Hong Kong


Sitting in the back of a taxi, gripping the door handle as we plunge into the next curve, I wonder what am I trying to prove. A middle-age, white woman by herself in Hong Kong. Traveling to see the Po Lin Monastery and the Big Buddha.

Then we round a corner and I see our path around the side of the mountain. The ocean spreads out beneath our feet and I know why I came.

To step out of my comfortable life and experience more…of Life.

This trip was a bit impulsive. Traveling to the other side of the world should not be taken lightly, but I have been bitten by the travel bug. It produces illogical impulses that prompt you to say “Yes!” to invitations to attend a Bali retreat.

And that’s how I find myself in Hong Kong, on a short stay before I fly to Bali.

The taxi driver is kind and speaks a bit of English, but he’s busy driving on the narrow, two land road attached by a sliver of land to the mountainside. I keep repeating my favorite mantra, “I am safe. I am forgiven. I am loved. I am love.” These words calm my anxious mind and I surrender to the moment.

We drive through several villages, colorful bits of clothes fluttering the wind from the apartments that line the road. Signs in Chinese and English, Coca-Cola logos on every storefront. The world has shrunk when the logo of an American company appears even in a remote village on Lantau Island.

When we reach our destination, the driver points the way to the Monastery and waves good bye. I realize that I am alone and a long way from home.

The Big Buddha

The wide walk up to the grounds of the Monastery are completely empty. As I turn a corner, the Buddha appears, shrouded in clouds and mist.

The gates do not open until 10:00 a.m., so I had two hours to enjoy the Monastery. Big Buddha would still be there.

As I continued to walk deeper into the grounds of the Monastery, several people passed me, hurrying toward a destination in front of us. They were soon followed by more men and women, all in a rush to be somewhere.

Curious, I followed them to an inner courtyard surrounded by small temples. A larger one dominated one end, and there were three bowls set at the base of the stone steps. Inside each bowl was a Buddha statute. As I stood back and watched, every person who was in such a rush, paused at each bowl, bowed and then ladled the Buddha three times in a ritualistic manner.

After the last person finished, I walked up to read the sign that explained this practice. The ritual of washing each statute was symbolic of being washed.

As I was deciding what to do next, a low, deep noise seemed to rise up behind this temple. Since more people were going around this building to something on the other side, I decided to follow.

The noise became chanting, punctuated by gongs and chimes. I soon learned it was the daily ceremony inside the Grand Hall of Ten Thousand Buddhas.

Out of respect for the Monastery, I did not take a picture of the hall. Words cannot describe the majesty of this space. I will try to give you a sense of what I experienced.

Golden light shone from the five Dhyani Buddhas, which were located along the back of the hall. People were seated in rows, chanting with the monks and repeating their words. The walls were carved in small squares, each containing a Buddha statute. Golden pillars supported the ceiling, which was elaborately painted in a rainbow of colors.

There were two trees with benches around them, just outside the Grand Hall. I sat down and let the chanting and energy wash over me. My eyes closed and I felt myself open to the moment.

And I had not even seen the Big Buddha yet!

Soon it was time to walk up the 200+ steps to the statute. At the top, a round plaza surrounds the statute and provides a great view of the harbor.

There is a museum inside with scenes depicting the Buddha’s life. What I found fascinating was the commemoration of the statute. This is part of the speech that was given at that time.

I also walked on the Wisdom Trail. By now, the humidity and heat made the day steamy, but I wanted to see this part of the grounds. It was worth the trip.

Each of these wooden poles contains a portion of the “Heart Sutra,” described below. There are 38 poles, arranged in the shape of the infinity sign.

It was time to leave the Monastery. Big Buddha was not changed by my visit, but I certainly was different. A new sense of freedom, purpose and gratitude became my mantle as I returned to my hotel.

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!

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The Wonder of Being Human


I am 30,000 feet above the earth, thinking about a movie that I just watched. It touched me in a way that hasn’t happened in a while.

I have always felt a strong affinity for the lonely ones, the outcasts, the overlooked. It’s probably because I was one myself.

So often, the need to belong is stronger than the will to be kind. But when a person looks inside and chooses kindness over belonging, everyone grows and evolves.

That’s why the movie called “Wonder” was so meaningful. A birth defect made Auggie look hideous. His features are misshapen, he is small for his age and a prime target for bullies. But the kids who learn to see behind the mask discover his goodness and light.

