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buddhism

A "HEALTHY" DISTRACTION

Fear and insecurity can turn physical fitness into an addiction. While most of us consider the pursuit of physical fitness to be a great habit, for me, it was a painful cycle disguised as a healthy practice. The more unsatisfied I was with myself, the more strenuous, restrictive, and consistent my exercise and diet became.

Looking back, it’s clear to see that dissatisfaction, not poor health, was what propelled me to dedicate more than twenty years of my life to fitness. I strongly believe that the reason fitness and fit people are so popular is because most of us are attracted to the idea of having a “healthy distraction” from our inner conflicts.

Although it is true that exercise and physical attractiveness can improve our overall health and lift our self-esteem, using these methods to hide our pain can also result in increased, unnecessary suffering. I don’t know anything healthier than having the courage to dive deeper into our own hearts for answers.  

Much love! 

Valeria  

To be healthy is to be loving!

OUR OWN CREATED PRISON

Given how exercise, diet, and even therapy can become traps for a painful emotional reality, it’s crucial for us be aware of the fundamental causes of our suffering.

Think of how we might sometimes consciously (or unconsciously) believe that we are not good enough or not worthy of happiness. When this happens, we then begin to work hard in pursuit of this worthiness.

As a result, anything external that gives us the illusion that we deserve happiness for our effort will also become our own created prison.

This cycle of sustaining habits out of fear turns exercise and diet (or whatever our external source of happiness is) into negative forces, thus compounding the root problem as we live for our bodies and for conditioned emotional stability through abusive mechanisms.

This can cause disharmony within the heart, creating a state of mind where true happiness cannot exist.

Much love! 

Valeria  

To be healthy is to be loving.

LUCID LOVE

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The moment we choose to recognize our experiences in the world as lessons of love, life turns into a lucid dream. This recognition can come from the depths of our hearts or from spiritual awareness—brought about through the senseless suffering caused by our minds. Either way, the main difference between a nightmare and a lucid dream is a shift of our perception grounded in love. In the dream of life, there are many mountains to climb every day, and they might crumble, the dust might blur our vision, fear might replace our hope, but if we have faith and recognize our own essence, WE will never fall again. 

Much Love!

Valeria 

ON SELF-RESPECT

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From my experience with fitness, I can confidently say that the motivation to have a healthy body should not be based on fear, but on love. One of the hardest negative mental habits to break is the constant need for the approval of others. This habit can result in physical and emotional abuse (as happened to me), by propelling us to overtrain our bodies so that we will be accepted and complimented by others. The more I abused my body at the gym, the more people praised me, and the more I was motivated to keep doing it—to the extent that I even signed up for competition shows. As you can see, this was not that different from a drug addiction. My lack of self-respect and self-love was great enough to keep me open to doing anything that gave me that “approval-acceptance” high. 

Much love!

Valeria

ON SELF-LOVE

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SELF-LOVE

After many insights and lessons, I’ve learned to have self-love without selfishness; to recognize which behaviors are motivated by love rather than fear; to see how closely connected my past is to my present; and that love, joy, and peace are at the core of our true nature with regard to how we relate to others and the world. My new spiritual understanding not only gave deeper meaning to my life, but it has also caused external changes I could never have imagined. 

 

Much love!

Valeria

TURN EXERCISE INTO A SPIRITUAL ACTIVITY

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It's important to be aware that fitness can become a dangerous addiction, even when we practice our deepest spiritual understanding on a daily basis. I caught myself overtraining after spending days in meditation. As this demonstrates, we can never underestimate our habitual tendencies. Although spiritual knowledge—coupled with the guidance of our own hearts—can prevent exercise from becoming an unhealthy practice, it is my belief that we still need to surround ourselves with those who are on the path to “true health.” By doing this, we can create the environment that will allow us to practice our virtues consistently.

Finding the most enjoyable way that you can to unite your body and mind can turn any exercise session into a spiritual activity. Since everyone is unique, here is a simple solution: bring the heart into everything you do! 

 

Much Love!

