Last night I found out a yoga friend, younger than me, died of a stroke on Sunday. She left behind her husband, baby son and their 2 dogs. They had a full life.
Her husband posted a tribute to her on Facebook. Through tears all I could say to him was “my heart is with you”.
I cried a lot. For him. For her. For all of us who have ever experienced heart wrenching grief. For all of us who have asked, “Why?" and "God, where are you in this?"
Death is a reminder of life. It's a reminder to ask:
Are we living our life fully? If so, what does that look like for us?
Do we have the courage to live and to love with everything we have- here now today?
Are we willing to grow beyond our comfort zone?
Are we willing to live and love fully here now today without making excuses we have to wait for some future event to happen? I.e: more time, money, that job, relationship, whatever
I sobbed for awhile. Tried to make sense of it. So exhausted yet unable to sleep. So. I do what helps me understand life. I reflect and write.
Naturally I thought a lot about the relationship with my lover/man/beloved/friend (pictured below). I think about us all the time, even still. Like a teenager in love. True. Will that ever change? Hope not :)
I pondered our journey as individuals, and as a couple. I reflected on the power of our love to both create and destroy. We’ve had many challenges in the short time since we met. Lots of change, lots of uncertainty. Yet with change, comes growth if we choose to see it as such. I welcome all of it, even when “I don’t like it”, stamping my feet and clenching my wrists.
Beautiful really. Intense too. Life. So Rich. So Magical. So Precious. every moment sacred.
I believe we are all doing the best we can. However, there’s always room to grow. By growing I mean to grow in love and wisdom toward that which brings us joy and therefore peace in our heart.
To be clear. I am not chasing happiness. That’s a prison. It comes and goes. I talk about this in my book, Reclaiming Joy.
I am hungry for life. Always have been. Always will be. Hungry for deeper intimacy in my love relationship. Hungry to stop the nonsense and celebrate love. To release the past and our ex’s and focus on what is in front of me-- the US.
Even in my sadness last night, I still felt joy.
Why? I see possibility everywhere, especially in the challenges of life. I took my rfiends death as another reminder to LIVE.
As an opportunity to do better. To be better for myself, for my relationships, for humanity.
Perhaps most humbling---even in the sadness and tragedy of my friends death, I see her husband making a promise to her that he will make her proud. Has her death given him new life?
A promise he will care for and provide for their family. That he will meet her again when it’s his time.
Love. So Powerful. Love, it’s all there is.
Tonight I was moved to finish this poem (below) I started writing on Christmas Day while I was with my family and that of my love. I was conflicted at the time. Feeling the joy of being with family- his and mine. And also the tension.
Do they always coexist? Joy and tension?
If so isn’t inner peace simply a result of skillfully holding the tension?
Doing our best to be with all of it without judgment?
I believe so.
So on Christmas Day I asked myself...
”What If I Had One Year Left to Live”... would I do it differently than I am now?
The question is a way for me to step up to the plate of life.
To hone in on what matters and commit and recommit to taking action.
Here’s the “finished” poem:
“What If I Had One Year Left To Live?”
Get up Earlier...
Linger Longer in bed with my lover in bed?
Love More Freely, without demand of that same love in return?
Let Go Harder...
Accept Allow Ask
Talk More ... Face to Face
Be Present. Like really present for myself and others...
Move As if The Divine was dancing me?
See the Divine in everyone? Yes, EVERYONE.
Laugh More- Out Loud. Deep belly laughs.
Dance. More. Period.
With Myself. With my beloved. With my cats.
Call. Visit. Show Up, unexpected.
Take time, make time.
Stop the excuses
Pause. Exhale. Inhale. Reaeat.
HUG more. The 3 second heart to heart kind.
Forgive! Myself, others. Again and again.
Say Yes. Yes! Hell fucking YES!
Say thank you. A lot more. So much more.
Lend a hand?
Give, so much more.
So so much more.
Of myself, of my heart, of imperfect me.
Cherish it... My beauty and my imperfections. My rage and my love.
Shame and blame less.
Talk softly and seed beauty.
Give the benefit of the doubt.
Have faith. Deep faith.
Pray for peace. Pray for other.
Accept that everything lives within.
Believe in magic, miracles and the power of love. Then go for it! All in.
Embrace the effort required to build a beautiful life.
Celebrate the effort required to build a love filled life.
Let go of all effort and realize “effort” is only a word. It’s our attachment to it that causes us pain.
Have more fun.
Play in the sun.
Raw Vulnerable Sexy Sweet
Have the courage to speak up, ask, and turn it over to God.
My answer to all of this is YES.
I would love it all - Live it all.
With gratitude and grace.
Because yes, life is a one time race.
If I had one Year To Live, I would surrender my life to love, in all its forms.
