Thursday, January 31, 2008


I had a fun playdate with my friend Danielle today. She just turned 10 and we got together to celebrate her birthday. It brings out my playfulness and creativity to hang out with her. Without parental responsibility it is easier for me to relax. We do active and artistic things. I feel free and present. It is exciting to see the world through her eyes. Today I created a treasure hunt in my house for her. Then together we made an obstacle course throughout the house starting with a pillow fort we crawled through and including sliding down the stairs. Then she suggested we walk to the park and make a sculpture from branches and twigs and pinecones in the snow. It's fun to follow her lead and support her sense of power. She mostly has good judgement and is also a risktaker. Danielle has contributed so much to me over the years. I am grateful for her presence in my life and grateful to myself for following my instinct to seek out spending time with her when she was small. I knew when my daughter was becoming a teenager and beginning to be immersed in her peergroup that I wanted to have the opportunity to spend time with a child. I love Danielle's energy and her sweet spirituality. She askes great questions. In addition when I am worn out after our time together , one of her parents comes and takes her home. Although Danielle and I spend much less time together now, I treasure our connection. Do you want to play more? Is there a child to play with or another way to build being goofy into your life?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Tonight I am very tired and am writing in purple because it makes me smile. Before I came to the computer I laid down on my living room floor and rested. It felt so good. In the past I let myself rest often, especially in the late afternoon when my energy tends to be lower. This winter I have given in to the crossed wires in my brain that say when I am tired I need to eat. Eating when I am tired does slow me down but I end up feeling heavier and more tired.It is a way to distract myself from my very real need to rest. The key is to see if I am really hungry. So, if I think I want to eat, I ask myself, "Am I hungry?" If I get a clear yes, I go eat something.If not I ask myself," what is it I really want?" Often I want to rest or to put on a warm sweater or to take a hot bath. If after I get clear that I am not hungry and I still want to eat something I let myself. Otherwise it becomes an awareness diet and I know I won't be willing to ask myself "what do I really want,"if it is a way to deprieve myself. Sometimes when I give myself permission to eat even when I know I am not hungry, I will decide not to and go do something that more directly addresses what I want- like doing nothing.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Yellow Roses

Tonight I don't know what to write. Maybe I will write and see what wants to get written.
Gary, my partner, left for Tucson for two weeks today to do a rock show. His brother Tom sent me an e-mail today about yellow roses and salmon. It was about a woman named Mary whose husband had died eight days earlier. Shopping in the grocery store, Mary is missing her husband and thinking about how he often used to buy her three yellow roses on their trips to the store. Mary notices a nearby woman pick up a package of salmon and then put it back several times. The woman looks over at Mary and says, "My husband loves salmon but it is so expensive." Mary says " My husband died eight days ago. Time is so precious. " The woman puts the salmon into her cart. Before Mary is done shopping the woman comes over to her with three yellow roses and thanks her deeply for reminding her how precious time is. Mary is deeply moved and gets the message , "We're not alone." So I will miss Gary while he is gone, being grateful that he is only gone for two weeks. I know that I am not alone and I'll relish the precious time to do whatever I want to.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Winter Blues

Cold grey cloudy days
Sadness may come to visit,
Breathe, embrace the guest.

Today I went to a yoga class at Whole Yoga (where I also teach ) taught by Carol Sullivan. She is an excellant teacher. The website is: She ended class by reading a quote about embracing the winter blues. I don't remember it exactly nor do I remember its author. What I got from it is the reminder that there is a balance between focusing on the positive and embracing what is. Although it is useful to look for silver linings in every cloud, it is as important to acknowledge the cloud. At this time of year it is easy to feel sad. There is less light and the sun is less available especailly when we have a stretch of extremely cold overcast days. I grew up in Syracuse, New York where it is cloudy most of the year and snows from October to April. I think that was at least partly why I felt so heavy and anxious much of my childhood. At this time of year it is especially important to get out into the sun when it is there, get plenty of rest, excercise and eat well. Mindfully bringing our attention to the feeling of being sad in winter allows us to accept the experience we are having. Give yourself a time to be quiet and warm. Breathe into the sadness and go beneath the story to how it feels in your body.
It might be a tightness in your heart or stomach or throat. You might feel tears behind your eyes. As you allow yourself to breathe into the sadness and say to yourself, "I am here for you." the sadness gradually turns into a sort of joy that comes from being with what is. If we stay with the sadness it is so healing to the part of us that didn't get the opportunity to be held in love regardless of what we were feeling. It is like reparenting ourselves with an attentive, supportive unconditionallly loving Mom. May you experience a balance between focusing on the light and embracing the darkness. It is winter's gift.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Vision Board

