What is your hope buoy?

This watercolor illustration is by Sara McDaniel, find her work at Etsy- SaLeaf Designs

When I am feeling unsteady, uncertain, unmoored, irritated, triggered by whatever is current and present in my life—if, and that’s a big IF, I pause and notice, I can feel my face settle into lines and sags. My eyebrows fall, the corners of my mouth slide down, muscles of my jaw tighten and my neck constricts like angry snakes. You too?

So how do I know my face is becoming Medusa? I watched my face in a mirror, inviting irritation and anger in my head, and it happened, my muscles settled into stress face— and it wasn’t pretty.

There are fourty some muscles in the face involved in the act of smiling, some say there are more muscles involved in frowning, but the important thing is that when the muscles around the cheeks, chin, eyes and forehead lighten into a ‘smile’ shape, even if you feel irritable inside— dopamine and serotonin are released in the head, the feel-good chemicals, and you begin to feel more balanced, more at ease. The presence of those chemicals shuts down the stress reaction— for a moment, and you begin to feel happier. Try it, first tighten your face into a grimace that would scare a saint, hold it , then tighten up the face, the mouth in a pucker. Then open the mouth as wide as you can, maybe yawn, roll your head, wiggle your shoulders.

Now bring to mind something annoying, a habitual irritation or sadness.

Get still, and just lift your eyebrows slightly. Imagine you have tiny helium balloons lifting each hair of your eyebrows, then bring those little balloons to the cheeks, the jaw, the edges of the mouth. As if each cell of the face and neck were lightened, lifted and rising to the azure blue sky. Let that lightness into your shoulders, chest, back, and breath comfortably, through your nose if you can. How do you feel? A bit more settled? A little less irritable?

The trick is to keep that cascading effect of those delightful feel good hormones, to not settle back into survival mode. How?

Babies start smiling in their sleep soon after birth, and smile hundreds of times a day. Imagine a baby smiling, the utter joy in those chubby cheeks, and I can’t help but smile. They do this for their own survival; building connections with caregivers. Babies are entirely in the soul state of expansion, where feelings come and go quickly. And, babies haven’t learned resentment and judgement, blame or shame. So this smile, it brings a more constant state of happy chemicals, more ease.

We can bring that baby state of bliss into our experience as well, even though adults get really good faking ‘nice’ and ‘happy’, while feeling the opposite inside; irritated and resentful, kind of like pasting a happy face sticker on an empty gas tank. Those happy chemicals just can’t counteract the inward mind storms.

We all have our tools for balancing our mental/emotional state, I like to bring in memories of light, of happiness. And I smile. And smile.

What buoys me up? Turning my mind toward memories; positive ones. Memories of connection, friendship, silliness, simple fun. Collecting bubbles of memories in my head, swirling like pearls in boba tea, popping juicy and sweet as I savor each one.

One sweet memory bubble; I remember sitting on a cushion of my friend’s boat one summer day. We bobbed along, a beautiful day on the sea, noting and remarking on the different shapes, colors, and sizes of buoys, marking places to anchor for the night. We talked about hope, in the face of things as they are. We agreed that hope isn’t silly, or a waste, it is a revolutionary and radical choice to lean in to the open spaces in the midst of chaos and clouds of uncertainty.  Fear, dread, worry, anger, grief all contract,  limit, darken the mind and body. Hope, gratitude, joy, love— expand, soften, release with a sigh. While we talked, my friend painted a sky blue buoy in her watercolor journal, and right through the center, in light blue, she painted the word HOPE. 

There are two kinds of hope, however. There is the wishing and wanting for things to be different than they are— which isn’t the road to expansive healing. This is a clinging, fearful urge to protect ourselves. This false hope, driven by fear, isn’t hope at all. “I hope I don’t lose my house,” is deep, dark fear, and absolutely warranted when a raging fire threatens lives. But fear keeps us in survival mode, even when the clear and present danger is passed.  This unproductive, damaging fear, or stress reaction, settles in our brains, in our bodies, in our souls. 

If we do nothing but spin in our stories, fear becomes habit, and habit becomes character

I turn, in my head, toward this memory of my friend’s painting. I remember her smiling face, the sparkling waves, the warm sun. I look up as I drive in the grey, sigh, and notice a break in the clouds, a teasing of blue, a curling edge of white. True hope is to notice the beauty around us, to notice and appreciate what is, and open to the possibility of everything. To commit to seeing love and the sacred nature of things over and over and over again.

In my head, I repeat part of a meditation I learned long ago; may all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering. May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering. May all beings be free. May all beings be free. May all beings be free. Including me.

My head argues with me, trying to stuff some dread in between the words, but I am stubborn in my repetition, focused on my breath and this moment. Nothing dramatic happens, I finish my drive, and pull up in front of another friend’s house. She waves from the open door, and we smile. This is where hope lives, between smiles, between friends, and as I get out of the car, my smile deepens.

I can let mindless worry and fear drive me, or I can train my mind to tune in to compassion, gratitude, expansive hope and light. This is a subtle and daily practice, a choice over and over to live in an ethos of love. 

Creativity has the power to look pain in the eye, and to decide to turn it into something better.” 

And this one too——

in the end, it really is about finding the light.”  From Bittersweet by Susan Cain.

Daily Energy Balance Challenge: If you are interested in a quick daily boost; soul hygiene to balance your subtle energy system each morning so you feel buoyed up, please consider joining my Patreon page, next week, as we start our Daily Energy Balance Challenge. The first free 5ish minute video practice will be posted Sunday, May 21, also the night of Heartsong Meditation and Yoga Nidra at 7PM. We use the energy of the new moon to bring in new hope, happiness and light.


A Mindful Journey: Joyful Resilience

The word ’mindful’ appears now more than ever; mindful eating, mindful life, mindful shopping, almost 2 million hits on google alone. When I think of the word mindful- I think of awareness. A mindful moment isn’t necessarily filled with comfy zen calm, when I stub my toe I am suddenly and powerfully awake and aware of the throbbing in my foot and the immediacy of the pain. I am experiencing a definite moment of mindful awareness of my present time experience. Yow!

But then, my stress response fight or flight mechanism kicks in to ‘protect’ me, and I might spin off into reactivity, anger, fear, judgement for my ‘perceived’ clumsy movement to the ‘apparent’ negligence of street cleaners or dump trucks, who knows. I could fester on this particular event for years. Maybe.

