Friday, January 28, 2011


Hello lovely followers!!

I've gone and done big fanfare, even surprising myself that I finally got this done.



If you are viewing this, it means you are currently subscribed to or following "".

(Within a few days, f you type in, "" now in your browser, you will be redirected to the new site, "".  I am not sure, but current subscriptions to "" may no longer work.)

If you are interested in still receiving updates (meaning you don't want to manually type in "", please be sure to subscribe to the RSS feed OR click on the link for Google Friend Connect at the new site (

I am truly sorry to add this new step - originally I thought I'd be able to transfer all of my current followers.  There may be a way to do it, but my technical knowledge is limited!

If you have any questions or any troubles accessing the new site, please feel free to leave a comment here!  I may cross-post for a bit, but most new blog posts (and all new photos, etc.) will appear at the new site.

I am SO thankful for all of the love I've received since I started blogging, and seriously hope I don't lose anyone in this transition.  I am confident, however, that the new site will allow far more opportunity to expand (art photos & more!).

THANK YOU for everything!!



After much procrastination, I am finally attempting to import this blog to my new Squarespace website.  

If everything goes correctly, you will not need to do anything to access the new site.

I will be working on this throughout the day today (Friday, January 28th).

Again - If I do all of this correctly, I believe the only change you should notice is the look of the blog.  (i.e. all post links and feeds should still be active.)  This blog will remain "here", but all new posts will appear via the new site.

**I will update with more specific information once I'm sure this is working**

I am NOT technically proficient and there are bound to be some problems.  Please hang in there with me as I try to get this all in working order.

If you notice any problems, please don't hesitate to contact me (lifeunity at gmail dot com)!!

I will post updates as I work through's hoping for the best!!

Exciting Sneak Peak!

The winter of this cycle in my life is coming to an end.

It may still be cold and snowy outside, but things are budding within that are yearning to break through the surface.

I have been quietly working on projects as I write online the resulting deep thoughts and experiences.  I am SO excited to announce not one, but TWO big things on Monday.

Ok....I can't wait to give you a sneak peak of one of them:

This year, I will again be participating in One World, One Heart - the final one.  (For those not familiar with this, Lisa Swifka created an annual online event that has exploded in participation.  Bloggers across the world offer giveaways as part of a get-to-know-you around-the-world journey.  Visit HERE for more information.)  Basically, it means a giveaway that YOU can enter!

I have been working on a painting for my giveaway...and can't wait to share!  All of my regular followers will of course be able to enter as well - and I hope that you do!  More info on Monday. is going to be an exciting weekend leading up to an exciting Monday leading up to...well, I'll just keep flowing with where it's going.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

You Already Are.

How much more do you need to do in order to be?
How much more do you need to read?
How much do you need to see, to taste, to hear?

How many more lessons do you need in order to be?
How many degrees?
How many teachers and gurus and mountains must you visit?

How much money do you need in order to be?
How many cheers from others?
How much security do you need to feel?

The answer is but one: None.

You are.

So Be.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Beauty of Practice

I had something ready to go for this morning.  A poetic reminder of being instead of doing.  I will post it later today or tomorrow because sometimes - well, sometimes life shares with us something that needs to be passed along.

This morning was progressing beautifully - I completed a 15-minute yoga sequence while the kids got ready, the house quietly humming along.

Of course at the last minute, right before we are to leave for the bus stop, things fall apart.  My son's bag isn't ready, shoelaces untied, my daughter is crying...yeah.

My son and I finally exit the house...only for me to notice that he has just one glove on.  Upon asking him where the other one was, he sheepishly replied, "In the house" - at which point (my yoga calm now gone) I yelled at him to just run in and get it.  (Visions of the school bus whizzing past dancing in my mind.)

As he went in the house, I was left standing alone on the quiet driveway, brisk wind reminding me yet again of the season.

Whether it was the shock of the wind or a leftover result of yoga or just pure exhaustion I'll never know, but suddenly, I stopped complaining.  My just stopped.

I was there, experiencing the soft wind, listening as a pristine blanket of snow gently rustled on our roof, watching as the trees leaned into one another and then yawned back into a stretch.  Wind chimes, hung a few houses down, began a song to accompany this as if I were watching a documentary of beauty unfold before my eyes.  I was not cold, I was not angry - I just was.

