Thursday, February 28, 2008


Early tomorrow morning I leave to go to Alamagordo, New Mexico, where my sister and mother live. My Mom has Alzheimer's disease and lives in a special care unit. We moved her there last April. She had lived in Colorado Springs for 30 years and I was used to seeing her regularly. At the end of her time here I was going to her assisted living home and doing Laughter Yoga with the residents weekly. What a hoot! Even though her memory was going quickly and each time she didn't remember that she had ever heard of laughter yoga before,she was a willing participant. Although my Mom could often be very critical, she could also be very playful and silly. I am grateful to her for giving me a role model of a playful adult. She laughed easily and criticized easily. I am like her on both counts. I notice however, that the more I laugh, the less critical I become. It is hard to make myself wrong when I am laughing at myself in the mirror. As I write this I remember I haven't laughed today. Being a laughter yoga leader has taught me that laughing for no reason feels
as good and is as good for you as laughing at a joke. It's a good thing because I have discovered that people drop their voices when they tell jokes and I can't hear them anyway.Ho Ho Ho Even when I could still hear them, I didn't think most jokes were funny. Lots of them are humorous at someone's expense which always bothered me and I often didn't get the punchline.So I am sitting at my computer laughing to myself. It's more like a chuckle and already I feel the cloud of urgency about getting ready for my trip lifting. I can relax and enjoy writing this. Laughter yoga is a movement started in 1995 by an Indian doctor and his yoga teacher wife. Now there are 5,000 laughter clubs all over the world where people get together and stretch and breathe and do silly exercises and laugh. Check it out by googling laughter yoga (I can't remember the international website- HaHaHa)or Denver The laughter yoga club I attend and lead once a month meets every Monday at noon at the Unitarian church on 14th and Lafayette in Denver. It lasts about an hour and is free. Dr.Madam Kateria's vision is to bring love joy peace and laughter to the world one laugh at a time. Come join us sometime. Have you laughed today? How about giving yourself a little twitter now? I may or may not write on my trip. If not I will see you on Monday. In the meantime have yourself a laugh for me.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


I am feeling a lot of joy today. It is a gorgeous sunny day, and I got to go for two walks with friends. It is my favorite way to socialize. Exercise and meaningful conversation are two of my greatest pleasures, combining the two is enormously satisfying. I do most of my connecting with friends by walking together. I prefer it to eating in restaurants which can be distracting, expensive and involves more sitting. I sit at work and the last thing I want to do is sit some more. When I moved away from having my social life revolve around food I was better able to concentrate on the person I was with. Being outdoors in nature helps me to feel connected to all there is. Nature is my temple. Exercising outside feels so much less like work than exercising indoors does. I have a few friends who will walk with me even when it is cold. It makes it so much easier to walk in winter if I have a comrade in braving the elements. I also enjoy walking alone. It gives me a chance to check in with myself and see how I am doing. I love to soak in my surroundings and be present, as I practice bringing myself back from being lost in my thoughts. The rhythm of my steps helps me to release pent up emotions and let go of old stories. I enjoy hanging out the ducksers, a duck couple in the creek where I take my daily walk. They seem so serene and devoted to each other. Sometimes I wonder how they keep warm. There is a bench next to the creek where I stop to say my water prayer. My daughter Monnya and I made up a bedtime prayer many years ago and I say the first few lines. It allows me to pause and be grateful for my life. There are words and hand motions.
Thank you for my wonderful life (hands in prayer position together at my heart)
I trust in peace and joy and love (arms open and outstretched, looking up)
I am enough. (hugging myself)