This is mindlessness, a habitual pattern of chronic mind wandering that keeps you and I in reactivity, judgement, fear, wanting things to be different, the places most of us spend most of our time and energy. Research finds that up to 90% of our thoughts are repeats. All just as the mind was designed to do, to help us remember tasks, protect us from harm, and keep us going day to day in our stressful lives. While our ancient animal brain loves patterns and habits, and is designed to keep us alive into the next moment, it doesn’t care about our long term wellness, vitality, and joy. So, while we are marinating in our culture of stress response, increasing our overall ill health as we move about our days, how do we evolve our ancient systems to help us find wellness, avoid chronic issues like disease, addiction, discomfort in mind, body, and soul? Can we?

I believe the answer is yes. We can build our resilience, deepen our compassion for ourselves and others, and increase our confidence, hope and joy all while enjoying better health, wellness in body, mind and soul. With a deeper calm, peace and ease, our creativity blooms, our passion, joy of life and desire to serve humanity grows too. Sounds like a world I want to live in.

I created Mindful Journeys as an embodied healing practice to bring mindfulness in body, mind, and spirit with ease for everyone. There are thousands of ways to achieve a mindful, awake and aware consciousness, all designed to help us move through life with more ease, vitality and clarity, and I have tried most of them. I remember in my 40’s after a painful divorce crying in my therapist’s office and asking if my life would ever stop the roller coaster ride, and would I ever find some calm. She just nodded, sympathetically, I guess, and I went home and took my antidepressants. I started an intense yoga practice in a hot yoga studio, attempting to sweat away my misery, and it did empty me out, but I didn’t feel joy.

I tried meditation too, many kinds, and mostly felt like a failure. I couldn’t find anything that seemed to work for me, that I could stick with. I knew I needed something, desperately. I’ve done the gamut of panic attacks, mental and physical break downs, a horrible menopause, and lots of pharmaceuticals. A few years ago I met a wonderful compassionate counselor who truly understands embodied healing, and with her care I felt my body and brain reset. I can’t stress the importance of support on any wellness journey, I am so grateful to family and friends for their support in my journey.

During Covid lockdown, I learned qi gong, an ancient healing practice designed to bring health and wellness to targeted organs and systems, a sometimes strong and powerful practice, sometimes very simple movement. I gained an advanced yoga certification from a wonderful wise woman, a Buddhist teacher and master yogi who showed me the connection of mindful awareness, buddhist dharma teachings, and the purposeful movement of yoga— not the exercise-y Yoga Fit I learned years ago.

All this learning and support began to coalesce in my head. I began training in the use of energy medicine (think acupressure points) tools and techniques as well, and began to weave together a practice that is both accessible and valuable to everyone. My students are all ages, and tell me they feel empowered by this practice, just as I feel. It is an experience of building joyful resilience.

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

I know that many people are intimidated by yoga— and honestly, most of us find common yoga poses like Downward Facing Dog or even a Forward Fold pretty extreme. My hubbie has been doing yoga with me for years and he still groans a bit when we do a forward fold.

But yoga is not just physical poses to put a body into, it is purposeful movement developed over thousands of years to stretch, expand and impact our subtle energy system, calming and centering our nervous system— and all the organs of the body. And stretch any tight or tense muscles and tendons! Other ancient practices like qi gong and tai chi provide similar health benefits.

Energy wants to move, and needs space to move. When we store ’stuck’ energy—anything negative really—like all that chronic stress we live with day to day, it settles in our tissues, organs, all the way to our cells. Scientists say 90% of our current health concerns come from our response to stress. If that is true, then mindful movement, woven with a purposeful breath practice, and a focused mind can literally save our lives.


Remember the light.

When I was a kid, I stood at the doorway of my bedroom, took a deep breath, flicked the light switch and leapt to my bed. To avoid the bed monster’s snatching claws, right? I lay still as the dead, listening to my own breathing, the pounding of my heart, not daring to move. 

I don’t know how long it took for sleep to take over, sometimes I lay there for hours, staring at the patterns in the wood of my bed’s headboard, or the shifting shadows on the ceiling. I lay there watching the shadows morph into devil horns, twisted trees, and hunched backs of the undead until I finally gave in to sleep. 

In my defense, we owned three cats who chased my feet from under the bed, embedding those tiny claws in whatever flesh they could snag. Some monsters are real.

I don’t leap from my doorway anymore, but I sleep curled on my side, my face to the door. Habit. I don’t analyze it, I just fall asleep that way.

I take my dog for a walk around my neighborhood in the dark early morning. Holiday lights twinkle from many houses, framing buildings in pink, red, green, blue. I love those little twinkly lights, little stars we put on strings and trundle out, winding around our homes when the skies get darker and colder. Reminding us that the light is returning, as it does. That darkness isn’t permanent. 

My heart pounds a bit as we walk into the small wooded area between homes, the young me takes a big breath with the older/wiser me as we walk confidently into the dark. Some monsters are real, so I wouldn’t take this walk without a noisy barker on the leash. And I am careful, these woods are framed with porch lights, and neighbors. Also, furry Emma would defend me to the death.  Or we would both run away, more likely.

Confidence grows with perspective, wisdom, experience, and generally I am able to breath with fear, feel it in my body, allow it to make it’s journey through me unfettered.  Mostly. When I can’t release the grip of fear, I breathe, and breathe and watch the sky.

A friend said the other day, “Have you noticed the skies are darker now? I mean, than ever?” I nodded. A collective darkness of worry, fear and anxiety about our future on this planet colors our perspective, infecting the air with fear. So much more insidious than a virus.

 So, yes, the skies are darker now. What do I do? I breathe. I feel my feet on the solid ground. Allow my own earthiness to meld with the strength and surety of muscle, bone, dirt. Just in this moment, I am ok. I remember things I love. My dog. Walking. Morning coffee. And if I am not convinced, I tap my forehead, my chest, my arms, my legs— sending a rhythm of movement through me like the morning winds.

Waking up.

 Even on a morning when the clouds are thick grey blankets squashing the light, if I really focus, I see them move. There is no solid. Not in the sky, not in me. I know there is always blue above the grey, and this perspective helps fear to move. Remembering that all weather arises, abides for a time, and dissolves is freeing. I don’t have to attach to any of it.

