Conversations Françaises

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I launched a new service a few weeks ago: Conversations Françaises: Inspiring Lessons For Jetsetters Who Want To Get Fluent French. I call it a service because it’s an offering from my business, but it is really an opportunity for me to share my life, my energy and my Heart Royality in a fresh and fun way.

I created this unique experience in response to the request I so often receive from people who might speak a little (or a lot) of French and want to brush up on their conversational skills for an upcoming trip... This is also for all those who are interested in multiculturalism and having exchanges with a global flavor, all in French.

I love being multicultural and have always felt at ease in the midst of any culture. Because I am a mix of European, Caribbean, West Africa, South American and more, I easily feel a sense of relatedness with other people, wether we speak the same language or not. I have always loved languages and am fluent in French, Creole, English and Spanish, while I understand Portuguese, Hungarian, and a some Italian. My family’s religious heritage is Catholic and Jewish and I minored in Eastern Religions in college, which adds to my embracing of all creeds and races.

This global perspective I was born into and have cultivated helps me see the world as a giant disco ball, with everyone shining their personal facet, their own unique fractal, a common space where we reflect each other’s light. I see myself as a bridge between cultures and I believe that the sense of alienation I felt as a child with no real sense of “home” and the deep desire that ensued to find my “tribe” have molded me into who I am today. Someone who cares more about unity than separation and who values exchange across borders and heart connections beyond nationality.

Since I was teenager I collected fabrics from around the world. I was lucky to travel internationally with both my family and the fencing team I was a part of, and my favorite souvenirs to bring home where textiles and indigenous body adornments. To this day, I dress in a way that is truly my own style and an expression of my diverse make-up. I love to design and sew clothing, for myself and others as well as sharing style and decor inspirations.

And so this is what Conversations Françaises is all about: an opportunity to sit together, eat some croissants and discuss all things francophone, style or joie de vivre, while deepening your knowledge of the French language. Bienvenue!

Rainbow Bubble Joy Power

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I got us some bubble wands and we’ve been blowing bubbles. It’s been so much fun!
Zahran says that bubbles represent pure innocence, they are untainted and untaintable. I agree.
Bubbles are magickal, they are light, they float up and away, they are free, impossible to catch.
They capture light, refract it and reflect rainbows. This photo is real, no filter applied.
I feel like blowing bubbles is breathing life into dreams and making them reality.
Bubbles look like angels, they bring us joy. They make me laugh and laugh and laugh.
And laughing makes me breathe.

And breathing makes me feel alive.

And feeling alive makes me aware of Love.
And being aware of Love makes it grow.

And when Love grows it seems like it is everywhere.
Literally.

Go get yourself some bubble making joy power!

What Do I Need, Now?

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This  morning I received, during my meditation, the guidance to ask my Heart about the current status of my personal needs. 

It is easy to lose sight of what's essential for ourselves and get carried away in the current of our to-do list, others's expectations and  everyday life demands. And then, before we know it, we are living a life that doesn't have much in common with our Heart's Desire. As we unconsciously disconnect from what is truly important for our wellbeing, we are no longer living our Heart Royality, no longer on track with our purpose. 

I created years ago a tool to help me check in and realign with my Heart Star, the guiding energy of my life. This tool is a simple list of 12 items grouped in four main areas that represent our daily and Big Picture lives. I have used this list in many ways: to assess where I  spend my time/energy/ressources, to map out a vision at the beginning of the year or, as I did today, to evaluate my current personal needs.

A need is something that is necessary to us, the absence of which representing a significant lack. When it comes to our own needs, it is crucial that we be aware of what they are, how they might have change. We are dynamic beings, ever evolving and transforming, with requirements for every aspect of our wellbeing that also reshape over time. The more we pay attention to the energetics of our life experience, the less we are subject to being suddenly woken up by circumstances, being made conscious of something that requires our attention, a process that can be painful. 

When our needs are not acknowledged, when we do not spend time looking at our lives and our desires, those unexpressed energies sometimes have no choice but to surface through our shadow. Which means that we will seek to satisfy them in ways that might be destructive, causing sabotage, tensions or disruption in our relationships. People close to us might become scapegoats and act out those aspects of ourselves we are denying. There is no escaping energy, it will find a way to get our attention.

Best to be proactive, to invite in all aspects of ourselves to the table and have an open conversation.  By regularly tuning in and taking an inventory of our present state of being, we have the option to discover new information about ourselves, course-correct our choices and keep steering our life in the direction of of our highest good. 

