The Practice of Creating Space

Our modern lives have very little space. Space for quiet. Space for stillness. Space for just being. Space is time away from work, chores, social media, entertainment, and any other kind of “doing.” It is time spent with ourselves, in the present moment with our body, our emotions, and our mind. We say we’ll do it on the weekend, on vacation, or once the kids have graduated, or once we retire. But there always seems to be an excuse to avoid the experience of space.


Kayaking up to an eagle’s nest.

Even when we find a quite moment in the midst of the din of our daily lives, there is the ever-present voice of the mind. It is always working to fix and to figure out, to question, to judge, to compare, to blame, to worry, to plan, and to dream. It is often our mind that is our biggest challenge to creating space. Now the mind is not the enemy, something we must overcome or quiet. But it is important to know the true role of the mind, implementation. The mind is very skilled at taking a goal or destination and knowing what to do to make it happen. However, it is the heart that decides the goal or destination. In the modern world, especially in the western culture, we have made the mind the implementer and at the “decider,” and we often leave the heart out all together.

The work I do has led me to understand that the heart is where direction, answers, clarity, peace, and freedom lie. In order to find these things however, space is needed. The heart cannot be heard over all the noise and busyness in our lives. Our challenge is then to create that space for ourselves.

I too have a very busy mind, and was having trouble creating space for myself. And yet I knew that doing so was vitally important not only for the line of work I’m in, but also as an entrepreneur in general. I need that space to be able to connect to myself, which allows me to connect better with others and the world around me. Space also allows the creativity and new ideas to come through. I tried going off social media and not watching TV for a while, but my mind is too skilled at finding busywork if I eliminate the distractions. I would clean, organize, or take care of all the little small tasks and errands that I’d been putting off. I’d do anything but just be.


Close up of eagle parent and eaglet.

I needed to take a big step in order to create space for myself. So I recently spent a week in a cabin at Lake Darling State Park in SW Iowa. There I’d be alone (except for my dog Molly) with nature, away from all the things in my life that require doing.

I had planned to be outside a lot, hiking, kayking, swimming, sitting by the fire, etc. However, as we all know, things rarely go as planned. It was very hot for late May in Iowa. This didn’t seem to bother the bugs. They were out in full force requiring a lot of hand waving and swatting for any outdoor activity. And finally, Molly became a challenge for me. She’s quite old and didn’t want to go outside at all, and if I left her in the cabin she became quite anxious.

In the moment this all felt like a burden, but it forced me into complete non-doing. I could not busy myself with technology because I had no cell service, nor could I busy myself with the activities I’d planned on. This was a gift I now realize. The one hike I went on I was completely in my head navigating with the map on the trails, and entirely focused on the destination and not completely present with the moment. Being stuck at the cabin for most of the week ensured that space would be created.

At first I did feel like I was going a little crazy, but it was just my mind desperately trying to find something to do. That’s its job, but I don’t have to always cater to it. So instead when I felt frustrated or bored I just did nothing. After a while I began to feel the space around me. The ideas began to flow and along with it an excitement for my work that I haven’t felt in a long time. And then I’d be bored and frustrated again, and sometimes I gave in and found something to do. But I’d eventually come back to just being, and the creativity and excitement would return.

Space is always there, always available, and it’s a practice to feel it. Often we give up on things because either we can’t do it right the first time, or because we did it right once, but then lost it. That’s not what creating space is about. Just like me, you will feel it sometimes, and other times you won’t. And that’s okay because we do need to “do” things from time to time. The important thing is to be in the practice of creating space for yourself, to make time to listen to your heart, to live in the present moment.


Cooking dinner over the fire with my sous chef.

Not all of us can just up and go for week in the woods (however I would content that it’s possible for more of us than we think). So we need tofind things we can do each day to help us connect to ourselves, to move into the body and let the mind rest. It doesn’t need to be long, but it does need to be frequent. Remember, we are creating a practice. Here are a few ideas:

  • Before getting out of bed, rest one hand on your heart and one on your solar plexus. Just breathe and pay attention to your body, noticing anything you feel.
  • Do 10 minutes of stretching in the morning. It can be yoga, Qi Gong, or just whatever feels good to your body.
  • Find a quiet space to drink your coffee and eat your breakfast in the morning. Don’t turn on the news.
  • Drive without the radio on or talking on the phone.
  • Set a reminder for several times a day and when it goes off take 5 conscious breaths.
  • Start a meditation practice, just 5 minutes a day is all you need to start. There are many meditation styles. Pick one that feels good to you.
  • Take a walk.
  • Go to a park.
  • Take a long bath.

