Sunday, September 28, 2008


Before we left on our vacation I read this article on MSN about revealing questions to ask on a first date. One of the questions was, If someone gave you a million dollars what would you do with it?
On the drive back from Steamboat Springs Gary and I were talking about what we would do. I have had this dream for many years of starting a mentoring program where a group of volunteers would spend an hour a week with children from the time they were newborns. It was fun to talk to him about my dream and imagine I could use my million to implement the program.
I really hate sitting in the middle seat on planes. I have a very small bladder and I inevitablby end up climbing over a large person on my way to the bathroom many times and feeling like a pain in the butt. Once I literally climbed over a sleeping person by standing up on my seat. My return flight from the second part of my trip, a seminar in Albequerque, was full and I had a middle seat. At least it would only be an hour long. It turned out that the person who sat in the aisle seat next to me was the head of a headstart program that trains early childhood specialists who train teachers. I was moved to share my dream of creating a mentoring program with her.
A person would act as a mentor for one child and spend an hour a week with her or him as long as they lived in the same city. The mentor would act as a sort of godparent, in an age where this concept doesn't happen much anymore. My vision is to train a group of volunteers in the art of providing loving presence and full attention.The training would include child development, communication skills and self-esteem building.
The mentor would learn to validate the child and be a sanctuary in which the child could learn authentic self-love. My dream is for kids to have a safe harbor to experience acceptance for who they are and a model for healthy relationships.There would also be an ongoing support group for the mentors. My seatmate was excited about my idea and told me about a conference I might speak at. Speaking about full attentive presence to specialists who train teachers might be a first step in the process of realizing my dream. Sharing my idea with this vital and caring woman transformed a dream into the realm of a possibility.Once again I was so grateful to see how life provides in such a beautiful way.It was very satisfying to share this dream with you. Thanks for listening. Do you have a dream? What would it be like to share it with a supportive person?
What would it be like to share that you want to have a dream and don't yet, if that is the case?

Monday, September 22, 2008


Today was such a lovely day. Gary and I are in Steamboat Springs on vacation. I started out the day in a yoga class that had a beautiful view of a river behind it. I found the class challenging in that it was extremely difficult to hear the teacher even on the highest volume of my hearing aids. Even so, I love doing yoga and it made me appreciate the teachers at whole yoga, where I teach in Denver, so much more. Then Gary and I were headed up to Strawberry Hot Springs. I was willing to go and I really wanted to hike first. He surprised me by pulling over and finding this gorgeous hike.
He said he wanted to go for 40 minutes. He really pushed himself and we ended up hiking for two hours. I was in bliss. The aspen trees were just beginning to change and the colors were breathtaking. I never knew there could be so many shades of green. There were rich yellows and golds joined with the reds and oranges of the scrub oaks. It reminded me of autumn in the east where I grew up. There was a sense of community with the people we passed as we shared the experience of being in such beauty.
On top of that it was my perfect hike. I like narrow unrocky paths that wind through forests and open up to great views. I like steady uphill climbs with flat places for a breather now and then. At one point the path was lined with more ferns than I have ever seen in one place. The way the light was hitting them had a magical quality. We found a chokecherry bush and had a small feast. The berries were sweet and succulent. At one point on the way down I had the thought that I wanted to pause to etch this hike in my brain. I had a sense of drinking in the experience and being completely satisfied. I felt so grateful to have a partner who loves moving in nature. I love my work and it is such a blessing to be able to be on vacation. I know I will return to my work with renewed energy and vitality.
We hung out at Strawberry Hot Springs for five hours. It was a welcome reward for our bodies after the hike. There was a pervasive sense of peace there. I felt very fortunate to be able to be in such a relaxing natural environment. People there were being very loving with each other. It was very pleasurable to share the experience of soaking in hot water in a beautiful place with people in so many different shapes and ages of bodies. Thanks for letting me share this day with you. It is a delicious end to this day to be able to write and share it
with you. I may not write until next Sunday or Monday. Is there any sort of rejuvenating vacation in your near future? Would you be willing to give yourself a well-deserved break?

