Gina Molinari yoga, wellness, travel and coaching
The classic tale of "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coehlo is a tale of following our dreams. We come through struggles and setbacks, and those are the places we grow. Those challenges are grist for the mill. Writers and musicians often find inspiration during times of strife (not to discredit the happy inspirations!). Athletes use weight and tension to grow strong. In yoga, we are moving through a constant practice, mindfully noticing the areas that need work so we can eventually realize our peak pose. None of the successes are immediate, and thankfully so, as the journey is where we pick up new knowledge.
The main character of "The Alchemist" explains that our individual contributions to the world can nourish our shared existence and the Soul of the World. He continues that when we act out of Love, we always strive to become better than we were. Following our dreams is a supreme act of Love. We persevere even when the universe tests us over and over and over, and in doing so, we cultivate more beauty and love in the world.
Only rarely do we come across someone who touches our life in such a profound way that our Soul perks up with the excitement of a new growth. I was honored to have met Orion Freeman, the singing/songwriting Seeker from just beyond
Philadelphia, at a time that my life needed a little light - something hopeful to remind me that I wasn't stuck in a hole, I just hadn't committed to standing up yet. Some symbol of following my dreams even when the path was indiscernably
Orion is a career musician seeking to create a movement towards Love and Freedom through his message. His journey has been and is one of the struggles all musicians face, as told through the filters of his own life story.
The birthing process of the Divine Game, Orion Freeman's debut LP, is a story of commitment to a dream. The songs are the message of half a lifetime's lessons. The album is the product of a year's dedication and work, a complete labor of love. Now, this celebration of its release is the greatest expression of a dream come true, and you are invited to join in the revelry.
“When you really want something to happen, the whole world conspires to help you achieve it.” -Paulo Coehlo, The Alchemist
I invite you to join the party and experience the energy of a dream brought to life through acting out of Love in order to grow through challenges. (The figurative party is 24/7/365, but there's an actual party, too)!
Saturday August 30, 2014
New Leaf Club in Bryn Mawr, PA (1225 Montrose Ave)
Doors @ 6:30 / Music @ 7:30
Tickets $20 adv / $25 door
Music: Orion Freeman + 12 piece band (including Shawn Hennessey), The Quixote Project, Ginger Coyle, & Foxhound
Live Art: Derek Gores & Paul Downie
Choreographed Dance: Emily Arden & Krista Sassani
“It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”
Have you ever been so pleased with life that you can't even put a finger on why everything seems so amazing? Well, I hope you have. That's how I've been feeling lately. It's been a whirlwind of a summer and each time I settle down to look back on where I've been and where I am, I am utterly overwhelmed with gratitude. Tangibly overfilled with joy and the absolute LOVE that resonates all around me (and maybe overfilled with indulgences of ice cream, too).
It's easy for us to forget all the incredible and beautiful things in our lives when times are tough or when things are moving so quickly we lose the easy opportunity to observe all that we have. Hard times creep into our world and suddenly it's tough remembering there's a sun behind the heavy clouds. If we can find our own little piece of sunshine in ourselves, we can carry it with us through those tough times. Lately, gratitude is my ray of sunshine.
What are you grateful for? What brings light to your life? Write it down. Seriously. Take the time to notice all the beauty in your life, however small or trivial it may seem, and take note of how it feels. That feeling is your sunshine.
Without any graceful segway, my world and that of a much larger community, was forced to find our stash of sunshine when an amazing ray of light suddenly left. The passing of our friend, Dante Bucci, silenced and shook countless people's lives. Death brings about perhaps the most intense emotions we can feel as human beings. The circumstances play a large part, but the feelings run the gamut from anger to despair, and every mixture imagineable. It's a time when the dark clouds seem unmoving, and we are truly challenged to find the light.
Death presents us with the opportunity to acknowledge our gratitude, to rejoice in life rather than dwell on what is lost. To celebrate all the beauty and hold our grief in a warm blanket of love until it feels comforted and understood enough to emerge stronger and more capable of raising its face toward the sun.
Dante's body left our world, but his light and soul were immensely present this past weekend at the Philadelphia Folk Festival. Countless musicians dedicated their set to his memory and every breeze brought with it the subtle singing of his hang drum, his hearty laugh, his light...
My challenge to you is to deeply acknowledge the light in your life, the beauty. Embrace it with such love and gratitude that even in darkness, you have it there in your chest pocket. Feel it and harbor it in your heart. Then, go a step further and remind someone that you are grateful for him/her, express your gratitude in a way you can share with the world. We don't need anything amazing to happen, nor do we need tragedy, to garnish and hold dear all that we are grateful for.
When presented with a challenge, be it physical or emotional, dedicate your work towards gratitude. Make it all worth something greater than yourself. We do this in our yoga practice: the asana is hard work to get into, the salutations get you all sweaty, keeping your mind still is challenging; but we do it because there is a greater purpose being served. We are putting in our hard work as a way to say "thank you" to the universe for all the beauty and life it provides.
