Friday, January 30, 2009


We are bombarded on a daily basis with conflicting messages from "experts". Sometimes I get so overwhelmed that I just want to scream!

Eat organic.
Pesticides don't really hurt you at all.
Pasta will make you gain weight- avoid it!
Carbohydrates are part of a balanced diet.
Vaccinations can lead to autism.
Vaccines are not the cause of children developing autism.
Don't spend too much time in the sun or you'll get cancer.
Your body needs vitamin D, which it can only get from sunlight.
The chance of divorce is higher if you live together before marriage.
Living together before tying the knot makes your marriage stronger.

What evidence can we really trust? It seems that there are always statistics supporting BOTH sides. I've studied a little bit of Feng Shui (the placement of your "stuff" to help create balance in your life), and I've learned something really important from this ancient tradition. There are many different branches of Feng Shui, and some of their practices contradict each other. But we all know instinctively when a room doesn't "feel" right. TRUST YOUR INTUITION. Do what's right for YOU! As the cliched saying goes: if your friends were jumping off a bridge, would you jump with them? Educate yourself before making important decisions. Read differing views on things you're curious about. Soak up all the information you can like a sponge and become an informed decision-maker. After all, you have all the answers you need deep inside just have to learn to listen.

How can you start trusting YOURSELF more?

Choose love,

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Enlightening Snow

Puffy white flakes descend from the sky like sifted flour. Icycles hang heavy on bowed power lines. I am blessed to have been given permission from my compassionate boss to work from home today. I am perfectly capable of navigating the roads in blizzard-y conditions, but today I am choosing to avoid the possibility of car or bodily damage today. The risk is too great.

So I sit stretched out on my futon with my laptop perched on my legs, fingers rapidly tapping the keyboard. I am facing the living room's picture window, and my periferal vision keeps getting interrupted by the pure whiteness of the falling flakes. I look up, and I am hooked. I sit mesmerized at mother nature's creative genius, and I begin to zone out. I am practicing dharana without even trying. Dharana is the fifth limb of yoga (there are 8 altogether, which when practiced together lead you to enlightenment), and it simply means meditating on an object. The possibilities are endless as far as what kind of an object to use. In my teacher training we practiced a meditation while staring into the flame of a candle, trying hard not to blink. Focusing on your breath (a popular form of meditation) is another form of dharana. It helps to bring you out of your mind and into a space of freedom, openness and lightness. I used to think that meditation had to be done in a cross-legged or lotus position, hands on knees, eyes closed, and you had to try to shut your mind off somehow. These expectations seemed very uncomfortable and pretty much impossible to me. But I am learning that there is a wide depth to meditation techniques, and this revelation brings me great joy.

All of my attention is focused on the falling snow, and I observe it without judgement, letting my thoughts flow in and out of my mind with gentleness.

What are some other objects that could aid in meditation?

Choosing love and safety,

Monday, January 26, 2009


One homework assignment for our yoga training this weekend was to create a pranayama script, which is simply guiding someone through a breathing meditation. I opted to work on the exercise that is the most challenging for me, nadi shudi. This is alternate nostril breathing, and I always seem to take my first inhale through the wrong side of my nose and then proceed to get all mixed up with the alternating. We practiced our scripts on our peers yesterday, and my friend gently corrected me as I stumbled and bumbled along. Eventually, she offered a visual aid to help me understand the flow of breath in this exercise, which I gratefully accepted with a sigh of relief. My friend admitted to me (with a giggle) that she had chosen a simpler exercise to script, taking the easy way out of the assignment. I nodded in understanding.