Valeria 

THE SPIRIT OF GRATITUDE

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Thanksgiving celebrates the spirit of gratitude.

It's an acknowledgment of love.

Appreciation of truth.

The gracefulness of life.

Recognition of "God."

Responsiveness to peace within.

Thankfulness for the divine GIFTS we share in our HEARTS.

 

May this time of the year remind us all of what really matters in life!

 

Much Love,

Valeria 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOW WE LOVE MUSIC...

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“...Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
There’s still time to change the road you’re on...”  - “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin

Did you know that the songs we listen to are interconnected with our personalities?

For example, the genres that Explorers favor more than other Roles – namely, electronica (68%), hip-hop (49%), pop (74%), and reggae (35%) – may most frequently match the Explorer mood: energetic and in the moment. Whether it is a fast-driving techno beat or a reggae groove, Explorers may look for music that is more textural than intellectual, evoking an immediate, visceral response.

Here is a summary breakdown from recent studies:

Blues fans have high self-esteem, are creative, outgoing, gentle, and at ease

Jazz fans have high self-esteem, are creative, outgoing, and at ease

Classical music fans have high self-esteem, are creative, introverted, and at ease

Rap fans have high self-esteem and are outgoing

Opera fans have high self-esteem, are creative, and gentle

Country and western fans are hardworking and outgoing

Reggae fans have high self-esteem, are creative, not hardworking, outgoing, gentle, and at ease

Dance fans are creative and outgoing but not gentle

Indie fans have low self-esteem, are creative, not hard working, and not gentle

Bollywood fans are creative and outgoing

Rock/heavy metal fans have low self-esteem, are creative, not hard-working, not outgoing, gentle, and at ease

Chart pop fans have high self-esteem, are hardworking, outgoing and gentle, but are not creative, and are not at ease

Soul fans have high self-esteem, are creative, outgoing, gentle, and at ease.  ... READ MORE...

Much Love! 

Valeria

Source: blog bufferapp and 16personalities.

SELF-ESTEEM & KINDNESS

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It has been said (and I believe it to be true), there is strong evidence that the higher our level of self-esteem, the more likely we are to treat others with respect, kindness, and generosity.

With this in mind, let's be on the lookout for some basic mistakes that can make us age faster: 

  1. Not getting enough sleep

  2. Avoiding (healthy) fats

  3. Eating too many processed foods

  4. Not consuming enough bone broth

  5. Failing to minimize stress

  6. Not exercising

  7. Using the wrong beauty products

  8. Having too much sugar in your diet

  9. Not consuming enough biotin

  10. Not taking a probiotic .... read more...

Much Love!

Valeria

 

Source: Healthy Holistic Living 

 

THE HEART RULES  -  THE END

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We, people who listen to the voice of own hearts, don't listen to people who despise us — who envy us — who don’t believe in our life’s purpose. We don’t listen to those who tell us what to do — what to think or what to feel. Those who try to make us small, deceive us, treat us with disrespect, use us as a modern slave. We don’t give ourselves to these people with unnatural, synthetic hearts. We are precious! We are the stars on Earth. We are people who have the love of humanity in our being. We don't hate. Only the unloved hate — the unloved and the unnatural.
We, people who trust in the heart, know that the Kingdom of “God” is within — in everyone. We are true to ourselves. We have the power to create a free and loving environment. The power to create happiness! We have the power to make this life a compassionate and marvelous adventure.
Then, in the name of our heart’s aspiration, let us use that power. Let us all unite. Let us come together for a new world, a decent world that will give everyone a chance to work, that will give youth the future and old age security. By promising these things, people with synthetic hearts have risen to power, but they lie. They don’t and didn’t fulfill their promise; they never will. These people are selfish; they free themselves, but they enslave others. Let’s come together to fulfill that promise. Let us come together to replace greed, hate, and intolerance with generosity, love, and justice. Let us come together for a world of kindness, a world where science, development, ideas, and opportunities will lead to everyone’s happiness.
We, people who are confident in the truth of our hearts, are the hope we seek.

