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Archive of ‘Inspiration’ category

What A Gift

It is the end of the year and I am contemplating a gift for you. My gift for you is this one phrase that saved my life this year over and over again.

It is so simple “what a gift it is….” and then you fill the blanks. Think of the worst thing, conversation, person, accident, global or personal event that happened to you this year, and then describe it, followed by what you think or feel is the gift hidden in this circumstance. Here are some of mine:

  • What a gift it is that I’ve had moments of exhaustion reminding me to take better care of myself.
  • What a gift it is that I did not realize all my business and personal goals this year and learned to meet myself and all that came out to the surface with love, and chose to still trust life.
  • What a gift it is that I have had moments that I needed encouragement and love. I’ve found the courage to seek them within, and to get help where I fall short.
  • What a gift it is that we live in times filled with fear and uncertainty, giving us the opportunity to choose love in our every word, thought, and action, at every moment.

I invite you to take a moment to count your gifts. Settle in your favorite chair, grab yourself your favorite winter tea/drink and start counting the gifts hidden in your troubles. You might be surprised at what comes out.

Happy holidays and a happy (almost) new year,

With love and light,

Damla

Service Is Joy

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It doesn’t matter where you are on your life’s journey, you can still be of service. You can have completely blocked chakras, you may be struggling with your emotions, your health, or your finances, and still be a light to someone or some being in your life. If you are a healer, you don’t need to be a guru to help others. If you are a mom, you don’t need to have a perfect day to care for your children. If you are a person who feels lost, you can still learn to hold space for light and hope, to come into being for yourself and others.

Even while you struggle, you are medicine for someone or some being in your life. Your existence and your vibration help someone expand theirs, sometimes lovingly, sometimes painfully. Call it karma, call it coexistence, you are medicine.

And you become a powerful, positive, loving medicine when you choose your thoughts, words, and actions to be of service. Today I invite you to find one being in your life (it can be you) that you can be kind and loving to, to the best of your ability. Give them from your heart, really be there for them, look into their eyes lovingly, smile and genuinely ask questions about their needs and dreams. And be open to receiving just by giving.

With love and light,

Damla Aktekin

I am Beautiful

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I am beautiful. It is not often that I pause and say myself this. I am changing that. Here’s why you should do the same:

  • Your truth, my truth, our truth is being beautiful. It is not because your nose is proportional to your eyes or your skin glows, but because I am, you are a wild expression of life, one of the millions of possibilities. There’s a unique beauty in that.
  • I realized that the only times I recognize my own beauty are when I put an extra effort into my outfit or my husband/soulmate sees and recognizes my beauty. I know that in his eyes I am always beautiful no matter how I look. And I realized that in my eyes I am beautiful only when I put an extra effort into it. This is no longer OK for me because I have a four year old daughter and I don’t want her to seek the recognition of her own beauty elsewhere, or have to work extra hard for seeing and feeling it herself. I see her beauty shine even when she is covered in mud. It is time to see the same beauty in myself and often.
  • Which brings me to my last point, not only am I beautiful, but you and everyone and everything in this world are too. As I walk in the street I know this, I cannot see my own inner beauty until I see and recognize it in every living soul around me. No judgment, no turning away, no categorizing. I see and know that the beauty around me is the same as the beauty within me.

When did you last feel beautiful? More importantly, when did you last make yourself and others feel beautiful? Let’s say it together: I am beautiful. You are beautiful. We are beautiful. And we all deserve to feel that.

With love and light,

Damla

To Be OK With That

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A couple of years ago, I was coming out of a yoga class, climbing the stairs leading to the street together with one of the women who took the class that day. We were both in the lovely haze that is created in the aftermath of a connected yoga practice, and started to chat about why we need to come to the class anyway. I remember saying to her ‘I feel like we are here to reset ourselves over and over again.’ and she whispered ‘and to be ok with that…’. We both walked into the beautiful, crisp autumn air outside and then it hit me, she had just given me one of the most beautiful and elegant lessons of my life: to reset ourselves over and over again and to be ok with that.

