Check Unwanted Energy At the Door!

Here is a guest blog I did for Sutra Lifestyles with a forward by my friend Maiko.  Enjoy

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Check Unwanted Energy At the Door!

My friend Cara practically glows from the inside out! She is a beautiful example of a woman who radiates self-love and acceptance. I’m amazed at how she can let negative people or experiences roll off her back and not let it affect her energy or attitude.

At times, difficult situations and people can suck the energy right out of me and I still struggle with keeping that in check. Recently I asked Cara for some tips on how to be engaged in a “situation” without allowing it to leave me exhausted or tense afterward. She gave me this wonderful self-guided meditation practice that has done wonders! I intend to repeat this mantra whenever I start to feel like my energy is being drained or my frustrations are flaring up.

It’s a really good one to practice under your breath when someone who is negative or toxic is in your personal space and there is no quick escape route. I instantly feel lighter and less overwhelmed.

Cara’s instructions and mantra for this meditation are below. Give it a whirl and see what it does for you. Trust me, you’ll love it! Thank you once again Cara for your meditation guidance, love, and positive vibes. For more of Cara’s beautiful affirmations and guidance check out her wonderful post on self-love: I am Beautiful, I am Sexy, I am Strong.


Maiko

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Here’s what Cara has to say:
First and foremost, remember not to judge yourself for taking on other energy! It happens to almost everyone in varying degrees and they don’t even realize it. Maybe you wound up feeling blue after talking to a friend who is depressed and you just can’t seem to shake it off… or you feel angry for no reason at all and you can’t seem to process it and let it go. Often times we are having these feelings and emotions because we have picked up some energy from another person.

This is a great meditation to do each evening, or right after a situation that you feel you took on heavy or unwanted energy.

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Mediation:

Find a comfortable seat and get grounded, take several deep breaths and close your eyes. First affirm that you send everyone’s else’s energy back to them with love. Feel it whisking away from your body.

Then imagine you were standing under golden drops of rain, and these drops are washing everything that isn’t yours away, rinsing it all off like a shower.

Repeat these as many times as you need.

Once you are complete take several deep breaths and open your eyes.

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Let the light inside you always grow brighter and shine it upon the world.

-Cara Viana

– See more at: http://sutralifestyles.com/check-unwanted-energy-at-the-door/#sthash.O49Qat5q.dpuf

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Marie Forleo’s B-School is coming up. This is an 8 week business training program that I have wanted to attend for some time. But I have been putting it off with various excuses: I’m not ready, I don’t have time, I can’t afford it, I don’t even know what I want to do with my life!  While those are all true in their own right, the bottom line is: I’m scared.  I’m scared of lots of things!  Scared to fail, scared to put myself out there, scared to spread myself too thin and collapse: scared, scared, scared!

I’m going to tell you something that I stopped telling anyone when I was a young girl.  As long as I can remember I have had this knowing.   This undeniable unarguable knowing that I was going to do or be something big.  That I was destined for something.  I never knew what it was, but as a kid I never worried, the knowing was so strong I never doubted it, or questioned it, or needed to understand it.  I knew I didn’t have to plan it or get it.  It just WAS.  I thought  that “What do you want to be when you grow up?” was such a silly question because I had the knowing.  But people didn’t seem to understand when I would say that ~ and some reacted poorly.  So eventually I stopped saying it.

Along with growing older came learning self doubt and some failures along the way.  I started to doubt the knowing, to question it.  What was it?  Was I crazy?  Was I making it up?  Was I just trying to feel special?  Why wasn’t it coming?  But the knowing held steady, it never changed or went away.  Sometimes I tried to ignore it, I got mad at it, I stuffed it down.  But when I looked it was still there, as strong as ever.  It never pushed me or pulled me or asked anything of me.  It just WAS.

Well, I finally hit some little milestone the other day.  I decided to apply for Marie’s B-School scholarship.  I said to myself  “It’s time to stop hiding this, to stop denying it, to stop playing safe”.  I was exhilarated and terrified.

Two days later Marie released a video about her B-School.  As I was watching it and taking notes she began to talk about how “You have a greatness, a destiny and haven’t you always know that since you were a kid?”  Holy shit I thought, she is talking to me!  Then I thought, no she is talking to Us, that means there are more people who feel this!!  I was dumbfounded. Apparently when you talk about your knowing in elementary school it’s frowned upon, but in Marie’s B-School you’re not a freak you’re: one of the group!  Okay, now I REALLY know I belong in this program!

