Monday, March 31, 2008


I just finished watching Echkart and Oprah talk about the pain body. The pain body is the storehouse of repressed pain within each of us. The thing that impacted me the most was the idea of allowing our emotions to be there when they arise. Not denying them, not wallowing in the story of them, but experiencing the energy of them so they can be released. Eckhart talked about creating space for our own emotions. Tara Brach in Radical Acceptance presents the idea of bringing compassion to ourselves when an emotion arises, "I care about your suffering". I think it is important to validate emotion. Like if I am scared or sad or mad to say to myself," I understand that you feel that way". I am learning to live my life with my emotions as a part of me. They don't define who I am and it doesn't make me a bad person to feel them. Feelings are feelings and thoughts are thoughts. If I don't resist and don't obsess I can have the experience I am having without judging myself or someone else. Easier said than done sometimes, yet very freeing when I can be mindful of what is going on and know that I am having a feeling or a thought instead of thinking I am that feeling or thought. Tonight I am feeling disappointed about my upcoming meditation retreat. I found out tonight that my favorite teacher of the four and the one who does the yoga will not be there. I also discovered that my information about everyone getting a small single dorm room to themselves wasn't correct. I will be sharing a room and there will be no yoga. My thoughts and emotions have ranged from fear and sadness and "How will I ever sit for so long now without yoga class and space to myself? Why did I ever think I wanted to do this? What was I thinking? This will be grueling." So, I put my hand over my heart and I say to myself, "I care about your suffering. I can understand that you would feel that way". I notice the tightness in my chest and breathe into it as a witness rather than a judge. I work with the voice that says," You could get out of this, but you would be such a wimp." I continue to breathe into my experience. The tightness subsides and a little bit of my excitement begins to surface. I will bring earplugs in case my roomate snores ( and hopefully she will too because I know that I snore.) I will do my own yoga. I will take care of myself and make my intention for this retreat to be mindful and compassionate with myself, regardless of how unacceptable I am drawn to deem my experience to be. I will create space for all of it even the the act of not being skillful at creating space for some things. I will forgive myself for failing miserably at my intention and remember to acknowledge myself when I notice acceptance. I think this retreat has already started. I am grateful to have this extended period of time to be in silence with all of who I am. What emotions or thoughts are difficult for you to be compassionate about? What could your intention be?

Saturday, March 29, 2008


An update to the robbery stuff. The guy has robbed three coffeeshops in the neighborhood of the yoga studio. One had a surveillance camera. He is called the java bandit and I believe the guy in the picture is the same guy. I have had such positive experiences around this whole incident. The detective was really helpful. It seems the guy uses the same multi colored all capitals note. When I saw his picture I felt the fear return and when I first entered the yoga sudio on friday night the same thing happened. I have been using whole brain posture from PSYCH-K which integrates the left and right brain and tapping and rocking on a regular basis to sooth myself. As I check in with myself now I notice the charge is almost gone. The robbery feels like a memory that has receded into the background. Last night at the teachers' meeting we did a cleansing of each other and the studio called smudging which is a Native American ceremony to release energy you are ready to let go of and welcome new energy. Instead of the usual chant we used the ganesh mantra. Genesh is a hindu elephant god who is the remover of obstacles. I love eclectic ritual. We ended that part with a little laughter yoga. Everyone was very supportive of me,especially Satya, the owner of Whole Yoga. She has handled this as she lives her life, with integrity and love. I felt held by all of the teachers and I feel held by all of you who e-mailed me and all of you who are reading this. Thank you for being a witness to my process. Today when I went to yoga class the studio felt as welcoming and warm as it did before all of this happened. I am grateful to be teaching yoga and especially grateful to be teaching at Whole Yoga where there is such a strong spiritual component. Yoga means union, between body mind and breath. Being a teacher and a student of yoga is a way of life that helps me remember to live with compassion and mindfullness off of the mat as well as on. Yoga is my passion and I am blessed to be able to share that passion with so many people. I have practiced yoga at home for over thirty years and it has enriched my life immeasurable. When I started in my middle twenties I couldn't sit still long enough to take a bath. If you know yoga do a pose for me tonight. What is your passion? How can you bring it into your daily life?

