Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I am preparing to leave on my silent women's weekend vipassana meditation retreat this Friday. I have never attended a vipassana retreat that is all woman and I am really looking forward to it. I'll write about it when I return. I am hoping to quiet down inside and feel more balanced. I would like to be able to be preesent with what my experience is , whatever my experience is. It is easy for me to judge some feelings as good like happiness and joy and some as bad like fear, anger and sadness. The next step is if I am feeling the good ones it is good and I am good. When the bad ones rear their ugly heads it is bad and I am bad.
I went to a oneness blessing with my friend Ginger on Monday. Deeksha is a laying on of hands to impart the energy of oneness to the recipient. After the blessings she spoke of her teacher telling them about the importance of being with the energy of emotion rather than judging them as good or bad or themselves as good or bad for feeling them. She talked about hanging out and being with and breathing into the energy of the emotion and the sensation in the body rather than the story. It was validating for me to hear this because it is what I have been believing and intermittently practicing. For instance, when Gary was on his backpacking meditation retreat last week I really missed him. Missing him felt bad. I judged myself for being too dependant on him. In the past when I missed someone I often would distract myself by getting busy and not thinking about it and pretending I didn't feel it. This time I decided to just feel the missing even though it felt bad. As I sat with the sensation which was a tightness in my chest and stomach, it went from bitter to bitter sweet to sweet. I realized that missing Gary was a function of my love for him and my enjoyment of his company. It wasn't that I am weak and sniviling and need to get a life. I have a rich full life and was enjoying myself without him and I missed him. Even though it was still achey I imagined it was the ache of my heart breaking open and that felt expansive and joyful.
It's also possible to miss a person even though you don't want to spend time with them or think the relationship is healthy for you. It's just as important to experience that missing too. Feeling the sensations of the missing allows them to release and clarity about just why it is that you left to emerge. Missing someone isn't good or bad, it just is. Paying attention to the feelings and honoring yourself for having them leads to greater compassion for yourself.
Greater compassion for yourself is always a good thing. Is there someone or something that you miss? Would you be willing to let yourself feel it without judging the missing or yourself as being good or bad?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

tuning in

I had a wonderful experience teaching yoga today. Last Wednesday I was supposed to serve on jury duty and found a substitue to teach my class. My jury number wasn't called and I didn't have to go. What a gift that was. I had the whole morning to myself and the person who I asked to sub encouraged me to still have her sub to further rest my injured wrist. I felt very supported and realized once again how good it feels to ask for help and let myself receive. My wrist loved having the extra time to rest and heal. I have been doing physical therapy and it has really helped. I have created entire yoga sequences that don't involve weight bearing on the wrists and have lots more compassion for other people's challenged parts.I haven't taken a regular yoga class or ridden my bike for over a month. That has been difficult. Difficult and well worth it because I am healing. When I broke my leg several years ago I was back in my yoga training pushing myself too hard way too soon. I was too stubborn and compulsive to give my ankle the rest it needed to heal completely. I think I am forced to rest and slow down when I need to by my body's protests. This time I have been listening. You know about the cosmic two by four. When your body wants to communicate a message to you first you get a little nudge. Maybe it will be feeling very tired or sad. If we chose to ignore the call for attention the nudge escalates. Maybe it will be a cold or a stubbed toe. If we chose to continue to blow ourselves off the ante may be upped to a cosmic toothpick like a cold or a stubbed toe or a minor fender bender. Ignoring ourselves further can result in a cosmic two by four- something quite dramatic that immediately gets our attention by forcing us to slow down. Making the time to take care of ourselves and listening to our internal process prevents this cycle. Staying in our own sacred circle and checking in with ourselves on a daily basis will not prevent uncomfortable things from happening but will sure make the odds better to live a harmonious life. Meditation and yoga are two ways to check in with yourself. I notice when I am neglecting my home practices of yoga and meditation because I am more reactive and stiffer. Practicing yoga and meditation at home regularly I can cope with lifes inevitable ups and downs more easily. Would you like to focus on giving yoursel more attention in this way? It seems to me that when I need it the most is when I have the most resistance. How about sitting or doing a few poses today? Think of it as a spiritual treat with a lot less calories than ice cream.
I used to think that restorative yoga was for wimps. It takes so much more courage to really relax and be present. After not going to a regular yoga class for a month, I went to a restorative class last weekend. Restorative as in get into a sucession of three relaxing poses supported by props and hang out for twenty minutes in each one. When the class was finished I felt as if I were in an altered state. Colors seemed more vivid and people looked beautiful. Resting is such a healing thing. I highly recommend restorative yoga to ease stress and open your heart. At harmony yoga there is a great class
Today it was a joy to be back teaching my yoga class. My inner critic took a vacation to a small desert island and I really had fun. I am relying less on external validation and more basing how I feel about my teaching on the life force that flows through me. Today I allowed it to flow and it brought a vitality and playfulness to my class. I am so grateful to be teaching yoga and I invite all of you to come to my class or anyone's class. Yoga is the best way I know to connect body mind and spirit. My class is on Wednesdays at noon at Whole Yoga. Come and play if the spirit moves you. There are noon classes four days a week at Whole Yoga all for $5. If yoga isn't your thing what would you be willing to do to connect with your inner process? Or yet what would you be willing to not do and just be?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I think something is wrong with my computer. It's moving very slowly and it might not work to write this now. We'll see. I so feel at the mercy of technology sometimes. When something seems to be going wrong I try what I know and hope for the best. I guess that's always true. With relationships when something seems to be going wrong I also try what I know and hope for the best. The difference is that my tool box is much more extensive and my confidence in my experience is greater. Probably the extent to which we are effective in different areas of our lives has something to do with how much we are willing to try something and mess up. A signal just came on and told me that my computer was unprotected and asked me to push a button that said fix now to fix it. Then it said it was fixed. What if it were that easy with relationship issues? Maybe it is. When I sense that something is wrong in an important relationship it makes sense to check out my intuition. First I ask myself, "Am I projecting?"
In other words is something going on in me that needs my attention rather than it actually going on outside of me. I check that out get a yes and clear it or get a no and plan what is next. I often ask the other person for a reality check. For example," I am making up a story that you are angry with me. Is that true?" If the answer is yes I thank them for telling me and ask if they would be willing to tell me more. Then I listen as attentively and non-defensibly as I can. Then I validate that I can understand that they could feel that way. Gary is getting really good at trusting his intuitiion when he senses I am angry with him. Sometimes I feel so high maintenence that I want to work things through on my own first before I talk to him but I am not making much progress. When he asks me to share it with him it is with the understanding that we can use the resolution of the conflict to get closer. I appreciate that he is listening to his intuition and supporting me in clearing things with him. I think being willing to work on a relationship and using the relationship to grow is my most important value in a partner. He is so much more able to listen attentively and non-defensively, too. It gives me so much more space to be all of myself even the parts I would just as soon send to Siberia. Gary is a good at being able to not take things personally.
I am a good teacher for him in providing lots of things coming at him to practice not taking them personally. It is really easy for me to focus on what is missing and ignore what is there. Gratefulness is focusing on what is there.
Yesterday I felt very grateful. Gary and I went on a long hard hike to Blue Lake. I haven't done a harder hike all summer. I felt a combination of fear and excitement. It was a gorgeous day and everything was so green. I felt as if I were in emerald city. The wildflowers were more vibrant than I ever remember them being at this time of year. I am grateful for all of the moisture we have been getting. I am grateful to my body for carrying me up the mountain and down without too much discomfort. I am grateful to have a partner who has nature as his temple as I do. I am grateful for the breathtaking beauty that exists less than an hour away and for the time to go hiking on a Monday. I am grateful for the comraderie that exists between people immersing themselves in that beauty. Strangers feel free to talk to each other about the flowers and terrain. I highly recommend getting up into the mountains for a hike. It opens the heart and expands the soul. When things go wrong as they inevitabley do I have that mountain hit to reflect back on and use as an antidote to the stress and chaos of city life. My body mind and spirit all remember and smile as I am back in the meadow surrounded by purple and yellow wildflowers feeling one with all there is. Would you be willing to carve out some time for a walk in nature? It is especially important if you feel you are too busy to.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


