In this episode I tell my complete, authentic story. A lot of people meet me as their yoga meditation teacher, and don’t know quite how different I used to be. I was an atheist, who loved the Napa Valley fine dining and hospitality industry lifestyle with amuse bouche, sous vide pork and truffles. After a deep depression, I turned to yoga, started meditating and my WHOLE life changed. I explain here in as succinct a manner as possible whilst allowing myself occasional tangents to further illustrate my personality.
I understand a lot of people may not “get” me, enjoy me or resonate with me, and that’s ok! You can just listen to the interviews and skip the more spiritual episodes. Before I gained a new understanding of spirituality I didn’t care and didn’t want to hear about it, because I didn’t have any experiences or understand at all what the hell all of this stuff was all about, so I understand. You have to be ready and open to this information on your own terms.
I’m just sharing my genuine self because it doesn’t do anyone any favors to put on airs for likability, and I can’t suppress who I am anymore to blend in with the masses. I realize my lifestyle is very different and that I’m swimming upstream, and that it’s not easy and not everyone’s journey. I’m simply sharing what has made me so happy and feel healthy and good in life, so others can hopefully take away some valuable motivation and tips and start to find ways to feel better in their day to day lives. If even one person starts doing something that makes them happier or feel better in any way, and appreciates this podcast, that will make me feel fulfilled!
I used to be an atheist. I didn’t care about God, or finding a religion. I thought it was a strange compulsion that I was relieved to not be afflicted with. The closest thing I had to religion was yoga. I have been doing yoga since I was a small child unknowingly, throwing my legs overhead into plow pose while watching David the Gnome, rolling my head down into rabbit pose. I continued doing yoga as an adult because I was into fitness and loved stretching. I always thought yoga people were kinda strange with their sanskrit and chanting and symbols, but I loved that they were kind, capable, flexible and calm.
I became a vegetarian after watching Food Inc. I was horrified and traumatized by these truths, and couldn’t bare to continue. I was left feeling panicky and in shock from the intense loss of footing with my life’s foundation. I felt so stupid for not realizing that it took torture and violent death to make my favorite Short Ribs dish at Martini House. I couldn’t kill animals myself, I couldn’t pay someone else to kill animals for me. I had realized that animals desire to live, they never choose to “give” their life. Their life, dignity, and comforts are violently taken from them, and I pay someone for that service. How could I ever eat meat again in good conscience?
Well one day, shortly after the newness of being vegetarian had worn off, I was starving on my way back from a job. I pulled into a drive thru and ordered a burger. No one would know, and I was getting hangry, so I justified it easily. I took a bite and immediately was disgusted by the texture, flesh and blood just like mine. I imagined the cow who died that I was eating, I saw her bleeding out of her neck. I wondered how many cows were in my burger. I let my mouth fall open and the meat tumbled out. I was appalled with myself and knew burgers were over for me. I wasn’t vegan though. No CHEESE or ice cream?! You’re hilarious to suggest such a preposterous notion.
I went through a string of bad relationships. I went through bouts of depression, anxiety, self-loathing and emotional wallowing. I turned to yoga more and more to help dig myself out. Meditation at the end of yoga became a place of release, I just poured tears and breathed shaky, labored breaths.
I started meditating at home. I broke up with the guy I was seeing and suddenly felt FREE. I felt so empowered, I starting smiling brighter. I was already vegetarian, but I decided to go vegan again to lose weight. I had no desire to drink alcohol because I was doing so much yoga.
I stopped drinking coffee which was HUGE. I used to ADORE coffee. I drank it black daily, religiously. I didn’t want it to make me jittery when trying to meditate, and being vegan, I had a ton of energy. I honestly felt like running everywhere, I felt incredibly light.
One day I was at a concert. I was sober, surrounded by drunk, silly teenagers in bikinis and tiny shorts, and I was so happy in my sobriety. “What is happening to me?” I thought to myself.
It was Easter Sunday. My Atheist sense of humor had me joking to myself all day about this Zombie Jesus holiday. I was browsing Facebook’s newsfeed when a headline jumped out to me. “Are You Having A Spiritual Awakening?” I clicked on the article and pressed play on a YouTube video.
I was slouched over my computer screen, watching this video, and everything it was saying was fascinating me. The video was reiterating my observations of my lack of desire to partake in my normal vices. It explained my strange and abnormal lack of a sex drive, my desire for solitude, my enhanced sensitivities, all of it. I even stopped smoking weed because I was reaching greater depths in meditation without it, and it gave me similar feelings to being high on cannabis when I reached a certain state of meditation.
