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5 Spiritual Truths For a Successful Life - Learned at the World Domination Summit!

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Stepping out of the safety blanket of the 9-5 to live an extraordinary life isn’t an easy ride no matter how many palm tree fringed beaches you get to see en route. In the last four years I’ve gone from marketer to meditation teacher via a whistlestop tour of the world.

Part of what has kept me sane in an extraordinary burst of change and growth has been surrounding myself with other people who don’t think i’m nuts. 

Each year I go to an event called the World Domination Summit (WDS.) It’s a weekend of inspirational TED X style key note speeches plus hands on academies for people leading a remarkable life in a conventional world. It’s been a glimmering bright spot in challenging times and provided me with a crew of friends who I consider amongst my best.

Whilst my journey has been inextricably linked with my spiritual path so much of my own development hasn't been prompted by silent retreat or yoga class but by walking out of the door of the corporate world and into the skin of an entrepreneur.

Bizarrely demographic and pigeon hole free - WDS is not just for entrepreneurs and nor is it just for the spiritually aligned (although I know it has a secret pair of hippy pants in the closet!) However there are some fundamental spiritual truths about how to lead a successful life that were present across so many of the key note speeches this year I thought I would pull them together for you. 

Whether you’re heading out the door on your own hero’s journey or busy bootstrapping your first business…I hope that sharing these five little nuggets of soft and gentle truth will help smooth the entrepreneurial path ahead. 

1)  Finding Stillness

Jonathan Fields kicked off proceedings by asking us to ponder a Richard Wiseman quote “fortune favors the open.”  It’s easy to be swept away with reacting; reacting to our highly sensationalistic media, the sense stimuli surrounding us, the guy serving us our coffee, the red blip of a notification on the screen. If we are not careful our ability to choose our response in freedom and openness gets swallowed by reacting out of old fears, mental loops and habits. How do we cultivate openness to what is available in the present moment? Stillness.

Over the days leading up to WDS my meditation practice had gradually shrunk from an hour a day to a brief 10 minute chant. Welcome not so subtle hint from the universe. I’d received a challenge from the Be Kind game (more of that in Point 5) to buy someone behind me in the queue a coffee.

However queuing at Starbucks on the saturday morning I forgot all about the challenge and all about my environment. I didn’t even notice the person standing behind me in line until after they’d paid. Who was it? Yes. You guessed it. Jonathan Fields.

 He then went on to open WDS with the first speech of the day. The subject? Our ability to remain present and open to our environment is what allows us to choose our response and how we’re then free to respond with kindness.  POINT TAKEN UNIVERSE!

How do we zoom out and get the space and awareness to notice the opportunities surrounding what is - instead of getting lost in the “what was” and “what ifs?” We cultivate stillness. Cue meditation practice swiftly reinserted!

2) We have an unlimited amount of compassion to give.

My favorite Tibetan Buddhist saying ever by someone who doesn’t have a shaved head or surname ending in Rinpoche. 

Zach Anner didn’t let growing up with cerebal palsy and being confined to a wheel chair stop him from becoming a World Traveller, Comedian, Actor, Oprah regular and author of the brilliantly titled “If at Birth you Don’t Succeed.” He encouraged us to move beyond defining ourselves by our limitations and remember that when we feel we have nothing to offer we always have an unlimited amount of compassion we can give to the world. 

For me, this one line and longstanding truth  was a pure shot of sunlight into what can seem like a dark and sometimes scary world. 

3) We are limitless

Chelsea Dinsmore lost her husband Scott in an accident on Mount Kilimanjaro.

In the days and weeks after his death it would have been perfectly understandable if she had chosen to retreat from the public gaze and go into hiding to grieve. Absolutely devastated and with no experience of how to run Scott’s business empire and community of 200,000+ followers she chose a different response. A beautiful example of both utilizing our freewill to choose a healthier response in the moment and how to cultivate compassion - Chelsea chose to approach every new experience with “endless curiosity” and positively reframe doubts and fears by asking:  What is the best that could happen today?  How can I give more? and perhaps most potently of all: What if the hardest thing I’ve had to do is behind me?

In doing so she has successfully taken over the reigns of the Live Your Legend community as Chief Inspiration Officer, Scott’s legacy lives on and they continue to inspire people around the world to find the work they love. Her discovery through the process was simple. No matter what stories our mind tries to tell us. . . 

We are limitless.  

4) Me Too is empowering.

Emily McDowell , multi millionaire business owner and creator of an empathy greetings card and stationery empire for people in real life relationships talked about the dark spots in her own life first as a cancer survivor and then as supporter to a best friend diagnosed with the disease.

