Mini Meditation Video with Stephanie
Take 5–10 minutes out of your day to practice some deep breathing.
You don’t have to choose any particular meditation practice. You can go for a short uninterrupted walk, sit in a quiet place, or simply focus on a candle flame.
The point of this exercise is to still your mind, release the tension from the day, and focus on the present moment.
This practice, done even for just a few minutes a day, can help slow down your mind, allowing you to better manage your thoughts and decisions.
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The Reality of Suffering by Stephanie
Last week I wrote about being in control. I talked about taking more responsibility for what we can control (our actions/behavior) and not worrying so much about the thoughts and emotions that arise, which are beyond our control.
What are you noticing?
This week I write about the reality of suffering.
Suffering is one of our greatest teachers. Much of our suffering comes from living in fear / wanting to control.
More suffering happens as we continue to resist what is.
This topic is broad. I will try and keep it simple by asking you to consider 2 questions over the next week as you live your daily life.
Remember, living life is a practice and can be the most powerful portal for spiritual awakening, growth ...and freedom.
1. Is this suffering I am experiencing self made?
2. Is this suffering I am experiencing part of life?
How will you know?
For question #1, self made suffering is a result of our thoughts and emotions and the inner narrative/story we replay over and over. Thoughts feeds emotion and emotion feeds thought and before we know it, this cycle of suffering becomes a way of life. This inner narrative, often a part of our dysfunctional mental conditioning over years, keeps us regretting the past and worried about the future.
The result? We remain stuck in the present, which is in direct opposition to "how life works" and quite frankly why we were born. Life only takes place in the present. Life itself requires us to keep moving. We can choose to move, or life will move us on its own terms.
Please note: I am not saying to discard the lessons of the past. Nor am I saying to leave the future open to some woo woo practice of intention setting without action.
What I am saying...is what I always say...take responsibility for your life. Your choices. Where you are. Where you want to go. And by all means, take small daily actions to move you along.
For question #2, part of life's inevitable suffering is the pain we feel from loss of a loved one, an illness, tragedy, etc.
If this writing resonates, perhaps you will keep a journal and at the end of each day, spend a few minutes reflecting the 2 questions.
I am with you my friends.
Being In Control by Stephanie
Last week I wrote about fear. I talked about why there is so much fear and focused on what "to do" about it. The Doing. Action.
This leads me to writing this week, about control, which is connected to fear.
Here's what I will offer you to chew on, 2 things:
1. Thoughts and Emotions that arise in us aren't (are not) in our control.
A few examples. If we are going through challenging times, our thoughts and emotions will be engaged.
If someone hurts us, we will think about it and feel it. This thought feeling thought feeling loop is dangerous. Truth.
What's wrong with having thoughts and emotions? Nothing. We are human.
We don't have to "like" it. Certainly, we can find ways to manage the thoughts and emotions.
Yet, we can't control them.
One of the reasons wisdom traditions speak of "acceptance" is because once we accept our experience, we free up the necessary energy to take action. So, instead of wasting energy on resisting what is- the experience and corresponding thoughts and emotions, we focus on what we need to do about it. Make sense? There's a formula I use for this to be shared at my upcoming retreat. Stay tuned.
2. What we do,our behavior about thoughts and emotions that arise in us is (is) in our control.
An example...someone hurts us, betrays us, and we feel angry, devastated, etc. Our mind is racing about how unfair it is, etc, etc. Our heart hurts. It's painful! we are human.
Once we allow the emotions and thoughts to be, we have a choice to make.
What will we do? Many options here.
Will we spend years living with anger, pain, etc and acting it out in our life? Maybe we decide not to have relationships, or go after our dreams? Maybe we live in fear? Will we repress the feelings and thoughts and exhaust ourselves.
Will we accept that thoughts and feelings are in fact not in our control (nor are the actions of others, especially teenagers). Once accepting this (even if we don't like it) the only thing we can control is your behavior...your actions.