Thursday, March 27, 2008


I have been mulling over in my mind about whether to write about what happened to me yesterday morning. I have decided that it would be helpful to me and maybe to you. This is about a robbery, I am fine and if you think it might upset you too much please stop reading now.On the way to my yoga class I was reflecting on how much more accepting and less judgemental I am becoming. I said to myself,"I am really starting to get it that we are all one" I arrived at the studio and set it up for my class. It starts at 10:30 and noone came.I was disappointed because I love to teach yoga.It had happened once before and I felt like I was handling it without taking it as personally as I had the last time.I wasn't making up a story about what a bad teacher I was. Instead I was brainstorming about how to let more people with flexible schedules know about my class. I decided to stay in the studio and meditate for half an hour. At about 10:40 I heard someone in the entry room. I got up and a man said he wanted information on beginning yoga classes. I asked him what he wanted to know and he handed me a note which said that this was a robbery to remain calm and quiet.Fear rose up in me. I didn't read the rest and asked him if he was kidding. He reached for his pocket, said he had a gun and told me to give him all of the money. I asked him why he was doing this. He said he was sorry and that he needed to buy medication. By now I was very scared. I gave him the money and he left. I was very shaken and went down to the insurance office on the first floor to see if they had seen him and they called 911 and were very supportive. The police came and I filed a report.
I was aware of how little I had noticed about him and how difficult it was to give a clear description. All sorts of stuff was running through my mind. I blamed myself but less than I thought I would. I felt good about how I had handled it even though I was terrified.I felt bad about the studio's loss. I was grateful that the monetary loss wasn't huge and that I wasn't hurt. I was very grateful that noone had come to my class so they were protected from witnessing a robbery in the middle of a yoga class. How awful would that be! I began to do healing work with myself as soon as the officer left and continued throughout the day and evening.The trauma lessened gradually and I was so grateful that I have the tools I have. I had supportive conversations with Gary and with the owner of the studio and felt even better.
Today I did more healing work with my friend Wendy and let go of any residual self blame. It was freeing to see how I blame myself for everything and to clear the incident when I was three where it started. I had been very afraid and was shamed about my fear. I had learned to make myself wrong when I was really afraid. I can see how I didn't do anything wrong and that I handled the situation bravely.Tomorrow night I go to the studio for a class and a teachers' meeting. I feel some trepidation and I am willing to feel my fear and go anyway.I know I will feel supported by the other teachers and we will look at ways to make the sudio more protected. All of the healing work has moved me to a place where I have released feeling like a victum.I feel strong about continuing to integrate this experience.I have never been in an adversarial position with another human in such a dramatic way. I am contemplating and trying to grok it. Grok means to understand it fully. Somehow I will discover that it is not ironic that I was feeling like we are all one right before this happened. Anything can be used to grow or to become bitter. I choose to grow. What is before you that you could choose to grow from or become bitter about? What do you choose?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Did you ever notice that when your partner tells you something it is easy to blow it off. Then when someone else says the same thing it can seem like such brilliance. Gary told me about this movie I am about to tell you about. When he first forwarded it to me I began to watch it, saw it was eighteen minutes and saved it for later. Probably way later.
He brought it up several times saying how much it was worth the time and I finally watched it. To be fair it only took two days. It makes me feel much more understanding for when I tell him something and he blows me off and then someone else, especially his ex-wife, tells him the same thing and he acts like he has never heard it before and it is such great wisdom and so helpful. This movie is about a woman who is a neuro anatomist who witnesses her own stroke. It is so inspiring to hear of her experience of realizing the expansiveness of the human spirit. She explains the working of the brain in a way that is easy to understand. Eckhart Tolle talked about all of us being human beings. There is our human part and our being part. Jill validates this in terms of brain function.It is very exciting to me that there are visionaries on the planet today to teach us about our imagined separation from each other and the truth of our inter connectedness. Whenever I experience one of these people I feel a transmission of energy. It's almost like a mind meld allowing me to connect to their experience.In one session yesterday there was a palpable healing energy as if the room were filled with angels and my client and I were both moved to tears.It seems that sense of the power of the love of the universe is available to all of us when we step out of our own way. It often happens around a beautiful sunset or hanging out with an infant. We get a glimpse into the beauty that includes us.A Russian author whose name I don't remember how to spell, said "beauty will save the world." When we have those moments of knowing we are all one it is easier to be compassionate for others foibles and for our own. This is so healing for the US and THEM mentality that is so much a part of our world. If we are all one and I am aware of that, how does it change my behavior? How does it change yours? Check out this movie at If that doesn't work e-mail me at and I will forward it to you.

Monday, March 24, 2008


I just found out that I got in to a four day meditation retreat ten days from now. I registered late because I was hoping to have surgery at that time.I was extremely disappointed and anxious about not getting to schedule surgery as soon as I wanted to. I had to let go of my pictures and embrace the schedule of the doctors. It seemed like I had been waiting forever and my symptoms were creating lots of suffering. Rather I was creating lots of suffering about my symptoms.Several days after I finally knew the date I released my stress over not being in control. The severity of my symptoms lessened. I saw very dramatically the role stress plays in the body. Once I knew I had to wait and I could handle what was happening I could relax. Eckhart in the webcast tonight says to ask yourself,"Am I able to accept this moment as it is? Can I be the space for this? Can I use it as a vehicle or a messenger of presence?" Each moment presents an opportunity for us to embrace it and use it to move back to presence. Some are way easier than others. After I realized I could do the retreat then I debated with myself about whether I wanted to or not. My inner guidance kept saying, "Go for it. It is a perfect preparation. You can do it." My inner critic would counter with,"You are having trouble meditating at all. How are you going to meditate for four days? Who are you kidding?" I finally decided that although it would be a challenge I wanted to go. By then there were seven people who wanted the last available spot. I am very grateful that I get to go. I am hoping that they found more rooms and all seven of us got to go. I am excited and scared. I have all sorts of food allergies and eating what others eat is very challenging.I know I can bring some of my own food. I get a small dorm room. The space for myself will help me to feel more comfortable. My first silent retreat I slept in a dome with 15 other women and one bathroom. Can you imagine 15 women pantomiming the logistics of sharing a bathroom? Now it seems really comical but at the time I thought my bladder would burst and the weather was too cold to go outside. Some of the women snored, I was probably one of them. By the end I was very sleep deprived. Even so, it was a very positve growthful experience. When I first moved to Colorado in 1971 my boyfriend was a teacher at the Holy Cross Abbey in Canyon City where this retreat will be held. It feels like a full circle to be going back there. It was at that time that I began my first meditation studies with Silva Mind Control.This is a silent Vipassana or Insight meditation retreat. There will be four teachers and a combination of walking and sitting meditation.The meals are eaten in silence. I was talking tonight about how many times I have set the intention to let go of reading when I eat. I usually eat mindfully for a few days and then go back to reading and eating. Tomorrow I am going to recreate this intention so I can ready myself for the retreat. Reading when I'm not eating and eating when I'm not reading is very challenging.It will be useful to me to separate them and be more mindful and present when I am doing each of them. It allows me to eat less and to enjoy reading more. Somehow it is hard for me to take the time to read just because I want to.Back to the pleasure thing. It is very pleasurable to read and I am giving myself permission to do pleasurable things even after March (my birthday month) is over. What is something pleasurable you could give yourself permission to do? When?

