Archive for the ‘Empowerment’ Category

The Mirror Effect

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

We are all a mirror for one another.  Whenever we express an opinion about someone, it’s also a reflection of what we see in ourselves.  The truth is that it’s always about us.  As spiritual beings, we are consciously or unconsciously trying to better ourselves at all times.  Even when we choose a more difficult path.  

The big challenge is to be aware of the moments when we think or say things about others, and immediately reflect on what we are saying or thinking.  Do I see that in me?  Have I behaved in such way as well?  Reflecting on this allow us to examine our behavior and to make a decision to change.  It also gives us a sense of gratitude for the person that we are criticizing.  After all, they are mirroring ourselves and providing us with a very efficient tool for our growth.

Step into the uncomfortable place of looking at yourself in the mirror through the image of others!  It will make you realize how connected you are with everyone and how much you can grow together!

With energy,

Ana

Perfect As Is

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

I have a fantastic teacher in Jerusalem with whom I talk twice a month.  It’s always a joy to talk to Rabbi Schwartz and to learn with him.

This week we discussed that, if we have the right tools, we can live life in a constant state of joy.  We can build our own paradise right here on earth.  There is an amazing difference when we decide to look at life with equanimity lenses – a concept that sees everything that we receive as perfect and ideal for our growth.  When begin to see life being perfect as is and that changes everything!

Rabbi Schwartz mentioned this point on his latest newsletter and I reproduce it here with his permission:

(Hashem means “The Name” and it is one of the ways in the Jewish tradition that we address G-d).

“The outlook that is demanded for us to be Perfect AS IS perceivers of reality, is that we have to see the world as something that is basically a gift, life is a gift from Hashem, and as our Sages say, ‘Everything that Hashem sends to us is good, it’s perfect.’ Even though it seems to be far from perfect, and full of what seems to be difficulties and problems and flaws and blemishes and hard-to-cope-with reality, nevertheless, we are urged by our Sages to see that everything that comes our way is Perfect AS IS.”

So, to see life as perfect as is, we need to have faith that all is well and taken care of even if it doesn’t seem that way.  It requires us to have a long term vision and to persist.  Lately I’ve been thinking that our wildly disseminated lack of patience is truly a lack of faith.  We say very non-chalantely that we don’t have a lot of patience for anything which truly means we are not willing to trust that the blessings are coming our way.

Sometimes ideas need to simmer a bit in order to become ripe and ready to use, relationships need nurturing to fully blossom, people need practice in order to learn a new habit; everywhere we look there is a need for patience; a need for faith that things will turn out all right in the end.

Try for one day to receive whatever comes at you saying to yourself:  “It is perfect as is.” Try not to question, not to argue with yourself.  Just repeat this mantra and see what happens.  As always, I am curious to know how it turns out for you.  Enjoy being perfect as is!

With energy,

Ana

*If you want to know more about Rabbi Schwartz’s work, go to www.paradiseprinciple.com.

 

 

 

A New View From the Top

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Last week I went snowboarding in Japan with my husband.  Japan was a great option because we were told that the snow there was softer and more forgiving to our imminent falls.  As former athletes who really enjoy a physical challenge, we were very excited about trying to master snowboarding in six days!

As I came face to face with the steeper hills however, I felt anxious and a bit hesitant to go down weaving together all my turns as I had learned to do on a flatter surface.  So, whenever faced with a nearly perpendicular slope, I decided to go down the easier way sweeping from the right to the left using my hills as a break.  When the third day came around, the wind and snow were so intense that I could not see beyond five meters ahead of me.  I had no option but to focus on my next turn, and the next, and the next, without thinking about the steep hill ahead of me.  All I could do was make one turn at the time until I made it to the bottom.  After the run, I realized that I had just gone down the steeper parts weaving all my turns beautifully!  I didn’t feel anxious and it was all because could not see the steep hill ahead of me.

Many times we feel overwhelmed when we think about our big vision and all that we need to do to get there.  We feel anxious, just like I felt when looking down that steep hill.  When we design a plan and break down the steps to get where we want to go, we understand the importance of each action leading up to the big vision.  As I went down the hill with no option but to focus on my next turn and where it was taking me, I didn’t focus on the fear and anxiety.  I was too busy trying to make one turn at the time!  Besides, I already knew where I was going and all I had to do in order to get there was to keep moving.

We need to take the time to design our vision and let it pull us forward like a magnet.  Then, we need to design our steps and focus on making them a reality.  All we need to do is focus on the next step, and the next, until we get to our vision!  Our vision serves as a source of inspiration and empowerment and not of anxiety and overwhelm.  When we go back to it we need to feel joy, excitement, inspiration and happiness!

Build your vision, enjoy the clarity it gives you and focus on the steps to make it your reality.  It only takes one step to start the journey. 

With energy,

Ana

 

What I’ve Learned So Far…

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

A few days ago, the sunset was painting the sky orange in beautiful Istanbul as I was lingering at the airport waiting for my flight to Hong Kong en route from Brazil.  I began to focus on the changing colors in the sky and I felt so grateful for having the life I designed for myself!  My life includes traveling, partnering with others in their growing process and witnessing their success, being married to my best friend, living in the city I chose and love, being in good terms with my family, pursing my spiritual growth freely and without restrictions…  Truly, I cannot ask for more.  Being able to achieve all that is a direct result of many important lessons I’ve learned.  I am very grateful to The Infinite One  and to all the teachers that I’ve had in my life so far.  So, going back to the sunset at Istanbul airport, I felt inspired to write down a list of the lessons that have made a big difference in my life so far and I thought I would share it with you.  They are not numbered by their order of importance.  It’s just what came to me first, second, third and so on.  They were all equally crucial for what I consider to be a successful life.