"There is a tendency for each of us to gravitate toward what comes easiest and avoid the areas where we need the most work." --The Sevenfold Journey by Anodea Judith & Selene Vega

It's easy to get stuck in a pattern of simplicity and ease, especially during my personal yoga practice at home. I skip a pose because it's not comfortable. I hold downward dog for only 3 breaths instead of 5. Cheating my body out of challenge and depth in my practice only keeps me from growing. Yes, it's scary sometimes to try new things, but we learn about ourselves and our bodies when doing so. And think about how amazing we feel when we open up areas of discomfort with a deeper twist or extension, or balance without crashing to the floor for the first time. Countless yoga teachers have said that the poses that we dislike the most are the ones we need the most! How true, and how wise. I chose to embrace my difficulty with nadi shudi as a learning opportunity, and I gained new perspective and am much more comfortable with the process now.

How can you exercise your courage muscle today?

Choose love. Choose challenge.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Here's a little ditty/poem/string of phrases for you. I wrote this last year on July 1st in a super jazzed up moment:

"Get charged. Tune in. Just be. Soak up the sun. Breathe light in nature. Share your path with others. Follow your heart. Let your intuition guide you. Be you. Be present. Love what is. Trust the universe. We are one. Live for one moment at a time. Open up. Think positive. All is well. Love."

Notice how they're all POSITIVE, affirming statements. It can be challenging to turn around negative ideas into positive ones, but I dare you to try it! The next time you catch yourself thinking like a pessimistic person (cuz you WILL catch yourself now that I've pointed it out to you!)- PAUSE - and come up with a more pleasant and positive version to keep you feeling good and keep your energy vibrating and lively! After all, you have the option to choose the way you think. Why not choose optimisim?

What would it feel like to think ONLY positive thoughts?

Choosing love one moment at a time,

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Last week I woke up with a sore throat, but felt fine otherwise, so I decided to head into the office anyway. I immediately started my immune boosting regimin of Zinc-C lozenges, herbal cough drops, Zand Echinacea/Goldenseal tincture (I LUV this stuff- check your local health food store to see if they carry it), and garlic pills galore. After only a few hours at work, my muscles started to ache, and exhaustion washed over my whole body. I had a pretty intense debate back and forth in my head about whether or not I should take the rest of the day off. I hate missing work. It's not because I love my job (although I do!), but more the principle of being a dependable employee. This is not a new phenomenon for me: I strived for perfect attendance at school every year. My co-workers and I joke about not wanting to waste our paid time off on sick days- we'd rather be at the beach or doing something fun! But as I get to know my body better through yoga and become familiar with the unhealthy warning signs (you're going to get sick if you don't slow down!), I have discovered how important it is to listen to what it's telling me. If I ignore my body's signals and push through a long day at work, I more often than not end up even more sick for a longer period of time. So I sucked up my stubborn perspective and headed home to the comfort of my cozy down comforter, a mug of tea, and a relaxing movie. And I was proud of myself for making a healthy choice and trusting my body.

Do you allow yourself rest when your body requests it?

Choose love.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Inhale, exhale.

The temperature here has been consistently below freezing recently, and I've been super aware of the misty cloud of breath that bursts from my lungs into the cold air when I step outside. Yoga has taught me about the importance of breath. I've never thought so much about something that happens without thinking about it! Inhale, exhale. The deep ujaii breathing that we practice in yoga helps to drown out our rambling thoughts, quieting our mind. The breath creates a flow from posture to posture, fluidly linking the movements together. But when I step off my mat after class, the breathing switches back to automatic, and my thoughts start to spin, bounce, jiggle, and swirl around in my head. Inhale, exhale. Sometimes during the day at work, when my stress level is rising, I notice that my breathing becomes really shallow, or I'll even catch myself holding my breath. I'm thankful that I recognize this correlation- the relationship between stress and breath in my life.

"the most important thing to me
as a songwriter is the breath
the most important thing I could
ever say to somebody is,
'sometimes I just breathe you in'".
--Tori Amos

Inhale, exhale. If I ever decide to get a permanent tatoo it will be calligraphy of the word EXHALE, so I have a constant reminder to release and let it all go. I offer this reminder to you: your breath brings you back into the present moment, which is the only place you really need to be! So the next time you start to feel off balance, STOP! Inhale, exhale....

How can you savor and relish your breath throughout the day?

