Category Archives: Depression & anxiety

When your life purpose is confusing + you don’t know what makes you happy

At some point in our life, especially when we hit our late 20s or mid thirties, we begin to question what life is all about. What am I here for? What’s the point of it all? Who am I?

These questions show up when we’re usually struggling with our jobs, with our relationships or we’re going through depression, anxiety, loss whether it was the loss of a loved one, loss of a job, pet, friend ect..

When I talk about life purpose with clients or sometimes people who are close to me, I notice the same idea showing up over and over again. They often associate life purpose with figuring out what their career should be about. I was one of those people as well until I was not anymore.

My experience and especially my 6 months of depression taught me that it’s extremely dangerous to link my identity (who am I?) and/or my life purpose with my career for one simple reason: What would happen if I lose this job? Would I lose myself with it? Who would I be without it? What would happen to my life purpose then?

For example: let’s say that you feel the deep urge to fight for your country during the war and you deeply believe that this is your life purpose. You join the army and go fight that war. Then what? What happens when the war is over? Is your life purpose over as well?

Here’s what I believe: What we do is an expression of how we perceive ourselves and life. For example: I help people ease their suffering and wake up to their beautiful self – but my life purpose is not attached to that and this is only one aspect of how I’m expressing myself.

Helping people is something I enjoy because it helps us in our human evolution and it brings peace to people’s life. I can also only do this when I too do my inner work and therefore this pushes me to learn from other people about myself and to share what I have learned with others. It makes people I encounter my teachers and my students (that’s applied for all of us).

The effect of my inner work has also an effect on my work with people and my work with people has an effect on people around them. It’s all a ripple effect.

BUT and that’s a big BUT I can only help people from my heart when I’m doing it with love and I can only do it with love when I’m being love and I can only be love when I’m happy with myself.

It’s logic. There’s no need for any spiritual or philosophical or psychological answer here.

Some people’s goal is to get rich, to have their own startup, to be famous…but the question is why is it that they desire to achieve all of this? It is simply because they want to be happy.

So they work so hard to achieve their goals hoping that their achievements will give them happiness yet when they do reach them, they realize that something is still missing in their life.

Why?

Because they can never run away from themselves – what was causing them suffering and unhappiness in the first place is still there until it is not anymore (read about my experience in my book “Life Without Approval”).

So, what does this tell us about life purpose?

For me, it is very simple. I believe that life purpose is a goal and that goal is for us to make ourselves happy and we can only make ourselves happy by working through all the kinks that block that happiness.

In other words, our goal is to purify ourselves from all the negative thoughts, beliefs and patterns that are blocking our happiness in THIS moment. Otherwise, you or I will be chasing our tails for the rest of our lives and something will always be missing.

In Buddhism, they talk about how It is in our human nature to desire to be happy and eliminate suffering. Look at all the actions you take during the day:

You eat because you’re hungry (suffering), you go to work because you want to make a living (you want money so that you can survive….you don’t want to die), you find a relationship because you’re a social animal (you don’t want to be alone, being alone leads to death), you go to the bathroom because if you don’t…you know what happens then and so on.

The problem is on a subconscious level, many individuals believe that they don’t deserve to be happy and that brings them to sabotage themselves in every area of life. Some are even afraid of being happy because they’re not used it – it’s a foreign language to them.

The dangerous thing about this is that it doesn’t only affect our life; it affects the lives of everyone around us. Let me tell you why:

Let’s say you live in a very small village and you believe that you don’t deserve to be happy so what you’re experiencing emotionally could be feeling miserable, resentful, angry, sad, depressed and so on. Then what happens when you’re experiencing these emotions?

Your actions are going to reflect this belief.

Then what happens to people around you when they see your actions and hear your words?

They’re going to be upset by your behavior and they will experience negativity as well.

Then what?

They too….will reflect that in their actions towards people that surround them (unless they’re very conscious).

The ripple effect continues until the entire village becomes so miserable…and what does that lead to? They will all start fighting with one another and that leads to death. Isn’t this what’s happening in the world now?