We all wear masks to protect our vulnerability. We learn from an early age that hiding our true self is the way to get along, be accepted and belong. We see what we believe and we act accordingly.

Until something breaks through our mask. Or someone sees us – really sees us. Then, the mask shatters and the light behind our eyes connect. Because we are all the same light. We just have different forms.

Imagine

Imagine if all humans could see themselves for the wonder that they are. Beings in human form, experiencing life in each moment. What might spring from that one simple shift in perspective?

o Judgment and criticism wouldn’t be necessary. How can you judge another for you are the same?

o Racism, discrimination and violence wouldn’t be necessary. For how can you harm another when you are the same?

o Competition would be replaced by collaboration; Jealousy and hatred would dissolve into love;

Imagine your own life if your closest loved ones knew who they are and saw you as you are. A unique expression of divine energy. Differences would be celebrated and passions elevated.

That is the wonder of being human. “Wonder” portrayed these concepts on the big screen.

My 30,000 foot view of the world has shifted. I am in love with myself, my life and every person on the planet. Because love is who we are.

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!

Moon Magic


Today, May 15, 2018, marks the new moon. A day of beginnings and new adventures. A day of stepping into the unknown.

Even if you think you know exactly how your day is going to unfold, there are uncontrollable forces that can tip over your expectations.

Your coffee spills on your work clothes.

There is an accident on your way to work (or you have an accident, even worse).

Your boss decides to check on that long term project that is not quite where you want it.

How do you show up in these situations? Do you react or respond? Can you feel when your body’s stress response is triggered and do you know how to interrupt that pattern?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, I may have a way to help you discover more about yourself.

Moon Magic can Help

The moon orbits around the earth in a set, predictable pattern. It appears to grow and then disappear, but we know that it is still there, silently being the moon. Whether we can see it or not.

The moon is always itself. It cannot (and does not) try to become something else. It is what it is and it does what it does.

There is a part of you that is the same. Eternal. Unchanging. An integral part of the whole.

That piece of you is where your moon magic waits. The only way to access it is to be still, calm and meet it face to face.

Where do you find that silence? By meditating.

Meditation is as hard as you make it. If you believe it’s hard, it will be. If you believe that the point is to stop thinking, you will never be a meditator.

The magic of meditation is in the letting go. Let go of expectations. Let go of achievement or conditions. Let go of your small self to remember your real self.

Meditate Daily to Become Like the Moon

Set an intention before you meditate. Use the moon as a celestial template. Serene, peaceful, steady. When you enter your day, use these attributes of the moon to guide your day. If you are triggered, your breath will lead you back to your self.

If you have never meditated before, why not join my 21 Day Heart Dancing Challenge? It takes 15 minutes a day and will support you in creating and following a daily meditation practice.

Today, as the new moon begins another cycle, you can step into a new cycle of your own. A place where your authentic self emerges. A state of being that holds true no matter what is swirling around you. A peace and knowing that you are safe and loved.

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!

Time Travel


Time has always fascinated me. Although time seems to be real and can be measured, why do we experience it differently?

Imagine sitting in a dark movie theater watching a movie. You are totally immersed in the drama playing on the big screen. You are entranced, oblivious to anything that is going on around you.

When your friend nudges you to let you know that she is going to the bathroom, it takes you a minute to connect with what she is saying. You don’t even notice when she returns!

Afterward, you can’t stop talking about the movie. The action, the tension, the action. Your friend can’t believe that you loved it that much. She was totally bored, tired of the noise and couldn’t wait to leave.

You each experienced the same event in completely different ways. And those differences affected how time felt as you moved through your experience.

For you,  time was suspended because you experienced the movie as if you were part of it. For your friend, time was a snail, slowing dragging its way across hot concrete, leaving a slimy trail of inevitability.

You Can Control Time

Time begins and ends with you. As your thoughts and moods shift and change, time is stretched or shortened to match your internal state. It’s almost as if time is Saran Wrap, encasing you as you move through the moments of your life.

Try this experiment. Before you leave for your next appointment, errand or delivery, take a moment to sit quietly and breathe deeply. As you feel your body calm, tell yourself that “I have all the time in the world.” Repeat this phrase several times and then go on about your day. When you feel anxious about not having enough time, use the phrase while taking deep breaths. Then notice if your experience of time changes.