I love to move and walk in nature. Flowing with the movement of my body brings me calm and energy at the same time. It can be a joyous ritual. I feel blessed to be me today. Do you have a hankering for a walk? Why not go today? Or call a friend and see if you can set up a walking date.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

skillful communication

I spoke to my friend today using the begin anew process I talked about yesterday. ( flower watering, sharing regrets, sharing hurt skillfully) We felt closer when it was complete. Just the act of planning how to clear with her on this blog cleared things up a great deal before I even talked to her. At first I felt guilty about preparing on the blog before I spoke to her. However, I think it is respectful to get help to be able to clear with a loved one in a skillful way. It's very different from dissing someone to a friend or venting with the purpose of making another wrong. Preparation to be more skillful is a time when it is useful to talk to a third party about an issue with a friend, family member or colleague. Thanks for being that third party. In families when people aren't direct about how they are feeling, one person often talks to another about a third person behind their back. This is called triangulation. If you imagine that one person has an issue with another and instead of working it through with that person he or she goes to another person to talk about it , not for preparation to clear the issue but rather to enlist the third party's opinion that he or she is right and the other person is wrong. Families often operate by triangulating and calling it connection. When I was growing up my Dad used to talk to me about how hard it was for him to live with my mother. Although I felt special that he was confiding in me, I was also very uncomfortable and didn't know why for many years. My Dad was using me to play "ain't it awful" about my Mom and as an excuse not to deal with her directly. When I first started therapy in my twenties it took me a year to screw up my courage to tell my Dad that it wasn't o.k. for him to talk to me about my mother anymore. We had little to say to each other after that until we had a clearing process together in my thirties. We had to find a different way to connect that wasn't about triangulation, and was more about getting to know each other as people. It was challenging for both of us and very fruitful, especially because we were so different. It is my intention, when Person A talks to me about issues with Person B, to support Person A in taking responsibility for their part and if it is appropriate, to skillfully bring the issue directly to Person B. It is also my intention to work with my tendency to vent with my friends about my boyfriend and instead to use them to help prepare to skillfully clear things with Gary. It is my intention to continue growing in my process of seeing him as someone I can safely clear things with lovingly and directly. What if it was safe for families to skillfully talk about what they were feeling with each other? What if it was safe for countries to skillfully talk to each other about what they were feeling?
In our daily lives can we use being direct and loving to create a more peaceful planet and greater inner peace? Yes we can.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Begin Anew

More about the Begin Anew process I learned from the Thict Naht Hahn meditation group. It is a gentle loving process to clear stuff that's in the way of connection in a relationship. It starts with flower watering, which I wrote about yesterday. Flower watering begins with acknowledging the other person for what they mean to you and appreciating the behaviors and traits you admire and respect. I am getting ready to do a clearing with a dear friend. I notice I am avoiding connecting with her and when I learned this process I thought about her. So, I will start with appreciating her and how much our long friendship has enriched my life. I will let her know that I appreciate her knowledge and wisdom and how much I respect what she has created in her life. In the midst of her busy full life she has been a loyal friend and support to me.
We haven't lived in the same city since we were teenagers and she has put a lot of energy into keeping in touch with me even when I wasn't doing my part very well. She has reached out several times lately and I have been reciprocating half-heartedly.
The second part of the begin anew process is to say what I regret about my own behavior. I think it's called sharing regrets. I will tell her that I regret that I haven't cleared my issue with her sooner and that I have been stewing about it and withdrawing. I also regret that I've been less than fully open to her more scientific world view. Although I value her opinion and listen to her in this regard more than anyone, my tightness about logic and the facts has kept me from learning some things that I think would be useful to me. At the very least acceptance of others' different truths. Only after flower watering and sharing of regrets
is it appropriate to share the hurt that I feel. I think it's important to share the hurt by owning the feeling with an I statement: when you ....... I feel ...... and what I want is......(adapted from Terry Real.) I know I will be able to trust in our love for each other and bring my open heart to the process of feeling more connected. It has been helpful to write about this as preparation to get clear about how this begin anew process works. Is there someone you'd like to begin anew with?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Flower Watering

