Dear Sister

(originally posted 12/18/17)

Dear Sister,

I hope you are taking time for yourself.  You’re so busy, running around and taking care of everything and every one.  You may not even hear thank, so I’m here to say it.  Thank you.

Do you see your beauty?  When is the last time you glanced in the mirror and spoke kindly to yourself? Remember your words are weighted.  They are sledgehammers, breaking apart your seams.  Choose to extend the kindness you give others to yourself.  Choose that first, so you have plenty to share.

What are you madly in love with?  Creating, reading, cooking, whatever…do that! Even just for a few minutes, can you allow yourself an experience of pleasure?  You don’t know? What would it take to find out? That part of you that desires something else…can you ask her what she wants, so that you can start on a journey toward it?

Are you on fire? What moves you, emboldens you?  I hope you’re adding that to your calendar.   Fan those flames; find your activist, yogini, teacher, student, healer, magician, witch.  Where is she? Bring her forward.  Let her shine.

Have you moved yourself? I know it sounds strange, but movement changes everything.  Walk, run, get to your yoga mat, get on your bike or on a trail.  Notice your breath.  Put your hands on your heart.  Feel your power.

Dear Sister, you contain multitudes.  You are vast.  Please don’t forget that.  Please do not apologize for being anything other than yourself.  Please share your light, share your magic.  We need it.  We need it badly.

You are witnessed.  You are honored.  You are loved.


Dream BIG Dreams (Then Get to Work)

(originally posted 10/2016)

I had all these dreams as a child.  Somewhere along the way, though, I stopped.  I stopped doing the things that brought me joy.  I stopped believing in all the possibilities the world offered.  I can pinpoint some specific instances, but mostly it was a slow drift away from joy toward complacency.  Unfortunately, I’m telling a story that belongs to many of us.

2008 was a big year for me…lots of turmoil and drama.  But on the other side of that turmoil and drama, I was able to start dreaming again.  Those dreams led me down a path I hadn’t imagined possible.

I’m grateful that since then, I haven’t stopped dreaming.  I developed a practice of setting intentions and working with the world to make sure I had a life I enjoyed living.  I wanted to make certain that my dreams were honored.  I worked hard to show up and be open to what ever was needed to turn those dreams into reality.

A few years ago, I learned to teach yoga.  I approached teacher training as a study opportunity to deepen my own personal practice; I had no desire at the time to ever teach yoga.  Truly…you can ask Lydie if you don’t believe me. Even though teaching wasn’t my dream at the time, it didn’t take long for me to shift my dreams to accommodate my practice.  Then, I was able to keep dreaming of ways to share my practice and its gifts with others.

I’d wanted to host a retreat for several years, so I decided last January that 2016 was it.  I look back on that action now as one of the best I’ve made.  I spent a weekend in early August surrounded by some amazing women UNPLUGGING from the day-to-day, finding space and nurturing self.

Recently, I made the decision to go back to school to become a massage therapist.  At first, I didn’t share it with anyone.  I took a few days to just think.  I floated it out to my Mom.  She immediately responded that I’d been talking about it for years.  Her reply reminded me of the first time I brought it up in conversation…22 years ago.  So I’m typing this on a study break from preparing for my first anatomy and physiology.

When is the last time you dreamed about something you wanted to do?  Did you take action?  I ask because this is the lesson I’ve learned:  dreaming is not enough.  It’s fine to dream those great big dreams…but then you have to get off your ass and get to work.

Those dreams I listed didn’t just magically appear because I did a vision board, hung it on my wall, and stared at if for a few months.  (I do love vision boards.  They are an effective tool, but not all alone.) Those dreams came to fruition after months (sometimes years) of study, planning, writing, and taking the other actions necessary.

I think the Universe (or Source, God, Creator, Goddess…whatever your choice) meets us in the middle.  But you have to step up and have some skin in the game.  That’s where the work comes in.  I don’t mean back-breaking, I’m-dying-over-here work.  I mean persistent work toward your dream, no matter what it is.   I mean having a positive attitude as we step into that work.  This is often where we get sideways.  We go full-force and hit a snag…oops, there’s the end of that.  We make the wrong assumption that if it’s so hard, maybe we shouldn’t be doing it.  We drop the ball, and maybe never pick it back up.  So the Universe sees that as a lack of commitment from us.  And it is.  Perseverance is an underrated trait these days, but it’s a dream driver.

