Friday, January 30, 2009

Alone Time

I read this great article in Psychotherapy Networker last night by
Florence Falk. It was called Alone Without Lonliness: Discovering the satisfactions of single womanhood. Her premise is that there is a difference between alone and being lonely. She talks about how women in this culture are socialized to believe that we're not OK without a man. When a woman is single she is conditioned to think there is something wrong with her and blame herself for it.In the article a young woman who suddenly is alone when a relationship ends learns to create a fulfilling life for herself by herself. Lonliness happens whether we're in a relationship or not. Lonliness often arises when we're not comfortable being alone. It seems important to be able to hang out with the uncomfortable feelings that can arise when we are alone and don't exactly know what to do with ourselves. If we are willing to breathe into those antsy anxious feelings without judging ourselves, without doing something compulsive instead, we can soothe ourselves and get in touch with what would feel nourishing or right for us to do. Spending time in solitude as a practice lets us be more in touch with that still small voice inside that guides us home. It is a challenge to turn off your phone, stay away from the computer, resist the urge to go to the refrigerator, and simply be quiet for a while. When I take my solitary time in the morning I am very committed to doing it every day. Once I tell myself I will do it later and jump into my day it usually doesn't happen. After my meditation and yoga practice is complete my day goes differently. The amount I practice varies every day. I notice doing something even if it's short is way better than doing nothing. The universe cuts me slack for my intention and my energy is calmer. I notice I am less reactive in my life when I have my alone time. It is easier for me to stay in my own sacred circle when I have maintained it for the day. Although I am in a relationship, I live alone. It is very challenging to me on the days when I am with my partner to get up and have my alone time. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't.Sometimes he'll do some stretching and meditation with me. I know flexibility is important. However, I do notice the difference in the quality of my day when I don't take the time to go inward.
Florence Falk talks about women abandoning themselves when they are in a relationship. It is so important to know that single or not we value ourselves enough to spend time with ourselves. Which one of us would ever imagine creating a relationship with another person without spending time with them? Yet, when I am busy spending my free time on my computer and intermittently visiting the refrigerator I'm not giving myself the time I need to relax and be known to me. In the evening after work I want to be able to pause and check in with myself so how I spend my time fits better with what I really need. How about you? Would you like to make an investment in the quality of your alone time?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Santosha- Contentment

One of the reasons I love writing this blog is when I don't know what to write about I read an inspiring article or book to ignite my creative process. I just reread Joy Story by Sally Klempton. She identifies four types of joy. In a previous blog I talked about sukha which is the fleeting type of joy that comes from external sources. Sukha comes from sensual pleasure or outside circumstance. There is nothing wrong with enjoying it. The problem comes when we become attached to getting it and to avoiding pain. This creates suffering.
The spiritual antidote to eternally chasing after sukha is called santosha. Santosha means contentment. I have often been scared of contentment because I imagined it to be a cross between resignation and being brain dead. She speaks of contentment as being OK with what you have, and accepting what you are without needing anything extra to be OK. Phillip Moffitt in his book Dancing with Life talks about the suffering caused by craving to become what you are not. That craving can be wholesome in that it allows us to change and grow. When we become attached to the outcome and drive ourselves with obsessive self-improvement much suffering is created. Santosha is saying I am enough as I am. My life is enough as it is. That doesn't mean we don't still want to change and grow. Rather this yearning for growth comes from knowing we are OK as we are. It seems to me that really getting the idea of santosha would mean I could move from identifying as "one who does and gets" to "one who is grateful and rests." If I could more fully embrace santosha I could more easily read a novel lying on my back on my living room floor with my legs up the wall. Contentment has never been my strong suit. I often focus on what is missing. That leads to dissatisfaction. Then I can be critical of myself for being so dissatisfied. I would like to cultivate a santosha practice. Sally Klemptom says that opening to contentment means ,"giving up striving for what is out of reach, stop expecting more of life than what it can give us, let go of mental patterns that destroy our satisfaction like comparing our skills, character, possessions and inner attainments to others." I'd like to notice when I am dissatisfied without judging myself and bring myself back to the place inside of me that accepts and loves myself as I am. That sounds a lot more satisfying than focusing on what's missing. Satisfaction or contentment can come from accepting the smallest things as being just as they are. In the article she ends with talking about a friend of hers who is out of work and how every day he does his part to find a job and then lets go and trusts in the universe which allows him to find the place of calm inside of himself. He does the practice of breathing in "Trust "and breathing out "Trust." I recommend it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