Last night I went to a sangha, or spiritual community, gathering. The group studies with Thict Naht Hahn, a Vietamese buddhist monk, and gets together to practice meditation on Thursday nights. I had been wanting to attend for months. My desire had intensified since I went to a day long practice and found the group to be warm and welcoming. I kept making excuses not to go and planning other things on top of it. Last night I decided it was time, moved through all the good reasons I came up with about why it was a bad idea, and got myself there.
I really enjoyed the sitting and walking meditations and the mindful eating practice. Afterward the leader shared about the practice called begin anew. It is a practice for starting over with another to clear the space of conflicts or hindrances to connection. The first step is called flower watering. The idea is that when something is troubling you with another person it is important to begin by telling the person what you appreciate about him or her. I loved the idea that flowers need water to grow and that flower watering is healing for humans too. I shared with the group that all too often I pile shit on myself and expect to grow instead of using the warm water of appreciations. Another women suggested we use flower watering with ourselves and share something we feel we have made progress with. Several people did this flower watering and it helped me to get to know them. It made me more mindful of how easy it is for me to focus on what I am doing wrong instead of flower watering and how much better at appreciating myself I am than I used to me. I appreciate that I went last night and put it on my calendar to start going regularly. I appreciate that I am writing this blog, being vulerable and taking the opportunity to share my process with you. I appreciate you for taking the time and energy to read it. I appreciate your passion for learning and growing. Would you like a suggestion? How about taking some time to practice flower watering with yourself today. How about every day?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Open hearted

Tonight I went to a PSYCH-K practice session with other facilitators in the area. It was stimulating and satisfying personally and professionally. We did PSYCH-K balances with each other. If you remember PSYCH-K is a process that helps you free the mind from limiting beliefs. I had been feeling very reactive today and wanted to balance for feeling more eqiniminous in the face of whatever comes my way. Earlier today one of my friends didn't show up for our walk. I was upset and then came home and realized she had left me a message last night and one early this morning saying she couldn't make it, and I hadn't checked my messages before I left. Then I lost a very important paper at my accountant's and frantically looked through all of the files I brought there about eight times. Then when I let myself breathe deeply I could see in my mind that I had inadvertantly pushed the paper in with my accountant's papers to the right of where I was sitting. I called her and she found it. Tonight I wanted to balance for going with the flow about things more. Also I wanted to be less reactive and more open hearted with my partner Gary. He is a very open hearted person, especially toward me.
I am intermittently open hearted with him. My positive belief statement was, "I am safe and protected with my heart wide open." I came out of the process testing strong for the new belief. That means the new belief now resonates with my core truth. I noticed driving home that I felt less rushed and urgent and that it was easier to bring myself back to the present. I felt more open talking to Gary on the phone when I got home and was excited to tell him about the balance process. I am eager to see how being safe and protected with my heart wide open continues to manifest in my life. Is there an area of your life you'd like to balance for a life-expanding belief ?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Last night I couldn't access this blog to write on it. I tried several times and then let it go. I was excited to write and willing to accept that I wouldn't. That feels like progress. It feels good to be letting go of resisting what is more and more. Instead I read an article from the Yoga Journal Wisdom newsletter on resistance that was very helpful. Resistance can come up in many different forms. Like the quote from Marianne Williamson says, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that frightens us." We can resist our own magnificence and/ or we can resist experiencing our pain. Resistance can come in the form of a little kid feeling of digging in our heels and saying, "you can't make me," to ourselves or others. If I am resisting practicing meditation I can avoid it by telling myself it doesn't work for me anyhow or that I am too busy and don't have time. I can distract myself from practicing meditation by doing other things so I don't have to be in touch with my desire to sit down on my cushion and be still. Pretty soon I am too tired and want to go to bed at night, or I have used up my available time if it is during the day. Another way resistance manifests is to go through the motions without presence. Sometimes I am halfway through my yoga practice before I realize I am not even there. When I am present in my body with my breath yoga is a much more joyful experience. Dialoging with my resistance is often a useful tool. I ask my resistance to meditating tonight, "What do you want from me? What do you want me to hear? What do you want me to know? Do you have a message for me?" Surprisingly, what I hear back is," I don't want to sit because right before bed I am too tired. Please go sit before you are too tired to enjoy it." So, off I go to sit on my cushion before I am too drowsy to really be there. A suggestion: Give some thought to what you are resisting. Have a little talk with your resistance. See what comes of this. It may be a cheerleader in disguise. Sweet dreams.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