Sunday, March 23, 2008


This is my birthday blog. I have had a wonderful day. Two years ago on my birthday I broke my ankle skiing. Yesterday I went to a challenging yoga class and felt really strong. It has taken two years for my ankle to completely heal and I am so happy to be back. Last year I took my Mom to the doctor on my birthday after she had had a psychotic episode. This year I was more relaxed about my birthday and ready to enjoy myself no matter what. I have felt very loved all day. I have received touching and heart warming phone calls cards and a plant from family and friends. My sister, who thinks she can't sing, sang happy birthday to me anyway. It sounded really good to me. Gary greeted me with a bright smile and appreciative words on a card of hand made paper. He is a gem cutter and he gifted me with a rock he had cut and polished called numite that is helpful to deepen meditation and quiet the mind. Heaven knows that will be a helpful tool. I called my Mom so I could tell her it was my birthday and she sang to me to and remembered all the words except my name. It felt good to call her and include her in my birthday. Gary and I went to a deeksha oneness blessing which was combined with a kirtan (chanting) and restorative yoga. It was my first experience of deeksha. The leader who trained at Oneness University placed his hands on the crown of each of our heads and sent loving energy through us. I felt my mind become much quieter and my heart open. I have felt calmer and happier since. Who knows how long this will last ? It's been five hours. I guess it's up to me now. It's cool that this followed on the heels of commiting to noticing the good and the beauty. I was aware of several things I could have focused on and been annoyed with today.
When I became aware of each of them I noticed my budding reactivity mostly as a witness rather than a judge . I validated my feelings," I can sure understand that you feel that way "and moved my attention back to the present. It is lovely that my visits to the present are becoming more extended. Afterwards we went to a healthfood grocery store for a snack and I had my delicious vegetable juice. The guy who made it combined the wheat grass with the veggie juice. It tasted very intense but I deemed it not worth complaining about. Although I felt even more like a grazing cow than usual it gave me it's reliable burst of energy. Afterwards we walked around Washington Park, my favorite in Denver. We walked along the sand around the north lake and saw lots of duck and geese swimming in couples. I felt grateful to have a companion like Gary to share adventures with. He cooked dinner and cleaned up, too. He made hearts out of raw carrot slices as a garnish. It's such a relief to be out of my critical mind enough to notice what a peach he is. Now I am writing in here and feeling so happy to have this creative outlet to share about my day with all of you. I am truely blessed. It's nice to have the focus of my birthday to count my blessings. I have begun again to practice noticing five good things at the end of the day. It feels so good to end my day in gratitude. Today I have about fifty. Thank you to everyone in my life who helped make this such a special day. What are you grateful for today? See if it feels good to you to end your day that way.

Friday, March 21, 2008


It's always a little adventure to see how a new font and color turn out. I notice that it is easy for me to feel happy over little things. It's a quality my Mom passed on to me. Today I saw a bunch of colorful balloons outside an apartment building and the bright colors made me smile. I quietly sang a little song as I chose my veggies at the grocery store, letting go of my worries about what other people might think. That made me happy too.
The song was written by Thicht Naht Hahn, the heartful Vietnamese monk.
We are moving
On a journey to nowhere
Taking it easy
Taking it slow.
No more worries
No need to hurry
Nothing to carry
Let it all go.
I have been singing it to myself since yesterday. Gary and I went to couples counseling and I went back to when I was born and brought in all of my spiritual resources. I told myself it would all be O.K. In fact that it would be way more than O.K. I was living proof to that newborn infant that it was safe to let go of my protective defense of focusing on what's wrong so I wouldn't be hurt or dissappointed. I felt wrapped in loving arms and free to notice the good and beauty around me. Focusing on what's missing and what's wrong sure makes life feel unpleasant at best and horrible at worst. Today I have been mindful of noticing my focus on what's missing and what's wrong and being compassionate with myself, " Oh there I go again. What do I need
right now?" At one point I got that I needed rest. So, I said to myself,"What would a person do who needed to rest? They would rest." So I lied down on the floor in the sun and rested for ten minutes. For the second time this week, I rested. I am exercising less because of all this resting and my fears of turning into a blimp haven't manifested so far. In the midst of focusing on what's missing and what's wrong it has also been easy for me to be happy over little things. Maybe now I will be able to notice them more and be more forgiving when I don't. There is a wellspring of joy inside of me that bubbles up sometimes and fills me. Focusing on beauty especially in nature helps direct my attention to the relaxed joyfullness that is inside of me- that is inside of us all.
This weekend I am going to go hiking in a beautiful place. What is beautiful to you? What could you do to immerse yourself in it?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