It is so good to write. Even though I am tired I always feel energized by writing this blog. Creative expression is like that. When I feel like I have no energy for a creative project I remember that it gives me energy to let my creativity flow. It is life force. Is there a creative project that you've been thinking about? What would it take to push you over the edge? Creativity can be loosely defined. It could be anything that you do that helps bring you into the present moment. Maybe it is even the opposite of addiction. I think of addiction as anything that is used habitually to distract or avoid being present. Addictions are feeling stuffers. When I want to pick my nails or eat when I'm not hungry I ask myself (when I remember to) " What am I feeling? What is it I really need?" Often it is rest. If I let myself rest when I am drained or tired that is when creative ideas are most likely to flow. When I am quiet is is more possible for my muse to speak to me about her dreams. She speaks in a quiet calm voice that can't be heard above the din of my urgency and busyness. She says," Wouldn't it be fun to sculpt now? or how about concocting some juice? or how about allowing yourself to lie in bed and daydream? Ask to know your muse and then listen for her voice? She is there waiting for you to slow down enough to be with her. Sometimes it takes time.

I went to a workshop recently where they asked us to do a brag about the person who brought us there. It was so fun to brag unabashedly. So, I have a brag to share with you. My daughter Monnya is the most creative person I know. Creativity oozes out of her pores. She and Issac had a beautiful wedding. The whole family including many exes stayed in a rented vacation home in the mountains and worked together to make the wedding happen. I thought it was a terrible idea at first. I am glad that i kept that to myself. Being together under the same roof for that long bonded us together and created a supportive community around Monnya and Issac where the feeling of love was palpable. The very heartful celebrant created a native american ceremony honoring the six directions of north, south, east, west, above and below.His words honored Monnya and Isaac's love and offered prayers for their continued growth. Important people in their lives held each of the six directions and offered blessings to Monnya and Isaac. I got to hold the pole representing the center. I felt as if from the center of myself I held the center of the community. I offered strength to everyone there and received strength back. I was aware of the energy exchange that connects us all when we are willing to let go and surrender to being present with what is. That presence brought me clarity and peace. I am deeply grateful to all of the generous people who made the wedding so moving. The celebrant sang a song about love being forever and bringing growth. We all sang the chorus. We sang through our tears. Weddings are a ritual of love that brings up many feelings. For a long time weddings brought up sadness and lonliness for me. This wedding brought up joy and wonder at my daughter and son and the depth of their commitment to each other. They are an inspiration to me.
Because they have tatooed wedding rings they didn't exchange rings. Instead Monnya represented the element of water and Isaac of fire. Gary tended the fire that heated up Issac's rock. When Issac removed the rock from the fire Monnya pored her water over it from a beautiful glass bowl. The steam that billowed up joined their energy together. Creativity was afoot. The collective muses counsel made themselves available to us. We were all blessed. I am so proud of my creative kids and their ability to be themselves whether it fits with what's expected of them by the culture or not. Thanks for listening to my brag. Do you have a brag you'd like to make about yourself or someone else. Let er rip.