A wise person once said, we need to focus less on feeling bad about our thoughts and emotions and get busy taking responsibility for our actions.
So, the burning question, in any given moment becomes, what will we do now? And now? And now?
Paraphrasing a story I heard recently--- when you are running up the mountain, go ahead and quit as often as you like just keep moving your feet.
Life is a process of small steps done consistently over time. We gain mastery by commitment over time...the practice (action).
I invite you to explore this. Especially if you are feeling "stuck".
Why So Much Fear by Stephanie
I've always been fascinated with fear. Curious about why we have so much fear, seemingly everywhere. Rather than focus on why so much fear, I rather focus on what to do about it. For many of us fear keeps us stuck in a life pattern that makes us unhappy, stressed, confused, tired, etc.
What I have come to understand is that for many of us, fear is the default when we lack clarity about our life. Meaning, when we lack clarify about who we are, what we want, what matters to us, etc, we will often to stay stuck...in fear.
Why even discuss this?
A few reasons.
Like many of you, fear has impacted all areas of my life at one time for another and to differing degrees.
Owning a business whose mission is to provide sanctuary for body, mind and spirit is no small task in a world that consumes fear in all its forms and then projects it onto everyone and everything. What I have learned in our business is that when we are able to provide sanctuary for people...something radically starts to shift.
We begin to see people (ourselves too) awaken to who they really are, which is love, unconditional. It's beautiful. And excruciatingly painful too. Childbirth? Running an ultra marathon? When love is felt fears are faced. Paradox. Yes.
Dealing with fear causes us to experience a whole range of emotions. That's healthy. However, when intense emotions arise, many of us lose our way. We lose our way because we aren't clear on who we are, which is love and why we are here, which is to love.
Fear is at the root of all emotion that isn't love...jealousy, attachment, judgment. When we live in fear, we will suffer.
So, we need to deal with fear, in all its forms, if we wish to raise our children in a loving world.
In my experience, when you get right down to it, we are either operating from fear or from love.
And in order for the Sanctuary to "run" from love, instead of fear it's important, we are clear on our "offerings".
As in business, as in life.
Our personal mission guides our choices, our life. When we lack clarity about anything, the usual default is fear.
Fear of what? You name it. Fear of loss, rejection, the unknown, being who we are, missing out...the list is endless.
Fear as default applies to any area of life (relationship, career, money, spiritual practice, healthy, etc)
What to do?
Below are a few questions that help anchor me in the present so I continue to make choices that align with who I am, which is love.
1. Do I wish to experience inner peace or conflict?
Inner peace, of course!
Note: Some of us still like being in conflict...it provides a distraction of sorts and gives us an excuse not to take responsibility for our life. Ouch, yes. I get it. Some of us are in conflict and don't even know it. All have been true for me. It's part of the human condition at times. It's up to us to be aware and then make the choice again and again as life carries on...
2. What must I be willing to do in order to experience inner peace?
Be open to trying things that support this way of living. There are many things/ tools we can do/ use: books, meditation, a mentor, energy work, prayer, workshops, podcasts... I do all of this and then some :) The point is, I am willing to do what it takes to live a peaceful life. Over time, we may need more or less of these things/ tools based on what we are facing in life. More stressful times = more support. Make sense?
3. Who must I become to experience inner peace?
Become a student of inner peace. Know thyself. Use the tools above.
Today, right now, begin to practice: acceptance, non-judgment, non-attachment, presence, compassion... and the big one - forgiveness. These are only a few and often the ones that are most profound.
Many words, many suggestions. It's really quite simple.
If you focus on choosing inner peace and practicing forgiveness, the rest will follow in time.
True inner peace is unconditional love, joy...presence. When we experience true inner peace, we have clarity to make choices that align with who we are...meaning we make loving choices cause we remember we are love!
Practicing forgiveness frees us from the past (hurts) and future (worry). Forgiveness roots us in the present. Life only happens in the present. You are life. You are love!