The dog is eating now, I am drinking tea, looking up every few moments to see the progress of the sky’s light show. In these few moments, the space out my window has changed and changed and changed again. Those first slits of grey light widened into whitish lines slicing the clouds to pieces that drift away on the winds. A flock of dark birds, backlit, flit across the horizon in a messy V. The blush of sunrise lifts, coloring the spaces a baby pink. The masses of heavy whale clouds have lumbered on, the earth warms with the light, and now the flush of morning inks the wide horizon and the blue grows intense, as if the world was blinking, stretching, sun tapping on sky’s shoulder, “Wake up.”

Photo by brenoanp on Pexels.com

I sip my tea, Emma circles the rug, sniffing, and settles into a small ball to snooze. Now the pink, orange and white light dances, showing off in a saucy firework show. There is still a stubborn grey fog settled around the land, we live in a wet place, and fog is persistent, only lifting when the earth is warmer. I busy myself with syntax and editing, a few minutes to refill my cup.

I look up, now a dark blanket is spread across the sky, skinny edges closest to the horizon silvery white. Another cloud of birds wing across my vision. Arise, abide, dissolve. Arise again. Clouds, seasons, days, lives, moments.

Emma has moved to the couch, resting her head on a cushion. In her vision, she can keep a watchful eye on me as I sit at the counter, typing. A longer walk is most likely in her future, so keeping an eye on my movements is paramount. She knows, I will stretch, move, get up, and put on my shoes. We will walk into the shifting light, maybe with rain boots, (me, not the dog) maybe not. 

And tonight, when the darkness settles, the outside lights will blink on, Emma will settle back to rug, a candle will be lit— a little bit of sun in the night— and a sigh will form as we breathe with it’s glow. 

Is this my deepest heart’s desire?

When I was seven, I hurried to the gym after school for ballet class. We giggled in the bathroom, wriggling into pink tights and black leotards, pulling on flat pink leather slippers and settling into our spots on the gym floor, as the record player music swelled with Tchaikovsky. Our warm-ups began with butterfly, knees bent and open wide, soles together as we held our ankles and flapped our leg ‘wings’. 

One afternoon, after warm ups, the teacher spread her legs wide and turned into a full split, one straight leg in front, one behind, flat to the floor. I gasped. She held her arms high triumphantly, I decided, and as she turned and smiled, my adoration grew exponentially. I remember wanting to slide easily into splits like my teacher, but as it was, when I turned into a split, I was a full foot off the floor, hunchbacked, my back leg bent awkwardly. There was no way I could lift my arms up, they were planted along side me, keeping the whole shape from capsizing.

She encouraged all of us to practice each day, telling us to take pictures of our progress to encourage meeting our goals. That afternoon, I coaxed my mom to get out the Polaroid camera out and take a photo of me in my awkward shape, a hopeful grin on my face. More than 50 years later I remember pinning that photo to the cork board by the door of my bedroom. I can almost see the hope in my eyes, my long brown pig tails, pink tights, bent legs, curved back. I practiced every morning and by the weekend, my mother took another photo. I held it in my expectant hands, slowly watched the picture crystallize, and pinned it to the board to compare; yep, I was definitely a few inches closer to the floor. Now I was really excited.

Each day I practiced, and hounded my mother to take another photo for the board. Day by day, the space between my legs and the floor grew smaller, my back leg straighter. I don’t remember now when I finally felt the floor steady under me, when I lifted my arms into the exultant shape of a conquering hero, but I do remember how that felt. I stood a little taller all day. When it was my turn to share in ballet class, I slid into my splits and raised my arms gracefully, my classmates cheered and my heart pounded, every cell of my brain lit up with celebration. 

We all have infinite potential for growth, realizing our highest selves, expanding into ease in body, mind and heart, living in a state of hope, faith, joy, grace, bliss, no matter what the world is like around us. While this potentiality for expansion is always present, our capacity in this moment is limited by our patterns, habits, relationships, loss, fears, past pain and suffering. There is no magic leap from constriction to achievement, no instant mantra to manifest miracles without the work.

The work, we all know, is the dedicated day-by-day-by-day practice, whether it is growing a garden, running a marathon, or doing the splits. We build our resilience, slow and steady, breathing into our fears and any other emotions that arise as we doggedly keep at it. That’s not very exciting, and won’t sell a 30 Day Challenge subscription. The less sexy truth is that the seed of change is kindness; not comparison, not wishing we were like someone else, even if that someone else is a past version of ourselves. 

The body that I carry today is entirely different that that seven year-old body. Oh, there are similarities, but cell-by-cell, I am entirely a different being. This isn’t bad news, it is just the truth. Bones thinner, tendons tighter, patches of scar tissue, less dense muscle mass, more fat cells and inflammation. I have truly lived in this body, and I am infinitely grateful for every one of my hundred trillion or so cells. 

My potential is not diminished, but my capacity is different. Can I still work toward the splits, taking photos with my phone and posting online to document my progress? Sure. Do I really want this? 

If I check in kindly with my heart, the answer is—not really. I want a goal today that matches my potential and works honestly and kindly with my capacity, so I grow without injury, without pain. I can open to potential growth that fits my capacity, and create a pathway that will be achievable and joyful for me, that I can celebrate  with family and community. 

So here’s my path:

  1. Create a goal and sit quietly with it. Hands to heart, tune in, asking my heart—is this goal in alignment with my deepest heart’s desire? If not, what is? 
  1. Create a plan, a backwards design. If my goal is to do a headstand, what is the step that comes just before I rise into a full headstand? Then what needs to happen just before this? And before that, working my way right to this very moment of today. This is a messy process that I will revise over and over, until I create a pathway that works well for me, my body, my capacity. Step by step.
  1. Every morning, and every night just before I fall asleep, I draw into my heart and mind the feeling of achievement, of sharing success with loved ones. I imagine that feeling flooding my whole body, let a smile arise, then dedicate myself to the practice I need to meet my goal.
  1. Document progress; take pictures, use sticky notes, document every little change, share that change with supporting family, friends. 
  1. Every time there is a set back, and there will be, I bring my hand to my heart center, and tell my heart thank you for holding this dream. I adjust my goal planning, and re-dedicate myself. 
  1. Celebrate every change, no matter how small. Find heroes to inspire. 
  1. Drawing in love and appreciation inward, every day. No matter what happens with my goals and aspirations. Kindness breeds growth, no matter the goal.

When Yoga Hurts.

When yoga hurts: Pausing with pain.

Her directions were clear, “From all fours, sit back onto the heels, buttocks to calves, then lift and straighten the spine. Turn all ten toes under, settling all the weight down on the hips and balls of the feet, keep the spine straight, hold palms together at heart center.”