My son returned with his other glove and we walked hand-in-hand down to the bus stop....arriving just as the bus did.

THIS is why I practice.  Why I practice awareness, yoga, art, journaling, meditation....

I don't really have any goals to reach enlightenment.  I don't really care if my toes touch the back of my head or if I sell a piece of art after a gallery display.  (Both would be kinda cool, though.)

I am fascinated with my experience of living.  Those things I practice?  The results start to infuse my life.  They change my entire way of being.  

There are so many ways of being (of feeling, experiencing the world)...I want to know them, for you to know them, for us to delight in playing with them.

And when mornings like this arise - which they will, again and again - I am eternally grateful to be able to experience them.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How To Say Thank You

What if every act we did, every thought we had, was one of devotion?

What if

To get up,
get the report done,
check on the bank account,
acknowledge the pain,
steam the broccoli,
order through the drive-thru,
click the t.v. remote,
pay the bills,
kiss the child...

was a sentence,
or a phrase,
or an exclamation!

to our unique understanding of the divine
that "something else"
that voice, that pull,
that knowing that this job
and routine
and suffering
isn't all there is.

Our existence being
Our way of sharing the story of our life -

our magnificently mundane individuality -

and saying

thank you.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Vibrant Creating

There are many ways to both become aware of vibrancy - that energy that makes us feel alive - and to BE vibrant - to express it.

I practice yoga - on and off the mat.  I run. (Ok, less so recently.)  I sing in the car.  I do random acts of kindness.  I hike.  I journal.  I play games with my kids.  And throughout many other things, I create.

Creating through fear (as I'm exploring on my Fearless Painting path) taps into that vibrancy, puts me in harmony with those waves of energy that just make me tingle.  I usually end up with some fun creation - but more importantly, I am more vibrant myself.

Here I am...completely not vibrant (hah!) after a few nights of not sleeping well....holding my newest creation to give you an idea of its size.

And here is the completed piece.

(Painted with acrylics...on fabric.)

I adore the sensual nature of the final piece, one that started with no goal other than to tap into whatever message my creative source wanted to share.

I started with swirls and ended with what you see here.  When I view it, one word keeps coming to mind:


I see my vibrancy and I see yours.  Let's keep tapping into them together.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Why Do What You Do

(*Ok, I give up.  I was going to record myself reading this blog post as it is a bit long...however, I've spent nearly an hour trying to figure out why my recording device isn't working on my computer.  Time to just let go...and get my daughter her SunnyD.  Maybe next time...)

This is what I spent hours yesterday doing...and will continue doing today.

I have dozens of photos and documents that I've collected of my family / ancestry and I'm trying to scan it all in. I want to preserve them but also want a format in which I can easily share these treasures with other family members.

I have had these for quite some time and always found myself with "something else" to do.  As a "stay-at-home-mother" (grrr....still don't like that term), I am constantly faced with "something else" to do....and yet nothing to do at the same time.  I have no deadlines, but I have a constant whining presence if lunch isn't made on time.  I have no boss looking over my shoulder but I do have constant little one(s) hanging on my legs.  I have no job-breaking decisions to make, but I do get to decide how much game & t.v. time the kids get, what we eat, how clean the house stays, and what gets discussed over the dinner table.

The point is, there is always something to do.  For all of us.  I consider myself unbelievably fortunate to feel as though I have a say in the matter.  And yet, with that fortune comes great responsibility.

I am challenged with researching and fleshing out our ancestry (including all of the stories that help us understand who we are and thus, how we teach future "us-es") because no one else has the time.

I am challenged with deciding how I answer my children's questions about kissing and death and God because my husband is working to pay for the home in which we answer those questions.

I am challenged with maintaining my own health (yoga, working out, diet, creativity, self-awareness, etc.) so I have the energy to do all of this while prompting the others to make healthy decisions (including the hubby!)...because they can't (or won't) maintain awareness beyond momentary satisfaction (which usually leads to snacking on chips in front of the t.v.).

As with the family photos, I don't have to do any of this.  I could be further developing a website, putting our youngest in childcare to get a job and pay down our debt, or simply sitting in front of the t.v. all day.  It is what it is.  Therein lies both the simplicity and the mind-blowing complexity.

