Relationships, Uncategorized

A Story of All That Was Inspired & Found​ When our Young Friend Lost His Life in The River.

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Mario Benassi A voice for earth, a vessel for spirit, a catalyst for change

We sat under an old oak tree, our voices rising and falling in harmony, the morning sun casting shadows on our skin. We were singing, like songbirds do, waiting for nothing, but sort of waiting for Annie, as Annies are usually off smiling in their own morning sunshine.

Singing from the heart was nothing new for Mario or me, but this was our first time sharing a song together, just us.

Cross-legged & rooted where we sat, we sang for the moment. No audience except the winged creatures, and a lovely sister who came to gift Mario a little plant that was meant for her grandmother.

This is how much people loved Mario, they gave him their grandmother’s plants.

The next day after our serendipitous meeting, Mario went down to the river to play and pray and he left his body to dance in the eternal waters. He was 22 and he was beautiful.

His foot got caught in the rocks as he slid like a playful child down a rock slide, one which he had played with a dozen or so times before. He went peacefully, like a curious child, and seeker of life’s mysteries, eager to see whats beyond the river bend.

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Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com

When I found out, I was singing the song he had taught me.

Mario was & is magic. Everything he touched turned to song. Many of us had spent the weekend with him at a transformational festival. We heard him sing into the wee hours of the morning and heard his laugh first thing as we rose up for the day.

He was a singer, dancer, yogi and excellent hugger; a swimmer, a fisherman, a poet & a lover of life. He was a son, a brother & a lover. To me he was a buddy, someone I was lucky enough to share deep conversations with on whether or not he should wear the ceramic yoni necklace a friend had gifted him.

I imagine he asked me questions the way he asked his sisters questions. And I know, because his sister told me, I smushed his face the way she would. I think that’s why he liked me.

Mario was more than a little brother, he was a great and humble teacher. One morning, I noticed him nearby, sitting in the storytelling dome listening to the stories of the elders, while I hula hooped in the sunshine. Our eyes met and a great transmission took place.

I heard: you are home, & you are free. His admiring gaze felt safe, and I felt seen. With a knowing smirk between us, my day was instantly brighter.

This is how it is with the great ones. Mario was a young bird but had an old soul. He showed us what it looks like to really see and honor the beauty in front of our eyes, while not grasping too tightly.

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Photo by Arthur Ogleznev on Pexels.com

Hanging with Mario the last days of his life inspired recognition of the sweetness in my own existence and what magic powers I offer to this world.

You are home and you are free.

This is a sentiment that will ripple out into the universe. Mario is home now, wherever old souls go. He feels like the light, & the gentle whisper of the universe that all is well.

He is a reminder to serve the community and to give kindness without expectations (I’m still working on that one). I hope to serve the community as he did in his life, and keep treasured in my memory the powerful way he brought us together in his passing.

It feels real more than ever now, that each one of us has a mission here on earth. In Yoga, we call it Dharma. It is absolutely freeing to uncover your place in this existence. The sweet spot where you feel creative, at service, and in peace. When you ease into the flow of your Dharma, creativity naturally shines.

When one of us remembers, more of us begin to rise in remembrance of our creative essence. To serve each other in love is one of the most creative aspects of humanity.

There are so many things in this existence that need to be changed, and yet how beautiful to know change is the only consistent. Everything is shifting, transmuting, opening, closing, dying, expanding, burning & leaving. I am remembering to appreciate the beauty of all that is, of existence itself and it’s creative nature, that even in death, the vibrant light of creation becomes purer.

Every emotion under the sun can come from loss, & every emotion we experience is valid. Now when I feel an emotion that is uncomfortable, I don’t look away, I lean into to it with love. I observe, think of Mario, and perpetually come back to my creative nature, my Dharma. Come back to the truth in the music.

The day before Mario passed, under that old oak tree, two friends cut from the same cloth, made a pact. Two singing bards, each with one hand in the earth and the other on an instrument said we’d be there for each other. With voices that weave the tales of existence, we are all notes on this one great song, and as Mario was there for me that day to hold space for my song, I wish to be there for all of you, to honor your songs and encourage you to sing.

So I’m moving forth with full love on an epic retreat in the north of Thailand this October.