What’s your dream?  Write it down.  Now, write down a list of what you have to do for that dream to come true.  See…you have a starting point.  What’s your next move?  The Universe is waiting…

Back to my dream now…


(originally posted 6/14/16)

I have wanted to write a good bit lately.  The last few weeks have been amazing, so of course inspiration has been plentiful.  You see I started a journey in 2011 (really, much earlier than that, but that’s another story for another day).  And while this journey may not end any time soon, just like any other, there are points of interest along the way…places that need a bit of extra time or attention.  But I can’t seem to write about that now.


What I can write about is metta.  In the days following the massacre in Orlando, I can only think of and write about metta.


Metta is a meditation for loving-kindness, something many parts of our world is lacking.  I’ve shared my version with the yoga classes I’ve taught so far this week, and I’ll share it the remainder of the week.  It’s vital that we stop, touch base with that divine light we all carry, and remember that we are all connected.  We are more alike than we are different.


It begins easily enough by seating yourself in a way that is comfortable.  Allow yourself to start to relax and focus on your breath.  Take breaths that are long and deep, allowing the inhale to match the exhale.  Begin by recognizing loving kindness, and sending it first to yourself.  Allow yourself to sit quietly and let those feeling wash over you, move through you.  Often, practitioners will acknowledge with the following language, uttered under the breath or in the mind:  “May I be happy.  May I be well.  May I be safe.  May I be peaceful and at ease.”  This will be your mantra for the meditation.


Next, bring to mind someone for whom you feel love.  This could be a partner, a parent or child, or anyone who is beloved to you.  Send the same loving kindness to them.  Allow the same words here.  Allow yourself to feel those words as you send that loving kindness to that person.  Replace “I” with their name.  I find it helpful to place my have over my heart as I consider this.  There’s something profound to me about feeling my heartbeat as I send love out to another.


The next step is to choose a person who’s neutral, for whom you have no strong feeling one way or the other.  I often remind people about their dry cleaner, mail carrier, or the person who hands you something through the drive-though window.  Repeat that mantra again, changing the name accordingly.  Allow your breath and the message to move you.  Send loving kindness to this person.


Here’s where it gets tricky: now, choose someone who’s a challenge to you.  Sometimes when this meditation is taught or discussed, people say choose your enemy.  The person who challenges you most may not be what you’d consider an enemy, even though they do create challenge for you.  You decide who that is.  Then send them the same loving kindness you sent your beloved.  Send them the same loving kindness you sent yourself.  Use the same words.  I will tell you this: at first, it IS hard.  You may feel a ripple move through your body.  Breathe with that.  Breathe through that.  It will pass after enough breaths…keep breathing until you feel soft again.


Then, it changes again.  This time, send that loving kindness out to your immediate community.  It’s taught to send it to strangers, or specifically to people you don’t know.  I like community…you know some but not all of those people.  Same words.  Same mantra.  Same loving kindness.  Send it out…


And last, send that loving kindness to the entire world.  That could be interpreted as the whole world, or your entire world.  You can meditate as you see fit.  I believe when you change your world, by default you change the whole world.  Send that mantra out.  And receive the loving kindness sent to you.  Stay open to that…


May we be happy.  May we be well.  May we be safe.  May we be peaceful and at ease.


Send those words out.  Carry that loving kindness in your heart.  And receive it when it is sent back to you.


May you be happy.  May you be well.  May you be safe.  May you be peaceful and at ease.


Sending you loving kindness.

Effort & Ease

(originally posted 3/2017)

It’s been a while since I’ve written, or maybe I should say written for public consumption.  Massage therapy school has taken over quite a bit of my time, and I’ve learned a lesson about self-care.  I’ve learned a lesson about ease.  I’ve had to revisit the sutras to remind myself just what this looks like for me right now.

