15ft to Cenote : Fear Can’t Hold Our Hearts

My final day in Chichen Itza culminated in a test of mental control and physical trust. Upon arriving to this beautiful ceynote (a natural swimming hole) I was mesmerized. The colour of the clear and dark blue water, the trees all around and beauty of the cave took me. When I took a look at the way down — a 15ft ladder with no end in sight — fear instantly crept over me. My mind went directly to all of the "what if’s" and the fear threatened the trust of my physical body's capabilities. 

“What if I slip and can't grab hold of the ladder? What if I fall to my death by hitting my head on the metal landing and drown? What if I fall and achieve the ultimate belly flop that leaves me with only broken bones?” 

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I quickly realized who was running the show here, and it wasn’t me anymore. It was my mind

Once I caught on, I knew another instant decision to shut that fear and mind chatter down right away. If I wanted to experience the authentic ceynote in that moment while I had the opportunity directly in my power, I would have to change my mental focus, and fully trust my body. 

I quite literally had to change my story and mental framework to help facilitate my journey down this creaky 15ft ladder,

“I trust my body. I trust in all of my years of physical training, and I trust the support of my breath. My breathing keeps me calm and stable in my coordination. I trust that I will make it down slowly & surely and once I get in the water I will enjoy every minute.”

The adrenaline was high, and with each step it felt like an action movie packed with anticipation of my every move. Inhale. Exhale. One foot, step. Inhale. Exhale. One hand, two hands — grip. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat. 

Once down my body finally let me feel it's jittery shake. I landed, I made it to the platform. 

Then comes the part where I'm not actually a great swimmer so now that I'm spiked with adrenaline I'm wondering how long before I crash… Though as soon as I entered the water all that passed. Water changes you. The feeling was beyond euphoric. Swimming in the middle of a cave with an emerald canopy of trees covering the sky and leaving a heart-shaped opening to the sun felt absolutely amazing. 

I began exploring the sides, through the hanging vines from the wise old tree-roots. The perfect set-up for climbing. Being able to feel your way around, pulling yourself up and being able to fall back into absorbent thick liquid. I got to practice my slack-lining (on a rope they had situated for assisting swimmers), and float in pure silence. I love floating, I float once a month in a sensory deprivation tank to help clear my energetic field and re-align my being, but this was something else entirely. The healing powers of this cenote were magnificent.

Once we'd filled ourselves up with as much Gaia healing as possible we slowly began our journey back. Again the fear, less so this time with a heart full of soul and spirit mana. Plus, I had one pass under my belt to prove my mind a good amount of wrong. This time, I was far more aware of the tools available to me, and I had just spent a good 30 minutes being really physical, further activating trust in my body, calming my mind, and practicing their balancing act.

I felt my heart beating now with a steadfast strength, ease, and surrender. You know, that powerful place when fear can’t hold our hearts.

So up I went, this time noticing though that my physical body was weaker than I'm used to (not being home and in my daily physical practices), and that I was experiencing a bit of fatigue. Another reason for my mind to engage fear and step in, "You're too tired. Now you'll really slip and not be able to hold yourself up." Again, I silenced it. The heart, I nurtured her. Breath in. Breath out. Movement. Breath in. Breath out. Stillness.

Finally, I made it out fully alive and incredibly invigorated. Thanks to adrenaline and the healing properties of this special place, I took a video right away because I wanted to remember this feeling, the story, and the journey.

I wanted to be able to learn spiritually from this challenge and find a way to share. It was a very clear play-by-play of how your mind can easily engage its pattern of fear, even when your body is super capable. Physical intelligence can be something that we forget to give enough credit. This was an experience for me that lands home all the more importance and value of keeping up my challenging physical practices, as they challenge my mental framework also. The two I’m learning, often work hand in hand.

But one thing’s for sure, and something that in this present time and day no matter what challenges are coming your way. Fear is showing up in all of the pockets of our world right now. And even though it seems as though there’s nothing that can be done, or your mind wants to trick you into being stagnant, wanting to hide and never come out. We have to remember that Fear Can’t Hold Our Hearts.

