True Nature Travels Blog

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Gratitude is something that is sorely lacking today. Too many people feel they are entitled to what they have, and even a simple “thank you” is too much to ask from them. A lot of the stress we feel about our lives can be traced to feel entitled to the “nice things” that others have. Still, I believe that if you learn how to practice gratitude, you can shift your focus—and with this new attitude, everything can change.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey

“A Man Must Feel the Bite of Winter to Feel the Warmth of the Hearth.” If you are a Game of Thrones fan, then you’ve heard these words before, but more than a quote from a TV program, it is a beautiful description of what gratitude is and why it is an essential antidote to the emptiness we feel in life. Because of the comforts that surround us—comforts that previous generations would have found unimaginable—that we have become numb, entitled, and unable to feel gratitude for what we have.

We have become numb, entitled, and unable to feel gratitude for what we have

Today we have smartphones connected permanently to the internet. We have access to the repositories of all the knowledge of humankind, but imagine if there was no internet. No instant communication with your friends wherever they may be in the world. No Wikipedia or other websites from which we can mine the collective knowledge of the world. Just 20 years ago, that was the reality.

I remember a time when we had to go to the library to access the internet because the home internet was not yet a thing. It is because I know what it was like before the internet that I appreciate its existence more.

Now apply that to something closer to home. Imagine what life would be like to be an orphan. To not have a mother nagging you to put on a shirt or some other mundane “motherly” thing. To not have a father giving outdated life advice while teaching you how to do “manly” things more suited to the 1950s. Just the thought of not having your parents ought to get you to call them right now to tell them you love them.

Mindfulness As A Method Of Practicing Gratitude

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If you haven’t seen my article on mindfulness, maybe now would be a good time to give it a read. Mindfulness is the ability to appreciate the present and the things we have in the here and now. By practicing mindfulness and the science of gratitude, we can be grateful for what we have, even if it is not necessarily what we want, or not as good as what we desired.

A mindful person lives in the moment and enjoys the wonders of what they possess at the moment. By being content, the mindful person does not covet what they do not have. They are grateful for what they already have and do not take for granted their blessings or the achievements they have reached. A person trained in the art of mindfulness will savor with gratitude the life they already have. They will not covet a life that they could have had or that they desired in their youth.

For example, I know a man who became a lawyer at the age of 33. Recently, he lost both his parents within two years of each other. His doctor suggested that he discipline himself and develop mindfulness as an antidote for chronic, long-term dysthymia, which is the combination of an anxiety disorder and low-grade depression.

If this man decided to only focus on the negatives in his world, he might be cursing the powers that be for taking away his parents. He could be resenting the fact that it took him so long to become a lawyer.

But a mindful and grateful heart would teach him to be thankful that he had his parents for the first 30 years of his life. He had the privilege of becoming a lawyer in a state where more than 80% of those who finish law school do not ever attain this status. He has a lot to be grateful for if only he can train himself to see the light instead of dwell in the darkness.

He has a lot to be grateful for if only he can train himself to see the light instead of dwell in the darkness

In a way, mindfulness and gratitude will form a positive feedback loop in your life. Try it and watch as your attitude toward everything in your life changes.

The Scientific Argument In Favor Of Gratefulness

In a study, researchers learned that a person’s happiness level could be stable over the long term. This means that a grateful person can have a high level of happiness, and they can sustain it over a prolonged period. So, the bottom line here is: A grateful person is happier. (Consider rereading what I wrote about mindfulness earlier in this post, and start reaping the benefits of being happier right now.)

The same study also found that not only were people with a grateful mindset 25% happier, but they were far more optimistic about the future, too. One way to understand this is that the person who has a positive outlook in life will see the world differently. The grateful attitude for the present will permeate their attitude for the future.

If you think about it, this makes perfect sense. Someone with a grateful heart has a positive outlook on life because they aren’t wasting time being jealous or coveting what they do not have. They are already happy because they are content with their life.

This positive attitude has even farther-reaching effects on other aspects of a grateful person’s life. Depression or anxiety are far less likely to take hold because of the grateful attitude that increases their baseline happiness.

A grateful, happy person is less likely to seek out alcohol, drugs, or other compulsive behaviors. This is because these are behaviors that people use to fill a void in their lives. They wouldn’t have to fill a void if they were already fulfilled. Gratefulness means that there is much less of a chance that compulsive behaviors will become attractive to them in the first place.

The Practice Of Gratitude In Our Daily Lives 

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For those with religious inclinations, the practice of gratitude begins with prayer at the start of their day. Whether they are Christians, Jews, or Muslims, each will typically take part in morning prayers. During this practice, the faithful will thank a higher power for allowing them to rise in the morning after a restful night’s sleep.

If that’s not your cup of tea, then wake up nevertheless with a sense of gratitude. Even if you don’t practice any religion, it would be beneficial to reflect in the morning and take stock of what you have. Do not take anything for granted! If you have a roof over your head, a warm bed, and enough to eat, then you should be grateful.

Be grateful that breakfast is merely a matter of walking into your kitchen and opening the refrigerator or cabinets. Consider how so many others must work or even beg for the meager sums they would need to get the first or only meal of their day.

The Power Of Thank You

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“Thank you” should be an important phrase in your vocabulary. Say thank you when someone does you a favor or offers you a simple act of kindness—and if this is not something that you do as a matter of course, well, its time you made it a habit now. Giving thanks is an excellent way to develop an attitude of gratefulness, even if it is just in the little things.