Much Love!

Valeria

"One who knows how to show and to accept kindness will be a better friend than any possession." – Sophocles

 

** Credit: The Heart Rules content was paraphrased and inspired by The Final Speech of the Great Dictator by Charlie Chaplin

THE HEART RULES  -  PART TWO

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TV, social media, and the radio have brought us closer together. However, the very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in our hearts, cries out for universal brotherhood, for unity.

Even now — although the voice of the heart can reach millions throughout the world — millions still can’t hear the message. With persistence, they comply with a system that makes them feel tortured and imprisons their souls.

To those who can hear me, I say — do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed — the bitterness of those who fear the way of human magnificence and honor, will pass.

Nothing is permanent.

Life is constantly changing and renewing itself because it trusts our hearts.

Those who still choose to act with hate and greed will die, but so long as we live, the heart will never give up on us – it will give the gift of loving here on Earth and beyond. Love never dies.

Much Love!

Valeria

 

"The level of our success is limited only by our imagination and no act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted." -Aesop

 

** Credit: The Heart Rules content was paraphrased and inspired by The Final Speech of the Great Dictator by Charlie Chaplin

LET IT BE JOYFUL

If we can learn how to create space for action without losing touch with the joy in our hearts, we can live with serenity.  We become stressed, anxious, and depressed because we have limited our minds to act (and react) according to our psychological, emotional and physical aspects only. 

Think of it this way: when we are in our hearts, living a kind and positive life, we can be overloaded with thoughts and physical activities. However, our peaceful state won’t change as long as we don’t identify with our "must do" actions (and likes and dislikes), but rather keep ourselves open to embracing it all. What is amazing is that we can live in that space, starting right now, by recognizing we are joyful and serene beings living a human life!

Much love! 

Valeria  

To be healthy is to be loving.

OUR OWN CREATED PRISON

Given how exercise, diet, and even therapy can become traps for a painful emotional reality, it’s crucial for us be aware of the fundamental causes of our suffering.

Think of how we might sometimes consciously (or unconsciously) believe that we are not good enough or not worthy of happiness. When this happens, we then begin to work hard in pursuit of this worthiness.

As a result, anything external that gives us the illusion that we deserve happiness for our effort will also become our own created prison.

This cycle of sustaining habits out of fear turns exercise and diet (or whatever our external source of happiness is) into negative forces, thus compounding the root problem as we live for our bodies and for conditioned emotional stability through abusive mechanisms.

This can cause disharmony within the heart, creating a state of mind where true happiness cannot exist.

Much love! 

Valeria  

To be healthy is to be loving.

PAST: "LESSONS OF LOVE"

Bringing back our traumatic experiences is one way to understand the pattern of our limited view of life, especially a spiritual one. We must learn to reinterpret hurtful past events as “lessons of love,” in the sense that we recognize that everything that happens to us is an effect of a cause we have created ourselves. It took the Buddha’s teachings of karma for me to understand my own life and mind. However, it’s my belief that we don’t have to be Buddhists to see how painful past events can turn our present lives into a nightmare when we view them as purely negative.

Much love! 

Valeria  

To be healthy is to be loving.

DIET OF THE HEART

Many of us feel compassion when preparing or eating animal flesh, and some even reject meat at childhood. This is not an accident. We all live in different spiritual realities and levels. What is interesting is that those of us who have had profound spiritual experiences often don’t trust them to be real. I believe this is because we are too immersed in, and attached to, our physical reality. We are basically in denial of the interconnectedness of our reality.

The way I see it, food cravings (though certainly not all of them) are directly connected to anxiety and fear. This may be because the mind has associated happiness with pleasure, and since pleasure and pain are closely related, suffering becomes a tasty experience. The body, on the other hand, craves food and sex for self-preservation and perpetuation, not pleasure. It’s interesting to notice that only the heart is rooted in love and kindness. It has no cravings that can cause us suffering. The heart cares for our being as a whole, and it also for others—happily and healthily embracing everything as a big family.