At the end of teaching a yoga class today my students were in sivasana. Sivasana, also called corpse pose or relaxation pose, is when you lie on your back and relax. During those ten minutes, I sit in meditation. I realized my inner critic was quiet. It wasn't yapping at me about what I did wrong in the class or comparing me to other teachers. It wasn't scrambling to come up with a perfect closing so I wouldn't do it wrong. It was quiet. Realizing it was quiet, I breathed into the space and enjoyed it. It came to me that every time I work with a client or teach a class or lead laughter yoga I begin with an intention process. "Go down into your body to the wellspring of wisdom inside of you, a source of guidance and intuition and ask yourself what your intention is for being here today. When you notice what bubbles up take three deep breaths and breathe it into your body. Take your time and when you are ready open your eyes." Creating an intention helps a person focus their attention on what they want for themselves. I also do this process and for the last month what has bubbled up is FREEDOM. Also a line from a song which goes," I'm free, freedom based on reality." It puzzled me. Today I got it. Freedom is the freedom to have internal quiet free from my inner critic. That freedom is available anytime I am willing to be mindful of that voice, go under the story it is telling me to the sensations underneath and breathe. It helps to ask myself ,"what needs my attention right now?" Freedom based on reality means that in true reality there is empty space. When I allow myself to experience that emptiness it opens up into a fullness that is vast and filled with love. It is good to be tasting that quiet. My inner critic will continue to present me with many opportunities to be aware of it. My intention is to meet it with mindfulness and compassion, saying"Thank you for sharing." and breathe. Quiet is a great gift. I have to slow down enough to be able to give it to myself. Would you be willing to slow down enough sometime soon to rest without distractions and open to the possibility of quiet? Thank you for all the great comments on this blog. I really appreciate it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Today I got a massage. Gary's mother gave me a check for a holiday present. When I called to thank her I told her that I had wanted to get a massage for a long time and that I would use her check to get one. That was in December. I realized how hard it is for me to get a massage. I'll spend money on psychological growth. I'll take the time to get body work if I have an injury or am in pain. Getting a massage to relax or just to nurture myself is a challenge. The last time I got a massage the woman had donated it to an auction for a charity. Somehow that felt O.K. to buy. The person who gave me my massage today was Barry Drexler ( who I got a massage from twenty years ago when he first started his practice. One of my friends who has worked with him regularly over the years gave me his number. Practicing for twenty years has made him very skilled at melting the tension out of my body. I appreciate that he didn't talk much and I was able to be quiet, bring myself my own attention and receive. Now I am aware of how difficult it is to take care of myself in certain ways. If it is for growth or healing-piece of cake. If it for pleasure or fun-not so easy. What if it is O.K. to do something that has no redeeming social value just because it might feel good? I also went shopping for shoes today. I don't really need shoes. I just want new shoes. I am tired of wearing tennis shoes. I spent an hour and didn't find any. It was fun, anyway. I am thinking of all of the things I don't let myself do because I would feel too guilty. Maybe if I let myself expand my repertoire of things I get to do, it will be easier to let go of overeating and picking my nails. This is a good month to experiment, since it is my birthday month. During March I am aware of doing nice things for myself all month. One of my goals is to eventually celebrate my birthday all year, by treating myself with loving kindness. How about adding in some fun and pleasure? What a concept. I notice I have been struggling with doing my disciplines in the last few weeks. I call them deep fun and I love to do them. However, walking and practicing meditation and yoga hardly qualify as most people's definition of fun or pleasure. Maybe if I let myself get another massage or watch a little mindless T.V. or hang out and do nothing, it would be easier to sit on my cushion. What do you do that is fun? When was the last time you did it? When could be the next time?

Monday, March 17, 2008


I led laughter yoga today. Denver Laughter Club meets every Monday at noon at the Unitarian church on 14th and Lafayette.( Sharing laughter creates such a strong sense of connection. I hardly know the people in the group and I feel close. Letting go and being silly and playful creates a child-like connection. When my daughter Monnya was a little girl she would be at a playground and connect with a child she had never met before. They would play together until it was time to go home, have a great time and never know each other's names. It was the shared experience in the present moment that created the connection. This is true of laughter club. In laughter clubs all over the world people come together to look into each other's eyes and laugh for no reason. It doesn't matter how different we are from each other. We are united by a common desire to use laughter to heal and to create happiness and peace of mind. Plus it is so much fun to let go of inhibitions and be a complete idiot. That is very freeing. I am grateful for Dr. Madam Kataria's vision of healing the world one laugh at a time. Hundreds of thousands of people all over the world are participating in his vision.
When I am in a leadership role I sometimes second guess myself. Leading laughter yoga comes so naturally. It is as if my inner playful little girl who was often very serious gets to come alive. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. I was laughing outloud in the aisle of the grocery store last week. It was so fun to let go of what other people might think and enjoy myself. It seemed to be contagious. I always notice when a child is laughing in public it makes adults smile. It's fun to be a child with the wisdom of an adult. Such a deal!
I was also aware of a strong connection with the two million people watching the Eckhart and Oprah web class tonight.( It is thrilling to me to be part of a community of seekers from all over the planet. I love learning and it is so cool to share this level of learning with so many people. Tonight I am very grateful for my life and the richness of it. You are part of that richness. Thanks

Sunday, March 16, 2008


It's fun to write in a different color and font every time. Variety is the spice of life.
It seems to me that anything I do on a regular basis is juicier when there is a balance between ritual that stays the same and variety. When I practice yoga at home there are certain poses I do regularly and I also experiment with a new or different pose. Spiritsong, the chanting group I sing with seems to have a nice balance of the chants we usually do and the improvization we do after each chant.
When we are done we sit quietly and absorb the sound into our bodies. One of the chants that I like the best was written by my friend Val who's in the group.