Thank the person in front of you for holding the door for you. Thank your partner for handing you your first cup of coffee each morning. Thank your administrative assistant for bringing you your morning mail at work. It may feel awkward at first, but eventually, it will become a habit.

As a bonus, people will learn to appreciate—and emulate—your newly-developed sense of good manners. The practice of saying “please” and “thank you” has become a lost art in this era of entitlement—the 21st Century. You are spreading gratitude by bringing good manners back into the modern age.

The practice of saying “please” and “thank you” has become a lost art in this era of entitlement

If you want to learn more, you can draw inspiration from the movie Happy, Thank You, More Please. As the movie title suggests, the audience is invited to have an attitude of Happy, Thank You, More Please. If something makes you happy, then be grateful by saying thank you to the person who made you feel this way, and the “More Please” is in reference to asking for more of the thing that made you happy.

Gratitude And The Law Of Attraction

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There are many people today who believe in something called the law of attraction. They ascertain that when we want something and work hard to make it happen—or attract it—the universe will somehow bring it to us. For example, if we want a promotion at work, and if we diligently strive to attract the promotion, eventually, we will receive it. There is a mystical, quasi-religious aspect to the law of attraction. Suffice to say that it has many followers, simply because it appears to work.

Even for those of us who don’t necessarily put much stock in the other-worldly, it still makes sense. After all, how do we attract something? By acting toward making it happen. How does an employee attract a promotion? By working more hours, being more efficient, or generally acting in a manner in which they would be more deserving of a promotion.

The same holds with an attitude of gratitude. By being grateful even for small favors or kindnesses, you will attract people to be positively disposed toward you. People tend to feel good and act accordingly when they receive gratitude.

That Uber driver you thanked for bringing you to work? He might have been working all night, perhaps dealing with difficult customers. That small act of kindness in thanking him might be the first nice thing he experienced during his entire shift. That diner waitress you thanked for bringing you your first coffee of the day? That little bit of positive reinforcement and kindness could be the only thing that is holding back her tears.

In both and many other cases, the gratitude you show might very well attract even more acts of kindness from others. The kindness you display may resonate with others, and in turn, make them feel more grateful and allow them to experience a more positive outlook in life. Even if only for the moment that you gave them that appreciative interaction—that brief experience might help them to see that it is possible to obtain an attitude of gratefulness.

Life Is What You Make It. So, Why Not Make It A Grateful Experience?

The ability to be thankful for both small things and great blessings will change your outlook. It can spark a positive feedback loop that will change your inner attitude—and your entire life.

There are even scientific studies that suggest living gratefully can improve your quality of life. Your positive outlook and grateful attitude can stave off depression, as well as many other sources of negativity in your life. Think of it this way: Gratitude helps increase your positivity, and this positivity will help you resist succumbing to the onslaught of negative vibes around you every day.

This positive feedback loop within protects you even further because you will not accumulate negativity, and you’ll have a lower chance of engaging in any risky, compulsive behaviors, which might cause you even more problems later on. After all, if you feel good about yourself, you are far less likely to do drugs or consume excessive amounts of alcohol to “feel better”—and, best of all—this improvement in your attitude can radiate toward others around you.

By practicing gratitude, you may very well be bringing this gift to others in your day-to-day life.

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About the Author

Rebecca Temsen is a Blogger & Editor at selfdevelopmentsecrets.com.

True Nature Travels Blog

Wellness Trip 1

Nowadays, people resort to going on vacation solely to run away from the hard-working and tedious lives they are leading. However, many tend to return from holiday feeling even more drained. Organizing and going on a wellness trip where you can enliven all your senses, have long and relaxing spa days, meditate, and do yoga will enable you to find a greater purpose beyond tourism. While there are many resorts and wellness destinations around the globe for you to choose from, you still need some basic guidance on how to organize the best international wellness trip. Here is a guide that will get you fully covered.

 

Set a clear ‘relaxing’ objective

You can’t start browsing through various destinations before you figure out what relaxation and mindful wellness trip means for you. You need to have a clear and steady objective of what you want off your trip. For many, it’s the serenity of the ambient, while other factors like comfortable accommodation, beautiful scenery, and fitness amenities are vital. You may want solely to hold or organize spa retreats and offer quality spa treatments and dietary detoxes, so take a notebook and write down your ideas. Once you have everything sorted out, you can search for an international location.

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Look for a lucrative destination

There is an abundance of gorgeous and peaceful wellness retreats around the globe that simply allure an individual to stay there forever. When you need to organize a wellness trip on your own, you need to be careful with your choice. Start your search by narrowing down the places that can fit within your budget. Envisioning impossible outcomes will only make you disappointed. Consider going somewhere touristy, but don’t opt for renowned retreats but many somewhere off the beaten path. Also, go off the popular seasons when there is less crowd. Chances are that you will get the most of your trip and more.


Coordinate trip wisely

Now for some technical matters. Firstly, if you are travelling by car either solo or with a buddy or two, you should find out how to drive internationally. This means that you must check the maps, roads, read the regulations, learn some foreign rules, get the necessary papers, check the rental possibilities if necessary, and others. Next, you have to schedule the sessions, provide suitable accommodation, confirm and reconfirm the timings, and of course, coordinate meals and make sure that dietary are taken care of.