That’s how powerful your state of being and your decision about deserving to be happy is. That’s why suffering happens in their world. What happened recently in Orlando is an effect of one guy’s deep pain of not embracing his sexuality this led him to kill innocent people and now the entire country is angry about this.

Can you see why it is so important to embrace yourself (negative and positive) and to make your life purpose about finding your own happiness?

But you can only find your own happiness by making peace with yourself. Your new job won’t give you happiness – finding the right partner or a new one won’t give you that happiness….it may temporarily but the feeling of something is missing will come back again and you’ll have to deal with this sooner or later.

But….you may say: if my life purpose is to be happy then what do I do when I don’t even know what makes me happy?

1. Happiness is a state of mind. In other words – it is a decision:

  • Answer the question of: Who am I (WITHOUT your job being involved in the picture). For me the answer is: I have infinite intelligence within me and I’m part of the bigger infinite intelligence. Otherwise everything every religion has talked about (God is the Alpha and Omega – He/She is everywhere and in everything does not make sense). This puts a big responsibility on me as well.
  • Decide that you deserve to be happy.
  • Begin to work through the kinks (your perception about yourself).

2. AGAIN – Decide that it’s worth it to see yourself in a whole new perspective. What’s blocking your happiness is your perception about yourself.

What are you believing about yourself that is blocking the flow of happiness to come to you?

Look at that belief – question it! Meditate on it! Feel how painful it is. Then instead of saying: I should not be this or be that or do this or do that – embrace yourself just as you are and say it’s okay for me to feel this – it is showing up for a reason and that is because that part of me needs to be seen.

When you begin to look at the parts of you that need to be seen with love, they will disappear. When you try to beat the part of you that is struggling then you’ll struggle so much more and this is where all our kinks are.

3. DECIDE to act like happy people do. Have fun. Enjoy life. Find humor in yourself…. in life. Be silly! Enjoy THIS MOMENT. Stop for a second and observe everything around you as if you may die in the next moment. Take a deep breath and really pay attention.

4. Put your life in perspective. Do you have EVERYTHING you need now? Then everything else is not as important as you think it is.

5. Is your situation the worst possible situation in the whole world? Could it be that someone else is going through much deeper pain? Be grateful for the pain and the joy because we all know that we live in a world of relativity – in other words: How would I know that I’m brunette if blond people did not exist? Pain is necessary – it has a message for us.

6. Accept your present. Embrace the job that you hate. Find beautiful things about your relationship. It is impossible for everything to be ALL negative. If you can’t find peace in the present even when you’re experiencing pain then how do you know that you will experience peace in the future when the future is completely unknown?

7. Lawfully embrace yourself, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until the day you die. Otherwise, how could you be and do THAT with your partner and with people around you when you can’t even be that towards yourself? How could your partner get to know you if you don’t even know yourself?

8. Understand that your own happiness is NOT about you. Your life purpose IS NOT about you anymore. It is about THE HUMAN RACE. We are all interdependent on one another. Refer to the village example above. That’s why your state of mind has a ripple effect on the world in a much larger scale then you can ever imagine. That’s why you can’t save the world – the only thing that you can do is save yourself by finding your own peace.

9. What if you die tomorrow? Would you be satisfied with yourself? Would you change anything about your life? We take life for granted. When we take life for granted, we take GOD for granted. There’s no difference between LIFE AND GOD.

We think that nothing will ever change when EVERYTHING is changing in every moment otherwise – there would be no life…there would be only death. So, get your forgiveness to self and others going – live each day as if it’s your last. Make sure that you don’t close your eyes without making peace with that day otherwise what happened that day will haunt you in the next.

10. Find a mentor, coach, therapist, spiritual group, someone who mastered what you desire to be, something or someone that will help you in your journey. Many people feel ashamed of getting help. Many people resist getting help because they’re so comfortable with their own pain…because if they do then they’re admitting that something is wrong….and sometimes it’s too painful to see our shadow…..so…they’d rather complain about their partner, complain about how bad life is…..complain about their job over and over again instead of taking action to make CHANGES in themselves.

