Bentley’s Story

Two years ago, the vet gave Bentley one month to live.

At three years old, he was lethargic, wouldn’t get out of bed, and had skin lesions all over his body.

He was diagnosed with Addison’s Disease and his kidneys were failing. 

My boyfriend and I did all the research we could on alternative medicine and came across articles on medical grade water. We were a little skeptical at first, but we were not going to give up on him. If you have a dog, you know. 

“If you have a dog, you know.”

So we stopped giving him tap water and invested in a Kangen Machine. Since the day we set up our machine, Kangen Water is the only water Bently drinks.

Two years later, here he is catching a Tripletail admist a 10 hour boat trip. 

It’s true what they say— change your water, change your life.

If you have questions about Kangen Water or how to get started with a machine, I would love to hear from you!

XX,

Mary

A Lesson In Finding Your Own Way

Meditation and contemplation

While in Hawaii, I hiked down to Queen’s Bath, a shallow pool of ocean water surrounded by igneous rock on the island of Kauai. But, I didn’t actually go to Queen’s Bath.

There were too many people.

Initially, when I pictured myself basking in the blue water of the tide pool, I imagined being surrounded by sweet silence save the crashing waves. I quickly realized I had not accounted for the fact that there would be other people around and laughed at myself for thinking I would find solace at one of Kauai’s most popular tourist destinations.

Instead of following the crowd, I climbed down some lava rocks and watched the life force of the ocean rush in and out of a small cove. I sat there for about ten minutes admiring the strength of nature.

Then, two young local boys ran and jumped straight into the cove as if they had no fear of being swept out into the Pacific with the strong force of the waves.

I thought, “maybe I could give it a try.”

I walked around the ledge to where the boys had jumped and that’s when I saw it: a calm jacuzzi sized pool hidden from public view. I abandoned the idea of jumping altogether (easy, because I didn’t really 100% want to in the first place) and instead submerged my body in the tranquil water of the hidden pool.

I laid down and allowed my body to float, blissfully checking out from everything and equally, connecting to all of it.

Kangen Water

Water is life. 

But, sometimes, it can also be poison. 

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MY STORY

When I first moved to Tampa two years ago, I had knots and pains in my stomach. I thought maybe it was from the stress of having to find a new job and moving across the country, but as time passed, this theory proved otherwise. For months, I got the same strange stomach aches. My and my boyfriend’s dog also got sick. So sick, that the vets told us his kidneys were failing and he probably doesn’t have much longer than a month to live. It wasn’t until then that we discovered why. We were drinking tap water filtered with a Brita pitcher. 

According to the EWG Tap Water Data Base, the tap water in my area has four contaminants above health guidelines including Chromium, Radiological Containments, and Arsenic (basically cancer, cancer, and cancer!) Plus 8 other detected contaminants. 

We then switched over to buying bottled alkaline water. It made us feel better, dog included, but that was also a bust, because bottled water is:

1) full of chemicals that seep from the plastic into the water
2) linked to hormonal issues from the plastic
3) wasteful AF
4) usually FALSEY ADVERTISED as alkaline.

That’s when I decided to stop playing small and make a real investment in our health.

I bought a Kangen Water Machine. Within a month, any minor conditions we had cleared up, the dog made a miraculous recovery, and all of our energy levels skyrocketed. 

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KANGEN WATER

Kangen Water is anti-oxidant rich, alkalized, performance drinking water— a fancy way of saying this water is the best of the best. The drinking water ranges in alkalinity from 8.5, 9, and 9.5 pH. 

We are exposed to a lot of acidic food and water within our fast-paced, grab-and-go society. High levels of acidity in the body is linked to disease and bodily complications. Viruses, cancer, bacteria build up, yeast, and fungus all thrive in acidic, low oxygen environments. In addition, the antioxidant properties of the water helps to neutralize and flush out any toxins in the bloodstream to help promote anti-aging. One cup of Kangen Water has more antioxidants than green tea or a handful of blueberries. In Japanese, Kangen means “return to origin,” or return to optimal health. Drinking the water revitalizes and hydrates cells in ways that tap and bottled water cannot. 

