How often do we listen to that little voice... "go get on your yoga mat;" "I need time to mediate;" "If you go exercise, you'll feel better;" "I need more rest." Often times we hear this voice, but we don't always listen. We humans put immense pressure on ourselves. It's easy to get stuck in the whirlwind of stress from work, relationships and family life. But what would happen if we listened to that voice more often than not? What is our inner voice trying to say?
When you first hear the word guru, at least for me, I think of a person - a teacher with vast wisdom and knowledge on a particular subject. And while that holds true, a guru is not always a person. When broken down, guru translates to: GU - "darkness;" and RU - "devoid of form." So the literal translation is "from darkness to light." Or in other words, 'when darkness meets light it disappears;' 'when hatred meets pure love it dissolves.' This means that a guru can be a person, or music, or chocolate, or the sunset! Say what?!
What truly blew my mind was learning the teachings of Tantric philosophy that the guru resides within each and every one of us. Take a second to take that in... THE GURU RESIDES WITHIN YOU, THE GURU RESIDES WITHIN ME! How freakin' cool is that? The guru is always present within us. It is that "weighty one," the teacher within who is there to guide us, help us, love us, if we learn to tune-in and listen. If you've been on a journey of self discovery, love and healing, or if you're just getting started, Gurus, teachers, friends, and community are a wonderful mirror and source of guidance. But the real path to self discovery/enlightenment isn’t outside. The road is within. Your guide is there too, waiting.
Below are some tools to help you tap into your inner guru. You most likely practice some of these already. By combining these tools with the awareness of your inner guru, you may begin to notice a shift in your energy, a shift in your thoughts and a shift in your actions toward yourself, others and the world at large.
1. Go visit Mother Nature... you might be saying, duh! But when was the last time you hiked alone? Or sat outside for a long period of time by yourself? For some of you, this might be something you already practice. If you're like me, I enjoy having company around. But I'll admit, it's the solo walks, hikes and moments in nature where my thoughts get clear. I have the time to reflect and listen. And sometimes find the answers I am seeking.
2. Journal. It's time to go shopping. Go pick out a beautiful journal that reflects your likes and personality. And start writing. Start with five minutes and work your way up. Write about anything and everything. You might be surprised by what comes out.
3. Dance. Dance. Dance. One of my absolute favorite things to do is to turn on my favorite tunes and let my inner Whitney shine. I struggle with body shaming. So I like to grab a glass of wine and strip down to my undies. That's right. Dancing, singing and cooking in my underwear has become a powerful tool for me to let my guard down and learn to love and embrace my body. My inner guru says, "girl, you are imperfectly perfect just the way you are, and damn you look good!"
4. Indulge. In moderation of course :). If you want a piece of chocolate, then have a piece of chocolate. Or whatever your vice may be. If having a piece here and there makes you happy, if it gets you out of your head or funk or whatever, then embrace it. Savor it. Enjoy it. Don't punish yourself after. Just Love.
5. Laughter Cocktail. It's difficult to explain in words, so please watch this 30 second video. This is something that Tiffany taught me and I like to whip it out when I'm feeling overwhelmed or beating myself. Warning: It will change you. And make you laugh uncontrollably.
6. Yoga. Being on your mat is some of the best medicine. Whether it's a 10 minute or 90 minute practice, you can find clarity and tune into your inner guru just by lying on your mat and/or moving your body.
7. Be vulnerable. I know. It's not an easy thing to do. And it's scary and sometimes painful. Which would you rather choose... 1.) Living, moving and acting from a place of fear; or 2.) Living, moving and acting from a place of love? Anytime you show up and give less than 100% of yourself to the situation because of self-doubt or fear or whatever it may be, you leave the door open for disappointment. If you're asking yourself, "how can I be vulnerable?" Sit by yourself, ask, "what am I afraid of?" Let your answer come from within - I'm not talking spiders here... Then go tell a close friend your fear. If you need to be held, let them hold you. If you need to cry, let the tears come. Being vulnerable doesn't have to be scary. It can be liberating! Knowing the darkest parts of yourself is one of the best ways to cultivate your light.
8. Exercise. Physical activity will change your chemistry - mental, physical, emotional.
9. Cook. Preparing a delicious, healthy meal that you know will nourish you and your family is a wonderful way to tap into your inner guru. Moving and acting from a place of love sends love to thing you're doing. You could even bake something and then bring it to work, or church or to a friend to share. And if you think you're a terrible cook, then try this month's recipe and be prepared to rock your world.
10. Moments of Gratitude. You always have something to be grateful for. Say it. Out loud. Write it down. Tell your loved ones. Tell yourself. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Finding moments throughout your day to exercise, journal or whip out your mat is the easy part. The key is bringing your awareness to the guide within when doing such actions listed above. Say hello to your inner guru. Honor your inner guru. Thank your inner guru. When we give presence to the guru within, the teacher will notice and take more action, sending you feathers of wisdom and guidance. It is then up to you to take the gift that is offered and embrace, love and share.