In our morning song & waiting for Annie convo, Mario said he wanted to start holding retreats. I told him of my upcoming retreat and asked him to be a part of it, & to share his sound and skill for creative flow.

I know he will be there in spirit because his spirit lives on through us.

Look into coming to this epic retreat filled with ancient Yogic practices, medicine songs, and techniques to free your creativity.

We are made of the stuff of creation & it is your birthright to express your deepest truths through any medium that call to you.

Let me offer you space to practice.
Early birds get the discount only $390 for everything including food, 5 nights accommodation, and so many liberating offerings. Check www.freeyourcreativity.org to learn more and sign up to be involved in a scholarship contest in Mario’s honor.

If Facebook is your jam and you stay in touch best in that space check the FB event here:

Free Your Creativity: A Yoga Retreat To Liberate Your Inner Artist

I’m feeling more excited than ever about this retreat knowing how proud of me Mario was when I told him it was happening.

He said, “I just want to share with the world in my gifts”.

Isn’t that what we all desire? Reply with how this post made you feel, & if you’re dealing with loss at the moment, I am here for you.

Reply & let me know what gifts you wish to cultivate & thank you for honoring our friend Mario by sharing your gifts with the world.

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How to find the balance between a human doing & a human being

The journey has it’s twists and turns, it’s edges and soft meadows for which I can push against or lay my head in rest.

I recently led my first retreat. And then laid down to rest and integrate. This is the flow of life. The bursts of high energy, the doing, the masculine energy of power that drives me to action, which grew a retreat into existence from the ground up.

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Following came a flow into a state of being ness. This is the opposite energy, which allowed me to appreciate the experience fully, and let the lessons unfold which may have been passed by had I pursued the next thing on my bucket list.

Holding this retreat was a dream come true. I definitely made that check mark on the coveted bucket list, if only to recognize that this is my life’s passion and souls purpose. The purpose to dream a bit bigger, travel to faraway lands and hold space for transformational experiences.

 

Transformation comes when we are ready, when we secretly call to it and allow the process to unfold. We are conditioned to push beyond our edges, yet Yoga is the sweet allowance of what is.

My retreat was my creative baby. I was held in deep community and given the opportunity to spread a message of truth and love. A mile above Lake Atitlan, on a Sanctuary in the sky, a group of a precious few, gifted ourselves the experience of retreat, of togetherness & release. Releasing what no longer serves to live from a deeper place of truth & love.

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Following your heart is no fluffly line from my diary. There is a vibration of love that emerges from the heart, if we only bring awareness to it. Integration is part of listening to the heart.

Often when a project finalizes, we can think “what next” and while I definitely did that, I also thought “what now”, what does my body, mind & soul desire right here right now. My heart was asking for rest, to give space for the lessons, like a long shavasana, lying in stillness, focusing only on the now.

When in quiet rest, we discover what feels like a full yes in our bodies, so that we’re not moving into life, dragging one foot behind the other, but prancing, twirling, and sun saluting this life into existence. Each movement a prayer towards our highest truth.

My highest truth had me laying in a king sized bed, listening to birds, and churning up ideas only to let them lay in bed with me. For me, ideas often develop into full projects if I give them the right space and time to blossom.

What is blossoming for you? And how can I be of service to help bring your seeds of inspiration into full fruits of labor? Feel free to reply, or leave a comment.

What is blossoming for me now? I am carrying medicine. I am embracing the call from the wild unkown to step into a place of offering only what makes my heart sing. And my heart is usually singing.

I have adopted these blocks of Cacao from a Guatemalan woman’s collective in San Marcos Guatemala. I am serving the medicine of revival of ritual & of living a ceremonious life, of song & chocolate.

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When we pause for a moment, and give thanks for the abundance of this life, of all that mother earth creates for us, we flow into alignement with the vibration of the nature.

Our cells are craving this. They are calling out please! I want to be in nature, feeling the river flow against my toes, feeling the earth breathe and quake and release. Remember that you are apart of nature’s design.

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When we commune with nature, physiologically, we quickly fall into the relaxation response. We breathe the air our bodies were created to breathe, our senses heighten as they no longer have to dim their brightness to block out the myriad of sensations, sounds, and sights that aren’t serving our soul’s purpose.