These are just a few ideas, but there are endless possibilities. Choose something(s) that feels good to you. At first your mind may seem like it’s fighting you. It can complain all it wants, but you do not have to act on it or try to make the mind stop. Just observe and stay with your body as best you can. Over time it will get easier and easier and you can increase the amount of time as it does. Always be gentle and patient with yourself. Some days it may feel easy, and other days it will feel horrible. Both are fine. I meditate an hour a day and this is still true for me. It doesn’t mean I’m not doing it right, or I’m not good at it. It just means that every moment is different. We are not seeking a destination in creating space, we are seeking the journey, the experience of space, the voice of our heart.IMG_1472

Small Steps, Great Changes

I bumped into a friend the other day and we started discussing the environment and different ways a person can live a sustainably. As I was talking about the practices I’ve implemented in my life, she suggested I write a blog about it to help others add more sustainable practices to their own lives. At the time I didn’t really see what would be so interesting about my practices specifically, it didn’t seem to me like I really did that much. I thought about it a bit more later and decided to make a list of all the things I do to live more sustainably. In just a few minutes I had a list of 50 Sustainable Living Habits (click to see the list) I’ve developed or am currently adding to my life. The list surprised me. I had never stopped to think about all the little things I’ve added to my daily life. There was not one day I just decided to implement all of these, it happened one at a time over my lifetime. After practicing, they became habits, so much so that I forgot that I used to do it differently.

This is how change usually happens in our lives, gradually, over time, and without strain. It is because of this characteristic that we don’t notice it. It’s the dramatic, quick, often painful change we take note of, and so we can easily assume that all change must be painful. But that is not necessary.

The landscape of this Earth changed slowly over billions of years. Yes, there wereearth-blue-planet-globe-planet-87651.jpeg dramatic moments that created instant change, volcanos, asteroids, and earthquakes. But for the most part it was the wind and rain working day after day to create the wonders we have today. The molecules in our bodies are the same that created and evolved this planet, and thus we can change in the same way. There will be dramatic, even catastrophic moments that create rapid change for us. However, there is a constant change that is imperceptible. It happens day-by-day, moment-by-moment, choice-by-choice. This is the change we can control, meaning that we can consciously participate in it.

I set an intention early on to live more sustainable, and over the years I’ve created practices, one at a time, to reach this intention. If I tried to do this all over night it would have been difficult, and I may not have succeeded as well. Am I done? No. I’m not sure I ever will be. But each day I take one step further in that direction I want to go in. And in a few years I’ll look back again and realize how much further I’ve progressed.

This is how we can create change in our lives. Set the intention, then move toward it with small steps, every day. Great change will happen and you will barely notice. New practices will become so habitual that you’ll forget you used to do it any other way. After a while you’ll be able to look back and realize how much you’ve evolved.

What is your intention? What are the next, small steps you can take in that direction? What can you do today specifically?


My “Why”

If you read my last blog you know I just had a life-changing trip to Nicaragua.  Well, maybe not life-changing, more like life-clarifying.  Here’s what I mean:windy volcano

My purpose with my work as always been evolving. As I learn more about myself and what I truly feel called to, my purpose seems to sharpen. My most recent understanding of why I’m here on this earth is to help people live authentically and find their passion, and support them as they live it, moving through any obstacles that come up along the way. One thing that had been missing was my “Why”. Why do I do this? Why is this work important to me? Why do I feel the call to do it? Knowing your “why” is crucial because it is the driving force that generates daily movement and the manifestation of the vision you hold for yourself and the world.

Nicaragua was the key that helped me unlock my “Why”. There I witnessed suffering, and although I’ve seen similar situations before, this time was different, for reasons that I cannot yet explain. My experience there got me thinking about suffering, and if and how the work I do in any way helps to alleviate it.