Today I went to a vision board workshop skillfully facilitated by Deb Roffe. A vision board is a collage which represents your vision of your future and is a spiritual tool to draw that vision to you. Deb's website is I had fun and learned a lot.
Deb had us do a visualization about our future self twenty years from now. When I first imagined myself I saw myself at 77 with alzheimer's disease. It was terrifying and was my worst fear coming true. I breathed into my terror and realized it was my mother I was seeing. My fears of being her when I am older had created this vision. I peeled my mothers' face off of mine and a radiant older me appeared, strong in body and mind. I realized I am making choices that are different from my mothers. It seems way more useful to me to be imagining my future self as present and wise. It also made it crystal clear that each moment from now until then is precious, not to be wasted focusing on what's missing or what's wrong. An affirmation by Louise Hay is part of my vision board: Something wonderful is always coming. I look only for the good in every experience, and I always find it. I would also affirm, I use noticing my fears and judgements to gently and lovingly bring myself back to the present. I didn't finish my vision board today so I am excited about finishing it now. Thanks for listening.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Next Step

Sometimes western medicine has its place. I have been needing to have a simple surgical procedure done. I like to explore alternative healing opportunities before I do anything like sign up to be cut open. For several months I have been exploring other methods. I have learned a great deal about my unconscious beliefs and how healing energy works in the body. I so appreciate all the people who have given me their time and energy. Today I had lunch with my doctor friend and I realized it is time to surrender. Intuituitively this feels right to me. It is scary because I have only had surgery one other time. When I was ten I had an even simpler surgical procedure. I survived that one and I trust I will survive this one. I feel relieved to relax into my decision. I can feel the stress and urgency melting away from my body. Is there a decision you have been resisting making? Would you be willing to sit with yourself and see what the next step is?

Thursday, January 24, 2008


I have been writing this blog at night before I go to sleep. It has been harder to settle down into sleep when I have been on the computer. Also my boyfriend and I have been having our daily phone call at night before I write my blog.He lives an hour and a half from me, so during the week the phone is our main method of communication.By night both of us are tired from our days and it is difficult to connect well. I often end up feeling frustrated and restless.
I was reading an article by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine about ideas for restful sleep. They suggest you create a relaxing bedtime routine. Neither being on the computer nor having a frustrating conversation qualify. I decided to find the time to write on my blog earlier and talked to Gary about scheduling our phone conversations at a time when we both can be more present. He agreed and said it would be helpful to him too.
For a long time I have wanted to create an evening meditation practice in addition to my morning one. I have begun to sit before bed for a few nights and stopped many times. I have recently been aware of wanting to carry peace with me into sleep and end my day quietly. I am commiting to an evening meditation with you as my witness. What works for me is to make a reasonable goal so I can actually follow through and be successful. If I set my goal too high like, "I will meditate every night for half an hour," if I miss one night I can justify blowing off the whole thing. So, I will start with three times a week for ten minutes. Anything more than that is icing on the cake. It's easy to notice when I don't keep my agreements so part of my bedtime ritual will be to appreciate myself for honoring my intention. What do you do before you go to sleep? Would it be useful for you to create a personal or couples bedtime ritual of your own?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