The last point I want to share really makes the above "stick" for me by getting me into action, everyday, in small and when needed, larger ways:
"My desire for success in any area of life, must be greater than my fear."
Meaning, my desire to live from love in all areas of my life (this is how I define success) gives me the courage to face the fear and do what is required to continue.
Power Packed with nutrients to keep you healthy & satisfied!
This smoothie is vegan and gluten free.
Prep Time: 5-10 Minutes
• 2 cups loosely packed
kale or spinach
• 1 green apple
• 2 frozen bananas
• 1 cup almond milk
1. Wash greens and apple.
2. Core apple and cut into quarters.
3. Blend greens, apple, bananas, and milk on high until creamy,
adding more almond milk if needed.
SPROUT AND BERRY SALAD WITH ZESTY LIME VINAIGRETTE
Vegan & Gluten-Free
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Yield: Serves 4-6
• 12 oz sprouts of choice • 1 cup blueberries • 1 cup raspberries • 1 avocado • 3 tbsp hemp seeds
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil • Juice of 3 limes • Zest of 3 limes • Sea salt, to taste • Black pepper, to taste
1. Rinse and pat sprouts, blueberries, and raspberries dry.
2. Add to large mixing bowl.
3. Halve and score avocado into small cubes. Add to bowl.
4. Sprinkle sea salt and black pepper.
5. Add hemp seeds.
6. In a separate bowl, whisk together extra-virgin olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, sea salt, and black pepper.
7. Pour over mixture and toss well.
Relationship Pain by Stephanie
"It's in relationship we heal...when we have the courage to...cause it takes lots of courage to create peace." -Stephanie :)
Last week I wrote about transformation and Shamanism.
This week I want to share about relationship pain.
Relationships are one of my favorite topics. They have posed the greatest challenges for me, and have also been the most gratifying part of my life. Hmmm...a paradox? Yes! And I love a good puzzle :)
Because of this, I want to help you heal your relationships!!! It's so darn worth it.
And when I say heal, we always have 3 options: accept, change, leave.
Think about it:
1. At some point or another, everything we do involves others...relationships of some type at some depth for some period of time. You may erroneously fantasize you can do it all alone, forever. I disagree.
2. Our ability to have good (peaceful, positive, prosperous, playful, present) relationships is a foundation for our well-being.
3. Relationships show us where we are on our spiritual path and can become our life long spiritual practice, greatest teacher.
Perhaps at some points in your life, relationships caused so much pain, you felt you "didn't" want to engage. Understandable yet not sustainable.
Maybe you experienced feeling like relationships were more trouble than they were worth. Makes sense.
As humans we don't like "pain".
And yet, pain, suffering, and trauma is how most of us learn.
By learn I mean, "wake up".
Why do we continue to do this to our self?
Why are we so resistant to waking up?
The cool thing is, we can choose to awaken.
We can choose to stop having to experience so much pain!!!
By awaken I mean we choose to become more conscious, aka, deal with our stuff!!!
Cause if we don't deal with our stuff...life has a funny way of dealing with it for us.
And when life deals with it for us, it is often more painful than necessary. Something big has to happen to get our attention and then we act like something happened to us...when in reality, we simply have chosen to stay asleep at the wheel of our life.
Perhaps this sounds harsh. Well, I am here to provoke your truth, and living your best self. That said, this isn't about right and wrong...good or bad.... It's not about judging ourselves and others and playing in that triangle of dis-empowerment I have spoken about --- victim, rescuer, perpetrator.
Part of awakening means we understand, through personal experience (knowing) a natural human tendency to want to avoid pain at all costs, thinking it will go away. The flaw in this line of thought is...whatever we avoid, will ultimately surface. You know the line, "whatever we resist, persists".
What to do?