How do I decide what to do with my minutes?  How do any of us?  We may feel we "have" to do something or other, but I guarantee that those have to's aren't really HAVE-to's.  (If you were in a coma tomorrow, the world would go on without that article that you HAD to get done.  If you lost your source of income tomorrow, there are ways around those bills that HAD to be paid.  If you found yourself with a life-threatening disease, those last few pounds that you HAD to lose suddenly wouldn't matter a bit.)

It shouldn't take a tragedy to awaken us to the choices we have in life.

It isn't wrong to push towards getting that article done or getting your bills paid on time or keeping your body as healthy as it can be.  It isn't wrong to spend my hours working on family photos or blogging or playing Hungry, Hungry Hippos with my daughter.  (Yep.  Did that this morning.)

I believe it is "wrong" (though I shy away from that word) to do any of these things without awareness of why we are doing them.  And I'm not just talking about the surface things, as "I'm working to pay the bills", or "I'm scanning pictures to preserve them".  I'm talking about the deeper why, the one we generally ignore because we "don't have time to think about that sort of stuff".

My answer is that I feel constantly called to journey with others towards awareness.  Awareness of what was, what could be, and most importantly, what is.  Awareness of the body and all those squishy inner things we often ignore, awareness of the mind and how freakin' bouncy it is, awareness of how it all works together.  Awareness of other people existing right now, doing things right now, believing things, feeling things...trying to sort it out just like me.

But that's MY answer.  I'm interested in yours.  What are you going to do what you do when you finish reading this?


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A New Translation of Yoga

I love the cycles of life.

Yoga has been returning in my life in a very strong way the past few weeks.  It is once again reminding me how central it is to who I am, how blissfully I blend with the concepts, how challenged I feel by the asanas (poses) and the very practice.

I have tons to share on this - including how my new understanding has given me a confidence to return to my teaching (and a very humble admission on why I shied away from the teaching in the first place).

However, this morning is not the time for that.  The kids are fighting in the other room and - well, let's just say it is taking most of my focus to stay yogic enough to write this.

I thought I would share with you fun little insights I had while reading the Yoga Sutras last night (the "guidebook" to yoga, 196 sutras, or observations / short phrases, assumed to have been composed over 2000 years ago) - a bit of new translations.

A background: I love taking ideas - woo-woo concepts that I seem to intuitively grasp - and trying to translate them into "real-world" concepts.

Here's an example (and while I wish I could put this in a nicer chart, it wouldn't look so great with the blog layout):


Here's how I'll lay them out.  
A. The English translation* of the sutra.
B. The translation of my understanding.
C. The offensive-but-true translation.

(*English translations taken from "The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, translated by Chip Hartranft")

A. Now, the teachings of yoga.
B. Still your mind and listen; the following are the teachings (yet not the practice) of Yoga in its entirety.
C. The teachings on engine repair are down the hall.

A. Yoga is to still the patterning of consciousness.
B.  Yoga is quieting the chatter of the mind.
C. Yoga is shutting up the shit.

A. Then pure awareness can abide in its very nature.
B.  We can remain peacefully aware of (re-member) ALL that we truly are - returning to unity.
C. We see that we are so much more than all of that shit.

A. Otherwise awareness takes itself to be the patterns of consciousness.
B. If we do not practice, we become associated with the myriad of thoughts and believe we are no more than our habits.
C. If we don't practice, we believe we are that shit.

I'm having fun with these so sure I will continue.

Until tomorrow,

Monday, January 17, 2011

It's Time.

*I have gone back and forth on posting this.  This came to me last night and I had to switch on the light and fervently write it down.  In the morning light it seems harsher and my fear of what "you" might think kicks in.  And yet today, as I read posts and stories of the courageous Martin Luther King, I find myself unable to Not share.  Please know that I don't write this for a general audience.  Please read this as if it was a personal email sent directly to you.*

There is an entire realm of existence for which we have no words.  This does not mean these ways of being do not exist or are any less important than those we currently choose.

New Age gurus and science yahoos and everybody in between, I'm talking to you.  I'm talking to us.  It's time to stop searching and start sinking into - and stretching beyond - where we already are.

You - yes, YOU - do not see that there are ways of feeling, ways of being, ways of moving through your day that are just as accessible to you right in this moment as those you are choosing (or those you feel are being forced upon you).