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THE MACHINE

The machine is the only Medical Grade Alkalizer/Ionizer on the market and can be found in some of Japan’s largest hospitals.  It produces 7 different types of water from 2.5pH to 11.5pH. The machine promotes sustainability and a chemical-free lifestyle as the different types of water can substitute common household items. I now have the ability to stream water for mouthwash, facial toner, pesticide cleaner, laundry detergent, glass cleaner, disinfectant, etc. straight from my kitchen. Recap: This means I don’t have to purchase these products at the store. I can save money and I can sleep better knowing I’m no longer contributing to all of single-use plastic bottles that contaminate our lands and float in around in our oceans.

HOW IT WORKS

The Kangen Machine hooks right up to my kitchen sink. The water flows from the tap, through the filter then across titanium and platinum plates to alkalize and ionize the water and right into my cup.

More here:

 

CHANGE YOUR WATER, CHANGE YOUR LIFE 

Hundreds of thousands of people including Jillian Michaels, Tom Brady, Donald Trump, Shaquille O’Neal, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lopez, Bill Gates, Jennifer Lopez, and Brad Pit have all made the change.

Will you?

For questions or more information on how to purchase the Kangen Machine, fill out the short form below.

 

XX,

Mary

FEAR

FEAR.

It’s the reason we prevent ourselves from living out our greatest joy.

But what is it that we really fear?

Failure?

No.

Embarrassment?

No.

Our own light?

YES.

For so long, I’ve denied myself my own inner light— always valuing the opinions and expectations of others before my own, not pursing a goal because of what someone else might think of me, constantly worrying that I am not ready or I don’t have all I need.

So why are we so afraid of our own light?

If we choose the path of living out our greatest potential, it means doing things we’ve never done before. And believing things we’ve never believed before.

Especially about ourselves.

But, if we want to make a difference, if we want to serve, if we want to give and receive love openly, we have to believe we’re worthy. We have to believe we’re powerful. We have to believe we have what it takes!

And we do have what it takes.

But the mind often tells a different story.

And when this happens, we suffer and suffer because we continually listen to that inner chatter that tells us we can’t be or do something. We make up all sorts of excuses and stories as to why the life we want to live won’t work. And then sometimes, we even go as far as believing these stories!

In Sanskrit, this is called living out Maya, or illusion. Living things that were born in our minds out of fear.

So I urge you to get out of your head.

Get quiet and listen to the whispers of the heart.

And then, follow that whisper.

Because you are enough. You have all that you need. And the world needs your light.

This is me extending my hand to you. You no longer need to be afraid.

All you have to do is take a step forward.

Will you do it?

The choice is all yours.

SHINE ON

 

XX,

Mary

 

 

Stop Spinning: Get Grounded

When we’re too action oriented, we tend to get stuck in the mind. We get so wrapped up in our to-do lists and all of the other things going on inside of our heads, that we lose sight of what’s important. When we live in a state of mental stress, the body goes into fight or flight mode, which then kicks the nervous system into overdrive. And if this state persists for a prolonged period of time, physical conditions may arise— breakouts, anxiety, hair loss, depression, etc.

And here’s the kicker about living in a state of mental stress: you thought your way there, but there’s no thinking your way out. When life has you spinning, the best thing you can do for yourself is to get grounded; to return awareness to the physical body.

Put your feet on the Earth.

THE CURE

  1. Get your feet on the Earth. Your bare naked feet. This practice is known as “Earthing,” and before you write if off as hippy-dippy, there is science to back it up. The Journal of Environmental Public Health says:

    “It is an established, though not widely appreciated fact, that the Earth’s surface possesses a limitless and continuously renewed supply of free or mobile electrons. The Earth’s negative charges can create a stable internal bioelectrical environment for the normal functioning of all body systems which may be important for setting the biological clock, regulating circadian rhythms, and balancing cortisol levels.”

    2. Tune into your 5 senses. Look around. What do you see? Now, tune into sound. What do you hear? Bring your awareness to your whole body. What do you feel? What are you smelling? What are you tasting? By tuning into your 5 senses, you are bringing awareness back to what is happening in the present moment. This is a powerful practice that takes less than 2 minutes and can be done anywhere at anytime.

    3. Hold onto an object from the Earth. A seashell, a rock, your favorite crystal. Look at it in your hands and simply observe yourself holding the object. Feel its weight, flip it over in your hands, touch its surface. Tangible practices get you out of the mind, because when you’re feeling, you’re not thinking anymore.

    4. Breathe Deeply.  The body is so intelligent that it sustains the flow of breath all day long without conscious awareness. But, by tuning into the breath, you can use it as a tool for release, purification, increasing energy, and coming back to the present moment. Begin with three deep inhales and exhales and continue for as long as you need.

