Friday, May 30, 2008


Today I got to spend time with my daughter Monnya. She is doing some work for me at my house. It is such a joy to spend time with her. Her resourcefulness and creativity contribute so much to my life. So far she is painting and organizing. I have a lovely bright new upstairs hallway and a partly reorganized art room. One prerequisite to doing art projects is to be able to find the stuff needed to do them. Now at least there is more of a chance that my artist soul can be expressed. I need to set aside time and follow through. My yoga training is over tomorrow so some space will be created. I am grateful that it is over. I will be glad to have the time and energy returned. Eight weeks of Thursday nights, Friday nights and five hours each Saturday has been a huge time committment. I have learned to be much more mindful of my body and not to take strength and health for granted. I am more relaxed about my spiritual practices- trusting more in the big picture and worrying less about day to day. It has been very satisfying to be part of a learning community and to feel safe and close to my fellow students. Something clicked into place in my brain and I understand much more about how hips and knees work- anatomy makes sense to me now. I think I will be a better yoga teacher and a more aware person having done this training. It has been very difficult and challenging and doing another advanced yoga training in its present form is probably not a good idea for my body. Pretzel poses and my non-pretzel body are not a good mix. It is humbling to accept and honor my physical limitations. I do want to age gracefully. Part of that is realizing that my body is changing. At least I feel wiser. Wisdom is a nice bennny of aging. Speaking of aging I have been feeling kind of old and dried up partly from the effects of the surgery and partly from jumping into this training so soon after the surgery. I have been thinking about cutting my hair to lighten up. Monnya cut my hair today. It is short and sassy.
I feel lighter and younger. It is just what I needed. She did a great job. She cuts her own hair and her fiance Issac's hair and I trusted she knew what she was doing.We did it in the backyard and I surrendered control without looking in a mirror. Monnya inspires me to be spontaneous and to take risks. She is a good teacher. All the dead hair is gone and I emerge a new woman ready for the next era of my life.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


It is late and I spent too much time reading about teaching yoga and answering e-mails. I'm not sure I can write anything intelligible. (or even that I can spell intelligible) Usually I use a dictionary to check my spelling which can be an area of great challenge. I don't want to look up the word right now, so I'm not going to. Allowing myself not to look up the word intelligible in the dictionary made me curious enough to see how to spell it and look it up. This is a good lesson. When I try to bully myself into doing something with my "shoulds" (shoulding on myself by saying," You probably spelled that word wrong. You are too lazy to see how to spell it right. Don't you care enough to do it right?") I meet with resistance. I dig my heels in and drag my feet or avoid doing it at all. When I allow myself to not do what I think I should and speak to myself kindly about it, space is created for my natual desire to bubble up. How is that true in other areas? In my home yoga and medition practice I used to do an hour of each in order to feel good about doing enough. Before my yoga training started I realized that my spiritual practice had become a should. It became harder and harder to do. During my yoga training, after injuring my knee, I gave myself permission to do only what I could and only what felt right to me in my home practice.
Cross-legged meditation was out and so were many of my regular poses. I learned to sit in a chair for shorter periods of time and to do poses more mindfully and gently. I have worked back up to a half hour of each. I want to let go of my tendency to be rigid about this and expect myself from now on to do an hour of practice. If I move the shoulds out of the way my natural desire to do yoga and to meditate gets to bubble up and I engage in my spiritual practice being more present. Isn't that the point? Each day will look different informed by what my body mind and spirit want that day because I am listening to what that is. That is surely the point. Can you relate? What would it be helpful for you to look at about any of your shoulds?