car karma

My plan was to stop at the Salvation Army thrift store on my way to yoga class on Saturday morning. I love this class. On the weeks when it works for me to go, I look forward to it all week. I wasn't paying close enough attention and I collided with another car on my way between two parking spaces. My plans were abruptly changed. The bumper of my car was ripped off and my car was bashed in a bit. He had a big truck which suffered a ding on the side. I am fine. The other driver was fine. I feel lucky that my lack of centeredness didn't result in more damage. I tend to be spacey when I am driving. My mind is often on other things. This was a wake-up call.It has resulted in my being a better safer driver. On the scene of the accident was a street person who was talking to both of us. At first I felt cautious until I realized he was trying to be helpful.I was aware of our shared humanity and that felt good. The person I hit thought the accident was his fault and so did I. When the policeman came he explained why it was my fault. I got a ticket. The other man was willing to blow off the damage to his truck because it was minor damage to a twenty year old truck. Again, I felt blessed. We actually had a nice connection and he was interested in coming to a yoga class. He does financial planning work with prisoners reentering the community. Of course, I would rather have met him under other circumstances. It is very hard for me not to beat up on myself when I do something I think is unskillful.This accident has been an opportunity to bring myself back from my angry story of self-blame to give myself compassionate attention.I want to use it as a message from the universe to slow down and pay attention. Also I have been spending too much time in thrift stores lately. I want this time back to do other things.It is easy to fill up my time with things that bring pleasure from the outside instead of being willing to sit quietly and see what arises to do next.I am driving around with my bumper in the back of my car. It reminds me to drive more mindfully. I have been nervous driving and remembering the feeling of the impact of the two cars in my body. It has been helpful to practice energy work for trauma. Today I want to see the car repair person I've gone to for twenty years.It is nice to have lived in one place for so long because over the years I've established a good relationship with him. He said he can reattach the bumper and fix the turn signal. It won't be beautiful and it will be functional.That's good enough for me. My car which I really love and am sad to have hurt, is fifteen years old.I am really glad it is still very drivable. I notice my body is stiff and I am still a little shaky inside. Driving in the snow today was challenging and it was good to do it. I appreciate that my lessons come in bearable ways. I am grateful that it wasn't worse and that I am willing to forgive myself even though it's been challenging. It's good to cut myself some slack and practice what I preach.It's OK to make mistakes. Where are you with that?