Greet each moment with your presence. Feel the wonder of your life.
The present moment is the best thing . Breathe into it. Feel alright.

As we sang tonight I focused on what I wanted to let of go so I could be more present. In Eckhart's talk this week he speaks about not identifying with physical illness as being who you are. I notice it is easy for me to lead with this condition I have when someone askes me how I am. I have been interrupting that tendency. There is a lot going on in my life that I want to share about besides my upcoming surgery and it is good practice to chose something else to lead with. I am excited to be beginning the second level of my yoga teacher's training in three weeks. Yoga is my passion and it feels great to be a student of yoga. I am a little afraid because my body is less flexible than many others and we will be doing some advanced poses. I took care of myself and spoke to the teacher about my fears, asking for reassurance. She said that we will be modifying all the poses with blocks and pillows and other props because noone will be able to do all of the poses. It was very useful to hear and my worries about the training lessened. I notice that many of the things I worry about are based on a story I have made up about the future. When I can be aware that the story is an assumption I have made it is easier to reassurare myself or to get reassurance from someone else. I made up a big story about Gary not caring about me when he doesn't respond to something I share with him. He thinks it isn't necessary because he knows he has heard me. When I realized what I was making up about his non-response I could take it less personally. It was easier to ask him to respond to me when I talk to him without blaming him. "When you don't respond to what I am sharing with you I feel hurt. What I want is for you to verbally respond even if it is just a grunt." He really heard me and has made a big effort to respond. He cares about me and wants me to feel cared about. It is so healing to ask for what I want rather than making up a story, running with it, feeling angry and withdrawing. When I speak my truth from my heart, I grow, regardless of the outcome. It is an opportunity to add variety to my response repertoire. Mindfulness of my habitual patterns allows me to do something different. Would it add variety to your life to risk sharing a truth you have been holding back?

Friday, March 14, 2008

I am trying a new color. It is fun to write this in olive green. As I become more open-hearted, I am opening to things I used to think I didn't like. Olive green looks pretty now.
I watched the Eckhart-Oprah web class tonight. It now has closed captions which makes it so much easier for me. If you haven't seen it yet go to It's worth checking out.The teaching that spoke to me loudest tonight was the idea of the non-negative NO. Eckhart was talking about the importance of listening inside of yourself when someone asks something of you. It's good to discern between an internal YES and an internal NO and to begin to recognize how each feels in our body. He distinquishes between a defensive no and a non-negative no. A defensive no comes from the ego and packs a punch. The tone of voice may have guilt or resentment behind it. The punch could be a tone that implies," How dare you ask me to do that?" rather than a simple clearly stated no.
A non-negative no requires no explanation,justification or excuses. If someone asks me whather I want to do something I am free to explain my no if I choose to. This is different than my explanation coming from the feeling that it isn't O.K. to say no. Mostly when I say no from my heart it is easy to do it in a loving way. Often I feel guilty and that's O.K.
I would rather say no and feel guilt than say yes and feel resentful. What's important is not to knee-jerk to either yes or no. I used to automatically say yes when someone asked me to do something. That ended up creating so much resentment and blame. Then I decided I had had enough of taking care of others and would take care of myself first. That led to a period of knee-jerking to no and being defensive.Both were fear based and ego-driven because both were a reaction to the other person rather than an expression of my truth.After a while I figured out that I wasn't stuck with my knee-jerk response whether it was yes or no.I could go back and communicate that I had gotten clear about what really worked for me and change my mind. Cleaning up my knee-jerks took lots of time and energy and it helped me to see the importance of making my decisions from the inside. The more I did that the more peaceful I felt. The next stage was the intention when I was asked to do something of saying"I need some time to think about this. I'll get back to you." That gave me time to go inside and check in with myself and try things on. These days yes or no from inside comes easier and decisions are still challenging. Now it's more about trusting that I make good choices and working with the habitual pattern of second guessing myself. The more I am aware that it is my inner critic pulling me out of the present by second guessing the easier it is to disengage and bring myself back to the present and the wisdom of my body. It is there that I know what I want. Sometimes it takes longer than others to discern that wisdom and it is always there waiting for me to get out of my own way and pay attention. I am grateful to be learning more about YES and No and to be able to communicate them less defensively. What do you need to say No to? How can you communicate it in a way you will feel good about?