1.  TOO MUCH OF EVERYTHING IS TOO MUCH. – This was probably the first life lesson I learned.  My nanny taught me that and I never forgot it.  It seems to apply to everything in life; from food, to money, power, prestige, holidays, work, etc.

2.  THERE IS ALWAYS A WAY OUT OF EVERY SITUATION, EXCEPT IN THE CASE OF DEATH AND EVEN THEN, IF THE INFINITE ONE WANTS IT, THERE IS A WAY OUT! – This I learned from my mother.  It stuck with me and I’m always sure that I’ll find a way for every problem I face.  Later on, I realized that it’s not up to me to find a way; the way will find me.

3.  SAVE THE DRAMA FOR YOUR MAMA! – When I became a coach, I learned that drama is like rust, it corrodes our lives, our relationships, and every situation.  As a coach, I listen to my clients and focus on the issue minus the drama.  They are extremely grateful when I mirror the situation back to them without the drama in it.  It’s amazing how much of the “fog” in our lives is caused by our addiction to drama.

4.  IF YOU BELIEVE IN IT, YOU CAN MAKE IT HAPPEN. – That I learned from my passion for swimming.  I strived for excelence and always wanted to become the best swimmer I could be.  I chose a school in the US that was ranked in the top 10 swimming schools in the country.  I was far from being a swimmer at that level and I decided that I would get a scholarship there.  Two years later, I was on their squad with a full ride scholarship.

5.  THERE IS NOTHING LIKE A DAY AFTER ANOTHER AND A NIGHT IN BETWEEN. – The first part is a famous Brazilian adage and “the night in between” was added by me.  Sleep does wonders for me.  If something bothers me, I feel the feeling, acknowledge it, and go to sleep.  The next morning everything seems clearer.

6.  KEEP MOVING. – This one has two meanings.  The first one is that no matter what happens we need to move forward.  The past belongs in the past and we belong to the present.  The only way to create our future is to ground ourselves in the present and keep moving forward.  The second meaning is that moving our body creates energy.  I always find solace and clarity while exercising.

7.  BECOME FINANCIALLY AND EMOTIONALLY INDEPENDENT. – These two are deeply interrelated.  We want security and money brings us the illusion of security.  Once we believe in this illusion, we become emotionally dependent of money and of who/what provides it to us.  Learning to master the energy of money and fulfilling our own emotional needs is a great way to get on the path of freedom.

8.  FIND YOUR SPIRITUAL CENTER. – My connection to The Infinite One centers me no matter what I am going through.  Whatever way you find your spirituality, that is the true gateway to your core.  There will be no more running away from life and from yourself.  You will find peace because you will find the place where your true essence meets the essence of the Divine.

9.  LEARN TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST. – As an athlete, I knew this one naturally because without food, rest and focus on my goals my body would not perform.  Later on, as I became a coach, I learned the importance of focus on myself in order to become aware of my own power and in order to become stronger to share more with others from a place of abundance.  We can only give what we have.

10.  BE GRATEFUL FOR EVERYTHING; EVEN FOR THE TRIALS IN YOUR LIFE. – My personal belief is that everything that happens in our life is always for the best.  It’s hard for us to see it right away because we are very close to our own lives and to what is happening at the moment.  However, as time passes by, we look back and recognize that whatever happened was the best thing for us.  This realization brings us a tremendous amount of faith in life.

So there you have it!  What have you learned in your life?  Share your lessons with me and I will post them as well.

Let’s learn together!

With energy,

Ana

Learning From Everyone

Friday, September 9th, 2011

Our sages say in one of my favorite works of the Jewish tradition “Ethics of the Fathers”, that a wise person is one who learns from everyone.  It is a great way to live our lives albeit not an easy one.  Its very humbling and yet quite powerful to commit to live by this principle.  One begins to look at people very differently and the natural by-product of that is that the need to put others down in order to feel good about oneself begins to vanish.

Living in China provides me with many wonderful opportunities to put this principle in practice.  China is quite unique and, as a Western, it’s easy for me to categorize  many of the local habits as “bad”, “weird” and downright “rude”.  Slowly I began to understand a lot more about the culture and about where many of their habits came from.  Needless to say that’s the subject for a thesis, but my point here is that I decided to make an effort to meet people where they were and learn from them whilst respecting my own limitations.

I am writing this post from Harbin, a city in the Northern part of China, near Russia.  The city is quite interesting.  Today I went running in the morning and walked around in the afternoon.  I needed to get water, money from the ATM and a good cup of coffee after lunch.  I don’t speak Mandarin yet (I will one day) and it’s not like there are signs in English pointing out to the nearest supermarket or coffee shop – Starbucks is not here yet!  There are signs in Russian but apart from “espaciba” which means thanks, I don’t know much else.  So I decided to smile at my every attempt to communicate and ask for information that would lead me to an ATM, a supermarket and a coffee shop.  It turned out that my efforts and my smiles were met with more smiles.  I learned that kindness is to be found everywhere even when I cannot communicate, and that people will respond depending on what I give.

Look around you for opportunities to learn from the most unexpected people.  You will be surprised at what they can teach you!

With energy,

Ana