“This,” said the teacher, “is a yin yoga toe squat.” I adjusted the yoga blanket under me, glancing around at the other yogis in this yin yoga teacher training.  I tried to arrange my face into a wise and peaceful expression. See, three seconds into this pose and the pain in my toes was already causing me to start Lamaze breathing. 

It was taking all my strength to not bite my yoga mat.

Oh, I know yoga is not about enduring pain, and that pushing myself into poses causes more harm than good.  Let’s say I learned more about myself than I expected in this training. I am competitive, self-conscious and insecure, and trying every day to love all the bits of myself. Accept, love, let go. Right? Back to my story.

I am used to holding this type of pose for five to maybe ten breaths. Even if you breathe slowly, that isn’t even a minute.  Maybe for that long I could have endured the shooting pain, I could have pretended that my toes weren’t beginning to cramp. I nearly fell over when she said, “In yin yoga, the first minute of a pose hold stretches and strengthens the muscular system. By the third minute, we slowly affect other systems of the body, including the nervous system. Can we start with 2-3 minutes?” I saw people smiling as they settled into the pose. I quickly tucked a block under my butt. Not much better.

What I really wanted was an earthquake to destroy the building so I could die quickly. Strange conundrum feeling a thousand knives stabbing your toes and feet, all while holding a “peaceful yogi” face and still body. There was nothing still and calm about what was happening in my head. So, picture me there on the mat, twenty or so yoga students around me, the teacher calmly walking between us, and I am pretending I didn’t want to JUST DIE. I don’t think I was doing a great job of faking it. You would have noticed the muscles in my jaw clenching for sure.

She said earlier that yin yoga isn’t necessarily restorative yoga, gentle and restful poses to make you feel you are taking a nap in public. Yin yoga demands more from us, requires us to stretch, open, reach farther than we thought possible. She told us that as we held poses for longer and longer, we would find our nervous systems releasing unconscious tension, stuck energy, emotional baggage. That all sounded great. 

Until now. This hurt like nothing I could remember, how I wondered, could toe tendons hurt this much? 

She told us that there are acupressure points at the base of the toes connected to the liver and spleen meridians, and when there is stuck energy, we may feel anxiety, depression, and experience even small amounts of stress as unmanageable. That was me, so I was determined to stay in this pose. Here I am, helping my mental health even if it felt like it was killing me!

I tried thinking about fluffy puppies. I started counting seconds. Screaming in my head, BREATHE IN. BREATHE OUT. I used a little side eye to check out the other students. All holding still in this pose, looking perfectly Heroic. 

My teacher paused in her walking, put her hands together, and said, “When we pause, when we really stay in a pose, when we release judgement, reaction, and breathe kindly with sensation, even intense sensation, we show our bodies respect and honor.” She turned, and I think she was looking at me, “We are saying, I hear you, dear beloved body, thank you for stretching, reaching, strengthening. I won’t give up on you. Even if this gets rough, I will give you all my attention, my love and devotion. And most of all, I give you my focused mind, and slow breath. I will stay with you, grow with you, building resilience breath by loving breath.”

I was focused on her words, as I pressed my palms together, stretching my spine upwards, shifting my head backwards, making micro adjustments to build my strength and staying power. 

And then it happened. 

The pain lessened. It was still there, like a dull toothache, but less. Bearable. I was mystified. How did this work? How could I go from level three billion pain to a two and a half on a 0-10 scale? I felt a tingle up my spine, a release, and I sighed. Three minutes. My teacher directed us to softly stretch our feet and legs. There were audible sighs and gasps around the room. Even a few moans, which made us all laugh. I realized everyone struggles with this tough pose, not just me. Miraculously, my feet felt normal, not crippled at all.

My body no longer felt like my enemy or the one to be controlled, the one to fight against in the battle of physical health. In those three minutes, the Universe and my yin teacher conspired to show me my body and I are beloveds. There is no mind/body connection, we are all one thing, and the more love and care I give my body, the more release, the more connection to the present moment I feel.

I would be lying if I said I love toe squat now. But I do it,  and those minutes fly by.

CAVEAT: Please remember that you are the expert in whatever sensation you are experiencing, I am not suggesting here to ‘endure’ pain and cause injury. What I am saying is to see pain not as an enemy but a message to be worked with. Little by little, trying a challenging pose like this hero pose or toe squat, for one minute then two, building resilience bit by bit, softening the body with the breath, this is how we build our resilience and our flexibility, in mind, body and heart.

No one wants to be thrown off a cliff.

If you told me that you wanted to learn how to swim and I said great, I have a perfect way to teach you how to swim. Then I proceeded to hike with you cliffside, precariously perched 100 feet over the surface of the deep blue ocean. As you stood there, braced against the wind, asking details of how you were going to learn to swim, without warning, I shoved you off the side of the cliff, and waved as you flew screaming through the air.

Chances are you wouldn’t learn to swim when you hit the water. 

Growth—new habits of mind or body, doesn’t happen from a place of fear. 

 I know as you’re reading this, there may be someone out there who says— YES! that’s the perfect way. Please shove me off the cliff! Fear is the only way I am motivated to learn new habits, or drop old patterns.

For most of us, lasting growth begins from a place of security. A place of feeling grounded, centered, with a little bit of ease, a plan, and support, armed with a desire to thrive, not just to survive. Maybe a modicum of fear, because maybe we need to fear losing something (balance, healthy blood pressure, clear mind) to get off the proverbial couch.

This isn’t the JUST DO IT NOW mentality, the— one-more-30 -day-challenge or 10 video course to succeed—  that marinating we do in our western culture. If we listen, our cultural messages are constantly screaming—do it now, do it better, aren’t you ashamed at how long you are taking, you wimp, look what everyone else is doing! Oh, how easily the storm of shoulds and need-tos gather.

The truth is my older daughter learned to swim by throwing herself in the water. I wanted to bring her into the low end with her little floaty wings and hold her belly, while I coaxed and held her. She would have none of it. When I wasn’t looking, she threw herself into the deep end, and  proceeded to swim diagonally towards the bottom of the pool. I leapt in and saved her, dragged her up, still kicking, sputtering, and coughing. She lay there in the warm sun on the concrete, but before I knew it, that three year-old was doing the same thing again.