You can

I watched the movie Waitress last night. I really enjoyed it and was touched by it. I know a movie has had an impact on me when I am thinking about it when I first wake up the next morning. It's my definition of a good movie. This one made me think about power and powerlessness. Jenna, the main character sees herself as powerless to change her life situation and is up against a hideously controlling husband. After the birth of her baby she changes the way she sees herself and her world. She gets it that she can make anything happen and then the universe steps in and funds it. When I was in labor with my daughter and for hours my lower back felt like I was some evil witch doctor's voodoo doll, I was screaming "I Can't!" I felt like I had made a huge mistake thinking I could give birth to a baby or even that I thought I wanted one. I remember thinking to myself, O.K. I made a mistake. I'd like to go home now. Somehow I found the strength I didn't think I had. Going up against a major I CAN'T and coming out the other side taught me that I could do anything, even the stuff I thought I couldn't. I learned so much about my own power to do whatever it took to make something happen. It enabled me to be willing to become a single parent when Monnya was six even though I thought I couldn't do that either. It gave me the strength to be willing to let go of an unhealthy relationship with Monnnya's father and to cope with my guilt about being a homewrecker. After I got it that I could pay the mortage alone the universe stepped in and funded it. I also appreciate the wonderful people who I worked with all of those years who made it possible. It was one of the hardest and best decisions I have ever made. Monnya is now 22. She is probably the strongest I CAN person I know. I marvel at how she makes things happen in her life with her own radiant presence. She has been an inspiration from the very beginning. What do you think you can't? What would you rather have?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Not doing

There are many things that bring me joy. Some which come to my mind are: yoga, meditation, juicing, hiking, being with people I love, my work, and writing this blog. It is easy to take the things that bring me joy and turn them into shoulds that I convince myself I must do to be O.K. I have started to see that my disciplines or practices can be healing or tyrannical depending on my intention. Cutting myself slack about what I do each day has three benefits. One is I get to hone my intuition and see what really feels right instead of letting my to do list of self-care run my life. Two is that when I am making conscious choices about what to do it is easier to be present and mindful instead of going through the motions. Three is that I have more fun. I also have been more flexible about how long I need to do something for it to "count". I used to think I had to meditate for forty minutes every day to be a good meditator. Now some days I meditate for forty minutes or longer and sometimes for ten minutes lying in my bed. Discipline is very important and so is sweetness and compassion. I appreciate the things I do that bring me joy. They bring me closer to the energy of my heart and closer to feeling connected to my higher self. Sometimes it is useful to do one of my practices when I don't really want to because it gets me out of my own way. Sometimes it is better to rest. I noticed that when I didn't write yesterday I felt guilty. Resentment and guilt are both a message that I need to look at what is going on with me. I chose to go to sleep without writing. Not writing helped me to release using this as a should. Today I couldn't wait to write and share all of this with you. It is my intention to write when it feels right to write. On most days I love it. It is energizing, I learn something and I feel a sense of connection to myself, you and the universe. On the other days I will use not writing as a vehicle to continue growing in my understanding that who I am is what makes me O.K., not what I do.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day 2