At the end, I would have no regrets.
This is how I wish to live.
This is the prayer I give.
Where are YOU on the List?
In previous writings I shared with you how to begin creating your goals for your year ahead and told you one of my goals is Adventure!!
As we close the month of January in a new year my goal stays the same -- adventure with a twist --rooted in DEEP INFINITE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.
Today I encourage you to stay committed to YOURSELF, no matter who, and no matter what you are currently facing.
PS: Why do you think I will continue to plan retreats?
SO....Why is this my message today?
In my life and my work I continue to support loved ones and clients with all types of extremely difficult challenges from addictions and abuse, to anxiety, depression and overall lack of clarity.
Upon reflection, I notice there is one thread that runs through all of the struggle. And it is this thread that will determine their ability to "overcome".
The thread you ask? The ability to put themselves first.
I trust many of you who are reading this understand what I mean...even if you have not yet mastered this feat.
Think of the oxygen mask on the airplane.
You must have oxygen for yourself first, before you are able to help the other. Without your own source of oxygen, you will both...end up dead.
Same with life. Yet we RESIST we RESIST we RESIST! And guess what? Whatever is trying to get our attention, whatever is asking us for love, PERSISTS.
Unless we uncover, honor, advocate and then act for the life WE want (OUR own oxygen supply)-WE will end up with whatever WE get. A slow and painful death indeed.
Based on personal experience, the ability to save ourselves first is an on-going practice.
Perhaps hard at first because we've been told it's "selfish" and therefore lack the tools/support required.
In fact, not taking care of ourselves is selfish!!!
With practice, saving our self first becomes a way of life. As such, it gets easier.
Eventually, we realize there is simply no other way to live.
We must save our self first because the other way is hell on Earth.
Ready for my Reclaiming Joy Retreat now? I am!!!
As I speak about in my book Reclaiming Joy, Your 4-Step Guide to Happy, Healthy & Free good health goes beyond just nutrition and exercise. It comes from achieving balance in every area in our lives. That includes the emotional and social parts of our lives, too! For me this is the area of Relationship.
If there’s someone in your life who’s draining your energy or causing you stress, you could be dealing with a toxic relationship.
What is a toxic relationship?
Toxic relationships can take many forms, including draining energy, causing drama, or even violating the boundaries of other people in order to get the emotional benefits they need.
Toxic people often don’t realize the destruction they cause. Interactions with these types of people can lower our self-esteem and captivate our energy in a negative way. Many people see a toxic person and feel the need to take care of them, often leading to the depletion of their own wellness. This is just as destructive as the pain of confronting or withdrawing from the behavior of a toxic person.
So, how do you navigate a relationship with a toxic person?
Ideally, we would cut off contact with anyone who doesn’t benefit our emotional well being. We would simply never talk to the people who drag us down. However, there are some people that we just can’t avoid, such as parents, siblings, and bosses.
Thankfully, there are middle grounds between engaging with destructive people and completely cutting them off. You can learn and practice different communication techniques, Conscious Communication. If you must interact with a person on a personal level, you can look up support groups in your area for support and love from other people.
Take care of yourself first.
For some people, this is the hardest lesson they ever have to learn. In order to serve others and be of service, you have to take care of yourself first, otherwise you won’t have the resources to share of your time and energy with others.
If avoiding a toxic person entirely is what’s necessary for you to take care of yourself, do what you need to do for your own stress levels. Stress wears upon your body, from your sleep all the way to your blood pressure.
How have you managed to deal with toxic people in your life?
What relationships stress you out most in your life?
If you want my support and/or want to know when my next conscious communication workshop will be, contact me here.
Power Packed with nutrients to keep you healthy & satisfied!
This smoothie is vegan and gluten free.
Prep Time: 5-10 Minutes
• 2 cups loosely packed
kale or spinach
• 1 green apple
• 2 frozen bananas
• 1 cup almond milk
1. Wash greens and apple.
2. Core apple and cut into quarters.
3. Blend greens, apple, bananas, and milk on high until creamy,
adding more almond milk if needed.
Last week I spoke about how we are entrusted with this body- it's a gift and we are entitled to nothing.
This week as some of you are embarking on the 3 Day Refresh with me, I want to remind you to pay attention. To what?
Pay attention to what makes you come alive!!! Meaning, what makes you feel good, peaceful, grateful?
Yes, sometimes it's getting on a plane and going on a sweet retreat (PS: 2018 Tulum Retreat dates have been set!).
However, most often it's much simpler. When we stop and pay attention often we realize that feeling good results from choosing to see and fully experience "the good".
Make a gratitude list.
Take 5 minutes to feel the sun on your face while you inhale and exhale.
Plan that breakfast/lunch/dinner/movie/comedy show/musical/massage.