Thursday, March 13, 2008


I finally scheduled my surgery today. It is such a relief. I learned so much about how challenging it is for me to be out of control of what's happening. Although it is over a month away at least I know. Gary, my boyfriend, will be going with me to Tampa, Florida. It is a stretch for me to lean on him in this way. I have been so fiercely independant.It is more about letting go of the illusion of control. He made the plane reservations and did a great job. I really appreciate being held in this way. It means a lot to me that he wants to go with me. He is so willing to be there for me.I have resisted this relationship off and on for almost three years.
Deep inside I knew that despite all my fears and doubts it would be a major mistake to leave. I feel a deep spiritual connectiion with Gary and this is the most important thing to me. As I step back and accept him for who he is, he is taking responsibility for many things I have had fears and doubts about. One of those things was self care. This week he has done a better job of taking care of himself than I have of myself.It feels great to feel inspired by him.
I have had a long time deep belief that I can't do what I want to do and be in a relationship. With many of my past partners I started feeling trapped about not doing what I wanted to do and I eventually left. This time I am seeing that this belief is my own responsibility. Gary doesn't keep me from doing what I want to do, I do. Last weekend I went to a yoga class.Usually I fit my yoga classes into the time we're not together because we only see each other on the weekend. It was great and he supported me in going and was clear that he didn't want to go. He was fine hanging out at my house and doing what he wanted to do for a few hours.
I appreciate learning to listen to myself while being in a relationship. It works for me to see each other on weekends and to have the week to myself. Being present with what is, is very healing. I am grateful to be in a relationship where
we are commited to each others growth, even when it is uncomfortable. That is a real blessing. In your relationships, how are you blessed?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Tonight I am grateful for my body. I jocked out today and although I feel tired, I'm not sore. I walked with a friend in the morning, taught a yoga class, and then hiked with another friend in Boulder in the afternoon. It is much more than I usually do and I was concerned about whether I could do it. I broke my ankle skiing two years ago and still feel twinges of pain when I push myself. It turned out that my first walk at a moderate pace was a warm-up for my yoga class and my yoga class warmed me up for the hike. Although this is too much for my body on a regular basis, I am happiest when I am moving my body around. I sit most of the day in my work so exercise is very important to me. I notice if I don't move my body around I feel much more anxious. In the winter, I walk. I have been practicing noticing my surroundings more when I walk. It is easy for me to be in my head for my whole walk and come home without really being present. When I make a point to soak in nature I enjoy myself and feel refreshed when I am finished. I have been practicing noticing strong emotion and being with the sensation of it as I walk. It seems lately I am experiencing strong emotion a great deal of the time.
Parathyroid disease has this as a symptom. I was pretty intense emotionally before this disease and now I feel as if an alien were inhabiting my body. This alien is pissed off very easily. Yesterday it was a humbling experience to realize that even though I have been meditating for thirty years I can still flip off and scream at some guy who says, " Nice body young lady" to me from a truck as I walk in the park. It is my fantasy that before this disease I would have been annoyed at the guy for disturbing my peaceful, energizing walk. I would've felt sad that he had such a distorted way of communicating but I probably wouldn't have screamed at him to go away or I would call the cops.
I did feel better after I vented and was able to let it go. Well, I guess not completely because I am writing about it now. Anyway I am tempted to delete all of this section about the guy in the park because I feel vulerable writing about it. For that reason I am leaving it in. One of the things I most want to model is emotional vulnerability. How does speaking the truth from my heart even though it isn't pretty impact the quality of my relationsips? How about you? And speaking of impact, How do you move your body around and how does it serve you?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I just finished reading an interview with Deepok Chopra in Elephant magazine. He has written a novel called BUDDHA and was being interviewed about his book and his life.
The teaching that most resonated with me was: "Joy is not wanting to judge or be judged. Joy is a sense of profound peace. Joy is creativity. Joy is not a permanently blissed-out state. That would doom us to eternal senility." It seems to me that joy is an inner state of accepting things as they are and being present with that, even if things suck. When I know I will be there for myself no matter what I can let my natual state of relaxed joyfulness bubble up. It doesn't mean I have to like the circumstances. Deepok also talks about being present in the midst of the choas around us. He flies all over the world and has written about twelve books. The interviewer asked him how he stays so busy and seems so peaceful. He said, "My body travels all over the place but I don't get involved."
My challenge right now is to bring myself back to center and the sense of trusting in the universe that things work out. I am waiting to have my surgery scheduled and it's been three weeks. I have been gathering and sending all the things that are my part of setting up out of town surgery. This surgery isn't major. My condition is extremely rare and there is one person who only does this kind of surgery. I am fortunate to be able to go for the best. So are many other people which is why it takes so long to schedule. I have been in limbo not knowing when this is happening and putting a lot of things on hold. I am anxious when I feel out of control and am facing the unknown. So, it has been quite a teaching to bring myself back to center and to feel my sense of joy bubbling up in the midst of it all underneath worry about the future. It is relatively easy for me to feel joyful when things are going well. When things are challenging it is easy for me to lose my trust and start expecting the worst. It is actually helping me to trust in the universe more when I am stripped of my usual illusion of control. What is your challenge to be peaceful in the midst of right now?
One more thing about this article. Deepok met with the president of Coca-Cola and asked him," Could you help me market peace in the way you marketed Coke? That way there could be peace in the world." The guy left coca-cola and is now working with Deepok Chopra marketing peace. I felt hopeful about possibilities and used it to reinforce my growing belief that everything works out, even if it doesn't fit my pictures.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Song of Songs