So, I am at home working on my scholarship video! I have two days to do it including teaching myself how to edit the video!  I’m finishing it up as I type this and it will be posted below.  Fair warning: it’s homemade!  And you can probably hear my head-cold in my voice.   But here it is, it all it’s vulnerable authenticity!  GULP!

http://youtu.be/BA8XYpAL4VA

Here’s to all of us and our greatness!  Here’s to being brave enough to step into that light even for a second!  Here’s to believing every little kid when they tell us they have a  greatness or a knowing!  

I love you,

Cara

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The Gift of Gratitude: A Story About Learning To Fly

Guest blog I was asked to write for Sensophy.com | September 09 2013 |


We all get life choices. Some of them are big, hairy, tarantula-sized choices. You can choose to sit stagnant in the same place, never diverging from what is comfortable. Or, like a fledgling bird, leap off the highest branch, spread your never-used wings, and attempt to fly! Those first flying moments feel like the most exhilarating experience; the wind, the freedom, feeling brave and invincible. Then you look down. Now you’re plummeting and all you can think is, “Oh shit, I want back on that branch!”

That was me; a little bird oscillating between courageous soaring and panicked plummeting. Between feeling like a brave warrior karate-kickin’ my fears in the gonads, and just wanting to hide back on my safe branch!

I had just moved across the Pacific Ocean, leaving my hometown for the first time. The move, initially made with my long-time boyfriend, was freaking hard enough, but then the realization came that it was time to let go of the relationship I had clung to. The baby bird in me had walked to the end of the branch, was looking out, and could feel the wind calling. As I let go of the relationship that was my safety blanket, I took the flying leap.

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I was single and alone for the first time in my adult life. And way effing far from home.

My friends and family were looking on from afar (a literal ocean away), watching me take this flying ninja leap into… aloneness? Independence? I didn’t know. But I’m sure they were terrified for me. They all reacted in different ways. My immediate family surrounded me with love and emotional support. One of my best friends broke down crying and said, “Who is going to take care of you?” That was the big fear, you see. I’d had a very rough couple of years before moving and the man I just left was the one who had seen me through it all. My friends were scattered about the country and very worried about me. All I knew was that I had started my journey.

Ruby, one of my best friends since the age of 12, reacted proactively. She had just jumped off of her own branch, moving across the country and starting law school. She was having her own rough go of it. When she sat at the kitchen table at midnight with her books spread before her, holding a coffee cup in one hand and Pepto-Bismol in the other, wondering if it would make good creamer, she found herself plummeting.  She realized it was time to do something about it, both for her and for me.

A friend had given Ruby the idea of sharing positive daily moments. Knowing I was also in desperate need of a healthy dose of positive energy, she asked me if I would be willing to e-mail with her each day three things that I was thankful for. I readily agreed. I mean, if we were both drowning, maybe clinging to each other would serve as a life preserver… right?

One heck of a life preserver it turned out to be! At the beginning, it gave me a daily connection to someone I loved. The positive energy we sent each other in those sometimes only three-word e-mails was a huge gift to both of us. Even after I got solid in my rockin’ independence and Ruby successfully conquered law school, we kept up our daily “Thankful Three.”

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We made it through the shitty moments in our lives and shared the plentiful joy-filled ones. The e-mails made us focus on the good things. Throughout the day, we paid attention to positive things we could include in our e-mails. We never ever used the e-mails to rant or cry about the hard stuff. Instead, we shared the hard stuff with each other by finding a bright side to be thankful for. Some days, the gratitude poured out easily, like a squeeze bottle of catsup. Some days, it was more like the glass bottle kind. But we always did it because we were accountable to one another. I can tell you there were many times I would have skipped it! There were days where I was stubbornly holding on to my pissy mood and did NOT want to be effing grateful [insert foot stomp!], but then I would see Ruby’s daily thankfuls pop up in my e-mail and they always made me smile. I knew I had to get off my pity train, or my PMS tirade, or whatever it was that day, and find some damn silver lining to write back about. Sometimes I didn’t even mean it when I was typing, but by the time I was done with those three little sentences, heck if I hadn’t taken a big step toward happy.

Some of our thankfuls would seem silly or insignificant. I mean, if your life is in seeming shambles around you, who gives a rat’s about saying you’re thankful for caramel rice cakes, the smell of fresh cut grass, and that you are getting a haircut next weekend? Well, you’d be surprised what talkin’ up those rice cakes can do!