In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali reminds us of ease and effort in sutra 2:46: sthira sukham asanam.  This does speak solely to asana practice…the poses we do.  But I don’t limit it to just time spent on my mat; I spend so much more time moving about the world, interacting with others that I can’t help but think there’s more application.  My own interpretation is that we are to reside in a place of right effort and ease moving through life…right effort in the action of our lives, and ease in our approach to those actions.  Asana, for some, could be the first glimpse at what this means.  It’s the gateway.

Attachment, grasping, fighting, struggling…these do not fit.  These are all traits that do not reside in ease.  Steadiness in my studies and practice, consideration in the actions I choose, choosing to live from love instead of fear…these are the traits of right action for me right now.

Now more than ever, I’m discovering how staying in a place of right effort and ease are the only way I am able to stay centered and grounded.  I am able, through this part of my practice, to take the actions daily that serve and love.  I am also able to rest when I need rest.  I move my body to keep my energy flowing and uplifted.  I drink water frequently and start my day on the mat.

What are the ways you can find sthira and sukha, effort and ease?  Where can you invite effort and ease into your life?

The opportunities are there.  Look closely…can you let go of attachment?  Can you release your grasp on outcomes?  Can you choose love over fear?  Can you drop the struggle of the day to day?


(originally posted 11/2016)

Teddy Roosevelt is my spirit animal.  Go ahead and read it again.  Teddy Roosevelt is my spirit animal.  I have been working a lot with comparison.  What does that mean…well, for me it means digging around for quotes I can use with my students, coming up with writing prompts, and journaling-so much writing around this one!

Back to why I have a newfound love for Teddy Roosevelt: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”  That sentence…that’s why.  He has a ton of other excellent quotes, and they may or may not show up here at some point, but comparison and joy (and really the thievery of comparison) are themes that have been brewing lately for me.

I recently started working out again.  Walking, weight training, cardio, etc.  I feel great.  All of this activity has helped me become a better yoga teacher because I’m recognizing even more how actions are tied to one another.  I knew it; I always have.  But this reminder has been wonderful.  And it’s reconnected me to some activities that over the years have been joyful.

Let me tell you a little more about this, so it all makes sense.  Once upon a time, I was a triathlete.  (Yes I called myself that, because I completed those races without medical assistance, injury or death; I earned that right.  I will not tell you it was pretty…that would be a lie.)  I trained and raced, and trained some more and raced some more.  I really enjoyed the training more than the race.  I’m a lousy competitor. I respect those who work hard enough to win, and I really just want everyone everywhere to get along, so this lack of competitive drive shows up all the time on a racecourse.  My only goal was ever to finish, but even finishing required devotion and practice.  Bhakti, even before I knew what that word meant.  (Funny how bhakti showed up then, and is my regular practice now.)  And for me, with bhakti came joy on a whole new level.

Fast-forward a few years…

I have undergone some significant changes in all areas of my life.  I became a yoga teacher.  Then I became a business teacher.  I left corporate work to become an entrepreneur.  I got married to someone who’s genuinely happy for me to do the work I do in the world.  I lost a baby.  I had a surgery that required opening my abdomen, and required 5 weeks of time to recover and heal.  (I like those words “recover and heal.”  Those are the words from the doctor…not me.  5 weeks is what it took for me to be able to go back to work.  Recovery and healing…that took a little while longer. )  I was involved in a car accident that killed my car, and set me back a bit physically, just when I thought I was getting a handle on moving again.  Pepper several physical moves around our area throughout these events.  Now you have the best picture I can paint.

The last few years have yielded some huge opportunities for me to examine how I feel about my physical self.  All of those changes have added up and subtracted from my scars, both visible and invisible.  I’ve learned some valuable lessons that I might not have otherwise.

What does all this have to do with comparison?  This:  it’s the most violent attack we can inflict upon ourselves.  Comparison is a monster.  It shows up at times when you have bigger things to accomplish, and steals your joy.  When I started going back to the gym after way too long of a time, what do you think I said to myself in the mirror that day?  I’d love to tell you that I looked at myself and beamed.  But I can’t.  What I can tell you is that that monster and I talked to myself using words I’ve never considered saying to another human.  It was cruel.  I said some really nice things about the woman running next to me on the treadmill, or the young girl lifting weights.  The only positive about that experience is that I did have that alarm bell go off.  You know the one…the one that got installed while I was on my yoga mat. I caught myself.  I didn’t do it fast enough, but I caught myself.  One gift of yoga is awareness.  I was aware of what I was heaping on myself.  I noticed my monster.