    5. Sit in stillness (advanced). If you haven’t stopped moving in a while, you’ll find that this practice gets uncomfortable quickly. Do what you can to take a step back and observe the inner chatter of the mind without judgement. If you find yourself getting frustrated, don’t stop, remain seated and allow all of that mental “noise” to surface and move out. Eventually your mind will tire as you let all of the stories, and things to do. Tip: Breathing through it will help with purifying the mind.

Sometimes all we need is 5 minutes of grounding to regain balance between the mind, body, and spirit. Other times, we need an entire day to recharge and rebalance. These practices are meant to be done for as long as you need. If a practice doesn’t help you in 5 minutes, consider giving yourself 5 more, and then maybe 5 more after that.

Happy grounding!

Namaste,

Mary

August Affirmations

Wooo, July was quite an intense month.

I follow astrology so naturally, I accredited feeling “off” to the recent rough and tumble of our solar system. In July, we survived some powerful moons, solar flares, six retrogrades, and the longest eclipse of the century. Since we are of the same matter and elements as that of space, the activity going on in the sky stirs us Earthlings up too. During this time, a lot of people I’ve talked to reported feeling over emotional, fatigued, or not quite themselves.

I’m not saying it’s okay to use the chaotic state of our solar system as a scapegoat for a series of mental breakdowns, but I am saying there is something to that old adage “as above, so below.”

Enter August. A new month, full of new energy and new opportunities. July and everything that happened back then is old news. And so here we are, moving forward! The final eclipse of the summer will grace us on August 11th. We’re almost clear of eclipse season— almost! Unfortunately, we will still have to brave those inimical retrogrades, but alas, I have a plan to help us make it through! To ensure that this month feels more smooth than the last, I have compiled a list of my favorite affirmations to remain balanced, grounded, and open.

Affirmations are powerful statements that help reframe the mind to harness a more positive perspective and outlook. If you repeat them often and actually believe them, you can make some incredible life changes!

That being said, my trusty crystal and I will be riding out the retrogrades and the last wave of eclipse season together repeating, journaling, and meditating to the affirmations below:

  1. I am powerful and persistent.
  2. With clarity of mind, I feel abundance & worthiness coming through.
  3. I am in perfect balance.
  4. Today I am choosing to renew my body, mind, and spirit with a sense of wonder.
  5. I invite love, peace, and harmony to dwell in me and around me at all times.
  6. I let go of all that no longer serves me.
  7. I am in harmony with nature.
  8. I am at home in my body.
  9. I open my heart to love.
  10. I am centered peaceful, patient & calm.
  11. I have no expectations and make no assumptions.
  12. My heart is overflowing with joy.
  13. I am a vibrational match to all that I desire.
  14. I choose faith over fear.
  15. I believe in myself.
  16. I trust my inner voice.
  17. I am safe in the universe. All life loves and supports me.
  18. I am rich. Rich in kindness, love, and health.
  19. I go with the flow and feel my connection to the stream of life.
  20. I honor my commitments to myself.
  21. I am exactly where I am intended to be.
  22. I follow my bliss.
  23. I am connected to the endless love and abundance of the universe.
  24. I have the freedom and power to create the life I desire.
  25. I trust in my path as there are no wrong decisions.
  26. I live in the paradise of my own creation.
  27. I am grounded.
  28. I have everything I could ever need.
  29. I trust in Divine timing. The universe always has my back.
  30. I accept and love myself just the way I am.
  31. I am whole.

Ahhhh, don’t you feel better already?

Thought so. Follow along! I will be posting these affirmations on my Instagram story daily. @marygranola

Namaste,

Mary

30 Days of Meditation

For the month of June, I challenged myself to meditate every single day. I have been meditating on and off for the last two years, and felt that I needed more consistency if I wanted to experience progress in my practice. I would go three or four days and then get “too busy,” for meditation, which would lead me to start all over again in order to find my zen. So for June, I decided to make meditation a daily priority.

The only guideline I set for myself was to do it for 30 consecutive days, otherwise there were no restrictions. I allowed myself to stay open to various meditation techniques because I wanted to see what would resonate the best. For the first two weeks, I practiced all different styles. I sat upright and observed my thoughts. I laid down and listened to guided meditations. I chanted mantras for eleven minutes at a time. And I recited affirmations in the morning. I simply allowed myself to be guided to what I felt I needed to try.