 The difference is that she was throwing herself in the water. She made a choice. Growth does come from a place of making a brave choice, but making that brave choice from a desire to expand, to flourish, to thrive—not because we think we need to look like someone else, not because we need to fit into society’s image of what we should be, not because that we’ve fallen prey to our culture’s ageism, able-ism, sexism…

We make a brave choice to expand, to grow because it matches our deepest heart’s yearning, to flourish and to thrive. The Greek root of the word happy is human flourishing—living in sync with your inner spirit, your heart’s deepest desire. It is not the transitory emotion that we might experience when that mocha Frappuccino tastes really sweet and icy delicious. That is surface happy, nothing wrong with it, just like any other transitory emotion, it comes and goes, as it is designed to do.  Thriving joyfulness comes from moving forward, making a choice to bravely expand with liberating self-love. 

The mental health world calls this titration— where we move into a little bit of expansion and then we come back into our comfort zone, assess, and then we move back into expansion, test that a bit, then we come back into our comfort zone. In and out, back and forth between stress and comfort.This is the way that we care for our nervous system, to keep us out of flight/fight mode, so we build our capacity to stretch a little bit more,  not only for our bodies, but for our hearts and minds as well.

Let me use a yoga asana (pose) example. You can try this with me, if you’d like. The video below goes through the process for Dragonfly, a pose not only for expansion for hips and legs, but also for mental clarity and calm. If you’d like to skip down to the end and give it a try, I promise not to throw you off a cliff. 

Grab a beach towel or sturdy blanket, maybe two, a couple of cushions, pillows, and a book or two, or yoga blocks. Sit on the floor, legs straight-ish, and open in a V shape. If this isn’t possible, no worries, most people get tight tendons in the hips and legs,  you can also sit on the edge of a armless chair with legs wide. In yin yoga, a school of long stretch yoga, this shape is called dragonfly,  a leaning forward of the spine, stretching all the muscles, nerves and connective tissues along the spine, lengthening the side body, inner and outer leg tendons, fascia and muscles around the knees,  the Achilles tendon, glutes, and a good stretch for the hamstrings.

Once you are in this V -shape, notice if your low back is rounding. If it is too much to straighten your back, sit on a folded up towel or sturdy blanket, slide forward to put your low back at an angle forward, tipping your pelvis. Your legs don’t have to be straight, maybe put a rolled towel under your knees.  If this is still incredibly tight in your body, sit on a chair, you can work down to the floor.

You can also do this laying on your back maybe on the floor or a bed, lift your legs up and open them up into a V shape, if you’re laying on your back, reach up and hold onto your thighs, draw your thighs and your knees in towards your shoulders. Try a towel or a belt to help draw your legs a little bit closer to your body. 

I’ve been teaching yoga for a long time, so I have some flexibility in my hamstrings, but if I lean forward, say, I just got out of bed, I’m not going be able to lean very far forward, I’ll feel tightness in the back of my thighs and around my knees. I might even feel it down towards my ankles.

If you are feeling discomfort when you lean forward, place a book or two in front of you and see if you can lean on the books or blocks, or onto the seat of a chair or couch. If the back starts to round, straighten up, move back into a place of some comfort. Remember we’re dancing right at the edge of the comfort zone, in and out. Then when you are ready, take a few breaths in through the nose, out through the mouth, and slowly slide forward again.

Try anchoring your attention to the breath by noticing the texture, speed, length of inhale and exhale. Notice it in your belly, your ribs, moving the chest and shoulders. If the mind wants to focus on what hurts, re-anchor the attention to the breath.

As we’re testing the boundaries of our comfort zone, leaning forward, we are doing more than lengthening muscles, we are also rebuilding the capacity of our subconscious mind and the autonomic stress reaction to hold both comfort and discomfort in the same moment, which deepens our nervous system resilience. 

This simple stretch deepens our courage, so that we can step a little farther into flourishing, into growth, mentally, emotionally, physically. And if this sounds like high expectations, could it hurt to maybe lean into the possibility that this all might be true?

Research shows the first minute or so in a stretch affects the musculoskeletal system, the second minute affects the energy flow in the connective tissues, the fascia. The third/fourth minute affects organ systems, and then the nervous system. So this little stretch can bring calm and ease to the whole body, mind and heart. 

Now bend your knees, feet to the floor,  slide side to side, make some circles with your knees, maybe wiggle or massage your legs— whatever feels comforting to you. Try not to get up and leave, stretch your legs out for just one more minute. As you lean forward one more time,  notice if something is changed, celebrate even a centimeter closer to the floor. 

Celebrating any change is important, teaching our nervous system we don’t have to cling to the negative. Lay down on your back if you can, maybe knees bent and feet on the ground, slide your knees side to side. Breathe deeply and evenly, and gently massage or tap the center of your forehead, just above your nose, bringing energy to the wisdom center of your brain, sealing in the knowledge that growth and change is always possible. 

If you are interested in working with me 1:1, to offer you the support for growth, either virtually through zoom or FaceTime, or in-person, contact me today for availability. 

Try Upavista Konasana or Dragonfly pose with me-sustainable yoga!

Puzzling one piece at a time.

My daughter gave me this 1,000 piece puzzle for Christmas, Faith Ringgold’s The Sunflower Quilting Bee at Arles. I love Faith’s work, she is a highly honored  Black writer, artist, quilter, speaker, and activist for  racial and gender equity. Her celebration of some of the women heroes of the Civil Rights movement includes Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks and Mary McLoud Bethune—women I love and admire. This painting is joyful, and a pleasure to see the bright colors and patterns of this art. I want to honor the gift and the art by completing the design, but I have never done a thousand piece puzzle, not sure I can.

I am not a puzzle person, but my hubbie and I completed several smaller puzzles in the last three years, because, Covid. I enjoyed the time we spent together, clicking pieces into place. I miss that, now he is busy, and I am on my own, puzzling. My daughter told me she is happy I worked on it, and I can put it away if I like. I want to keep the pieces out for a bit longer, I have grown to love the faces of these women and the warm sunflowers surrounding them. On one edge of the quilt they hold, printed words say— The sunflower is an international symbol of dedication to change the world. With these women looking out at me, and Van Gogh too, who persevered in his art to the end, how can I stop working on it? What if I see this as an opportunity to develop ‘puzzle person’ skills? Can I surprise myself with a new facet of my being? Changing my small world in a way? And then, if I choose to put the puzzle away unfinished, no guilt, just feel appreciation for the mindful time spent with these people. 

 Turns out, while the whole of a puzzle is entirely overwhelming to me—once I separate like colors, create the borders and edges, work on small sections, bit by bit, I find my way. I celebrate every single piece as it snaps into place, with a fist pumping “YES!”