Those times when we’re at our lowest when we most need people to reach out to us is often exactly the time when people just don’t have a clue what to say. Oftentimes it’s not just the curve ball that life’s thrown but the side helping of shame, guilt or fear that comes with our experience that also stops us looking outwards for support from others.

Loneliness, ill health, depression and anxiety weren’t carved out as a special present from the universe just for you -  they are a part of the multi coloured rainbow that is the human condition. Keeping ourselves separate and just reading the good news of other people’s aspiration can be exclusionary - sharing our story or being willing to listen to another’s helps us connect. As Mcdowell so succinctly put it: 

Me Too is Empowering.

5)  Be Kind.

Hugs and high fives are par for the course on this positively joyous and non judgmental weekend of the year and this time it was taken a step further. The overarching theme of the event (not to mention the lynchpin of most major spiritual traditions) is Be Kind. The Be Kind game launched at the opening party and continued throughout the weekend encouraging attendees to perform random acts of kindness on unsuspecting strangers. That coffee that I didn’t buy Jonathan Fields?  That was this game (yes there was a subsequent lucky recipient and she was highly surprised and grateful! )

If there was one message that I took from the event it was this. We always have something to give and what we can give is kindness.

Ride that Baby! 

Life will happen and the entrepreneurial journey more than most can be a bumpy ride. We will never have control over other people’s reactions to us or the curve balls that life throws but we do have control of remaining centered in the present moment and how we choose to respond. Will we be centered and strong enough not to sway in reactivity; remain open to the opportunities and grace available to us in each and every present moment, cognizant of our potential and our power and use our free will to respond from a place of compassion and kindness? I hope so.

Stillness is a good place to start. 

How to Develop a Daily Practice

Meditation helps give us the space and the stillness to witness our reactions and make healthier, wiser choices on how to respond in the moment. 

If you’d like to develop a daily meditation practice - one that is easily accessible regardless of personal religion or spiritual belief and aligned to the wisdom contained within our own hearts and feel the “me too” in an empowered global community of women - join my sangha of heart centered female seekers and you’ll receive a free 7 day heart meditation course as a welcome gift to get you going! 

Join and Receive a FREE 7 DAY Meditation course - Just Pop Your Name and Email Address in the box below!

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Alternatively drop me a line (Dominique) to wanderwomenclub@gmail.com  or my personal email ddidinal@gmail.com and let me know how I can be of service to you :)

PS: The next latte's on me Jonathan! 

 

 

 

 

 

An Ancient Energy Ritual, Chocolate Crepes and Castration in Oaxaca, Mexico.

This morning I wake up to witness from my rooftop - Consuela and Carlos taking part in what looks like a religious ritual in their courtyard garden. There is a table laid out with great swathes of rosemary and freshly boiled eggs - and another man (some kind of priest) looks like he is blessing Carlos. I'm guessing they are not Catholics! 

I google it later – and i'm right its an old Zapotec ritual. Curanderismos are healers - Meso American energy workers. Aztec Ometeotl is a sacred union that looks into the heart and soul of the patients. 

Altars are placed in all directons then the patient in question goes through an "undrowning" to let out what is in their heart. The Limpia or spiritual cleansing uses eggs, flowers and fresh rosemary which are all seen as representing and indeed having life giving properties. 

Today I visit Monte Alban temple and settlement which the Zapotecs who set about levelling off a mountain to build it. This (in case you were wondering) is the Number 1 # Archaeological site in Oaxaca. There are a series of tombs, altars, palaces, temples and pyramids. There is also an ancient sports court. The Zapotecs played something called Juego de Pelota - a type of football. Fun came at a price - the game was tricky in that players had to manipulate the ball using their knees, hips, elbows and shoulders and losers were often put to death by being sacrificed! 



One of the tombs - Los Danzantes (building of the dancers) has large stone slabs outside with grotesque dancers carved into them with large phallic shapes. Apparently they used to cut off the members of men and push them into their mouths before sacrifice...mmm tasty - although i can think of a few men i would have liked to do that to...! 

I get back around early afternoon and doze like a seal, its thundering ominously outside (well it is rainy season.) 

Oaxaca is famous for its dark chocolate so I have a hot chocolate followed by a chocolate crepe to celebrate this fact and then decide to have a “holiday day” rather than a “traveller” day. 

I wander around the brightly coloured schools of the main square and visit its main church and former monastery - the 16th century Santo Domingo. 

I go clothes shopping and buy some playsuits and a pair of white shorts, walk in the park and sit in the sun, then go for a lovely lunch of lobster tacos and beer in a seafood restaurant The waiter follows me out: 

“I have your number?” he enquires hopefully. Er. No. 

Zeb is baking his suffolk beer cakes back home. I miss him. 

