One key to a happy life

Written by Crystal Ra
Edited by Michael
 
Both of my parents were alcoholics and because of that I copied many survival behaviors along with emotional behaviors that carried in to my future adult life and relationships. It is never good enough or sustainable enough.
 
Both of my parents have passed, mostly because of their alcohol abuse – my mom was killed violently and her body found by the river and my dad died of lung and liver cancer only 62 years old. After this I decided I will never drink alcohol myself again. I am proud to say I have not. But the behavioral patterns are still haunting me with this background and I have to be aware any time.
 
One day I was guided to go to Alanon group meetings. I was very resistant to it as I felt that the recent trouble I had with a drunk employer was not my problem, but his. But as they say – you are in a bad situation until you become aware of it and move forward. Luckily I 'woke up' before too late and reset my life completely.
 
I made a commitment to go to Alanon meetings in a local town Puerto Vallarta in Mexico for at least once a month on Fridays. It took me 1.5 hours to get there by different buses and then the same amount of time to get back. When I came back I often times had to come back late at night completely alone in the dark, which is not advisable in Mexico as a lonely woman at that time.
 
Luckily shortly after I met Michael he was happy to escort me and accompany me to these meetings whenever he was around - so I felt safer and we made nice date nights out of these evenings.
 
During these meetings people were sharing their stories and I was so amazed how affected I was by these. These were horrible stories about terrible abuse in their family or relationships mostly caused by alcohol or drugs. I was thinking how is this “liquid death” I call alcohol publicly available to everyone? I was surprised to see these people smiling and happy despite the hardships they had been through. Their key was Alanon and Alanon tools.
 
Alanon is a mutual support program for people whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking. By sharing common experiences and applying the Alanon principles, families and friends of alcoholics can bring positive changes to their individual situations, whether or not the alcoholic admits the existence of a drinking problem or seeks help.
Wherever I have traveled I have looked for Alanon meetings. This way I have visited Alanon groups in New York, in Alaska, in Los Angeles, in Estonia, in Mexico, and in Hawaii. It is an amazing feeling that wherever you go they follow the same principles. I have felt like I have families wherever I go now. I am taken as I am and I am welcomed as I am. Something I have not felt in many places.
 
One Friday I felt I needed some refill with my Alanon family and went for the meeting. Every week we have different way to work with the material and that Friday the topic was “meditation”.
 
First I thought I probably have nothing much to say about it, but after 5 people had shared I figured I do.
 
This past week I did something called the “reverse gratitude meditation.” Most of the time people say that you should be grateful for everything you have. Sometimes it is hard, as you start to take good things and people in your life for granted. I figured out a way to really make it work for me. I imagined how my life would be worse.
 
Like in my case if we would live in a studio apartment or not even that, even in a smaller area (right now we live in a 1 bedroom apartment and sometimes it feels small). What if I would live in some cold place like Alaska or Estonia and freeze most of the year and not want to go out most of the time, not to have the opportunity to swim in the warm ocean whenever I feel like (like here in Hawaii), because it would be freezing cold and most probably the water would be frozen, some people would not be so nice as they are stressed by less sun too. I thought back to the old car we had here only some months ago and how afraid I was it will break down any minute on these curvy mountain roads. Now I have a brand new car and I am safe. It serves me well. I imagined on having no food or really bad food. Here we can eat good healthy food and lots of local fruits.
 
I imagined living in the North Pole again and having no sun for 2 months of the year in comparison to live in Hawaii where we have eternal summer and plenty of sun most days of the year.
 
I imagined not being able to move – as I train now almost 6-7 times a week – I do aerial silks, outrigger canoe paddling several times per week, bicycling, snorkeling, free-diving, and hula dancing. All my ligaments, body parts are working and I can even dance if I want to. I imagined how my life would be with a bad mannered abusive and not caring husband. My current husband is the opposite - a good mannered gentleman, super caring and loving in every possible way. I do not have a proper job at the moment, but I have my own company and can do what I want when I want it having the freedom most people dream of.