Monday, May 26, 2008


Today I went for a walk in the rain. A fine mist was falling and it felt like getting a facial. My skin drank it up like a cool drink on a hot day. It was delicious. I imagine the plants and trees and flowers liked it too. When it is overcast colors seem so much more vivid. As I walked through the park the greens of the grass and trees and the pinks purples and reds of the flowers seemed to jump out into my outstretched eyes. I felt childlike and carefree walking in the rain. It felt easy to greet strangers because they were part of the tribe of rainwalkers. As I approached my street two boys who looked about ten and twelve were playing on a pogo stick. I stood and watched and the little girl inside me was very excited. I had a pogo stick when I was growing up and I spent hours on it. A great deal of concentration was required to keep jumping and not go flying off it. I got so I could stay on it for many jumps. This was something I could be good at even though I was overweight and not very athletic. Seeing these boys jumping in the middle of the street brought it all back to me. I screwed up my courage and asked if I could try their pogo stick. They were very generous and said sure and didn't even roll their eyes at each other. I climbed on and started to jump and the rhythm came back to me. I jumped about ten times and then jumped off. They were impressed and that was fun. I thanked them warmly and said goodbye and continued on my way. It felt wonderful in two ways. One was that I put myself out there and asked for what I wanted. Two was that I did something I wouldn't normally do that the little girl inside me was excited about. As I walked on I could feel waves of pleasure-walking in the rain having jumped on a pogo stick. One of the reasons it was so much fun to be a Mom to a young child was because I got to do playful things a lot.
Now that Monnya is grown up once a year I hang out with my ten year old friend Danielle and we play. Even though I am usually exhausted when she goes home I so enjoy keeping up with her boundless playfulness and creativity. I think it's one reason people love to be with grandchildren so they have another opportunity to play. Today was different.I let myself play without the excuse of having another kid around besides me. In the future I'd like to look for opportunities to be playful just because it's fun. I bet Andie (the little girl inside me) has lots of great ideas. I want to expand what I think of as fun and bravely risk being foolish even more than I already do. Laughter yoga is a great opportunity to be silly and playful. The group I love meets Mondays at noon at the Unitarian Church on 14th and Lafayette in Denver. Come and give it a try if the spirit moves you. It's a great way to practice letting go and laughing for no reason.
What will give your inner child a chance to play? Maybe it would be good to ask and see what your inner little boy or girl would like to do that sounds like fun. Then take a deep breath and let yourself do it.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Keep going

I had a problem jaw. It cracked and popped and the muscles never relaxed. When I am sleeping I clench my teeth. I also have had a strong intuitive feeling for a long time that my tight jaw and my difficulty with hearing were related. The chiropractor/healer I have been working with has supported me on my quest to find a dentist that could help me. We were looking for a dentist who could create a plastic splint for my mouth that could balance my jaw and not harm the rest of my body. In the past dentists were unwilling to listen to Dr. Allen Berger's expertise about integrating the whole body in the creation of a devise for the jaw. About six months ago I realized my current dentist couldn't help me with what he had to offer. This was the forth dentist in five years and altogether involved a huge investment of time and money. At first I was dicouraged . Then I decided it was important enough to me to keep pursuing my vision of a balanced jaw in a healthier body with the possibility of clearer hearing. I did an internet search for Holistic Dentists and interviewed all of them. I chose Dr. Eileen McGinty because she seemed real and knowledgeable and open to the idea of each body part effecting the whole.
(Even though I looked them up in the dictionary the difference between effect and affect alludes me. If you have any ideas about when to use each of them please let me know.)
Dr. McGinty made me a splint that tightened up my back and neck. I couldn't wear it and I asked her to speak to Dr. Berger.When they talked on the phone the professional collaboration I had hoped for wasn't created. I felt hopless about getting a splint that would help my jaw. Dr. McGinty's assistant adjusted my splint and my neck and back were even worse. Then I asked Dr. McGinty if she was open to Dr. Berger coming to her office. When I explained that he could muscle test my body to see how it was being affected by the splint and help her to adjust it accordingly, she was willing. The three of us met today. Everyone was openhearted toward each other. When I closed my eyes went into my circle and checked in with myself, I felt that everything would be O.K. By the way if my definition of O.K. is broad enough, everything is always O.K. The collaboration between the two doctors was heartwarming. Both of them were advocating for my well-being rather than for their own egos. It was thrilling to me to walk out of there with a splint that actually helps my body relax and let go. I am glad I kept going even when I was afraid it wouldn't work out. Is there something in your life that you have given up on or pulled your energy back from that could use another round of your attention? It could be worth it. It was for me.
Tomorrow is Gary's 60th birthday. I will be up in the mountains and will write again Sunday or Monday or Tuesday. I hope you enjoy yourself on this Memorial Day weekend.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I just erased a half done blog about an article I read about Tantra, an ancient eastern philosophy. It was starting to sound pedantic and heady. Since Tantra is about embracing experience fully and seeing everything as divine I decided to delete what I had written in honor of Tantra. The article is helping me to understand that different parts of me are not beter or worse than others. In non-dualistic Tantric philosophy the body and physical experience are seen as an aspect of the spiritual whole, not a second class citizen to be transcended in order to be holy. Today I was aware of the gorgeous warm sunny day and the movement of my body through space within it. I was so grateful to be in a body to be able to have this physical experience. This is very heightened right now because my body has been in pain from various injuries for the past few weeks. Walking through the park I felt grateful to be moving without pain. I realized how much I take for granted that my body doesn't hurt when it doesn't. When my body isn't in pain I am free to think about other things and forget I have a body.I want to start appreciating my body when it isn't screaming for my attention. Through my injuries I have learned to be more mindful of what my body is doing so I don't unconsciously hurt myself. This is the next step- to begin to honor my body because I have one. What would that look like? Some people who really enjoy making love understand paying attention to being aware of sensation and focusing on the body. I am a beginner in this area. It is very challenging for me to relax and get out of my head. I look forward to becoming more skillful at surrendering distractions sexually and being able to be more present. I have had glimpses in my life that making love can bring me closer to a sense of oneness with all there is- being in a body is a prerequisite. Gary is a good teacher. I am grateful. More later on sexuality. That's about as vulnerable as I can handle being right now.
Getting regular body work would be another way to honor the body. It is easy for me to get body work when I am hurting and I rarely get a massage or other body work when I just want to relax and treat my body kindly. Yoga and walking or any kind of physical exercize done with the idea of honoring the body rather than whipping it into shape also shows appreciation.
Noticing the things I do that aren't kind to my body would be helpful. What do I feed my body and how much sleep do I give it? Do I push myself beyond my energy instead of resting?
What is your relationship with your body like right now? How could you use your daily life to consciously honor your body?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Desperate Housewives