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Deal with the logistic upfront

Organizing an international wellness trip requires patience and diligence, but above all meticulous logistics. Besides transportation, transfer, meals, and food, you need to organize productive wellness activities that will enable you and the whole group to make the most out of your healthy travels. Whether you set your heart out to the beach, mountain, or a place within the rainforest, if you don’t clearly set the timing of the sessions, length, and find the right yoga teachers and trainers, you will be in for more stress. Therefore, in order not to get busy with the organization on your trip, deal with important matters upfront so that you can utterly unwind in your wellness trip.


Seek for physical tranquillity and activity

Going to a distant place where the sheer environment can help you improve your health and wellbeing is the key to an international wellness trip. Sometimes even if the surrounding can make you feel re-energized and uplifted, it may not be enough. Find a place where you can get active and have the ability to relax as well. Have some other activity in mind besides doing yoga and meditating. Think hiking, swimming, or stargazing. Organize some extra curriculum activities like writing, drawing and art sessions, learn how to play an instrument or how to cook some special international dish.

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Have a light agenda and short sessions

You don’t want to do yoga for 5 hours in the morning and then sit and meditate for another five. No, you must set light and mindful agenda so that everyone can get the most out of their stay. If you are in a different timezone, pay attention to the jet lag that someone might be experiencing. Let your yoga or other spa sessions last up to 2 hours each or 45min of some other demanding workout. Have a short break where you would chat, drink green tea and meditate. In the afternoon, you can do other activities, roam around, and in the evening gather up to share experiences.

You aim should be to make this international wellness trip as restful and rejuvenating as possible. By following the above-mentioned guidelines you will certainly accomplish that and have a mindful and regenerating experience.

 

About the Author

Morgan Elliot

Morgan Rose Elliott is an aromatherapist, yoga instructor, animal lover, and a happily married mother of two. She enjoys reading biographies and writing poems, sunny days on the beach and any shape and form of vanilla. Crazy about the ’80s, her favorite band is Duran Duran and she is obsessed with Netflix original Stranger things.

https://twitter.com/MorganRoseElli1

True Nature Travels Blog

First, I planned a trip to Colombia. Then, a dear friend set her wedding date in California. A few days later, my dad broke his hip in Texas. I live in Florida, so now, I have three big trips planned in the next 2½ months.

Here are three questions I plan to take with me in my hip pocket to help me use my energy wisely, make the best decisions I can, and travel with purpose this summer.

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What’s Meaningful Now?

Meaningful experiences can be elusive. It’s no wonder we want to travel on big adventures to far away places! Maybe we’ll get some meaningful luminosity into our veins that we can bring home to light our world.

All the meaning we experience in life, we create ourselves, out of our own minds. The world itself remains inherently neutral. That’s why “What’s meaningful now?” is such an important question!

My first meditation teacher, Sarah Powers, taught “What’s meaningful now?” as a way of staying with the heart and taking responsibility for ourselves.

The question calls up present moment guidance for making decisions and prevents us from sleepwalking through life. It taps us into creativity and frees us from ideas about what we should do or be. It helps us take advantage of opportunities and prevents regret.

This summer, ask, “What’s meaningful now?” and follow the thread.

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What’s Really Going On?

Life can be dramatic, emotional, confusing.

“What’s really going on?” takes us below the surface with curiosity about what we’re not seeing. It asks us to stretch beyond our assumptions, into wider realizations about the world and deeper understandings of ourselves.

“What’s really going on?” teaches us to reflect things as they are. It illuminates causes and context, so everything stands in its true shape, free from the light our preferences may cast.

I regularly use “What’s really going on?” for insight into anger. It always uncovers a more vulnerable feeling underneath, like fear, hurt, fatigue, or embarrassment. Then, I can honor that feeling instead of being driven around by my anger.

If your travels take you into situations, places, or cultures that are new to you, this question will help you get out of your head, pay attention, and engage more deeply.

You will be tempted by this question to analyze or tell a story about what’s happening. Don’t try to figure anything out! Feel into your body, and make more subtle observations. Maintain kindness.

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How can I help?

If we’re not careful, a big vacation, a travel adventure, or an international retreat can end up being all about me, me, me! “How can I help?” provides an antidote to becoming self-absorbed and spurs us to connect with others.

When you’re traveling, “How can I help?” defers authority to local wisdom and makes you a good guest. Asked with humility, this question can pierce through awkward circumstances of inequality and shift you into listening and respect.

This question also makes us aware of our gifts and our agency. It points us to what we can do in this world of overwhelm.

“How can I help?” is an evolutionary question that leapfrogs ego’s desires and complaints to reconnect us with generosity and abundance. An attitude of “How can I help?” makes the world safer for everyone to explore, take risks, and grow.

Are you picturing yourself planting trees or feeding the homeless? Great! Also know that helping can look like taking a step back and giving space to others. It can look like patience. Or a smile.

Practice these questions. Put them in your pocket this summer, and take them with you… to the beach, as you step off the plane, while sipping your morning tea, to plan your next adventure.

Let the questions be touchstones – a way to take refuge in wisdom. Some days, they’ll reveal great insights. Other days, you’ll get silence in return. That’s ok! “I don’t know,” is always a valid response! Let yourself experience “don’t know” mind. Become better acquainted with uncertainty.