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I read a great article today called Joy Story in the wisdom section of It was written by Sally Klempton and focused on the idea that joy is within us. She is a great writer and I am inspired by her monthly column in the magazine Yoga Journal. She starts out talking about four different kinds of happiness. The first is called suhka in sanscrit. Sukha is defined as fleeting pleasure. This is the kind of pleasure that comes from outside of ourselves and is dependant on external events or circumstances. I call this external validation, when our sense of our own worth comes from outside of ourselves. My journey has been about moving from external validation to internal validation. Internal validtion is a sense of our own lovability or OKness that comes from within. Suhka and it's opposite duhka, or suffering, go hand in hand according to Klempton. If your pleasure is dependant on something going right outside of yourself when it goes wrong the bottom drops out. If my sense of pleasure is tied up with the weather I will feel great when it's warm and sunny and awful when it's grey cloudy and cold. I have to work hard to not react to grey days because I've conditioned myself to feel happy when it's warm and sunny. Lately I have been able to appreciate grey days more, as long as there aren't too many in a row. I feel less driven to get so much done. It seems easier to give myself permission to move slower and rest more on cloudy, cold, snowy days. If I am dependant on being in a relationship to feel good about myself, when that relationship ends or is threatened my world feels bleak. Extreme possessiveness can be the result of needing a relationship to be OK. Fleeting pleasure can change quickly and often does. If we are spending our lives chasing pleasure and avoiding pain we never get to the real sense of joy that is waiting there inside of us for us to notice it. Today I was walking in the park caught up in my head focused on my thoughts. I wasn't even noticing the beautiful day. When I realized this I was aware of a flock of geese spread across a field eating. They seemed so present with what they were doing. I could see the patterns created by their movements as they gracefully moved together following their food search. I was really enjoying watching them, thinking how much it felt to me as if they were all one. I wondered why people couldn't get along this well.
Then two of them began to fight over the food. My little fantasy of their togetherness dissolved. I was uncomfortable watching them. This is suhka. The fleeting pleasure of holding on to an external idea. In this case a fantasy. They were geese being geese. I realized that opening to all that I am includes opening up to me being me whether I find it pleasurable or uncomfortable. Sally Klemptom calls expecting yourself to be in a good state all the time and beating up on yourself when you're not, a bliss fascist. I liked that. Looking for joy within myself begins with knowing that all of my emotional states are part of my inner experience. Accepting myself with all of them means I'm not any of them. I can experience my feelings without thinking I am them. I have sadness rather than I am sad.
I am feeling afraid rather than I am afraid. By being with the experience of my feelings without identifying with them there is space to experience and release them. Real joy is underneath all of our thoughts and feelings. It is a wellspring that flows within all of us.
If its useful notice suhka in your life. There is nothing wrong with fleeting pleasure as long as we recognize it's fleetingness. More about how to cultivate joy within later. In the meantime close your eyes, breathe into your heart, take a peak and see if its there.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration 2009

What an amazing day! The women's spiritual support group I facilitate met this morning. We meet until 10:15 so we watched the inauguration together at ten. It was so moving to be part of the ritual and to share it with each other. I am so grateful. In the middle of Barack's speech I said to myself"Do you believe this guy is our president?" He seems to be such a visionary and so real. I felt so uplifted and inspired as I have each time I heard him speak. I felt a deep love for my country for the first time I can remember in my adult life. Looking at all of those people on the Whitehouse mall, I had so much admiration for what it took for all of them to be there. Every one had to committ to the time, energy and money it took to make the trip. One person I know who was there said she had never been around so many people in her life so many of whom were really happy. I love that Michelle Obama brought Laura Bush a gift. What a gracious gesture and indicative of a spirit of generousity that goes beyond
caring about protocol. The music that played before the inaguration based on Simple Gifts was so soothing and beautiful. As they showed the shining faces of the musicians I was struck with how much joy there was in each one. Each one doing what they loved and sharing it with so many people.
I imagine it might have been a dream come true for some of them. I imagine a lot of people were opening to their dreams being realized today. The thing I most loved about Barack's speech was the line, "Sixty years ago my father may have been refused service in a restaurant and here I stand before you today." It gave me chills to realize how far we've come even though we still have far to go. He spoke about values and his hopes for us to get that we are all one. I get that he gets that. How thrilling to have a president who knows we can only get through these times by all people all over the world pulling together. I refuse to modify my enthusiasm with temperance or to ground my hopes in "reality." In this moment my heart is aching with joy for the present moment and all we have been through together to get to today. I feel blessed to live in a country run by a person who I care about who is smart and seems so wise and humble. It is so healing to experience unbridled enthusiasm. I so appreciate sharing it with you. What is your experience like today? Can there be space for it to be whatever it is?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Day of Service

