The Most Important Thing I Have Learnt Since Losing My Dad 1 Year Ago Today

Dad, Karlie and I

My Dad, My Sister Karlie, and I

Today marks the one year anniversary of my dad passing away. He was 61 and died of a heart attack. It wasn’t a surprise as he had had heart problems as long as I had been alive. Those who know me personally and knew my dad, know that he truly lived life exactly as he wanted to. He was selfish, hard headed, and we never had the strongest relationship, but he was still my dad. In the year that he has been gone…

I have uncovered within myself the innate wisdom, deep in my heart, that all people give the best they can in every moment of their life.

He was selfish more often than not, he was an addict, he wasn’t around as much as he should have been, but it was the best that he could give at those times in his life. It was the best he could do with his mental state. It was the best he could do with his emotional state. It was the best he could do with his physical state. It was the best that he knew how to give. I now appreciate that and am grateful for everything I received.

There were many times in my life that I was hurt by my fathers words and actions. I would always ask myself “How could he treat me like that?”. I have now changed my perspective. Instead I ask myself “What was he feeling that caused him to say/think/act like that?”. He was not intentionally trying to hurt me and I knew this. He truly lacked the awareness to even see that his words and actions could be hurtful. Instead of dwelling on the “woe is me” aspect I have tried to understand the feelings he felt. He was very good at acting like things were great and playing the confident big shot role but through the small glimpses I saw of his true Self  I imagine that he lived every day with heavy feelings of regret, fear (on many levels), inadequacy, pain, and grief. As I imagine the burden, the weight, of carrying those feelings inside for years and years my heart is flooded with a deeper understanding and forgiveness. 

I had a choice of holding onto the past, holding on to those negative heavy feelings that were projected onto me but I realized that I don’t have to live my life feeling those same feelings my dad felt. By having compassion for the deeper root cause of his words and actions and understanding that he gave the best he could at each and every moment in his life I am able to let those feelings go and find forgiveness. I am able to unlock a deeper love within myself so that I can share LOVE with others instead of the feelings of regret, fear, inadequacy, pain, and grief. 

Over and over I hear in my mind and feel with my entire being:

All you need is love. Love is all you need.

 

om shanti shanti shanti

xo domestikatie

Wanderlust 2014: The Best 5 Days of the Year, Every Year.

Wanderlust-Festival-2014

If you aren’t quite sure what Wanderlust is, just imagine a few thousand yogis and yoginis from all over North America searching for inspiration from some of the best teachers in the world for 5 days in Whistler, BC. I have attended Wanderlust two years in a row now and I can confidently say that it is the best five days of my year, every year. Never have I attended any event that inspires me to be a better person in every way. To love everyone and everything, to accept myself and others, to let go of judgement, to trust, to have hope, to express myself, these are some of the skills that were tested and strengthened over those five days. Even better, I got to spend my time at Wanderlust with some of my closest friends. To have them there by my side, to grow together, to laugh together, to be inspired together, was such a blessing. If you not into reading all of the details, at least scroll to the bottom and check out the photo gallery 🙂

Let me paint a bigger picture of what the event looks like. It starts early Thursday morning and ends on Monday afternoon. At any one moment there are usually more than 10 events happening at once, probably around 50-60 events total per day to choose from. This includes all different styles of yoga, meditations, hikes, hula hooping, slacklining, acro yoga, suspension yoga, speakeasy talks (kind of like a TED talk), capoeira, stand up paddle board yoga, mountain biking, zip lining, and more. These events happen at numerous different venues throughout Whistler and the surrounding area. Some of the yoga classes are even held outside on the tops of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains with the fresh mountain air and breathtaking view right there for you. There is a market filled with clothing, jewellery, yoga props, etc. Throughout the day there is live music around every corner and each night there is a headlining band or DJ. There are food samples like bowls of Kashi cereal, mini coconut ice cream sandwiches, granola bars and coconut water. Lululemon has an outdoor lounge area with bean bag chairs and pillows and a station to make flower crowns and put on bedazzled temporary tattoos. The sun shines, the birds chirp, and nature is all around you. Mostly everyone is smiling.