Suddenly, while watching this video, I felt an energy come up from my stomach and out through my mouth, a profound feeling that was so intense and unexpected that my body rolled upright physically and I began breathing heavily and crying immediately with wide eyes. I looked up at the sky and said aloud “Thank you! thank you! Thank you!” In my head, I was like “WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?! WHY ARE YOU THANKING THE SKY? WHAT WAS THAT?!” I was beyond confused in my head, and all the while, I was crying and feeling an INTENSE presence of love within my body. I felt like I was jolted with a Loving energy. I was so happy, and I had NO idea why. I KNEW I wasn’t alone. I KNEW I received a gift. My brain was so confused, I cannot begin to explain how demolished my mental foundations were. My heart, on the other hand, was rejoicing.
The next day, I went to work and told my Atheist co-worker (whom I had always related to because we shared the same beliefs!) and tearfully and shakily told her my strange, overwhelming story. She did not know what to think or how to respond at all, understandably. My other coworker Joe, had overheard the story and was like “That was your Kundalini rising!”
Thus began my spiritual journey. There is SO much more that happened, but the point of this story is to explain the connection between spirituality and veganism. What I learned in the past two years, after hungrily diving into as much spiritual philosophy as I could get my hands on, is that the spiritual journey begins with raising your vibration.
If you’ve studied Quantum Physics or Nikola Tesla, you are aware that everything in this world is made up of vibrations. Matter is actually an illusion, and on a molecular level, everything in this entire world is made up of atoms and ether, or space. There is more space between atoms in objects that are less dense, less space between atoms in heavier, denser items. These atoms are constantly vibrating.
Everyone talks about vibes, but what people sometimes don’t realize is vibes are literally vibrations. When people are negative and have bad vibes, they are vibrating lower. They don’t feel in control of their lives and they often have unhealthy habits. Happy people vibrate higher. Their atoms are actually moving at a faster pace, making them feel lighter, happier, and the Law of Attraction brings more happy things into their lives faster.
Food also has vibrations. Fruits and vegetables have high vibrations. They are colorful, you feel light and energetic after eating them, and they provide your body with valuable nutrients that protect your immune system. Meat and dairy come from animals that experienced torture, enslavement, murder and early death. These extremely negative vibrations permeate the animal’s being and the stress hormones that have coursed through that animal’s body throughout it’s life are being ingested. This causes you to vibrate much lower, inhibiting spiritual growth.
The main ideas I read over and over regarding spiritual growth and expansion of consciousness, is that compassion is the KEY element of spirituality. Through meditation, raising your vibration, and quieting of the mind, the consciousness within your body expands outwardly into the world around you, making you aware through personal, visceral experience that you are ONE with everything. Your consciousness within your body can be spread outside of your physical body so that you will actually FEEL as though the trees are part of you.
You begin to be able to sense subtleties in energies in rooms you enter, your innate psychic abilities start to show themselves, and you start noticing synchronicities in your life. You start being able to manifest things faster. You start to understand on a deep spiritual level that every single person you meet has the same desires you do, the same desire to live that you do, and that every person is just another aspect of YOU, which is the whole universe of consciousness. This is why I’m vegan. Through these experiences, I have come to feel within my heart and soul the pain and suffering of the animals in the world.
The idea of being vegan is a huge turn-off for most people. Cheese is so very delicious and soothing, fried chicken was as enjoyable as sex for me at one time. Now that I’ve experienced the spiritual, healthful and peace within my mind, I could never eat meat or dairy again. The feeling of knowing I’m not supporting slaughterhouses, or the rape of female cows, is a permeating feeling of inner peace. Through meditation, I’m learning to ascend beyond my thoughts and ideas of how the world works, and instead I retain an open mind, a loving heart, and a burning desire for TRUTH. Truth even if I don’t like it. What do I know about the world, when new information can erase a lifetime of belief? I’m endlessly humbled. All I can do is share my experience with others in hopes of raising the vibration of the entire planet.
Famous Vegetarian Quotes:
” A man of spiritual intensity does not eat corpses.” – George Bernard Shaw
“Know that the same spark of life that is within you, is within all of our animal friends, the desire to live is the same within all of us.” – Rai Aren
“Whatever we sow, we will reap. When we harm others, we harm ourselves, when we enslave others, we enslave ourselves. Spirituality is about Liberation, calls us to awaken to the interconnectedness of all life and to practice kindness and respect for others.”-Unknown
I’m a little obsessed with dreaming, specifically lucid dreaming. In bringing up the subject of dreams casually to friends and acquaintances, I’m always shocked when I hear people say they don’t remember their dreams, or that they have strange recurring dreams but they don’t really care, or that they don’t see them as important. Dreams have always been such a vivid, huge part of my life because I used to fly regularly in my dreams. I used to actually cry as a child because I was mad I couldn’t fly anymore. I’ve spent my entire life trying to regain my ability to fly.