I have a confession to make. I am watching the season finale of Desperate Housewives, a two hour parade of worst-case scenarios. I was attempting to write a blog about spending the day at Shoshoni Yoga Retreat. I went up there as part of my yoga training with other four students. I was going to write about what a healing day I had. I was writing during the commercials. I would come in here after some horrible violent scene (I think they make the finales more violent to hold your attention until next season). In my defense, this is the only show I watch and I have seen about six of them. Gary loves this show and we have been watching it together. However, the responsibility doesn't fall on his shoulders. I watched Thirtysomething every week for years. Then I made my daughter watch Sisters every Tuesday night for most of her childhood.
I am hooked by soap operas that have a psychological bent. This one tonight had a scene where a troubled husband who had to give up his step-daughter because she lied and said her step-mother burned her, let go of his seething anger enough to declare his undying love for his wife to save a gay couple who were in danger of cancelling their committment ceremony. There was love between a mother and a daughter and a life reclaimed from terror based lies- high drama.The show was intense violent and riveting. Now I get to go to sleep with all of this on my mind. I often tell people who have trouble sleeping to do something calming and soothing before they go to sleep. This show was definitely not that. Maybe there is a twelve step group for people who want to give up soap operas. Maybe I can attend enough meetings to avoid watching it next season. What a day. A yoga retreat filled with a gorgeous mountain hike, healthy food, meditation, a gentle yoga class that soothed and stretched my aching body, and then two hours of Desperate Housewives. I wish I could think of something wise and useful to say in conclusion. I guess the important thing is to embrace it all without judgement. Or maybe the best I can do is to be present with the judgement and know I am doing the best I can. You are too.
It's all a part of this dance we call life. I'm going to go meditate and go to bed. Sweet dreams.