I hope to awaken something within you via these words.  Because if you are me and I am you, I am tired of letting myself get away with this sleepwalking.

Can you even imagine everything that is going on in the world right now?  Can you even imagine the feelings that are being felt?  A mother just held her dying child.  Right now.  Someone is experiencing their last few hours on earth - one person knowingly as old age creeps in, one person unknowingly as an unfortunate tragedy awaits.  That could be you.  Someone just experienced an orgasm; someone just washed themselves in a river; someone just broke out into a fervent, gut-wrenching cry; someone just sat down at a cubicle to start a long repetitive day.

Can you even begin to imagine that all of this effects you?  Can you understand how you (your thoughts, those you are having right now) influence all of that?  Can you understand that your responsibility is to yourself first and foremost - to awaken to awareness of all of this and the connections?  Call it love, call it energy, call it God, call it whatever you want.  The word is not what it is, so a combination of letters don't really matter.  The understanding, the experience, the ethereal beyond the words does.

How do we feel?  How do you feel?  It is time to feel ALIVE, damn it.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. 
Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. 
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
-Howard Thurman

I don't care if you work a 9 to 5.  I don't care if you quit and celebrate working in your p.j.'s from home.  I don't care if you have kids or not, are thousands of dollars in debt or living free of that burden.  I don't care if you have health problems that limit your mobility or run 10 miles every day.

No more excuses.  Do what you need to in order to feel alive, to be aware that every living soul around you deserves the honor of doing the same.

There is simply nothing more important.

I've found this is working for me:

Getting my body healthy so I have the energy to carry myself throughout the world.  Practicing yoga to constantly remind myself of the connection between my body and breath and that which I am looking to reconnect to.  Creative expression so I find ways for my messages to flow through me.  Gratitude for every bit of my life - even the stuff that seems to totally suck at the time.  Loving my human experience - the aches, the guilt, the anger, the daily grind.  Being open to the divine experience - even that which my logical mind says is absurd.  Focusing more on being that on doing - which is an entirely different way of living than I've been taught.

That is what works for me.  Try it if you want.  Or don't.  I can't tell you what will bring you alive.

I can tell you that IT IS TIME.  Stop searching for the words to guide you or the career path that will bring success or the web guru that offers unbelievable values for 100 steps that promise to change your life.  You already know what makes you feel alive.  Breathe.  Breathe again.  Gently smile.

Cry if you want, scream at the top of your lungs, run at top speed for a few seconds.

Fall, get back up, rest, race.  RE-Member.  Come back together.  See yourself in every person and being around you.  Allow "them" to awaken within you.  RE-Member.  Your thoughts create your actions create your history, your present, your future.  Re-member it all.

DO NOT FORGET.  Please, damn it, please.  It is time.

Move beyond these words.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Sing (-a-ma-jig)

I know I just posted.  And I believe in the importance of the last post.  I believe in the importance of constant acknowledgement, of awareness.

However, it just left me with a heaviness that is sinking me into a deeper place than I am prepared to go to right now.  I need to be clear, embody the feeling of lightness to keep me from being de-pressed when meditating on such matters.

So how about this?  Now THIS...this is an awesome way to start your weekend.


Dedicating to the Real

I dedicate today to moving meditation.

I dedicate my awareness to those things that I often put aside in the name of "getting things done".

I honor the pains and suffering I am experiencing and acknowledge that you...every single one of you whose eyes fall upon these words...are suffering as well.

Bring it to earth.  Bring it to here and now.  Make it real.  

I am in pain because I've been to several doctors and they can't or won't treat me as a whole.  I have hole in my abs, misalignment in my spine, pain around my core.  Thousands of dollars later (stupid deductibles) I am no more the wiser as to treatment.  I no longer know to whom to turn and have to go deeper than I ever have to find a wisdom if I am to heal myself and be guided to those who can assist.

Brief warning: Possible disturbing image below.

I am suffering because of this.
image from , Joe Vitti, of fatal wreck that occurred yesterday.
Bless Joe, the two officers standing there, in particular the family, 
(and you and I) who have this image burned in their minds.