Notice how the ritual of being with these questions develops. Keep them with you until they’ve served their purpose, then let them go, and begin your next practice on life’s journey.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Delana Thompson helps spiritually-inclined entrepreneurs express their hearts and expand their influence with authentic copywriting, project management,delana thompson and professional delivery of their online content. Her clients include teachers and practitioners of meditation, yoga, ayurveda, shamanic healing, astrology, and fine art. When she’s not writing marketing emails or designing landing pages, you’ll find Delana salsa dancing, practicing meditation, planning a trip, listening to a podcast, speaking Spanish, or missing all her faraway friends. Visit Delana on LinkedIn to learn more about her business.

True Nature Travels Blog

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I arrived in Oaxaca, Mexico with a terrible, feverish flu. This was a year ago, when my partner and I traveled to the picturesque, coastal village of Puerto Ángel, to celebrate the New Year with friends.

Puerto Ángel nestles between the mountains and the sea, with little winding roads, that I’m sure have charming appeal for the average visitor. Each day, determined to make the most of our journey, I’d wedge my sick self into our little rental car, packed with 6 people, and we’d head for the beach, maneuvering around all the other cars and trucks on those narrow lanes. Then, at night, I would lie awake, burning up with fever, and wonder semi-dramatically, “Is this illness permanently damaging my health?”

When any thought arises, it means the mind has condensed out of openness into the form of the thought. If the thought happens to carry a tinge of suffering, then further thoughts can quickly cordon off the mind, closing us in, making our view of the world smaller and smaller. This was not what I envisioned for our trip to Mexico!

When we fall into cramped mental spaces of frustration and dissatisfaction, it’s easy to become depressed, space out, go into denial, or become disconnected from the amazing world around us… especially if we happen to be sick! I was doing my best to keep my mind open through the aching haze of flu and fever, but connecting with the local culture and enjoying my time at the beach weren’t coming easily to me.

Meanwhile, I knew the true nature of my mind was still there in the background: vast, spacious, and totally open to possibility. I had enough awareness to notice my thoughts were hemming me in, but the illness made it difficult to interrupt myself and change course. (Even when we feel well, attachment to our thoughts and opinions can be fierce!)

One way to free the mind and create more possibility for ourselves is to imagine putting space around the thoughts.

For this practice, I find it helpful to picture stubborn thoughts like walls – mental structures we’re temporarily unable to see through. If we can remember that out beyond the enclosing walls of our thinking, the vast, open space of the mind remains available to us, then we have a chance to open a window and reconnect with that natural openness.

Going into a spacious landscape for this practice – next to the ocean, under the sky, on a mountain, in a grassy field, or even high up in a skyscraper – to experience open space directly can really new-year-open-mindhelp the mind open up.

The trick here, is not to force our thinking to change. We’re not trying to wrestle our minds to the ground or deny how we’re feeling. Instead, we’re simply remembering the all-encompassing wisdom of the mind, the wisdom of spaciousness, out beyond our thoughts.

Once we’ve tapped into the wisdom of spaciousness, a thought that is true, harmless, and kind will thrive and do good works, while a thought that creates conflict, confusion, or fear will gently and gradually transform.

This heals us.

The wisdom of spaciousness lets the mind breathe with creative energy.

It helps us see things from a wide angle and move inclusively into the fullness of who we are, beyond limiting thoughts, opinions, and beliefs.

After a string of feverish, headachy, yellow-sun days, spent at hot beaches or winding through cramped, village roads, we gathered with our friends on the big, thatched-roof porch behind the seaside house they rented, to welcome the new year.

While waiting for midnight, I kept sending my mind into the deep, moon-blue expanse of night sky and sea, like a prayer of openness for the year to come. Beginning the year in that cathedral of wide, clear sky, with my mind at rest in its natural spaciousness, felt wonderfully healing. Whatever the year might bring, I knew I would be ready for it because my mind was open.

What tricks and tips do you have for keeping an open mind this year? I’d love to hear!

About the Author:

Delana Thompson helps spiritually-inclined entrepreneurs express their hearts and expand their influence with authentic copywriting, project management, and professional delivery of their online content. Her clients include teachers and practitioners of meditation, yoga, ayurveda, shamanic healing, astrology, and fine art. When she’s not writing marketing emails or designing landing pages, you’ll find Delana salsa dancing, practicing meditation, planning a trip, listening to a podcast, speaking Spanish, or missing all her faraway friends. Visit Delana on LinkedIn to learn more about her business.

True Nature Travels Blog

It’s almost time to part ways with 2018 and welcome in a new year. This is a great time for reflection, gratitude, letting go of what needs to be left behind and starting fresh. Aren’t we so lucky to be able to do this? It is also the period when we make new year’s resolutions, to begin the next chapter of our lives by setting clear intentions.

Amongst the personal goals you will create for yourself, here are 3 mindful new year’s resolutions you can make for 2019.

Acknowledge Your Inner Power

We are all gifted with an immense power within. We are creators with amazing capabilities to transform ourselves and our world in a way that creates more harmony and balance. Realise your potential and all the wonderful things you can do and manifest in your life. As reflect over the experiences you had this year, bring to your mind the more challenging ones and how you were able to deal with them. You will realize that what once seemed impossible to cope with, was actually just a way to teach you how to tap into this inner power you hold. You have the ability to open any barriers that may block your way ahead, and the key to this is by realising it. Know that if you become more mindful of yourself and your inner stillness, no external events or factors can take this away from you. Tapping into your inner power will also guide you towards new ways of approaching life with more confidence and self-trust, knowing that whatever road blocks you may encounter, you can trust yourself to keep moving forward.