Friday, September 19, 2008


My energy is shifting. This week has been much better. Focusing on the positive really does help. Yesterday I received an e-mail based on the law of attraction. What you put your attention on is what you attract. I don't think things are as simple as "The Secret" makes them out to be. There is a lot more mystery going on behind the process of manifestation than I am privy to. However, I have noticed in this political campaign, as I said before, that focusing on what I am against and resisting that, creates negativity and drains my energy.
The e-mail suggests being quiet and visualizing Obama as president for thirty seconds. I did it last night and it really helped. In my visualization I imagined people getting that we are in this together and that Obama is leading the way to a more cooperative, collaborative and connected political system. I felt his strength of character and committment to positive change in the quality of life for regular people. Focusing on my visualization I felt less anxious and more hopeful.
I e-mailed my friend Wendy the visualization idea and she wrote back that she has been visualizing Obama's acceptance speech as part of her daily meditation.
She said that in her visualization people are joyous and hopeful. I thought it was a great idea so I stopped and took 30 seconds to imagine that. At Obama's acceptance speech there was a palpable excitement in the crowd and an eagerness to continue participating in the political process. I could feel the positive energy in my body. At the very least, visualizing is getting me to slow down and take time to be. Maybe that is the point. Breathing deeply and focusing on creating a vision of what could be, allows me to be quiet and still. It settles me down from railing against what I don't want to happen. What you resist persists. That feels true to me. Trying to be in control and thinking I can avoid the experience I am having is a useless folly. What that gets me is tension in my belly and a stiff neck. Aversion or pushing away doesn't make anything go away. What seems to work the best is acknowledging my fear or sadness or anger, breathing mindfully into whatever I am feeling and including it in being OK. Inclusion brings comfort. The more space there is to include my experiences in what I consider to be OK the more space there is for me to feel like I'm OK.
What do you want to imagine for yourself? Could you be quiet and breathe and create a vision of it and sit with it for 30 seconds? In addition what could you include in your concept of being OK that you weren't willing to include before?Would you be willing to create a little more space in your heart for some experience or emotion that you used to consider not OK? Would you be willing to sit with that for 30 seconds?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I made a very bad mistake today. At 1:00 I went for a bikeride knowing I had plenty of time to get home before my next client at 3:00. I enjoyed riding in the beautiful weather and even though I had a lot on my mind, I was able to bring myself back to paying attention to my ride. I stopped in the park to meditate on my favorite rock by the creek. I felt good that I carved out time to sit quietly. I arrived home at 2:30 in time to eat something and get ready for my session. At 3:10 my client hadn't arrived and I went to find her number and call her because she hasn't ever been late. I checked my messages to see if she had called while I was riding to say she would be late. There were two messages from her. The first message said she had come to my house at 2:00 for her appointment to find me not there. The second said she was upset that she had driven all the way there and was now on her way home.
I went to check my appointment book and she was right. With my reading glasses on I could tell that what I had mistaken for a three was, in fact, a 2.
I called and she answered. I was so grateful to be able to get a hold of her right away. I apologized profusely, took complete responsibility for my mistake and asked if she could come back. Luckily she was willing to come back and we both had the time available. I was also very grateful that it worked out to see her today. I felt very guilty that I got the time wrong and she ended up wondering what was going on and being abandoned. Before she arrived I ate a bunch of nuts I wasn't hungry for and then stopped eating and focused on what I could do to make amends. When she arrived I apologized in person. We agreed that I would give her extra time in the session in exchange for my messing up.
It is hard for me to make mistakes especially when my mistakes impact other people.
I know years ago I would still be beating up on myself for not being there. Now I know that this was a mistake. My client was generous and forgiving. The least I can do is be generous and forgiving with myself. I know that my version of being OK has way more room in it than it used to. I can make a mistake, even a bad one, and still know I am a good, well-meaning person.
How about you? Is there room for you to make a mistake, even a big one, and still know that you are a good person? Is there one you are still holding on to feeling badly about that you would be willing to make amends to yourself or another in some way if that's appropriate? See if you could create some space in your own heart to include this mistake. Could you forgive yourself? Believe me, it feels so good to know I don't have to be perfect to be OK. How about you?

Sunday, September 14, 2008


I walked my neighborhood in support of Barack Obama yesterday. When I first started I was still in my week long Sarah Palin outrage stage. All week I have been exchanging e-mails and talking to my friends about her. The information I have gathered has been very useful. I began my walk in that place of resistance to what is. Sarah Palin, as she is, is running for Vice President. It seemed that in my place of negativity what I was getting back from the people I spoke to was negativity.I felt discouraged and drained.

Toward the middle of my walk I talked to two of my neighbors. They were at the democratic caucus and his talk about Obama was what convinced me to vote for Barack in the primary. We talked about how important it is to focus back on the issues and to release the continued focus on Sarah Palin to distract us from those issues. I have as much information as I need about Sarah Palin. I now intend to move my attention back to my vision of Barack Obama as president. In my vision Barack's level of integrity and passion for helping people will create a shift in this country toward people being freer to express caring about each other. In my vision the influence of the value that we are all in this together will be more a part of the fabric of our daily lives.