The tents occuping all of the streets around the main square are beginning to annoy me now – I constantly have to bend over double to avoid being garotted by their lines. Time to ship on out and head for the mountains -and somewhere i'm very excited to see - San Christobal de la Casas.

Churches, churros, Palenque and the Friendly Vagina in San Cristobel - Mexico.

I arrive into San Christobal de la Casas– a gorgeous little village high in the mountains...first thing in the morning. It is such a pretty little place. Back home – the UK is going into Union Jack bunting overdrive for the Jubilee weekend.

Here the Mexican village has strung a dainty, peach coloured doily cut bunting that criss crosses the cobbled streets and laces between the pastel painted houses. In the main square there is a Sweets market that Willy Wonka would be proud of.

 

Tables are piled high with sticky marzipan fruits, lollipops and syrupy sponges – all thickly dotted by a moving blanket of wasps. In the background are the dark green smoky hills. In the Zocolo are stalls selling carved wood animals, embroidered clothes corn on the cob and churros – all manned by women in traditional dress - long black furry skirts and rainbow striped shawls . There are modern shops too, I find a place that does amazing hot chocolate and an arts centre teaching pilates and yoga. I try and schedule a date with pilates. I fail miserably by getting time wrong and console myself by eating deep fried churros in chocolate sauce - yum. 


The main churches are in the Zocolo. San Francisco church is a peach coloured building with terracotta vines and laurel leaves decorating a rusty door. San Juan Pablo however is quite possibly the prettiest church i've ever seen. Its a huge white wedding cake of a building -trimmed in forget me knot blue. It has a light and twinkling interior lit up with crystal chandeliers and candles. 

Kiki Suarez is a German artist that now lives in San Christobal and she has her own shop - Kikiworld – devoted to her. Although her big, bold primary coloured art is something I'd usually consider a bit too “greeting card” for my taste usually – I feel drawn to her sentiments. One in particular – "The Path to a Happy life" resonates with where I am at the moment. Nearing forty – i've handed in my notice in the middle of an economic downturn to travel the world and then who knows what. I'm not blind to the fact i'm having a rather fabulous sort of mid life crisis. 

Do you remember that Honda advert – hate something...change something. It featured bunnies in little earphones drilling things. Rabbits are my favourite animal so it recommended itself to me. Anyway. That is what I'm doing with my life. 



Hate something...then Change Something. 

The next day I decide to do an excursion to Palenque (famous Mayan ruins.) Its a five hour bus ride there and back. I get terrible motion sickness so ask to sit up front. I have to sit in the hard middle seat which – being bony of bottom – is incredibly painful but slightly more preferable to abject nausea. We journey up into the winding hills – shreds of cloud are still hanging low on thegreen and wooly slopes not yet burntoff by the morning sun. We stop first at some waterfalls (more water than Iguassu) and then arrive into Palenque around midday. Here the weather is hot and sticky, there are huge jungly heart shaped leavves that hang from vines.,mos covered stones and leaves the sizes of armchaires that I could sit in. Mexicans lounge in the grounds in wide brimmed hats, selling little figurines made of quartz and strange gimp masks constructed out of shell. Here the Jaguar King reigns. I meet a British girl and a kiwi and we join together to walk around. The Brit talks animatedly about the three Australians she's shagged that week – how average the sex is how her vagina is making friends all over the world. 



We climb up one of the temples remarking on how large the stone steps are considering how small the mayans were and sit at the top in companiable silence. 



The next day and I feel exhausted. I have ignored my instinct to go to the local village San Chuemala and try and discover more about the energy healing rituals – and have taken the tourist route of visitng Palenque instead. I realise that I don't need to try and do and see everything. I need to give as much time and credence to the journey within as to the one without. Ths isn't just about ticking off sights. 

I sit in the main square and have a huge breakfast of granola, fruit, yoghurt and hot chocolate. I think how lucky I am i've avoided traveller's tummy so far....little do I know...i have a little wander around town and then finish in the evening in a small local restaurat eating Mole – a traditional mexican casserole of beef,with carrots, courgette, and corn. Little children in raggedy clothes come around selling wooden toys. 



In the square there is petitioning for the forthcoming elections/ Reds versus Whites. The Reds have erected a bandstand and are playing loud rock music. When you dont understand the language and can just hear the frenzied hyperbole and the hype you can see how politics becomes like football – just whipping the masses into a frenzied, excitable crowd. 

It feels cold up in the mountains. Time to head South for Guatemala.

Mexico, Condessa district

I am staying with a girl called Gaby in downtown Mexico city. I have found Gaby on airbnb. I rock up at the flat and am greeted by a pretty, skinny, 29 year old Mexican with elfin hair and large green eyes. Her apartment is gorgeous, huge and light and filled with plants. She has green tea on the shelves and a quote in the kitchen that reads: 

The only journey is the one within. 