In addition to getting serious about a daily meditation practice to focus the mind and center the emotional body--- start paying attention to your self talk and therefore your beliefs about relationships. It's only through awareness that we can transform. Ask yourself questions...
Are relationships painful?
Are relationships joyful?
Some? All? Depends on person, situation, what you want?
Am I attached, expecting, judging?
Working with people on healing relationships both on the meditation cushion and in shamanic energy sessions is one of my all time passions.
At some point, hopefully not on our deathbed, we realize that we all need people, it's no so serious, and it doesn't need to be so darn painful...if we are willing to commit to awakening.
Transformation & Shamanism by Stephanie
"Not everything that can be faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed that is not faced." -James Baldwin
Last week I wrote transformation through the body.
Are you paying attention? What are you noticing?
This week I want to share about transformation as it relates to Shamanism and Shamanic Energy Healing.
Why do I want to share?
One, many people are experiencing life transitions: death, divorce, job loss, confusion, disconnection, depression...to name a few and they are looking for a healthy, conscious way to deal.
Two, Shamanism gives us powerful tools -- meaning we feel empowered to navigate these transitions.
Three, Shamanism is considered to be one of the most ancient forms of healing practiced by humans worldwide. It is not a religion. It is a way of being- living in harmony with nature and working with the natural forces of life to restore balance.
Since life is always changing, the ability to use practices that bring us back into harmony with our-self and the world around us is not only effective, it is healing in itself.
Who will benefit from shamanic energy healing?
People who are ready to embrace life transitions with presence in a positive, loving, peaceful, and empowering way.
What type of shamanic energy healing sessions are offered?
You can learn more about sessions here.
"Transformation is through the body, not away from it. This is why no true master has ever advocating fighting or leaving the body, although their mind-based followers often have." -Eckhart Tolle
Last week I wrote about the difference between knowledge and knowing. I shared my experience with Eckhart Tolle and how the only true way to "know" something, is to experience it.
What are you noticing...knowing?
This week I encourage you to become curious about what and how your physical body is trying to communicate with you.
I often say our physical body is a portal to what is really happening deep within. By deep within I mean beyond the mind and it's thoughts/story/narrative.
For example, ever notice how physical pain causes us to "do" something when it no longer becomes tolerable?
It's the moment when we feel "we have had enough of feeling tired/achy/lonely" (i.e.: suffering) and decide it's time to make a change. Time for transformation!!!
Perhaps we decide to become conscious of our food habits and choose to eat better.
Or, maybe it's time to lace up those sneakers and exercise.
And for some it's time to ease up on the physical body and get a massage or finally try yoga, etc.
And still for others perhaps there's a sense of the inner body that feels "off". Anxious, afraid, alone...endless cycle of emotional up and down.
Why does connecting with the body matter?
From a practical sense, we need it in order to live so why not take care of it the best we can?
On a deeper level, the physical body is a powerful doorway for us to access wisdom and therefore transformation. Can't change what you don't know/want to know :)
And while some wisdom traditions may teach denying the body and/or ignoring the body, in my experience, it is the exact opposite. We must pay attention and learn. Then apply those lessons in the form of action.
How do we access the physical body, in a deeper sense?
Yet one thread runs through all of it and that is the practice of presence...awareness. A.K.A - paying attention.
Some of us pay attention quite naturally and either choose to take action or not. Doing nothing is also a choice :)
Others of us engage in movement practices - yoga/running/walking outside/dance... to help us get in touch/feel the inner body.
And still others rely on meditation, massage, or other forms of energy healing to assist in bring us into deeper awareness.
There's no right or wrong way.
And the "way" may change over time as you change. Nothing is permanent in this world of form. Ha!
As I say during our weekly meditation classes, the only "wrong" way to meditate is simply to not do it all.
And so it is with life and dealing with change. We will either consciously choose to listen to our body or not. Regardless, life / transformation happens anyway. We can embrace it (peaceful path) or fight it (suffering path).
I don't know about you. I rather the peaceful path.