Some people rely on faith alone hoping or things to be different in their lives…however faith alone is not enough. Nothing is going to change around us if our perception about ourselves and the situation doesn’t change and especially if we don’t take action to purify ourselves and make some changes in our behavior.

11. Finally this whole journey is a process. Jesus had his own struggle with grief, sadness, disappointment towards society and he worked through it throughout his life and not in ONE DAY. Buddha talked about his own suffering and worked through it all his life as well.

Every single spiritual master works through his/her own kinks throughout their lives. Enlightenment happens for hours, days, moments or months and then the reality of being human hits again. We will know better than before but we will always have things to work through.

So, instead of finding kinks in other people and trying to fix them or change them – turn your focus towards yourself because this is the only thing that you’ll ever be able to change and it’s not an easy job.

So, be gentle with yourself. Take it easy. Stop the harshness and the I should not feel this or I should not do that. Everything in your life led you to this point and time. When you begin the process or the decision of finding your own inner peace, everything will become so much more joyful. People will want to be around you more, your career will fall into place and the same for everything else in your life.

I’m here for you – always! send me your questions or comments! <3

 

10 Things I Learned From My Intense Emotional Ayahuascha Experience

A while ago I went through a very dark phase in my life. It is called: Existential and Identity crisis which is also called the dark knight of the soul in the spiritual world. For those who have experienced something similar, they know how painful this phase is. I don’t want to talk about it in details here but basically you lose sense of: Who am I? What do I believe in? Why am I here?

I fell into very deep depression for 6 months. I was an angry person who is experiencing loss moment after moment. Loss of what you may say? No one died around me yet I felt that I was dying.I didn’t like what I saw about myself. I felt like a failure in every aspect of my life and then I kept asking the question: Why do I deserve to be happy? I’m no body. The worst part for me was not that I felt that I was dying but that I was imagining everyone I loved dying. I couldn’t accept life and death. I questioned God…in fact I was so angry with God that I decided to stop believing in Him/Her.

This experience was the darkest time of my life yet I wouldn’t take it back for a second. It was the most beautiful gift I have ever received and I can say that it’s the most beautiful gift I have also given myself. Why? I started building myself from the ground up which means: I rediscovered and redefined what God is to me and I decided who I am: Pure Intelligence that is part of God. With this, I began to let go of my attachments towards success, career, being perfect and I began using these parts of my life as an expression of who I am instead of making them “WHO I AM”.

Why am I telling you this and what does this have to do with Ayahuascha?

My dark knight of the soul led me to hear about Ayahuascha through a good friend who experienced it in Peru. Then I researched it for almost 2 years before I actually did it.

What is Ayahuascha?

A Psychedelic tea brew that is a mix of 2 different Amazonian plants. It has been used for centuries in shamanic healing ceremonies and it is now being studied by the biomedical scientists as a possible treatment for depression. People also use it to release past Karmas, to gain enlightenment and visions from Higher realms. You can read more about it in New York Times and in Nature magazine and psycholgical research are all over the internet. It is also used for people who suffer from addiction.

My Ayahuascha experience

I’m not going to talk in details about everything that I saw and what I experienced. All I can say to you is this is NOT a recreational drug and the emotional intensity that you experience in this ceremony is out of the world. I was with few other people and an experienced shaman, his assistant and other musicians. Each person had his own seat with his bucket since Mother Ayahusacha helps you purge for 6-8 hours and for days and weeks so a bucket will come in handy at that time. The room is completely dark and you’re only listening to shamanic music, Ayahusacha chants and you’re meditating throughout the whole journey which lasted 6 hours for me. Of course, no touching, no speaking and you must maintain you sacred space for yourself and for the people who are around you.

For those who know me, I have never taken any drugs. Well, I’ll take that back – I took 2 puffs of pot once and that was 8 years ago. I also drink a glass of wine occasionally (maybe once every few months). So, before you jump into any judgment, I didn’t do Ayahuascha for fun or for recreational purposes. This plant is not a game and words do no justice to the emotional intensity you may experience in this journey.

