Friday, December 10, 2010

Retreat Yourself

Busy days...

30 years of taking and teaching yoga. Memories of retreats in scores of places, both attended and facilitated. Some of my personal favorites? My home venue - solo.  I worked it out no matter how - kids at grandmas - hubby on a trip with friends - whether 1/2 day or more, give whatever you can (I've been fortunate and routinely give myself seasonal multi-day silent yoga staycations.)

Some high points to share for an awesome experience: 

* clean your home and have all  fresh linens * turn off the computer and phone and feel your home like a peaceful breath. * fetch your all-time favorite music out of hiding and play it day and night. * go to the library and fill up on sacred books that are calling your name and have them ready to peruse. * scrub your tub or shower and have all your self-care stuff set out and available. * plate fresh fruit and have pitchers of fresh ginger water just waiting for you to enter the room. * roll out your mat and keep it out * candles * journal * quiet evening walks * views to ponder * letters to friends * meditations...

* create a collage of your highest vision as you re-member who you are in the simplicity of where you stand...


There's no place like it.

love, blessings and namaste :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Solstice Quotes

I've spent a lifetime collecting quotes...I think they are like gems of understanding that bypass the long winded explanations and be-causes we usually rely on.  Quotes are like friends who can whisper in your ear and set you straight - or remind you of what you already know - only they say it better :)

As we enter this holiday-holyday time of year end, here are just a few thoughts for you as we go into the darkness and seek what is true. 

Wisdom Across Ages

“Never be afraid to give up the good to go for the great."
-John D. Rockefeller

"Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit."
-Napolean Hill

"If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self."
-Napolean Hill

"It is always your next move."
-Napoleon Hill

"Adversity is preparation for greatness"
-Andy Andrews

"The only limits to the possibilities in your life tomorrow are the buts you use today."
-Les Brown 
"Small is the number of people who see with their eyes and think with their minds."
- Albert Einstein

"I do the very best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing so until the end.
- Abraham Lincoln

"Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."

- Winston Churchill 

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure."  
- Maryanne Williamson  
"Do not be afraid to give”

- Albert Einstein

"Think on these things" as the Mystic Krishnamurti said. 

May the words of the wise lead you through rich territory as you dive deep this season.  May you surface with more light than you ever imagined.

Blessings to you!
photo credit: Bob Alba

Friday, November 26, 2010

Remember When Waking

My Thanksgiving gift to you from poet David Whyte

"In that first hardly noticed moment in which you wake, 
coming back to this life from the other, more secret, movable, and frighteningly honest world where everything began,
there is a small opening into the new day...

which closes the moment you begin your plans.

What you can live wholeheartedly will make plans enough for the vitality hidden in your sleep.
To be human is to become visible while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.

To remember the other world in this world is to live your true inheritance."

Fundamentals of engaging your energy anatomy tell us the 6th chakra of insight and grace will help you enlarge the awareness of who you are and what you are here for.  Slow attention.  Meditate now. This is the time for harvest in all ways and between all worlds. 

There is noone - noone - quite like you.

Listen to your dream.  Live your unique pattern.

May we all be blessed by your creation.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

From Farm to Garbage Can?

During this time of Thanksgiving, check out the New York Times article below about how much food we (who live here in America) throw away!  Yup - right into the garbage.

It highlights a study in Tompkins County, N.Y., that showed 40 percent of food waste occurred in the home. Another study, by the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, found that 93 percent of respondents acknowledged buying foods they never used.

My husband and I were just talking about this the other day when I observed that our joint commitment - and skill set - around cooking, eating and cycling through our food seems to be an anomoly these days. A lost art perhaps? Certainly in places where food is scarce, I can't imagine people "forgetting" where they put their remaining precious grains of rice. So I decided to write about it and perhaps the skills we share can be shared by others too.  Here's what we do...maybe you'll find something here too.

