Living Life Upside Down

I have been posting about my handstands this year and what they represent in my life internally, as it is way more than performing the pose. The pose itself is not that hard; if you train the body correctly, you will achieve it within little time. The problems come when the mind intrudes, because it comes full of luggage – fears, barriers, old beliefs, etc.

Yesterday I found a quote in a book I am reading and had to share it here. The book’s title is “The Forty Rules of Love – a novel of Rumi” by Elif Shafak. I have no idea how this book came from the library all the way to my hands. I love when that happens! Anyway, here is the quote: “Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?”Nov9

This quote is fantastic! I think I had been resisting many changes in my life for a while, and when I stopped resisting and let them happen, then the idea of being upside down became not so scary anymore. Why not try life the other way? I started with the decision of letting my heart be open and, to my surprise, the mind ended up following.

So, here is my invitation for you: Try not to resist the changes that come your way and see what happens. If you need to go upside down to digest them by getting a new perspective, go for it!


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How Will You Choose to Handle Today?

Every day we experience highs and lows as we pay attention to our life unfolding in front of us. I believe the difference resides in how we handle them. There is much to experience… Life is so rich! We get caught up in limited things and thinking, yet there is so much more… to taste, to see, to hear, to feel, to experience, to discover! Life is an open invitation, like a bottomless treasure chest. And yes, it may contain rusty coins. Still, are you up for the upcoming surprises?

Some people go through their lives ignoring that treasure chest; they choose to not open it at all. Maybe they’ve found some hurtful things in it once and gave up trying new things in fear of getting hurt again… And they live their whole lives doing, thinking and believing the same stuff – over and over. And that’s okay; it’s their choice.

Some people can’t stop reaching inside that chest to find new things, going from one to another in the blink of an eye. Many times not even taking a break to fully experience each new situation. Some others stop to enjoy every experience and evaluate if it is something they want to keep in their lives or release. It’s also their choice.

Some others go with the flow and have phases of opening the chest and then keeping it closed for a while. Many times this is not under our control, as much as we try. Surprises will show up in our lives, whether we want them or not. We could try to ignore them, but they tend to come back, and usually in a bigger imposed way. We need to learn how to embrace them. Every experience, whether we judge it “good” or “bad” needs to find space in us to be able to move through.

However you choose to live, can you see life from the perspective of a miracle – a box of surprises created just for you? You are the one who chooses how to handle the surprises you are given. Every day we have a choice on how to perceive what is in front of us. Will you smile at a new challenge or simply refuse it without even investigating it? Will you roll up your sleeves or stay down on your knees? Will you choose to shine or shrink? I know life can get overwhelming when many curve balls are thrown at us at the same time. That’s the time we need to ask for help – from friends, family, community or a Higher Power, if you believe in it. Simply ask for help, and it will show up in some way, just keep your eyes open for it.

So, how will you choose to handle today?


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300 Handstands – New Breakthroughs

As I continue with my Handstand project for 2014 (at least one handstand per day with a picture taken), today I stopped to take a look at how it has affected me and wanted to share here. Besides all that had already showed up for me by the middle of the year, as I wrote in, there is much more!

During the 9th month I focused on releasing fear by getting away from the wall, which becomes a crutch as you kick up and need to find something to hold you in case you go over. I mentioned in the link above I was afraid of somersaults and going over for me is scary because of that and from the fear of hurting my back. About 10 years ago, I went to Brazil for a visit during the holidays and was under lots of stress. After I made it there, my back started hurting like never before. I lied down and did not want to get up… I could not do a thing. I slept and lied there… For 48 hours! Sometimes my kids, who were 5 and 3 at the time, would come to me and say something, but I could barely respond. I didn’t want to eat, drink or anything. I started to see  the world getting darker and darker. It felt like I was disconnecting from the world, and having life being extracted from me little by little. My mother got terrified and at some point had me go to the bathroom. The moment I squatted down for the toilet, my back gave in and I fainted in the bathroom from so much pain! She came and help me back to bed, but knew this was not normal, so she called a guy to apply some pain reliever on me so I could make it to a hospital.

At the hospital a fantastic encounter happened for me! They put me in bed and next to me was a cancer patient lying down. Eventually I started sobbing because I couldn’t see a way out of it… The lady next to me, gave me a hug and told me that everything would be okay. I took a breath and looked at her, so skinny, so lifeless and still helping me with what was left of her strength… Wow! I told myself, “Get a grip!” The doctor found out I lack a few things in my spine since birth, but I didn’t let that bring me down. In that moment I made the decision of taking care of my health and lead a better life with less stress and an overall healthier lifestyle. I started taking yoga – a therapeutic style – and healed in about 3 months. The condition was still there but I strengthened my back with the poses. Since then I couldn’t stop doing yoga; but now feeling stronger, I can try and handle more playful styles, including trying handstands. Sometimes, when I am cartwheeling out of it, my back seems to give in and all the fear from going back to that place in bed where I was losing myself comes to haunt me. So that was another fear to conquer!

Anyway, by month 9 I could go outside, focus and go upside down in the middle of the lawn! No need for a wall! That was a breakthrough. But on most days I still need the wall to catch me, and I accept it. Every day is different and I made a comment yesterday to a friend that I don’t think I will ever get bored of doing handstands. I approach it with a beginner’s mind because our bodies feel different from one day to the other (or even within minutes), and accept what I am gifted with for that particular day and from there I build up with no expectations – however it turns out, it’s all good. Plus, there is always something triggering inspiration for it – sometimes it is a sunset or other nice background for posing, a friend posting pictures while doing handstands, getting together with friends who handstand or simply the curiosity to see how your body will respond to it on that day.

On month 10, I realized it was not just fear… I had become attached to the wall! And from situations in my life also showing me how attachment was just making things harder, I started to work daily with non-attachment. What does that mean? Meditating on it, practicing yoga with that as an intention daily, and living mindfully so I could watch when I would attach to things and immediately be proactive about it to work on releasing it. For about three weeks I worked on this theme and as I saw results coming up in my life, I knew they would be there for the handstands too. It is all interconnected.

So, throughout 2014, I have been posting collages with my pictures on my social media account to not overload it with daily pictures. These are not posted with the intent of showing off, especially since my alignment is far from perfect. My intention is to inspire people to try things they are afraid of and give motivation for people to stick to their resolutions and keep working on what needs to be worked on. During this past week I have received various messages from many friends, even on the other side of the planet, telling me how inspired they were from my handstand pictures and decided to do something similar. One of them brought me to tears, as it was from a friend who has had many back surgeries and had naturally developed fear around any form of play with the back muscles and bones. This friend’s message told me how inspiring it was to follow my handstanding journey, joined in and had also a breakthrough of doing it in the middle of a room recently! And, like I mentioned above, all is interconnected, so I am sure this will mean other breakthroughs in this person’s life, too.


I will end this post mentioning how much gratitude I have for this journey and all the growth it brings; for my body, mind and soul working together many times during the day bringing me awareness, clarity, presence; and for daily support that I find in little and big things that show up in my life. Deep gratitude. I invite you to take a minute and bow in gratitude for whatever it is you want to honor at this time – all the possibilities that come with every new day, your friends, nature, sunsets, sunrises, resting time, or even your ability to breathe.

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