All posts filed under: Earlier Posts

Awake! Say ‘Goodbye’ to the Half-Developed Life

How does one claim power? She goes through the fire like it was meant for her, not to defeat her. She explores the routes to get out of that fire and she does not recoil. After finding her way, she does not look back at the fire like it was a disaster, though its real-life events may be emotionally draining and full of loss. She claims the fire as hers. It is now a source of strength. One thing that is on my mind lately is the lip service we give to the concept of healing, without personally believing we are a part of the promise. I can only speak to western tradition, but I am sure that this self-denial of spiritual gains is common across the spectrum. In the Christian tradition, many talk about the healing power of Jesus, of the love that God bestows upon “his” children, and of the continual support and communion we have with the Holy Spirit. However, over and over again, and certainly in my own life, I see …

The Well: Cultivating Personal Strength and Creativity

How do you know if your internal well is full? Many of us live perpetually empty lives and it is revealed in anxiety, poor eating and exercise habits, anger, or a foggy brain. Sometimes it is a more nuanced symptom specific to the individual, but she knows she runs on an empty emotional tank. This is so common in our modern lives that, for some, it is difficult to even imagine what it is like to have a full creative or emotional internal well. They do not know the well is even empty! Feelings of disconnection or constant striving are just always there. There is no one culprit, but a myriad of things that keep us from a full well: stress at work, family life, past traumas, and etcetera. *Yes. I used the word “creative.” Before you stop reading here and start to whine “But I’m not creative! Only people with _______ (insert character trait) are creative,” please continue to read. I believe the definition of “creative” has been narrowed so much it has been …

Spiritual Practice: SLEEP

“Sleep is a spiritual practice.” – Gabrielle Bernstein I prayed as I shuffled the deck of cards in my hands that I would be guided through the day. Soft morning light streamed through the windows to my office as I sat in the first few moments at my desk. I pulled a card away from the others and read Sleep is a spiritual practice. Wait. What? I sleep just fine these days, thank you very much. After perusing the affirmation/meditation cards I purchased a few months ago, this was the one that I thought I did not need. I have this sleep thing down and I am super proud of that accomplishment, since it was such a lonely struggle for a long time. Throughout graduate school, particularly when I took courses and taught undergraduates at the same time, I had a fraught relationship with sleep. This problem is now long gone and I am a sleep champ – I go to bed every night by 10:00 PM and wake up at 6:00 AM! Super healthy! …

How to Cultivate Gratitude Even When You Don’t Feel Like It

I recently came across the idea: “Gratitude is the greatest gift you can experience.” Often these phrases pass like a bee whizzing by my ear, as I am sure they do with others. Though containing little grains of truth, clichés – or statements sounding very much like them – garner less attention than odd-sounding, infrequent bombshell quotes. However, the one above landed squarely on my heart and I continued to ponder it throughout my yoga practice this morning. I suppose this is what they call “setting an intention,” though I did not ask for it. What came to mind is that the statement does not make “gratitude” into a directive specifically to the “you” in the sentence. In other words, the end point for our gratitude can be outside of ourselves. Let me give an example. Gratitude journals are very popular right now. Personally, when I think of things for which I am thankful, I usually write: my family, my developing career, my house, my health… my… my… MY. Of course I am grateful for …

Nourishment Beyond Food, A Few Suggestions

What nourishes you? This is the question in my mind during yoga practice this week. It bubbles up over and over like a fountain churning through the waters of my spirit. In these sessions I feel like I receive necessary sustenance. My stiff, sleepy body needed it and my spirit craved it. So, throughout the day I contemplate the idea of “nourishment” and came up with a few principles for my personal journey. I wish to share them with you. First, Merriam-Webster defines nourish: To nurture, rear To promote the growth of To furnish or sustain with nutriment; maintain, support   At the core is the idea of expansion – a word that has ambiguous meaning for me as an American woman. The expectation for ideal womanhood in this culture is that we limit the expansion of our bodies so that we take up the appropriate amount of space and we limit the expansion of our personalities and maintain a passive countenance. Words like “bossy,” “pushy,” and “loud” stand in contrast with “sweet,” “gentle,” and “charming.” The …