These short daily e-mails not only kept us in touch but they also focused our friendship in a positive way. If our lives have challenges, we always know the other one is there, holding that vibration of appreciation for us. We lean on each other and ask for help, and if we bitch, we include a silver lining. It is amazing to look back at our daily three (we’ve both saved them) to see where we started and where we are today. Both of us free-falling, trying so hard to flap our wings and fly, but needing to know we weren’t alone in that big sky. The connection and positive energy of our daily emails gives us a boost, and over the years we have both soared!

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I am pretty proud to say that it has been SEVEN YEARS and we are still sending our daily thankful three!

Today our e-mails reflect the different places we are at in our lives, but they still carry the same positive energy. This practice still has as much impact on our lives as it did when we started seven years ago.

We keep it up because we love it, because it keeps us close to each other, and because it brings so much love and smiles to our lives! Grab a loved one and give it a try. You will be thankful that you did.

Just for fun, here are a few actual thankfuls from then and now:

Ruby’s daily three from 8/1/07:

  1. Slinky black pencil skirts (even if I am in a bad mood, at least I can look good!).
  2. Good-smelling lotion.
  3. My Southern sweatshirt. It is my security blankie and something warm to cover my bare legs while I sit in my desk and freeze my ass off.

Cara’s daily three from 7/10/07:

  1. I am so thankful for good earplugs (which I am wearing in a crowded office full of people right now).
  2. Good health genes; my grandmother turns 80 today and is as healthy as ever!
  3. My probably-not-work-appropriate-shirt that got me lots of compliments today.

Now fast forward to 2013…

Ruby’s daily three from 8/13/13:

  1. The amazing love I feel for my son, even though I have only known him since Saturday.
  2. That even though it was scary to take him home from the hospital, we are doing well!
  3. That labor went well! Only 20 minutes of pushing! And the epidural was great!
  4. (Must have been a bonus!) That Jon is my husband and the father of my child :o)

Cara’s daily three from 8/13/13:

  1. Getting to teach mediation class to an exceptional and inspiring group.
  2. Making good decisions for what is good for me and what’s not and sticking to it!
  3. Sat for a minute today and watched Noah nap on the couch and just basked in the love that flooded through me.

Bio thumbOn the rockin’ ride that is life, you will find Cara Viana out of her seat belt and hanging out the window playing air guitar. Cara is an intuitive and a teacher. She teaches Hot Buddhi Yoga as well as intuitive techniques and meditation. Through her business, Dragonfly Diva Jewelry, she creates jewelry by hand that inspires women to find their inner beauty and wear it for the world to see!

– See more at: http://www.sensophy.com/the-gift-of-gratitude/#sthash.q7NRH0GR.dpuf

I am Beautiful, I am Sexy, I am Strong

Below is a guest blog I wrote for Sutra Lifestyles, and an introduction by my beautiful friend Maiko!

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The last time I was in Hawaii, I went to my friend Cara’s Hot Buddhi Yoga Class.

During class I just kept thinking… “Wow, Cara looks frickin’ amazing!”. Cara has always been beautiful and fit, but something just seemed different. Not only was her body a lot more toned and lean, she just seemed to be glowing from the inside out. I finally had to ask her, “what the heck are you doing different sister, I want some of that?!”

Cara told me that it wasn’t so much about doing tons of yoga and working out like a mad woman or even dieting or starving herself. She said it was more about looking in the mirror and appreciating all the beauty of her body, instead of negatively focusing on all the things she doesn’t like. (Which I hadn’t even realized is what I do every single time I look in the mirror. By unconscious habit, I automatically always search for what I don’t like or what I’d like to change about myself.)
 
Cara’s pointers really resonated with me. I started to practice each morning when I’d look in the mirror and even when I’d do the simple things like put on lotion or make-up… I tried to see my beauty instead and made a conscious effort to catch my negative self-talk. And holy hell, I never realized how much I was beating myself up! I loved her insights into how she transformed her body so much that I asked her to write a guest blog post for our Sutra readers…
 
Here ya go, you will love this! Thank you Cara for all your positive vibes, showing us an example of inner & outer beauty, and for all your meditation tips (they have helped me more than you know)!
 

– Maiko

Here’s what Cara has to say:
When friends tell me that I look great and ask what I’m doing differently I tell them the truth: I appreciate my body.