Time is Your Friend or Your Enemy

As you begin to see that it is your decision about how you are going to experience time that molds it, you can get more creative. Deciding that time is your friend and it supports you will produce a much different experience than deciding that time is your enemy and is out to destroy you.

It always come back to you. And your choice.

old people and love

Experiment with these concepts and become an observer of your experiences. When you begin to see this process, you can change those steps that no longer support you.

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!

Mindful Focus – For Students in School and Students of Life


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It’s the time of year when the specter of final exams is close enough to create a cloud of visceral fear that trails behind students. Test anxiety can grip the most dedicated scholar and ruin the end result of their month-long efforts.

When I was studying for the bar exam, I hit a wall of fear. I graduated from law school with respectable grades, had a great job at the firm I wanted and was ready to start my career. I had climbed the mountain and was ready to begin my next adventure.

But one thing stood in my way.

The Bar Exam. Just typing those words still causes my heart to race a tiny bit. It is a cruel joke on aspiring lawyers. Endure 3 years of law school, and you’re still not done. Graduate and receive your J.D. degree.

And you’re still not a lawyer.

The Bar Exam is the final hurdle. The last summit to conquer before you can practice law. You have a bit over two months to study (at least in my state), and you don’t know if you passed until four months later. You have already started your legal career, and your future career depends on passing. The first time.

To say that law graduates studying for the bar are under a bit of pressure is such an understatement I won’t even try to come up with an appropriate analogy.

Taking exams and staying calm under stress is an art and a science. When I was studying for the bar exam, I didn’t know how to stay centered, mindful and focused. I somehow managed to pass (Thank God).

I wish I knew then what I know now.

How Mindfulness and Meditation Can Help You Focus

According to Jon Kabat-Zin, generally considered to be the “father” of mindfulness in the West,

Mindfulness is the moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness, cultivated by paying attention in a specific way, that is, in the present moment, and as nonreactively, as non-judgmentally and open heartedly as possible.

When you practice being in the moment, then the next, and the next, your experience of the moment is at its peak. The past no longer exists, and the future has not yet arrived. All that is important is the here and now, which you experience without judgment.

Doesn’t that sound like a great way to live? Research studies have proven the physical, psychological and emotional benefits of mindfulness. Peace, calm, and compassion as just a few of the many ways that practicing mindfulness can change your life.

As a student, being mindful while you study can help you understand and remember the information. Setting the intention of focus, awareness, and memory before you study is the key. And the best way to do that is to listen to a guided meditation.

Meditation is one way to achieve mindfulness. By slowing down and watching your breath, you focus your attention on what is happening at this moment. Stress and anxiety cannot exist in this space. Your mind is clear, and when the meditation is over, that clarity will help you focus on the information you are learning.

It’s using your mind to improve your mind.

The Mindful Focus Meditation

Find a comfortable place to sit with your feet flat on the floor and your hands in your lap. Your back should be straight but loose. This meditation is less than 25 minutes, so give yourself about 30 minutes for the entire process. No interruptions (cell phones on mute, computer on mute) and no distractions.

Listen to this meditation in the morning as soon as you wake up. It will help you stay focused in class or when you are studying. If you listen again during the day or at night, it will ease anxiety and increase confidence in your ability to understand, remember and retain the information.

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!

A New Way to Heart Dance


Instead of having guests on the Heart Dancing Radio Show, I decided to teach on various topics, using mindfulness concepts as a foundation. I also created guided meditations to support each lesson. The topics I chose to explore may seem random (money, fear of flying, and focus), but underneath each one lies a current of fear. And fear is what I want you to embrace and love.

As you dive deep into this information and incorporate the meditations into a daily practice, you will discover your interior world shifting and opening. You may also find that you are calmer, more peaceful and less reactive. Whatever the benefits are, please enjoy these next episodes made with my heart full of love and light.

Money Magic

The concept of money has been abused, judged and manipulated ever since it was first conceived. Money and power are forever linked together in cultural beliefs and patterns. Those with money have influence. Those without money are faceless and unimportant.

Where do you fall on the scale of money, importance and power? How does that make you feel about yourself? Are you afraid of money or what its disappearance could do to you?

I have had my own struggles with money and often fell into the trap of judging myself when my bank account balance was low. Punishing myself for my misdeeds (did I really need that pair of shoes) kept me from seeing the real issue I had with money. It was always based on fear and judgment.

Judgment and fear always cloud your view of yourself. Neither one helps you grow or evolve into a better person.