Friday, May 16, 2008


I had blood tests today as a follow up to my surgery. I fasted and I am still a little spacey and lightheaded. I was aware of how much simpler my life is when I don't have to deal with food. There seemed to be so much time for me to do what I wanted to do without being distracted by meal planning, food preparation and eating. Yesterday when I knew I was going to fast, I was focused on food and eating all day. In the height of my eating disorder in my late twenties and thirties I would fast for a week and break the fast with a pizza or a cheesecake. I have come a long way in releasing my attachment to food as love. However, I am aware that I still am very fearful of gaining weight and being fat.
I take a moment to go into my circle and say to myself, "I can understand that you feel that way. I care about your suffering. May you be free from suffering." Then I go down inside my body and breathe into the fear. I am aware of the fat little girl inside of me who medicated her pain with food. I feel compassion and love for her. It has taken many years for me to forgive myself for being fat. I blamed that little girl for years and felt strong aversion toward her. I couldn't look at a picture of myself as a kid without cringing. As I was more willing to feel the pain that I stuffed under food I began to see her strategy as a brilliant survival solution. As a child, I learned to soothe myself with sweet treats when I felt strong emotion. This protected me from feeling anxious and unloved. As I faced that old pain with the help of good therapists, I could release the pattern of coping with my feelings of abandonment by abandoning myself to overeating. As my willingness to be present with my pain expanded so did my ability to tolerate the anxiety that tells me to eat when I'm not hungry. I have a picture myself at age eight in my office. When I look at her I feel her sadness and I am grateful to her that she went through what she did to help get me to where I am now.
Fasting last night let me see how far I've come in my relationship with food. I also notice I've been falling into some old unhealthy patterns of eating when I'm not hungry. I want to bring kind alert attention to myself to be more mindful about what is going on with me that I've been thinking needs to be medicated with food. Then I want to be with whatever that is instead of knee-jerking to eat on top of it. In that way I can show up for myself instead of using food to stuff my feelings.
What is your relationship with food like lately? Would it be useful to pay attention and see what you notice?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

radiant self

Today was my first new yoga class that will meet every Wednesday from 12-1 at Whole Yoga. Fourteen people came. That was thrilling. The energy that is created with that many people mindfully moving their bodies and focusing on their breath is palpably powerful. My teacher came,too. I was glad she wanted to come and nervous, too. I told her it was my opportunity to work through all of my authority stuff in an hour. I knew it was a good stretch for me. I was afraid she would see that I don't know what I'm doing. I realized that that fear is based on the belief of the same name-that I don't know what I'm doing. The truth is I am a good yoga teacher and when I listen to my ego telling me I'm doing it wrong I get flustered, my brain gets cloudy and I don't know my left from my right. This is very confusing. Teaching yoga, as I was trained, means mirroring. For instance I say, Step back with your right foot while I step back with my left. For a person like me who sometimes has a difficult time knowing my own left from my right you can imagine how challenging mirroring can be. Today I interrrupted my ego in mid-stream when I began to criticize myself. I also did some self-soothing about it being alright to be nervous and afraid. I let myself be present with those feelings in the midst of teaching the class. That permission allowed me to focus on being in my body and attuning to my breath. Moving out of my head to being present with the experience I was having made it easier to show up and teach. I am really getting that if I am willing to show up for myself with whatever is going on, there is actually a chance I can authentically show up for others. I was brought up to believe that if I showed up for others, they would show up for me. That left being in my circle out of the equation. If I am ignoring myself and taking care of others there is an expectation that they will caretake me too. That leads to resentment and disappointment. In my circle, I pay attention to my own inner process and am responsive to what I want and need. Then I am in a position to give to others without expectations. Freely giving is so much more joyous than giving to get. My goal today was to feel satisfied with the class I taught, and to have that include what ever happened. I got good feedback from the students which I enjoyed. What felt even better was being able to celebrate feeling good about the class from the inside. Internal validation is easier to trust than external validation. I am learning to see my worth as separate from what other people think. That is very freeing. Being myself instead of what I think a yoga teacher should be like is much more effective. I heard the saying once," What other people think of me is none of my business." I would like to be free of changing my behavior according to what I assume other people want. If I am myself then when I am loved I can believe I am loved for who I am. If I am pretending to be someone I'm not when I am loved it is this false persona who is being loved. That supports me in not feeling lovable. What does being yourself mean to you? Is there a situation where you could experiment with mindfully letting down the false persona and letting your radiant self shine through?