Several weeks ago I received a group e-mail from Michelle Obama about the Day of Service. It was asking for Americans to spend Martin Luther King's birthday doing some sort of a service project to help others. I checked out the link and there were a multitude of opportunities in the Denver area. I had a morning client scheduled and Laughter Yoga and a walk with a friend in the afternoon. I was disappointed to not be participating and not enough to rearrange things. I wrote to Meredith, the head of laughter yoga and asked if we could collect donations and give them to the shelter she volunteers at. She wrote back that they were cancelling Laughter Yoga because the church where laughter yoga meets was closed for the holiday. Then my client called to rescedule. My day was cleared enough to call my friend and see if he wanted to do a service project together instead of walking. It turned out he was really busy and it worked for him better to get together next week. It's funny how things get cleared away. I was grateful to get to participate. I chose a community project at D.U. for students and community people to go out and clean up the neighborhood. I had been wanting to spend more time with 20 year olds and this seemed like a good way. I had been wanting to work with more people in their twenties. That's when I started my inner work and I want to give back. I noticed that 32 people had signed up. My picture was that we would all go out to a nearby park and clean it up. I imagined people interacting with each other and that, although doing three hours of clean-up would be hard work, it would be fun.
When I arrived I realized that we were given route maps and sent out with whoever we came with to pick up trash in the surrounding neighborhoods. I knew I would do it and let go of my pictures, and I was disappointed to be going out by myself. I got my gloves, my route map and my two garbage bags. Then I noticed another woman there by herself. I am often shy around strangers. I remembered about "Do the ask." I extended myself and asked if she wanted to team up and do our clean-up together. She did and we had a fun time getting to know each other and trash collecting.
We had both been single parents and were the same age. She was challenged by her relationship with money and we did a Psych-K balance about that right on the sidewalk. She was very receptive and will probably come to laughter yoga. She gave me some good ideas about how to connect with 20 year olds. She has done many service projects over the years. It is such a good feeling to really connect with another human being. I was rewarded for "doing the ask." This experience has opened me to seeking out similar opportunities. I am glad.
Tomorrow is inagural day. Although I know the years ahead will be full of challenges, I am excited and hopeful to have a president and first lady who are the kind of people who value helping others enough to ask millions of people to participate. On top of that they walk their talk and participate themselves. I feel love and respect for both of them. It is such a good feeling to feel so positive about the leadership of this country. The sharp contrast I have felt for the past eight years makes me even more grateful for this new era in my life and in the life of my country. What are your thoughts about the inaguration?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Doing the ask

Good Morning! One of the people I am mentoring is starting a new career in working with non-profit organizations because she wants to help people. She told me about the concept of "Do the ask." It got me thinking about all of the times when I want or need something and I talk myself out of expressing that to others. It comes up a lot around my hearing. When I am in groups where people are going around the circle and sharing, it is often very difficult for me to hear. When I ask, people are willing to speak up and check in with me to see if I can hear them. In yoga classes teachers sometimes speak softly and play music that is louder than their voices. If I suffer in silence I rarely experience the purpose of yoga which is to relax and connect body, mind and breath. When I am focused on my frustration of not being able to hear, I can make a yoga class into an exercise in optimal stress. Kind of defeats the purpose. When I have spoken to a yoga teacher about my hearing loss and/or asked to have the music turned down, all of them have been willing to accommodate me. If I don't "Do the ask"
how will anyone ever know what I want and need. I don't like to appear high maintenence. The truth is I am high maintenence. I am sensitive to a lot of smells and sounds and I have difficulty hearing. The trick is to let go of judging myself for that and accept that it means more opportunity to ask for what I want. Somehow that feels like the booby prize. So here we go with another FGO. To refresh your memory FGO stands for f----ing growth opportunity. The growth opportunity is to be big and ask. "I'm too embarrassed." Embarrassment is a rationale I am ready to let go of. I want to notice the embarrassment, comfort myself with the idea that it's OK to ask for what I want even if I am worried about what someone else might think of me. Pulling my energy back and playing small and not asking for what I want is part of the belief that I don't deserve to have what I want. How can I possibly get what I want if I don't even put it out there that I want it. There is no cosmic mind reader who picks up on my unstated needs and communicates them telepathically to the person I want to hear them. Of course there is no guaranty that when I get it out of my mouth and ask for what I want, that I will get what I want. It certainly does maximize the odds, though.
This is empowering to write about. Please send me a copy of your e-mail address so I can begin to create an e-mail list to communicate with you about this blog or other events I may be offering. I won't share it with anyone else. Thank you.
I have been thinking of asking for that and not asking. Doing the ask feels good. Where are you with "doing the ask". Is there something you'd like to ask for from someone that you'd be willing to stretch and communicate to them? Regardless of the results, the benefits of moving something from your heart to your throat and out of your mouth are ones you get to keep.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Monnya and Isaac