When we "do" things we enjoy - and remain present - it makes us feel ALIVE. Feeling alive results in feeling good. When we feel good, our state of being is enhanced and we make better choices. As we repeat this cycle, we "need" less and less to feel good. Each moment becomes an opportunity to say, "yes, thank you". And we realize it's not so much what we are "doing"...it's how we are "being" in the doing.
Ahhhh...being and doing is what I speak about in my book, Reclaiming Joy. For most of us it's a lifetime practice...
SPROUT AND BERRY SALAD WITH ZESTY LIME VINAIGRETTE
Vegan & Gluten-Free
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Yield: Serves 4-6
• 12 oz sprouts of choice • 1 cup blueberries • 1 cup raspberries • 1 avocado • 3 tbsp hemp seeds
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil • Juice of 3 limes • Zest of 3 limes • Sea salt, to taste • Black pepper, to taste
1. Rinse and pat sprouts, blueberries, and raspberries dry.
2. Add to large mixing bowl.
3. Halve and score avocado into small cubes. Add to bowl.
4. Sprinkle sea salt and black pepper.
5. Add hemp seeds.
6. In a separate bowl, whisk together extra-virgin olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, sea salt, and black pepper.
7. Pour over mixture and toss well.
Last week I spoke about catching myself colluding with the "negative" and shared that Life Goes On. Whatever we decide to see (obstacle or opportunity), we get.
This week I am reminded that my body is a gift and I am entitled to nothing. I am not entitled to the air I breathe, the water I drink, the food I eat, the thoughts I have or my connection with others. Humbling really.
Rather, I am entrusted with this body. I am given this body as a gift to treat it with respect and reverence.
Why am I saying this?
As the year comes to an end, and the holiday season arrives, many of us feel stress in body, mind, and spirit. We "push" through to the end of the year, promising ourselves in the new year we will make "positive" changes.
Perhaps we are neglecting our body by making poor food choices, skipping our movement routine, and not sleeping enough.
Some of us feel mental stress-- work, family/relationship, money issues.
Others of us feel spiritually distressed-- the above plus feeling alone or disconnected.
This is a reminder to stop, look, and listen. Don't wait until January.
Take an inventory of how you are presently caring - or not caring for your body, mind and spirit.
Then choose one small action step to take. Maybe you will join my FREE, 3 Day Refresh which starts next Monday, December 4th.
My friends, we are entrusted with this body. It's a gift we are given. From this perspective we begin to make choices that naturally support our well being. Meaning, we begin to replace bad habits that negatively affect our physical, mental , emotional and spiritual health with ones that help us thrive.
We shift from seeing healthy/positive changes/choices as "work", "should", "have to"... to seeing them as taking responsibility for this gift we have been entrusted with..that we are not entitled to.
Taking responsibility for our body, and in turn our life, is powerful way to live. And in my experience, the most powerful motivator for lasting change.
3 Ways to Rejuvenate Your Body, Mind & Spirit
Group Meditation- 4 Part Series, Starts Tomorrow, Tuesday, 11/28. Learn More.
An Evening of Nourishing You- Harness the Power of Good Health, Wednesday, 11/29. Learn More.
3 Day Refresh- Rejuvenate Body, Mind & Spirit- Starts Monday, 12/4. Learn More.
Last week I spoke about life is how we see it. I talked about whatever you focus on, you get more of. What are you noticing? Are you the type to see the glass half full or half empty?
This week I want to share a story where I caught myself colluding with the glass half empty.
I planned to be back in Long Beach, NY yesterday to run the 10K Turkey Trot (yes with "the" turkey hat!). I've been training for it. I've run it a few times in years past and love it (picture above left)
So...I've been training for this 10K that happened yesterday in NY. A week ago my plans changed and I realized I am not going to be back in NY until after the Turkey Trot.
I felt a surge of frustration as my mind began indulge in "story". I got myself all worked up with the emotion of wanting to be back in NY, yet it not being the right time, and also all the training I have done for what!! And friends, running with that turkey hat...it brings me great joy :)
So, I tried looking for a Turkey Trot here in IL where I spend half my time these days and the only ones are on Thanksgiving Day which is when I will be back in NY. Argh!!!
Many of you know my relationship with running. I love to hate it, yet it loves me and I am at my best in my life when I am running. Running helps me feel at peace when the weather gets colder and the days have more darkness.
So, after realizing I would not be participating in a turkey trot this year I felt disappointed, down, aggravated. I allowed myself to collude with the negative-- giving my energy and attention to the seeming obstacle.
Then it hit me!
I asked myself: What is the opportunity here? What is the glass half full approach?
The answer I discovered:
I will run my own 10K turkey trot here in IL on the same day it is taking place in NY!!