Embrace Your Uniqueness

The most beautiful aspect of human kind is that we are all unique. No two people on this planet are the same, as our souls have their own paths to journey on. Your unique talents are yours, you have been gifted with these so you can serve the world in your own special way. We often compare ourselves with others and put a negative spin to it, wishing we had the things they did. The good news is that you will never be like somebody else; the not so good news is that if you don’t embrace this, you will never let your true authentic self shine. Make this part of your new year’s resolutions and discover just how beautiful you are inside out, just the way you are. Find your unique qualities and what makes you be YOU. Our purpose is often wrapped around in these unique qualities and as we begin to discover and manifest them, it starts to shine and be released. We find our way by being and living as our most original self. The great thing about embracing your uniqueness is that it will teach you to accept other people for who they are, without any judgement.

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Spread Unconditional Love

The heart chakra, located in the middle of the chest is the energy centre where infinite unconditional love resides. We are so blessed to be gifted with the ability to always give and receive love without it ever running out. Being mindful of this aspect, you can first start by making a pact with yourself that for 2019, you will access this great superpower more often. The only way to realise its potential is to first use it for yourself. As part of your 2019 new year’s resolutions, start to love yourself unconditionally and you will see just how much your inner and outer world will change for the better. Unconditional love is the selfless kind, the type you give with no expectation, other than to share this magical ability with others. When you stand from a place of love, you will start to see beauty in everything and everyone. And it really doesn’t matter what others’ think of you because when you spread love everywhere you go, you create a positive impact.

Always know that you have the opportunity to recreate and reshape your outer world by nurturing your inner one. Bring your awareness to these 3 new year’s resolutions, meditate on them and sit with each one for as long as you need to. Eventually, they will become your beacon of light to brighten your days as you step foot into a new chapter, which it’s yours to create.

 

About the Author

Miriam Indries is a published author, yoga and meditation teacher, passionate about holistic healing. She is also a qualified Ayurveda Practitioner and NLP coach. A keen traveller, wondering soul and student of life, Miriam is the creator of Self-Elevation.com, online platform empowering others to find their greatness.

True Nature Travels Blog

A mother is something extraordinary. It goes beyond the basics of what a “mother” is or should be. Mother is the feminine, a woman who provides, loves, nurtures, and creates. A woman of strength and softness with a heart so compassionate that her warmth comes through with just a simple hug. So much love we have for these wild women who have raised us, sheltered us, taught us lessons, listened, nurtured, and also stayed in her own vulnerability showing us even the magical have flaws in perfection and one should only show their authentic self. This is a day to celebrate them, yourself, whoever it may be that is symbolized as this embodiment of complete love and that has helped you through your life.

A mother is in my eyes a type of medicine woman. They heal with so many lessons and love, which they provide. Always giving, beyond themselves, because that is their soul and selfless desire; what devotion they have to their roles of giving. Since these women give us so much medicine, I thought it was only proper that we treat them with medicine on their special day of celebration. I’m speaking of the medicine of Cacao.

“I often call chocolate the best-known food that nobody knows anything about,” said Alexandra Leaf, a self-described “chocolate educator” who runs a business called Chocolate Tours of New York City.
Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/a-brief-history-of-chocolate-21860917/#WSL7Rh4jPcgU0sJQ.99

Deep in the amazon basin in South America, between Ecuador and Peru, the people would put the fruit whole inside of water mostly for making alcohol, to find that when the bean would ferment it would completely change, becoming a bioavailable food. Culturally Cacao developed in Southern Mexico and Guatemala, among the Mayan and later Aztec kingdoms. Culturally meaning that it became a common part of daily life, cuisine, ritual, and art mythology. These people would make the bean into a chocolate and mix it with herbs, creating an elixir finding that this drink would help them expand in multiple ways. Some would say it opens your heart and portals in the body. It was used both for spiritual reasons as well as for healthy fats which help with brain developing properties, amazing minerals such as magnesium, antioxidants that help the body naturally detoxify, and lastly it brings mind altering properties due to Alkaloids. This was a drink for uplifting the mood, gaining a natural source of energy, and also for relaxation. The experience is different for everyone. Some would say they have more of a psychedelic experience, leaving them in a “high.” Some would say it helped them through depressed feelings, times of doubt and stress. And for others it was mostly just used for rites of passage, funerals, weddings, births, etc. Creating an uplifting mood, a level of openness to what is, feeling blissful and fully alive. How could we not want to treat our mothers, the complete divine, to this divine drink?

Now instead of making a recipe myself, I decided to go to a better source, a dear friend of mines company, Cacoco, based out of Santa Cruz, Ca. I want to share this with you for a few reasons. First off, this company has a mission to not only supply their customers a healthy, safe, and delicious product with uncompromised quality and integrity, but to also embrace environmental sustainability, healthy vibrant lifestyles, and social responsibility.

I have some of the deepest respect for these guys and their mission. Food as medicine and enjoyment is some of the finest gifts from this earth we can get. These fellas are going to make an impact on this planet and community in beautiful ways, as they already are. I feel a way we can impact growth as humans and really start giving back to our planet more is by celebrating people’s gifts that they are blessed with, their talents, passions and offer an energy exchange in return.

Places to order; directly from their site https://drinkcacoco.com/pages/about; Found in Whole Foods Markets in Northern California; Found in health food stores all over the west coast.

         I hope you enjoy this day of the feminine and really celebrate, celebrate for all of the gifts that Mothers have blessed us with.