Yesterday I got the good news that my daughter Monnya and her boyfriend of 6 years, Issac, are getting married in August. They live together in a house they bought in Evergreen. They consider themselves common law married and even have wedding rings tatooed on their ring fingers. I am excited that they are planning a wedding.
When Isaac first came into the picture I wasn't exactly thrilled. She was 17 and he was 26. He is the older brother of one of her best friends and he had been on the periphery of her life since she was about 9. One day she saw him in a new light. When she communicated that to him he was thrilled and they began to date. They were inseparable in a very short while. Isaac and Monnya have had many great adventures.Their first was to go to Hawaii and camp on the beach for three months. When they returned I wanted Monnya to come live at home and Isaac to find his own place. Monnya was clear that either neither of them would live with me or both of them would. We had a meeting for all of us to speak the truth from our hearts and came out of it deciding that the three of us would live together for the next two weeks and see how things were working out with the possibility of extending the time to four months.
At the time Issac had a seasonal job and would return to work in four months. Then they would get their own place. It was a very challenging time. Except for living with Monnya, I had lived alone for ten years. We both compromised to make things work and we both had to work at it.for instance, isaac loves musci and playing it loudly felt very healing to him. I value quiet and he was willing to play music very quietly in his room or when I wasn't there. Sometimes I resented not having the house to myself. He was willing to go do something else if I got up my couage to ask for what I wanted. It is difficult for me to relax when I have people in my house. I am most relaxed when I am alone and I value my privacy. I'd say I did a medium job of being welcoming to Issac. I was genuinely glad to have them living with me. I wasn't ready for Monnya to move out. I saw it as an opportunity to get to know Issac better because by then I had realized how committed they were to each other. Both of them have parents who divorsed when they were young. From the beginning, each of them was clear that they wanted to be in a life long relationship with each other and that they would work things out to get there. At first I thought,"Yeah, right,nice ideal." As time has gone on, however, I have been inspired by their steadfastness and it has helped me not to bolt in my own realtionship with Gary. It is sweet to be with them. They can go at each other at times and there is this underlying sense of acceptance of their differences even if they are annoying.
Issac and I emerged from those four months with a lot of respect for each other. We butted heads and learned to agree to disagree. Monnya was very happy that Issac and I were growing closer and using each other to grow. None the less, he and I were both relieved when they moved out.
I love Isaac as a son, now. I never had a male child and now I have one.I am grateful to him for adoring Monnya and for supporting her in expressing her many art forms. He is an incredibly hardworking person and I appreciate his dedication to his job. Several years ago he found his passion and became a soccer coach for teenaged boys. It is so heartwarming to hear him talk about his team. He is very caring and very firm and his teams have done really well. Both Monnya and Isaac coach from the heart. They appreciate their coachees and use positive reinforcement to motivate, rather than fear or criticism. The result is that their kids are very devoted to them.Issac has helped Monnya perfect her snowboarding skills and they love to go on runs I would run from.She is good for him because she pushes him to grow and to talk better care of himself. His love for her is her anchor from which she can spread her wings and fly. And fly she does.
I am very happy that they have each other. It feels so good that my daughter has found such a good person for her partner. I look forward to the wedding plans and am resolved to keep my opinions to myself unless I am asked. Easier said than done.
Is there a relatiionship in your life that has been hard work and is now rewarding? Is there a relationship in your life that is worth the hard work it'll take for it to become rewarding eventually?

