When I was around 10 years old I received First Holy Communion. (This is when Catholics learn the meaning of the Eucharist and how to take it during mass.) We had to learn some prayers and traditions to go with the sacrament. It was at this time that I received a little white book with a plastic cover and a rosary. I don't remember what the book was called, but I know it had the instructions for the rosary prayer beads.
And, like a devout little Christian, I remember kneeling at my bedroom bay window and learning the prayers of the rosary. I was amazed at how simple it was. It was a couple prayers I knew, plus Hail Marys, which I did not. But once you've recited it 50 times, you've got it. There was something about this simple repetition that I loved.
From that time through my mid-twenties, there was a rosary under my pillow and the prayers were the last thoughts going through my head every night as I fell asleep. It was a beautifully peaceful way to fall asleep. The...
Every Monday, at the end of the day, I settle into my favorite comfy chair in the front room next to Lila, our sweet Red Heeler dog, and I write my blog. Ideas of what I want to say to you are always bouncing around in my head. My phone is full of little voice memos to myself and dictated notes of things I want to share. I always want these weekly love notes to be of value to you, whether that's to make you think, help you remember, inspire you, give you a treat, or just plain inform you of what's going on.
Today the theme of adventure is on my mind as I'm warm inside while it's literally freezing outside. To have an enjoyable outdoor adventure would require getting out of town. So I'm dreaming about that. Also, snuggling up inside is a perfect time for yummy meditation, like an inner adventure. So I'm dreaming about that, too. And sometimes we like to go on adventures that take us deeper into self knowing and the journey is simply the path of life. I'm dreaming of that...
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…”...
How often do you use this phrase, and what do you mean when you do?
I was recently in an enlightening conversation about how many ways these two sweet little letters come together and create meaning. I know I've said, or signed, OK a million times, but taking a pause about it showed me something new.
The conversation started at our weekly team meeting when we did a little check-in. The simple question, "How are you?" was met with a pause and a hand on the heart.
"I'm ok," was the response.
This little 'ok' meant "Yes, I'm ok. Also, there's some stuff that's so not ok." It's the pause that said, "Hold on, checking in...this is not the time to totally share, but I'm in my body, I'm present, I'm safe."
That pause is a pause of self awareness. (Listen to my podcast episode, What is Self Awareness?) In a different time or place she might have told the whole story, beginning to end, because that's what that moment and audience called for. It...
Something unexpected happened in this week's Monday Morning Yoga class, and it still has me thinking. Because we are an intimate group, we have time to share our name at the start of every class. I also usually ask a question, like favorite color or vacation place. Inevitably the answers weave themselves into the theme of our class, so it really is a custom made, one-of-a-kind experience. This week I suggested we share first names and whatever else you like! Our first yogini set us up for a great share and others quickly followed.
Her name is Rebecca, but her whole life, until age 38, everyone called her Becky. At 38 she decided she liked the name Rebecca much better, and made the switch. From there, we heard so many stories about names! Stephanie legally changed her middle name when she was 13. Sara still has problems traveling because a pesky "h" made it onto her birth certificate, but nowhere else. Agness as a middle name was the dismay of childhood but perfect in...
I hope your Thanksgiving holiday was delightful and fun, with a healthy dose of yum! Ours was lovely–a good balance of family, friends, and good conversation while eating the feast Nick prepared. (I’m the prep cook and decorator/table setter, which suits me just fine.)
Lucky for me I’m fairly extroverted, which gives me a broad bandwidth for chit chat and the high volume that comes with a room full of people. But I have to admit, my bandwidth has decreased post-Covid. I find myself daydreaming of my jammies way earlier than I did three years ago, and I know it’s not just a natural aging progression. It’s a nervous system that’s out of shape for marathons of social engagement.
Thankfully, we have tools for this. I believe we can get back to pre-Covid party tolerance, if that is indeed what we want to do. Either way, I think these three things will help the most in navigating our way back to balance...
For the past couple of years I have spent two hours, one Friday per month, in a Spiritual Direction Group. There are four of us in this little band of contemplatives, led by Nancy, our Spiritual Director. Each month we have a short experience, followed by silence, reflection, response, prayer, and more silence. It is one of the most enriching aspects of my life, and it has brought me great joy and insights.
On one of our first gatherings, Nancy gave us the instructions to head out into nature on her beautiful property, find a place that seems to be calling you to come sit, and do just that. Sit, look around, and see what is there for you. Listen, without expectations. It’s called Wilderness Contemplation.
I love an assignment like this because you can’t possibly do it wrong, and it leaves a lot open to interpretation. I get to be as woo-woo and magical as I want, no judgment. So on this day, naturally I had a conversation...
I’ve been home from a wonderful trip to Tuscany for a few days now, and my memories are already nourishing me and giving me reasons to reflect. If you were to ask me if the trip were for business or pleasure, I’d have to say, “Yes! Both!” The first week I was there I had the extraordinary privilege of attending a NOVA Women’s Leadership retreat, followed by four days with Nick sightseeing and driving through some of the most breathtaking vistas on Earth.
This retreat came at the perfect time. I, like so many others, have been in a state of wondering, “What’s next?” As the world has opened up again, so have our options. And now, rather than quick pivots and reactions to studios closing or pandemics forcing us online, we get to think about and plan whatever is to come.
But when there’s all the options, it can be harder to narrow things down!
Lately, this has...
Well, I imagine like many of you I am ANGRY. Angry to the point of distraction! (And if you're not angry, stay with me. You will be at some point in the future, I'm sure.) In my morning meditation nothing was helping me get out of my thoughts. I couldn't get to my centering word. It felt flat and useless. Like a joke. There was no taming the rage. My head was pounding and my blood was boiling--on my mat!!
So I grabbed a rational moment when it came, and I went with what we practice in the good times so they're available in the bad times. I followed my anger to what so many wise ones have called the "thing behind the thing."
Why was I so very angry? What is behind it?
Because I love the women who are hurting and scared right now. Because I love a country that (historically) expands rights as it grows, not takes them away. Because now I know how to better love anyone in the world who has...
Is it just me, or does it seem like there’s no woo-hoo! anymore? One of my dearest friends was back in town recently, and this was one of our first topics of conversation. She is someone I used to woo-hoo! with. I mean girls night out, dancing on bars on 6th Street, house parties ‘til 3am kind of woo-hoo! (By the way, please read woo-hoo! like a cowboy swinging his hat around his head with a full blown Texas accent.)
Maybe it’s post-pandemic, maybe it’s maturity. Or maybe it’s that those things that used to make me want to shout woo-hoo! just don’t sound as fun as they used to. It’s not like I’ve become introverted or don’t love a good party. It’s that now I crave depth over thrills and connection over sensation. I think this is one of the side effects of yoga, once again.
Joy doesn’t look like it used to.
After contemplating this in my morning meditation,...