I learned a lesson yesterday. Refocusing on the positive qualities of Barack Obama as a person and on his plans for this country changed the quality of the second half of my campaign walk. There is a way that complaining feeds complaining. An us and them mentality is created and fed. Finding a common enemy is not the same as connection. The latter half of my walk was a much more positive experience. I felt enthusiasm from my neighbors and was grateful to be able to hang out with them and talk about possibilities. I came home feeling hopeful and nourished. This isn't the same as denial. I still feel the same feelings. It is now time to put my attention where it will create movement forward. That is what is needed now.

In my life I notice there is a time to let go of fretting and move my attention back to my circle. It is ok to be afraid. Fear and worry are different. Worry has an obsessive quality that spins the story around and around.Worry's usefulness is as a vehicle to bring us back down into our bodies beneath the story to the sensation of the fear. From there we can comfort ourselves and be with the fear and allow it to release. Then action that supports our truth can emerge. Even if we don't know what to do we can embrace "don't know mind" in a way that feels more peaceful. What are you worrying about? Would you be willing to mindfully go down into your body and embrace the fear beneath the worry?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Getting it over with

What's on my mind today is "getting it over with". I noticed it when I was doing the five exercises I do each day that are called the fountain of youth. I was doing each one 21 times and I was aware of saying to myself, "You can do this. It'll be over soon." I was looking forward to when I would be done, ignoring the experience I was having. Someone said it's like having one foot in the past and one foot in the future and peeing on the present. I may have written that in a recent blog. If I did I hope you are up for hearing it again.
Since then I have been aware of how often I am thinking about getting through the thing I am doing and moving on to the next thing. I have also been noticing how often I am present with what I am doing. I would like to shift the balance even more in the direction of being present.
Last night I read an article about mindfulness in which the question was asked," How might I use this endeavor in which I'm engaged to practice mindfulness." That seems like a great practice to bring myself back to whatever I am doing. For instance when brushing my teeth I often go on automatic pilot. When I do it that way there are certain teeth that I habitually neglect. When I am on automatic pilot with anything certain parts of me get neglected. I think of being in my circle and being present as the same thing. Being in my circle means being present with myself whatever I am experiencing. It means bringing my attention to myself regardless of whether it is comfortable or not. It's funny that when I need my attention the most is when it is easiest to pop out of my circle and think about what's going to happen later. Life is what happens while we are waiting for what will happen next. How can I notice, "getting it over with" in a kind and gentle way? I'd like to learn to use it as a vehicle to bring myself back into my circle and be present with what is happening. Once back in my circle I can tune into myself and with mindfulness and compassion check in and see what's going on inside. "Am I urgently looking to what's next because something is uncomfortable about what is happening now? Am I afraid of something? If I am where do I feel the fear in my body? Would I be willing to breath into it
and be with myself?" I am noticing that I am afraid right now and I want to go be with my fear. I am in need of my own attention. The sanctuary of my circle is calling to me. What do you notice about "getting it over with?" What do you notice about being present in your circle? I will write again on Monday. I hope you enjoy yourself this weekend.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I am afraid that so many people seem to be swept away in admiration of Sarah Palin. Today I read that they have created a new Sarah Palin doll. There are three versions of the doll. One in a business suit, one in work-out clothes, and one dressed in black and toting a gun.
It is so scary that people would be grabbing up gun toting dolls to give to their children. In this culture we so value the "everything is fine" mentality. No matter what we are sweeping under the rug we can make it look like everything is fine. Sarah Palin can smile and warmly pretend not to be who she is. She can speak charismatically and sidestep her extremist views.
It seems so important to get the word out that she gave a talk at her church in which she said that building the Alaskan pipeline was God's will. She is against a woman's right to chose an abortion even in the case of rape or incest. She supports hunting wolves from helicopters. As a mayor she attempted to fire a librarian who refused to comply with Palin's list of banned books. The community rose up in protest and Palin backed down.

Maybe the opportunity I am being presented with here is to learn to express my political views. I want to listen to other people and really hear them. Then I want to be able to respond in a way that lets others hear me. I want to learn to set aside my outrage and participate in this political process with my "being" experience intact. I can take a deep breath and be with my fear so it isn't the energy I am coming from when I talk to others. Feeding that fear isn't helpful. I deeply care about Barack Obama becoming president and bringing change to this country. I want to be able to speak in a way that enables that passion to be a possible influence. Maybe I don't have all the information I think I should have before I talk to people. Anything is better than nothing. It's better to risk not having all of my ducks in a row and speak from my heart than not to speak up at all. (Do those unruly ducks ever really get lined up?)
Where are you with this political process? Are there people you want to be talking to about this? Start with the easy ones. That builds confidence. Thanks for giving me this forum to be real and share who I am. I think it's important to stop pretending that politics is an impolite subject to talk about and tiptoe around not mentioning it.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Laughter yoga