Cacao ceremony is about honoring our true selves, our heart centered selves, in connection with nature. Cacao is la corozon de la tierra. The heart of the earth. And she is my inspiration.

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I will continue this path of sharing my hearts song, serving medicines like Yoga, Music, & Ceremony and I will continue to collect it all here in a full ceremonial dose of love through words.

If you would like to join the tribe of concious adventurers of both the inward and outward journey sign up here to receive my biweekly newsletter of offerings, meanderings, poetry & song.

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When you sign up for my mailing list, you receive a free beginners guide to meditation, created by yours truly.

Namaste, Aloha, Ahau,

Lokah Samasta Sukino Bhavantu

“May all Beings Be Happy & Free”

 

 

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Yoga Soundscapes: Eco Yoga & Sacred Sound Retreat

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Join Christina Gomes & Bethany Brown at Yoga Soundscapes

In this 5 day retreat we’ll guide you through the limbs of yoga, hold space for rejuvenation, & dive into the depths of the heart. Yoga asana is ancient & intuitive. In Yoga Soundscapes we will explore physical movement in connection to our bodies, our psyche, and our energy system.

Through traditional yogic meditation we learn to be present in the moment and allow our thoughts to come and go. Meditation is the surrender. Together we will learn to  surrender to the essence of stillness and become present in our own bodies. We will practice traditional yogic meditation, as well as guided meditation for deep relaxation.

Through sound we create space in the body and mind for rejuvenation. At the core of everything is vibration, so in a sense, we are made from sound. In Yoga Soundscapes, we will utilize sound baths for relaxation, sacred song circles (Kirtan in Sanskrit) for activating your inner voice, and intentional music to flow into creativity and presence.

Ceremony is a sacred act that brings you into connection with the Divine in a way that feels authentic to you. Through rituals old and new we can turn an average day into a celebration. In our retreat together, we will engage in the ceremony of Cacao. Cacao is known in the Mayan culture as a sacred medicine for connection with our higher truth. The subtle medicinal effects are known for opening the doors to the heart, creating a space for exploration into self love, compassion, and connection.

Included in each day is space for down time and relaxation, optional workshops, or spa treatments in the surrounding area.

 

For Registration & More Information Visit

www.junglevibration.com

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Traveling Brings Out The Worst in Me & Why I Recommend it.

It’s been a month, me, my pack and lessons that are best learned on the travelers road. Traveling feels like home somehow. I feel most at home when I’m growing and expanding the definition of myself thereby creating space for versions of me I didn’t even know were possible.

Traveling to faraway lands has taught me to rely, not only on myself, but to receive the help, guidance and support of my fellow humans. In doing so, I close the gap of separation in the “us vs. them” mentality we are taught to have. Deep layers of conditioning fade when you are in a culture who doesn’t care about upward social mobility, who can’t afford a new shiney car, and who share food freely as an offering.

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Things are a little more easy going in Mexico

When you travel across imaginary lines, together, piled in one small bus, you are equal with even the chickens who occupy the space.

As soon as I begin to experience the oneness, the dualities become brighter in my awareness. Dualities are the opposites of our reality and they exist in most things. We have the sun & the rain, the sadness to our sheer delight; we have turmoil, & we have peace;  We experience silence and we experience sound, and we experience both pain & bliss. Dualities, and the possibilities in between, are the whole symphony of notes that we can sing out.

Yoga can help us transcend duality. Yogic philosophy teaches us to accept that these are the waves of life, knowing we can ride those waves without attachment to the destination, is a beautiful ride. However, it’s not that we wake up one day and say we are a Yogi and poof, transcend the opposites. Humans must experience both to understand success and failure, and then release attachment to either.

There is a middle way, as the Buddah identified, but how to experience a middle, without first experiencing the ends? The Buddah himself didn’t really feel the whole of life, until he experienced suffering for himself. If we only ever experienced blue, we would not know the full range of color in the rainbow of life. there is just you at the center of your universe experiencing reflections of the choices you make.

In my universe, I’m often presented with the opportunity to play with the shadow and the light. Our shadows are the parts of us that we try to ignore. They are our hurts, our reactions, our traumas, and our secrets. We are often taught to hide dark emotions, stuff down sadness and anger to present to the world a more positive demeanor. But there is another way folks.