It is no one I know personally.  And yet, awareness allowed me a glimpse at the personal effects, what appear to be nursing scrubs, and it connected in my mind to my mother.  Awareness of death, of mortality followed.  We all exist knowing of this mortality.  And yet (without moping around in sheer depressed morbidity day-to-day) I believe we (I) can and need to bring awareness of impermanence into my life in a more consistent manner.  (How can I feel so shallow, feel little to nothing, when I am again made aware of a fatal wreck or hundreds dying in a flood or ten more dying in a war across seas?  Why do I have to allow myself to open to the pain?  I am an emotional person - how blocked off must I be from myself?!)

And you?  What are the roots of your suffering?  There is no need to share it with anyone but yourself, but also be aware that none of us need to suffer alone.  (If at all, but that's an entire other practice)

And then, together, we breathe - seriously, - now - and re-member.  (Come back together.)

We dedicate our day to awareness.  

We dedicate the next few minutes to gratitude for those things with which we were blessed.  Training and ability to read these words.  A place in which to read them.  A mind to process them.  A body with which we can experience them.  At least enough safety and security for these few moments to peacefully exist.  How blessed are we??????

We do not forget our pains but we acknowledge that the suffering is optional.  (again, another lesson.)

I wish I could share with you how important it is to maintain this awareness that life is more than our momentary disturbances.  I wish I could remember it myself.

I wish we could celebrate together, through our aches and pains and tears, how beautiful every single moment truly is.

I wish we could start now.

Eh, why's Friday.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Puzzle Peace

Today, I am puzzled.  

My daughter stands crying - crying because she started crying and can't remember why.

My husband stands ready to go, anxious to start our journey today, our list of to-do's that are governed by the clock.

And I?

Off balance, I am trying to remember my peace in it all.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Smile

There is so much I want to share.  I may even post later today - hopefully, with the news that my Sketchbook is in the mail.  (For THIS)

But first, a thought.

A smile does not mean I am happy.  
It means I am present.  
It means I am trying.

I am often afraid to wear my smile.  I want my pain to be acknowledged.  I want others to recognize that I am human, that I suffer too, that I may be having a horrible day or fighting tremendous physical pain.  I am afraid that  others will not see beyond the smile.  I am afraid that others will not see me.

And yet...when I smile, my thoughts tend to smile with me.  My mind wonders what my face is doing and figures it should play along.

I am never aiming to be fake.  I do not wish to wear a smile to pretend, to force myself into a state of being that I am not.

Instead, I recognize that with that smile, I am acknowledging my true state of being - the state underneath the suffering - and thus, celebrating that being.  With that smile, I share that state of being with you and invite you to recognize your own.

I acknowledge life, it's humanity, pain and suffering.  I acknowledge my back pain, our financial stresses, the loss of those in Arizona, the struggles of those in Australia amidst the floods, the hunger and devastation across the world.  And I smile.

Because with my smile, I begin an awareness of the peace that lies underneath.  I begin a communication with myself (my mind follows suit and thus taps into my spirit), and with you.

For us:

Monday, January 10, 2011


The more I open, the deeper I can go.

(And yes, I'd like to stay all spiritual and prophetic here, but I will admit that my human mind still can't type that without giggling.)

I have joined the (free!) Yoga Journal 21-day challenge, which started today.  Yesterday, DEEP (part of the Fearless Painting workshops) began.  I have committed to immersing myself in both - allowing the exploration to be a cooperative journey involving my thoughts, my physical self, and my spirit.

In the 21-day challenge, we receive a daily email with links to information - including a video for the practice.  This morning, it was a 45-minute flowing practice which definitely got my heart rate up.

In Deep, we receive pools of information and inspiration amidst the private space that has been created.  Throughout the week, we get videos, discussions, and (of invaluable nature) community interaction.

In both, I do not know what to expect.  Each day I commit myself to the practice and then receive whatever instruction I am given.  I know certain days will be more challenging then others (like those days I just want to sleep in and then find myself crunched between a yoga practice and a scheduled meeting...feeling as though I need to sacrifice one or the other).

In the past, I've tended to inundate myself with class after class - waking up each morning with a plethora of things from which to choose.  In so doing, however, I didn't really experience any of them.  I would be drawing a face in a Suzi Blu class while listening to a podcast from NPR's "Being" as a journal page dried for an art journaling class.  Or I'd be doing on-the-mat yoga while my mind prioritized dropping off the car, playing with my daughter, preparing lunch, and figuring out the web site transfer.