It is so much fun to be focused on being loving today. I am aware of all of the people in my life who I love and feel loved by. I am very blessed. It has been fun to let many of these wonderful beings know about how I feel about them. I plan to continue to release any holding back I have had in the past. What is so scary about letting my love out fully? Am I afraid it will obligate me to be a certain way in the future and that I will have to banish my grumpiness and gritchiness forever, or at least pretend I am? Expressing my love lets me feel more love. Maybe it's scary to open to receiving love? I think it is for me. This is especailly true with my boyfriend. I notice, at times, he is the hardest one for me to freely express my love to. What is going on? Is it because when I'm not feeling great about myself giving and receiving love threatens my lack of self-love? I want to remember that when I don't feel very lovable is when I need to be open to love the most. When it is hard for me to love Gary, I usually notice I feel distant and kind of shut down. If I explore deeper I often discover anger. Under that I am feeling needy and don't want to admit it even to myself. If I ask myself, "What do I need right now?" with curiousity, gentleness, and acceptance, I can begin to address my needs myself. Sometimes it is so comforting to know that it's o.k. to have needs and that I am capable of meeting them within myself and/or with others. I love writing on this blog. While I write, I am learning things I didn't know. I hope it is helpful to you, too.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day doesn't have to be about flowers or chocolate. It can be about freely spreading love to yourself and others. How about standing in front of a mirror and blowing kisses to yourself and saying I love you until you can say it with conviction? How about speaking to your loved ones in gibberish about how you feel about them? It could be a cat or a dog as well as a person. How about having your partner sit in a chair as you walk around it and say everything you appreciate about her/him? Then you switch and she/he walks around the chair appreciating you. That way you both practice receiving and giving. How about calling up the people you love and telling them you love them? Valentine's Day may be a hallmark holiday and why not take every available opportunity to express love? For that matter why wait til Valentine's Day? Create some rituals where you let your partner, friends, pets and family know how you feel about them on a regular basis. There is no such thing as too much love.

Love, love, love, love,
Open your heart and let yourself be loved.
There's a powerful love inside of you.
Open your body, Open your heart.
Open your mind to this love.
Val Steppian

Happy Valentine's Day, with love to all of you who read my blog. Thanks.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

precious moment

It is so easy for me to be racing around trying to get everything done. I call it a sense of urgency. Although when I'm in the midst of a sense of urgency I think it makes me more efficient it actually limits my presence and therefore my effectiveness. I bump into things, forget things and drop things. Lately I have also noticed I break things. I bought a lovely set of four wine glasses to drink my kombucha tea out of and I am down to one. My anxious rushing lures those little glass babies right off of the counter. Are glass shards all over the kitchen time consuming or what? I use my breathing technique that I learned from the Thicht Nat Hahn retreat to help me slow down. I inhale and say to myself, precious moment. Then I exhale and say to myself, wonderful moment. It is so healing to give this moment my full attention with my breath. A sense of urgency is being in the future focused on what comes next or in the past thinking I should have done it differently. The Buddha said, Let go of the past, let go of the future. The present is all we have. Precious moment on the inhalation wonderful moment on the exhalation. Ah!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Relationship Balance

My Psych-K training is finished. If you remember, PSYCH-K is a process to free the mind from limiting beliefs. I feel very energized and excited to work with others usings the tools I've learned. One process I was very moved by is called The Relationship Balance.This process is designed to deepen the understanding between two people by identifying and transforming the issues that challenge them. The two people may be in any sort of relationship, couples, friends, family members, co-workers etc. I watched a mother and grown son work through their issues with each other. By the end the love that was pouring out of them toward each other brought me to tears. My friend and I did this workshop together and were able to do the balance with our relationship. Although we were good friends before the training, my heart opened to her in a deeper way during this balance. I could more clearly appreciate the gifts she brings to me and feel my love for her more open-heartedly.I am grateful that I got to experience this training. Learning new things and growing from them is powerful medicine.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Internal Validation

I am enjoying the four day advanced training of PSHCH-K. PSYCH-K is a process that helps you Free The Mind from the prison of limiting beliefs. We are learning various processes called balances to clear the way for life-enhancing beliefs.One of the balances I learned yesterday helped me to be able to stay centered in the face of indifference or inattention from another person. In the past I have taken it personally when someone I am close to seems to be ignoring me or not giving me the attention I deserve. When I give myself my full attention I am able to use my whole brain to respond to the situation without withering and thinking I am deficient or dissolving into anger and reacting. When I am present with myself I can clearly see many options are available to me. Do I want to cut them some slack for the moment and realize they might be distracted by something that has nothing to do with me? Do I want to go do something else? Do I want to talk to the other person about how I feel? Do I want to be alone and nurture myself or talk to a friend? This process is helping me to look for validation internally instead of externally. I am feeling less anxious when I sense disapproval or judgement. In the past it has been easy for me to pretzel myself into whatever I think the other person wants me to be. What if I can be myself and let other people be who they are? What if I could be present without being defensive when other people disagree with me? What if we could know in the face of criticism that we are still good people deserving of our own love? We are, you know.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