Monday, January 12, 2009


I am feeling so grateful for my life today. The snow this morning was a bit shocking. I hate being cold and I often feel uneasy after a big snowfall. It helps if the day is sunny and the sky turns blue. This morning I went out to shovel. The wind was strong and the sky was overcast. The snow was quite heavy and difficult to push onto the shovel. Gary bought me one of those ergonomic shovels last year which makes things much easier on my back. The exertion felt good and I was less anxious when I was done. I was aware of feeling grateful to have a strong body. Also I was reconvinced that exercise moves anxiety. Often when I am anxious moving my body around creates some space for the fear to lessen.
Driving in the snow is easy for me. I grew up in Syracuse, New York where it snowed from October until April. It really snowed, not like here where the snow often melts before the day is out. People had orange styrofoam balls on their car aerials to be able to see cars over the snow drifts. As I drove to the dentist I was grateful for the bootcamp of winter driving that I had growing up. I was keenly aware that some of the other drivers did not feel as comfortable so I paid extra attention to what I was doing. Arriving at the dentist, I was grateful that they took me right away. The people there are all so very nice. I actually enjoy going to the dentist. That hasn't always been the case. The dentist listens to me and values what I say about my own health. She is open to new ideas. Today I had read some research about Dental Distress Disorder that I wanted her to check out. It's the idea that the position or mal position of the jaw greatly effects overall health. Hearing loss and anxiety are two of the symptoms. She seemed excited to learn something new. How refreshing! It's a joy to have a dentist who seems so little influenced by her own ego. That has rarely been my experience in the past with other dentists.
Arriving home I received calls from two people who wanted to schedule an appointment. I felt very grateful that people want to work with me. I work with are such cool people. It is a joy to hang out with them and love them. Sometimes I can't believe I get to do that for work.
Then I had a sweet conversation with my partner Gary. We worked through a lot of stuff this weekend and it was so good to talk to him when I was feeling so positive about our relationship. We went to a lovely yoga class yesterday. I appreciate his willingness to go to a yoga class with me. It feels great to find a class we both like. The teacher is exceptional , has very positive energy and the class is by donation. What a find. You know, focusing on my blessings is very uplifting. Sharing them with you makes the healing even more powerful. I would like to do this more often. I highly recommend it as a practice.
What do you feel grateful for today?

Friday, January 9, 2009


A person just called me from a worthy cause. It's a non profit organization that I gave money to last year that is doing good things in the world. I answered the phone because I thought it was my friend from New York. I just finished working for the week. I worked a lot this week and didn't sleep well last night. I am very tired. As I listened to this woman talk about her organization I could feel my resentment building. I didn't want to hang up on her and I didn't want to keep listening. I said, I'm sorry but I don't have the energy to talk to you right now." I didn't wait to see whether she would honor that or tell me it would only take a minute of my time. She may have been quite compassionate. Then I hung up the phone. The conversation let me know how tired I am. Often when I get overtired I overeat. The curcuits in my brain get crossed and have developed into a pattern. I know I am tired and I need to rest. I know my energy is depleted. Instead of resting to rejuvenate I eat to replenish. I can tell from my uncomfortably full stomach and my level of energy that the pattern has been operating in full force the last few days. It feels good to write about this.
It'll keep me away from the refrigerator long enough to get clearer. I know that when nothing, feels right, as in no matter what I do nothing at all feels right, it is time for me to do nothing. Knowing that is true and doing nothing are two different things. It is very hard for me to relax and do nothing lately. I used to spend time daily lying on my back on my living room carpet. I have this cranial sacral tool that I rested my neck on. I think I distracted myself because I was doing healing work and that justified lying there. I did begin to lie down on my balls ( the cranial sacral tool looks like two red balls) this week but got up quickly when I bought my story that whatever else I decided must be done was more important. In yoga, savasana, also called corpse pose or relaxation pose, is the hardest pose for me to do. I justify not doing it because I meditate after I am done doing yoga. Meditation isn't doing nothing either. After I am done writing I am going to lie down on the carpet in my yoga and meditation room. There is an electric heater in there and I will get a soft heavy blanket. Then I will be toasty warm. I am going to lie down like a corpse and practice what I teach. Slow down and do nothing . Rest into my life. Spend time being as well as doing. It makes sense that we teach what we most need to learn. Opening to all that I am includes honoring the part of me that intuitively knows it is time for me to stop and be still and listen. If I don't the universe creates opportunities where I am forced to slow down and listen. They have ranged from the cosmic toothpick of getting a cold to the cosmic two by four of breaking my leg. I am going to rest now. Where are you with resting? What do you want to listen to yourself about? What might be in it for you to do so?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Inner child care center