So back to the ceremony, I was the last one to take the brew and I was the first one to react to it. After 20 minutes or so – I began experiencing a very dark energy taking over my body. I have never ever in my life experienced something like that. Depression was a piece of cake.

I couldn’t breathe. I began experiencing a panic attack. I didn’t know what was going on in my body and I found myself screaming out loud from fear. The Shaman’s assistant came to help me, she held my hand and took me outside of the circle to breathe.

Yet this is when it all began. Ayahuascha hits in different waves and the first wave I had was so intense that it paralyzed me.I felt that I was dead. I thought I was dead. A deep wave of heat followed by an extremely cold one took over my body. I never experienced that much cold in my life. I didn’t know whether I should wear more clothes or take off my clothes. I thought I was in hell. It felt like I was in HELL. I began weeping and weeping for experiencing the world’s pain. I felt the suffering of each and everyone of us. The world was a very dark place. I couldn’t understand why people hurt one another – it didn’t make sense to me.

Then I began purging all the pain I felt from the world. I felt the pain of people who are so close to my heart as well. I also realized how mean I had been with some people even though I didn’t realize it and I didn’t mean it at the time. I saw my dark side – my shadow. I felt extremely lonely …a loneliness I had never felt that deep before yet I was so lucky to have the assistant holding my hand through this intensity.

I experienced death and that was the most terrifying thing for me but something eased my pain in this experience and it is called gratitude. My depression taught me that my pain evaporates whenever I embrace it and hold it with love and gratitude.

I remember myself saying: “Thank you Mother Ayahuascha for showing me what I need to see”.

Then I hugged myself and gave myself love. My pain eased out immediately and I felt a wave of calmness and my heart was extremely cold like a block of ice yet at peace.

So, you can imagine how frightening and intense it could be to believe that you’re dead, you’re experiencing hell with all the emotional intensity that comes along with this for hours until the plant eases out of your body. I had so many visions and many other experiences that taught me so much about myself and life but here’s a brief description of what I actually learned:

1- I created my own hell in this experience and I did the same in my life as well. What does that mean? Nothing was actually happening during the ceremony, it was my own mind playing tricks on me showing me what it was capable of doing to me. What I’m capable of doing to myself. What I have been doing to myself. All my thoughts were an illusion. They were a negative perception I had about life and myself. They were far from reality or from what is.

Now, I want to invite you to pause for a second and reflect on how many times have you allowed your negative thoughts to make you live in hell? Hell is a separation from God, it is anxiety, depression, self-doubt, judgment, anger and so on. This intense experience showed me the hell that I have created for myself for so long. It is then that I decided to be so much kinder to myself.

2- My life is beautiful and perfect as it is. I realized that being with my husband, my dogs and my family was heaven. Love is heaven. It is all I needed – everything else was just noise and rubbish. I had to experience hell to truly appreciate my life and we always have the choice to believe the illusion of the mind and create heaven or hell with it.

3- Love and gratitude heal. They’re basically the same to me. Pain faded away every time I gave myself love during the ceremony and every time I said thank you to my experience. I applied this concept during my depression but this was a whole new experience to me since I felt it on a much deeper level and from the inside-out.

4- Kindness is my new religion. Remember how I mentioned earlier that I was going through an existential crisis. When I felt the pain of the world, I realized that it didn’t really matter what religion or spiritual path I take. The only thing that matters is for me to be Kind. Whether or not there’s after life or heaven or hell or God – Kindness is the only thing that will save me.

5- I stopped fixing myself. I had to go through so much emotional intensity to realize how intense I had been with myself for years. I wanted to fix myself thinking if I fix this issue I have then I’ll be saved and happy yet I realized that I got it all wrong. There’s nothing to fix, only things to embrace with love. The parts of me that go through depression, sadness, fear, anxiety and so on are nothing but my little self asking for love and help. So, why would I beat the shit out of myself trying to fix myself with this tool or that tool when it only makes things worse?

