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Winter Solstice Blessings from Inside My Acorn

Happy Winter Solstice! This is the shortest day of the year for the Northern Hemisphere, or the longest night, depending on how you look at it. I like to focus on the night aspect, because it's the longer nights that create the space for longer silence.

 

I imagine in the pre-industrial days this time of year was very quiet. Activity quieted down when the sun went down, so more hours to read, sleep, and chitchat by the fire. I've actually been feeling like doing just that ever since an acorn hit me on the head in mid-September while I was walking a labyrinth.

 

I've been in "Acorn Time," as I've taken to calling it.

 

Without much warning, rhyme, or reason, my creative drive has slowed down and my productivity is low. And rather than fight it, I've gotten curious about it. I've allowed myself to follow my cravings, whether it's for a nap, a walk, a cookie, or a night out. Despite how awesome all that sounds, because my natural tendency is to plan and produce, this has...

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Whirling with Joy

 I hope you’ve taken some time to consider how to make these holidays happier by living with purpose, seeking enjoyment, and fostering satisfaction. (Doesn’t sound familiar? You can catch up on my blog post How to Have Happier Holidays.) 

 

That was what I THOUGHT was going to be the theme of the Yoga Community Gathering last weekend, but, as I said at the time, that’s not the class that wanted to be taught. The one that wanted to be taught was about JOY. So I had to follow the thread!

 

We were inspired by the newsletter from the Center for Action and Contemplation, and the writing of Fr. Richard Rohr about his time in Istanbul:

 

“I attended the prayer of the Sufi whirling dervishes. Again, in this sacred dance, there was a spinning around a calm and fixed center. In fact, a dervish cannot fake a calm center and survive the prayer. One foot has to be firmly, calmly grounded in a Stable Love or they cannot do the dance…”...

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How to Have Happier Holidays

I hope your Thanksgiving was restful or exciting, whichever direction you wanted it to go. Mine was a little of both–restful with family, fun, and food, and exciting–How ‘bout those Texas Longhorns?  

 

Either way, I hope it was happy. I’ve been following the recent press about Oprah’s new book, “Build the Life You Want: The Art and Sciences of Getting Happier.” She co-wrote it with Harvard professor Arthur C. Brooks, who teaches a class all about happiness, and has written other books on the topic as well.

 

Whenever I hear about a new research on happiness my ears and interest definitely perk up. After all, happiness is a basic human desire I think we all have, so the quest for it captures my attention every time. Yoga also has a long history of helping people make their lives happier through the balance and awareness of mind, body, and spirit, so it's kinda my jam.

 

This quest for happiness has been going on for...

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It Takes Two

Did you know I've been writing this blog/email every week since September, 2020?  Obviously if you've been a student of mine since before then you heard from me a lot previously, and I have missed a week here and there, but pretty much every Tuesday morning you can count on me showing up in your inbox with something to say, offer, question, or promote. And as we enter this month of gratitude, I am so very grateful for your readership, response, and engagement. Some of you I've known for over a decade, some of you just joined up through my podcast or a friend sharing an email. Regardless, there are now over a thousand of you who receive my missives, come to events, listen to my podcast, or study with me online. We are a strong bunch of yogis, and it is my immense pleasure and joy to connect with you here every week. So thank you for reading! 

 

This week I want to reiterate what Jess on the Mountain podcast episode 30 is all about, and invite you to two...

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Surrendering Power vs Surrendering Control

Surrender.

 

We talk about this a lot in transformational spaces and conversations. It’s even the third part of Yoga in Action. And until I had a great conversation with Shannon Jamail, founder and creator of the Mind & Body Complete, who literally wrote the book Surrender, I didn’t question this concept very much. I’m all for it, as I know there’s only so much I have power over in my life. But then in Jess On The Mountain Episode 28 , she lay this little gem on me:

 

“I don’t surrender my power…I surrender control.” 

 

Surrender your power.

Surrender your control.



Both sound pretty powerless at first. But when we surrender control, but not our power, it means using our power to open our clenched fist and let go. (Which, Shannon points out, is then open and able to receive.) 

 

Your power is yours, and it’s for you to maintain and use for good. Control, and the desire to control, often stem...