Monday, May 12, 2008

shoes and gurus

Today is my 85 posting. It's amazing how doing something regularly builds the energy for continuing to do it. This has become a spiritual practice. Before I write I often read something inspiring about personal or spiritual growth. What I write doesn't always have something to do with what I read. It just sort of primes the pump of allowing myself to let what wants to be said flow out. I'm not sure what I am going to write about tonight. I am feeling concern about my new rosebush being out in the cold rain. Yesterday my daughter Monnya, her fiance Issac, my boyfriend Gary and I planted new perennials in my flower beds. That's what I asked for for mother's day. Monnya and Issac are experienced gardeners and Gary and I were their assistants. I feel very protective of the plants I chose. It's as if I got 10 more children this mother's day. The rose bush seems so delicate. When I am done writing I will get some advise about what I need to do to take care of them tonight. I really enjoyed the day. Several times I had to bring myself back from focusing on my guilt about not doing enough. I reminded myself that this was my day to receive. That is a challenge. Monnya painted my favorite pair of worn out navy blue suede clogs with flashy and glittery multicolored designs. I wish I could show you a picture. Each one is a different work of art . My little girl inside loves these glittery shoes and feels very special wearing them. It is a big stretch for me to wear something that draws attention to myself. I usually like to dress in a pretty understated way. In these shoes I feel like Dorothy with her ruby slippers. Dorothy's shoes are conservative compared to these. Several strangers commented on them and it was fun to tell people my daughter made them. It's never too late to challenge an old established pattern.
Monnya also wrote me a letter about what mother's day is like for her at 23. I felt so appreciated and loved. She writes from her heart and her letters have always been so moving. It is a bittersweet experience to have a grown daughter. I miss mothering the bright creative gutsy stubborn little girl she was. It was always a challenge to do my best to set clear boundaries and give her the space to honor her own mostly good judgement. I admire who she has become. It is easy for me to experience the joy of my own aliveness in her presence. It is also easy for me to worry about not doing enough. When she was born I didn't believe in gurus. When I heard the definition of a guru is someone who loves you so much that it brings up everything that isn't love in you to be burned away, I knew she was my guru. It is such a blessing to be loved and to love in such an unconditional way. It is also an ongoing opportunity to bring myself back to the present from the littany I can fall into about not being enough as a Mom. Once I asked Monnya to forgive me for not being there for her because I was so caught up in my relationship dramas with men as a single parent when she was growing up. She said" Get over it. You did a great job." I did do a great job in the midst of it all.
I am learning to mother myself in as loving and generous a way. It is, like writing this blog, a practice that builds energy the more I do it. How do you mother yourself? How is it the same as you were mothered and how is it different?