I’ve had many people ask me how do we find calm, peace and ease in the midst of  the world as it is. While mindfulness in and of itself is not the goal, it is a everyday pathway to more ease, more resilience, making meaning from the losses and pains of life.  This is human flourishing, expanding in wisdom, dedication, and compassion. This is joy.

There are plenty of days I want to escape; when the whole messy puzzle of life is too much, and I just can’t see any pattern anywhere, it all feels impossible. I think ahhh—to go live in the mountains somewhere in a cave or monastery and have a lovely, peaceful life. Or maybe a quiet beach in Hawaii, just listening to the waves. But honestly, you have to come down from the mountain for food, water, clean clothes. Sometimes leave the beach when you run out of sunscreen, shaking the sand out of your suit.  As messy and uncomfortable as life is; it is our school, the experiment of everyday life, of learning to just keep going, and kindly help those around us to do the same.

Resilience building is daily, hourly, getting still enough to be aware of the possible shit storm going on between my ears. Blaming, self-judgement, fears, anxiety, neurosis. All of it. Then, rather than spinning off into more explaining, reasoning, ignoring,  all the things the ego wants to do, maybe I can resist, kindly. Hold onto an anchor and get my bearings, and breathe. 

 The simplest anchor is noticing the feeling of our feet being attached to the ground, the sensation of the breath, the rise and fall. And the pause between breaths. The sensation of what we hear, see, smell— fully focusing on our senses. This moment.

This is what I think is meant by the word mindful— it isn’t mind FULL. It is mind— open, present and aware, noticing the sense information that we are taking in, just in this moment, not letting our minds spin in judgment of the past, or worry and anxiety about possible futures, it is giving ourselves a gift of awareness, and then doing that over and over and over. 

We all live in the Western cultural marinade of; you just need to work harder, and everyone else has it together. The myth that if you just work hard enough, stay busy enough,  you will find success (attention, money, power). If you do it perfect, do it right, you will earn and absolutely deserve— peace, fortunes, and heavenly angel choruses. 

It doesn’t seem enough to value our every day lived experience. To believe that everything is holy; all a valuable part of our human flourishing, everything— the potholes and paranoia, the burnt toast, and the heartburn, the angry kids, the frustrated spouse,  all a pathway to our acceptance of self and others, deepening our kindness and expansion into more love, joy, peace, trust, hope, and awe.

 I could look at my life as I might look at my thousand piece puzzle. I could allow my stress reaction, my ancient primitive brain’s fight, flight, or freeze reaction to play out,  so I never get the puzzle  out of the box and it stays piled in a corner; that’s the freeze response at work.  Maybe I feel guilty every time I see the dusty box, but I ignore it.  Or, I spread the pieces out on the table and start whining.

I can’t do this by myself!  I say. Someone needs to come here, come here, come help me do this— I could whine and whine, long and loud enough so that finally just to get me to stop— someone in my house helps me place a few pieces. But since I forced it, I would just have to keep whining in order to keep them at the table. I could complain about the puzzle, the pieces don’t fit, I could blame it on the person who gave it to me— why would they do this to me? Why would they give me this really hard thing, don’t they know that I can’t do thousand piece puzzles, don’t they know me, love me— what’s wrong with them? That’s the primitive brain fight reaction. 

 I could feel guilty and embarrassment that I just can’t seem to do the puzzle as it lays half done on my table and distract myself by getting busy with thousands of other things.  I tell everyone I’m just too busy, I don’t have time to work on a puzzle. That’s the flight response of the primitive amygdala— we busy ourselves out of being mindful, of doing the task at hand, which is to build our awareness, deepen resilience of our nervous system, strengthen our hearts as we resist blame and shame, so that we can participate in the liberation of all beings.

Say instead, I choose to sit myself down in the chair with dedication,  love in my heart for the giver and the receiver, the artist, and the message of this puzzle, and then I look for patterns. I realize that there are only a handful of pieces this one particular shade of blue, and these straight lines  travel through one little curved bump of a puzzle piece, and I search just that one small group of blue pieces, carefully looking at each piece, focused with dedication and awareness— and, I find it. With a snap, the piece is in, and I celebrate with a little moment of joy, clapping my hands, WOOHOO! I say.

Mindfulness takes moment by moment practice; holding ourselves with some kindness, everything that’s in our heads, as we anchor ourselves to the breath, to the sensation of sitting or walking or drinking tea, or working on a puzzle. 

When we take the time to be fully alive, fully grounded in the sensation of what it means to be, the more we return over, and over, and over— the more resilient we become, more balanced, more truly, ourselves. Our soul’s path, our heart’s deepest desire, becomes more and more clear. And life gets easier. Not pain -free, but we move a little more spaciously, more grounded, more kind to ourselves and to others. 

I was thinking about the word— kind. The Dalai Lama said, “my religion is kindness”,  and I thought just what what does this mean this word— kind? If you buy something at a store and you want to return it, but you don’t have a receipt, you might be told that you could get an in-kind exchange— in other words, of equal value. 

Each piece of my puzzle has equal value, without even one piece, the picture is incomplete. Each piece of our lives has equal value as well, the dark, the light, the shadows, the joys. The more I pause, feel my feet, resist those ancient reactions, and take this moment to fully love all the bits and pieces of my life, the more the puzzle becomes meaningful art.

Face Yoga, anyone?

One of the best ways to boost our immune system is to do a lymphatic massage. The lymph system is how our body fights infection, and it is a system for removing toxins and waste from the body. The lymphatic system doesn’t have muscles or a pump like the heart. It relies on movement; so if we exercise regularly, our lymphatic system is probably doing just fine. But as we get older and we move a little bit less, a regular lymphatic massage can be very helpful.

The extra benefit from doing this face yoga massage is toning the Vagal nerve, which builds our resilience, regulating the nervous system, and this too boosts the immune system, helps us sleep better, and digest food more efficiently. Might help get rid of 2nd chins, wrinkles, and strained neck tendons too. I hope you enjoy this video!

I see the moon and the moon sees me.

brown wooden dock
Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

In November of 2022, the world’s population reached 8 billion. I can’t imagine that number at all, maybe looking at a night sky filled with stars I can get an idea, or the grains of sand spread across my favorite beach. I can choose to feel foreboding, worry, anxiety, hopelessness about that unimaginable number, but I can also wonder: what if only a tiny fraction, say three percent of all those human beings turned toward the full moon as I do, once or twice a month, on a somewhat cloudless sky, and breathed? Just breathed in wonder, awe, appreciation, hope, joy. Nearly 250 million people. All filled with awe on the same night. I can let my mind drift to possible resulting planetary shifts in vibration when hearts sing the same song, all over the planet. I believe this kind of shift in focus, energy, and awareness can happen, and will. Change always comes, maybe not on the timeline of human expectation, but it comes.

