Try these articles How to Live Awake and Surviving in an overachieving world

Sending you love, peace and good vibrations.

Surviving in an overachieving world

Modern day society is obsessed with success, ambition, and overachievement. We admire people who work over 60 hours a week and are constantly reminded of their glorious success through their colorful display of physical possessions.

We tirelessly compare our achievements to those around us and so often find ourselves falling short. So we fret. We push ourselves harder or blame people or circumstances around us. We drown ourselves in work we don’t love and even after completely exhausting ourselves we are still nowhere near the Joneses but are now more tired, stressed and run down than ever before.

These shortfalls make us believe we are not good enough. We can’t do what they do therefore we must be failures, slackers, bums. We accept this new reality and carefully watch their successes bloom from the sidelines while we secretly envy them and wish them to fail.

What a sad story and a waste of a beautiful life. All this anxiety is based on a false premise that the purpose of our life is to be regarded as a go-getter. Yet life is so much more than that. True fulfillment comes in the form of kindness, love, and acceptance. Every day we wake up is a beautiful opportunity to love life. This may sound cliche but ask anyone laying on a deathbed if it isn’t so. Ask a parent with a dying child to confirm just how true this premise is.

You see we’ve become so obsessed with overachieving that a person in a relaxed and calm state of mind can be taken for granted or regarded as a slacker. This is unfortunate because what the world really needs is not more successful people but kind, patient and loving individuals instead. To me, a person with a beautiful heart and an open mind is so much more impressive than a successful CEO.

With so much societal pressure no wonder most people’s stress levels are through the roof while prescription drugs are handed out in desperate attempts to numb the overwhelming anxiety and pain from the never-ending rat race. We are attempting to treat the symptoms while ignoring the cause.

Life is a beautiful journey, be sure to carve out moments to stop and smell the roses. Make time to reconnect with your inner self. Get to know what matters to you. What do you love? What makes your heart smile? What excites and motivates you? If you’re unsure, you have some soul-searching to do. Take time to get to know the real you. Sit in a quiet space, perhaps by a fire, or by a mountainside. Listen to a running brook or feel the breeze of the morning calm. These moments help clear our overworked minds and create space for creativity and love. Listen to your intuition and work on creating a path that is unique and tailored to you, not based on the pressures and norm of society.

I hope this message sparks a curiosity in you and fosters some passionate discussions with your loved ones.

Sending you so much love, peace, and good vibrations,
with love Alyana

For relaxing and rejuvenating practices visit these helpful articles Meditation Podcast: Live Awake and The Power of the Mantra

Is jealousy helping or hurting you?

What is jealousy? Dictionary.com provides the following definition: 1) jealousy is a feeling of resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, etc., or against another’s success or advantage itself. 2) mental uneasiness from suspicion or fear of rivalry, unfaithfulness, etc., as in love or aims. 3) vigilance in maintaining or guarding something.

Based on above definitions, do you think jealousy is hurting or helping you?

Here is my raw and unfiltered truth: I used to be a jealous person. I didn’t understand where it was coming from and if ever confronted I would wholeheartedly deny it. I didn’t see just how much pain my jealousy was causing not only me but my relationships as well. Too often I jumped into conclusions, made up false narratives in my mind and accused my boyfriends of ridiculous wrongdoings. This went on for years.

My true liberation began after I set out on a soul-searching journey. This entailed taking a close and honest look at my upbringing while facing some painful and uncomfortable insecurities that lived deep within. Over time I discovered that my jealousy didn’t just appear out of thin air. My jealousy had two thick and deeply rooted causes. The first was the lack of my father’s involvement in my life and the second was a possessive and overbearing first romantic relationship. I won’t bore you with the dark and complicated corners of my psyche but I do want you to know that once I realized and accepted what was driving my jealousy, only then was I able to set myself free from the heavy and painful chains of this destructive habit.

Today I see jealousy as a debilitating master that thrives on controlling thoughts and behaviors. I see it as mental confinement that hurts every relationship it touches. Here is what I learned about jealousy on my path to recovery.

  1. Jealousy stems from our deepest insecurities. Do you know yours?
  2. Jealousy is not cute. There is a common misconception that jealousy is a display of love and affection. Do you agree? I think jealously displays one’s insecurities and mistrust.
  3. Life is so much more beautiful when we liberate ourselves from the confinement of jealousy.
  4. Jealousy affects multiple aspects of our life from lovers, to colleagues, to friends and strangers who appear to be doing better.
  5. Jealousy is toxic to our inner self as well as our relationships.

My recovery from jealousy was a long and slow journey, shoot, in all honestly it still is an ongoing effort. It took years of self-reflection and soul-searching along with the support and patience of my beloved to reach a place where I finally feel in control of my thoughts and emotions. Today I can honestly say that when a woman flirts with my husband I find it cute that someone else sees him the way I do. I don’t take it as an act of disrespect or some sort of aggression. I also know that it feels nice to receive a compliment so why would I want to take that away from him. This journey empowered me to trust him unconditionally, not because he is perfect but because we have put a lot of work into our bond. Escaping the shackles of jealousy is hard work. But boy is it worth it. Here are my 5 steps that may help you overcome those jealous ways.