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Today I am feeling a deep sense of gratefulness. I have returned to my sense of aliveness. For the past week I have been discouraged because I hurt my knee doing yoga and I have been lost in a lot of fearful thoughts about the future. Fearful thoughts about the future are worries. I have been cooking up worst case scenarios about not being able to do yoga anymore. Out of this injury I am learning to be completely tuned into my body in my yoga training. I am learning to honor my inner voice about what feels good to do and what doesn't.
This level of mindfulness is new for me. I have a very active mind . I am building the muscle of presence by bringing myself back to the present and tuning into my body everytime it wanders off. In order to keep from reinjuring myself I have had to stay aware of my body the whole time I am doing yoga. Yesterday I was feeling so sad because what I can do now is much more limited. Then my ego kicked in telling me that taking this yoga training was a big mistake and that I would never be able to do yoga or teach yoga without injuring myself. Yoga has been my passion for most of my adult life and I whipped myself into a frenzy comparing this to when I chose to stop running after 20 years because running continued to hurt my back. It may be true that yoga won't be a good idea for me to continue doing. Right now that is not the point. The point is to create a different yoga practice where I am more present with my body. This injury is teaching me to be more present with what is happening now. When I am present with what is happening now I can accept what is happening now. When I accept what is happening now I can enjoy what is happening now.
As Eckhart said in the last webclass on "The New Earth" acceptance comes from bringing alert attention to whatever is happening now . That attention creates a sense of connection with aliveness which allows us to experience and release our resistance and accept what is. Being in the present moment accepting what is allows us to feel enjoyment. Enjoyment is the experience of our own aliveness. It comes from inside.
The joy of yoga comes from connecting with that inner sense of aliveness. As does the joy of anything. When I think I have lost my sense of joy it is I who have wandered off. It is there bubbling up inside me waiting patiently for my return. When I use alert attention to bring my mind to the present, back from the fearful and critical messages of my ego, I am aware of my connection with the love that I am, that we all are. That connection brings enjoyment.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to write on this blog. I take what I am learning and write about it and learn in a deeper way by writing. Sharing with you brings me in touch with my joy. I feel truely blessed. Thank you.
What can you bring alert attention to? Practice bringing your alert attention to the little things you do in life. Notice what that's like.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Salmon ink. I like Salmon. I like both the color of the ink and the fish. I appreciate the salmon who have given their lives so I could eat them. It is so important to me to be aware that the sea beings I eat were alive. I stopped eating chicken about a year ago because it didn't feel good to me anymore. I have gone through many different phases about what feels good to eat. I am grateful that I still get to eat fish and seafood. Eating is very challenging for me because of all of the things I am allergic to. I realized the other day that I am limiting how I socialize because of how I eat. Maybe that is only a rationalization. Sometimes I think that there is something wrong with me because I don't enjoy socializing in groups. It is different if the group is small and I know some of the people and we have an activity to do. To be honest, my favorite way to spend time in a group is in silent meditation. Other activities like chanting, yoga, laughter yoga or some kind of learning experience can also be very uplifting. It is a challenge to be an introvert in a society that is predominately extroverted. You can tell if you are more introverted or more extroverted by how you refuel your energy. Introverts feel reenergized by being alone or with one other close person. Extroverts can refuel in groups. Introverts generally feel drained by large parties or social events. Extroverts enjoy the opportunity to connect with lots of people in various settings. I had a boyfriend who would go to a coffee house and talk to strangers to refuel his energy. He was the ultimate extrovert. Sometimes I crave alone time so much I think I will implode if I don't get it. I can tell that I need it because I begin to feel drained and burdened by others. Quality alone time isn't distracting myself with my computer or food. It is spending time with myself as I would do with another person whose company I value. Tonight I get to go to the meditation component of my yoga training. It feels good to meditate with a group. The positive energy that I often feel from meditatiion builds when there are other people to meditate with. Do you think you are more of an extrovert or an introvert? How do you refuel? Do you need refueling now?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Last year Gary and I went to a workshop led by Ellie and Dan. I just read that Dan had major surgery to have a kidney removed in order to give it to a stranger. I have heard about people who have given their organs to people they don't know but never knew one of them. Ellie, Dan's wife, wrote about what he did under the heading of "My hero" in their e-newsletter. They do a workshop called TANJA, a series of ritualized group exercises for singles and couples to explore intimacy and sexuality. The next one is this weekend. Dan won't be there because he is recovering. Gary and I really enjoyed our Tanja experience. Check it out if you are interested.
When I heard about Dan I thought about how his sacrifice would ripple out to others. His wife will spend many hours nursing him to recovery after he returns from the surgery and his family and friends might be part of the process, too. He will miss work and not be available to fulfill various other responsibilities in his life. Other people might step up to shoulder these. All of these people including all of us who know him only a little will be inspired by his action. I can only imagine what it would be like to come to this decision.
I wonder how Dan heard about this young woman's story and became interested in helping her with a part of his own body? I wonder if it "just felt right" from the start or if he had to deal with his own fears and doubts all along the way. I wonder what it was like for his wife and family and friends to support him with his choice to alter his life in such a major way? It seems to me that it would take an extraordinary person who might not even see him or herself that way. Someone who had a sense of connectedness with others that went beyond what most of us feel toward our loved ones. I would gladly give one of my kidneys
to my daughter. Could I feel that same sense of effortless self-sacrifice
for someone I had no previous relationship with? Not at this point. It sure makes me think about how I could show up for other people. Maybe I could push myself beyond the ways I do now in my life to be there for someone else with compassion even when I am impatient or annoyed.
I think it starts with being able to feel compassion for myself
in the midst of my suffering. "I can understand that you feel that way.
I care about your suffering. May you be free from suffering" Bringing lovingkindness to myself in the midst of pain allows me to experience the tightness around my heart and release it. Bringing compassion to myself allows me to see other people's suffering with more compassion.If I can be accepting of my own grief, I can more easily empathize with the grief of another. Gently and lovingly holding myself in my fear allows me to have more understanding for another's fear. Maybe one purpose of suffering is to learn to bring compassion to ourselves and have practice to be able to feel that same compassion for someone else. Maybe it is part of the plan for us to become more aware of how we are all one? I want to remember this the next time I am suffering and my knee jerk reaction is to bully myself out of my pain. "Get over it" doesn't teach me to soften toward myself or others. "This is stupid" teaches me nothing about how we are all one. How can you be more compassionate toward yourself? What could you accept and forgive? What in yourself could you open your own tender heart to?