  • just for today - clean out your fridge and do GET RID of the obvious junk, old ketchup, jelly jars, creepy stuff in the back etc....just for today throw out what's in the way of your obvious enjoyment so you'll never have to throw away again.
  • ditto your freezer
  • wash off sticky jars and such that you are keeping and arrange what you have left.
  • ok - now you have a clean plate and it's a new day :)
  • go shopping!  Enjoy! It's a culinary adventure!
  • buy lots of stuff you love that you know you can cook with in a variety of ways
  • buy zip lock freezer bags
  • take time to arrange you new stuff when you get home.
  • divide and repackage foods you love that you know can be frozen...some for now and some for later.  If Birds Eye can flash freeze their vegis, so can I.  
  • divide bread loaves in half and freeze
  • add regular address labels and a magic marker notation to insure you will remember what's inside... seriously.
  • keeping vegis fresh in plastic with a paper towel seems to help longevity
  • every couple of days rearrange your food and pull the back stuff up front.
  • remember - you are enjoying yourself! this is a privilege not a chore so rearrange your thinking if you must and have fun!
  • when it's time to cook, go for it!
  • think "ingredients" not leftovers. Rice, pasta, beans, lentils, grains...all can be made now, divided, labeled and frozen.
  • when you prepare full meals like casseroles, stews, soups, create multiple dishes and freeze some.
  • whenever you turn on the oven review what's in your storehouse and add multiple items.  Don't allow oven time to go to waste. Get that squash, baked potato, red pepper or casserole into the oven, even if it's not for this meal.  Big secret: cooked and prepped food that is ready to eat is far less likely to get jettisoned than stuff that looked great at the market and sits and waits for the right opportunity at home.
  • get a crock pot and make friends with soup for a daily - weekly - easy breezy payoff with little effort.
  • read cookbooks like novels to absorb their pleasure rather than just fishing for last minute recipes,  notice what foods go together well and be prepared to let your creative side show.
  • everything you ever need to know about preparing or storing any kind of food is a click away online
  • you'll probably recognize by now that your freezer is stocked - but most of it is with food you bought fresh and divided or soups you made or casseroles or beans or grains you spent time cooking once not multiple times.
  • poke your head in the freezer every morning and take out what you need for the next day to balance what you have fresh on hand.
  • notice that you are beginning to "cycle through" food rather than having each meal stand alone.
  • I find we cook "large" - that is full kitchen in high gear - about twice a week and quickly create with fresh food daily.

I guarantee you will have an overall healthier profile - both physical and financial - doing this than you will with a freezer stocked with boxed prepared foods or a fridge filled with smelly stuff in the back.  And that's not even addressing all that eating out because "there's nothing to eat at home."

Last, but not least - the key ingredient here is nourishment...your nourishment!  Forming a conscious relationship with how and what and when and why you nourish is an abundant gift you give yourself.  Being out of touch with any aspect of your food system - from purchasing to storing, preparing and eating - means you are out of touch with some aspect of your own nourishment. 

There is more healing for us to do in this realm than words can describe.

Begin now with your fridge and see where it goes for you.  Don't be surprised if all sorts of issues clear up. 

There are plenty more bullet points to be had than just mine.  Do you have something to contribute? Please do! Your comments are the result of shared purposes.  Together we can shift to a healthier paradigm and change those abysmal statistics while giving ourselves full expression of the abundance that truly does surround us.

May you have faith in this season of Thanksgiving.

May you feel the gorgeous opulence of home through the care and conscious relationship of what you prepare and eat there.

May our world be better tomorrow through the choices you make today.

Blessings, love and namaste,
PS - If you want some help with the concept of becoming more conscious or desire some meditative work and guided imagery around this topic, check out The Conscious Eating Kit on our website.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Return to Paradise Day

Have you noticed how many people are starting to get fit these days? Others who are taking decisive action on their food choices? Still more who are educating themselves like mad on global initiatives that create wellbeing for the planet? I am amazed at what that looks in my world. Even the most resistant of us (and you know who you are :) are finding inspiration to improve these days. 
Did you know?
• In 1980, less than 50% of Americans were
overweight; today that number is more than
65% and growing

• 80% of preventable disease risk factors
are influenced by behaviors like smoking,
over-eating, poor diet and lack of exercise

• 1 in 5 American 4-year-olds is obese

• From 2005 to 2008, type 2 diabetes doubled
in American children

• By 2025, it is estimated that nearly half of all
Americans will have a chronic disease

World Health Organization;;;

Yikes! How do you feel when you read that? I know responses will vary even if you didn't know the exact statistics.  

I know it's not really "news" to any of us either (just look around.) The doomsday familiarity of our current direction can actually cause yawns. It's as if it is all too much - too big - too complicated.  I don't like scare tactics and at the same time I won't condone keeping our heads in the sand.  That's just plain silly because we already have all the power we need to change this picture and create a healthy profile for ourselves and our children as we move forward into the future.

We shift individually and the world shifts with us.

So what's a person to do?

Here's a thought for today - just for today and see how it goes. Plan to set the bar just a little higher for yourself.    

Choose a day within the next 7 and designate it 
your "Return to Paradise" day!
Do and be all that you can do to return your own world to the highest state of health and happiness you possibly can.

Some simple suggestions to include or improve upon:
  • Plan an organic home-cooked menu
  • Add in some way to your daily exercise quotient.
  • Wherever you go by car, park in the "lucky space" (the furthest space from the entrance) and walk.
  • Take whatever stairs you can
  • Participate with an online exercise video.
  • Skip the extra coffee
  • Take periodic breathing breaks - 3 minute intervals of deep breath and/or fire breath.
  • Eat as a family - no distractions.
  • Watch that documentary or read that periodical that educates you further.
  • Share your strategy.
  • Begin a new journal.
  • Honor your Spirit.
  • Get to bed early.
These are some rudimentary suggestions but you get my drift.  Step it up a notch for yourself and do it consciously.  Can you imagine what change we could create by doing this for ourselves just once - then just once a month - once a week? 