I am acutely aware that there is a lot of suffering in the world, suffering that could be alleviated. Yes, there is a lot of good being done in the world. It’s amazing, inspiring, and beautiful. And yet, the suffering, the pain, the violence, and destruction continues. The answer to why this is is complicated. You can look at politics, economics, sociology, all the -isms of the world, and more. The causes are complex and intricate, and addressing them requires that all parts must come together to create the solutions we need. This task feels overwhelming, and personally, I often feel completely inadequate when I think about how to end suffering and what my role is.

pexels-photo-262488.jpegWe each have a piece of this puzzle though. We each have a part that calls to us, that stands out among the rest. That is our purpose. And what stands out to me is those who comparatively speaking, live a life a privilege and yet they suffer. Those of us who have all of our needs and then some met, but struggle with frustration, depression, stress, feelings of inadequacy, and on and on. All of what blocks us from fully becoming who we are meant to be in this world.

So if we are not homeless, starving, or lacking any other basic necessities, why are we suffering? Our suffering stems from dissatisfaction with what is and feeling incapable to or unworthy of change. We don’t like our job or our co-workers. We are unhappy in our relationship. We’ve been fighting with our family since before we can remember. We don’t like how we look and how we feel. We think we are too busy, too broke, too unlucky to have what we truly want (if we even know what that is).

pexels-photo-110473.jpegThis is the story for many of us, and it’s not serving us well at all. I’ve found purpose in help us tell a new story. A story where we were clear on our piece of the puzzle. One where we answer the call and take action based on that which excites us the most. Imagine if we lived truly as who we are and not what we thought we were supposed to be.

In my heart, that vision reveals to me a world of people living on purpose not just so they feel better, but so they are fulfilling the role they were meant to play. For some that would look like supporting veterans at home, for others that may be feeding children around the world. Others would be building buildings, and others would be maintaining those buildings. All these and other services are needed, and there are people out there born to do each one. And by “born to do it” I mean they are exceptionally skilled at it and love doing it.

Unfortunately right now we have too many examples of those who want to be serving veterans building buildings instead. We have maintenance workers that would rather be feeding children around the world. There are hedge fund managers that would rather be gardening and telemarketers who would rather be an astronaut.

In our current reality we, as a whole, are not functioning at full capacity. Think about your body as an example. You have several parts to your body from the small to the large, each designed for a specific function. We consider ourselves to be healthy when each part is doing what it was meant to do. Now imaging that your big left toe was always told growing up that if it wanted to be successful it needed to be a heart, that the heart was very important and gets lots of attention. So it kept trying (and failing) to be a heart. Meanwhile, the heart decided it wants to be an appendix because it didn’t feel worthy of all the attention that the heart is supposed to get. Trying to imagine this is quite amusing. The big toe pulsing, thump-thump, thump-thump, as you attempted to walk down the street. The heart trying to hide and be as useless as possible. The functioning of the body would dramatically decrease and would for sure get sick if not expire.

The body that is the human race, and all of life (and all matter in my opinion), is no different. Each once of us serves a function for the greater whole. Our suffering begins when we try to force ourselves into a different function, and when we suffer, the whole body suffers. If I’m building buildings instead of serving veterans like I’m called to do, I suffer, and the suffering of veterans I’m meant to serve is extended.

youth-active-jump-happy-40815.jpegWhen we are on purpose we function better, and so do those we serve. The the ripple effect continues to all those we meet. Have you ever met someone and just by how they act they love what they do and find purpose and meaning in it? Do you leave them feeling depressed and depleted? Probably not. You leave them feeling inspired. It’s contagious. When I see someone on purpose, regardless if our purposes are related or not, I’m more likely to feel it’s possible for me follow my heart as well. It’s as if they have given me permission to look beyond what I’ve been told my whole life and instead look into my heart. And the more people that follow their heart, that serve in the way they were designed to serve, the healthier the whole world will be.

So that is my “Why”. I help people discover and live their purpose so that together we can heal the world. It really is that simple.


Hitting the Bottom

At the end of November 2017 I took an 11-day trip to Nicaragua. Most of that time was spent in Jiquilillo (hee-key-LEE-yo), a small, rural village on the northwest coast. I traveled with 11 other women entrepreneurs from around the world, all members of The Courage Collective. The purpose of the trip was threefold: business mastermind, adventure, and giving back. Together we worked on gaining clarity on the missions of our businesses and how to get our messages out into the world. We also did many exciting activities like riding horses on the beach, surfing, paddle boarding, and sledding down an active volcano.