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Overwhelmed? Rekindle Your Flame

How busy are you these days? Is life feeling pretty full and fast? I’m with you! This is when the things I need to do, have to do, and want to do all start getting mixed up and more than a few things fall through the cracks. Sometimes, the first to go are the things that I know need to stay in place. In case you’re like me, let’s remember together.

 

When life gets busy, we have to double down on minding our health and good habits. 

 

I had a student once say to me that she “and Beyonce have the same amount of time each day, it just depends on what they do with it.” I’m not sure what the connection to Beyonce is…perhaps we could all be queens and rock stars if we wanted to? Regardless, the sentiment stuck with me. We each get the same 24 hours. We can DO THIS.

 

From working one to one with hundreds of clients and students over the years, I’ve learned that, for most of us, when we get busy and stressed, we drop the...

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Energy Vampires, Angels, and a Stand Up Comedy Fail

Uncategorized Oct 03, 2023

I just returned from a fantastic long weekend in Chicago with Nick. We became enamored with this city! The architecture was amazing, we took in three museums, and enjoyed three shows. Well, two of them anyway. 

 

Because we’re both comedy fans, each night was a different comedic showcase. First, Second City sketch comedy was brilliant. Our third night was Drunk Shakespeare, which if you don’t mind booze, is hilarious! The one in the middle was stand up comedy at The Comedy Bar. This was not-so-great, but it didn’t have to be that way! 

 

I have a feeling the headliner we saw was usually funny. This was just not his night. He watched his emcee open to mediocre applause, and his first two acts didn't do much better. We didn’t feel like we were part of a particularly hostile crowd, but we started to wonder as each act went up and, well, bombed. I can admit that our crowd wasn’t on their best behavior (unlike Nick and me, sitting up...

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The Yoga of Forgiveness

How are you settling into this new season? Did you do anything to mark the time, set an intention for Autumn, or do a ritual to release some baggage you don’t care to bring with you into the next cycle? I cleaned out my car, inside and out, which led to the garage, and trickled out to the shed. I was beet red with heat by the end of the day, but it was so great the next morning to enjoy the fruits of those labors. 

 

 

Another thing I did was attend a half-day retreat with Dr. Deb Kern. She teaches Prana Shakti dance, and comes to town from Mexico from time to time so we can dance in person again. This mini-retreat was in celebration of the Equinox, and it took me to a far out place in my heart!

 

 

I’m not entirely sure what all went on inside me, but after dancing for a long while we rolled out our mats and did some Wim Hof breathing exercises. I combined this with some rib and diaphragm massage as recommended by my massage therapist,...

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Infusing Meaning with Adventure

Happy Autumnal Equinox! 

 

Officially it’s Saturday the 23rd, at 1:50am Central. This is the time when the day and night reach a perfect balance. It is a tipping point from growth and expansion to contraction and hibernation. Often, we think these things as negative attributes of life, but like night and day, inhale and exhale, one does not exist without the other.  We must surrender the fruits of our efforts, celebrate our harvest, and turn towards an inner light of warmth and guidance as we pass through the winter months, finally emerging once again in the spring.

 

As you well know, time exists in so many cycles: hours, days, months, seasons, years… So this equinox doesn’t stand alone as an individual event. It is the beginning of change that spans from this season to next. 

 

Yesterday, as I sat staring at my wall calendar and thinking of what this season has in store, a beautiful thing occurred to me. Whatever intentions I create...

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The Five S’s of Balancing 5th Chakra

If you’ve ever had the experience of a quiet morning in nature, or a silent midnight moonbath, you know the power of stillness. Your ears thank you, your heart thanks you, your skin thanks you. 

 

We spend so much time in sensory overload, we might not even notice we are building toxicity until it presents physically, like with headaches, tinnitus,  racing pulse, poor digestion, anxiety, thyroid issues, and restless sleep. These are all signals that you could be out of whack in Vishuddha, the fifth chakra. 

 

Sound, speaking, and silence are all part of the energetic center around the throat, neck, jaw, ears, and upper shoulders.  This is where we speak the truth and use our voice (hopefully), and where we confront toxicity in our lives, both within and around us. 

 

In this week’s Jess on the Mountain podcast episode 24, I talk about the thyroid, which is the gland associated with the 5th chakra. I remember a story about my...

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