I have thought about it often since then, especially in the times when it feels like the weight of my life and the drama of the world is too much to bear. As a mom, woman, free-thinking citizen of the world, I notice the deep drama going on in our individual and collective lives. The issues that keep coming back are not new. Yet we all seem to struggle on some level to make peace within ourselves and to create the peace we seek in our outer lives and in our immediate and far communities. Yoga is just one refuge in this confusing mess. One that connects us to our reserves of hope. And then we go back into our daily lives and come back to the practice over and over again to renew our connection to this healing balm. The practice of coming back itself becomes the hope that helps us survive the unruly chaos of our reality. And yet every time we lose touch with this connection, we need to re-believe that hope is a possibility.

Today is one of those days. I choose to believe that we can change our reality. I choose to believe that my practice matters, my conscious thoughts, words, feelings and actions can lift the world. I choose to believe that even though I have to reset my beliefs, my nervous system, my digestion, my posture, my relationship with myself and the world, almost every single day, that it matters that I connect with my truth. And that truth is accepting and seeing the beauty that my hope stays alive despite everything. The hope that my/our consciousness is evolving and that we will go beyond the current struggles of our species and make peace with ourselves, with other human beings and all the other residents of the world.

The fact that we are not there yet, and that it takes courage to exist right now in this time, and that I/we still need to believe, hope, practice, reset ourselves and come back to the world with a renewed courage and refilled peace reserves, and to be ok with all of this, is the real practice of yoga.

~with special thanks to Patty Welch for her wisdom and her quiet, courageous presence

photo credit: @dlopezt

You Are Allowed to Be Blissful

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You are allowed to be blissful.

You are allowed to feel what you feel.

You are allowed to not be ok all the time.

You are allowed to be the unapologetic, imperfect, joyful you.

You are allowed to lose it and then find it again (whatever ‘it’ may be).

You are allowed to make big and small mistakes.

You are allowed to arrive the destination your own way.

You are allowed to say no to whomever or whatever your heart says no to.

You are allowed to be you.

You are allowed to feel a big burst of joy.

You are allowed to daydream and lie in bed.

You are allowed to do nothing sometimes.

You are allowed to let it go.

You are allowed to let it be.

You are allowed to be the unique expression of your beautiful soul in every possible way.

With love and light,

Damla

Enjoy Life!

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I talk a lot about bliss. Bliss begins with joy. Joy begins with giving yourself the permission to enjoy the moment.

Enjoyment comes from seeing something as a wonder. Losing yourself in the beauty of a child’s face or in the eyes of your lover. Being silly and opening your mouth to the sky to eat some snow or drink some rain 🙂 Smelling the flowers and noticing how these magnificent beings have the power to shift your senses from ordinary to bursting with joy. Looking at the seasons or the weather as something to be cherished ( and noticing how you talk about the weather is mainly a reflection of your inner state). Noticing and enjoying the changing colors of the day. Being in tune with the flow of life.

Start with the small moments and enjoy your life! What better time to start than now? This season that you are in is the perfect one, where you are at is just the right spot, and this moment in your life is the one you have been waiting for.

With love and light,

Damla

Celebrating The Good

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In what seems like the blink of an eye, another year is about to end. It is so easy to look at what still needs to be done, bought, resolved, overcome, and accomplished.

Instead, I invite you to celebrate all that is, that is already good and in your favor:

  • The joy, love, and bliss you already created in your life
  • The steps you have taken in 2015 for your well-being
  • The gifts you have given yourself and others, from a simple smile to giving a hand to or calling your loved ones
  • The lessons you learned from your challenging moments
  • The connections you made with ALL the people you met (even those who were difficult to be with, and those who passed away and gifted you with their love)
  • The presence of your breath that is always there to connect you with your truth

Let 2016 begin with acknowledging and celebrating how far you have come in your life, what an amazing home, workspace, garden you already created, how awesome your friends and family are (in their own way), and how much grace, love, joy, and bliss already exists in your life.