Start there. Start with us. Start with you. 

You are the world. 


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Reach out baby, reach out

Today this dreadful article appeared in my news feed - another heart sinking piece of  information highlighting the result of imbalances we ourselves create in our handling of the world around us.

The full article can be found here on Walletpop, and the heading proclaims Meat tainted with deadly virus is being sold to consumers; government forms 'work group'.

Highlights from the article include:

Investigative reporter David Kirby, has hit a brick wall when trying to get answers from the USDA. Kirby is the author of Animal Factory: The Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment, in which he says the meat lobby enjoys unrivaled access to government.
"I don't think the USDA wants to touch this. They know if they start testing for MRSA, they're going to find infected pork and that will force them to make a decision, one that would hugely impact the meat export industry,"
The article goes on to say:

Scientists and animal advocates agree that the presence of MRSA and other drug-resistant "superbugs" in large-scale feeding facilities spring from the routine feeding of antibiotics to livestock. About 100,000 Americans die each year after struggling with antibiotic-resistant infections, according to the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy, a public interest think tank.

Which leads me to The Hundredth Monkey (again :)

I'm just being honest here - about myself mostly - but perhaps you can relate, or see yourself somewhere along the spectrum of active to inactive, or caring to apathetic. Years ago when I saw posts and petitions and shout-outs for "we the people" to rise up and DO something to inform our government of our wishes for better safeguards, higher consciousness, greater consideration, I felt completely inept, or maybe it was that I was separate from the power of my voice in some way.  Who am I? Does my signing a stupid petition matter? Really? Who are these people anyway? Don't they have a job?

Ahhhh.  The president/senator/government agency/safety board/ professionals/people we pay etc.are supposed to take care of this! (and yes I did actually say this to myself...does it sound at all familiar?) 

There simply must be a higher authority I thought...

MUST I get involved??

This my friends is 2nd chakra territory at it's finest. 2nd chakra problems regarding intimacy and power live here at the energetic level of the naval point in the physical body and effect the procreative function of the bodymind as a whole - physically, mentally and spiritually - regardless of the topic of conversation.

So this territory governs not just what we care most about but the way we care most effectively.  Big doin's here...

Perhaps in addition to effectively caring, we need to challenge one of our own cherished beliefs - or maybe just reevaluate an opinion we haven't really looked at in a while.  Unexamined beliefs exist inside all of us! We think we have chosen them, but have we really examined and created discernment around everything we think? Beliefs can sound like "those petition wielding people must be fringe lunatics!" for example, or "that hippie stuff isn't my thing" or even "I like my (meat in this case) way too much to even go there! (so I'll voluntarily stay ignorant and refuse to "know" and then I can not care all the more easily...)

ahhh - the "not knowing" syndrome. 1st chakra problems live abundance  (Bodymind stresses show up in the adrenals, legs, hips, seat, systemic disorders, learned helplessness, and hopelessness. Then in walks the pharm industry with the antidote and we are lambs to the slaughter.)

When we can't - or won't - look at beliefs we effectively muzzle our deepest and most inherent human power - the power of choice. 

We. do. it. to. ourselves.

So here is what I have come to know - and act upon.

Yes I must get involved.

This is my world, my planet, my humanity and every vote I take gives ME a greater degree of empowerment to know I have a place in this Universe - and that I matter.  Does my one signature mean that the Powers That Be will fall into my view? Good luck!! 

Does it mean that I myself have done my best and thereby empowered myself to live with more conscious choice? Yes yes yes! 

The action itself DOES matter.

Our own evolution happens one step at a moment at a choice at a breath at a time.

In addition, if I join my best with the best in others what might we then accomplish?

This is the principle of The Hundredth Monkey Effect.  You never know which signature - which vote - which petition - which choice - will make the difference and tip the scales.

Are there still fringe lunatics running around looking for doom and gloom attention? Of course! More healthy discernment on your part ought to take care of that issue, but when you are feeling powerless and overwhelmed with the degree of challenge in the world, I invite you to really look at what you CAN do now.

Sign a petition? Then do it.

Vote with your dollars at the supermarket? Then do it.

Stop and think for a minute to make a more wholesome choice? Then do it.

Tell a friend? Then do it!

I may be preaching to the choir here.  I am daily amazed at the quickening we are all going through.  We are rising up fast and furious and our souls are coming alive as never before! If it feels uncomfortable you are not alone.  The planet itself is awakening to a new level of participation, and you dear one have as big a part as any.

The awareness of the work itself is the domain of the Spiritual Athlete. I have posted a ton of information for you to digest and I welcome your committed participation with me if it serves you. Why athlete? Because we draw on all the skills a true athlete represents.  Practice, dedication, higher values, desire to accomplish, participation, team allegiance and the deep intention to do your best. 

There is actually a systematized approach to how we can all uncover our higher skills of perception, and tap into the truth of our human potential. By the time you get to your 7th chakra potential you will know the truth of the experience of Mystics who say "bliss of the blissful am I."