A few years ago I noticed that when I took a class at the gym I would mentally pick myself apart in the mirror. I was basically criticizing myself for that entire hour!

Once I realized I was doing this it occurred to me how detrimental it was. I thought if I’m going to spend an hour staring at myself in the mirror while I exercise I should be thinking positive things about myself not negative things. That was a lot easier said than done. But I worked at it, I keep working at it, and the payoff is wonderful. By letting go of the constant self-criticism I was able to start seeing my body as beautiful. I was able to see the overall positives and feel better about myself. In doing so I felt tremendous relief and joy. And then something else happened. My body began to change. Things shifted. Body parts that I had previously criticized became what I was most proud of. I became confident enough to wear clothes I never thought I’d wear.

All because I started appreciating my body!

Think it sounds crazy? Well let’s break it down. By now we all know something about the law of attraction. Like attracts like. Most of us are coming to understand that our thoughts are part of this attraction, i.e. what you think or say is attracting more of the same to you. So if every time you look in the mirror you think ‘I hate my big butt’, what are you putting out there to the universe? What are you attracting? I’ll tell you, you are shouting to the universe “big butt, big butt, big butt”, and you are attracting more of the same. You may be asking for a smaller butt in every way you know how, but you are also broadcasting ‘big butt’ every time you criticize yourself. In this way you are holding yourself apart from what you desire to attract.

Don’t worry, the change is easy. All you have to do is stick with it. Here are the steps I recommend to make a change in your thought patterns. When you notice yourself having a negative thought about yourself do one of these two things:

1) Quickly take your attention to something positive about yourself. For example if you don’t like your stomach, and you begin to think about that, quickly take your attention to another body part that you do like. Focus all the attention that you can on liking that body part, list all the things you like about it, compliment it, stare at it and think the positive thoughts until you shift your focus. “I do have good legs, they look strong when I do this, I like how long they are, I can rock short skirts, I should wear them more often…” etc.

2) Soften the negative thoughts. For example, if you look in the mirror and think “my butt is big” try to soften those thoughts by saying something like “proportionately it’s okay for my body, and it looks pretty good in jeans, and I’m sure no one’s looking at it right now but me”. In that way, you begin to soften your negative thoughts and take baby steps towards thinking positively about that body part. Doing this repeatedly will shift your thoughts permanently.
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As you practice these patterns of positive thought it will become easier and easier to appreciate you body. It really is that simple. Changing your thoughts changes everything and it feels great! Give it a try. Do it because feeling better about your body is what you really want in the first place. The rest of the changes that come are just a bonus.

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“I am Beautiful, I am Sexy, I am Strong.”
-Cara Hollenbeck

Here’s a great recording to check out from Abraham-Hicks
Need a little more guided help to begin appreciating your own body? Check out this wonderful audio CD by Abraham-Hicks!

In good thoughts!

Cara

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Sutra Guest Writer

– See more at: http://sutralifestyles.com/i-am-beautiful-i-am-sexy-i-am-strong/#sthash.q9UmBWWu.dpuf

The Booty Short Revolution

 

 

(Repost from original blog May 2012)

Over the course of my life I have hated and loved every single part of my body.  This is no exaggeration, I’m sad to admit.  The one part of my body – and I hate putting this into words, especially written ones because I don’t want to give them any power, so I will word this very carefully: The body part I am learning to love the slowest would be my thighs.  (haha, can you read between those lines??)  So after a ‘friend’ in junior high told me my legs were too white to wear shorts I stopped and didn’t bare my legs again for many many years.  I wish I could say that I have gotten to the point where people’s words just roll off me……… but it’s a journey.  I’ve gotten a lot further along than I was at 13!!