This morning, after last night's soulful exploration from Deep and following the beautiful 45-minute practice, I took a few breaths.  It felt as though there were spaces that the breath was touching within me that hadn't felt that warm wind in years.

As we took the car to get the brakes repaired (*sigh*) and found white objects as part of "I Spy" with our daughter, everything felt just a little different.  I felt open to whatever was happening.

How can I explain this??  The words certainly don't suffice.  I can tell you that I did not get frustrated over things I normally would.  I can tell you I felt like listening when our daughter started in on a story where I usually zone out.  I can tell you that I chose a healthy smoothie for breakfast instead of the sugar-laden cereal I usually do.  And I can tell you that I didn't do any of this while logically thinking about it ("hmm.  I should listen.  I should eat healthy.").  It just happened.

Only experience can create and tell my story.  Words are the resulting consequences.  By opening and committing myself to the experience, the deeper the experience sank into me.  I opened myself to the process of Deep and to the mat practice this morning (even though I am quite sore from a recent workout and doing the yoga pushed back our schedule).

Because I did this, the potential of the practice went within and I've been able to carry it with me through the following hours.  I can't will this to happen.  No matter how much I logically understand it, no matter how much I believe that it will work, I will not receive the experience if I am not open to - and thus actually experiencing - it.

I invite you to open to your experience today - whatever it may be.  Don't judge ("yeah, this was a stupid idea...why did I do this again?") or push it away ("I really don't want to be here.").  Like the yoga pose with which I struggled this morning, I found that simply sinking into it - literally opening my chest and hips - allowed me to find a depth previously unknown.  It was a way of being (both in the pose and spiritually) that felt alive.  And that way of being - that openness, that depth, that ease - has stuck with me for the past few hours.



p.s. You can join me at the 21-day challenge for FREE here.  (Only do this if you feel ready to commit.  Otherwise, it is just one more "to-do".)  I will also be posting more about my process through Deep (including more photos) and updating you on the next time you can start on this journey as well!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Why I Do What I Do

It is about who I want to be.
Who I am inside and who I portray outside.
Who I am when I interact with others, and how I feel about that.
What I do when no one is watching, and how I feel about that.

It is about my default mode.
The thoughts that pop in my head and direct me when I am unaware of them.
Where I turn after a long day.
What foods I grab when I'm starving.

It is about how I want to feel.
How deeply I feel or how numb I am to it all.
Where my smiles originate - my mouth or my heart.
How much I care about quality - not of my life, but of this moment.

It is about how connected and aware I am.
Whether you appear to me as a mirror or a stranger.
If I see in myself (and the weed) the alive spirit or laugh it off as New Age
How easily I sink into the muck of ignorance or swim in the river of awareness.

It is why I do everything I do.  It is why I return again and again to those things that are difficult.  It is why I stumble - then stay down for a rest or get up and keep going.  It is why I cannot go along with the training others accept, the way I've been told things "should be", the way that would make life much easier and more comfortable.

It is why I do everything I do.

And You?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Stop Ignoring Who We Are

I watched this today and have not gotten it out of my mind.  I'm thankful for that.

You may have already seen it as Mr. Williams and the positive messages that have spun from this are making their way through the online world.  I hesitate to throw in my opinions, but believing that all perspectives are valuable I offer the following:

I am astounded by his voice.  That is the "duh" part.  I could watch again and again just to see a human face connected with that voice.

But the part that stays with me goes beyond his voice deep into his humanity.  I could say some things about homelessness and the deep humanity of each person standing out there with a sign.  I could offer some viewpoints on our levels of comfort and discomfort as we are made aware of our individual choice to offer something to each person (or not).  I could comment on the nature of a society that allows homelessness, or personal responsibility, or.....

But I want you (and me) to take it even farther, deeper, broader.  Mr. Williams is a happy story of someone who took charge of his life ("clean" for 2 years) and who has an obvious talent.  His circumstances were sad and challenging, but the outcome is one with which we all breathe easier.  (On the notes on YouTube, it says he has offers pouring in.)

Can we remember, though, that every single person with whom we interact is just a miraculous as he?  Can we take this beautiful message into our hearts and then, though difficult, put it into practice?  When you pass by someone tomorrow, or see someone's face on the news or on the internet, when you interact with a cashier or waitress, can you see the fascinating stories that comprise that person?  Can you see the beauty (a talent, a drive, a perspective, ...) that they have to offer?

