The Progression of Gratitude

Spiritual junkies will tell you that gratitude is one of the key foundations to ultimate enlightenment.  And I’m not judging them because I’m a junkie too. But what happens on those days where everything just seems to fall apart, and all of what your life is made of is seemingly crumbling before your eyes? Well you’ve simply found yourself out of alignment from where you’re supposed to be. Practicing gratitude by starting in a place that feels good, will provide a little bit of fuel to break out of your bad energy, and back into alignment with that best version of yourself.  

I don’t see any point in practicing fake gratitude. Sometimes you’re not even conscious that you’re doing it, but when you realise you are, you find it as counterproductive as no 65169_10151137360180168_400812489_ngratitude at all. “I love my job, I love my guy, I love my dog”, won’t get you anywhere if your boss keeps throwing overtime at you, your partner is finding all your triggers to frustration and your dog just pooped on the lounge room floor. The universe will simply align you with more of your dominant vibration, when your words don’t match how you feel at heart. In other words, you’ll get more of the same stuff that’s got you stuck in that point of frustration in the first place.

The universe does not care for the words you mutter; they will simply fall on deaf ears as it only cares for the energy that you vibrate.  

You want to perhaps imagine a life without your job or guy or dog. What would that picture look like? Sure you had to clean up that smelly poop from the floor, but what about when she gives you the saddest puppy dog eyes you ever saw, as you leave the house for work. Where you can see nothing but love in her eyes, and happiness in her wagging tail, when you return home from a long day in the office. Nobody said that gratitude can’t be broken down into smaller bite-size pieces. Just as many jigsaw pieces make up a finished puzzle, so too are many elements involved with each person, object or situation. It all comes down to your point of focus.

As long as you keep the bigger picture in mind. I always understood gratitude to be the cheekythought of blowing the gifts, the love, the connections, the positive circumstances and the miracles in life, so far out of proportion that it ignites an incredible wave of new energy that just overrides life’s nuances. Gratitude has a magical way of pushing away negative aspects of life from your mind. Because you know all too well how easy it is to make a mountain out of a molehill. You just have to choose what hill you want to build higher.

Practicing gratitude takes time and practice to truly nail it. To allow your vibration to match your inner muttered words about how incredible your life is, and everyone and everything that’s in it. As soon as the words and vibrations match- that’s when the magic starts to unfold.

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The land of dreaming

Surfchickareta

I’m a big believer in dreams carrying significant messages or images of the predication of the future places, people or situations you might encounter. I also believe strongly in Déjà vu and its powerful meaning and confirmation that you are on the right path in life. Surely Déjà vu is intertwined with some parts of our dreams, either that, or we are re-visiting the same scenario that we faced in a previous life.

Now with dreams I’m not talking the weird ones where you sleep with your best friend and wake up feeling nauseous or find yourself ridingNew Zealand exploration giraffes in the outback. To me, those type of dreams are just plain weird and I can never find any foreseeable explanation of what just occurred in my mind imagery.  The type I want to talk about are certain places I seem
to visit consecutively for nights, if not weeks on end…

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The importance of spiritual truth

Spiritual truth to me governs and moves my entire being. I’m eternally grateful for various events and experiences that have shattered my universe and all of the times that ripped reality from my very grasp. These are the moments that enabled me to discover spirit.  Through losing a baby to nearly losing my own life almost exactly a year later (see my e-book here and story of headbutting reef here). I choose to openly publish these events to inspire others to see the light amidst the darkness and to (in time) proudly own and embrace those experiences as who you are. I find the complete alteration and re-building of everything you thought you knew about yourself and the sheer courage to make it through some of life’s events to be a true strength of character.

Physical impermanence

Physical impermanence is a given, therefore I refuse to accept that life is simply a material10155641_10151989608795168_1577042429_n existence, that it goes far deeper than what we can see with our own eyes.

I truly believe my external reality is a true reflection of my inner reality whether by thought, form, word or deed. My kingdom of heaven is within. One touch of the outermost corners of the spiritual world leaves me begging for more.

The stressors

A strong point of focus throughout this year has been my physical body and in particular central nervous system. I left a corporate, high-stress job earlier in the year without realising how far I had pushed myself mentally within the position, nor did I realise the actual state of my health.