By the third week, a routine began to take form without any effort. I would wake up and almost immediately begin the day with affirmations and in the afternoon, I would crave a deeper connection and practice yoga nidra and/or chakra meditation. By the fourth week, this had become embedded into my daily schedule. I did it— I found my groove, baby!

30 days later I learned…

Centering yourself is essential for growth. My patience and ability to remain clam have grown, allowing me to become more aware of my thought patterns, reactions, and habits. This is because meditation helps you to becomes the observer of the self. And with this heightened awareness, I have assessed where I need to break habits and move forward. Believe me when I say, I’ve spent quite some times in the last few weeks staring out into nothing with my eyes stunned wide open.

There is always time for meditation. All that’s required is a few minutes. And in a few minutes, you can increase awareness and access the power of your mind. In the end, you actually end up saving time, because centering yourself helps you to find solutions rather than fuel problems.

The importance of putting yourself first. I realized that if I didn’t take care of myself first, I was never going to accomplish any of my goals with the right amount of enthusiasm. Connecting to myself helped me find purpose, even in the smallest tasks.

To be more open to the unknown. I opened myself up to a new business opportunity with little to no fear. I also noticed that my dreams were becoming more and more vivid. Toward the end of the 30 days, I proclaimed that I was ready to open myself up to more; more knowledge, more experiences, more wisdom. That night, I woke up at 2 AMwith an incredible message from a deceased relative. I laid wide awake in my bed dumbfounded at what had just transpired. Alas, one of those eye-stunning moments.

Some days I find it harder to meditate than others. Some days I feel more connected and inspired. But that’s all part of it. It’s a practice, just like any other. Today, I’m on day 32, but I think I’m going to stop counting because I’m not doing it to reach a certain number. I’m doing it because I realize it’s just as essential as drinking water.

Namaste,

Mary

 

Essential Oils 101

What are essential oils?

Essentials oils are just another one of mother nature’s gifts. They are 100% natural, non-toxic oils that are extracted from various plants, roots, and herbs. The oils are so concentrated that on average they are 50-75% more potent than the plants and herbs themselves. Every essential oil provides physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual benefits specific to its individual properties. They are extremely versatile and can be used for:

  • Alternative medicine
  • Natural healing and nourishment for the mind, body, and spirit
  • Boosting the immune system
  • Mood management
  • Replacing household chemical products to reduce toxic load
  • Enhancing meditation and relaxation
  • Detox drinks

It should be noted that not all oils are created equal. Beware of synthetic essential oils! Most brands can only be used aromatically and warn against topical and internal use even though they claim to be 100% pure. I recently came across a brand that promises pure, potent, high quality oils and I’ve been using and loving Doterra essential oils ever since.

Why DoTerra?

One word: quality. Doterra essential oils are 100% pure. A lot of the oils you’ll find at drugs stores and health food stores are diluted with fillers and other additives, making them less potent and unsafe for topical and internal use. Because DoTerra essential oils are pure, they are safe to inhale, apply to skin and ingest. DoTerra even goes as far as sharing quality insurance information on their website for each product.

How do I use essential oils?

Aromatically- Inhaling essential oils engages the sensors in your nasal cavity, lungs and pores. When this happens, these sensors emit signals to your limbic system, which immediately triggers the portion of the brain responsible for emotions and feelings. Depending on the benefit of the essential oil, the response will enhance or regulate certain physiological and psychological responses. And all of this happens within 22 seconds of inhaling!

Topically- Your skin is the largest organ in your body. Topical application affects nerve endings, sweat glands, heat sensors, sebaceous (oil-producing) glands, and blood vessels. By the end of two minutes, you can be sure the essential oil has reached your bloodstream and has already begun to reach all the cells in your body.

Internally- Most, not all, essential oils can be taken internally. Yes, this means you can drop them under your tongue, add a few drops to your water, and even incorporate them into food recipes!

What are some popular essential oils and their uses?