So, acknowledge the light in your life and then share it. Write down anything you are grateful for. Go hug someone. Tell someone you love him/her.
"Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet." Thích Nhất Hạnh
During my 10 days out in Colorado with absolutely no plan, no expectations, no idea where I’d sleep each night, and minimal internet/cell phone service, every detail of the trip was handed over to the universe (and my travel buddy) and I just enjoyed the ride, letting each piece fall into place as it came.
My journey took me from the surprisingly intellectual dispensaries of Denver to red rock canyons just shy of Utah and everywhere in between. I slept in a tent and woke with the sunrise. Hot springs were my personal hot tub. We cooked gourmet protein rich vegan meals over a camp stove and brewed fresh chamomile tea using the flowers growing out of the crumbled rock alongside the road. Most of all, I submersed myself in the bliss and gratitude discoverable through being surrounded by nature, completely disconnected from timelines and responsibility.
Please allow me to summarize the wisdoms Colorado’s Rockies shared with me:
Life Lessons Learned Through Hiking
1. When the path ahead seems unbearably long or difficult, look back at how far you’ve already come and don’t even consider turning back. We pulled into Curecante National Recreation area just as the sun was beginning to make its descent below the valley. After getting water from the brush barriered creek, we scoped out a potential camp spot just beyond what appeared to be a rocky mesa. We hiked, but all we found there was a rocky slope. So we hiked higher and higher,each time only finding surfaces too graded for the tent. I kept looking down the mountainside at the car becoming a tiny white speck below and wondering, “How much further can we go?” It’s a familiar feeling, glancing behind at how far we’ve come and wondering if the struggle has an end. Of course, when the place we’re in isn’t what we came for, there’s no choice but to trek on. Is turning back and losing hard earned ground really what you want? We had faith that a special spot was magically reserved for us if we kept moving. Finally, just as the sun was dipping below the peak, we found IT: the most perfect campspot with a breathtaking view. The entire valley, the lake in the distance, the peaks just above us. The car was just a speck below, and our persistence and faith paid off.
2. Never settle for mediocrity when there’s an incredible peak in view. Having already come 80% of the way, we took a morning hike to the peaks that were looming just above us. We could have settled for the incredible view we already had, but why not check the view from the top? It’s all attainable if you want it enough.
3. Be prepared for anything, but when you’re not, find the enjoyment in the situation at hand. About 2 miles up the 8.5 mile trail to Conundrum Hot Springs, it started to pour. Despite being entirely unprepared for rain, we knew that turning back was not an option (see Lesson 1) and we opted to beeline up the remainder of the trail with a poncho and tent rain fly wrapped around our packs. The trek took about 2 hours longer than it would have had we not been drenched, cold, and a bit downtrodden with not knowing how much further we’d be hiking until we reached the pot of gold, but when we did it was all worth it. Having our wardrobe, shoes, and socks drenched and muddy there was no option of hiking down the following day, so we enjoyed a mandatory day of bathing in hot springs, eating, napping, and hanging out with a friendly marmot. It would have been ideal to not have our belongings soaked, but the circumstances provided us with an unexpected luxury lockdown.
4. Handle the basics and the universe will provide the rest. Water, warmth, nutritious food, and good company. Our consumer society tries to convince us we need so much more, but a trip in the mountains exposes the hoax.
5. Remember the journey that brought you to your destination. Sure, the summit is breathtaking, but so were the wildflowers alongside the path. We wouldn’t really have a story to tell if we just jumped from peak to peak without the trails in between. Likewise, traveling along the road to our destinations and goals is where we picked up the most valuable information, lessons, and tasty treats.
6. Teamwork and community help to lighten the load. Despite the fact that I was hiking with Hercules and I’m practically a Sherpa myself, we both acknowledged how much more enjoyable and easeful it was to carry only half the load each. It’s okay to ask for help, share the weight, and acknowledge limitations.
7. Enjoy what is, rather than suffering with the desire of what you expected something to be. It’s really the only way to live mindfully and truly enjoy the NOW.
8. It’s easiest to move along with a light load. By leaving behind our literal stuff, there’s much less complication in taking the strenuous expedition. Not surprisingly, we need to do the same with any journey, be it physical, spiritual, emotional, etc. Our baggage gets too heavy and holds us back. I’m not saying you won’t make it if you hang onto your “stuff”, but after the backache it created to carry it the whole way, do you really need it all?
Expect an awesome post (hopefully packed with pictures if I can figure out how to work this site) about the life lessons I learned while backpacking in Colorado. In the meantime, this song Bitter/Sweet is stuck in my head as I prepare myself to head back to Philly/NJ. It's not necessarily about my feelings towards leaving the mountains, but it sure could be spun that way. Take a listen and let me know what you think!
Ramblings, insights, & motivation