We often completely overburden the body through over stimulation and over consumption, leaving the only time to rest for when we finally get to sleep at night.

Meditation

One of the strongest ways to access our earthly being (for we are of nature) over our technological and sometimes robotical being is the art of meditation. It can be hard to search for a truth when our minds are constantly running and it’s refreshing to lay in a state of silence.

Multiple religions including Krishna and Hindu place a small bindi between the brows, atop of the “third eye” which is said to be “the sacred symbol of the cosmos in its unmanifested state”. Many meditations will focus on the third eye to access other realms of reality and to manifest dreams.

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Higher dimensions

Without getting too deep, it is also believed that (real) psychics access information through the sixth dimension where “all life is directed and advanced through the work of spirit”.

Through deep meditation I’m aware of many more aspects of life falling into place, I’m more conscious of synchronicities or “coincidences” (as a non-spiritual believer would call) and I’m able to receive notions of future events before they actually occur.

Most recently this came to me by way of random thought of a friend being pregnant. I hadn’t spoken to her for a few weeks however she contacted me two days after that notion telling me the happy news. While I don’t follow a set religion or pray to an outer god I believe each of us can access our inner gods as often as we call upon them.

The Truth of the Inner-Self

Some days you’re faced with people who act in indescribable ways and go out of their way to use methods to hurt, offend or upset. They can be someone you know or they can be complete strangers, regardless of who they are, they both have something in common- either a negative intent to in some way shape or form affect you with their words or actions, or a general unhappiness in themselves.

An encounter with one of these types is bad enough but when you’re really unlucky, and it’s usually the way the energy game works, you seem to attract and encounter many in one day. Let’s say you come across someone who has  made an offensive statement directed at you and about you. Their words or opinions are so distasteful that you begin to65169_10151137360180168_400812489_n question yourself and who you are, you start defending yourself in your own mind. You might even find yourself having a conversation with that person in your head even though they are long gone and may never cross paths with you again. Before you know it, that particular person with their negative energy has left an imprint on you and you may keep thinking about that one irritating action or word they said, hours, days and sometimes years later.

You don’t have to be a victim to this energy. If you have taken the time over the course and events of your life to get to know yourself inside out, and I mean truly know yourself- your strengths, your shortfalls, your typical emotional reactions, then you should remember one very important thing. That person can never take away the truth of your own being. You know you’re a good person who does good things, you have a big heart, you tread on this earth lightly, you not only care deeply for your closest friends, family or spouse but you care in general for the goodness of humanity. Any single vexatious word someone attempts to offload onto you is simply an expression of the current state in which they are in, which ironically has most likely come about from their encounters with an even less desirable human being in their past. It’s a real lack of love, an outcry-and unfortunately it’s very contagious. Some days I view it as a food chain, a man-eat-man energy game and it’s simply not necessary.

Reminding yourself of your truth is similar to gratitude- a gratitude of your own strength and essence. Come the end of the day, you can compare and dissect your current emotions with encounters with any other human being by imagining that you had just spent the day in a beautiful wilderness setting, alone with your spirit- with absolutely no interaction with anyone but nature. This will help to put in perspective your energy vs the energy another carries- which is none of your business. In Baz Luhrmann’s 1999 song “Wear Sunscreen” one standout line to me is “Remember compliments you receive, forget the insults, if you succeed in doing this, tell me how” In other words, we’re all human and it takes a lot of mindfulness, control and discipline to tame the ego that reacts to insults but I believe it is possible with practice. You can’t always forget words or actions of another but you can always work on taking away the emotional attachment.

 

Mentawai adventure

The land of dreaming

I’m a big believer in dreams carrying significant messages or images of the predication of the future places, people or situations you might encounter. I also believe strongly in Déjà vu and its powerful meaning and confirmation that you are on the right path in life. Surely Déjà vu is intertwined with some parts of our dreams, either that, or we are re-visiting the same scenario that we faced in a previous life.