LAVENDER

Properties: soothing and calming with a sweet, floral aroma
Uses: aromatic, topical, internal

  • Inhale or diffuse to relax and calm the nervous system
  • Apply to the forehead and back of the neck to reduce feelings of anxiety
  • Gently apply to sun burned skin for relief
  • Apply to skin to treat irritation and skin disorders such as psoriasis and eczema
  • Apply to wrists and neck as natural perfume
  • Put a few drops on your pillow case at night to promote peaceful sleep
  • Soak in a warm lavender bath to calm nerves and promote relaxation
  • Put a few drops in your dryer to freshen laundry

LEMON

Properties: cleansing, revitalizing, and uplifting with a citrusy aroma
Uses: aromatic, topical, internal

  • Add 1-2 drops in warm water for a detox drink (promotes healthy digestion, aids in curing sore throat, reduces kidney and gallbladder stones)
  • Diffuse or inhale in the morning to uplift and energize
  • Take internally to help treat a hangover
  • Add to a spray bottle of water for a natural disinfectant spray

PEPPERMINT

Properties: cooling and energizing with a minty aroma
Uses: aromatic, topical, internal

  • Apply to the forehead for a natural headache and fever reducer
  • Apply to lower back to alleviate lower back pain
  • Inhale to enhance focus and concentration
  • Inhale through mouth to freshen breath
  • Drop under tongue to help aid digestion and/or soothe an upset stomach
  • Add to water for a refreshing beverage (1 drop of peppermint oil is equal to 28 cups of peppermint tea)

FRANKINCENSE

Properties: renewing, beautifying, and grounding with a warm aroma
Uses: aromatic, topical, internal

  • Diffuse, inhale and/or apply to the crown of the head to enrich meditation practices
  • Apply to skin to reduce scarring
  • Add to moisturizer to promote the appearance of radiant-looking skin
  • Take two drops internally to support healthy immune, digestive, and brain function
  • Apply to cuticles for healthy nails
  • Apply to insect bites for itch relief
  • Apply to the bottom of feet to balance mood

MELALEUCA (TEA TREE)

Properties: soothing and cleansing with a fresh aroma
Uses: aromatic, topical, internal

  • Apply to rashes and cuts to help treat fungal and bacterial infections
  • Treats acne and acne scarring
  • Apply to skin as a natural bug repellant
  • Diffuse to help purify and freshen the air

ON GUARD BLEND

Properties: energizing and uplifting with a spicy aroma
Uses: aromatic, topical, internal

  • Take two drops internally for a quick immune boost
  • Apply two drops into the palm of your hands as a natural hand sanitizer
  • Take internally to treat sore throat, strep throat, or the common cold
  • Add a few drops to water and gargle for a healthy mouth rinse

Where can I get ‘em?

Right here!

All of the essential oils mentioned above can be purchased individually, as well as a part of the Family Kit, which can be found under the “Collections” tab.

For all other inquiries, email me at marygalske@gmail.com.

Namaste!

Mary

Sedona: Between Earth & Sky

Sedona

Sedona, or “Slow-dona,” as some of the locals called it, has proved to be one of the most peaceful places I’ve visited thus far. Life has a seemingly effortless and natural process of unfolding there. Those I’ve spoken to who have moved to Sedona from elsewhere claim they have been “guided” to Sedona for one reason or another. My mom and I planned this trip back in January and we totally understood the vibe of being guided out there.

One of my 2018 intentions was to travel to the Western United States. After putting that  out to the Universe, I saw an advertisement for a yoga retreat in Sedona and wanted to go, but it seemed a bit too costly to make it a reality. A few days later my mom called and asked if I would like to meet her in Sedona instead of her coming to visit me in Florida. I responding with a resounding “YES!”

There’s something—some high energetic, magical quality—about Sedona that extends beyond the physical. It can’t be explained, it’s something that needs to be experienced. I recommend Sedona to anyone looking for a relaxing, self-reflective, healing vacation.

Below is a guide based on our favorite things we did during our time in Sedona.

WHAT TO DO

LITTLE HORSE TRAIL TO THE CHAPEL OF THE HOLY CROSS

You can drive right up to the chapel, an architectural landmark built into the red rock. Orrrrr you can do an hour hike from the center of the vortex (a place of powerful Earth energy) out to the chapel. If you have the time, do the latter. We stopped about half way to admire the tall red rocks, sat down and did some chanting meditation. Right before we were about to move on, my mom insisted she get a picture of me doing a yoga pose in front of the rock. I positioned myself with my arms reaching outward. Upon later inspection of the photos, we noticed an orange orb (denoting protection) in the direction I was reaching. The trail, the nature, the chapel, the energy, all made for a Divine experience.

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AMBITABHA STUPA AND PEACE PARK

Windchimes and prayer flags line the perimeter of the park and in the center stands The Amitabha Stupa, a monument imbued with the power of higher consciousness to honor the Buddha. As I walked the path that surrounds the sacred structure, I was met with feelings of grace and gratitude. The peace and stillness of the park make it the perfect place to practice meditation and send prayers.