 

About the Author: 

Chelsea Shapouri, currently in Ventura, California, is an entrepreneur with the love for holistic health, yoga/meditation, herbal medicine, travel, and the outdoors. Her aim is to help people achieve their true authenticity, move away from stress and into balance using her knowledge with Holistic Living. Chelsea currently is teaching “Yoga Medicine” at local studios and indoor rock climbing gyms, creating a cook book, taking photos with her favorite companions, hosting workshops locally, and enjoying the ocean and trails on her days off. To learn more about her mission and offers you can go to her website; Thegrainsoflife.com or email her at; thegrainsoflife@yahoo.com. Join the team to spread this awareness of happiness as well as taking care of our earth and people.

True Nature Travels Blog

Nature has always been my “safe space”. When life gets a little too much, I find my way to the trees, dig my toes into the dirt, and breathe. It’s there that I feel most at home, and sooner or later, I find the connection to Earth helps me re-connect to my self as well. Unfortunately, winter always brings a dip in this sense of connection. As a native-Californian, I thrive on sunshine. The snowy meadows and dreary rain clouds are not exactly what I consider inviting. By the time winter comes to a close, I find myself feeling disconnected, flustered, and a little lost. Which is why I use Spring as an opportunity to reconnect with Mother Earth. The following are a few practices that help me rebuild my connection with Mother Earth; follow along and join me in building a stronger, lasting relationship with her this Spring!

Stop and smell the roses (or wildflowers)

While I generally keep away from clichés, I couldn’t help myself with this one. Spring is a time when trees start getting their leaves back, hills turn vibrant shades of green, and wildflowers start working their way up through the melting frost. Take time this season to appreciate the vibrant world budding around you.

Watch a young tree swaying in the wind outside your office window. Pause while your dog sniffs a tree to gaze at your neighbor’s stunning garden. Plant a garden of your own and watch it come to life as the season progresses. Or simply sit outside and be. Feel the air against your cheek, smell the fragrant flowers and fresh grass all around you, watch the clouds float across the sky. Simply taking a moment to appreciate nature can help you reconnect to Mother Earth and all her abundance.

Dance in the rain

Not every day in Spring is sunshine and roses. The rainclouds will still come. But don’t let them bring you down! Embrace the showers and all they do to help Mother Earth grow more luscious every day. Next time it rains, take a moment to be with that rain.

Maybe it’s simply standing under an awning and feeling the crisp air of a rainy day while you contemplate the life that this dreary weather brings. Or maybe you put on a swimsuit, head to a muddy puddle, and dance joyously as the rain splatters on your hair. However you decide to experience it, let yourself feel the delight Mother Earth feels when the pouring rain nourishes her dry body.

Leave your shoes at home

Whether you spend five minutes standing with your toes in the grass or decide to go for a barefoot hike through the countryside, there is hardly a more powerful way to reconnect with Mother Earth than taking off your shoes.

Forming a connection between the sole of your foot and Mother Earth’s diverse landscape is a powerful way to feel the pulse of the Earth beneath you, find that center that runs from the core of your heart to the core of the planet, and remember the stability and love that Mother Earth provides every single day.

Don’t be afraid to get dirty

This spring, get your hands dirty. You can start with something small, like lying down on a grassy hill without putting a towel down, or you can go all in and spend some time playing in the mud or rolling down a hill. Embrace the inner child that longs to get as close to Mother Earth as possible, and don’t worry if some grass stains result. It’s a small price to pay for the joy and connection you’ll find when you immerse yourself in Earth.

Reconnect with Mother Earth and maintain that connection

These practices are all simple ways to find your connection, but it’s easier to reconnect with Mother Earth than it is to maintain that connection. Once you find that connection, do your best to hold onto it. One way to do that is to take these practices and incorporate them into your daily (or weekly) routine. Another is to weave it together with other practices, like journaling, yoga, or meditation, that support a deeper connection with the world around you. Whatever practices speak to you, don’t just try them from time to time. Live them. Become them. And watch as they lead you closer to Mother Earth with each passing day.

About the Author

Author_Sarah Dittmore

Sarah Dittmore, the Director of Operations at True Nature Travels, is always seeking a new adventure. When she’s not barefoot hiking in the mountains of Peru, kayaking around an island off the coast of Italy, or camping in a rainforest in Costa Rica, Sarah writes about her adventures on her travel blog, Autobiography of an Adventurer. Join her as she travels the world and documents the wild and wonderful things she discovers along the way at www.autobiographyofanadventurer.com.

True Nature Travels Blog

Spring cleaning - spring approaching

Is it really already time to think about spring? I don’t know about you, but the as much as I adore the sunshine and wildflowers that come with the season, I always have a difficult time pulling myself out of the winter doldrums and into the elation of spring. My body is still heavy with soups and cocoa, my eyes still droop from short days and long nights, and my mind is weary from months of hibernation and self-reflection. This transition has been, and probably always will be, a difficult one for me. Which is why I have created a sort of spring cleaning tradition to enact when the poppies start blooming and the tree leaves return. If embracing the high-energy season of spring seems daunting, this routine will help.

Step 1: Clean out your physical space

Spring Cleaning - Physical SPace

Before I can apply the spirit of spring cleaning to my lifestyle or mental space, I have to apply it to my home. I have a Spotify playlist entitled “Dance it Out.” I turn the speakers on high, open all the windows (sorry neighbors), and I dance it out. I dance out the dust bunnies, toothpaste splattered mirrors, and unvacuumed carpets. Then I dig into the desk drawers and back closet space, making “Trash” and “Giveaway” piles larger than expected.