Now with dreams I’m not talking the weird ones where you sleep with your best friend and wake up feeling nauseous or find yourself ridingNew Zealand exploration giraffes in the outback. To me, those type of dreams are just plain weird and I can never find any foreseeable explanation of what just occurred in my mind imagery.  The type I want to talk about are certain places I seem
to visit consecutively for nights, if not weeks on end. I also feel this strongly when I meditate, however the places I go to in meditation, I seem to always recognise as places from my past. Laying in a lush green paddock, gently floating down a river on my back or climbing through a knee-deep snow capped mountain- these all seem to be scenarios from my childhood growing up in NZ. The dreams that repeat for me, are all places I have not been to before and come to me as visions of the future. Let me describe how this happens.

The actual vision

So as I’m drifting off to sleep, faint images of a certain scene start to seep through my mind. Tonight it is somewhere in a rainforest, I follow a path where the forest floor feels damp under my bare feet, I have a destination in mind, although the vision is not strong enough, I know from the previous night’s sleep it is upon a raised land and I feel strongly that I am heading to that familiar spot. Nothing significant happens in this dream, I am just given more pieces of a puzzle, almost in slow motion, meaning the visuals come to me at no fast pace, almost like my eyes are only half open. From what I know, this dream only lasts a short period of time before I continue a random set of insignificant other dreams for the night.

Now what captures my waking mind’s attention the most, is that I willThailand exploration return to this same place each night for up to two weeks until the scene manifests in my reality. In this case I was living in Northern Thailand at the time of these dreams and ended up on a completely random weekend trip away to a lush forest area full of mysterious ancient temples and caves. When I arrived at the forest I had a sense of familiarity wash over me and the memory of those repeated dreams came flooding back to me. After that weekend I no longer continue these same dreams.

This is where I believe we are much more connected to nature than what we remember our existence to be, pre-technology overload and fast-paced lifestyle. Each of my visions always involves the outdoors, much of which is my deep love of the ocean. I have found myself in some of the most stunning places in the world and vividly recalling the very scene before my eyes-from previous repeated dreams.

One step further

When I found myself living on a remote Indonesian island in the Mentawais my dreams became very powerful. At one point I wasn’t quite sure what was reality and what was dream and when I talk to other surfers that have spent long periods in these islands they can tell me the same situation. It’s a beauty that cannot be truly described. I previously wrote about this reality flip here.

Another strange set of reoccurring dreams was at the time I was dating the owner of a surf camp in these islands. What didn’t make sense to me from the beginning of meeting him, was the fact he never featured in any of my dreams. Generally each person who is in my life frequently, shows up in my dreams. However, I had a certain dream for two or three weeks straight, where I had this deep feeling within my being that I had met and connected strongly with “a” man. In my dreams I am not only picking up on the dream visually, but also energetically. I could actually feel all these feelings of being in love and being completely and utterly content, however the man I was with in my dreams had “no face” and I couldn’t recognise who it was, therefore I could not link it to the actual man I was dating.

What happened in those dreams is that I had the memory of meeting aMentawai adventure man I was deeply connected with, but at the same time I couldn’t find him and he would vanish from my side like a puff of smoke each and every dream. The dream would then take me to an unknown city, a really busy environment with lots of people moving in many different directions around me and I felt so incredibly alone to be in a city that I hated. I was overwhelmed to be in such a busy place when I knew my current home was set amidst a dense jungle, where waterfalls tethered off into tropical lagoons.

At the time these dreams occurred I was very much in love with this man and was seeing a long future out in the islands. It wasn’t until one night when he abruptly decided that the relationship was to end and insecurely dictated my very feelings for him. He told me I was not connected with him and that I didn’t love him, when that was the furtherest from my truth which (not coincidently) fell on deaf ears. Being an intimidating man who notoriously had the last say in any situation, the relationship was deemed over.

After a wild escape from that island and two days travel, there I was, sitting at a huge city in Malaysia, feeling more alone than ever and so confused how things could end so quickly and how he could vanish from my life (like a puff of smoke?). I believe those dreams were trying to indicate to me future events and with greater practice I am sure I could use these dreams more powerfully to predict future occurrences.