For now start at the 1st chakra by dusting off your power of choice and let me know how it goes :)

Much love and blessings galore as together we shape our world.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Napolean Hill Quote

"Who said it could not be done? And what great victories has he to his credit which qualify him to judge others accurately?" Napolean Hill
Great quote.
I bumped into Napolean many years back with his work Think and Grow Rich.  It struck me because I was also reading the mystic Krishnamurti who famously said "Think on These Things." all sort of made sense to view them both, but the outcome wasn't - and still isn't - the party line I have found. Thinking and doing and being get all mixed up.  
We think we can think one way and act another, and all is well.
We think we can think apart from our essential way of being, and squish and squash the song of the soul with no negative effect.
 "What was she thinking!" we exclaim. "Who does he think he is?"
Think think think.
Then we all hear about passion these days.  Studies have clearly shown that people get better jobs, make more money, become more popular, get the girl, sell more widgets and keep more customers when they just show their PASSION!
Yeah yeah - let's just think that we can mock up the emotion, speak the words, act the part and all will be well with that.  What I have noticed is that half of these passionate people are passionate about the wrong item! Influencing people to buy your story because you are so passionate about it only matters when your story is in alignment with who you really ARE.  
Kids - there is a difference.
And if your ego is in the way, you've found a big clue that your passion is taking you away from your soul's desire not toward it..
Slow down!
That's it.  First we must quiet the thinking altogether.  Listen.  Listen well.  Listen to your heart rhythm...the sensations of ease that accompany a quiet breath.  Sigh...
Now observe your true desire - the thing that draws you to it with grace and light and love.  What is the song of YOUR soul? You probably knew it when you were a little kid. Remember your connection to your true passion.  The one that makes you unique in all the world.
Take your time. Allow the embodiment of this passionate reminder as you breathe...
Who are you...really? Find that and be passionate about that...
Some questions for you:
How can your authentic self serve the world? Find that and think of ways to offer that.
What do you think of your neighbor, your friend, your enemy, your competition? Be the change you wish to see and think about that.
What  greater good can be accomplished through the thoughts you send out to the world? 
Think on these things as Krishmamurti said.  Then think and grow rich as well.
May we all be blessed by your thinking :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

You are the Monkey. Really.

This is an invitation to you to join me in an initiative that matches nicely with The Mystic and balances the way of being with the actions taken.

I started the Mystic blog to offer lessons, principles and good advise for living life fully as a mystic without walls - which is the strange arrangement many of us find ourselves in these days as we juggle spiritual goals with a householder status.  I love the body of work it now contains, and I'm excited to keep it growing and serving.

Over time I felt I needed to broaden onto another category to create balance...and highlight the action centered awareness of doing that arises when the Mystic grows into a solid citizen of the world and demonstrates through simple actions.  He then becomes the Monkey - the "Hundredth Monkey" to be exact...

This is the person who has the potential power to tip the scales by adding his wisdom to the  group to be seen. In this way he changes the World and his/her wisdom is made manifest.

I invite you to join me at The Monkey Blog and participate there as we address fun, soulful, sometimes challenging but always meaningful  things to do to make the world a better place. I ask you to think about what you might post on the monkey blog as you look around and see what makes a difference in your own life.  Comments and post additions are welcomed!  Let us all see the good things and the calls to action that you know about.   

Mystics and Monkeys serve to heal the world one person at a time :)

Thought for the day: what was your contribution to the world this day?

If you are reading this blog there were probably many.  Acknowledge your importance.  You do make a difference...a difference indeed.

Namaste and love...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Five Tibetans

Call to action! Join us if you can - or perhaps there is a group endeavor here for you...

Called the “Ancient Secret of the Fountain of Youth”, my initial meeting with the Five Tibetans was in California in the early 80’s in the strangest of ways.  

As the story goes, years ago, after enduring an arduous journey, a seeker of the famed “fountain of youth” wound up in a monastery in Tibet.  There he stayed participating in the lifestyle of the monks – which included five “rites.”  After a time he came back to his modern world announcing “I have indeed found the Fountain of Youth!” Not a thing but rather a way of being, rejuvenation is found in the affect of the movements themselves.

Advised that I was called to “spread the word” by the teacher that found my whereabouts despite all odds and gave them to me, I began adding them to my teachings there and then.  I have found them to be a lifesaver at times, and always a welcome addition to the variety of physical and energetic disciplines in my life.

Original classes were taught to seniors (you had to be 65 to sign up) and all were successful in adapting and completing the movements.  Today I teach to all ages and conditions, and I know from my own experience that anyone and everyone truly does benefit.

You can use the guide below in addition to the books suggested to flesh out the material, and if you are available come visit me at The Soul Center in PA to participate in our opening party on Sept.11, or join our intrepid group as we begin the journey together this fall.