And so as I sat my backyard bathing in the rising sun this morning, I got my markers out and created this new version of my helpful list, titling it What I Need, Now. My Heart rejoiced at the opportunity to be heard and promptly shared insights, some new, others recurring themes. I took notes, connected dots and noticed emerging patterns. I found out that I am currently being guided to connect with others, make new friends, widen my horizons. I also have a need to open up containers of time to explore my creative expression more freely, independent of ongoing projects. The need to travel and discover new natural vistas became very clear, as well as some more personal gentle demands from my soul.

As a result of this introspective exercise, I feel clearer, able to define and take actions steps that will satisfy the personal needs that were revealed too me today. This is something I plan on doing again soon, probably scheduling it in my planner for every season. I need to know my needs so I can decide how I will meet them and who I can ask for help in doing so. This is an essential element of the Heart Royality Lifestyle, where I give my Heart the wheel and enjoy the ride.

If you are interested in engaging your Heart into a similar process, you can create assist similar to mine. You will be able to refer to it every time you want to look at the Big Picture of your life to tune in, fine tune your relationship with yourself and upgrade to a higher frequency of Heart Royality. You will notice on the image that there is an arrow drawn, at the end of my list: it a focus point to sum up the guidance you received and condense the message into a few words, easy to remember, a personal mantra of sort.

Enjoy your clarifying process!

Hacking the Cruise: From Mainstream Travel to Conscious Journey

The author, in the port of call of Cozumel, Mexico.

The author, in the port of call of Cozumel, Mexico.

I came home a few weeks ago from my first cruise. Well, that’s not counting the one I took as a kid with my family, many years ago. I’ve flown to many locales around the world and I love road tripping, but this new experience presented a challenge I hadn’t anticipated. When traveling within the contained environment of a mega ship there are only a pre-established set of options to choose from. I got thrown me out of my comfort zone by the contrast between the mainstream cruising culture I was embarking on and the yoga-conscious-healthy lifestyle I fancy back home.

My sister, Marie-France, a veteran cruiser, had taken charge of organizing this family reunion trip. The occasion brought us together from three corners of the world: Marie-France and her twin 19-year olds flew in from Sydney, Australia, our parents joined us from Guadeloupe, French West Indies, while my 16-year old son and I traveled from Santa Barbara, California. We all met up in Fort Lauderdale to board the Celbrity Reflection ship and discover Central America on an 11-night cruise. 

I had dreamed for months of unending turquoise ocean views, exotic landscapes and latin rhythms but totally overlooked the reality that my daily routine wouldn’t seamlessly translate to life on a commercial floating resort. However, as soon as I set foot onboard and the realization set, I went into solution-finding mode and got creative working with what I had. By the time we came back ashore to Fort Lauderdale, I had enjoyed a fantastic adventure and spent quality time with my family while delighting in much discovery!

If you, like me, are on the conscious/yoga/green juice lifestyle spectrum, here are some tips to “green up” your cruise and flavor a normally mainstream experience with a sprinkling of awareness.

HOME AWAY FROM HOME

For the duration of the cruise, the ship becomes your home away from home, but even though you are living on water, you can stay connected to the earth and grounded into cosmic rhythms by choosing an ocean-view stateroom. Being able to awaken every day and see sunlight is essential for the body to know it's daytime. Getting jolted out of dreams by a blaring alarm in a pitch-dark room buried in the bowels of the ship, and not seeing daylight until you walk up to deck, is not fun on a long cruise. Trust me on that one.

While on the water, you’ll have the luxury of being able to see the sun both rise and set, something that you might not get to enjoy at home. So get up early and walk to the side of the boat facing east. Glorious. And while you’re at it, look up at night to the full moon and bask in the stars glow at new moon. 

MIND

If you’re new to cruising you might be surprised the first couple of days by the fact that there are people everywhere, all the time. And these folks are here to have fun. So there is music everywhere too. If this is your scene, grab yourself a margarita, jump right into the (shallow) pool and join the party. If you prefer to have a more mellow time, know that there are places on the ship conducive to chilling out, reading a good book or napping in a hammock. These relaxation areas are usually on the upper deck, at the stern or bow of the ship.

 If you prefer to be indoors, head to the library or, as on our cruise ship, to a ”hideaway” spot with comfy sofas and dim lighting. Remember to pack earplugs, those can come in handy if you want to hang around the pool while lost in your inner world.

A wonderful way to connect with your self in the midst of a sea adventure is by paying attention to the sound of the waves splashing against the sides of the vessel, aligning your breath with that rhythm, and sinking and into a wonderful ocean-guided meditation.