Last night Gary and I watched the Spiritual Cinema Circle movie called SONG OF SONGS.( It is a documentary about love and relationships that featured the director's grandparents, who have been married for 67 years. One of the premises of this movie was that the adult role models in your life shape your expectations of marriage. The director was honoring his grandparents for their modeling of deep caring and fun-sharing. Interspersed with words of wisdom from relationship experts was the story of this aging couple who were still in love. It showed the development of their relationship and comments from each of them about what made their marriage last. Both of them said that they respected each other and worked stuff through when it came up. The guy said they had been through a great deal of hardship and had used it to get closer. Their hardest time was when their kids were all gone and they had to reconnect with each other as people after being so focused on parenting for so long. The woman said that even though neither of them was in very good health anymore their love for each other had flourished and deepened. They were grateful to each other for their wonderful life.It was so sweet and so inspiring to be able to witness two people who had learned to accept and love each other and been together that long. Harville Hendricks and Helen Hunt were interviewed about their relationship. He is the person who I did my couples training with. Harville cried as he talked about commitment and what it was like for him to finally commit to using his relationship to heal. He thanked Helen for bringing up all of his stuff and being clear and firm about his doing his own work on withdrawing when he felt hurt. What I got from the movie was a deep appreciation for Gary and how much he has loved me even in the midst of my fears and doubts about our relationship. We had a great talk sparked by the movie and its discussion questions and stayed up past midnight sharing from our hearts about us. I don't remember the last time I was able to stay up past midnight. I treasure that he is a person who is willing to work on our relationship and also that his lightheartedness is a good balance for my tendency to be so serious sometimes. I feel lucky to be with him. We all have our stuff. It is important to know that each of us is a package deal with qualities we admire and qualities we'd like removed immediately. The people who are willing to shine a light on themselves with mindfulness and compassion are the ones best able to offer those qualities to others. What do you think makes a relationship last?

Saturday, March 8, 2008


Today I went to Boulder for a meditation retreat led by Shelly Young, held in a beautiful house with a spectacular view of the mountains. It felt like being in nature inside. We did periods of sitting meditation, walking meditation and one period of kundalini yoga with sound meditatation from gongs.
The things I got the most out of was the labeling practice she taught. In meditation you name pictures that arise IMAGE. You focus on your mental screen behind your closed eyes and every time a picture comes up you gently and without judgement say IMAGE. Then you hang out with the image until it dissolves. I am not very visual so pictures rarely come up. When I stare at something I see the image behind my eyes. After staring at the teacher as she gave instructions, when I closed my eyes, there she was. It was cool to notice that as I focused on the image with my full attention it dissolved. The challenging part of the practice was labeling talk. My self-talk can be pretty distracting and critical. Everytime we heard something being said inside our heads we were to say TALK and label it as talk without judgement. My mind was very noisy and there was a steady stream of talk. Each time I said TALK I felt more powerful that the noise in my head was talk and I didn't have to be caught up in it. It was very freeing and by the end of the day there were more spaces between my thoughts. Then on the way home when my critical self-talk started I said TALK and brought myself back each time I noticed. It felt good to be unhooked from it by seeing it as TALK. All the things I say to myself are talk: both the complimentary and the uncomplementary. The magic is to recognize that who I am is much more than the voices that speak to me in my head. If it resonates with you play around with quietly and unjudgementally saying TALK to yourself and bringing yourself back to your mental screen or your breath or your body. The inner critic only exists in the past and the future.
It tells us how we messed up in the past and why we need to worry about the future. In the present it doesn't exist. It is TALK.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Oprah and Eckhart

Tonight I watched the web class presented by Oprah and Eckhart Tolle. The class is based on Tolle's book called A New Earth, Awakening to Your Life's Purpose. The thing that moved me the most is that over 700,000 people signed up to participate in this class. It is thrilling that all of these people had some interest in their own awakening. Both Eckhart and Oprah were very candid and direct about their own experience with awakening. I highly recommend this class as a powerful experience of growth and learning in an internet community of spiritual seekers. ( The energy transmitted during the class was palpable . My heart was very open by the end of it. I loved Eckhart's teaching on stillness. He quotes the old testament, "Be still and know that I am God." To him this means that in the stillness beyond thought within us, our consciousness blooms. It is why creating a time of contemplation or meditation no matter how short is a conduit for developing the muscle of returning to our center; that still quiet place within where we can recognize ourselves as being more than just our personality. Tolle suggests being aware of flowers because in their simple beauty they are messengers of spiritual energy. Oprah talked about how meaningful nature in any form is to her and brings her closer to her own presence. She especially likes hanging out with trees. When I am in the mountains my heart opens and I feel a sense of expansiveness. My temple is the mountains. I also feel very connected with all there is when I am being with moving water. I feel the best when I hang out with moving water every day and go to the mountains once a week. Bliss is a mountain hike with a stream running through it. How do you access nature in your life? How could you create more?

Thursday, March 6, 2008


What is attraction? What makes one person attracted to another . Each person would define attractiveness in their own way. To me, attractiveness is a combination of body, mind and spirit. I am attracted to a person who is being real. That person is making his or herself vulnerable emotionally to their hurt or sadness or anger or joy. I am also attracted to a person whose passion for life shines through them. Life force or shakti radiates from the faces of the people I am most attracted to. It's almost as if they are spreading light and love with their very being. I am also attracted to people who take care of themselves and want to work on themselves and value being connected to god. When I feel really listened to that turns me on too. I love being asked questions that encourage me to go deeper. Laughter and having fun and being silly also draw me to others.
What is more important than who I am attracted to or what is attractive to me is when do I feel the most attractive to myself. When I feel most attractive to myself I am in line with my heart's desire. It is often when I am feeling juicy about expressing myself creatively or excited about connecting with another . My work is fertile ground. Making a contribution to others and supporting their growth is attractive. Being relaxed, centered or peaceful and connected with my inner power , I feel drawn to my own energy. Getting a good night's sleep is a player, too. When I am feeling good about myself other people look more attractive. I especially notice this when I am in an airport. Sometimes people look really beautiful to me and sometimes everyone looks ugly. It is a barometer of how I am feeling about myself. When I focus on being aligned with my own heart I feel attractive to myself. I am listening to myself and caring about what I want and need. I am being loving with myself and therefore can be loving with others. When I allow myself to radiate that sense of aliveness in another's presence they often look attractive to me. Is it really letting myself be me radiating my life force that is turning me on, rather than them? When I am working with a person who has begun dating I coach them to focus on how they feel about themselves in the other's presence, rather than trying to control how the other person feels by pretzeling themselves. Experiment with shining your light with others? The light could be a shimmer, a glow or a beam. Ultimately, I want to let my light shine regardless of what others think. What makes you attractive to you? Notice when you are feeling attractive to yourself.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