I am in a very exciting four day workshop. I will write more about it as I absorb more. Tonight I want to share this:
You are eight years old. It is Sunday evening. You have been granted an extra hour before bed. The family is playing Monopoly. You have been told that you are big enough to join them.
You lose. You are losing continuously. Your stomach cramps with fear. Nearly all of your possessions are gone. The money pile in front of you is almost gone. Your siblings are snatching all the houses from your streets. The last street is being sold. You have to give in. You have lost.
And suddenly you know that is is only a game. You jump up with joy and you knock the big lamp over. It falls on the floor and drags the teapot with it. The others are angry with you but you laugh when you go upstairs.
You know you are nothing and you have nothing. And you know that not-to-be and not-to-have give an immeasurable freedom.
Janwillem Van de Wetering

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Terror of Self Acceptance

On the way to teaching yoga today I asked myself "What would my life be like without my inner critic? I felt relief and I also felt fear.Then I came home and read my peace quote for the day, ( Carl Jung. "The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely." So, I am wondering why that is true? What is so terrifying? One idea I had is that my inner critic is so familiar to me that without it yapping at me I wouldn't know who I was. Or maybe I'm afraid I would run amuck and be an out of control pleasure seeker (horrors!)Another idea is that it somehow keeps me humble to be reminding myself that I suck.I remember when I was a little girl people would hurl this insult at others,"She really loves herself." They said it in connection with"being conceited" or "having a swelled head." or "being too big for her britches." Somehow accepting myself and feeling good about myself was kind of sinful and not respectful of the judeo-christian idea of original sin. Somehow in my mind being a good girl and keeping myself in line by focusing on what I am doing wrong got connected together. What if accepting myself as I am includes accepting the part of me that is terrified to accept myself as I am? What are your thoughts about what is so terrifying about self-acceptance? I am going to a PSYCH-K training for the next four days. If I have the energy to write in the evenings, I will.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


I just returned from the Democtatic caucus. I had never been to one before. When I pulled up to the school there were hundreds of cars.I parked two blocks away. Inside the building I joined a very long line of people who didn't know their precinct number. Now I know and have etched it into my brain.
What struck me when I got to the room was how many people were there and how many of them were in their twenties. The people leading the meeting were both young enthusistic men. Before we voted I asked for people who supported each candidate to speak about the differences between them. I was impressed by the passion of all of the speakers and got some good information. Someone who had been to caucuses in the past said they never had enough people there to sign up the allocated number of delegates from the precinct to the next level of voting. Tonight so many people wanted to be a delegate that we had to have a vote. I feel hopeful about this election in a way I haven't before. I was happy that so many people cared enough to come out on a cold snowy night to participate in this process.People were interested and respectful of each other's opinions. My heart was warmed by the sense of inclusion and coming together for a common goal. If I can wake up maybe other people who have been mostly unengaged in the political process will decide their imput matters and put their energy behind who ever wins this nomination.I am grateful that we are at the point in history where we have the choice between a woman and an afro-american man. I hope our country is ready for change. I am ready for change. More later.

Monday, February 4, 2008


I have been reading the book Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach. I am on my third reading because we are using its teachings to guide the woman's spiritual support group that I facilitate. Carl Rogers is quoted in the book. The curious paradox is that when I accept myself as I am, then I can change. Many things have been coming together in my life in the last week. I am finally getting that is is possible to accept myself as I am. That means including all of me in that acceptance even those formerly icky beyond belief parts. Even those formerly so horrible I would never want anyone to know about them parts. Even those formerly so lothesome I would love an exorcism parts. As I go about my day,I ask myself, In this moment do I accept myself as I am? If I get that I'm not,
I say to myself, What needs to be included ? Then I look at what my holdouts are. For example, it is hard to accept how hard it is for me to get these color changes down and all of the mistakes I am making as I write this. I can easily make up a story that a better writer would be having an easier time. If I take a deep breath and breathe into the part of me that never feels enough and lovingly embrace it as a mother would embrace a child, I can include being the writer that I am in accepting myself. I can also trust that I did a good enough job in writing this tonight and go to sleep. Sweet dreams!