BODY

You’ve heard it right. There is a baffling abundance of food offered on cruise ships, with up to 30% of it getting thrown to the sharks every 4 hours, as my son found out during an organized behind-the-scene tour of the galley (the ship’s kitchen). Not exactly sustainable. And usually not really the healthiest of offerings either, if you stick to the cafes and restaurants included with your stateroom of choice. I decided to buy a “spa drink” package. If there is such an option on your cruise, it is a great way to supplement your nutrition if you’re used to daily fresh juices and smoothies in your land life. You’ll then have access to an unlimited supply of those, as well as mineral water. I hear tap water is recycled onboard… While you’re at it, pack your reusable water bottle to fill at that bottled water well and carry it with you while on shore excursions. Bringing a reusable straw is another conscious choice to make.

If you’re interested in keeping up with the superfoods that are part of your morning routine, I suggest measuring out a supply for the duration of your trip and mixing your regular smoothie ingredients into ziplock bags. Pack also a smoothie container to drink from or a hydro flask bottle. Every morning, you’ll have the option to pour into the container the right amount of mix for your smoothie, bringing it up to the spa drink counter and kindly asking the server to blend in your liquid of choice (bottled water, almond milk, you can even incorporate hemp seeds into your mix) as well as fresh fruit. Another idea is to bring onboard a small personal blender. And voila, you are ready to start the day charged up instead of loaded down with pastries and coffee.

If this is your first cruise, the substantial quantity of food on offer at each meal, and 24/7, can become a great temptation! Do not bite the bait and follow your fellow cruisers on multiple refill trips to the cafe counters, attempting to try out all the maddening options! You can keep it healthy by focusing on serving yourself “tasting portions” and filling up first with fresh fruits (they digest faster and will ferment, causing digestive issues, if eaten later in the meal) and then with raw salads for fiber bulk.

Taking good care of your body and maintaining some healthy habits are important on a cruise where germs tend to spread faster in a contained environment. You will notice onboard the prevalence of hand sanitizer. Pick up your own organic natural version from the health food store before traveling, and while you’re there also get some reef-friendly sunscreen

In the event that you pick up a little cold inspite of being diligent with hygiene, I strongly recommend having natural remedies at your disposal in case of such a circumstance. I had brought along ginger tea bags, Umcka Cold Care, Chaga mushroom extract, Vitamin C packets, as well the Australian Bush Flower Essences Purifying blend and got over my indisposition within a couple of days. Make sure you pack all the natural medicine you take at home. I brought along the other ABFE blends that are always in my toiletry kit: Emergency, Calm and Clear, Space Clearing and of course, Travel Essence. I never travel without these life saving essentials.

You might have a gym routine back home, take regular yoga classes or enjoy a personal practice every morning. Keep moving your body while cruising! Forgo waiting for the elevator and hit the stairswalk laps around the upper decks and make good use of the ship gym, especially during at-sea days. There will be spin, pilates or yoga classes, sometimes for a fee. Attend these or work out on the treadmill and exercisers. The main thing is to keep your energy flowing, your whole being oxygenated and stretched, and your brain supplied with fresh blood to thoroughly enjoy your ocean adventure! You might even want to take advantage of having free time and book a session with a personal trainer or get a fitness evaluation.

HEART 

You might be traveling with a companion, a group of friends or solo. Whatever your predicament, a cruise is a wonderful time to connect with fellow humans, heart-to-heart! Strike up conversations at the communal cafe table, greet your stateroom neighbors, and get to know the crew, this small army of people running the ship like the most efficient floating city! Your stateroom butler is an invaluable aid whom you’ll come to appreciate. Finding your room tidied up and your bathroom cleaned twice a day adds much quality to life in cramped quarters. Find out what their name is, where they’re from and a little bit of their personal story. You’ll be surprised at the long list of countries they have most likely traveled to, as well as at the diversity of the nationalities within the crew. Our own ship had personnel hailing from 17 countries, some speaking with accents I couldn’t readily identify. 

A fun way to meet new friends on sea days is by engaging in the plethora of organized activities and game opportunities. Play pingpong or basketball, sign up for a paper plane flying contest or show up for the daily group trivia. There is also a game room where you can find your match in chess, scrabble, checkers, card games, etc. If you’re traveling with children or teens, they’ll love spending time in supervised “clubs” designated for their age group.

Being on water, away from home, is the perfect time for a digital detox. So forgo the pricy “wifi package,” set your phone on airplane-mode and explore your creativity. Observe nature, take photos of the local wildlife. Bring along needlework, a small watercolor kit, your favorite crossword puzzles. And of course books. Depending on the nature of your cruise, educational presentations will be offered, as well as art shows, cooking demonstrations and dance classes.

Music, as I’ve stated, is everywhere on a cruise ship, so you’re in for a treat if your enjoy live performances. You can attend these while relaxing by the pool, in classy lounges, or in the grand foyer. Dance the night away or attend a world class show in the theater every evening, there is something for everyone and much stimulation for the creative senses!