One day I had a bad dream and my Dad told me “Honey, you can control your dreams. You just have to decide to change them.” No one had ever told me that! It fascinated me to know that I could choose not to have bad dreams. The following night I had a scary dream where someone was chasing me with a gun. They stuck a rifle in my face, and I realized that I was dreaming, and remembered what my dad had said. I put a tampon into the front of it, and it was unable to shoot, fully disabled! I walked away and realized he was still chasing me but had ditched the gun, so I ran off of a cliff into water. I was so scared and in the instant I was falling I said quickly “Please be warm water with tile at the bottom like a nice pool!” and IT WAS.
KEEP A DREAM JOURNAL
I know, that sounds like something that a ten-year-old girl would have, but seriously people, if you want to have lucid dreams you have to reiterate to your subconscious that your dreams are important to you. Writing them down is a great way to do this.
It is also is a valuable record of your recurring “dream signs”, which are things/places/people that often come up in your dreams. When you see your dream signs in waking life and do a reality check, you will do the same in your dream state and it will hopefully help trigger your awareness, and induce lucidity.
Keep your journal and a pen right beside your bed, so that you can write down any details you can remember immediately upon waking. You basically start forgetting all of your dreams within seconds of waking, so the best thing to do is just wake up and jot it down with bleary eyes.
You may find yourself remembering only a few tiny details at first, but in time you will find yourself filling pages with details. The most amazing thing to me is that I will write down details, fall back asleep, and when I wake, I barely remember having written what I wrote! Experimenting with my states of consciousness like this is fascinating to me.
GET PLENTY OF SLEEP
You can’t be tired, or drunk, or stoned. I knoooooow probably not what you wanted to hear. We are depending on the sharpness of the mind to become lucid, so clarity, sobriety and a rested mind and body are of utmost importance. It’s really good motivation to be all healthy and stuff though! The window of time you are most likely to lucid dream is two hours before you would normally wake up. You have to get about 4-5 hours of sleep before you begin to hit prime lucid dreaming time. So you’re looking at 6-8 hours of sleep for a few nights in a row to be rested enough.
The main key thing to realize is that while you are in the dream state, everything feels totally normal. This is why we don’t always become lucid in our dreams.
By making a point to become consciously aware of your surroundings and to ask yourself “Am I dreaming?” you will start to do this in your dream state as well. What we do in ‘real life’ is what we do in our dreams, so if you do enough reality checks, you will eventually do them in your dreams and become lucidly aware!
There are a few ways to do reality checks, my favorite is to look at your hands and ask yourself, “Am I dreaming?” If you are dreaming, your hands will look very strange, melty, wavy, you might have three or seven fingers.
You can also jump wherever you’re standing, and if you’re dreaming, you will float. You can also plug your nose with your hands and try to breathe in. In dreams, you will still be able to breathe. Perform these reality checks as often as you can think of it. The more, the better odds you will do it in your dream that night!
Your own mind is the gatekeeper of your ability to lucid dream. If you learn to control your mind with affirmations, you are much more likely to lucid dream.
Throughout the day, or right before bed, tell yourself aloud, with conviction and focus, “Tonight in my dreams I will realize that I’m dreaming.” “Tonight in my dream I will look at my hands and realize that I’m dreaming” Over and over and over. The more you believe yourself, the better it works, the more you repeat it, the more you believe it. This has totally worked for me numerous times if I start diligently repeating this a few hours before bed!
WAKE BACK TO BED
One trick for people who don’t suffer from insomnia, is the “wake back to bed” method. Set your alarm for 5 hours after you’ve fallen asleep, or for 2 hours before you are supposed to wake up. When your alarm goes off, find some mellow way to kill time for 20 minutes. This way you will wake your mind up, but you’re keeping yourself in a mildly dreamy state of consciousness. After 20 minutes of yoga/reading/peeing/meditating, lie back down and tell yourself your affirmations before drifting back to sleep. This technique worked beautifully for me! I don’t recommend this method for insomniacs, because you may not be able to fall back asleep, and that shit is terrible.