Decision made I set out to find a turkey hat to wear because of course mine is in NY and I must trot in the hat..
Guess what? I couldn't find a hat in time. Party City, Target, not even Amazon Prime!!
And so... I realized once again, I must be agile and open. If not a turkey hat, then what??
I realized while at Target there was a reindeer hat. AHA. Got it. I must shift my plan.
The story ends with me running my own, solo 10K Reindeer Hop in IL yesterday with my reindeer hat (picture above right). It was exhilarating and I beat my goal for time. I felt the energy of the trotters in Long Beach, NY.
What's the lesson here? And quite frankly it's the BIG lesson for me this year:
Trot. Hop. Crawl. Soar. Scream. Laugh. Cry. Whatever. Life Goes On. Whatever I decide to see (obstacle or opportunity), I get. Choose Wisely.
And while this example is "light", the principles can be applied to even the most challenging of circumstance in life.
As we come to the end of this year...begin to think about:
What is your big lesson this year?
How will you start to grow from it now- here - today?
How will you give thanks for the wisdom?
Wisdom + Gratitude will prepare you to start 2018 ready to THRIVE!
Speaking of THRIVING...
3 Ways to Rejuvenate Your Body, Mind & Spirit:
Group Meditation- 4 Part Series, Starts Tuesday, 11/28. Learn More.
An Evening of Nourishing You- Harness the Power of Good Health, Wednesday, 11/29. Learn More.
3 Day Refresh- Rejuvenate Body, Mind & Spirit- Starts Monday, 12/4. Learn More.
3 Day Refresh Program
Rejuvenate Your Body, Mind & Spirit
Starts Monday, December 4, 2017
One of the other things I was reminded of while on retreat in Tulum is how important connecting body, mind & spirit is in order to really THRIVE.
As such, starting Monday, December 4th I am offering a FREE 3 Day Refresh Program to Rejuvenate Body, Mind, & Spirit.
The program is FREE & self guided for you to do from home via email.
Each day over the 3 days, starting Monday, December 4th, you will take time to restore yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. This program is also a nice "reset" after Thanksgiving!!
You will disconnect from technology, tune in to what your digestive system is telling you, and practice mindfulness to help slow down your busy mind.
Each day, starting Monday, December 4th until Wednesday, December 6th you receive an email with a simple action. Each action is designed to rejuvenate your body, mind, and spirit.
Committing to something like this can be overwhelming in itself, so I want to assure you – each action will be simple and easy to incorporate into your day-to-day life regardless of how busy your schedule is.
If you want in, please email me here.
Feel free to pass along to loved ones as well.
It's only 3 days, you can do it!!
Last week I spoke about spiritual mindfulness and why it's important if we want to thrive.
This week I am still singing a sweet song from our retreat in Tulum. So, I want to keep it simple by helping us remember that life is how we see it.
Life is either a miracle or not. Life is either an opportunity to thrive, open, go higher or not. Life is either a magic carpet ride full of experiences that make us say "WOW, how sweet it is", or not. Get the idea?
Life, and therefore our experience of being alive, comes down to what we choose to see. Yes, that choice word again. Isn't it empowering? Maybe frightening too once we understand the responsibility we have to live the life of our dreams.
An example of what we choose to see and how it impacts our experience happened divinely in Tulum while we were on retreat.
Picture it: Our group was scrumptious: loving, kind, peaceful and so positive!! Very high vibe, cool and fun. So...
Enter another yoga group who was there at the same time who were behaving "not quite as scrumptious" as us. By the 2nd day, our group was getting triggered by these people and starting to lose its high vibe...or as I say, we began colluding with the negative.
I used our experience of the "other" group as a divinely timed teaching moment to bring us back to the idea that life, and therefore our experience of life, is how we choose to see it.
In this case, we could continue to focus our attention on how the other group was behaving...and therefore bring down our energy and vibe. Or, we could accept the fact we disliked the other groups behavior, and seek to understand them. Meaning, the other group was there to enjoy as well, and perhaps the way they were going about it was not how we do...and yet, we are all one. We chose to send them love and to continue focusing our energy on our group.
Guess what happened?
We learned the value of staying vibrant and positive even in the midst of negativity. We released judgment and sent them love instead. We felt better...empowered...moved from negative, low vibe back to positive, high vibe.
Remember, when we are in control of our attention, we are in control of our choice. Where our attention goes, our energy flows. We must choose wisely based on how we wish to live --- because life, and our experience of life is how we see it.
"You can see the glass half empty, or you can see it half full. You can focus on what's wrong in your life, or you can focus on what's right. But whatever you focus on, you are going to get more of. Creation is an extension of thought. Think lack, and you get lack. Think abundance and you get more." - Marianne Williamson