OFF THE SHIP DISCOVERY: PORTS OF CALL

The whole point of going on a cruise is getting off the ship and discovering new worlds. New vistas, new cultures, new faces, new music, new everything. Make the most of this enriching opportunity by being conscious of the choices you make in terms of what activities you decide to engage in, the mode of transportation you pick or how you choose to spend your American dollars.  Once you step off the gangway onto foreign soil, you regain some of the power you gave away to the all-encompassing ship authority that organized everything for you, and you can now go where and do what you please. Choose wisely

The cruise company will offer many options of organized tours where you and your fellow cruisers will get chartered in a big air-conditioned bus to a duty-free shopping mall, followed by a dance show by natives and ending with a whole-body roast on a white sand beach with all the appointments of a standard resort, including the unavoidable margarita. 

While this may appear as the safe and relaxing choice that it is, you have other options that will deliver much more meaningful and authentic experiences of the country you are visiting for a few short hours. So step out of your comfort zone and hire out one of the local taxi drivers who will be lining up at your descend from the ship. A good idea is to join with a few others and hop onto a minibus. Negotiate the day rate and the itinerary of your excursion. Make sure to be shown the less touristy areas or those points of special interest to you. A lot of the drivers speak english and will share less-known information about the daily life and economy of the area

Ask to stop and eat lunch in a favorite spot of the locals. My recommendation is to only drink from the portable bottle you will have refilled onboard the ship. Ask to be shown both the urban environment and some of the nature and wildlife, whenever possible. Remember to only collect photos, no shells or rocks. Remember to be mindful of local cultural or religious customs. Depending on your port of call, public transportation might be a safe, cheap and eye-opening alternative. Investigate your options before traveling.

Finally, be really mindful of what you buy. American dollars can bring much support to the local economy, so choose to spend your cash directly with the people who will drive you around, serve you food or create handmade crafts. Shopping at local artisans’ stands will guarantee you’re acquiring a creative expression of the native culture and an energetic connection to a local artist other than some made-in-china plastic souvenir stamped with the name of the country you’re visiting. Again, do your research and stay away from banned items, such as cultural artifacts. Pack a lightweight tote bag to bypass plastic shopping bags.

BRING HOME A NEW YOU

Going on a cruise is a wonderful way to leave behind your daily routines and concerns and adventure into a new universe, both in the world and within your inner being. Chances are you will return transformed in ways you didnt expect. Your eyes will have embraced new sights and your heart will have experienced new feelings. Keeping in touch with your soul, journaling and paying attention to the little things will contribute to making your cruising journey a more conscious one. You will bring home memories that will keep on feeding your psyche and enriching your creativity, along with a treasure trove of stories to share that will offer insights into discoveries spanning several dimensions. Enjoy every moment, one breath and one heart beat at a time!

Talismans, Wearable Reminders of Your Inner Power

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I have been creating power jewelry since I was a teenager. I would collect shells on the beaches of the island I grew up on, string them together and feel, when I wore my new necklace, that I carried with me the energy of the ocean.

I collected books about sacred objects and amulets long before I begun studying Energy, and as far as I can remember I have always had a special bracelet or necklace, at every period of my life, which I’d wear until it fell apart. Even today, I never leave my home without putting on the “right” piece that fits the frequency I am aligned with in the moment, and that helps me stay connected to the power that dwells within me, reminding me that my Heart is my Source, the well where I fill up with the all wisdom I need. 

A talisman, by definition is an object that is thought to have magic powers and to bring good luck. Any object can become a talisman, if created with a sacred energy and imbued with the intention that the wearer/owner will benefit from associating with the object.

Each power piece that I create, I infuse with the energy of The Highest Good For All. This frequency is high, pure and absolutely benevolent. What is Good for All is Good for One, and by making this my focus I access the realm of Unity Consciousness and transmit that vibration through the talisman.

Once the person who is meant to wear it acquires a talisman I created, they can choose to have me set in it a particular personal intention. This will bring the gift of the talisman from the general to the specific, and it now becomes a tool of great precision in creating the Reality of one’s Sovereign Heart, their Heart Royality. 

When you put on a talisman that has been consecrated with an energy emanating from your own Heart, it serves as a powerful reminder to live in integrity with your Soul. Every time you touch it, you remember, course-correct and realign with your Heart Royality. With time, you become less influenceable by the opinions, moods, or wants of others, and much more deeply attuned to your own desires, dreams and guidance.

I create new collections of talismans whenever I feel guided to do so, usually once every season. I also put together power pieces for commissions, which can be jewelry or works of art. Focused Energy will take over anything it is pointed towards. It is therefore very important that the energy of the jewelry you wear be clear, clean and high vibrational.

Become conscious of the frequency of your Heart, wear objects aligned with that vibration and experience life as a manifestation of your inner Truth, your Heart Royality!