When spring cleaning day (or week, if I am being entirely honest) comes around, I stick with three strict rules. Rule 1: If I haven’t used it over the past season or forgot I had it, I’m getting rid of it. Rule 2: Everything has a place; if it doesn’t and I’m just trying to make room for it (on bookshelves, countertops, or in my dresser), then I’m getting rid of it. Rule 3: If it doesn’t have an obvious and necessary use, and doesn’t bring me some personal or sentimental joy, I’m getting rid of it. Take the edamame growing kit my neighbor gave me; I haven’t used it, I don’t know where to put it, and honestly, I have no interest in growing edamame when it’s like $2 at Trader Joes. So that one goes in the giveaway pile. Soon enough, my apartment starts to look less like a hoarder’s den and more like a home.

Step 2: Give your routine new life

Spring Cleaning - schedule

Once my living quarters have been scrubbed and re-organized, I turn the mop on my lifestyle. I grab a pen and paper (or maybe I have an entire notebook dedicated to this purpose, but that’s beside the point…) and I start sketching out my schedule. I look back on the past three months and jot down what my average routine was. When did I work? When did I exercise? When did I see friends, do art, or go outside?

On the next page, I think about what I think worked for me and what I think I would like to change. This year, for example, I started a workout routine over the winter that brought me to the climbing gym three days a week. I really enjoyed that and would like to keep in up in the spring. I did not, however, write nearly as much as I had intended to. That is something I want to carve more time out for.

So, with all these notes in mind and on paper, I start designing an ideal spring schedule. I know I won’t stick to it every day, so I try not to be too specific, but I set general goals like “write for an hour before work every morning” or “go for a 4+ mile hike at least once a week”. Sometimes the goals are specific, like “meditate for five minutes every day as soon as you wake up.” Other times they are really vague, like “say yes to new things.” Either way, I dedicate some time to giving my schedule and routine the spring cleaning treatment, then do my best to stick with it as the season progresses.

Step 3: Power wash your mental space

Spring cleaning - mental space

Finally, it’s time to brush the cobwebs away and dig into the well-packed boxes shoved into the recesses of my mind. During the winter, I go into full hibernation mode. I pretty much live off of books, baths, and tea from December through February and do my best to stay as covered by blankets as possible throughout the season. When Spring comes, I’m still content with my lethargy and my brain moves with the slow, gentle pace of a sleepy tortoise.

But spring is a time for action. It’s a time for a change and trying new things. Growth, renewal, birth; these are the themes of the season and they don’t pair well with lethargy and melancholy.

Which is why the final step of my spring cleaning routine is to clean out my mind. Not unlike my methods for cleaning my physical space and routine, my mental cleaning process involves a careful consideration of what to keep and what to let go. I usually start static; I sit in meditation or else get a journal out and start contemplating where my mind is at. How do I feel about myself lately? What about how I engage with others, with my goals, with my work, and with my environment? Do I feel happy lately? Sad? Tired? Energetic? I evaluate my mental space with a kind eye, lacking judgment and simply gaining awareness as to what is going on in there.

Spring cleaning - paddleboard

Then I move onto something active. I go for a hike, get out on the paddleboard, or flow through a vigorous yoga practice. I move until my body drips with sweat and my brain finds that sweet, endorphin-filled space of emptiness.

Lastly, I go back to stillness and turn my thoughts to questions like, “what brings me joy?” and “what I love most about myself?” As is my style, I make a list. I plant seeds of dreams, goals, and ambitions. I water them with love and hope. Then I get outside and let that bright spring sunshine help them grow into something beautiful.

 Spring cleaning - blossoms

True Nature Travels Blog

Is it just me, or does it seem like every yoga teacher’s theme for every class in autumn is gratitude? A few weeks ago, I was in a particularly tense pigeon pose. While my hips were begging me to stop, my yoga teacher was prattling on about how we should be grateful for our bodies, even when they felt tense and sore. That we should practice cultivating gratitude even when things are uncomfortable.

be-thankful

“I get it!” I wanted to scream, “it’s Thanksgiving season. Gratitude. Blah blah blah.” I was not feeling very grateful.

Then again, how could I? The past year has felt like a constant battle.

I’d struggled through graduate school–one of the most stress-inducing, exhausting experiences of my life. I’d worked for a company that disrespected and over-worked its employees. I’d lost a loved one to cancer.

And it all culminated in flying back to my parents’ house because I was in excruciating pain and none of the doctors in Edinburgh (where I’d been living at the time) could figure out why.

What did I have to be grateful for?

But the teacher just kept insisting that we should be cultivating gratitude.

gratitude

“Try looking at things from a different perspective,” she suggested as we settled into pigeon on the other side. “Instead of focusing on the pain and tension, focus on the good. Consider what you have to be grateful for.”

At first, I rolled my eyes.

Then I took a deep breath and tried it. I scanned my mind in search of something to be grateful for. I started to look at the past year with a new perspective.

Graduate school had been incredibly difficult and, frankly, I don’t think it was the right fit for me. But I never would have known that if I hadn’t tried. And it gave me the opportunity to live in Edinburgh for a year, which is now my favorite city on Earth. Plus, the people I lived with are now lifelong friends and some of the best friends I’ve ever had.