On her wall in the living room is a postcard from Foyles – a British book retailer . The lovely Susan had a copy of the same promotional postcard on her desk when we worked together – no doubt to keep her sane from the madhouse of Network Rail. 

So there you go, it doesn't matter if you are in downtown Mexico or just off the Euston road – poetry is the all. 



The next day I start trying to get into a routine of waking up and doing some yoga and/or pilates. I have some green tea then take a little walk around one of the big parks nearby. It only takes me asking two policemen to find my way out again. My sense of direction is definitely getting better. 

I write to Nico via facebook. I think at the age of 37 I may have just sent my first love letter. Oh well. Its a start.... 

Later I go in search of dinner and find a street food stall – there are two men cooking up bits of meat on two huge hot plates. There are men gathered around it ( I think they must be cab drivers.) 

I stop and stare at what's going on. They have lots of different meat – carne (beef) pollo (chicken) and chorizo, being chopped up and fried on the hotplates. On the other hot plate there is lengue (cow's tongue) but instead of the delicate pickled slivers from Buenos Aires, here the whole tongue is on the side and they are hacking off great chunks. I order a carne and am about to dress it with coriander, chopped onion and the two salsas when one of the men warns me off the green sauce – "muy picante!!" (very hot.) Then he suggests I try a pollo and a chorizo and I have one from the other plate too. He leaves and I wave goodbye – when I come to pay I realise he has paid for mine too. Free dinner! What a lovely guy – I like Mexico. Later i'm telling Gaby about it... 



"There were hot plates and meat and you put the meat on these little discs of pastry..." 

"er you mean tacos??" enquires Gaby laughing. Oh yeah - tacos! only authentic. 

The next day I awake, have a green tea and go for a run in the nearby park. Fifteen minutes and i'm left wheezing. I come back and buy some salad vegetables en route at the local supermarket where I notice they also have piles of raw meat stacked up and a plethora of cacti or Nopales as they are called. This is the type of cactus with the large flat oval shaped discs that branch away from the main body of the plant. There are little food stalls outside Gaby's apartment with men cooking up tacos and shaving off the spines from the Nopales before frying them. 

The mexicans are a short and swarthy race, I feel like a very long legged, skinny pale giraffe that's accidentally wandered into the buffalo pen. I tower above the men folk – but give them their due their staring is polite and nowhere bordering on obscene level of sexual harassment that the Portenos excel at.Before I arrive in Mexico City I am given all sorts of scare stories about kidnappings and how its worse than Columbia now for safety – my parents are convinced i'm going to be taken hostage. But sitting in Gaby's light filled apartment drinking green tea and then going for a wander around Condessa the local nearby arty and boho neighbourhood - the scare stories really seem just that. The North of Mexico has been dominated by the drugs trade and is unsafe for tourists to visit...but my personal experience of Mexico City and of the Mexicans that I met was that it is a safe and friendly city as long as you apply the usual laws of the street.

Coming from London I am already well prepared in that area – don't wander off the beaten track, stay in well lit areas, don't take your eye or hands off your personal belongings, don't flaunt wealth, don't allow yourself to get too drunk in an unfamiliar area – and if in doubt ask a local which parts of the city you should avoid. 



Condessa is a lovely leafy neigbourhood with prettily coloured houses and shops. I find a little cafe with fresh flowers on the table and have a capuccino and a coffee eclair. Then I wander into a local church. They are in the middle of a flower giving ceremony to the Santa Rosario. I am given a bunch of white and yellow carnations and gladioli. I line up with the other women and children and lay them aross an effigy of the saint and then leave. As with South America the churches here are ornate and heavily decorated with candles, gold leaf and half life sized statues of saints and Christ. The depictions of Christ, his blood and wounds are gorily life like. Catholicism is still strong and even on a week day there are often locals knelt in prayer in the churces that I venture into. 

Mexico is hot and dusty after the cold cold Autumn of Buenos Aires. I try and go into Mexico City to see some galleries but am exhausted by the time I get to the main square – called the Zocolo in all of Mexico's cities and towns. When I arrive there is a huge multicoloured market, hot dust, men dressed up as purple druids, a massive Mexican flag and a hundred tents filling the space – some kind of protest. I have developed a litte cold no doubt thanks to the poor but fabulously unhealthily tasty diet of Buenos Aires and decide to take these few days as a detox and time to get bettebefore travelling to my next destination – the little village of Oaxaca (pronounced Wahaca – like the Thomasina Miers Mexican chain of restaurants...)