I’m not saying stop doing self-growth or spiritual work. I still do both but I do it with love towards myself. I know that I don’t need to fix anything anymore and I know that the best way to heal and reach moments of enlightements is through love and kindness only. Sometimes I forget this but I forget it much less than before.

6- I realized the power of the mind. I have been studying the mind, thoughts and beliefs for 8 years now but I never really felt how powerful the mind it. I knew it conceptually and I applied it – but the illusion of hell that I experienced was enough to make me realize how powerful and tricky the mind is. I believe my thoughts much less than before now. There’s always more work to do in this area but again I stopped believing my mind maybe 50% of the time.

7. There’s always someone to assist us in our journey. Remember I talked about the Shaman assistant who held my hand? I didn’t know this beautiful lady yet I received so much love from her. She was like a mother to me at the ceremony. Now, this made me realize how people are actually there for each other even though we have the illusion that they’re not. We will always have someone to support us even if that was a stranger.

8. God is in everything. In every experience. In every being. In every plant. In every animal. In every rock. In every particule. In every thought. In every word. There’s an infinite intelligence that the mind cannot ever grasp and cannot even understand. That infinite intelligence is so powerful and whether we call it God or energy or Allah or whatever….this cannot be denied.

9. I stopped wanting to know everything. Before my Ayahuascha experience I was an intense spiritual seeker. I wanted to know everything about anything and everything in the world. Even though I still have the desire to learn and experience, Ayahuascha taught me to become humble. It’s very arrogant to think that we know it all or we can possibly know it all because just like I mentioned before, it is impossible for the mind to understand this universe. At least it is in my opinion and based on my experience.

10. There’s so much pain in the world. Before you judge anyone, please pause for a second and ask yourself: What kind of pain is this person going through that is making them talk or behave in such a way? What kind of traumatic life experiences did they go through? This also helped me cultivate empathy for murderers and people who do some crazy stuff in this world. It is also the illusion of darkness that create darkness in this world and the way to heal it again is through love and compassion. That doesn’t mean I’ll let people kill me but now at least I understand the pain they’re going through.

We all experience emotional pain. It is very okay to feel sad, angry, depressed, confusion, doubt, fear and so on. It is not normal to beat the shit out of ourselves for going through them. It is however normal to embrace them with love because they’re showing us what we need and where we desire to go.

11. I know I said 10 things I learned but I wanted to throw this one here too. One thing I understood from my experience is that my journey is for myself only. Here’s what I mean: When I was under mother Aya, I felt as if my face was covered with a veil and the only thing I could see and experience is what this veil is showing me. The veil is the mind of course. No one around me experienced what I experienced or saw what I saw. They were busy experiencing their own veil. Now, that’s how we function in our every day life. The veil is our perception and beliefs about life. However, what was most fascinating to me here was that this veil made me realize that even when I die, I will also experience my own unique journey. NO one in my current life is going to be able to help me in any way. I will have to help myself and I’m also hoping that angels and my loved ones and the light of God would be there as well. But there’s no way to know until I experience this myself.

So in other words, this made me realize that there is only the “I” in my life. Whether I feel lonely or sad, it is only the “I” that will need to help itself, sit with itself and love itself. Love and peace has to come from this “I” and not from people who surround it.

Finally I have to say it is true what they say about Mother Ayahuascha: She will give you what you need to see about yourself but not what you want. 

 