The company I worked for in Edinburgh was awful. Every one of their employees got injured and sick because of how hard they worked us. If I’d stayed there any longer than I did, I think it would have broken me. But I didn’t. I quit. And I learned a lot about what I need from an employer. Now I’m working a job I love for a company I adore. And sometimes I honestly think my boss worries about my well-being more than I do.

I lost someone I love very much to cancer. And I still get choked up when I think about it. But I also smile whenever I think about her. She is one of the most inspiring, big-hearted people I know. The world may be a little darker without her in it, but my life will always be a little brighter for having known her.cultivating-gratitude

I was not happy about leaving Edinburgh. I huffed and puffed the entire flight back to California. And then I got home. And my doctor diagnosed me with nerve damage the minute he examined me and sent me to a surgeon who had me in, out, and fixed in a matter of hours. The healing process has been relatively fast and I am already, just two months after surgery, almost back to 100 percent. This after being unable to stand up straight for months.

So, while it has been one of the more difficult years of my life, I guess there are still some things to be grateful for.

The stubborn side of me didn’t want to admit it, but my yoga teacher was right. Even when everything feels stressful, painful, and overwhelming… there is still a place for gratitude.

As the endlessly wise Dumbledore once said, “Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light”.

turn-on-the-light

I like to think of gratitude as that light. We can wallow in the pain and suffering and leave the lights off. It’s easy enough to do.

What’s much harder is to turn on the light.

In times of darkness, it’s hard to practice cultivating gratitude. But we need to let gratitude act as the light that illuminates the reasons we have for being happy, even when things are darker than ever.

For the past few months, I have been wallowing in that darkness. Which, I believe, is what I needed at the time. There was a lot of pain and anger in me and I needed to feel it before I could come out on the other side.

But I think I’m ready to turn on the light.

This holiday season, I am going to work on cultivating gratitude. After all, it is the season of Thanksgiving!

So, tell me… what are you grateful for?

woman-cultivating-gratitude

About the Author

Author_Sarah Dittmore

Sarah Dittmore is always seeking a new adventure. When she’s not barefoot hiking in the mountains of Peru, kayaking around an island off the coast of Italy, or camping in a rainforest in Costa Rica, Sarah writes about her adventures on her travel blog, Autobiography of an Adventurer. Join her as she travels the world and documents the wild and wonderful things she discovers along the way at www.autobiographyofanadventurer.com.

True Nature Travels Blog

Fall brings beautiful colors, crisp air, and inspiring energies. During this season, we may become more aware of our surroundings, more aware of how alive Mother Earth is, and more aware of what we may take for granted each and every day. Celebrate autumn by following this Sun Salutation of Gratitude and tune into awareness. From this awareness, we can cultivate a sense of gratitude.

Sun Salutation of Gratitude

sun salutation

We’ll begin in mountain pose, hands to prayer tuning into the energies around and within us.

From Mountain Pose, we take a breath in, lift our arms overhead to the sky, palms open, gathering gratitude and bringing it back to heart center. We inhale and raise our arms to the sky again. As we exhale, we swan dive, bowing to the earth, giving respect and gratitude for all she gives us. We breathe into standing forward fold, feet

As we exhale, we swan dive, bowing to the earth, giving respect and gratitude for all she gives us. We breathe into standing forward fold, feet hip-width apart, knees bent as needed. The crown of the head faces the floor and we relax our neck, visualizing the tranquil leaves blowing in the wind.Inhale into

Inhale into half-way lift, bending the knees to straighten the spine, shoulders away from your ears making space to encourage gratitude to seep in. On the next exhale, we step back into high plank, shoulders over the wrists moving back and away from the ears, lower abdomen in and up while pressing your heels back. In plank, we tune into our strength and resilience, and our ability to repair the environment a little every day through our choices and actions.

On your next exhale, moving through Chattaranga or dropping your knees to the floor, focus on hugging the elbows in at your side. Inhale into Cobra or Upward Facing Dog, focusing your eyes on a new detail in your current environment.

As your shoulder blades or wings move towards your spine, we begin thinking about all the birds that migrate throughout the world. We give gratitude for when we are able to witness one of these beautiful creatures in different regions of our Earth.

We exhale back into downward facing dog pressing our hands and heels into the Earth, focusing on creating space between our ears and shoulders and lengthening our spine.

We are grounded, we are resilient, we are full of wisdom and creativity to act how we want to move through this world. May

May the space we create through our lengthened spine in this physical practice of yoga symbolize the space we create for gratitude and for experiences to learn and grow. We walk our feet to our hands, hanging in forward-fold, envisioning all the space we are creating. Perhaps this space allows for the gratitude we bring in through travel, through experiencing other cultures, other ecosystems, and environments, other possible ways of life.sun salutations

We slowly rise up raising our arms once again up to the sky, this time sensing how the energy we’re gathering may have changed through our practice. As we bring our hands to heart center, we breathe, tuning into our energy and radiating our inner light out to all other beings.

As you watch the falling leaves, hear the changing sounds of wildlife, and feel the crisp air and shorter days, I encourage you to focus on appreciating the beauty and details of the diverse ecosystems you routinely pass by.

Sometimes travel can help us expand our horizons and experience gratitude from a different angle. And travel incorporating yoga and service… that practice opens up spaces within our emotional and physical body we did not even realize we could access. May you shine your light out to all beings.

Namaste.

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