Have a blissful 2016 and make sure to check out my New Year’s gift for you at this link to add more peace into your life!

With love and light,

Damla

Cutting The Cords

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“You’ve got to cut your cords with that city. The one where you fell in love with your husband, gave birth to your first baby, decorated your first home. Otherwise there’s no life for you here, at every step, every corner, the city you left behind will follow you.” She started to cry, we hugged. Her Chakra Bliss Healing session had just ended and as my hands hovered over the crystals I placed on her body, getting as hot as coals, and as I asked her and my soul helpers to bless, heal, love, and renew the both of us, these words came into my inner space and they dropped out of my mouth as soon as the session ended: “Cut the cords with that city”.

Just like the way you cut your cord when you came out of your mommy’s womb. Just like that first threshold, when you stepped out of the known water into the unknown air, going into a place where you didn’t know if you would be nourished, taken care of, a place where you didn’t know if everything was going to be alright. Even before you knew what being fearful meant, you trusted that someone will hold you, and instinctively knew that the universe will always and always be your sweet smelling mother hugging you into her chest.

Blessing what is and what was. Thanking them for what they taught you, for all the experiences they gave you and how they contributed to your today. Offering flowers to the past, bowing thankfully, washing it with light. Wishing it happiness, blessings and love. Saying “Thank you. I bless you. I release you.” to all the people, places, events, cities, and emotions in your life. Saying “Goodbye” to what needs to go and “Hello” to what needs to come.

Our unhappiness stories are a great many: 

  • I wish I was there, not here. This is not my ideal place to live.
  • I wish you weren’t like this. You are different than the ideal in my head.
  • I wish I wasn’t like this. I am far from my ideal self.
  • I wish things weren’t like this.
  • I didn’t come to this city, this job, this relationship at the right time and under the conditions I hoped for.
  • My family, my past, my work life, my finances aren’t how I want them to be.
  • I am not the problem, it is my conditions and the people around me.
  • I am the problem. I can never make it to my ideals.
  • If I get this promotion, buy this dress, drop this much weight, finish this school and then this master’s degree, find someone like this to be with, get pregnant right at this time, have a child that is just like this and that, buy a house in this neighborhood, etc. etc. THEN I will be super happy.

Close your eyes. You are an infinite being. You are a light that holds unimaginable happiness, love, and soul journeys inside. Everything else is an illusion. Everything else is a city to leave behind whose only purpose was to bring you to this magical moment. Take a stroll in this city, place flowers of gratitude at every corner. Thank it for all that it taught you and how it made you you. Then slowly, gently untie the cord between you and the city.

At the point where you leave all the cords behind, you are the precious love child of the universe. Everything is as it should be. Everything is ONLY of light and love. 

With love and light,

Damla

Where Life Wants to Flow

fear 3_editedI have been thinking a lot about fear as an emotion and an expression of life. The image I get over and over in my mind is one of being stuck. Being stuck in your muscles and tissues, not daring to move, stretch or explore, protecting old injuries only to make them tighter. Being stuck in a current job, not being able to see an alternative because the alternative is unknown, too risky, too dangerous. Being stuck in an emotional state, a habit, a way of being, because change is scary and you want to protect yourself from the scary even if you know in your heart what you now do to yourself is way worse.

Being stuck has to do with filling up your life with things, people, habits, situations that don’t let you flow and then holding on to them because you are feeling constricted and limited inside. This is how fear presents itself. This is how it lives in our bodies and lives.

This feeling, this knowing is uncomfortable, so you ignore it. Big and small signals from your body, big and small warning notes from your emotions, from the universe, you ignore it all. That feeling of something needs to change. That feeling of being stuck even if you can’t exactly define why it would be so within your perfect world, your perfect job, your perfect family and perfectly planned vacations.