********** ATTENTION:

  1. Please don’t jump into doing Ayahuascha without researching it and without making sure you’re doing it in the presence of a VERY experienced shaman.
  2. The hardest part of the Ayahuascha is integrating everything you learn and experience with your real life. It takes months and years to understand what happened during the ceremony and sometimes you don’t even understand it. I was extremely sensitive to everything for few months afterwards.
  3. I also recommend to have very few people in the circle if you can’t do it alone with the shaman. Never DO IT BY YOURSELF.
  4. Ayahuascha is NOT a recreational drug. It is used for healing purposes ONLY so don’t even think of doing it for fun because it is NOT fun. It is intense and some people go through deep depression after doing it.
  5. Don’t do Ayahuascha if you haven’t done any healing work before. Some studies show that one ceremony of Ayahuascha equals 30 years of therapy. Again, This is NOT a game.
  6. There is so many research done by psychiatrist about Ayahuascha – read them before you do anything.
  7. Some people go on retreats to heal with Aya – however, I highly recommend to not do it back to back and to also avoid drinking a second cup during one ceremony. This is extremely intense and my words won’t do it any justice. Even my Shaman told me, it’s best for people to do it once a year or every few years and not the way they conduct it in retreats which is drinking the tea back to back in very short days. But this is your experience – so follow your heart.
  8. Don’t do Ayahuascha if you’re on antidepressants or if you suffer from Bipolar or Schizophrenia.
  9. There are 2 legal churches in the States that offer these ceremonies.
  10. If you do it in Peru, be careful. Ask about the Shaman, get referral as many Shamans are fake and are conducting cheap ceremonies for money especially for Americans.
  11. This is NOT a game.

The 2 Life Changing Benefits of Saying “I’m Sorry” To Someone You’ve Hurt

Growing up, we all learned to say “I’m sorry” every time we did something wrong or something that hurt others. This was how we learned the consequence of our words and actions.

Ironically, the practice of apologizing becomes a struggle as we mature because we fear giving up our power or we feel ashamed of what we have done.

I feared saying “I’m sorry” so many times in my life until I realized the harm that comes from the desire of standing my ground versus being at peace with myself.

In my process of learning more about forgiveness, I realized two things:

  •    Forgiveness is one of God’s (Pure Intelligence) values
  •   My actions are influencing other people’s actions and therefore the law of cause and effect is happening and creating an effect through every choice I am making today

Accepting and admitting my mistakes brought so many benefits into my life and I would like to share with you the biggest two:

1- It Helped me Decide who I want to be:

Realizing that we have hurt someone gives us the chance to realize that we are human beings who tend to forget that in our essence we are love and we are meant to be that love and share it but not at the expense of hurting others (or hurting ourselves).

We hurt others when are so preoccupied with protecting ourselves rather than seeing how we are contributing to our relationships and to the world in general. Realizing our hurtful actions lead us back home to love. It is also an indication that we are becoming radically honest with ourselves and responsible for our actions.

“Every act, is an act of self-definition” – Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsh

How we respond to what people say to us or to any situation is key to experiencing peace. If we respond with aggression, then we will feel the effect of our aggression in our body, heart and people around us will feel it too.

However, every time we point the finger at someone, we are defining ourselves as powerless beings or victims. Every situation comes with a responsibility which means we have a choice about how we are choosing to react (respond) in it.

Power comes in when we choose to respond to the situation in a manner that makes us feel whole rather than right. Deciding who we want to be makes us move from being a victim to being a truly humble conscious being who is aware of the role he/she is playing in the world. It all goes back to who am I? Am I being the light or darkness in this situation?

Every action or lack of action we make influences other people’s lives and actions, therefore what can we truly change about our actions that could make a better influence in the world?

 

2- I was able to love myself so much more: If we were to truly contemplate the amount of energy that we use to feel that we’re right in situations, we realize how much power we’re giving to an energy that is not nurturing anyone. How could we leave space for more love into our lives when our heart is so cluttered with resentment and negativity?

We think that we can love ourselves regardless how others feel because their feelings are not our responsibility. While this is true on so many levels, we still need to be aware and cautious about separating ourselves from others because at the root we are all one, we share the same feelings, same desire and same needs. Therefore, when we hurt others, we also hurt ourselves.

Self-love is a loving act towards ourselves but not at the expense of others.

Many of us think that in order for us to love ourselves, we must do whatever it takes to save that self from hurt. Our ego mind, will tell us that we’ll lose respect, dignity and ourselves if we ask for forgiveness. We must lose those parts in order to gain our true self fully.

Otherwise, what kind of self-love would we have when we are hurting others on the way? What kind of future will we have when we don’t feel at peace with our current and past self?

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