To compare is to estimate, measure or note the similarity or dissimilarity (thank you, Google.)  Did I measure?  Did I note the similarity or dissimilarity? Oh hell yes.  Thankfully, and more importantly though, I noticed how I was feeling about all this comparison and I knew I would not allow myself to go down that road again.

Ahimsa is one of the yamas that shows up a lot for me.  It’s where I practice most. (If you’re reading this and you need more info about the yamas and their place in yoga, I’d love to talk to you. Click here to reach me.)  It means non-harming.  The root of the word, hims, means to strike.  Adding A at the beginning changes that meaning to not striking.  You could also interpret it as compassion.

So how does comparison go with ahimsa.  For me, they are two sides of the same coin. My first instinct that day at the gym was harmful.  I looked around and compared myself to those other people.  I don’t know anything about them, but I sure did assume a lot.  Now, I did this at the gym.  But guess where else this happens?  Yes, you get a prize for answering yoga.  It’s easy to look around the studio during class and see what’s happening on someone else’s mat.  Before you may even recognize it, your balance is off and the monster is chatting.  But does it matter? NO.  You matter.  Your practice.  Your body.  Your breath.  Your soul.  That’s all that matters.

And while I’m at it…let’s just drop the comparison all around.  The gym and the yoga studio are easy targets.  But what about business?  What happens when our friend has a success?  Do we sincerely congratulate them and celebrate with them?  Are we genuinely pleased for them? Or do we paste on a smile, figure out an exit strategy, and get the hell out of dodge while that monster tells us all about a)how did they get/do/experience that, or b)why can I get/do/be that?

What I’ve learned is this:  If I am being true to myself, who can I compare myself to?  No one.  Because there’s only one of me.  ONE.  Just one.  If I am living, practicing and working from my soul, I have no competition.  There’s no one I can compare to me but ME.  That does mean that I have to strive to be my best self.  But that’s all it means.  I am my fabulous, imperfect self.  And if I am, guess what? SO ARE YOU. You are just as fabulous and imperfect as me, in your own wonderful ways.   Again, that’s all that matters.

I am still going to the gym and back on track.  I am feeling better each day.  The monster has gone quiet.  My practice has changed, so hopefully it will stay that way.  And if it doesn’t…well I have a plan for that too.

Remember the swear jars of our youth?  How about a comparison jar for our present?  Same rules, but higher stakes.  I have one.  It’s on my bathroom counter, where I can not avoid it.  Today it’s empty.  And I am grateful.

Care to join me with your comparison jar?

Peace, love, and yoga.

Regret…no thanks.

Kristi McAllister, Chief Coloring Officer and Princess in Residence at asked about regret, and her question hit me…really hit me.  Do you have any regrets?  Loaded question…and here’s a curious answer.

Once upon a time…that’s how any good fairy tale starts out, right?  Well, this isn’t a fairy tale.  I can’t share a big, nasty experience that “happened” to me, and then tell you how I let go and it’s all glitter and unicorns and namaste.  I will tell you that there’s set of experiences that remind me how I want to live, and I can tell you there’s no sting, no bitterness, no low-grade simmer of anger today.  But that wasn’t always the case.

I spent the first three or so decades of my life behaving.  I followed the rules. I smiled, and kept my mouth shut.  I played the game.  I jumped through every hoop presented, flaming or otherwise.  I acquiesced, kept me head down, accepted all that praise for being good, smart, etc.  YES.  That was my favorite word.  YES YES YES…I said it all the time.  And I realized somewhere in between the third and fourth decade of my life that this was not working.

It took me about 35 years to come to grips with the fact that I was an imposter.  Thirty. Five. Years.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m fortunate.  Some people take a whole lot longer to get it; some never do. Once I did, though, it was as if a series of cataclysmic events started to put me on the right path…the one I knew I should’ve been on all along.