Volcano jump

While these experiences were amazing, nothing can compare to the impact that our giving back had on me. We painted one of the homes in a local women’s co-op, we brought and handed out gifts at a local elementary’s graduation ceremony, and we purchased a literal ton of clay that the local people will use to create animal whistles that they can sell to help support themselves.

kids at dump 2It was our final day of the trip that changed me forever and provided a clarity that I had been seeking for sometime. We traveled about an hour oan old school bus to Limonal, a small town right next to a garbage dump. We were there to feed 300 children that live there and use the dump as a playground and a workplace.

While I have lived a privileged life, I have been raised to consider and care for those who have very little. I’ve seen hungry people before. I’ve seen poverty before. I’ve volunteered in similar places. However, something about this day touched me at a deeper level. It seemed to bypass my thinking mind, and move straight into my loving heart. It ignited a mission that up until that day, laid dormant.

While half of us prepared the meal the others half played with the children. We colored, too photos, picked them up, and ran around like a bunch of kids ourselves. As the meal cooked over an impressive fire in three of the largest pots I’d ever seen, we were taken on a short walk to see the dump. I carried one little girl of about 5 years old who fell asleep, her arms around me and her head on my and little girl

As I looked at the dump, I sensed the hidden dangers that lay within and saw the smoke from several places where it was on fire. I wept. The thought of that little girl playing in that massive pile of trash, of her needing to rummage through it to find anything she could sell, I was overwhelmed. I wanted better, I wanted more for the precious child I held in my arms.

We walked back in time to serve the meal. Children from all over the village came with their plastic bowls, cups, and buckets to get in line. When it was my time to serve I quickly starting filling buckets with soup, and I was just getting into a rhythm when my ladle hit the bottom of the pot. I looked down and realized there were many empty bowls still in front of me, and as I turned around I saw one child for each bowl waiting anxiously to be fed.



My heart sank. Then my anger rose. How could we not have enough? How can I possibly go and eat lunch, mere miles from here, knowing I can have all I want and more? And how can I continue professing “Heal yourself and you’ll heal the world”? In that moment all my work seemed so selfish, meaningless, and a luxury of a privileged life.

Fortunately I was able to take the time to process this experience more, and talk with the others who were there with me and experienced many of the same feelings. I realized that my work and my understanding of the world were not invalid or meaningless. Instead I discovered greater clarity on my purpose and the “why” I do what I do. There are many people out there, in all different kinds of circumstances, that can use a helping hand. If we are here stuck in our routines, following someone else’s vision for our life,  or weighed down by the regrets of the past and fears of the future, then we are not able to fully give the gifts we were meant to and the girls

If instead we are able to live authentically, following our heart and our purpose(s) we not only create wellness for ourselves, we are also more clear about our mission in life and empowered to fulfill that mission. Each of us are a vital piece of the whole of creation. When we follow that inner calling we do our part to aid in the healthy functioning of that whole. Whether that’s impacting one person locally, or thousands around the world, it doesn’t matter. We each have a part to play, and when we own it and follow it, the world can heal.

I am so grateful for my experience in Nicaragua. It made such an impact on me that I’ve already booked another retreat down there for the first week in December (more details coming soon!). It’s a big task to take on, but I don’t even think about that at this point. I’m so focused and excited about the work we’ll be doing, I know that it’s inevitable that it will work out perfectly. Looking back on my recent trip now I can see that I had to hit the bottom, of the pot and in my mind, to be able to rise up stronger and with more passion.

me at sunset

E is for Emotions

Hello Beautiful Soul! Thank you for joining me for today’s blog.  Today we are going to be talking about emotions.  Can you say, “E-MO-TIONS?” 

Okay, okay. So I know this is probably not everyone’s favorite topic in the world.  Goodness knows it’s not mine.  We’ve all got emotions we’re okay with, and then there are others we’re not so okay with.  And typically we’ll avoid those “not okay” ones at all costs.

But I’m here to tell you that emotions are not what we think they are.  They are not a function of the human body or psyche that we have no control over.  They are actually a natural feedback system that supports our evolution.  When we understand this system we can use our emotions to give us feedback on our lives, either “Yay, you! You’re on the right path!”, or “Caution.  There’s a adjustment that needs to be made.”  When we use this feedback system to our advantage we learn and heal faster.  When we ignore it, or look at our emotions as something to fear, we often only increase our suffering.