In a PBS document titled, "The Buddha" (available via NetFlix if you subscribe), one woman talks about the Buddha within all of us.  (Read this however you would like: Christ within all of us, the Goddess within us all, etc.)  She wonders what it would be like if we walked around, looking at everyone, acknowledging, "Buddha.  Buddha.  Buddha."

I have put this into practice - with a twist.  I like to think, "Human, Buddha.  Human, Buddha."  It reminds me that everyone is acting through pain, their struggles, their fears.  Every single person is human and scared, feeling trapped in some way, ignorant.  And yet everyone is, at their core, an absolute Buddha.  They are me.  (You are me.  Yep.)  We are infinitely wise.

May Mr. Williams celebrate his continuing journey.  May we celebrate with him.  May each of us find our own talents, our own wisdom - within ourselves and within each other.

It is time to stop ignoring who we are.


For another valuable perspective on this story, you can also visit this post on The Buddhist Blog:

Spiritual Workout

First, thank you to all who checked in with me yesterday.  The lipstick, braid, and smile all made things go smoothly.

The CT Scan was looking at my abdomen (for a hernia, but that word just sounds so annoyingly silly).  I received a call from a nurse at my dr.'s office yesterday afternoon saying the test was "negative", which makes no sense.  (I have a, "hole"...that wasn't in question.  The expensive test was done to determine the extent and if surgery is recommended.)  I'll have to follow up tomorrow when my doctor is back in.


Today I woke up with a strong desire to be...well, ...strong.  I ended up doing a strength training/cardio split (time with weights, time on elliptical, time with weights, etc.).  Immediately after that, as part of DEEP (the 2nd part of the Fearless Painting adventure which I am SO SO thrilled to be a part of), I started to paint.

The point is that I did all of this to music - to the soundtrack for Avatar to be specific.  If you are familiar with that music, you know it isn't necessarily fast paced.  (I usually do my workouts to fast-paced, jammin' music to keep me motivated.)  This morning, though, I was pursuing strength at all levels.

This music strengthened my body and my soul.  They moved together.  Each lift of the weight I was reminded that the breath I was taking in, that was bathing my muscles, is of the same source that keeps you alive.  

Generally during workouts or even painting, I'm tempted to focus on what isn't working.  ("Argh, how much longer on this machine???"   "Damn that paint blob - the whole thing is ruined."  "I can't believe I'm so out of shape and so out of practice....this is pathetic.")  These thoughts flutter in and out.  When my energy is high and the music pumpin', I usually bite back at them.  I force them away with anger.  It may work temporarily, but anger never solves anything permanently.

This morning, the music was the guiding force that kept my awareness focused.  The thoughts were still there, but they became just a step in the dance that continued between my body, my mind, my soul, spirit, and smile.  I had a spiritual workout.

I feel quite aware now.  Not joyously happy or overly energetic, just aware.

If you are in a position to do so, pop on a song that makes you feel peacefully aware.  It doesn't matter what it is, the tempo, the genre...just let it guide you to a place of peace.  If only for a few minutes, let yourself be there.

If you don't have one, please share mine from this morning:

And actually...I'm quite aware that I'm hungry right now.  Off I go....


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What I'm Wearing To My CT Scan

In about 10 minutes I will leave for my CT Scan.  Nothing serious, but something I need to get addressed.

I'm not nervous.  I get to lie back down and have my picture taken.  If they find something, I will be at ease knowing I can get it addressed (and didn't live on as it got worse).  If they find nothing, I will be at ease knowing I am well.  Note the underlying trend.

I do want to share with you what I'm wearing to the hospital.  It's more important than you might think.

1) Red(ish) Lipstick.  This is in honor of the Red Lipstick Revolution started by Amy Palko.  My base chakra and I are walking into today empowered.

2)  A Smile.  While I do this quite frequently anyway, I'm putting special effort into doing so today.  I received a group email not long ago.  Part of it said:

"Do not underestimate the power of your happiness.  You (yes, specifically you) have the power to change this world.  You take this power everywhere you go, so you might as well use it.  If you are at the gym, the bank, the grocery store, the doctor, the movies, the accountant, the park, the mall, or my favorite - Target, you come equipped with the power to dramatically impact the world.  Notice the people whose paths you cross.  Whether you speak or not, just smile.  In just one smile you can communicate that he matters, and that she matters." (Michelle O'Mara)

I always feel more connected to those who can offer at least a smile.  It is as though my heart is speaking to theirs without any words needing to be said.