Those stages of grief are real.  Thanks, Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.  I guess I spent a few years (or maybe more than a few) in denial.  When I moved into anger, I set up housekeeping.  I made myself nice and comfy, poured some tea and grabbed my knitting.  I wasn’t going anywhere for a while.  I stewed.

During this time, it was quite easy to dig around searching for things to be angry about.  A perceived slight from a friend; I ran out of toilet paper; you name it, and I could get mad about it.  But all that started to really suck.  I wasn’t sleeping well, and  my health was suffering, mentally and physically.

Bargaining didn’t take long.  I had nothing to bargain with, but a wide open future that was mine to create.  And that’s when it really hit me:  I could spend my time being pissed about what had already happened, or I could make damned sure it didn’t happen again.  Check please.

I won’t say I skipped depression, but I think it was out of order.  I think I started here, and moved into denial.  I had a great life, right?  From the outside, I had every thing anyone could possibly desire.  Depression for me was the years of thinking I had to say yes, be a certain way, have a certain job, etc. to be loved and accepted.  My mistake was not loving and accepting myself.  That’s not anyone else’s job…

Acceptance was just that…I accepted that it was time to create what I knew was out there.  I accepted that it was time to turn all those feeling of fear into love.  I did, over time, but that’s a whole other post.

I said all that so I could share this about regret:  STOP.  The only regret I have, truly, is that I didn’t wake up sooner to creating a blissful life, instead of leaving it up to someone else.  It’s our choice.  That’s the beauty of it.  It’s simple, but not always easy.  Nothing about those years of discovery and change were easy, but they got me here, and here is just where I want to be.

According to Google, regret means to  “feel sad, repentant, or disappointed over (something that has happened or been done, especially a loss or missed opportunity).  Do you want to spend your precious time here, or do you want to move forward in the direction of your desires?

Before you spend another day wishing for something different, being sad or angry about something that happened a long time ago, ask yourself the question:  is this where I want to be, and how I want to feel?  Because, you don’t have to.  Ask me how I know!



This is Your Brain on Skinny (or Maybe This is MY Brain on Skinny)

We’ve all seen the ads: “This is your brain on drugs.” “This is your brain on music.” Well, here’s a new one: “This is your brain on skinny.”

I had lunch with a friend of mine a few weeks ago. We had a lovely time catching up. We’ve both moved our bodies over the years, sometimes more and sometimes less. We’ve watched the scales go up and down. We’ve starved and binged. We have done it all.

We were ending our lunch and saying our goodbyes when she stopped me and said, “I can tell you’ve lost some weight.” In an instant, everything went blurry. I managed to say thank you, but I was already somewhere else.   I felt something in my brain shift.

This was MY brain on skinny. Had someone been able to see an image of my brain in a functional MRI, they would’ve seen the same centers light up that do when an addict gets a hit. The addict in this scenario is me. Here’s why. You see, I never forgot what it was like to be heavy, not that I am skinny now (or ever have been, or even want to). I never forgot what my nickname was in grade school because I was rounder than the other kids (it was a mashup of a farm animal and my actual nickname). I never forgot how low I felt when I perceived myself to be less than because I was more (more hips, more thighs, more ass than the people I compared myself to).

I’m grateful that I am aware enough of myself to have noticed this reaction. It took a lot of yoga, a lot of inner work, and a lot of mindfulness to become aware. I can say with gratitude that yoga settled me into my body in a way that nothing else could. (Believe me, I know.) I would love to tell you I shut it down immediately, but I am a human…not a saint or a robot. What I did do was get on my mat. Then I wrote. And I got back on my mat and I wrote some more. Lather, rinse repeat.

When I start to feel things that I want to handle in a way that is healthy and safe, I grab (in no particular order) my mat, some art supplies, a music source and I head for a quiet space. I let the music lift me as I move and shift. I move my body and remind myself that my body is the perfect yoga body because it is MINE. What I cannot move out, I write out, draw out, or color out until I am back in that space of love, acceptance, and gratitude.