Such was the case for me recently.  Over the past several months I’ve been thinking about Molly (my dog) and worrying about her death.  I know that sounds morbid, and hopefully it’s still a long way off, but with an aging dog, it’s not as far off as I might like it to be.

I was trying to be positive, and focus on the here and now.  I was being conscious to be more patient with her, playing more, and enjoying our every moment together.  Still I found myself thinking about when she would eventually die.  I saw an article on dogs that live the longest at one point, and while I was delighted to see Lhasa Apsos on the list, when I read more I found that their life expectancy is 12-14 years.  Molly is 12 now.  Needless to say I fell apart in that moment.  Since then I couldn’t shake thinking about that future moment.  My mind was playing with all the variables.  Will I be holding her?  Will it be natural and painless?  Will I have to make a choice about when it happens?  How will I make that decision?  How will I handle it?  What if there’s an emergency I’m not knowledgable on, which is all of them when it comes to dogs?  How will I respond?  Mostly I thought about how I would feel in each of these moments.  I see myself falling to my knees, wailing, and being inconsolable.

These moments were painful, I wasn’t just thinking about a possible future occurrence, I was living it each time I thought about it.  My positivity wasn’t helping.  I was still spending way too much time thinking about a perceived future event and suffering in the now as a result.

Then one day I realized that most of my thoughts were centered, not on Molly herself, but on my emotions.  The suffering I was creating was not in fear of her death, but in fear of the emotions I would feel as a result.  In that moment I said to myself that if and when I have those emotions, they will not hurt me.  Despite the fact that I would not consciously choose them, and that I’d prefer if Molly lived as long as I did, I told myself it would be okay to experience these emotions. Molly headband

My attempts to stay positive and enjoy the moment with Molly, in this instance, were just distractions from the real issue, my fear of these particular emotions.  Once I acknowledged that I was truly afraid to feel pain and realized that it would be a pain I could survive, the thoughts stopped.  Now I am able to fully be present with Molly and enjoy the present moment with her.

This whole thing was not unlike the issue that I discovered with my previous panic disorder.  When my panic attacks started I was afraid I was dying, but after a few years I would actually have panic attacks because I was afraid of having a panic attack.  I was afraid to feel fear.  My panic attacks subsided and eventually disappeared when I realized I was actually more afraid to be afraid than I was of dying, and decided that it was okay to feel fear.

It’s okay to be afraid.

That was and is such an empowering phrase.  When we allow our emotions, including fear, they don’t seem to have as much control over us.  Think about it.  Do you ever feel like happiness and joy are controlling you, or you’re at their mercy?  No, because we allow them without a thought, and actually welcome them.

When we welcome our emotions, even the “bad” ones, they can do their job of guiding us on our path and helping us heal.  And once they’ve done their job they can move on.  It’s a natural process, sometimes we just need to get out of our own way.

What emotions do you avoid?  What are not “okay” emotions?  How do you typically avoid them?  What’s one thing you could do differently to start to feel safe experiencing those emotions?


In the Right Direction

The other day I heard someone on a podcast say, “If it hadn’t been for (this bad experience) I wouldn’t have (my new awesome job that I love).”  I think we’ve all said this a time or two, sometimes in appreciation of some person or experience, or in recognition that some negative experience led to something wonderful in the end.  We also use it to blame, as in, “If it weren’t for this person and what they did/said, I wouldn’t be in this horrible situation now.”

I know I’ve use this phrase in all of these instances, but when I heard this person say it on this podcast, I took a moment to really think about it and what it really means.  I came to the conclusion that I don’t agree with it.  I think it is an example of how we limit ourselves in understanding our past and in creating our future.

In essence, “If it weren’t for X, I wouldn’t have Y” sees only one path to a particular point.  That if X didn’t happen, there was absolutely no other way for Y to have occurred.  This is a very limited view that limits not only us, but what is possible and what the Universe is capable of.