If you have trouble recalling any dreams that you had at night, the key issurf girl dreaming to first practice with meditation and mindfulness. I had a friend who claimed he just didn’t have dreams at all and really couldn’t understand some of the dreams I described to him that I had. He only just began practicing yoga and was brand new to the world of meditation. It wasn’t until he attended a 10 day Vipassana retreat that he was able to still his mind enough to begin recalling his night dreams. Upon his return from the retreat he ecstatically described his new discovery of a peaceful mind and dream occurrences. Vipassana can be perfectly described as below:

“Vipassana is a way of self-transformation through self-observation. This simple code of moral conduct serves to calm the mind, which otherwise would be too agitated to perform the task of self-observation. It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body, which can be experienced directly by disciplined attention to the physical sensations that form the life of the body, and that continuously interconnect and condition the life of the mind. It is this observation-based, self-exploratory journey to the common root of mind and body that dissolves mental impurity, resulting in a balanced mind full of love and compassion.The scientific laws that operate one’s thoughts, feelings, judgements and sensations become clear. Through direct experience, the nature of how one grows or regresses, how one produces suffering or frees oneself from suffering is understood. Life becomes characterised by increased awareness, non-delusion, self-control and peace”.- dhamma.org 

Staying connected to nature in city elements

This is something I always struggle with when I find myself in any city for a long period of time, because let’s face it, city living is complete disconnection from the earth, nature and all rhythm and life connected to these elements. Fair enough some people just don’t get it the way I do. Perhaps they grew up in large cities and don’t know any different, or they’re limited by living in a poverty-stricken area of the world where travelling outside of the city is just not an option in their lifetime. That’s where we really have to find gratitude each day for having the ability to step foot in a jungle, a crystal clear ocean, a vast, dry desert or a snow-capped mountain surrounded in glaciers, whatever takes your fancy, some just don’t have access to this-ever.

As a surfer I love to be in tune with nature. It becomes a necessity in order to make the most of the ocean. The tides, the wind, the moon cycle, Surfer girl in cityweather patterns, the formation of highs and lows and structure of the ocean floor. I’ll never grow tired of watching a big glowing moon rise over the ocean. When I took myself away from my existence as a surfer and placed myself in a large city in Northern Thailand for two months, I honed
into the very aspects that make up all the parts of the magic of life as a surfer. And what an experiment it was-gratitude multiplied. When I find myself in the city and it is a lifestyle that goes completely against my soul existence I tune in on the following:

Astrology

This is relatively new to me, I’m talking only the last couple of years that I really started to learn and pay attention to what’s going on in our night sky. Even now, I’ve only touched the very beginning of the iceberg. Just like the ocean herself, there is so much mystery contained within the galaxies. I love how they’re both just so untouched and unexplored, so peaceful and far away from humans and more importantly human wars. AstrologyThe history of astrology is just as captivating as the mystery. The Polynesian culture is renowned for their abilities to successfully and navigate thousands upon thousands of miles of open ocean (the Hokule’a) solely being guided by the patterns of nature. Their biggest natural compass is the night sky. They track specific star patterns and motions that guide them in the direction of their intended travel. This is the same pattern that birds use for navigation. The degree of accuracy is absolutely mind boggling. Read more here: http://pvs.kcc.hawaii.edu/ike/hookele/on_wayfinding.html

So back to sitting in the city glancing out at skyscrapers and lots of concrete. You want to keep your mind on the patterns of the planets. In astrology it is believed the planets are all linked to events within the human existence. You have a bad week and wonder why everything is going wrong. Well if you did some simple research it could all be explainedkaypacha due to the positioning of certain planets. One certain astrologist I tune into each week is a guy called “Kaypacha”. Ok so he’s a long haired eccentric looking guy with rings on every finger, feathers in his hair and a quirky sense of humour- but he knows what he’s talking about. He has an in-depth three-dimensional computer program and he will walk you through where the planets are currently sitting and what that all means in layman(ish) terms. Follow the page “Mystic Mamma” on Facebook as they post his weekly reports. At the time of writing this the latest report is here http://www.mysticmamma.com/kaypacha-report-i-always-get-just-what-i-need/

Of course nothing beats going out and gazing at a night sky with your naked eye but this can be a bit of a struggle thanks to the strength of the city lights and pollution.