More about my book. I have been challenged by my relationship with food since I was a small child. Currently I stay slender with the way I eat, how much I move my body around and my connection to my emotions. This wasn't always the case. Here's the short story. In childhood I was very heavy. In my teens and early twenties I lived on coke and cigarettes, in my thirties I tried every diet under the sun. Since then I have grown and learned so much about the self-hatred that created my hurting myself with food. In my middle twenties I was so anxious I couldn't sit still long enough to take a bath. Yoga and meditation saved me from doing serious damage to myself with an eating disorder. I will always be grateful to my daily practice for giving me a lifeline to connect with my inner source of strength. The work that I have done with help, with friends and with clients and what I have learned from all of that is the long version of my story. It is contained in my book. Also included are information about eating, food and self-esteem, case studies of friends and clients, and exercises to practice. The exercises make the book personally relevant to the reader. The book has the working title of Eating my way to god, A food addict's journey to freedom. I think it could be useful to anyone dealing with any addiction or compulsion who wanted to learn to be able to treat themselves with compassion and bring mindfulness to their healing process. I am hopeful it will be ready to publish soon. Right now the copies I have been running off at kinko's and selling have some typos and misspellings and as I said yesterday my friend Graham is copy editing. Thanks for listening. It's exciting to share about my book. If you were going to write a book that would be a learning experience for you to explore something you are curious about what would it be about?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Smokey and Graham

I wonder what I will write about today? Often I have some idea of what I want to write based on something I have experienced or read. Today I am writing without knowing what to write about. I could probably find different ways to write about not knowing what to write about. In the book The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron introduces a technique she calls the morning pages. She suggests writing three pages every day in a stream of consciousness without judging or even looking at what has been written. The year I did the morning pages helped me to have a less harsh relationship with my inner critic. I began to see that there was no way to do the morning pages wrong and it was very freeing. If you have wanted to journal and worried you would have nothing to say the morning pages are a great way to start. I suggest you get yourself a notebook, set aside some time and write for three pages. It's even o.k. to write "I don't know what to write about," until you do know. Also called free writing the morning pages were a great help to me when I was writing my book to rev the engine of my creativity. Speaking of my book, it is being edited for the third time, as we speak, by my friend Graham.The first editing was done by my friend Smokey,his wife. She and I spent a year editing my book over the phone from New Mexico. I am enormously grateful to her for all the time and energy she put into me and my book.I appreciate her skill as a writer and an editor. I did the second editing and the book was left with misspellings and typos. Graham is now doing copy editing, spending a lot of time with the hardcopy of the book. I feel grateful to both of them and appreciate how much they have been there for me over the years.We wear many hats with each other.I am blessed to have friends like them. I have watched their love for each other grow to a place of true caring and compassion.I have learned a great deal from them about accepting each others differences and using them to grow closer.I feel such a deep love and connection with both of them. I am going to tell them to read this blog today because it is in their honor. Do you have any friends who have really been there for you that you would like to acknowledge? Call or write and let them know.
It really feels good to express appreciation randomly when it's not attached to a birthday or another special occasion.
It reminds me that the bumper sticker Practice random acts of kindness, isn't only meant for people we don't know. It is also so important to let the people we love, know we love them. For that matter how about giving yourself a hug right now and saying three things you appreciate about yourself?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Letting Go

It feels very good to be writing again. I have grown to rely on the satisfaction I feel from creatively expressing myself with this blog. I hope you are benefitting from reading it as much as I am from writing it. My trip to visit my mother was about letting go. Probably the nicest part of the trip was sitting in a gazebo together in the courtyard outside of the Alzheimer's unit. We sat mostly in silence, just hanging out. She is very much in the present. Without memory there is nothing but the present. Although I miss who my Mom was, I am letting go more and more and accepting who she is. My old pattern of holding my body tight in order to keep myself from being emotionally vulnerable with her melted away into relaxation. Her critical edge is gone. I could let of protecting myself. Sometimes we would look into each others eyes and I really felt loved and loving. We were wordlessly acknowledging each other by looking into each other's souls. I guess a big benefit of letting go is it makes it easier to accept what is. It's so easy to hold on to my pictures of how I want things to be and to let go of my life as it is. It works much better to let go of my pictures of how I want things to be and to embrace my life as it is. I like to say that it's time to put something in my "Dead Picture book". I want to put my old relationship with my mother in my Dead Picture book. I will put all the ways I was afraid of her and all the ways I loved interacting with her. I will let go completely of the part of me that always wanted her approval and always felt that I was doing it wrong in her eyes. I will allow myself to take responsibility for internalizing this sense of doing it wrong and continue with my healing journey of self-acceptance. I will let go of the fun we had being silly and playful and her willingness to have talks about feelings. I will let this old pictue go and continue opening to my mother as she is and to myself as I am. Goodbye, Mom. Hello, Mom. Do you have anything you'd like to put in your Dead picture book? What are you ready to let go of that would allow you to embrace your life as it is more fully?