What if we could love our own inner child the way we love our own children? Maybe your children are your own children, or your pets or a friend's kids or your nephews and nieces. What if we could learn to love ourselves the way we love the beings we love unconditionally? Swami Beyondananda, a comedian who uses spiritually based humor, said one way to cope with the current economic situation is to develope an inner child care center. What would my inner child care center be like?
It would be a beautiful sanctuary filled with light where I could hold myself in love. It would be open 24 hours a day. Whenever Andie, the little girl inside me got triggered into her pain about something that is happening now I could open the doors of the Andie Sagenkahn inner child care center and welcome her in. She and her pain body would be nutured and protected until it felt safe to her to experience and release whatever was going on. She would be celebrated for whatever was in her experience -never shamed or criticized. Noone would be impatient with her or frustrated with her or expect her to be someone or something different than she is. Her tears would be welcomed, her joy would be welcomed. Noone would ever ever say stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about. It would be a place where she could sing and dance and be as silly as she wanted to be. Noone would tell her that she loved herself too much. That she loves herself would be acknowledged and celebrated. While we're at it there would be lots of art supplies. She wouldn't have to worry about using too many or too much. She wouldn't have to worry if her paintings looked like what she was painting. She would be supported for her artwork regardless of wht it looked like so she could learn to own her artist self. There would be lots of delicious food that she likes to eat and noone would be telling her what not to eat or how much to eat. There would be plenty of time to relax and savour her food. She could run around and play and make as much noise as she wanted and laugh as hard as she wanted. She could explore having fun in whatever way she chose to. She would be encouraged to relax and do nothing, because being is just as important as doing. Centering would be a very important part of the center. That's why it's called a center. There would be lots of field trips to places of beauty and plenty of time to appreciate them. The curriculum would be the more you are yourself, whatever that is, the more you are aware of and experience love. She would know that love is all there is and that she is love, except for when she didn't and that would be OK, too. I am taking a minute now to breathe and feel my love for her. She loves being loved. Sometimes I give her food when all she wants is love. Andie's Place is hereby open for business. What would your innerchild care center be like?