Going on like this I felt so fulfilled and so happy that I have the life I have. This was a real meditation for me and pulled me back into my center. I felt peace and happy with everything I have in my life at the moment and where I live. I also understood that our inner critique is sometimes pushing us to levels and places where we actually should maybe not be. Maybe where we are is as perfect as it could be during that moment?

Osho – a true spiritual master once said that the Western mind would not be able to sit in a silent meditation right away. Our minds are so full of crap that we need to flush it first. That is why he invented the “Dynamic Meditation”. When I started to organize tantra classes I started to practice it also daily. It was really amazing how it not only got me clear and ready for the day, but also I lost a lot of weight within that time. I understood that a lot of that emotional or mind crap I carry with me daily weighs quite a lot.
 
That is why when I can not do that particular Osho meditation I will actually do “active physical movement meditation.” For me this can be put into all of my training. When I am paddling in the outrigger canoe I need to really focus on the rhythm of the canoe and everyone's strokes. I can not even think of anything else. That takes me out of me my mind and into my center. After 1 hour on the water I feel activated and happy and full of energy and read to work with full power. I have also taken good care of my social needs to be part of the team and contribute with my presence and physical power.
 
Then lets take aerial silks. When I am doing an aerial silks routine I can not think of anything else either, or I will fall and injure myself. It brings me fully into my body and to that moment and I will be fully present. While up in the silks my life is hanging on a thread and I can not afford to think about anything else. While in the class I challenge myself as well train my body. It has so many additional benefits.
 
Another sport like that is wave surfing. Here in Hawaii I have not done it much as most beaches where you could do it are so rocky and full of corals and sea urchins. But when I do it in other places I love to fully be in the moment, watch the waves and focus on my technique. My favorite is also free-diving. When I free-dive I have to be fully in my body and listen how good I feel in certain depths and what is going on in my body. I have to know my dive time as well my breath time and what is working for me and how to balance my ears.
 
I love that I always have a safety buddy with me, which means I need to focus also on his or her dives. Our lives are hanging onto each other. The most dangerous part of free-diving is to black out in the last 5 meters. If you do not have anyone there you may die. Easier active meditation for me is bicycling. I love bicycling as then I can smell what is around me. Here in Kona, Hawaii – there are always flowers blooming and blossoming by the Alii drive and I love to feel that.
 
When I bicycle I have to be fully present too. I have to be aware of the cars around me, pedestrians, other bicyclist and everyone around me. I notice more details of the road, the houses beside the road, or smells, as most of the road is also by the ocean it smells like salty water.
 
I usually bike around 1 hour or 40 minutes and it makes me feel very fresh and accomplished as well. Sometimes I combine it. I bike to the beach, then snorkel and swim. Snorkeling is a good meditation too especially if you have colorful fishes and corals to watch. Then I bike back for another 20 minutes.
 
One other amazing active meditation for me is to clean the house. I put my focus into details and it keeps me in the present. I usually treat myself with a nice bubble bath with salt and herbs, after I have scrubbed it clean first. When I am in the bath tub I allow myself to go deeper, so that the only thing above the water is my nose. While under the water I start to hear my heartbeat and that makes me really come to the body and present moment. I may add to the treat a little breast massage or a volcanic ash detox facial mask or coffee scrub in the very end.
 
After all of these active meditation techniques I am at times able to sit in a quiet space and just enjoy the silence or the birds singing.
 
All in all I understand that meditation – no matter what style is a necessary tool in today's world where we are overloaded with information and obligations. We need this quiet space and pause in between. While we have these breaks, we may get new inspiration or ideas or guidance or just use the time to integrate something we are working on.
I just encourage each one of you to explore meditation and its many facets and possibilities to contribute to your life and feel more fresher and in the center. When we are in our center, we are not defined by others, we are often times more confident and aware about our choices in our life. Choices are what create our lives and more consciously we choose these - better future these create for us and our families.
 
We hope that these techniques are helpful in your life. Share if you feel inspired and what you liked most about this post. Share with us what kind of active meditation tools you use in your life.
 
Share this post with everyone in your circles.
 
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For our Estonian friends, make sure to mark your calendars and meet us in person this year in Estonia from late May till mid August. More info coming.

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