So eventually I got to the point where I would wear long shorts – thank goodness since I now live in Hawaii.  Then I found yoga  and along with my other exercise my body continued to become what I wished for.  My yoga guru and dear friend Jen wears the tiniest yoga shorts and has an incredible body that I, and everyone else, love to look at and enjoy, so stunning so strong!  Obviously her wearing tiny shorts is not only natural, it’s a treat for everyone around her!  I was at her house one day feeling very diva-esq after being around her all evening and I said ‘Jen what kind of shorts do you buy, and are there longer kinds that I could get?’ she took me to her closet which was like a candy store for yoga clothes – every color and every pattern imaginable- and started pulling out shorts for me to try on.  Since I do as I’m told by my yoga guru, I put on the tiniest shorts I had ever seen.   She freaks, tells me they look great on me.  I think she is crazy and I say so.  Out in the living room our friend called out to see what the fuss was about.  I very timidly walked out of her bedroom, very timidly!  Everyone agreed that the shorts looked good.  I didn’t think they would lie to me so I thought hmmm… maybe one day I could wear shorts like these?  Something inside my heart peered out from behind trepidation, disbelief and uncertain excitement.  Jen was emphatic that the shorts looked so good I had to keep them.  She was so certain and so excited for me that I finally agreed to leave with the shorts, feeling like they were the crown jewels.

The next day in yoga class I put on the shorts and nervously walked in with my butt hanging out, tugging constantly at the itsy piece of fabric.  I  set up my yoga mat but  I wanted to crawl under a rock!  I worried that  this was the worst idea I had ever had and the beautiful and fit yoga girls were disgusted by me.  It was high school all over again and the popular girls were going to look down their noses at me.  I ran to the locker room and pulled the shorts in every direction, trying to cover my ass and freaking out at the cellulite that to me looks neon.

Just as class started Jen saw the shorts.  She was so proud of my body transformation and that I was wearing them that she exclaims  ‘the shorts!”  and points to me telling the girls around me (the beautiful ones who I’m intimidated by) how she gave them to me the night before and don’t I look great.  I told them I didn’t really think I could pull them off and you know what?  They all gushed with positive praise!  I kid you not, they flattered me and bolstered me up, told me how I rocked the shorts and that had a great body and should keep on rocking them.  Slowly my insecurity mellowed and my diva  peeked out.  I watched my legs and ass in the mirror through the entire 90 minute class.  At points I was horrified by what I saw, stuff  jiggling everywhere!   But mostly I was amazed that I looked okay, and that it wasn’t that bad.  And sometimes it was  even good.

So now I rock tiny shorts whenever I can.  And I look at my thighs in the mirror as much as possible and work to think positive thoughts about them.  The transformation slowly continues.  I can not say I am confident in the shorts, I still have moments of panic when I look down and everything looks huge.  But when I look in a mirror I see that it looks just fine, great even!  So I just keep buying more shorts and working to build that confidence, working to think the positive thoughts that I know are transforming my body and my life!

This is my Booty Short Revolution!  I say let it all hang out girls!  Do anything you can to love and feel proud of yourself, we are all worth it!

UPDATE!!!   2 months later

You are never going to believe this!  I wrote this blog about 2-3 months ago (wrote it weeks before I could muster up the balls to post it).  And just two weeks ago I was asked to be a model in a shoot for my friend’s clothing line – of BOOTY SHORTS!  Can you freaking believe that?  I couldn’t believe it when she asked me.  It was a wonderful experience with incredible women.  And of course several more opportunities for me work on reprogramming how I think about my body!   First, I had to accept that she was asking me!  Second, at the shoot as I stood half naked next to women I felt were so  much smaller and more model-esque than me, it gave me a chance to call on that inner diva – strength, knowing, connectedness – and step into my own, letting go of worrying about it and just enjoying the playful fun of it all!  Then third, when I saw the pictures and actually said “Is that MY butt???!!!!” I was reminded again that my body looks pretty darn good, not what I think it looks like in my head.  I should be proud of it, not nit pick, or criticize.

Here are some pictures.  And be sure to check out the clothing line Ships in the Night: on sale in many stores in Kona, Hawaii and also at http://www.etsy.com/shop/shipsinthenight?page=2

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So it begins

I have a lot of ideas for things I would like to write about, but this first post is a mystery to me.  Do I introduce myself?  If so, what do I say?  Is it important that I catch you up on my life up until this point?  Probably not.  But you can join me in this present moment: I am sitting on the lanai of my home in Hawaii, the sun has set and a few stars are shining.  I am sitting with my beautiful man and my sweet dog basking in how wonderful my life is.  I am feeling blessed and blissed (hmm spell check is telling me blissed is not a word, if that is true someone should remedy this immediately) today after three days of magical yoga classes.  One of which was my yoga class on Friday night.  During which a spontaneous dance part broke out, I don’t think I have stopped smiling since.

With this blog it is my intention to share the tools and techniques I have learned as a meditation teacher and energy worker, as well as my own experiences.

Namaste,

Cara