In the meantime, I will pause and take the time to reflect during those lunar shifts— the full moon, and the new moon. About every two weeks. I take stock of where I am, asking kindly;

-What am I consuming (food, water, social media, my own ruminating thoughts) and to what end?

-Are my daily actions aligned with my deepest heart’s desire?

-What small shift can I make to bring myself more freedom, more liberation?

-How can I love myself more kindly today? As if I was my own beloved friend?

-Can I tune in to my own dear, wise body and ask: What do you want me to know?

When I align myself with natural rhythms, I invite a release of chronic patterns of mental anguish, emotional cares, and physical pain and dis-ease. I practice trusting the wise healing processes of my own body, and invite my mind to rest. I let go of blame, shame, judgement, and invite forgiveness, release to myself, and to others.

UPDATE! Since Sunday, February 19th, at 7PM PST, I offer 1st and 3rd Sunday, a free HeartSong Yoga Nidra guided meditation, with breath practices that release stress, and acupressure massage to bring balance to mind, body and heart. Yoga Nidra is an ancient guided meditation to bring the body into a full state of relaxation and rest, while the mind is gently engaged. These ancient tools are powerful ways to align with the Earth’s rhythms, celebrating the gift of the full moon and its reminder to reflect, and tune in with mindful, loving intent. I would be so honored if you consider joining me.

You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: Sunday 07:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada) for one hour.

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Perigee Moon-Lunar Eclipse (NHQ201509270022)
Perigee Moon-Lunar Eclipse (NHQ201509270022) by NASA HQ PHOTO is licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Sacred No: Resist rather than resent.

I listened to a NY Times Opinion podcast interviewing a 19 year old teenager in Brooklyn who has become a leader in a resistance movement. What are these activists up to?

NY Times, “ Started last year by another Murrow High School student, Logan Lane, the club is named after Ned Ludd, the folkloric 18th-century English textile worker who supposedly smashed up a mechanized loom, inspiring others to take up his name and riot against industrialization.” It was surprising and delightful to hear about a group of modern teenagers deciding to ditch their phones for more time reading, chatting, playing games and living life, tech free. No really— only flip phones or no phones, these Brooklyn teens have committed to a hand held device-free life in the midst of the 21st century. And doing very well, thank you.

I thought about how we are in an attention economy, where every click, link and subscribe is determined to get and keep our attention. I am deeply embedded in this life, as I send out this post on my device. Could I do what these teens are doing? Well, no. But I can choose and curate my life, my attention, and create space for more deep connection to self, others, and the planet. Without my phone. I call this…

Golden Gate Park Oak Tree Path

The Sacred No.

Where I take stock of where my attention and time and presence are spent, and remember that I have a limited supply. How do I want to spend my minutes, hours, days? Do I want to keep justifying one more minute (which never is) scrolling mindlessly? Do I want to listen to my stress brain that says, “oh, c’mon, I deserve five more minutes relaxing…”

What if this life is all I have and every minute is precious? I can spend my time in expansion and awareness, conscious of my presence; my sensation of feet to the ground, or, not.

We are always in flux; always changing, every five years our trillions of cells are replaced, but the patterns remain. No one can change those patterns but ourselves, we choose to constrict into fear/anxious/irritated brain in whatever way that shows up, or, we expand in love, peace and joy. The choice is ours.

I like the idea of A Sacred No, I was taught to ‘be nice’, to say yes, even when I didn’t feel it; be polite, fit in. The word ‘no’ was somehow a bad thing, selfish. So, I would not say a clear no, and then resent later, and that eventually explodes in one way or another. Not a pattern I need.

If I look at NO as a commitment to healthy heart boundaries, a sacred promise to peace, love and ease in every moment, then that word becomes sacred, holy, joyful. I curate my life, my sacred-art-in-progress, with determined honoring of self, my path, my life.

This starts with an honest appraisal of just what my day-to-day life looks like. What habits of time, energy, relationships, are really serving me, and which aren’t? How can I bravely choose how to spend each moment, even to the words I say to myself— how many times am I using the words— I AM…. Followed by words that I don’t want to embody in a permanent way—sick, tired, angry. Before I go to bed, can I use those precious five minutes before I nod off to affirm what I AM: Joyful, patient, loving to self and others, whatever I want to make real. I can choose, like those Brooklyn teens to lovingly rebel against my patterns, my cultural habits, my past. May we all love ourselves, give ourselves the gift of the Sacred No.

When They Sleep

by Rolf Jacobsen

All people are children when they sleep.
there’s no war in them then.
They open their hands and breathe
in that quiet rhythm heaven has given them.

They pucker their lips like small children
and open their hands halfway,
soldiers and statesmen, servants and masters.
The stars stand guard
and a haze veils the sky,
a few hours when no one will do anybody harm.

If only we could speak to one another then
when our hearts are half-open flowers.
Words like golden bees
would drift in.
—God, teach me the language of sleep.

A place of Maybe.

Rocks near Robin Hood's Stride

“You mock my pain!” Exclaims the Princess in that lovely classic fantasy farce, Princess Bride. 

Farm Boy/Pirate Roberts replies, “Life is pain, Princess. Anyone who claims otherwise is trying to sell you something.” 

This isn’t bad news. We are born into a life that will be marked by loss; impermanent, imperfect, and painful. But this is what all of us face; this can be a place of compassion, not depression, maybe of holding ourselves and others with a little grace.

The Buddha and every philosopher before and since grappled with the same question. What is our purpose here on Earth? How do we best live our lives? What is really important and worthy of our attention and focus?

In Buddhist teachings, there are three commitments to be made to live a purposeful life; the first is to refrain from causing suffering to self and others, the second is to acknowledge and lean into the impermanence of life, and the third is to commit to service, deepening compassion for self and others. 

In my life, it was easy to focus on the third, to make it my mission to fix and manage and wring my hands over the ‘mistakes’ and needs of all those around me, including the whole wide world. What a burden. Impossible, even. 

This grasping, moving constantly outward without having my feet firmly planted on the ground, never accomplished what I thought I needed to accomplish. So much easier to focus on everyone else’s failings and feel the need constantly to make other’s needs my work— what I perceived, through my own cracked lenses, not what was real. This cloudy vision and a focus outward prevented me from real freedom within. 