INTUITIVE READINGS AT THE NEW AGE CENTER

Intuitive readings are like spiritual “check-ups.” They provide insight into your emotions, energy, and overall spirit. I used to be wary of readings, but overtime I have learned there is nothing to fear because it’s all done in the interest of your highest and best Self. You can call ahead to make an appointment, but I chose to do it right then and there with one of the readers who was available. In one half hour session, I laughed, I cried, I worked through some major mental blocks, and obtained extreme clarity. 10/10 recommend.

DAY TRIP TO THE LOWER ANTELOPE CANYON, HORSESHOE BEND, & THE GRAND CANYON

Okay, not going to lie, this day was pretty intense. We totaled about 400 miles (5 hours) in the car, but the views were so worth it. We drove directly up to the Lower Antelope Canyon and got the longest part of the drive out of the way early. The Lower Antelope Canyon is a canyon carved out entirely by water. The smooth rock ebbs, flows, and swirls around mirroring the fluidity of the water that created it. Unfortunately, state law prohibits anyone from entering the canyon without a tour guide, so we had no choice but to cram into the tight space with a lot of people more concerned with taking photos of the Canyon than the canyon itself. Honestly, I was pretty annoyed about the people at the time, but thinking back, I only remember the beauty of the canyon, so if you can handle confined spaces with a large group then 100% do it! After the Lower Antelope Canyon, we headed South again and drove a tiring 8 minutes to Horseshoe Bend where we found some space to breathe. Then, we got back in the car for a two-hour ride to the Grand Canyon. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I certainly wasn’t prepared for what I saw because WHOA. The canyon stretched on for miles and miles making it impossible to comprehend the enormity of it. My mom and I remained silent on the edge of the rock and basked in the beauty of the scene in front of us with one thing on our minds: nature is heaven.

THRIFTING

There is plenty of shopping to do in Sedona, but no need to get caught up in all of the touristy shops. I found some real gems at the thrift and consignment stores scattered around the city. Gently used holistic food and healing books for $1 each, a designer dress for $15, silver earrings for $5. Thrifted items are inexpensive, good for the environment, and wayyy more treasurable than anything you’ll find in a destination themed gift shop.

EAT AT CHOCOLATREE

If you know anything about me, you’d know I’m crazy for cocoa, so I had to check out ChocolaTree, a café and shop specializing in homemade chocolate and vegetarian eats. They import their cocoa from South America and stone grind it on site, a process that typically takes a few weeks. You can totally taste the difference in their chocolate and the chocolate you’d get from the grocery store. It’s rich, it’s raw, it’s full of antioxidants, and it tastes the way real chocolate is supposed to taste. The best part about this place? They ship worldwide, so you don’t even have to leave your house to enjoy their delicious sweeties! Shop here.

WHERE TO STAY

THE SKY RANCH LODGE

I owe this one to Mom. I was in charge of flights, she was in charge of stay and she knocked this one out of the park. Located high above the rest of Sedona, the Sky Ranch Lodge promises awe-inspiring views. We had an incredible stay. The rooms were clean, the grounds were beautifully manicured, and the staff was beyond friendly. When we weren’t out and about, we either chilled poolside or relaxed in the wedding area. When the views are this good (↓) there really is no need to venture out!

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Namaste,

Mary

Lessons From Hurricane Irma

Though her physical impact on the Tampa Bay Area was minimal, Irma provided us with insight into living life with quality. Here’s what she taught us:

  1. Embrace the essence of non-attachment

At one point, it was predicted that Tampa was going to be a direct hit with an incredible storm surge. If that were the case, our little first floor apartment on the bay stood no chance against the forces of water. It was time to practice non-attachment; a state in which a person lets go of the identification of their being with their worldly possessions. Sometimes, it’s difficult to part with our materials things, especially if they are imbued with memories. But I had no choice. I threw all of my clothes and books and travel souvenirs on the highest shelf of my closet with the understanding that all of my things were at the mercy of the storm. When I shut the door of our apartment, for what I believed would be the last time, I decided my things aren’t mine anymore. But then, again, they were never mine to begin with. It was unexpectedly liberating.