There is a full moon tonight. I just went outside to howl at it. At first I was judging my howling as sounding more like a hungry dog than a wolf. Than I got off it and appreciated that I was willing to howl at the moon, regardless of what my neighbors might think. Who are these imaginary neighbors who are outside on this cold winter night listening to me? Why do I care what they do or do not think? Take some time tonight to howl at the moon. O.K. how about opening the door and just looking at it. Grandmother moon is there shining her light. She doesn't care if we got through our to-do list today. I can see her in the sky above my computer screen. It is very comforting to connect with the moon. When my daughter was in India we used to send each other moon mail by staring at the moon and sending each other love. What a lovely ritual. Remember if you want to, to write or tell yourself five good things about your day. One of mine is connecting with the moon and sharing it with you.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Tonight I went to a yoga class and saw a woman who I had done one couples counseling session with. I had assumed they didn't like the session because they didn't come back. Also at the class was someone who had come to one of my yoga classes and didn't come back. I made up a story that she didn't like the class.
I found out that neither of my stories were true. It was a good lesson that assume
makes an ass out of u and me ( ass & u & me). I notice that it is easy to take other people's choices personally and in my mind make them be about me. Some of the familiar stories I tell myself are about people rejecting me. This is a brain rut and in addition to usually not being true, these stories leave me feeling inadequate and crappy about myself. I'd like to bring mindfulness and compassion to myself when I am telling myself such a story. " Gee, that sure sounds like a rejection story to me. I must need some love for myself. What would feel soothing and loving right now? By bringing the focus on me being loving with me in the present it shifts me from looking outside myself for approval or , in these cases, disapproval. Maybe what would be soothing is to write self-appreciations or things I am grateful for in my journal or take a hot bath or rest on the floor. In this way I can use my story about the past as a vehicle to be loving to myself in the present. Then it is essential to appreciate myself for moving out of the brain-rut of external validation into internal validation. When I am mindful of the story I can also breathe into my heart and explore the feelings underneath the rejection story and be loving to myself about what that brings up. In that way I can begin to peel away the layers of history that trigger these stories and create more space inside my heart. What stories do you tell yourself?

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Tonight in my vipassana meditation sitting group the leader talked about leading with his stomach into rooms and how his response to overeating is guilt. He said that although guilt is an attempt to get ourselves to change something, it is an unskillful way. Better to surrender to imperfection and be mindful and kind to ourselves about that. So instead of feeling guilty about being too tired to write anymore tonight, I will surrender to my imperfection and go to sleep. May you also surrender to your own imperfection. Sweet dreams!

Friday, January 18, 2008


I just finished watching a movie from the Spiritual Cinema Circle. This circle sends me five movies a month which I get to keep. Included are one feature film, one documentary, and two shorts. All of them have some kind of spiritual content and most of them are very good. (
The movie was called 5 wishes. It centered around asking yourself a question,
"If I was on my deathbed now, what would I feel had been missing from my life?"

The main character answers " I would have wanted to have a loving lasting relationship with a woman." This is also true for me about having a loving lasting relationship with a man. That is what I have always wanted and if I was on my deathbed today it would be what was missing. I talked to my boyfriend about the movie on the phone tonight. I have been working on opening my heart more fully to him and to our relationship. I told him I want to have a loving and lasting relationship and I want to have it with him. He said he wanted that, too. He has been the one holding the faith about our being together. Although, I have been full of fears and doubts, I always return to the awareness of the deep love that we share. Tonight I feel so grateful for that love.
If you were on your deathbed what would you want to have had in your life that you don't yet have? What might be the next step toward moving in that direction?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Juice Guy

When I went to get juice today at the Wild Oats juice bar, I experienced a sense of community. I keep thinking I have to join some group and attend regularly to feel that sense of belonging. Community comes in many different forms. The juice guy, Cornelius was a master juicer and passionate about his craft. He was sharing his excitement about juicing with all of us. He made it fun to be taking care of myself with the delicious juice. He made me a vegetable juice from kale, celery, garlic, lemon, ginger and cucumber that left me zinging with energy for the rest of the day. The atmosphere was warm and inviting and I had a lovely conversation with a fellow juice drinker. I left feeling open-hearted and connected to the world. I so appreciate people like Cornelius who by their simple zest for living, inspire others to feel held in their inclusive alive space.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


On the plane coming back from visiting my Mom I sat behind this couple who seemed to be really into each other. They were talking animatedly and were physically affectionate. They seemed very loving and relaxed and comfortable with each other. They also seemed to be having lots of fun. They were married-at least they both had on wedding rings, so I assumed they were married to each other. Their love radiated around them even though it wasn't gushy or dramatic. I realized that what it takes to be in a truely commited relationship is that both people are really commited to being together as they are. It doesn't mean one wouldn't want the other to change something, it just means that they wouldn't expect the change and be holding back their open-heartedness until they see whether the person changes or not. My sister says that even when she hates my brother-in law and wishes she was single she still isn't even considering leaving him. It seems to me that what has alluded me in the past is the recognition that all people are annoying and wonderful each in their own way and that chosing a partner means having the intention to accept another person for who they are, even the parts I can't stand. After all, there are parts of me it's hard to stand and it is still my intention to love myself as I am. The funny thing is change comes from love. I used to pound on my thighs and hate them and think that somehow they would get smaller. When I accepted my body as it was, with the intention of loving myself with the body I had, there was an unimpeded flow toward a more ideal weight. I think the same thing is true about relationship. If I can love my partner for who he is now
change is unimpeded. That is my intention.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


