After two long years of pandemic induced anxiety, a war in Europe is now heaping more stress and worry on top of that Covid mountain, and with it the concept of peace, let alone world peace, starts seeming like a fading mirage, an illusion. We feel powerless to change the root cause of senseless violence. Standing firm in our hope and with diminishing optimism, we offer financial support and encouragement to the Ukrainian people, but at times it feels like we are just placing a bandaid on the severed limb…Read more
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We spend so much time and energy avoiding pain, don't we? We wear comfortable shoes and sleep in comfortable beds. We guard our hearts and protect our bodies from injury. So it seems quite ridiculous to say that there is a gift in pain.
The first person to suggest to me that there is a gift in pain was my yoga teacher, Pam Guido. She told me that I would be grateful for my physical pain and for my own limitations because it would cause me to intimately learn about how to care for such limitations with…Read more
It’s a Saturday afternoon in India and I am sitting in a health clinic waiting out the mandatory observation time after receiving the second dose of the covid vaccine. There are about 3 dozen other people here as well. I am in my own thoughts as I sit here with my breath. I am managing my pain, not from the shot but from a different health issue I am working through. The pain is intense. I am uncomfortable. I focus again on my breath. In my view I can see the nurse who is administering the vaccine doses…Read more
I stepped out onto our little balcony three floors above the mostly dirt road below. Although we live outside of the city’s center, there are still only buildings to be seen from here to the horizon in any direction you look. The structures are mostly residential in this seemingly endless urban sprawl with occasional trees growing along the roadsides where cows, dogs, and chickens are as much a part of the local traffic as motorbikes and rickshaws. I had gone out to the balcony to take a closer look at the…Read more
"We need to find our new normal"
I heard this phrase a lot when we were just a few months into the pandemic. People were struggling to adjust to all of the changes and to find how this "new normal" would look as schools and businesses went online while masks and hand sanitizer became as commonly used as shoes and socks. The gatherings stopped, the hugs stopped, the restaurants closed and so many more changes and loss rolled in like a sudden summer storm. Some of us longed for things to return to normal…Read more
Adjusting to married life, in a foreign land, during a pandemic, has not been easy. My husband and I have faced constant challenges, big and small, including issues with my banking, my phone, our internet, and countless items we ordered arriving damaged, just to name a few. It seems like every day there is a new obstacle to overcome and some problem to be solved. This is life though, especially life during a pandemic.
The other day I woke early. It seemed close to sunrise but I wasn't sure. I reached for…Read more
I am a Yoga Teacher. Before the pandemic I was teaching about 17 classes a week. In all of my classes I had music in the background. Sometimes soothing, sometimes upbeat, depending on the style of class. Since becoming a yoga teacher many years ago, my own personal practice has been done in silence. Maybe it was all the classes, with music, and all the talking required to give precise instruction to guide students through the class safely and with encouragement that caused me to prefer a silent personal…Read more
A breeze came through the forest. It felt magical... like an ancient song, whispered by the Earth herself.
Time spent in the woods brings me back in touch with the natural cycles of life. I see the dead fallen trees amongst the living. The leaves too, will drop from living trees and after undergoing decomposition they become nutrients for other plants and trees around them. Here, life and death dance side by side in harmony, as one transforms into the other and then back again.
Everything in its season…
Recently I was giving a private yoga session to a gentleman via video call. During the session I noticed that he was pushing his stretch further than what his body could reasonably accommodate. I gently reminded him not to force a stretch. He made a joking reference to the well known motto; "No Pain, No Gain." I told him that my yogic philosophy does not include that belief. Then he asked me, "How can I make progress if I don't push myself?" This was my reply;
You don't push. You hold. When you feel that…Read more
Dear Uncle Walt,
Tomorrow it will be 4 months since your death. I think of you every day. I miss hearing your voice. I miss your strength. You never shied away from life. You had a fair share of heartaches, the most painful being the loss of your beloved wife, Mae. She suffered immensely for years with a hereditary illness, that among many things, took away her sight. She spent so much of her life in the hospital, especially towards the end. You were so devoted to her. I know it broke your heart when she…
Living outside of your comfort zone requires deliberate effort throughout life. When you first step outside of your comfort zone it is frightening and uncomfortable, but if you stay there for a while, it eventually becomes comfortable. Maybe you start to feel comfortable or maybe you acclimate into the discomfort. Either way your circle of comfort has expanded and now you are called upon to take another step out and then another step out. Keep taking these steps and one day you will look back and barely…Read more
I've heard that people are protesting the shutdown. I've heard that people are refusing to wear masks and are ignoring the social distancing recommendations.
It's not my place to judge or criticize. But I will admit that I am perplexed. It is difficult for me to understand, although I try, I can only truly see from my own eyes. I can only understand from my own experinece. With so much unknown, and difficult to understand, I would like to share with you the one thing that I know for sure;
I am a small…Read more
During this challenging time, I want to remind you to be kind to yourself. Life is changing so quickly and so drastically, it is ok to take time to grieve the loss of normalcy. It is ok to acknowledge your sadness and fear. Take some time to really check in with your body, mind and spirit.