If it’s something we truly care about experiencing, or sharing, or being, standing for, or creating…then our heart knows how to use the powerful alchemy of strength, courage, ease, and surrender to get you there. Let your heart, soul & spirit be your guides. Free your mind. 

xo

V

 

 

Telepathic Haze

I have so much to tell you and I don’t know where to begin. 

I don’t even think I can tell you. 

Not all of it — not like the way the song that’s playing in this restaurant holds my gaze. An equally smooth rendition of John Legend’s ‘All of Me’ by a woman I don’t know named Jasmine. And how John Mayer playing outside the restaurant was abashedly the determining factor of my choice to dine, not the menu. And how this sappy playlist really sounds like it belongs on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy...and I like that enough to stay, and have a taste. 

I want to tell you about how on my way here, a scruffy little dog crossed a busy street as I gasped in horror all just to bite my legs. He scoffed at me with a hysterical bark while I spoke to my grandmother on the phone. I’ve never had a dog attack me before…

There is just so much to tell you and not enough for you to understand through only words. Especially, because it always takes me a few tries to get the sentences coming together just right. 

At this point, I feel like I’ll have to show you it all — as much as I can — with my body

Maybe when I dance with you, or make love to you again you’ll be able to know what it felt like to be in my body at that time and place. As a woman-human, this is one of my fiercer desires that leaves me often in dismay…

Or somehow I’ll see you and you’ll look right into my eyes and see, all that I have seen. Maybe in the silence you’ll hear every song that I have heard…

Oh, but I want to tell you. 

At least, I want to try.

And try I might! But I can see it now... 

How flustered and frustrated I can get with my tongue-tied up in mish-mashed words, and barely enough articulation in my sounds — even the most guttural — to express the moments I have been so close with. 

I see it in you, too; The way you so nobly share your stories with an enchanting amount of patience for your mouth to catch up to your mind. The devotion you give to the way the feelings unfold from your heart’s tongue, while you lay all twisted and splayed in my tiny bathtub. 

I see it in me; How I stay as present as can be so that I can feel, hear and sense where you were when you speak about swimming underneath the reflective moonlight, and how you sank to the bottom blowing bubbles from your nose while the universe seemed to engulf you fully in its embrace…

Hmmm…the truth is I saw it you know? 

I felt it, too. 

I want to tell you how this feels. I want you to be able to see, smell and taste it.

I want to show you by placing the palm of my hand on your cheek, on your face. Projecting the images onto the labyrinth of your brain, the screen that is your maze. I want you to know it through time, and through space. Through what I call now: a telepathic haze.

Showing you the unseen and all of the in-between’s through the only thing I can boldly claim as my superpower; love. 

These days it’s the one thing, the only thing…

That pressed up against all of my vulnerability — reveals my quietest…greatest…strength.

Messages for You

So I will rest and wait, and breathe life into you from afar. 

I will breathe life into the spaces that hurt and the places you feel pain. I will do it from afar, so that you'll get the messages from the trees and me; swaying and rustling in the wind. You'll hear my love in the way river flows, and by watching the grass grow. 

Slow down, to me. 

Believe in me, I'm there. 

I have not left you, yet. 

I'm in the sounds of the thunder's electric rush, in another's touch. Even when I'm angry you'll know me there. I'm swinging by your side when you feel the most alive, I'm there when you go for a joy ride. 

Believe in me, my love.

My kisses will be the dreams that brush against your cheeks, when your knees get weak. That's me there. Even in your sadness, you can feel me as the darkness that swallows you; the cries we share.

My embrace is in the sweetest things you taste. It's in all the things you waste. 

I live in all the breaths you take. 

I am with you, from afar.

~vanessa faria

{on the stirrings: inside & around our bones, on top of & underneath our hearts}

What stirs you?

What is it that keeps stirring around in your head so much that it makes you sick?

What is it that pulls you into places that are creaky and hard to reach? So creaky you couldn't possibly make it across quietly, no matter how delicate your steps - the sound will still summon.

