Focus Inward to Live an Intentional Life

For many Yogis, the time to go inward is in the early morning, when we do something called Sadhana. Sadhana is the daily spiritual practice and core teaching of Yogi Bhajan who brought Kundalini Yoga to the west. Sadhana has changed my life beyond my wildest dreams. Though, I did not really dream, nor did I make plans or consciously ask myself what my life should look like. Professionally, I have always been strongly guided by my values, but I lacked a vision as how, where and with whom I wanted to live. Life was something that just kind of happened to me. Fast forward many years later, I now try to live intentionally, and to be able to do that I need to focus inward on a regular basis. …

Why to Still Focus Inward in January

January has rolled around and if you are living on the northern hemisphere like me, you might become a little impatient for the light and energy  to return. I am usually in good spirits from late October, where winter in Switzerland begins, to the end of January, and then my motivation starts to crumble, for I know it will be a good two more months until the first signs of spring become noticeable. So winter is looooong. And for the longest time I have struggled with making the big moves in January. It was a fresh year, I had formed some resolutions, I was inspired: why was it so hard to get into gear? The year has not started yet Well, it is simple: The year does not really "start" before the …

Who Are You and Who Am I?

I love to travel, partly because I discover new facets of myself when I encounter different environments and communities. In Ecuador I feel part of a loving family, in Chile I laugh more, in China I experience an ancient familiarity and reverence, in India my heart spills open with devotion. Travel has helped me realize how much we create one another by how we treat each other. To a certain degree, we become the projection that others have of us, and others become who we make them. The question becomes, who are you and who am I without these projections? Because I do a lot of teaching, people project "teacher" onto me. If I am a teacher, then those who learn from me are students. Are we not all teachers and …

How Am I Blocking Joy?

We block ourselves from experiencing joy when we suppress other emotions, such as anger, fear and sadness. In this short conversation which took place during a Beyond Addiction program, Dr. Gabor Maté invites us to create space to experience our emotions as they are. Allow for whatever is there, accept it, and be curious about it in a compassionate way. Gabor: Welcome to the real world. The world is not out there to support your joy. It’s actually there to sell you stuff so that you can feel you have joy temporarily. A: Distract us. Gabor: Yes, exactly. You know and it’s not there to support the growing part of you. It’s there to exploit the hurt, helpless part of you. So it is natural that it is hard out there. But it …

How Are You Going to Show Up?

  I am not going to live to see the day that the system is going to change fundamentally. I am not. The reason that I am not going to live to see that day is because a certain social system will beget a certain kind of ideology, and that ideology will beget a certain kind of medical system, a certain kind of mental health system, a certain kind of social work system, a certain kind of prison system, and all of that. The system itself generates a certain way of looking at human life that is short of reality. If we lived in a social system that valued human life, would we be destroying the environment? Would we be doing so many things that we do? I'm not trying to be negative. I just want …

Healing Trauma

Trauma affects each of us in some way. Either we’ve experienced it firsthand, or have been impacted by the traumatic history of others. Trauma is not just about the things that happened to us that should not have happened. These might include physical, sexual or emotional abuse; witnessing violence in the home; substance abuse or mental illness in family members; parental separation or divorce; a family member being imprisoned; a natural disaster or serious accident. Trauma also includes what didn’t happen to us that should have happened. We may have been neglected physically or emotionally because our parents were unavailable, preoccupied, or chronically stressed. We may have missed out on childhood experiences because we were expected to shoulder too much responsibility at a young age. Childhood trauma is the root of much mental …

Can “My Best Future Self” Influence the Present?

In a recent article on Quantum Theory that I read, the author stated that the future can influence the present and that theory has been amply demonstrated.1 At first I asked the question, "What does this have to do with me?" but as I kept on reading, I felt I knew what he was saying. When the book The Secret, hit the mass market some twenty years ago, even though it was a re-statement of previous manifestation theories and practices, it contained a phrase that provides a clue to how retro-causality can work.  The phrase was that once a person has formed and stated his/her desire, "the universe will rearrange itself" to manifest that desire. Replace the word "desire" with "vision" and, in effect, I have created a future reality. That vision, then, doubles back into my present …

What’s Your Underlying Belief?

I continue to benefit from the insights of Dr. Gabor Maté, both personally and professionally, and am immensely grateful for the opportunity to study and teach with him. One of the areas in my own life that I currently bring awareness to are the mostly unconscious beliefs that show up when I feel self-pity or want to blame others. Both of these states cause internal discomfort. Here's a recent example. I was in Utah last week on a family vacation, touring around in my son's new-to-him 1992 Volkswagon camper van, hiking in gorgeous national parks and tenting at night, enjoying being together with my grown children, son-in-law and husband. On a particular long uphill hike to a natural hot springs not far from Salt Lake City, I found myself well behind the …

Reflections from a Beyond Addiction Support Group

For several months now, after completing the first round of the four month Beyond Addiction program, a group of committed students have continued studying Beyond Addiction, meeting on a weekly basis. We have dug into the process of self-discovery and deep reflection, spending one month on each of the sixteen modules. In this summary below, you will have a glimpse into the inner workings and musings of this group. The excerpt below is taken from the reflections after a group meeting where the group reviewed Module One and with deep self-exploration, tenaciously pulled apart the material on the complexes as we explored our edges and growth. Attachment to Our Complexes Four of us spent an hour going deep into the meaning and the overcoming or transformation of complexes/identities. We discussed complexes such as …

Beyond Addiction Gathers a Research Team!

We have some exciting Beyond Addiction research opportunities on the horizon and wanted to tell you about the current research that is underway. York University’s Faculty of Graduate Studies and Knowledge Mobilization Unit have teamed up with KY-WHA and the Beyond Addiction (BA) program to research the long-term efficacy of the Beyond Addiction program. York PhD Candidate in Education, Stacey (Amardeep) Bliss, has recently come on board as a student-intern to collect and analyze data with the newly-organized BA Research team. Other members of the research team include Heather Good from Calgary, Ellen Winofsky from BC, and Dr. Wendy Harris along with our statistician, Richard Casey from Los Angeles. Thank you, all! Our gratitude goes to Brian Rush Ph.D., and Dr. Sat Bir Singh Khalsa Ph.D., who have helped us formulate the research instruments …