Difficult situations like this are a tremendous opportunity for growth. We can aspire to grow in patience for our quarantined family or for our stressed out co-workers. We can grow in compassion and reach out to those in…Read more
On Sunday evenings or Monday mornings is when I look to the week ahead. I review my schedule, which changes from week to week, and I review my enormous to-do list. I mentally prepare myself for the week ahead and for the tasks I need to accomplish.
At the start of this week while I was looking at my list of tasks, and categorizing them, and prioritizing them, it occurred to me that in all this planning and everything I hope to achieve, I haven't planned out how I want to FEEL. This is a very important…
Visualize a starry sky, on a clear night with every corner of the sky as far as you can see, sparkling with countless diamonds in red, silver and blue. I hope you've seen such a sky at least once in your life. Bring that image into your mind with as much clarity as you can envision. Feel a sense of peace wash over your body and mind. The stars remind us that this world is bigger than our struggles. Stars live for billions of years. Our little drama will play out in a handful of decades. 100 years from now…Read more
Growth is a continual process of death and rebirth. We shed old ideas and beliefs. We shed old relationships and ways of being. We shed former versions of ourselves. It's painful. Its exhausting. And yet, let's be honest, there is a part of us still expects, or desires, a smoother path.....maybe lit with rainbows and shooting stars and constant signs and encouragement from spirit/divine/universe that we are on the right path. (but for real, that would be awesome!) After we did the difficult inner-work…Read more
This was the scene just a few hours ago, as I sat in my car in front of Just Breathe Yoga & Fitness studio and cried. Massive tears streaming down my face without even the slightest effort to hold them back. I was there to teach a class, but truth be told, if I wasn't teaching, I probably would not have been there. After far too many challenging days and weeks, it would've been so easy to just stay home and go to bed instead of going to yoga. But I was the teacher. I didn't want to disappoint anyone. So I…Read more
A few weeks back I was having a discussion with a dear friend. We were talking about this thing I have been trying to manifest for many, many months now. A particular situation that has taken a lot of time, effort and a roller coaster ride of emotions and once again I was right up against that place where it was on the verge of happening. And my friend said, "Even if it doesn't happen right now, in the way that you want it, you can still believe that something wonderful is about to happen."
This concept is…Read more
"Yes, you really understand the process. We need that vulnerability and humility to let go. We feel that wave of release and a lightness comes over our being. But it is never once and done, is it? Even when the clarity and realization is strong, there always seems to be a deeper level,... more letting go,... more clarity.... more vulnerability. Like flowing water can, over time, carve into and reshape rocks and stones, so are we having our rough edges smoothed, little by little, as these waves of…Read more
Update: It took almost 3 years, but before I moved to India in March of 2021, I had mailed out every single one of those hundreds and hundreds of postcards.
It began a long time ago when I was a young girl. My family did not have a camera nor the money for souvenirs. So it was an ingenious idea of my parents to allow each of us children to choose one postcard from every place we went. So whether it was a day trip to the zoo or to a park or to a museum, each place we went we were permitted to choose one…Read more
My love for you cannot be contained in this body.
The edges of this existAnce are always on the verge of bursting open... stretching beyond what is possible... a pain in the soul,... the pain of being contained,... of being limited in form, when my love for you is limitless.
Maybe in a past life the same thing happened. Maybe I met you and loved you so completely and so fully that it could not be contained in this human body. And maybe one day, overwhelmed by my love for you, I burst wide open, exploding into…
"Our own life has to be our message"
This is a quote by Thich Nhat Hanh
Read these words again
"Our own life has to be our message."
What is your message?
Before your mind goes making a list of your achievements and your successes, think about this; what do you really want to say with your brief time on this planet?
Each one of us will have a different answer to that question. And I hope that your message will be your own, a message that has blossomed out of your authenticity. Only you know what your…Read more
Trust in Divine Timing.
That’s what we are told. Trust. I’ve even reminded myself and others to ‘allow the unfolding’. To let things unfold naturally instead of trying to force a certain outcome. When we are doing our work, learning the lessons, shedding the layers, and moving forward, sometimes …. (Umm, actually a lot of the time,)… we would like some concrete affirmation that our work is paying off, that our efforts come to fruition in a tangible way, and preferably RIGHT NOW. This is normal human…Read more
“I have lost my smile, but don’t worry. The dandelion has it” – Thich Nhat Hanh
What a beautiful thought. This week in several of my yoga classes I invited students to reflect upon this quote, and I also shared some of my own explorations of these lovely lines. Here I would like to share my ponderings on this quote and also explore further.
“I have lost my smile, but don’t worry. The dandelion has it”
First of all, I confess I adore dandelions. They are tenacious, growing up through sidewalk cracks and…Read more
Here is the image. You have a goal. You’ve planned a path to that goal. You are walking the path with total commitment and dedication. You should make it to your goal then, right? But what if you don’t? You are focusing on every step and keeping your eyes glued to the path…. Then you hit a brick wall. You are standing there with your face up against the wall, so close that all you see are the bricks. You try to punch, kick, climb, scratch and claw your way through or over the wall but nothing is working…Read more