Choose love,

Sunday, January 18, 2009


I admit it: I'm a morning person. My alarm rings, and I bounce out of bed! Part of the reason for this is that I turn into a pumpkin around 9:30pm, so I usually get a pretty full night's rest. My body is jazzed up and ready to go, sometimes even a few moments BEFORE the alarm rings! But even when I am super awake when I get to work, sometimes the daily habits and routines get in the way of recognizing the day as NEW. New possibilities, new opportunities, new growth. It's challenging to see something different when you are looking through the exact same lens. A friend of mine who runs an organizing business impressed upon me the importance of finding something inspirational to read to start your days. Think of it as coffee for your mind. I have signed up for a few daily e-mails from various environmental organizations that send me a green tip every day and also a daily quote. My suggestion is to go to your favorite website and see if they have a free daily e-mail list you can join. Or you could get one of those desk calendars about your favorite hobby or beautiful images to reflect on. It's the idea of something to get the gears turning. See how fun it is to start the day with a fresh perspective!

Do you have a favorite morning inspirational activity?

Choose LOVE!

Friday, January 16, 2009


One of our assignments in teacher training was to: LIVE IN THE QUESTION. I love this phrase! It reminds us to be curious and reinforces the importance of observation. A related pooh-ism from owl: "just when a fellow thinks he knows all the right answers, somebody has to come along with all the wrong questions!" It's kind of a relief to know that no matter how smart we are or how much we study or learn, we won't always know the answers. And sometimes it's as simple as the fact that there is no answer at all. It's important to be compassionate with ourselves or others when there doesn't seem to be an answer.

"We're searching for the answers so we can destroy them and dream up better questions." --Rob Brezsny

How are you living in the question today?

Choose luv.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


One of the most important things you can do to change your life for the better is to be grateful. Even if what you WANT isn't what you actually HAVE in your life right now, accept what you have and be grateful for it. "An attitude of gratitude brings opportunities" (yogi tea bag tag). Shifting your thoughts from negative to positive will automatically bring more positive things into your life.

First thing's first: when you wake up in the morning, make your first thought be THANK YOU. And then right after you think it, say it OUT LOUD. Every day. Think about how awesome your day is going to be- the best day of your life! As you take your shower or brush your teeth, bless every part of your body and thank them for being an important part of the whole. Bless the meals that nourish your body- chew slowly- think about all the people that worked to grow your food, transport it to the store, put it on the shelves, cook it- and thank them all. Don't forget to thank yourSELF! You are allowed to give yourself props and pat yourself on the back whenever you feel it's appropriate.

Quote from a new favorite book Wishing: How to Fulfill Your Life's Desires" by Elizabeth Harper:
"What if you were thanked for everything you did? As soon as you leave the house, the mailman thanks you for having mail, the bus driver thanks you for getting onto his bus, the person you sit next to thanks you for sharing your energy with them, the waiter thanks you for allowing him to serve you, the shop assistant thanks you, your boss thanks you, everyone you work with thanks you, and so on. Take this a step further and imagine that all inanimate objects also appreciated your presence. The radio you turn on in the morning, the chairs, tables, the fridge, sink, the car...if everything in your life thanked you for just being there, imagine the elation, imagine how wonderful you would feel to be alive. This is exactly how the universe or the energetic vibrations of your environment respond when you appreciate everything in your life." (p109)

There's so much beauty in this world, and *I* am grateful for the opportunity to grow and bloom amongst all the colors and textures and curves and melodies. I invite you to reflect on the beauty in your own world and whisper a soft thank you. Or stand on the roof of a very tall building and shout your gratitude at the top of your lungs! Just remember to appreciate this moment- here and now!

What are you most thankful for?