3)  My braid.  I fell in love with a Native American man I heard talk a few years ago.  He discussed many different significances of the braid, including it serving as a reminder of the intertwining, interconnected nature.  What better to be reminded of during the day?

And yes, for you cheeky monkeys out there, I will also be wearing clothes.  

I'm running late, so off I jaunt....and sorry, no photos just yet.

May you wear what serves your spirit today.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A.M. Discomfort

Ugh.  First day back to school.

I am not a morning person.  Trying to wake my two children up to get one on the bus when I can barely function myself is quite difficult - particularly when we are out of habit.

This morning I snoozed through many alarms and got us up just in time to leisurely rush through breakfast, dressing, and teeth brushing.  I snuck in about 5 minutes of yoga on the mat, if for no other reason than to lessen the creaks and moans that were coming from my joints.  (For you youngin's out there - yeah.  It happens.  It'll happen to you too.)

And wouldn't you know it - with only 5 minutes on the mat, I still picked up something.  I chose to do a few seated wide-leg stretches and head-to-knee poses to stretch myself (physically & mentally).  I'm really tight in hamstrings, psoas, etc. - as in I can bend maybe 5 degrees forward with a straight back when in seated forward bend.  So when in these poses, I am completely aware of my limits.  And I play with the discomfort.

How many times do you find yourself uncomfortable and move to get yourself out of it?  If you do yoga, think about those poses you dread.  If you do or don't practice yoga, think about an upcoming uncomfortable meeting with someone (friend or business), an encounter with someone asking for money, a medical appointment you've been avoiding.  How often do you start to feel the tension and back away?  Or perhaps you fight through tension, pushing and pushing yourself until something or someone (usually yourself) gets hurt.  (I can ask both of these because in both scenarios, I've been there, done that - repeatedly.)

I do some poses now where I can feel those belly rolls.  Now THAT is uncomfortable.  I am made aware that they are there, that this is now who I am.  95% of you reading this will completely understand the anxiety that comes with being forced to face body issues.

And yet, if I backed away from the poses where I felt my fat and experienced discomfort* in the back of my legs, I would be cheating myself out of the entire purpose of yoga.  I would be moving away from bodily awareness, awareness of my thoughts and reactions to those, awareness and acknowledgement of what is.

(*Please note: I use discomfort, not pain.  If you are feeling pain, it is usually a sign to back off.  Not going far enough or going too far in any situation can cause harm.)

It is why I practice yoga.  Why I practice awareness.  Why day in and day out, I challenge myself to be aware and non-judgmental of my own body, my own thoughts, and those of others.  I work to change what I can (note to self: no donuts for breakfast today) without judging it as bad.

I offer you my sincere wishes for a fruitful practice for you today, tomorrow, and each forthcoming day - whether that occurs on the mat in an asana or off the mat when the alarm goes off and everything but another snooze is extreme discomfort.

We'll practice, make mistakes, succeed, .... and repeat it all .... together.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Mind Full

I woke this morning intent on doing my on-the-mat yoga.  In the midst of this, my daughter, son, and husband all woke up.

My practice quickly turned from a blissful flow with the breath to a struggle to maintain focus and physical balance while the kids ran around me.  (The latter still being a practice.)

I heard my son in the other room saying to my daughter, "come on in!".

And I took his advice.  I came into my own body, my own mind.  And I realized there was very little room left for me to enter.  It was crammed!

Thoughts raced of what the kids might be doing in the other room, what I was going to have for breakfast, what the dust bunny on the floor beside me wanted to tell me, and even how I was going to blog about this.  Truly, my mind was very full.

So when I tried to find my toes, feel the breath within me, make what I was doing a practice of embodiment and awareness instead of just a few stretches on the mat, it was a struggle.  My mind was full - just not of the emptiness I wanted it to be full of.

Today - right now, as you read this, wherever you are - what fills your mind?

Remember: You have a choice - in fact, a responsibility - to be mindful of what fills your mind.