Where does your heart swell and your tummy heave? Where does your heart breathe and your mind bleed? 

How do you soothe the dis-ease? Do you fold and keel to the ground after all the pain breaks you, sends you down? Or do you just keep battling, circling, and weaving to no end. Resisting what it is that wants to be. 

If you die, what happens? If the stones, the walls, and the boulders that pretend to secure you crash down underneath and around you...Where would you be? 

Where might you go? 
Who would you see? 

Whence you fall...how gently, how delicately, might you stand back up? 

What's it going to take to break you? 
Because My God, I want to know.
 

Is it going to be you? 
Can you do it? 
Not entirely alone, I'm sure.

So who will support you in your breakdown&breakthrough? Who will you choose to unravel all of the knots and bring forth your demons? 

And once it's all over. Once you've winced, and cursed, and cried a hundred times. Once you've gotten through the other side with further strides, will you notice them? 

Will you remember their efforts? 
And will you thank them? 

~ vanessa faria

What it Really Means to Self-Love

Self-love is more than just a day at the spa...Though it just so happens I did spend a day at the spa last week with a couple of very dear friends. We listened to each other’s stories, and connected deeply on a level of understanding about how the work we do for our clients and ourselves takes a very strong commitment to self-care and self-love. It was that very experience at the spa, where I realized that one day of healing waters isn't enough to sustain me day-to-day in the practice of self-loving. In order for us to serve others the way we desire, with love and our highest integrity, we’ve recognized that offering ourselves self-care looks like many different actions and takes on many different forms on a daily basis. 

Let’s start by listing some of the ways we typically hear of how we should include self-love in our lives: 

— Spa day with your friends

— Quit your job and go travel the world

— Buy yourself a fancy new dress

— Splurge on cosmetics 

— etc. etc

(This is not to say that all of the aforementioned ways aren't absolutely incredible, and I that I do think you should incorporate as many of them as your heart and soul desires!)

However, I’m all about remembering to be grounded and actively participating in this exquisite human life. This exquisite human life, that sometimes demands we do very mundane, human life tasks. 

 

I want to make it clear that self-love is not about finding ways to escape your everyday problems. 

Self-love is about alchemizing your everyday problems, into magical and incredible everyday experiences. 

 

I also want to highlight how, with the right attitude, these very basic human life tasks we have to do all add up, surmounting to a very incredible amount of self-care and self-love even though they can be boring, tedious, or mundane. Let’s take a look at some of the things that might seem monotonous daily practices, but that are also pieces of your daily self-love and care regime. 

— Household chores: washing the dishes, sweeping, cleaning, organizing, purging

— Home improvement: renos, decorating, fixing

— Cosmetic: nail filing, moisturizing, shaving, waxing, scrubbing (whatever floats your fancy)

— Finances: Accounting, taxes, filing

— Creating: writing, singing, dancing, playing, photographing, filming, acting, painting

Now, you may think that the daily chores of dishes, mending clothes, or cooking meals are not the incredible trip to Bali that all your friends are going on for their holiday getaways, however, on a daily basis we are caring for ourselves by getting our chores done. For instance, take accounting; we can do our taxes with the appreciation that we were able to buy many things over the last year, and with the understanding that abundance in monetary form is a blessing. Acting as such allows you to receive and care for yourself more in the future. It can be a source of empowerment if you let it be, rather than a means of discouragement and irritation.

After a very plain old Sunday spent at home, one of my housemates mentioned that she often thinks about how almost everything we do on a daily basis is done with the intention of self-sustenance. We go to work so that we can make money to feed ourselves. We mend our clothes so we can wear them again. We sleep so that we have the energy to wash, rinse and repeat. This may sound pretty dull to you, but I want you to know that isn’t dull at all when you change your perspective from, ‘I have to do this just to survive’ to, ‘I am doing this because I care about myself enough to create and live another day.’

Because here is the truth; when I don’t do my laundry, or sweep the floors, or finish my taxes, I feel like I’m living in a mess…that mess trickles into how I experience my life on all fronts. When I do my laundry and sweep the floors, I have a clean space to work, I get things done, I’m more creative, I invite friends over (I’m more social), I feel good, and I definitely love myself more. 

