All posts tagged: Blog

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 …

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” …

Your Body (Image) on Yoga

The experience I describe here is not limited to a yoga practice. However, I believe that yoga in combination with a contemplative practice leads the way to greater self-esteem. My body and mind have gone through significant changes over the last two years. We will celebrate my son’s first birthday in a week and it is striking to simply look back on the process of pregnancy through delivery to recovery. I recognize each woman’s experience is massively different, but I find myself having a transformation when it came to the way I viewed my body. I fully expected to go through a slump after Arlo’s delivery in April 2016. I had a cesarean section and knew the recovery would keep me from jumping back into an active life. There certainly were feelings of unfamiliarity with my own body and wanting desperately to fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans again, but at the same time, my pre-pregnancy mindset was not one I wanted to go back to. For as long as I can remember, I stood in …

Little Daily Mantras

What word do you hold close to your heart throughout the day? What is your mantra? Perhaps without realizing it you latch on to an idea that will set the tone for your waking – and sleeping – hours. This is not about being happy. Or sad. Both words come with baggage, though they are uselessly flung out of our mouths. It is not too much to ask that we think about our words, even the words we use internally. There was a time around the holidays when I would wake up and take ownership over words like, “sad,” “stressed,” “unfinished,” “too much,” “difficult,” “broken”… I chose these words like a cloak to protect my body from the cold. The unconscious choosing of words over our lives is a symptom of a broader problem. It relates to a disconnection we create through the constant curation of personas. The more we try to mold outward appearances, the more disengaged we become with the inward self. Like the slow disappointment that grows between two people engaged in …