  1. Be honest with yourself. If you are jealous of a particular person, ask yourself why? What specific qualities do you resent in them? As difficult as it may seem it is probably because you admire something about them but your insecurities won’t let you admit it.
  2. Face your insecurities. Did you grow up without a father/mother? Did one of your parents get cheated on? Or perhaps you were cheated on yourself? Dig deep into these painful pocket of memories to discover what is driving your insecurities. The best part of this exercise is that simply discovering the cause of our insecurities is more than half the battle, the other half is catching ourselves in the act.
  3. Practice self-worth. Recognize all the beautiful and wonderful things that make you, you. Once you elevate your self-esteem you can act and react from a place of confidence. Healthy confidence is the key to fostering trusting relationships. And hey, even if they’re not faithful, the fault is on them. It is something they will have to live with for the rest of their lives. Let’s face it, sometimes life is unfair but is it fair for us to walk around expecting the worst at all times? What fun is that?
  4. Let love in. Thinking and acting from a place of love is the best way to heal wounds. Try to understand that each one of us comes with baggage. Be patient with your loved ones for they too may be dealing with deep scars of their past and debilitating insecurities of the present.
  5. Be honest with your partner. Our vulnerability is what makes us beautiful. Tell your partner where you are in the process so that he or she can be more patient as you go through this life changing transition. They too will reap the benefits of a more confident and more trusting you.


I hope you found this article helpful, please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts, comments, and experiences.

Sending you love, peace, and good vibrations
Alyana with love

Inexpensive but meaningful gifts for the Holidays

If Holidays are the most wonderful time of the year why do so many of us feel incredibly stressed and overwhelmed? The advertising industry reminds us each year that we should use this time to reflect on our blessings and show appreciation to our loved ones…by buying a bunch of stuff. As if an exchange of material possessions is the only way to show love. It is one way if your bank account has a bunch of commas but for the rest of us living on a budget, there is a ton of other ways to show that we care. This holiday season if you haven’t done all your shopping just yet and are up to doing something a little different, I have a few suggestions on giving inexpensive but meaningful gifts to your loved ones.

  1. Give the gift of life, (no not a baby), a flower bulb is a wonderful way to give a gift that keeps on giving. If your friend is the busy type start with a cactus to make for an easier maintenance and to preserve its survival.
  2. Make a photo album – in today’s digital world, we take way too many pictures that are almost instantly forgotten and end up in some folder on our phone or computer hard drive. A photo album that can be touched is much more precious and is a wonderful accessory to any coffee table.
  3. Make a video clip – create a short but sweet compilation of videos for a special friend of family member.  Ask friends and relatives to share a funny memory or simply send their love. This is a gift that everyone will love and the only price you pay is the time it takes to make it.
  4. Give a voucher for a future day of fun. This doesn’t have to be an expensive outing, it can be a surprise picnic by a lake, a walk around town with a relaxing people-watching session in your favorite coffee shop or a free festival or concert.
  5. Put it in words – write an old fashioned letter where you share your warm and true feelings about the people you care about. The note can be comical (preferably not poking too much fun at the recipient), it can be emotional where you remind them just how much they mean to you or it can reminisce about a memory you two shared. There is something extra special about receiving a handwritten note. Your friends will surely love the gesture.
  6. Framed photo or inspirational quote – this simple but sweet gift will put a smile on anyone’s face. I mean who has enough inspirational quotes?
  7. Infused vodka jars – yea that’s right. This one should go to that one special friend that will appreciate it. Here are some step by step instructions http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/26/voda-infusions_n_7351656.html
  8. Create a recipe book – there’s something old school and cool about getting a bunch of awesome recipes craftily put together in a little book. This one is great for those who love to cook.
  9. An act of service – offer your services to babysit kids, dogs, cats, fish…. or maybe a grass cutting session for your auntie or a snow cleaning for grandma. You know what your closest folks like to do the least, offer to help them with it.
  10. Last but not least tell them you love them. So many people yearn to hear these three words yet would never ask for it. Even if you come from a family that doesn’t often share their feelings, they may walk away feeling strange at first but those three words will resonate and leave an imprint on their heart whether they want it or not. You know what, they always want it. 

There is so much more to life than working and spending our hard earned money. Life is about experiences, adventures, lessons and of course love. If you come from a family of gift exchangers it may be difficult to go the minimalist route at first. Try it by explaining that either you wish to save money for a particular goal or that you don’t want to dip into your savings, maybe you would like to enjoy a simpler and more easy going holiday season for a change. If you do this you should be prepared not to receive as well. I promise this change will have lasting effects and the more you practice it, the more you will enjoy a simpler and more relaxed holiday season. After all, the Holidays are about love, peace, and unity.

Sending you love, peace, and good vibrations, this holiday season and always.

Alyana