Your path will always be put in front of you, no matter who you meet, where you go, and what decisions you make.  The details may look and little different and the timeline might change, but you cannot leave your path.  There are an infinite number of ways to get where you’re meant to be, and the Universe knows all of them.  So if you turn left rather than right at some point, the Universe knows how to adapt.  It doesn’t matter where you turn, your path is always in front of you.

Here’s the fun part of what this means: there are no “wrong” decisions!  You can have decisions that won’t serve you as well as others or you won’t enjoy as much, but there are no wrong decisions.  There are only different experiences along your journey.

For example, I had a tough decision to make a little more than a year ago.  It was whether or not to keep my full-time job and start my business slowly in my free time, or to quit my job and dive into the deep end of becoming self-employed.  I could have stressed myself out over this decision, worrying for days about what the “right” thing to do was.  However, at the end of the day there was no “right” answer.  There was just a choice for me to make about what set of experiences I wanted to have at that time.  Each choice had healing opportunities for me and fears to face, it was just a matter of which of those I wanted to work with at that time.  Had I chose to stay I would have been fine.  I would have continued working, learning some new skills and lessons, meeting new people, and at a different point in time chose to leave and work on my business full time.  Instead I chose to leave and focus solely on my business right then. 

Now the truth is I had been thinking about leaving for some time, but was not actively thinking about options, possible outcomes, etc.  What made a decision necessary for me was a conflict that arose in the office.  That conflict was the catalyst for me to stop messing around, get with the program, and make a decision.  So I actively thought about it and sought advice from trusted friends, never worrying about what was the “right” answer.  And in over a weekend, I decided to leave and I’ve been deliriously happy since with the freedom that self-employment has provided me. 

Now I could say that had it not been for that conflict I never would have started my own business, or I never would have found the courage to take such a risk.  That is not true though.  I would have eventually done it.  If one catalyst didn’t move me toward that decision another one would have.  It’s part of my journey to experience this, whether it started in June of 2015 or in February of 2025 doesn’t make a difference.  My path was leading me here, exactly how I got here does not come down to one person, one event, one decision.

To me this idea is so freeing.  I am always on my path.  All decisions are “right” decisions.  I take heart in the fact that I’m right where I’m supposed to be, at all tright directionimes.  I chose this life and a certain experience and so I’m always right where I intended to be.  And even more empowering is if I take that a step further with the understanding that as a part of the Universe itself and being a part of and connected to Source, I’m also right where the Universe, where Source intended to be as well.

How often do you find yourself worrying about a decision, and what is “right” and what is “wrong?”  How might seeing your next decision not as between “right and “wrong,” but as a choice between different experiences change how you feel while making your decision?


Don’t Defy Gravity, Use It!

I know something you don’t know.  Well…you know it, sometimes you just forget.  You are a powerful creator.  You do not need the approval or permission of anyone to create the life you want to live.  You do not need your outside world to be “just so” before you can be happy.  You are connected to all that is, was, and will be.  There is no separation between you and what you desire.  Any perceived separation is a creation of your mind, which means you can choose to instead create oneness with the life you want.  This Universe, and your power and your presence within it, is so amazing you should be in a constant state of awe and wonder. 

Now don’t feel bad if this is not a constant, or even a “most of the time” state for you.  It isn’t for me either.  I forget sometimes too, more often than I care to admit.  But those moments when I experience that connection are so powerful a tear comes to my eye and I feel as if I might burst with love, joy, happiness, and freedom.  I think it must be what flying feels like. 

We all can fly, but flying requires us to jump first.  Every time a bird takes off it does so by jumping first.  The other day, I saw three baby robins who did decide to jump.  Being as it was their first jump, they were not flying, but instead hopping around in the street, their helpless parents flying around above them in distress. One of the babies may have been injured by his fall, so I set him in the grass so he didn’t get run over.  At this point, the babies had a choice to make.  Stay on the ground, or try again. 

We all experience this as we discover our power.  Sometimes we do muster the courage to jump.  And is often the case with our first leap, we end up on the ground.  Unfortunately some of us see this as a sign we are destined to fail, or should never try something so bold again.  We fear falling/failing again.  We think of gravity as an obstacle that must be fought and overcome, or defied (for those readers who are “Wicked” fans).  So we hop around on the ground and gradually forget that we were meant to fly, that we came equipped with the tools to overcome all obstacles with ease.  All we have to do is spread our wings and jump and we can soar through the air.  And when we truly understand this, we see that gravity, and all of our other perceived obstacles, are really there to support us.  It helps us to direct where we want to go as we balance it with the breeze.  And when we master this balance we can take off, direct ourselves, and land with ease and grace. 