Shadows are like areas of darkness that reflect the light. We are made from love, but our shadows jump out like furry little demons and say things like: “you can’t make it”, “They don’t love you”, “You’re not good enough”. Blah blah blah. At least my little demons say that to me. But these feelings are a part of me, and that little demon just wants to be heard. So I say back, “I hear you” little furry demon who also just wants to be loved, and I send the shadow parts of me love as well.

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Meditation in Chichen Itzá, Mayan Ancient Ruins. Sending Love and Light

A wise friend reminded me recently that even when you love your darkness, It is still love. He was dressed as the devil, and drinking Mezcal from a bowl, but I think thats what we need to do to live more loving and connected lives. (love ourselves fiercely, but feel free to drink Mescal from a bowl). The deeper we stuff so called negative emotions, pretending we are ok all the time, the more surprisingly they surface when you least expect them to or in a completely inopportune time, like starting a new relationship, or a new job, or beginning a new travel.

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Love all of yourself.

Our demons, our reactions, our shadows are a part of us. By shaming ourselves for having human emotions we are devaluing a piece of ourselves. I don’t believe that is the most productive way to heal. Its not that we grip on to our heavy egos, or that we get to yell at our friends without any consequences, but we get to choose if we accept ourselves for being human and having human emotions. Sometimes my desires get in the way, I  want to push when someone pulls and to pull when the world is pushing. And that’s ok. When I can get out of my own way and see with clarity that my little demons are running the show again, then I can pause and reflect. I can meditate and respond from my heart. I can meditate and allow. I choose to send a loving vibration outward, and also within.

Vulnerability is authentic, and vulnerability is beautiful. Vulnerability is defined as the capacity to which we allow ourselves to be hurt. If we didn’t take risks, or put our authentic selves forward, we wouldn’t know the reward of it all. On the other side of that notion, maybe we would never be hurt either. I’m learning that the hurts are where the growth begins and risky behavior is built into our DNA for a reason.

When I travel, I am like a walking wound. All of my shadows peek out to the surface fairly quickly. This is because travelers rely on people we just met as our main source of companionship, community, and social interaction. We are far away from family & long time friends, and we are challenged to open up, work together, and experience community with strangers turned friends in the blink of an eye, who you are sure to separate from in a few days or weeks at best. You can see how any insecurities can bubble to the surface over & over again. Saying goodbye actually doesn’t get any easier after the 100th time, you just tend to realize it’s not goodbye, its see you in 5; 5 minutes, 5 days, 5 years, 5 lifetimes. You are never alone.

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The family, 4 different cultures represented, many colors of the rainbow

I am taught again and again by the kindness of other traveling humans and locals alike, that the world is a good, safe, place for expression of all the colors, all the notes, & all that makes up the human experience. The thing that has always held me back is myself. I have to get out of my own way, and maybe that feels familiar to you too. It is my own distorted perception that I think I must prove myself to be taken care of that I need to shine the light of love on. This is my shadow.

I think with traveling, the universe can feel you on the move. The energy is getting churned up, and the world shows up with more opportunities to practice contentment, non attachment, and other yogic principles. Its easy to feel the peace in an ashram environment when even the mosquitos are soothed by the silence. But when you go wild camping on a beach with sand fleas, they will bite until you are blistered to test how you will react. (I wasn’t the nicest, and I whined a LOT!)

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Wild Camping on the Mexican Island of Holbox.

In one month, I’ve had all of the ups and downs. Being held in deep sisterhood, crying over seemingly nothing, wanting to return to the safety of my van, & swimming in the Caribbean sea until my fingers prune from delight. I’ve wanted to give up under the weight of my pack, while longing for the friends I left behind, and dreaming of the friends who left me behind. But in the end, this road is my ashram. This travel road is my sacred, special, place where I get to find myself over and over and where I get to cuddle with my demons, & show them love and light.