I woke up in an anxious mood this morning. It was a challenge to get out of bed even though I had a lot to do. Maybe you've been in the place where what you think of when you awake are things like, " Are the people I work with really getting help? Do I know what I'm doing? Is my body really falling apart or is my neck pain just from sleeping on it wierd?" Then in the shower I couldn't remember whether I had already put conditioner on my hair or not. It felt a little slippery so I decided I must have. Then I started to wonder whether my mind was going too.
I actually got a lot accomplished this morning but I didn't feel like I did. Although I often can laugh at myself when things aren't going well, I wasn't laughing.
I left to go to Laughter Yoga and was so preoccupied I missed the turn. When I got there I felt self-conscious interacting with the people there even though I know and like many of them.
Half way through the hour of laughter yoga, a combination of clapping stretching and silly laughter yoga exercises in which you laugh for no reason, I was aware that I was having so much fun. I remembered how awful I had felt when I got there. Meredith Vaughn was leading the group today. She and her husband Davey brought laughter yoga to Denver two and a half years ago after attending a training with Dr. Madam Kataria, the Indian family physician who founded it. Meredith was in her best form. Everyone was loose and silly. Even the people who were there for the first time seemed relaxed and comfortable. There is something so healing about being a complete idiot in an accepting space where other people are doing the same thing. In the beginning when nothing felt funny, I could fake laughter and soon I was really laughing. I really do think laugher is the best medicine. The tone was very playful and Meredith was supporting all of us in having fun by doing it herself. It seemed as if all of us had let go of trying to do it right and were just there yukking it up together. Maybe that is part of it. Being present and doing the exercises, the little voice whispering my inadequacies that I woke up listening to, wasn't around. It's hard to laugh and be self-critical at the same time. Maybe that's the true beauty of Laughter Yoga. It is an opportunity to set all the serious stuff aside and just be there and laugh. It is such a gift to give ourselves. A time to let go of pretending we have to have a stick up our butts and be someone we are not. Laughing is so much easier in a group when others are laughing too.
Go to to find groups in the area and the next laughter yoga leader training November 8th and9th. There have now been 600,000 laughter yoga participants world wide.
I want to remember to laugh even when I am by myself. I am laughing now. Once I get jumpstarted by laughter yoga, it is easier to laugh by myself and at myself, for that matter. Try an experiment. Think of something that is bothering you right now. Maybe something of medium size, not the biggest thing that is bothering you. Then have yourself a private little chuckle or a little grin or a big guffaw.
What a blog hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha...

Friday, September 5, 2008


Today was challenging and I feel good about rising to the challenge. I went to the dentist to get a crown. Before I went I called to see how long it would take. I was told two hours. Because I have been there longer than they have told me in the past, I felt safe having three hours and time to get home for the next person I was working with. They took me pretty quickly and things did take longer. My next appointment was at 4 and at 3:20 the hand compressor broke down. I have a history of jaw problems and I knew leaving there with an unfinished crown and a crooked bite would be disasterous for my body. I called the person I was to work with and she answered her phone the second time I called. I was glad I listened to myself and called the second time. It worked better for her to meet an hour later. That was the first blessing. The dentist and her staff tried everything they could think of to fix the compressor. It was looking like I would have to go home with my tooth. I was clear that that wasn't what I wanted to do and I began to surrender to having to do it anyway. Then one of the staff thought of the idea of going to a neighboring dentist's office to use his compressor. That's what we did. That was the second blessing. I was grateful that the dentist had a good enough relationship with her neighbor to have his key and was willing to go to his office to complete the job.
From that point on it felt more like an adventure. The office manager had thought outside of the box and come up with a solution when inside the box there wasn't one. It was very inspiring to me. I believe that my life flows well when I do two things: Do my part and trust in the universe. Two more ideas got officially added to my spiritual philosophy today. Let go of the outcome and surrender to what is. It would have been easy to get really upset with the dentist or the universe today. Being upset with neither, allowed me to be curious and to stay pretty openhearted. I was worried and my mind would jump into the future about how uncomfortable it would've been spending the weekend with an unfinished crown that unbalanced my whole jaw which unbalances my whole body. I was able, in the midst of my worries to be compassionate with myself for worrying. Then I could bring myself back to the present ,where my worst-case scenarios weren't happening.
By the end of it all I was enjoying the ride and I got home in time to eat something with my new even bite before the person came. I know in the past I would've been very rattled, to say the least. I am glad to see progress. It's important to recognize progress and acknowledge ourselves for it. It makes moving forward way easier. Would you be willing to go inside your circle and ask what you remember doing recently that you handled better than you would have in the past? Not perfectly just better. Could you give yourselt credit for it? Would you be willing to acknowledge your progress?
I won't be writing again until Monday. I hope you enjoy yourself this weekend.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