What can I do today to treasure life? To refrain from ruminating on pain, loss, I turn toward joyful gratitude.

What can I do to celebrate life? Not in hoarding way, or a pitiful -tomorrow-we-may-die way, but a gentle unfurling of petals, a quiet blooming of resting in sensation over and over— just a moment to fully be present with my living experience in this moment. Then let the next action or thought be born from that presence. 

Asking the question: Am I in line with my heart’s deepest desire? What can I shift with kindness? Just one degree closer to my true north? Can I lean into a place of maybe, gentle possibility, that the world and it’s inhabitants are far more beautiful and precious than I can imagine? 

 I can try. We all can; over and over and over. Gently peeling away the layers of protection and fear, softening into the truth of life as it is, not as we wish it to be. 

In meditation one day, I asked how I could love the Earth better. The quick thought to my head; love yourself better. Maybe, lean in to the beautiful mess that is life with a wink and a hug. So, that’s the plan. How’s your heart song singing these days?

Dear Earthling; go outside. Love, Mama Earth.

Let’s decide together to be Aliens.

When I was doing my student teacher training almost 20 years ago, I was mentored in a class of eight and nine year olds. One day, a student wrote me a note that started— Dear Ms. Alien, and he told me thank you for being his student teacher. The note was sincere, didn’t seem tongue-in-cheek like I was expecting with a greeting like that, and so I figured he misspelled my last name Allen. 

Or did he?  

As to the sock photo, when I opened this Festivus present from my daughter, yes I celebrate all the things this time of year—I couldn’t stop laughing, and I remembered that kiddo long ago, and thought, he was abso-freakin-lutely right. 

I am an alien. Or I aspire to be—an alien who sees the world differently, rejects those cultural practices that don’t bring alignment, deeper consciousness, and joy. An alien who refuses to accept old paradigms and opens to a larger perspective. In my alien point of view.

What common paradigms of the old world do you reject? Which do you want to release, and claim your Alien-ness? 

Maybe we can start with rejecting the idea of New Year’s Resolutions. Since this is a source of blame and judgement, guilt and irritation by about the middle of January or earlier, and nobody needs that, we can let it go, or at least make it work for us. 

How did we come up with this idea anyway? I did a little research, thank you internet, and turns out this is an ancient celebration that doesn’t fit the rhythm of the Earth. The Babylonians kept records of Akitu, a celebration of the new year, a time to honor commitments to pay debts, return borrowed items, complete rituals to cleanse homes, and commit to an honorable life. Sounds familiar, but they celebrated the New Year at the first New Moon of Spring Equinox, when the earth is greening, plants are growing, and the world awakens in the northern hemisphere. Their celebration was perfectly tuned to the energetic rhythm of the planet they walked on, so their alignment was effective.

 So how did we get this important celebration in the dark of winter, when our part of the world is asleep and hibernating? 

Thank those hardworking Romans. 

Their invented calendar dragged the New Year into January to honor the goddess of the home—Janus, with a hope to bring good health, and good fortunes. Records say the Romans worked at least part of New Year’s Day, being lazy was a bad idea. A focus of better health and finances, also sounds familiar. The top five modern resolutions involve exercise, losing weight, paying off debt, and quitting smoking/drinking. Sounds very Roman— but also, not tied to the rhythm of Nature— when the world calls for quiet reflection, joyful family time, organizing, cleaning and preparing for coming Spring, we are totally out of sync as we battle to start that new habit, work harder, or release a habit to comfort our overstressed nervous systems. 

Could this be why we aren’t successful?

Not only is this a natural season of rest and reflection, planning and cleaning; according to eastern philosophy of how energy moves through the earth and all its creatures with different rhythms, that fit the seasons, this is the time of the element of water. What happens in the seasons of the Earth echoes in our own energy systems.

An imbalance in the water element can show up in our subtle energy bodies as imbalance; over energy, stagnant or under energy, or frozen energy. We may feel anxious, a little paranoid, worried or bored, lonely, sad. We may have trouble making decisions, moving forward with plans. Think about flooding waters— how stressful that is, or stagnant pools with no life. 

The way to feed the water element is to do daily mindful practices to focus our energy, align us with the flow of Earth’s energy, drink plenty of warm liquids, broth soups, get enough vitamin D, lots of sleep. 

My resolutions will be simple; a dedication to realign with my inner child; remembering those activities that brought me joy as a youngster, and creatively finding ways to express those loves in my current life. Play Stevie Wonder while I clean the house, maybe.

I believe in touching the earth every morning with my bare feet. Just for a few minutes, to say good morning to Mama Earth, to connect. If I don’t do that, I massage the soles of my feet with a spoon to reconnect my energy, get everything flowing, so I can absorb healing energy from the earth, and release energy not needed. I clear and balance my chakras, and I meditate every day, but I often do it with movement. Sometimes just swirling around in my room. Sometimes I lay on the earth and just breathe for a while. So lovely. 

I think swimming is healing. Especially in salt water. I meditate while I swim too. 

I think making cookies is meditation. I love cookies. Why do things have to be ‘the enemy’? Someone told me they were putting ‘the white devil’ in their tea, and I was imagining some awful Hindu demon infused concoction when he said, ‘You know, sugar.” What? 

 In my alien mind, if we aspire to an aligned, compassionate life; there is no good and bad, righteous and evil, there is just a tangle of energy that needs loving attention and a bit of patient untangling. Also, there is no perfect way to be a good human. There is no ‘right way’ to be, think, do, live while we navigate as kindly as we can. In my alien perspective, with a wink of my big green eyes.  

What alien way of living would that be to live without judgement, only compassion. I can hope for that Beautiful Community while I do my best to bless and forgive every human I encounter. Mostly. And then forgive myself when I don’t.

My only other resolution is to deeply explore the things I am grateful for; even the struggles, the tough things, the aches in mind, heart and body. If I can find love and joy in the tough stuff, I can do anything.

Reflection is so natural at this time of year; repeating mantras to build my resilience, so I can truly transform in the coming year. Simple, easy wisdom— I flow with confidence, courage and kindness. I trust. 

Tapping is a wonderful way to shake up ‘stuck’ patterns of energy; take a look at my resource page for links to a wonderful Tapping website focused on tapping techniques and meditations, or check out one of my 5 Mindful Minutes videos for a few simple acupressure holding points and tapping points to bring release, ease, and calm.

Happy New Year!