So you resist it, ignore it, tuck it in a safe place. It comes back louder. And your body turns the voice you ignored into a dis-ease you can no longer ignore. You then try to ease it by filling your life with things: clothes, activities, toys, entertainment, food, drugs, education, friends, more work, more busy-ness. Anything to distract you from feeling fully.

Life wants to flow. Sometimes to places you haven’t seen or sensed or guessed before. It is like climbing on the top of a big slide and not wanting to let go. You are missing all the fun. When you take a step and let go there is a new you.

To release your fears:

  • Listen. Listen to the signals of your body very closely. Your body is your subconscious, speaking with symbols and riddles. It is always trying to tell you something. That indigestion, that bubbling anger you feel as tightness in your stomach, that back ache, they are all messengers. Can you tell what needs to change?
  • Stretch your body. That is the first step in releasing fear. Embody the joy of a waking up baby. Stretch your muscles, stretch your connective tissue. No need to follow any routine or pose, just do what feels right. Start to break up the remnants of your fear hidden deep in your cells.
  • Let go of something. Let go of those magazines you have been waiting to read. Let go of those clothes that are just hanging in your closet, you don’t need them, trust me. Let go of the friends who don’t call you back. Let go of your book club. Let go of the thoughts that make you feel constricted and small. Let go of the past. Let go of being right. Let go of your need to control everything. Let go of perfection. Let go of being a busy bee. Let go of anything that takes unnecessary space in your life, anything that stops the flow of life and the flow of your breath (Tweet that).
  • Do something. Something, anything to inspire you to live fully. Take a yoga class, dance to your favorite music, write your dreams, take a course, tell your truth, scream your truth, give your life a chance to flow, give yourself a chance to flow with life.
  • Create a mantra. Imagine how you will feel when you release your fears. Put it into words. Repeat your mantra every single day whenever you start to feel stuck. (Read my Make Your Own Mantra Cheat Sheet)
  • Let go some more. When you find yourself holding on, filling up unnecessary inner and outer space, getting constricted inside, it is time to let go. Over and over again.

What you are is changing all the time. What you are is evolving. Life is evolving and changing all around you too. It is a beautiful dance. One you have chosen to experience at this time, in this body, in these conditions. It is time to turn up the volume, dance freely, and let life flow where it wants to flow.

With love and light,

Damla

Me Day Holiday

FullSizeRenderIt is important. To be with you first. To listen. To reflect. Sometimes to follow a whim without a plan, purpose, or goal. Sometimes to do what you didn’t expect. Sometimes to do just what you want and need to do. Letting life happen and being with it. Just being.

After my daughter joined us in this world, I realized how much of this I used to do. I would go into cafes, restaurants, movies, art exhibitions, museums by myself. Or I would walk. Or I would go explore pretty shiny things in stores. Or I would just sit on my couch, doing nothing. In that nothingness everything would be whole.

Then I realized that ‘not having time for me’ is an excuse. It is a comfortable one too. One that you would feel good thinking you are doing something great for others. Except when you take on more than you can chew and then go cuckoo, it serves no one.

This year is my shameless self-love, self-healing, self-listening year. Pretty much like every year from now on. So I now schedule these Me Day Holidays. Days, mornings, or afternoons where I don’t have anything to do, anyone to watch over, any plans, obligations, to-do’s. I am not allowed to touch the dishes on these days or to straighten the house. I am allowed to take loooong showers, create and dance to my own playlists (like this one), walk and window-shop, or simply sit in a cafe browsing, writing, sipping tea, watching life and the beauty of it unfold.

I do these every 2-3 weeks or when I hear the warning bells in my body. Tension is my messenger. Time to go solo Damla, take that self-bliss-love-date now. On the days that I may not be able to get out of the house, I take 20 minutes and meditate with my crystals in my yoga room. Or do a self-manicure. Or sit with my mala beads after my daughter sleeps. Alone with my dreams and thoughts. I need that.

When was the last time you went on a date by yourself? Taking delight in simply being you, letting your responsibilities rest while you open up new spaces for light to pour in. Let’s pencil one in, shall we?

With love and light,

Damla

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