Sunday, February 3, 2008


Tonight, Spiritsong, met at my house. Our singing group gets together once a month to sing and chant and move and meditate.Singing has a way of uplifting my spirit and getting me out of my head.I read in an article that it integrates the right and left brain because the words activate the left brain and the tune activates the right. Singing also banishes the inner critic.Something yummy happens in the room when Spiritsong meets. An energy is created that joins us and expands us. After each chant or song we improvise for a while, each going off in our own direction, yet connected. I am always amazed at the sounds that come out of us.Then we are quiet taking in the healing energy of the sounds. We also do silly songs with silly movements and have lots of fun.I love to sing. It opens my heart and brings great joy.After Spiritsong I always resolve to let myself sing more. I am so much happier when I do.This month I'd like to remember to sing more. I especially love singing in my car. One blessing of winter is I don't have to be self-conscious because with the windows up noone can hear me. Maybe by spring I won't care who I think is listening.
Yesterday at the meditation retreat a woman shared that when she was feeling cranky and taking it out on her husband she suggested to him that they sing their words of annoyance with each other. They ended up laughing. I imagine someone with a pet singing to their animal. They love us no matter what. Would you be willing to hum your favorite song even if you think you can't sing? Or how about belting it out?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Speaking from our souls

When a great ship is in harbor and moored it is safe, there can be no doubt.
But that is not what great ships are built for.

That quote really moved me. It was in an article by Clarissa Pinkola Estes saying that we are here in this time for a reason. She encourages us to speak from our soul. That means to act with mercy toward each other and to have courage at the same time. This brings to mind how I sometimes make myself small, playing it safe, about what I have to contribute to others. When I think my holistic counseling or yoga class or laughter yoga or for that matter this blog, might be useful to someone, it is easy for me to talk myself out of mentioning any of them.
I tell myself it is pushy or arrogant. Underneath is my fear of putting myself out there and getting rejected. If I were speaking from my soul with a combination of acting with mercy toward others and courage, I would at least give more people the opportunity to know what I have to offer. What I have to contribute to others is what I came here to do. What would it be like to push pass my fear of rejection and share more freely? Having a calling includes informing others about that calling. Feel the fear and do it anyway. What would it look like for you to speak from your soul more freely in your life? Is there someone in your life who you love dearly and are shy about saying it? When someone needs help do you tell yourself it would be presumptuous of you to help? How are you playing it safe? What might a small next step be?I am grateful to have the honor of sharing my inner life with you in this blog. Let's support each other in speaking from our souls and launching our ships out to sea.

Friday, February 1, 2008


I get to go to a meditation retreat tomorrow. The buddhist meditation group or sangha that my friend Val goes to is sponsoring the day-long retreat. All week I have been trying to decide whether to go or not. Back and forth back and forth. In addition to periods of sitting and walking meditation a videotaped talk with her teacher and a guided visualization called total relaxation are planned. I have a hearing loss and was concerned that I wouldn't be able to hear the talk or the visualization. Feeling really frustrated in the midst of a day set aside for calm didn't feel good. I realized that instead of guessing about whether I would be able to hear clearly I needed more information. Anyone with any challenge may need to check ahead to see if an event would work for them. Just as one person may need to ask," Is this event wheelchair accessible?," I needed to ask," Will this event work for me if have difficulty hearing?" I called my friend Val who is one of the organizers and asked my questions. Although she couldn't tell me for sure if I would be able to hear or not, she could tell me that the talk and the visualization would have microphones and speakers. With this information I feel good about going and seeing if it works for me. It was a good teaching to recognize that what I want and need is o.k. and that it is alright to ask for help. Is there something that you want or need that you are holding back about expressing or a way that you need help that you aren't asking for?