Much love! 

Valeria  

To be healthy is to be loving.

MOVING WITH CONTENTMENT

When you’ve found joy in your own heart, you’ll have a much different experience when exercising. There should be a body and mind connection where you are in the moment: enjoyment without fear—there’s less concern with your physical health. You are simply respecting the natural law of cause and effect— satisfaction before, during, and after your exercise sessions; you feel anxiety-free about your next workout.

Exercise is a great habit to cultivate, but it should not be an obsession. There should be no expectation to get specific results, apart from improving your overall health. There should be no guilt when you don’t exercise. The main motivation should be to live longer and be physically healthy so that you can do more spiritual work on yourself and also help others to do the same.

My advice is that you find your own unique way to connect with that deep feeling of love within you while moving your body.

Much love! 

Valeria  

To be healthy is to be loving.

UNHEALTHY MOTIVATIONS TO EXERCISE

Although physical health is an important asset, the reasons we engage in exercise can still become unhealthy. Being mindful about your motivation for hitting the gym or engaging in any physical activity is helpful if you are looking for spiritual growth and self-knowledge. Be on the lookout for these unhealthy motivations to exercise:

·      The need to be thin to feel good every day.

·      Pressure to look good and lean to attract a new partner or to please an existing one.

·      Feelings of insecurity about a specific body part.

·      Fear of not being loved by others if you are out of shape.

·      Guilt for not exercising every day or more often.

·      To release stress caused by a changeable situation.

·      To release anger.

·      To show off, get attention, compete, or provoke envy in others.

·      To fight or to intimidate others.

·      Out of pure habit and without enjoyment.

·      Shame.

·      Pressure to be a role model in your family, work, town, or society.

These are just some examples. Keep in mind that behind all these reasons to work out, there is fear, and it is fear that makes them unhealthy. 

Much love! 

Valeria  

To be healthy is to be loving.

LET'S BE HEALTHY TOGETHER

If you are like me (someone who can’t stay away from physical activities), integrating fitness and spirituality is essential. How many of us have struggled to answer the question of how to take good care of our bodies, without falling for preconceptions regarding physical attractiveness and health?

The answer can be very simple, but highly complex and paradoxical at the same time.

The closer we live to our spiritual hearts, the less we tend to engage in physical activities as purely beautifying or self-cherishing methods—even when these activities promote good-looking bodies, health, and higher self-esteems.

At this point, we are wiser, joyful, and peaceful enough to work on our bodies, so we hang around longer to support others with our virtues. 

Much love! 

Valeria  

To be healthy is to be loving!

EXERCISE THE MIND FIRST

The pursuit of a fit and healthy body can only be a wonderful thing when we’ve already recognized our spiritual hearts as perfectly fit to provide us with a life of happiness and peace. In other words, a fit body can make us smile more often as a result of all the compliments we get, improve our health, and give us a temporary “happy” feeling of accomplishment. However, without a content mind and a joyful heart, this feeling won’t last long.

Since our health and feel-good state depend on external conditions and constant hard work (which can propel us into an endless cycle), I propose the following: Let’s work on achieving a more stable feeling of happiness, rooted in kindness, that can then result in a healthy and fit body.

Much love!

Valeria

TRULY STRONG

During one of my “fitness role model” training days, I was climbing a high set of steps outdoors in an intense workout session. Many people passed by me, including an overweight mother who was having a hard time carrying her baby down the steps in its stroller.

I passed her at least three times as she struggled to get down, but it never occurred to me to help her. All my mind could think was that by passing her as fast as I could and as many times as possible, I would inspire her to engage in exercise so she could lose weight and be healthy.

Later, a couple passing by called me strong and courageous. Had I actually been strong and courageous—enough to be listening to my spiritual heart—I would have stopped to help the mother and her baby.

Yes, I would still be exercising for enjoyment and physical health, but I would be motivated by love and compassion. It would have been an action based, not on “look how good I am,” but on “here I am and look, someone needs help.”

Much love!

Valeria