In my very first retreat this April, along side life long friend  Bethany Brown, we will dive into matters of the heart. We will show ourselves fierce self love and learn to lean into the flow of life. Click here to register

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Feel free to reply, shoot me a private message, or comment to reveal a shadow or color of the rainbow you are working on. In essence, we are one big traveling community as we spin through the universe on our blue orb called earth. We have eachother, and although I may be far away physically, I am here for you.

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Intention vs. Resolution: Ego vs. Sankalpa

The new Year brings a kind of reflection, we often see our mistakes, and either resolve to do better, or worry that we won’t. This year, I don’t want that for you.

You are not alone, everyday millions of people wake up to worry. To thoughts about the past, and to anxiety about change. Often it is not the actual situation that is terrible, but it is our thoughts about it that make it so. We replay situations in our mind wondering about the what if’s… “What if my friend didn’t say that to me”… or “I should have acted this way”. We believe some day, in the future. when we have met all our desires, then & only then can we be happy, be our best selves, or be worthy of love etc.

Yogic texts purpose that at our core, we are pure, light, and whole. But if you take a look at society, the media, and sometimes even your friends and family, they don’t agree. You’re asked to buy this, & consume that to bump you up a level. Even with modern yoga… your expected to do some incredible feats like 108 sun salutations, or a handstand on a surf board in order to be deemed worthy. But true classical yoga, decided thousands of years ago, that this is an illusion. The Sankalpa is a tool to uncover your highest truth.

San Kalpa is a solemn vow to a truth that is heart centered. A resolution is often ego focused.

In my life, each year, for like 10 years, I told myself I would lose 10 pounds. A new year comes, & like everyone else, I went to the gym for 3 weeks and soon after fell back into old habits. It wasn’t that I was undetermined, lazy, or too busy, it was that these types of resolutions are simply scratching the surface of a deeper more heart centered desire.

Sankalpa is this heart centered desire. It is a purpose greater than the desires of the ego. Sankalpa taps into a deeper vision for a life lived with purpose.

Why on earth did I want to lose 10 pounds? Well, looking back, I can purpose that I wanted to look good, to feel better about myself, so that a certain person or opportunity would fall into my lap, or some bullshit like that. Looking into that notion deeper, it was connection that I desired, and everything in my outer world view told me I needed to be skinny in order to get that.

In comes the yoga. Yoga literally means union. Yoga taught me to connect with myself, become steady in my self worth, and through that steady and centered place connect with the world around me. Now, instead of trying to lose 10 pounds every year, I set an intention for connection. Through connection with my body, I find that I am always the perfect shape and I look at my curves with loving eyes. Though connection with the people around me, I feel myself giving from a place of recognition of myself in a another vs. wanting something all for myself.

Coming to those spaces of deeper connection takes time. It was through meditation, that I understood I had control over what thoughts I let dominate my world view. With meditation, we don’t immediately clear away all thoughts, but we learn to observe the thoughts for what they are. With practice, you can watch a thought, without becoming that thought. You can even hold that thought in space for a moment and decide for yourself if thats a thought that is worth deeper contemplation. You can also say adios to some of these thoughts that are holding you back.

Thoughts like “I’m fat”, “I’m no good at this”, or “I am not worthy of love”, may pop up, but through meditation, you end up catching these thoughts before they carry you off into a negative emotional space. You can even have a conversation with these thoughts telling them to f-off. More gently you can ask yourself if this is true, or a product of our conditioning in a society that doesn’t value truth.

Let’s practice traditional yogic meditation together. This April I will be hosting a yoga retreat with my life long friend Bethany Brown in Beautiful Guatemala. There, we will learn ancient traditional yogic meditation as well as guided meditation for deep relaxation. Follow this link to learn more about Yoga Soundscapes. 

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Traditional yogic meditation is the most effective meditation I’ve found for observing the mind. The Buddah practiced this meditation when he reached enlightenment underneath the bodhi tree all those years ago.

At first, with this practice, we aren’t going for enlightenment. We’re simply lightening the intensity of our thoughts. To reach enlightenment, we first have to lighten up.

As we progress with meditation, we notice that we lean towards stillness, towards positivity, and have ultimate control over what we let effect our emotional state. We connect to what is, rather than what we desire to be so. What is your intention for the new year? Share and let me know.

“Lokah Samasta Sukino Bhavantu” May all beings be happy & free.

Happy New Year!