Even when I go to the gym and lift weights, I feel better.

I just spent a month waking up 2-3 times a week really early to get my ass to a circuit class at my place of work. I unofficially took part in my own ‘November challenge.’ 

Being a dancer and a full time entrepreneur/freelance artist is a very tricky thing to balance, so I wanted to show myself that I could stay strong, healthy, and feel good without having to take dance class everyday. (Because the truth is, I can’t afford to take dance class every single day right now.) Throughout the month I had moments of “I hate this, I’m going to throw up, and I can’t do it,” but by the end of the month I’m feeling healthier and I’ve learned so much from my co-workers about fitness through their new challenges. 

I also discovered that I really do like lifting weights. I find it so empowering to feel strong as a woman! 

 

The most clarity I’ve received from a steady workout regime where I’m constantly being challenged is that being physically stronger allows me to open up to being more vulnerable in other facets of my life.

I feel I’ve made quite a shift, not only physically but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

 

Now that’s just one example (my most recent and personal example), of what self-love can look like and what it can create and make space for in your life. 

 

Ultimately, self-love means a deeply rooted commitment to yourself. It means doing what you know you truly want to do always, and sticking to it long enough so that you can reap the incredible benefits, from the mundane to the marvelous. 

 

It means not being a people-pleaser in the plainest terms. The only exception should be that you aim to please yourself.

It means taking responsibility for your emotions, your thoughts, and your current creations. It means loving yourself just enough so that you can show up and get things done. It means loving yourself enough so that you can serve others, once you’ve served yourself. 

It means breaking down the foundations and restrictions that hold you back, so that you can be revealed and unleashed in the most pivotal ways. 

It means remembering who you are and what you love. Remembering to always ask yourself — What makes you happy? What do you desire?

It means refining and creating more of that in your life, right now. 

Self-love means committing to new levels of health. For me, it means more acupuncture. For others, it means less late-night partying. 

For you, maybe self-love means a new supplement to your diet, or cutting out that extra cup of coffee.
It may mean more water, or a new herbal tea. 

It may mean setting up 20 minutes of meditation or spiritual practice each day, and less tv. 

It may mean swaying away from things that are violent.

It may mean letting go of connections that are collecting dust.

It may mean listening to your heart and traveling across the world alone on Christmas when everyone else is with their families. 

It may mean signing up to work with a mentor, or spiritual guide and energy worker. 

It may mean quitting your job and starting your own business. 

It may mean that you pick up that pencil again and start writing. 

It may mean you start to sing down the street and care not what anyone thinks. 

It may mean you no longer need to shop at high priced trendy stores, and you become best fiends with the treasures of thrift.

It may mean you make your own superfood hot chocolate as opposed to drinking the crappy store-bought version.

 

It may mean you start a savings account.
It may mean you move out.
It may mean you break up. 

It may mean you surrender and let them win. 

 

Whatever it is for you, it will be different for someone else. Self-love takes on many forms. 

Only you know best what you need to feel fully and completely loved within yourself. 

 

The problem is we’re often not quiet enough to hear, and we don’t feel capable enough to listen and act accordingly. Let me tell you at the very least that, you do deserve it

You do deserve to listen to your heart. You do deserve happiness in all its forms and manifestations. You do deserve to move through all the difficult things and come out on top, shining and feeling forever-free.

 

And the only reason I can fully say that, is because I deserve it too…

and I have, and I will. 

If I can do it, if I can look fear in the face every single day of my adult life and tell it that I love it so much, I want it to rest and play right near me, all while I keep moving forward no matter what — then, so can you

If I can listen to my heart when my mind wants to abandon, sabotage and drop everything, then so can you

If I deserve to move through all the shittiest, crappiest feelings that spiral out of control for no reason other than to teach me some badass and bold lessons — 

then my darlings…so can you.

And you have, and you will.

 

With love, 

Vanessa

Edited by: Moriah Stendel