Sunrise or Sunset

Again this can be a bit hard because there’s so many buildings and houses to obstruct your view. The body is made to rise with the sun and set with the sun. That was the theory back in the days anyway but how many of us sunsetactually follow this? In summer I become pretty close to this pattern as there’s more light to surf with. The point I’m getting at is when you find yourself in the city, watch as many sunrises and sets as you possibly can to keep your body in rhythm! My most memorable attempt to catch sunset was when I went on a mission to find the perfect spot to take a photo of the setting sun, away from the endless rows of houses and estates. I skated my way down a big hill, walked up the next hill preparing myself for a breathtaking view on top of the world, only to be faced with another rolling hill stacked with houses. So on I went until I made it to the top of the biggest hill and sat on my board exhausted but greeted by a fiery sky and an approaching storm. As the sun set, dark clouds rolled over and thunder began to roar. A classic electrical storm began to form and lightning covered the sky in long forked patterns. That’s when I got a little too close for comfort. The storm literally passed right over my head and lightning began to strike earthward. One was so close to me I felt the heat coming off it and quickly got on my skates out of there! I got a little more than I bargained for, but it sure beat sitting inside the house watching the 6pm news like the rest of the zombified city.

Connecting through the food you eat

I find this a bit hard to explain in word form but if you were to try a detox of pure fruit and vegetables for two or three days you would understand what this feeling is close to. Get creative, juicing, fruit smoothies, vegetable soups, it doesn’t mean you have to eat raw heads of broccoli just to comply-although I do this regularly ;). What you will notice is just how much this type of diet allows you to tap into the natural world around you. It will also supply you with an abundance of energy, pure energy that is-not the same feeling you get from refined sugar and caffeine. Eating raw girl gardening fresh producefoods that are from the earth contain so much life force, especially ones you pick “live” such as bean sprouts. Growing in popularity are little mini-pots of sprouts or spinach that you can sit on your window sill, babysit and add to your salads when you like. I’ve even seen them in big chain supermarkets and I love this positive influence. Wherever you are in the city you can almost always grow your own herbs or small vegetables. Even in an inner city apartment you can do this on a window sill or balcony.

The biggest difference I notice with a largely raw diet is my quality of sleep and dreaming. There’s a certain kind of peace that buzzes around your body and mind, a feeling as if your resting head is so close to the earth that you could be laying directly on a dirt floor, covered in nothing but leaves from the forest and you would be comfortable with that. My dreams are much more vivid and happier, the type of flying dreams and going to natural settings like forests, waterfalls and oceans. This is the topic of another story which I will expand on later.

Chemical free products

It has taken a few years of practice but most of my cosmetic products, household and cleaning products are all naturally derived. I feel as though I am living a hell of a lot more consciously when I choose products that don’t contain scores of unknown chemicals, or even worse known carcinogens that are ending up on my skin. Also thinking environmentally where those products end up- down the drain, I’m able to think about what little thing I am doing for the earth each day. I call it conscious living because I become aware of the way I go about my day and the impact I have on the world around me. I also love the feeling of using natural products knowing I am lowering my risk of getting cancer through unnecessary chemicals.

Meditation & yoga

In line with keeping a healthy mind, body and attitude, yoga and meditation are a must. Meditation comes hand in hand with dream time. meditationTaking your mind into a place outside of thought and just allowing yourself to sit in stillness is vital for staying sane in cities that never “sleep”. It is also especially important if, like the majority of us, are locked
into social media and the virtual world which is far from the purity in which our ancestors were brought up. Yoga is all about being present and freeing up the flow of energy throughout the body. It can become very easy for tension to be locked in certain areas of the body, causing stress, restlessness and short-temper. At worst physical injury can be the very result of holding onto stress or negative emotion, especially internal organ malfunction or muscular degeneration. I ensure I practice yoga daily, if only a quick sequence upon waking and before resting at night, to keep the body moving and energy free-flowing.

So even though it may feel like you’re disconnected from the natural world around you all you need to do is step back into her power and flow. We are all from nature and in the end will return to nature- a simple statement that can often be forgotten in our hectic fast-paced lives.