The past is just that: past. I know in my heart that I am divine. I am good enough. I am perfect just as I am. You are, too. Did you know that? We forget so easily when we see someone who has a different body or more resources, but at the end of the day, we are perfect. We are all perfect. Let that sink in…You. Are. Perfect.

The next time you catch yourself in comparison, remember you are perfect. Just as you are. Right this minute. You are perfect. How do I know? Because I am perfect, too. We can see that in each other, you know. Namaste.

Time Flies

Well, that was fast…I blinked and January disappeared. Where did it go?  

The first month of the new year is always shiny. New intentions, new destinations. This year is no exception. 

I’ve spent quite a bit of time digging into what I want to do, how I want to live, and how to cultivate my life for its highest purpose. 

Thanks to the snow last week, I had some extra time. And that extra time-those precious few days-allowed me to really design a map for 2016. 

February is only a couple of days away, but I expect it to vanish quickly, too. I don’t want to miss it, so I’ve chosen to visit that map every day. I’m choosing to create rather than react. I’m choosing love. I’m choosing self-care. And I’m choosing to embrace this wild ride!

How about you?  What do you want from this year?  Did you write it down or speak it out?  

Time flies when you’re having fun. But, it’s going to fly either way. That’s the  catch. May as well have it fly by the way you want it to. 

What are you waiting on….get busy with your map!

New Year, New You? Not necessary….

Today is a big day. Aside from all the bowl games and hangovers, many people are settling in to make their New Year’s resolutions. I’ve seen so many “New year, New you” ads that if I had a dollar for each one, I could purchase a small island and you’d probably never hear from me again. I’d blow up Instagram with happy beach pics, and we’d all move right along. 
But I don’t have all those dollars, so I’m here to tell you something. There’s no need for a new YOU. None. You’re fine right now. You were perfect yesterday.  You’ll be perfect tomorrow, too.  
Letting go of expectations is possibly the kindest act of self-care you may ever perform. It’s not easy, and in fact it’s quite radical in this world of diet ads, gym ads, glossy magazines and all other manner of media that can make us feel like we aren’t enough. But we ARE. 

I’m not saying that we don’t need to take care of ourselves by eating whole, clean foods and moving our bodies. I am saying that we do not need to drink the koolaid of our culture that tells us we are not enough. 

Let this be the year that you make choices from your body, mind and soul. What does your soul want to do? What would move you? These are then questions I’d challenge you to ask yourself…and let those answers guide you as you set your intentions. 

With love from the old me:)

Shine on!

New Year’s Eve always fills me with mixed emotions.  Actually, it fills me with the should’ves and could’ves.  Over time and with lots of practice, it’s better.  Those voices are not nearly as loud as they were when I started this journey.  This year, they seem to have piped up a bit, though.  It’s been a while since I’ve sent out a newsletter or properly tended my website.  2015 brought with it an unexpected surgery that took me totally out of the game for almost 2 months.  That seemed to be the kickoff for a chain of events that, while I couldn’t control any of them, certainly challenged me and my yoga practice every day.  I’ve said often that my yoga practice happens off the mat way more than on, and this year was no exception.

As I have for the last several years, I’m skipping the resolutions. I am setting intentions deliberately and with great care. And I’m getting ahead with one of mine, because I set an intention to shine.  The definition of shine is glow, sparkle, glitter, beam, radiate; to be a source of light.  The opposite of shine is dullness and darkness.  I chose shine because I feel like I’ve come out of a dark space, and am grateful to have relocated my shine.  It’s an intention I hope you will set for yourself as well, because we all have that light to shine.

Think about it.  How often do we hear about shining?  “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.”  “Do not hide your light under a basket, but set it on a lampstand.”  What about Maya Angelou’s wise words: “Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.” I could go on, but you get it.  How bright could this world be if we all chose to shine?

I’m writing this evening to tell you thank you for being part of my journey.  I’m writing to tell you that 2016 is going to be full of creativity and color.  I’m writing to invite you to join me in 2016 for some adventures that will be announced shortly.

But more than anything, I am writing to tell you how valuable you are and how much I want to see your shine in 2016.

Wishing you a 2016 filled with love, wonder, and shine!

Shine on!