Yokibics® and The Five Tibetans

Movements for Energy Balancing and Restoring Health

Rite Number 1

Standing with your arms outstretched, palms facing downward, spin around in a clockwise direction while keeping your focus on a single point.  Spin 21x.

This is done for the express purpose of speeding up the energy vortexes of the body.

Rite Number 2

Lie flat on your back with your arms by your sides.  Bring your chin to your chest while lifting your legs to a vertical position.  Keep your knees straight and breathe rhythmically throughout.  Release to start position and work your way up to 21x.

Further stimulates the vortexes and strengthens abdominals.

Rite Number 3

Kneel on the floor with your trunk upright, and your hands against the back of thighs.  Exhale and drop your chin to your chest.  Inhale, and lifting your head arch back as far as you can go.  Repeat 21x.

Strengthens and liberates back and thighs.

Rite Number 4

Sit on the floor with legs outstretched, feet 4 inches apart, hands by your sides on the floor, palms down.  Keeping your torso upright, bring your chin to your chest.  Now keeping your arms straight and your hands and feet in place, bend your knees and raise the trunk of your body to a horizontal tabletop position.  Let your head sink back.  Breathe rhythmically as you ascend and descend 21x.

Opening for chest, heart, throat, hip flexors.

Rite Number 5

Begin by lying face down on the floor.  Support your body in a cobra-like sagging position with your straight arms supporting you, hands planted on the floor, toes curled under.  Gently move your head back as far as it will go.  Keeping your hands and feet in place, bend at the hip and bring your body into an inverted V position (dog facing down but remain on the toes).  Breathe rhythmically and repeat 21x.

Back release, arm and shoulder strength, and weight bearing advantages.  Maintain abdominal support throughout.


It is said that the Five Rites are helpful for stretching stiff muscles and joints and improving muscle tone.  Yet this is not their primary purpose.  The real benefit of the rites is to normalize the speed of the spinning vortexes or energy centers of the body.  The rites work hand in hand with each other, and each are equally important.  

If you could observe the seven vortexes of an aging person, you would notice the slowing speed of some, or all, of the centers.  They might each be spinning at different rates of speed and none would be working together in harmony.  The slower ones would be causing that part of the body to deteriorate, which the faster ones cause nervousness, anxiety and exhaustion.  It is the abnormal condition of the vortexes that causes abnormal health, deterioration and premature aging.

You can begin by practicing the rites 3x each daily for the first week.  Then, each week that follows increase the daily repetitions by 2 until you are performing each rite the full 21x.  In ten weeks time you will be performing the rites regularly and completely, with about 20 minutes needed until you are fit enough to complete them all in 10 minutes or so.

The Five Rites are for the express purpose of restoring health and youthful vitality to the body.  The other factors, which will dramatically affect your progress, are mental attitude and desire.


The Ancient Secret of the Fountain of Youth

Peter Kelder

The Five Tibetans

Christopher Kilham


Friday, August 20, 2010

The Power of Conscious Eating

So here's some good news on the home front... 

At three health centers in Massachusetts, doctors are handing out vouchers to their patients to subsidize their shopping at local farmers markets.  You can read the full article here.  Their purpose is to help combat obesity by offering affordable natural choices to readily available, high fat, cheap fast food.

How great is that? I'm a fan.

Once a month, my husband and I set up what I fondly call our "big red tent" to participate in our own local Farmers Market., and our time is coming 'round again tomorrow. 

I've come to love these Saturdays!  Everyone is open and feels good to be close to farmers and growers, and to observe people who have a relationship with the food they see smiling faces, eye the abundance of the changing harvest and listen to the musicians that come to entertain the rest of us.  And the bread...yummmm...did I mention the bread??

Our purpose at the Market is to offer products and education on enjoying a healthy lifestyle, and to promote our Conscious Eating Program. which embraces the whys and wherefores of our relationship with nourishment and our power of choice.  We are a perfect fit for those choosing to support local farmers and organic growers.   

This is an abridged version of one of the short meditations from the program - one that you all can enjoy.  Just take a moment before you "dig in" and get centered on your own intentions for health. Think of it as grace before meals... 

You need not have a lot of time; 

merely the sensation that you have all the time you need.  

By slowing your breath, you slow down time.  This is a moment to savor and enjoy.

Slow your inhale, and enjoy this pause in your day.  Exhale, and let go of all the thoughts and stresses you brought to this moment…

enjoy the awareness that this meal is an oasis in the midst of your day.

As you slow your breath, you gentle your heart.

Accept this meal as a gift of nourishment, and be aware of the foods you choose.  See yourself savoring each and every bite…

May this day hold all the time and energy you need to be all that you can be.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Live the Questions

There is a quote from Rainer Maria Rilke that I keep near my desk.  When I stray it brings me clearly back to the journey - and the journey itself is where I am, and where it's at, in times of ease or struggle.

