Carnival is a Catholic influenced European folk culture holiday celebrated all around the world. It’s an opportunity to indulge and have fun before the forty-day period of fasting for Lent.
To fast is to choose to go for periods of time without eating and/or drinking. Modern-day practitioners choose what they would like to give up, such as meat, caffeine, chocolate, or alcohol. Although some more serious believers will consume only water for this entire time period. In effort to deepen their spiritual practice, many Christians choose the time period of Lent, leading up to Easter, to observe the forty days that Jesus fasted in the desert.
Fasting is also a unifying practice of many ancient cultures including Judaism, Islam, and Hinduism. Fasting usually involves a moral commitment to purify the body and soul as well as increase God-consciousness. Now, modern-day science is confirming its power to transform us by boosting the immune system and detoxifying the body, physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
As many of us enjoy a long weekend due to a holiday off of work, some of us pause to consider why.
Presidents Day was created as a combination of celebrating the birthday of first President of the USA, George Washington, and the birthday of another notably important president, Abraham Lincoln, but has grown to extend honor to all of the 46 presidents.
While not everyone agrees with the politics and decisions of every president, many of them have led with some famous words of wisdom.
By taking the time to study words of wisdom and how they can help us deepen the connection between our little self and deeper self, we practice a limb of yoga from Patanjali's Niyamas called Svadhyaya.
It's part of the Eight Limbed Path to Enlightenment that means "to study the self." In his Yoga Sutras Patanjali states, "Study thy self, discover the divine." II.44
Here's some Yogi-like wisdom from the top ten most popular US presidents...
“Happiness depends more upon the internal frame of a person’s own mind, than on the externals in the world.”
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the universe deserves your love and affection.”
In order to have success in relationships, it is important to love yourself. And I’m not referring to obsession with appearance and selfies. I’m talking about a relationship with our true inner self, the Divine within.
"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it."
Our culture, and most cultures from around the world, try to send us the message that we need a romantic partner to complete us. According to ancient Patanjali and his wisdom imparted in the Yoga Sutras, one of the guidelines for ethical living (as outlined in the Yamas) is Brahmacharya. It means “walking with God.” Some cultures interpret this to mean celibacy, others say sexual integrity. It concerns moving away from the downward spiral of desire that manifests in forms such as addictions to drugs or chasing the opposite sex. Some interpretations suggest that when we do decide to come together in intimate relationships, they should align with our understanding of the highest truths.
Have you heard of the Fountain of Youth?
Haven't you ever dreamed of a place where there was peace and security,
Where living was not a struggle but a lasting delight?
Of course you have.
So has every man since Time began.
Always the same dream.
Sometimes he calls it Utopia,
Sometimes the Fountain of Youth.”
-The Lost Horizon
The mythology of the Fountain of Youth has been in our consciousness since about the 5th Century BCE. Floating through whispers of spiritual seekers, an eastern myth may hold this secret of long life. Legends spoke of a mysterious spring that would restore the youth of anyone who drank or bathed in its waters. Water is certainly a life enhancing element, but could such a water source have magical properties to turn back time?
A fountain is a source or origin of a desirable quality. Youth is the quality or state of being young, especially as associated with freshness, energy, resilience, and vitality. Is there such a thing as an origin of vitality? Most of us associate aging as the opposite of youth, when we become boring, tiresome, or wrinkled. Can we reverse, pause, or slow down the aging process?