This year I was able to practice with so many amazing teachers including my very own teacher Natalie Rousseau. I did a hula hooping class with Shakti Sunfire. We did a class with the YogaSlackers where we learnt how to use acro yoga to get better at slacklining and how to use slacklining to get better at acro yoga. We detox flowed with Seane Corn (and our digestive systems thanked us). We did an acro yoga/thai massage class (At the end of 90 minutes of flying and getting massaged all 50 of us held hands in a circle and every single person had the biggest smile on their face! How could you not?). We practiced resisting gravity in our handstands and floating between poses like downward dog and crow pose with Cameron Shayne. We learnt that nature is truly our greatest teacher from Natalie Rousseau and Tina James at an unforgettable speakeasy. We arm balanced like crazy with Janet Stone and Schuyler Grant. I meditated with Tina James while reciting the Bija Mantras for each Chakra and embodying the meaning of each one (and by that I mean I mostly cried for an hour as it was so moving). Eion Finn showed us that love is the answer in another unforgettable speakeasy. And my amazing teacher Natalie Rousseau made me a very proud student as she lead us through a flow that embodied the energy of the goddesses Lakshmi, Kali, and Saraswati.  She even had three lovely ladies painted as the goddess and they gave hands on adjustments throughout the class. Music wise, Tycho blew my mind. Expect to hear them on every one of my playlists from now until forever. MC Yogi also threw a pretty intense dance party 🙂

It is so amazing to experience a festival with so much positivity. No fighting, no completely wasted people throwing up or falling on their faces, no littering, no negativity that you would find at any other type of festival these days. Just a group of like minded people looking to explore further into themselves, seeking new inspiration that can help improve their lives and the lives of those around them. Everyone wants a hug and to give you a complement; to tell you that your beautiful and important (because you are). By the time I leave I feel like my heart is so full that it is bursting out of my chest. We often neglect the fact that in order to give to others you must fill yourself up or you will run out of energy and love to give. For me Wanderlust is a time to receive and nourish myself on so many levels so that when I come back home I can give again. There are too many people in my life who give and give and give to others but they exhaust themselves because they don’t take the opportunity to fill back up. You have to take in that love, inspiration, and happiness in order to give it and make it sustainable.

The teachings from this year keep running through my head… Appreciate nature as it is your greatest teacher. All of your other teachers are great and purposeful but take time to let what you learn integrate by just being in nature. Those moments of bliss, those moments of true learning, they happen when your enjoying time outside. Look up at the sky, watch the clouds float by, birds soaring, sun setting or rising and see what you can learn. It will keep you healthy!! It will reduce stress, anger, worry. Just get out there with no hesitation. Love yourself, love others, love this planet. Love is the ultimate renewable resource.

Until next year Wanderlust…. xo domestikatie

 

Weekly Inspiration: April 8, 2014

Dana Eriksen, Victoria BC Yoga Teacher

Dana Eriksen, Victoria BC Yoga Teacher

This week my inspiration came from my beautiful friend Dana Eriksen. She reminded me how important it is to be mindful about every aspect of your practice, specifically your asana practice. She encouraged me to be aware of exactly where I place my feet/hands/head/hips/shoulders/fingers/gaze for every pose. Not for the purpose of reaching perfect alignment but instead for the purpose of being knowledgable and purposeful with my actions. To be mindful in asana practice encourages that mindfulness in your day to day actions such as thinking, speaking, eating, exercising, etc. For example: Continue reading

Weekly Inspirations: March 18, 2014

Love is the Ultimate Renewable Resource- Eion Finn/Blissology Postcard

This weeks inspiration was based on ahimsa, the first of the yamas. Ahimsa is the sanskrit word that is translated as non-harming. The practice of ahimsa asks us to embrace nonviolence at a level of speech, thought, and action. Again I have drawn my inspiration from the book Meditations from the Mat by Rolf Gates and Katrina Kenison. The following passage is from Day 20 of the book.

“After writing an essay about ahimsa, I went to my local whole-foods store. I am a daily customer, and many of my students shop there as well, so I usually spend a good deal of time chatting with people I know. With the notion of nonharming fresh in my mind, though, I found myself talking to people in the checkout line I did not know. The impulse to reach out came from the spiritual injunction at the heart of ahimsa: that we should not draw lines around ourselves, and that we should see all beings as out brothers and sisters. Continue reading