Take a minute and see what his words mean for you...and may you find some grace in them.
i beg you...
to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart 
and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms 
or books written in a very foreign language.

don't search for the answers, 
which could not be given you now because you would not be able 
to live them.

and the point is to live everything.

live the questions now.
perhaps then, someday far in the future, 
you will gradually, without even noticing it, 
live your way into the answer...

blessings and namaste

Friday, July 30, 2010

The big OM

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one single step.

Georgie faces the big OM at Being Five.  He's always got something worth checking out ;)

What a riot!  George Sfarnas frequently hits the nail square on the head through the voice of his little friend.

I'm going to leave it at that for you with just one reflection.  All the really good stuff is like this.

Seems too easy - too boring - too ordinary - too, well, who has the time?? to make much of a splash.

So we go outside and play (or work, as the case may be) searching for better answers than the ones that are right in front of us.

Don't be fooled my friends.

The single step is gigantic. It is important beyond explanation. The rewards are great.

May you enjoy them all.

Carry on then...


Thursday, July 8, 2010

It's Heeeere!

My treasure map.

20 years ago today my trusty astrologer told me that good things were in the stars for me.  Yup - clear sailing ahead! I was overjoyed at the possibility.  After all, at the time I had no idea how to protect my 13 year old and 10 year old from the doomsday I saw mounting around the family-run business we were a part of, the pile of bills that made my head spin, a marriage that held only the promise of my imagination, and talent in a new age field that was called "pioneering" at best (code for bleeding edge) and fringe at worst.

"Gonna be good for you someday..."

ok, great! When? Next year? Two years? 5 years?

Nooooo....not that soon...

"Somewhere in your late 50's you will begin to feel like it's all clicking."

Yeesh.  Not good.

I kicked.

I screamed.

I disavowed her insight and clearly created a path for happiness NOW.

That was forever ago, and life happened - lots and lots of it - rich and full - oh so very full - inspiring and challenging, but not for one minute was it easy.

I did learn however the skill of creating happiness right where I stood.

Now here I am.


Today is my birthday - always a time of self-reflection, contemplation and gratitude - along with a healthy dose of reassessment of  circumstances and readjustment of strategy where needed.

Today I am at the end stage of my 50's and everything - everything - about those previous times has changed.  Different home.  Different state. Different husband. Different life.

I look at my interior and ... I ... is true.  My astrologer was on to something.

Does everyone feel like this at this stage of life? Or did I just outlast all the drama and trauma until finally I could see the light of day from the mere fact of my longevity?

Ha. I don't think so actually.  I believe to everything there is a season, and the season of my own harvest is here.

What a wonderful world! (I always loved that song)

And the lesson? The takeaway? ahhh..the takeaway.

  • Hang tough.

  • Don't give up and don't feel sorry.

  • Be your authentic self and always do your best.

  • Mostly... recognize that there is a time for everything and everything in it's time.  

If you are railing against your circumstances today, I say "gonna be good for you someday..."
May you do your best with what you have as you live the moment and look forward with great anticipation to what is yet to be.

Many blessings to you along the way.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Diary of a Community Activist

Years and years ago if you told me I could say this I would have laughed!  I think mostly I didn't want to stick out too much or make a fuss.

My new "career" began when I moved into my townhouse on Halloween 2005.  I was one of the first ones into a new construction - and building was going on everywhere around me.   I was living in Fraggle Rock as men with helmets in big yellow trucks went scooting past my kitchen window and all I could see as I sat at my table were the tops of their heads.

Problem was the builder wasn't living here.  Long overdue and unfinished work was left everywhere. Complaints were routine.

Water problems were springing up in basements.  Newly planted trees were dying.

Little by little a new habit was born.

Call the builder.  Get sent directly to voicemail (of course.) Make a report. Request info about completion. Write it up. Take pictures. Send it to the builder in writing. CC the board. Send copies to the town agencies if the problem was appropriate for their domain. Repeat.

It wasn't just a call I made - or a series of calls - it was a campaign.

No blame.  No judgmental name calling - just the facts.  I experienced the value of persistence, that's for sure

Mostly with lots of teeth pulling things got completed.

Then came new tenants.  Seems every single one of them had a dog. Lots of them had no notion of cleaning up after the dog.  What's up with that??  Feel free to walk your dog through the neighborhood guys, and leave big steaming piles of dog poop in your wake.


New campaigns began.

I took pictures of the "green bags for doggies" pylons available in other communities.  You know the ones where there's a "clean up after your dog" sign posted above a receptacle that holds the bags for you to put it in.  Education + solution. (The fact that we, as adults, still need this sort of education is another matter entirely, but so be it. I'll leave that for later.)

This year the big snows came with windstorms that trundled full recycle pails down the street emptying their contents everywhere. After the snow melted the streets bore the results.  My friend Magda and I were semi-horrified on our daily walks until we decided not to wait for "them" to clean up, but to campaign ourselves - this time with lawn bags and gloves on our outings.  Our backyards extended far beyond the boundary of property lines as down the street and up the hill and across the bridge seemed both our territory and our charge.