  1. Sometimes all you can do is surrender

After all of the hurricane prep was complete to the best of our ability and we fled to higher ground, there was nothing we could do but wait. We monitored the storm via weather apps, hoping Irma’s power would begin to dissipate, but the enormity of the storm was not up to us. I had to relinquish my perceived control of the situation and flow with Mother Nature’s plan.

  1. There are more angles than what the media presents

I had friends and family call and demand why I wasn’t fleeing the state. They watched the news, they said. It’s gonna be bad. The biggest, baddest storm to ever move across the Atlantic, they heard. They suggested I fly out, or pack up the car and hit the highway. But they weren’t here. All of their knowledge about my situation was regurgitated straight from their television. They didn’t know that gas was so sparse that you’d empty your tank just going out in search of a station to fill up. They didn’t know that the highways were practically live parking lots. They didn’t know that flights were packed and at risk of being delayed and cancelled. This lesson was not to undermine the love and well-intentioned advice that I received. It was about using the entirety of our minds to think critically; to think further than what we’re told because there’s always more to a situation than what the media lets on.

  1. Build an emergency fund and get the right insurance(s)

I’ve been advised to do this a few times before, but it never resonated with me until now. Having an emergency fund is crucial. Anything can happen at any moment. A pipe can burst, a fire can start, a hurricane can blow through. And while none of those are favorable, they are very real and very costly. My boyfriend and I spent few hundred dollars on dry food, water, and survival equipment and even though it was a small amount of money, we weren’t expecting to spend it on emergency supplies. But, thankfully after securing our lives, we didn’t have much at stake. We are renters without any valuable assets so the loss would have been minimal if our area was as devastated as they forecasted. But, there were some who had to worry about losing their homes, their businesses, their boats, etc. And while everything is replaceable, it is easier when you have a back-up fund.

  1. Shake it off

While Irma didn’t cause much damage here, she did shake things up. Loose leaves fell from the trees like confetti, dead branches snapped and separated themselves from the trunks of healthy trees, while the unhealthy trees uprooted themselves from the dirt. It seemed as though Irma forced the Earth to release all that no longer served Mother Nature. Since humans embody an Earthly element, we can relate. Sometimes, we endure metaphorical hurricanes, having to face strong winds and heavy rains, and while these situations may seem dark at the time, they require us to revisit our beliefs and let the dead things go.

  1. Be grateful

I couldn’t believe our luck when I woke up the morning after Irma to the low hum of the refrigerator running. We had power. And even more amazing, we had survived the storm unscathed. So had our apartment. And all of our belongings, and our neighbors and all of their belongings’. We went from preparing for homelessness to a joyous return to life before the storm. I felt an immense gratitude for the life I live, a feeling I promised myself I would continue to cultivate. Count your blessings. Even the mundane ones because chances are, if they disappeared, you’d want them back.

  1. We live in a fast-paced society, but slow transitions are okay

The morning after Irma, it seemed society was on track to return to it’s normal speed by noon. I found this quick transition to be too radical. The energetic balance of life was still off, yet people were headed to work as if nothing happened. I know I am more sensitive than most, but I saw this rapid transition to be of sociopathic nature. As progressive as our fast-paced society seems, I find that it does not always support the highest and best for our emotional and mental bodies. The lesson here is: society is going to continue moving at a rapid speed. Let it and catch up when you feel like it. Or don’t. It’s up to you to live your life at the speed you want.

Please take a moment to open your heart and send love to those whose lives were compromised and those whose homes and communities were devastated as a result of the storm. There’s power in prayer.

Namaste,

Mary

The Return

I felt like a fraud. Inauthentic. Fake. I was lying to everyone— my friends, my family, my entire social media following. But even worse than all of that, I was lying to myself. I was preaching about love and union and oneness, yet I felt so separate. So isolated. So alone.

I was depressed and afraid to admit it. What if I told my friends and family and they didn’t take me seriously? What if they dismissed my illness because of its deceptive invisibility? What if they discredited me as a yoga teacher? What if this feeling never went away?

For two months, I wouldn’t acknowledge those questions. I refused to give them any sort of attention. Until, I went to a psychic who told me I had an aura of sadness surrounding me. Yes, I paid someone to tell me how I’ve been feeling lately: depleted, drained, unhappy. But, to be honest, I wasn’t expecting to hear the truth. I had gone to her as an escape, a desperate final attempt to prove to myself that I was okay (even though I totally wasn’t). The last palm reading I had, about a year ago, I was told that I am a world traveler and I will always have safe comings and goings and that I was about to embark on a chapter of self love and discovery, so I thought that this visit would elicit the same kind of feel good, sunshine-and-rainbow type of fortune. But, that was not the case. Instead, I was left to face the undeniable truth. My depression was real.