I am waiting to hear Sarah Palin speak. It feels important to me to experience her directly. It is good practice to be in my circle and be with her. I will practice holding my center and using my breath to come back to myself when I wander off into thoughts or judgements. Can I use my circle to openheartedly protect myself from the inside so I don't need to shut my heart down and create walls? What can I learn about myself from listening to her? What I can learn about her? What can i learn from her and her speech?Where is she coming from? What do I notice about her personality strategy? What will be useful to understand about her?
Sarah Palin has given her speech. She had a clear message and she delivered it well.
I'm glad I listened to her speech. It is easy to focus on supporting Obama and shut my heart down to everyone else. It felt good to listen to Palin's talk, disagree with a lot of what she said, and understand that she feels the way she does.
When I work with couples, I teach them validation. It is such an important tool. It is based on the idea that each person has their own truth and that truth is valid for them. Any truth can be validated by saying," I can understand that you feel that way, or "I can see that's how you see it," or "It makes sense to me that you see it that way, or "Knowing who you are I can see how you would see it that way." It doesn't mean that you agree with the other person's truth, to validate their truth. It only means that you are validating their right to have their truth, whether you agree with it or not. Letting the other person know that you see their truth as valid, lets them know you care about them as a person. It goes a long way to heal the adversarial quality that can develope between partners who only respond to each other if they are in agreement. Validation gives each person some breathing room to pause and see where to go next. A really bold move is to validate and then say ,"Tell me more." That is such a caring invitation and is often perceived that way. Validation and invitation can heal the attitude that partners feel unheard, misunderstood and uncared for.
Make a point to practice validation in your daily life tomorrow. It is especially helpful in political discussions to enable people with different truths to actually have a conversation.

Monday, September 1, 2008


I am very frustrated. I wrote a whole blog about being up in the mountains this weekend and I can't get it to edit. When I try to rewrite it erases the next word. I have been messing with it for a while and I am letting go because the definition of insanity is doing something over and over and expecting different results.
So, I will write again. I wrote about being up in Gold Hill for the weekend at Gary's house. Even though I grumble about the hour and a half drive, once I get there I slow down and really enjoy myself. Hiking is one of my favorite things to do and there is great hiking near the end of Gary's driveway. On Sunday we went hiking near Jamestown at a beautiful place where the trail winds through a forest beside a river. Being near moving water and being in a forest is bliss. We have figured out how to both get our needs met hiking. Gary likes to go slower and hang out and look at things. Plus his knee has been bothering him. I like to go fast and expend a lot of energy and then I can slow down and relax. So, we hiked together for a while and then Gary stopped and sat on a rock and I went ahead by myself. It felt so good to push my body and in a short while I was ready to turn around to go back and meet him on the rock. This is after three years of trying to hike together and both being frustrated about our differing paces. It is so easy for both of us to try and please the other by not being ourselves. Where did all of us get the idea that not being ourselves would be pleasing? All it does is create lots of resentment and lack of safety. We have noticed that the more honest clear and direct we are with each other about what we want and need, the more chance there is that we will actually get along well and feel close to each other. All of the pretending is so exhausting. It seems to me that the more I can tell him my truth, even if it isn't pretty, the more openhearted I feel.
Being myself and being heard for that, I feel safe. We are practicing. It is a challenge to push through all of the conditioning.
When I returned to the rock we were both relaxed and loving. After doing what each of us wanted to do, it was easy to be together. We sat on the rock for a long time with a small still pool underneath us. We watched two fish resting under the water. I was aware of how much more comfortable I am with fish watching than I am with fish catching. Hanging out
being quiet
unaware of each other
yet together.
There was an aspen tree growing right up in the middle of a spruce tree on the opposite bank of the river. They looked like a couple who were very different and who were able to hold each other in love. When we left the rock we were very slowed down and each of us felt like we were in an altered state. The shades of green looked incredibly vivid. I felt like I was in Emerald City. I remembered when I decided to stop smoking pot before I got pregnant with my daughter. What I wanted was to learn to get as high on air. Being present is that high. That natural high is better than any drug. The mountains make being present so much more available. They are just waiting for us to leave the city and give ourselves a break. When could you avail yourself of them?