Monday, January 5, 2009

Work in progress

When my ego voice wants to run with something how can I keep from reacting? I was on the phone with Gary and I shared the belief statement I worked on in my PSYCH-K trade with my friend Linza tonight. It was: A new door in my life awaits me now. I did a Resolution Balance where the part of the brain that knows the statement is true is represented by one arm and the part that needs to know it is true and doesn't yet is represented by the other arm. I held my arms out to the sides and allowed them to come together of their own accord without making anything happen. In the process I let go of control and let my arms move themselves. I realized that the new door in my life that awaits me now is letting go of control. When my hands came together and I pulled them into my heart I felt grounded in trusting the universe. Over the past few days the energy has been shifting to be more allowing of what is and to speak my truth more directly. Letting go of control doesn't mean being laid back and pretending things are OK that aren't. I appreciate Linza's friendship and her skill as a therapist. I love PSYCH-K. In a brief phone conversation with Gary I told him what I had balanced for and he said, "We are never in control. We only think we are." I felt unheard and preached to. I debated whether to call him back because I wanted to write this blog and I am tired and didn't want to get into it with him. I realized I couldn't let it go and called him and asked him to do it over again with me. I shared what I balanced for again and this time he heard me. He got how I felt and understood it and that felt good. Now I am working with my sadness and anger about how hard I have to work to be heard by him. It is easy for me to generalize when I am in this place. I hear words like ,"he always... and he never...." I want to run and be with someone who is more like my women friends, who know how to listen to me and ask skillful questions to deepen my process. I don't have to be on guard about communication, choosing my words so as not to be hurt. I appreciate my close friends so much. I am on the edge of a precipice where I could find it difficult to sleep because I am obsessing about leaving my relationship. It is so easy to get pushed over the edge. I called Gary back and he asked me what I needed to feel better. That was a skillful question that I didn't know the answer to. I wanted my loving feelings of an hour ago before I talked to Gary to come back. I didn't know how to let go and open my heart. I was hoping to come to some resolution so I could let go of this and we could feel closer and both go to sleep. He feels pounded by me and that he can never be enough for me. I feel hopeless about ever being able to be safe relaxing and being emotionally vulnerable . He says that I want perfection and don't cut him slack about his humanity. I feel frustrated that he apologizes and says he will look at his stuff and doesn't look at what makes him do what he does.
He got mad and asked to call me back. Then we talked for a long time and heard each other and got through it. I realized I shared something important in a way that was a setup.
I said I didn't want to talk long and then shared an experience that needed time and attention. He reacted in a way that was unskillful and I got hurt. When I am hurt I get scared and I think I want to bolt. It would be way more skillful for me to communicate my fear than my wanting to bolt. If I tell him that something is important to me and share it at a time when he has time to listen, he can really show up. Mostly he really shows up. I am getting some help about all of this. So is he. I feel grateful to be in a relationship with Gary. He will talk to me until we get an issue resolved. I trust that we can get through things together.
I trust in our love. I trust in love. Except when I don't. There is work to do. I am a work in progress. So are you.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Letting go

Today I went for a walk with my friend Suzanne. I used to be a runner. Suzanne and I would meet regularly and run around Washington Park twice which is five miles. Running was hard to give up. It quieted my anxiety and kept me very fit with not much effort. Although I can't say I loved it while I was running, when I was done I felt very empowered and exhilarated. I ran from the time I was twenty five until my late forties. During the last five years of running my lower back started bothering me after I ran. I would stop for a few days and it would get better and then I would start again. After running for several weeks or even several months my back would hurt again. I asked my chiropractor what he thought of running.
He said it was good for his business. He assured me that running was really hard on bodies especially on knees and backs. I kept running and my back kept hurting. It was getting harder and harder to deny the connection. I knew I needed to let go. The last day I ran I asked for a sign. I said, "If I am supposed to stop running please let me know." At the end of my run I could barely walk. It was a pretty clear sign. Even I couldn't ignore it. Luckily for my back, I didn't ignore it. I felt a lot of loss, not the least of which was how identified I was with being a runner. I used identifying as a runner to feel young and strong and cool. I started walking for exercise which didn't feel cool at all. I soon found that I loved it. Walking by myself was so much more meditative than running. Although I didn't feel exhilarated when I was done I did feel less anxious and more peaceful. I could easily walk with a friend and have a nice conversation while breathing normally. Walking coupled with daily yogic stretching gives me a strong pain-free back.Closing the door of running allowed me to open the door of walking.
Suzanne and I met at Washington Park today to remember old times. It was hard to believe I could actually run that far ten years ago. Walking twice around the park today, I could tell my physical stamina and energy level have definitely lessened with aging. I am used to walking about two 1/2 miles a day. Being with Suzanne made it easier to keep going further than I would have on my own. I honor the aging of my body even though it is challenging sometimes. I went to a restorative yoga class afterwards as a treat to myself. I am grateful to have a body that works so well. Like a flower it thrives on being appreciated and watered and nourished. I hope to be able to be grateful to have a healthy strong body for years to come. Is there something in your life you want to explore letting go of? What would closing that door open up the possibility of in your life? Also where are you with your body? Does it need some special appreciation