Love and Grief: Two Sides of the Same Coin

Lately I feel more open to write about personal thoughts without indulging in the details – broad and open. It is more cathartic that way. This blog has become a resource to really process these thoughts and I appreciate those that take the time to read. We are creating community. During my yoga class yesterday morning the teacher expressed the importance of acknowledging emotion, rather than running from it. “The Divine gave us emotions and we should not ignore them,” Amy Ippolitti says. She asked us to expand outward with our arms and legs in certain poses to let the emotions move through our bodies. While I am getting better at standing back to observe what happens in my emotional body, it is tough. This week is tough. Someone very close to me is starting treatment for a serious health crisis and we are in a maelstrom. It is also the week that I decided, months ago, that I will end the thirteen-month breastfeeding journey with my son. My body physically feels the effects of …

Pancake Day: Tradition and Ceremony in a Family

Months after my return to work and now that Arlo is settled in to daycare, I see that we are developing a routine around the house. I do not mention my husband, Dave, because his schedule maintained its rhythm and we fell into step with his days. Our household has a rhythm. It feels good. One of my favorite things about our beat is the Saturday morning routine. Arlo and I call it “Pancake Day.” Dave/Daddy sings in the background as he gets ready for work, “What do we want? PAN-CAKES!! When do we want them? NOW!!” He is a little salty that he cannot be a part of the pancake experience (but to be honest, he gets one as he walks out the door.) However, I know he realizes how important it is to me. Saturdays are my day with Arlo. There is no other day of the week that it is just the two of us anymore. It is like the “old days.” You know, like when he was three months old. Lately …

Presently, Joy: Finding Happiness in Mindfulness

The problem is that religious nuts around the world have exported everything that is beautiful about a human being to the other world. If you talk of love, they speak of divine love. If you talk of bliss, they speak of divine bliss. If you talk of peace, they speak of divine peace. We have forgotten that these are human qualities. A human being is fully capable of joy, of love, of peace. Why do you want to export these to heaven? There is much talk of God and heaven mainly because human beings have not realized the immensity of being human. It is obvious that the very source of life is throbbing within you in some way. The source of your life is also the source of every other life and the source of all creation. This dimension of intelligence or consciousness exists in every one of us. The deliverance of every human being lies in finding access to this deathless dimension. To be joyful and peaceful within yourself every moment of your life, …

Can Digital Technology Make Us More Compassionate to the Environment?

When was the last time you took a cell phone out of your pocket to snap a picture of a landscape or sunset for your Instagram account? #nature #mountains #sunset #inspiration #earth #outdoors #tranquility #breathtaking #OMG Do you ever watch Youtube videos of summit groups on the top of Mount Everest or rock climbers in the High Sierra? Are you super excited about the new season of the BBC’s Planet Earth? Why are Americans drawn to experiencing nature through their screen? One could say that this is a natural evolution from the genre of naturalist writing (think: Thoreau) to the medium that most Americans consume today in a visually based culture. As cultural historian Karal Ann Marling writes, the increased popularity of television in the 1950s produced an American popular culture where the visual became the most important of the five senses.[1] The way Americans interact with the world today is directly connected to the visual aspect of things. In fact, reading about and looking at nature are entirely different experiences that may show us a little of what …

Flight or Fright of Everyday and Developing a Patient Mind

When is the last time you faced challenge? I mean a real deal, in your face challenge? Often I come across this word when reading about 5k race training or when someone discusses the pursuit of higher education – both wonderful ideas. But to talk about challenge as if it only encompasses extraordinary circumstances misses a lot of the beauty in challenge. Yes. Challenges can be beautiful. To see this requires a change in perspective. As my husband and I began our parenting journey in 2016 we found ourselves using the word fairly often, and I came to realize that the term was less weighted than it was in the past. In other words, saying, our baby “was a challenge today because he did not want to take a nap” was actually a freeing statement that came with multiple emotions: frustration at a baby’s ignorance of a “schedule,” hilarity at the absurd day we just experienced, and also joyfulness at remembering the smiles of our little one because he would rather spend time with Mama than sleep! “Challenges” …