I took a walk yesterday in the gentle rain and enjoyed every minute of the smells of summer, the large expanses of green, the cleaner streets.  I noticed the doggie green bags in our community and laughed out loud.

I see the results of my activism, and I know that the difference between complaining and action lies at the crux of solution.

What to do with the problems of the world then?

I ask what are you doing at home base.

I just read an article in the New York Times citing that in Nigeria the region of the Niger Delta has endured the equivalent of the Exxon Valdez oil spill EVERY YEAR FOR 50 YEARS! You gotta be kidding me...but no.

Perhaps we are just getting around to noticing that this spells big trouble due to our eyes being open in the Gulf.

The answer, like the song says, is "we're all in this together."

We.  The land.  The people.  The animals. Each other.


The Mystic knows that a 'way of being' that can embrace this recognition begins with the individual.

Stop complaining and start doing what you can where you can. Clean up your own mess. Are you doing something that makes a difference in your community?  Simply walk outside with open eyes and something will come to you. No matter where you live I guarantee you will newly see some way - something large or small - that you can do to make a difference.

The qualities you build will help you in many ways, including -

  • Enlarge your heart
  • Embrace your community
  • Fall in love with the land you walk on!
  • Be an asset to whomever you can - whenever you can - wherever you can
  • Leave things a little better for your presence wherever you go
  • Stop being afraid to make a difference
  • Stop with "that's not my mess..."
  • Stop the "who cares" and be the change you wish to see.

Stop with the notion of separation.

YOU care! That's what matters.

Feel free to comment :)

Truly - we are - all. in. this. together...

Namaste my friends.  

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Four Gifts

The story of the apple, the flaming sword, the crown and the lion begins with "once upon a time..."

Once upon a time, there was a girl who had big dreams and lots of desire to create a work of art from her talents and skills, but she just didn't know very much about the "how to" part.

So the girl - who was me - began a regular program of deep meditation and guided visualization while consciously, and determinedly, putting herself in asking mode with an open heart and mind.

In other words, I went into states of meditation while holding my deep desire for insight and simply waited for answers, observed signs, captured insights, followed directions...and opened myself to whatever needed to be known in order to move to the next steps of my journey.

For those of you who have done this kind of work, it is quite remarkable to let it direct you, isn't it?  Similar to lucid dreaming, guided visualization invites you to relax deeply and walk your mind through a receptive mode, observing without interfering with what's going on.

If the subject of your quest is to find answers to some life question or dilemma, then you settle yourself into the question itself before you begin, knowing that information will arrive - in some form or other - that will shine some light on your request.

And so it was for me asking about the nature of my career - my very survival - during a time of stressful life circumstances and little support.

I call what I eventually received The Four Gifts.

The first was a bright shiny apple.

I didn't want it at first. :)  I was terribly disappointed and actually tried to give it back.  How could this silly symbol be the answer to my heart's desire and the seriousness of my request?  Was I supposed to make my living with an apple?? I was on the cusp of big stuff I tell you ...BIG!

Then I went to a women's writing retreat led by an author/editor I knew pretty well and lo and behold she told the group that we were going to practice various creative writing techniques for the whole week using one single solitary symbol.  "Choose well" she advised!  While everyone else was hemming and hawing I was into that apple from the second the words were out of her mouth.  How fortuitous to have a masterful teacher guide me into some understanding of what this rather disappointing symbol actually meant.

By the time the week was done you can't even imagine what I did with the word itself.  I created ode to apple in clusters, diagrams, synonyms, word name it.  Mostly, that was the point.  I named it.  Health, holistic, ripe, knowledge, seeds within, and the best one - the old "apple a day keeps the doctor away" - which gave me valuable insight into the scope of my field of endeavor: preventive medicine.

OK then.  This was starting to make sense...

I practiced validating my "other than conscious" ability to manifest the exact right thing for me to know, and I clearly followed my directive even while in the midst of the storm (of which there were some doozies.)

Laugh if you will but a few years later came the flaming sword.  AHA!! That's more like it!

The only thing was it didn't feel victorious when I finally received it.  By now I was older and wiser and it felt more like the tool I would need for the responsibility that foretold a journey where, if flaming swords were needed, I was probably in for it.  So be it when you pioneer any movement against the tide of common experience or people's comfort with the party line.

Third came the crown.  I can barely handle that one to this day.  No pansy crown this - more like a jewel encrusted gold monolith that I was supposed to get comfortable wearing.  I accepted it without judgement.  Perhaps one must do this in order to ordain themself no matter what the work is when you yourself are the creator...

Fourth and last came the lion.

I saw myself climbing a mountain.  It took time - lots of time - and effort - lots of effort.

As I reached the summit, I could finally see over the top and view the other side.

What I saw was a tiny lion cub cowering about 6 feet below me.  He was looking up, clearly wanting me to pick him up.  As I reached down, he crawled into my arms. As I lifted him up to join me he began to grow and grow and grow until by the time I straightened up I was holding a very handsome full grown lion.