I will be out of town from now until next Monday night. I will resume writing on Tuesday. I am going to visit my Mom who has alzheimer's disease. It is always a challenge to see her because the person that she is now is so different than who she was.
The last time I went to see her I accepted that this sweet often confused woman is my Mom, the Mom that she is now. I opened my heart to loving her as she is and the love flowed out allowing me to be grateful to be connecting with her, although in a different way. We used to have great talks and sometimes she was very critical. Now we spend more time just being and less time talking and doing. My mother, who was incredibly active in her earlier life, is teaching me how to hang out and be. Opening my heart also opens me up to the sadness and grief I feel about losing the Mom I knew. When I open my heart it is one faucet. When my heart is open to what is and I allow myself to feel the feelings that are uncomfortable there is also more room for joy. Thanks for being here with me. See you next week. Love to you,

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


The foolish reject what they see, not what they think.
The wise reject what they think, not what they see.
Huang Po

I am becoming more and more willing to challenge the content of my thoughts. So often my inner critic would have me believe its judgements are true. The first step to disconnecting from those thoughts of self loathing or contempt for others, is to notice the thoughts as a witness, rather than to judge myself for judging. It works for me to be aware of that voice and to disengage by saying," thank you for sharing. " Doing that often makes me smile.

Monday, January 7, 2008


Tonight I am tired. My knee-jerk response is to push harder to get everything done that I said I wanted to before I go to sleep. Instead I am going to stop the doing for tonight and focus on the being. Savasana is a yoga pose that was recommended to me this evening to support relaxation. Tonight before I go to sleep I will start a new resting ritual in savasana pose.

Savasana: Lie on the floor on your back with your legs straight or a rolled up blanket under your knees if you wish to better relax your lower back. If you are not on carpet lie on a blanket and wrap yourself in one if you are cold. Your arms are near your sides with the palms facing up. Allow yourself to surrender your body to the carpet. Give yourself a nurturing few minutes to bask in the luxury of silence.

Saturday, January 5, 2008


Love your crooked neighbor with all your crooked heart.
W.H. Auden

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Impossible Dream

I just finished watching the documentary, Laundry and Tosca.( www.spiritual cinema It is about Marcia Whitehead, a secretary who heard a voice tell her she must be an opera singer. For twenty years she took lessons and practiced, investing most of her time money and energy. At one point she takes what she calls the biggest risk of her life and goes to New York for an audition. She moves to N.Y. to train with a dynamic teacher who sees working with her as a gift from God. She had the support of two loving friends who believed in her dream. Her voice was magnificent and filled with love.It was an inspiring and heart-opening film to watch.

I had a dream for twenty years. I wanted to teach yoga. In my twenties yoga had taught me how to quiet my mind and move from my mind into my body. Yoga was my passion and I practiced daily for twenty five years. I saw myself as too inflexible and too old to teach. When I was 56 with the support of my partner and close friends I began yoga teacher training at Whole Yoga School. I knew I would either be 57 and a yoga teacher or 57 and not a yoga teacher. I have been teaching yoga for a year, specializing in people who aren't pretzels. (I teach at Whole Yoga( on Wednesdays from 10:30 to Noon. Come and join me in this life enhancing practice.) I followed my heart to my dream.

What is your dream? What is the next step toward making it happen?
What kind of support and encouragement do you need?

Thursday, January 3, 2008


Courage is not about changing anything or grasping for some better state.
It's the valor of being truly present.
Joseph Goldstein

When I am stuck in obsessing about what's missing or what's wrong it's helpful to go down into my body to the sensation under the story. Being truly present with the sensation, usually some kind of contraction coming from fear, allows it to release. Each time I notice my mind spinning back into the story (which may be many times in the space of a few minutes) I gently use my breath to return to the sensation. When I stay with it, I notice the contraction lessens and the story stops. Then it is important to appreciate my courage for doing something more loving than my usual pattern.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Endings and beginnings

Before I go to bed I have been taking a few minutes to reflect on my day. I either think of or write down five things I felt good about from the day. When I first wake up I think of three things I feel grateful for and one thing about my day that might bring me joy. Ending and beginning that way feels very nourishing and allows me to be mindful of the heart-opening things that are already there.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A poem for 2008

Focusing on the good
The good appears
It was always there
Now I notice.