It wasn’t money’s fault that I indulged in buying impulsively. Just because my bank balance dipped dangerously low to being overdrawn wasn’t because of my lack of a making six figure income. Money was not treating me unfairly or shunning my efforts to become wealthy.

No matter how hard I tried to assign blame, it wasn’t money’s fault.

The outside forces that shaped my thoughts, beliefs and attitudes about money were just signposts on my journey. When I finally woke up and realized that the real journey happened in my interior world (shaped by my thoughts and beliefs), I regained my power of choice. From that point of power, I made different choices and changed my Money Story.

Fear is no longer an active force in my money relationship. I found another way to be with money and I want to share it with you.

The Power to Choose

When you look at your beliefs and attitudes about money, do they support your growth or encourage your fear? It is crucial that you identify what you believe so you can change them.

Cultural money myths and beliefs support the ideas of limitation, lack and competition. If you fail, fear becomes your companion. If you succeed, fear is still your shadow because you can always misstep. Money becomes the enemy and you are its victim.

There is a different way to be with money. Disregard the cultural myths around money and see it for what it is: ENERGY.

Money is simply the exchange of energy. When you use your debit card or cash to buy something, you are exchanging energy for something of value (which is also energy).

When you don’t have enough money for something you want, it’s because you don’t have that amount of energy to exchange. No guilt, shame or judgment. And definitely — NO FEAR!

If you want that thing badly enough, you’ll figure out a way to increase your energy levels to be able to enter into the exchange. Simple, right?

An easy way to remember that money = energy is this: MONEY is MOwn Natural Energy Yield. When you produce a service or product, that is your yield. When you pay with what you have produced, that is because of your yield. If your yield is less than what you want, then produce more. It’s all energy!

There is one more step in the process.

Mindfulness and Money 

Mindfulness is a way to reconnect with life by staying in the present moment. No judging. No expectation. Just pure and simple being.

Guided meditations clear the clutter of the mind, establish connection to a greater source and align your body, mind and spirit.

The combination of both of these practices, focused on the energy of money, creates a powerful synergy. Introducing: The Money Magic Meditation.

As you are guided into a deep place in yourself, you will see money from a new perspective.

This meditation should only be played when you are not driving or operating any kind of equipment. Ideally, you should be in a quiet room where you will not be disturbed for one hour. Have a journal or pad handy to make a note of the insights you receive during the meditation. What you may discover will surprise you!

Listen often and notice your beliefs and attitudes shift around the concepts of wealth and money. As you beliefs change, so will your actions. As you make different choices, your money story will grow and evolve. Almost like magic!

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance!

P.S. To learn more about me, please visit KathrynEriksen.com. Let’s dance together!

Start with Yourself


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There are absolute truths about the human experience that never change, no matter what century you live in or what culture. These truths are immutable, immeasurable and impossible to ignore.

One of these truths is that to change the world, you must first change yourself.

In the Crypts of that grand cathedral known as Westminster Abbey, on the tomb of an Anglican Bishop inscribed in 1100 A.D., are these words:

When I was young and free and my imagination

had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world.

As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world

would not change, so I shortened my sights some

what and decided to change only my country.

But it too seemed immovable.

As I grew into my twilight years, In one last desperate

attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those

closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.

And now as I lie on my death bed, I suddenly realize:

If I had only changed myself first, then by example I

would have changed my family.

From their inspiration and encouragement, I would

then have been able to better my country and, who

knows, I may have even changed the world.

Don’t wait for the last moments of your life to know this truth. You can make a difference right now, in the very moment. Decide to change yourself and you will change the world.

Start with yourself.

What wild and crazy thing is calling to you? To go surf in Hawaii? To run the Paris Marathon? To climb a mountain?

Whatever it is, culture will try to stop you. The rules of the world seem to quash the very thing that makes us human — our spirit. Don’t let it quash you.

If your first thought is to denigrate yourself or your abilities, that is culture talking. You will not live your wild, best life listening to culture.

Just remember, that thing that is calling you…is pointing directly at you and saying, “It’s time. Walk away. Come play with me. You’ll see.”

That thing calling you defies reason and logic (more culture speak). It defines your deepest yearning, that person you were meant to be.

Start with yourself and you will discover that impossible truth that we must all face at some point in our lives. You are here for a reason and only you can express it to the world.

It’s just another step in the Heart Dance.