And when I did, I felt temporarily relieved. It felt good to talk about it, to free the words that I had encaged within for so long. But then I got caught up in the label of depression and felt worse. Every few days I would feel better until inevitability something would cause me to retreat back into myself. Eventually, this irregular emotional confusion changed form to a vicious cycle of hopelessness and despair. I felt sorry for myself, which made me feel sorry that I even felt sorry for myself in the first place considering how good I have it in comparison to the rest of the world. And then, I would go back to feeling sorry for myself anyway because the pain was so real. I even began to indulge in it, suffering for the sake of suffering. Somewhere in the middle of it all, I began to identify with my deep despondency, as if my depression and I made some sort of arrangement to keep my painful memories alive and to only focus on the sour parts of my life. I completely lost myself. I was saying things I didn’t believe in, throwing myself daily pity parties, and self-sabotaging to another degree.

Even though I was barely recognizable to myself, there was a part of me that was still paying attention, that cared to take note of all of the things that helped and didn’t help. I learned that listening to sad songs, and pitying myself, and oversleeping and believing that I wasn’t good enough, hurt. While being patient with myself, practicing yoga, doing intense physical exercise, writing, believing I was good enough, and reaching out to to people, helped. Especially that last one. (Let’s read it again: reaching out to people helped). While I was unaccepting of feeling most of the love I received, it’s the support from others that really helped me recover. My family and friends offered all that they could from their level of understanding, and my boyfriend helped me flee a toxic situation. I was not alone, after all.

It’s been about a month since I’ve felt really low. I still have good moments and not so good moments, but for the most part, I feel that my energy has returned. I’m sleeping regularly and laughing more. In the last few weeks, I made the move to sunny Florida with my boyfriend and even though I am starting anew without much direction, I am optimistic.

As I begin this new chapter of my life, I am grateful for all that has transpired to get me here. The good, the bad, and the ugly. It was all a part of the process. We endure difficulties in order to experience growth. It’s just one of life’s overwhelmingly complex laws, confusing and incredible at the same time. I could spend years pondering the concept, but I don’t think I will. All I know is I am alive. And that is enough.

It should be noted that no two people are ever going to recover the same. Healing is a very personal process. What works for one, may not work for another. So, while I did not participate in therapy or the use of prescription drugs, does not mean that I do not discredit them. It simply means it was not a part of my process.

If you ever feel depressed, know that you are not alone. Reach out to friends, family, or helplines. To connect with the Depression Helpline, call 1-800-826-3632. For more information, visit www.dbsalliance.org.

Namaste,

Mary

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Key West

Key West is home to the southernmost point in the continental United States. But Key West is not just geographically unique. The island is a tropical paradise full of pastel conch style homes, more boats than you’ve ever seen in your life, brazen roosters, and a bunch of other eccentricities. It’s a definitely a place to check out. Here’s why:

Life is now in Key West

Island living tends to differ from life on the mainland. At all times, fisherman are heading offshore, tourists are sipping frozen fruity drinks on the beach, and locals are hanging out at the bars. The only thing people are concerned about is enjoying life. Which is why in any other part of the country, a disco ball hanging from a tree may strike you as odd, but here it’s just a part of the island decor.

Key West is well established in the arts

Whatever your taste in art may be, there is bound to be something you appreciate. There’s art in the familiar sense— galleries and exhibits can be found up and down Duval Street with displays of abstracts paintings and bronze sculptures. There’s the art of fishing, as Key West is the fishing capital of the world. And, there’s the art of sex. Sex shops and tranny shows are fairly common, further proving nothing is really taboo in Key West.

The food is killer

Casual, upscale, fast-food. Lobster Benedicts, conch fritters, grouper sandwiches. It’s all good. If nothing else, Key West is an ideal place for a culinary adventure.

Things To Do:

  1. Visit Mallory Square for breathtaking sunsets and nightly entertainment courtesy of Key West’s finest street performers
  2. Spend some time at the Butterfly and Nature Conservatory for a peaceful experience
  3. Take a boat trip offshore to do some kayaking and/or snorkeling.
  4. Take a day to visit the Dry Tortugas National Park
  5. Go to Fort Zachary Historic State Park

 

Namaste,

Mary

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