I knew at that moment that my business would grow, and that with time - and a very long climb - I could handle the size and strength of it.

My symbols have sustained me through all sorts of challenges over the past years as I have witnessed events unfold around me.

That brings me to this past week.  The photo above is the cover image on the new fall catalog from our distributor APG that carries four of our new YPC Print/CD titles.  I didn't see the catalog until we were presented with it at the Book Expo America event at the Javits Center in New York, but my eyes almost popped out of my head when I saw the cover.

Although I have been fortunate in being promoted for the programs I have created for other companies, I've never had a National Distribution channel for products that my own company produced before - not even for one title much less for four - but there's my lion, strong, proud and full-grown right on the cover, with the placement of our offerings filling the opening page.  I think this is a good sign :)

My heartfelt message for you:

If you have a dream, then you mustn't give up.
Don't ever give up.
Work hard... work long... work it on the side if you must... but don't ever give up your dream.

Expect the road to twist and turn, life may have many bumps in store for you.

You may have to shift, delay, postpone or get along with far less in the way of support than you would ever hope for. You may even have to go it alone for a while.

People might laugh and call you a loser, or worse.

Don't give up.

You may fail.  Don't give up.
You may fail again.  That's the way of it.  Don't. Give. Up.
"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.  Boldness has genius and power and magic in it" said the great philosopher Goethe.  

May your own genius shine through, and may all your dreams come true. 

Let me know how it goes...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Responding to the Oil Spill

I am reading the reports and my heart is weeping with sadness.

Verbal warfare.  Blame.  Frustration. Impotence...

"Urgent questions about what lay beneath"...

Assessments like "let's make no mistake that what is at threat here is our very way of life"...

Perhaps the most disturbing element, if there can be such a list when the whole situation is beyond comprehension, is contemplating what Tony Hayward, chief executive of BP meant by "a third and fourth and fifth option around both containment and elimination" when the already disastrous present solutions are not working.

I went to one of my heroes, Henry David Thoreau and found words for my swirling thoughts...

Alas! how little does the memory of these human inhabitants enhance the beauty of the landscape! 

A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone. 

All endeavor calls for the ability to tramp the last mile, shape the last plan, endure the last hours toil.

The fight to the finish spirit is the one characteristic we must posses if we are to face the future as finishers. 

All men are children, and of one family. The same tale sends them all to bed, and wakes them in the morning. 
Henry David Thoreau 

What do you do when the situation is too big - too unwieldy - too far from your own hands to do anything about? What can any of us do?

I can guide you carefully through one option as I march myself through my own bodymind and witness the feelings that reside there.  Our Energetic Anatomy offers us a map to what we can do.

Caring about our world in the way Thoreau so eloquently expressed throughout his life is the territory of the second chakra.  When a feeling of care overwhelms us and becomes too big - too frustrating - too impossible for us to do anything with, we will often go to a couple of options.

One option might be to continue to care, but to do it improperly.  Rage at the world.  Call people names.  Send out redhot anger and more poison and expect that you yourself won't get burned even worse.  Rant.

Another option is don't care.  Go unconscious.  Say "whaaatever" (with a sigh...) or "I knew it all along" and be satisfied with your precognitive rationale.  Apathy is on the other side of proper caring, and it can be a successful place to hide when the feelings of caring have no place else to go - or so it seems.

We have another option, which is rather than moving sideways between caring to uncaring, that we investigate the next chakra and move upward to the third vortex territory of self-esteem.  Here we encounter the emotion of grief and the process of letting go.  Here we take a good look at SELF.  How can I make a difference in my own world right from where I stand? What will I do - today - and move myself into the ease of a shifted energy body that can (and will) function well through crisis.

When "clean-up" is the issue, as it is with our spewing oil wells, you must stay the course for yourself, and do what you can with what you've got, or you will experience the impotent frustration of your apparent inability to  save the world.

What does that mean to you?

Here are some suggestions from my heart to yours that come from the BICS framework of YokiBICS. They invite you to move the lifeforce energy of your own body, mind and spirit intentionally into Belief - Integrity - Choice - Service.

  • Go clean up your own backyard
  • Take a day trip and clean up your own shoreline
  • Join a campaign to clean up the neighborhood - or just go outside for a walk with a plastic bag 
  • Help a neighbor with their clean-up
  • Investigate community action in your area
  • Go use your natural resources, park, preserve, walkway.
  • Donate
Let's get even more personal...
  • Clean up your own thoughts of separation
  • Immerse yourself in your own relatedness to the Natural World
  • Be willing to extend the perimeters of your own backyard 
  • Know that as you hold your own thoughts of caring, you create a more caring world - it begins with the individual and every one counts.
Try these suggestions.  Try more of your own.  And yes you can also write, vote, and act with your significant purchasing power as a consumer.  But do care. We are all in this together.

Let me know how it works out.

Namaste and big hugs to you, my neighbor.