Sunday, May 4, 2008


An update on the ten second rule that I just learned. According to this scientifically supported article I just read, what they call the five second rule, which is if food falls on the floor and is there for less than five seconds it is OK to eat it, isn't true. Germs don't care how long food is on the floor they climb on right away. I guess it was only wishful thinking. A lovely myth to keep from throwing out tasty morsels or tasty bowlfuls, on clumsy days.
Speaking of myths to let go of, I am in the process of letting go of one to which I have clung much more tenaciously than eating germ laden food.
For years I have defined myself as an active person. By my definition this means I do yoga practice and take a long walk daily. I hurt my knee in my yoga training and now I am having to rest. It is very challenging for me to rest. Being injured, I have permission until I am healed and even then I push it.
My body is not up for doing what it has done in the past and my ego is kicking and screaming. Although I am probably in better shape than I was in my twenties before I was consistently active, I have much less stamina. I want to learn to adjust my activity level according to what feels good to my body on a given day and still feel good about myself as a person. How often do I identify my worth by what I do? I have to do this and that to be OK.How often have I withdrawn my own love because I didn't live up to my expectations? Wouldn't it be better to let go of my expectations and embrace myself with love as I am? The first step is to be aware of what those expectations are. Then I am better able to honor my limitations and stretch myself. Stretching myself means resting as well as challenging myself physically. Being active in a mindful way rather than operating out of my shoulds, gives me a chance to listen to my body. I am getting better at listening to my body. Yesterday at my yoga training I modified all of the poses and even used a chair. It is helping me to see how to be a better yoga teacher in a class with students at different levels. It seems less painful to change the way I see myself than it does to be suffering so much because my body can't do what I have expected it to.
I am on shaky ground and when I let myself feel my fear I also feel held in love. It's kind of scary to not know who I am right now. I embrace not knowing and ask for the courage to let go of control and surrender. What is a myth or a rule or an expectation you have held about yourself that keeps you separate from your own love?

Friday, May 2, 2008


Today was very challenging. I found out that they arrested the man who robbed the yoga studio and that he is out on bail. He signed a restraining order to not contact me that has my name on it. I thought I was over my fear. It's scary that he has my name. I feel very vulnerable. I know he probably won't try to find me but he could. I called the police department and they said that in order to issue a restraining order for him not to contact me he has to know who not to contact. That makes sense to me. The woman on the phone said "Wouldn't you rather he had a restraining order?" I think the answer is yes. However, he had no idea who I was before that. This is an opportunity for my mind to cook up all sorts of worrisome stories about what could happen in the future. I am a very creative person and if I use my creativity to conjure up worst case scenarios I can terrorize myself. When I notice the image of a scary vision on my mental screen, I go underneath it to the fear that is in my belly. The vulnerability I feel now has triggered the vulnerability I felt when the robbery happened. It doesn't mean the work I did to release the fear at the time didn't work. It's another layer of the violation surfacing to be experienced and released. It is helping me to see the difference between a story about the fear and the experience of the fear itself. A story builds up the fear as it escalates into an even bigger story. The experience of the fear itself, although very scary at first, allows the fear to dissipate. I breathe full deep breaths into my belly. My belly feels tight and achey, my breath is short and choppy. As I breath my body shakes as waves of fear move over me and out of me. I let the sounds out and let myself cry. I realize the most wounding part is how cautious and mistrusting of strangers I have become since the robbery. The shock that a person could do something like this to me has generalized and clouded over some of my feelings of being connected to others.
The Buddha said,"Fear is always an anticipation of what has not yet come. Our fear and separation are great, but the truth of our connection is greater still. "
I know if I keep working with this fear that I will return to my sense of connection with all beings. Maybe I will return with a healthy measure of caution based on practical experience. Even though we are all one, there are people I don't feel safe with for all different reasons. It seems important to be discerning and let my decisions about how I protect myself come from mindfully using my intuition. Rules or knee jerk reactions based on fear create more fear. In my circle, I protect myself from the inside with boundaries so I don't need walls to protect myself from the outside. My reactions to what happens in my life can come from an open heart. I can keep my heart open if I allow myself to be present with what is happening now. Right now I feel afraid and I have a sense of being held in my fear. Being held, I feel safer and that everything will be alright. I am grateful.
What are you afraid of? What stories are you making up about it?
Would you be willing to go down into your body and feel it?