Choose love.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


(written Monday October 3rd, 2005)
I had this moment where it struck me-- the interconnectedness of it all! The wooden salad bowls that hundreds of people have eaten out of all over campus that get run through the dishwasher and come out wet and clean only to be used to hold fresh flowers from a field nearby where crickets chirp at night, and somewhere a baby is listening to them hum, and it helps him fall asleep, and he dreams about the girl he saw today with pink hair and how much he detests the formula his mother buys for him at the local health food store that supports the organic farmers. And all these molecules impact each other and all these thoughts in our minds float around in the spaces between our words, our language. And the air is the tree is the acron is the hammock is the earth is the annoying quack of the geese is the creaking of the changing room door is the chatter of the gals next door is the wooden bowls that once rested on the stoop, waiting to be collected by someone who cares that they are unhappy and saturated in ANTS. And so I am pleased with this notion that there is no rhyme or reason to it, but that it all makes sense if you think of it from the perspective of a wooden bowl.

"There are hundreds of thousands of stems LINKING us to everything in the cosmos, SUPPORTING us and making it possible for us to BE. Do you SEE the link between you and me? If you are not THERE, I am not HERE." --Thich Nhat Hanh

Do you recognize that we are all ONE?

Choose love.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sunrise Sunset

One of my many new year's wishes/ideas: Life doesn't have to be black and white. Embrace the gray! Or let it be black, white, and gray all at once. Live in the paradox, people! On one side of the world, people are watching the sunrise from their porch swing and on the other side of the world, people are watching the sunset from their porch the SAME moment!

Can you honor two different perspectives at the same time?

Choose LOVE.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


I am currently in the process of taking a life-changing yoga teacher training at Yoga Ah.
Here's why (written 8-9-08) :

I had a dream where I envisioned a creative space where adults could play without fear or judgment. This dream became a reality when I walked into my first yoga classroom. And now, four years later, I have a dedicated and regular home practice, which feels amazing. Right after I get out of bed each morning I practice a 30 minute vinyasa combination to wake up my muscles, center myself, and give me energy for the day. After I get home from work my apartment is usually sweltering hot, so I practice Bikram yoga for one hour (about 3-4 times a week). And I come to the vinyasa class at Yoga Ah on Saturday mornings about once or twice a month. I had an "ah-ha!" moment about a month ago when I realized that I COULD become a yoga teacher. The little gremlin on my shoulder that's been telling me I don't have what it takes was suddenly swept aside by a deeper desire and longing to share my love of yoga with others. Teaching yoga would be in perfect alignment with my life purpose: I inspire others to live their joy by teaching balance through holistic health. My recipe for a successful life incorporates safely caring for mind, body, and spirit by practicing yoga, honoring my roots/heritage/family, incorporating magic/fun/laughter into every single day, nurturing Mother Earth, reading lots of good books, simplifying, and expressing gratitude. When I think back, my favorite work experiences have been those when I am given the opportunity to mentor and train new employees on processes, procedures, and skills. I love sharing with others things that I am really good at. My home practice has raised my confidence and made me even more comfortable in my own skin. My friends have been noticing how much more energized and healthy I seem lately, and they are all eager for me to teach them yoga, so they can reap the benefits as well. I am a healer, writer, organizer, artist, singer, photographer…and soon I will be a certified yoga teacher!

What's YOUR life purpose?

Choose love.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Welcome home!

The house where I grew up in Maine had a lovely screened in porch. I used to sit at the folding table there for hours, coloring with crayons and singing along with my Amy Grant cassette tape at the top of my lungs. And now I practice yoga on the patio behind my apartment building, sometimes flowing with my iPod tunes. I'm ready to share my ideas about life with the world (this little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine...)! Yoga will be my point of reference for most entries. I invite you to join this front porch community; you're welcome anytime! Settle into an adirondack chair, have some lemonade, and watch the world float by. I challenge you to be an observer by taking a look around and suspending judgement of others- and yourself. There's no pressure to get things done or finish projects when sitting here. I hope you will join in some inspiring conversations, but I also understand if you'd just like to sit quietly. Silence is equally important as sound. Nothing is ever the same on this porch- the temperature goes up and down, the light gets brighter and softer, the people come and go; it is a very dynamic place to be....just like being present to the changes happening in your body while practicing on your mat. Welcome home!

Choose love.