Gravity is actually not an obstacle for those who choose to fly.  It is not to be feared, fought, or even defied (sorry “Wicked” fans).  It is to be utilized.  It’s apart of the whole that helps us get where we want to go.  When we release thinking of our obstacles as obstacles, we can instead use them to soar.  The baby robins I saw did just that, because as I walked by the next day they were all gone, even the one that may have been injured.  They let go of their fear and their thinking that made gravity an obstacle and soared, just as they were built to do.

What is the gravity in your life today?  What is keeping you from leaving the ground?  How might you see it, not as an obstacle, but as a support instead?  Is there a gravity from your past that you once thought was an obstacle, but you now see differently?  What steps can you take today to move to the edge, bend your knees, and leap?!

Go Ahead…Pick Up the Daisy

I just realized when deciding about what to write today, that a lot of wonderful, inspired moments happen when I’m walking my dog.  The story I’m going to tell today is no exception.

So I was walking Molly the other day, as I’m sure you could have guessed, when I passed one house that had a bunch of daisies growing right next to the sidewalk.  I enjoy this yard a lot because they have so many flowers on either side of the sidewalk that it’s like walking through a mini garden.  I often stop to literally smell the roses, peonies, and lilacs. 

On this day I noticed that someone had picked one of the daisies and then just threw it on the ground.  Seeing something like this always makes me sad because due to one person’s unawareness and/or inconsiderateness this flower will die before its time, and instead of being enjoyed, will rot on the sidewalk.  My thought was that if you’re going to steal someone’s flowers at least take them home and enjoy them.  As I walked passed the flower my inner self told me to pick it up and take it home, but I, or rather my ego self was a little fearful that someone would assume I had picked and stolen it.  My fear/ego won out and I took a few steps past the daisy.  I immediately realized I was acting, or not acting, out of fear.  However, rather than feel bad I chose to love myself, even though in that moment I had “messed up” by choosing fear over love.  I recognized that I had a new choice the very next moment and I did not need to punish myself. 

This thought of loving myself brought a little smile to my face as I walked on.  My smile grew as I looked up and saw that four more daisies laying on the sidewalk a couple houses down.  I knew immediately that this was my moment to listen to my true self and chose love.  I bent down and picked up the daisies without a moment of hesitation, and then turned myself around and walked back two houses to pick up the first daisy.IMAG0076

I truly believe that the Universe/Source/God is always there to support us, and as much as we love ourselves the Universe gives love and opportunity back times ten.  This was the Universe giving me a second chance to follow my true self and to really own it unashamedly.  This time I took advantage of the opportunity and  enjoyed those daisies for several weeks.

But the Universe wasn’t done with me yet.  It had another gift.  It was just a day or so later and I was walking Molly (of course) and I came by the house with the daisies again.  My thoughts immediately went to the person or persons that had picked the flowers in the first place.  I was annoyed that someone could be so inconsiderate, so unaware.  I quickly realized that this thought was from my ego, and not from my true self.  I chose to change my thought and know that the flowers did get enjoyed and that I benefited from the whole event.  I also remembered that I am not separate from those that choose to be unaware at times (just as I do).  It dawned on me that I was the awareness, at least in this situation.  I am of the Universe not in it, and in this case the awareness of the Universe came through me.  By changing my myopic view to an expanded perspective I could see this experience as a whole and release my ego’s need to separate and judge another.  When you get out of the way, the Universe can create wonders, even in the simplest of events like picking flowers and walking your dog. 🙂

Are there daisies in your life you are walking by?  Are there times you can hear but ignore your inner self, your true self?  Is this an act of love or of fear?  How might you choose love the next time?

One of Those Days

The other day I woke up to the gentle sound of rain outside my window.  Usually this would be a relaxing, peace-inducing sound.

Not at my house.  At my house lives Princess Molly, my 12-year old Lhasa Apso, who despises getting her feet wet.

wetpawsSo when I woke up and heard the rain I was already dreading our morning walk.  And true to form, she performed as expected.  She refused to do her business and instead just trembled and looked pathetic, as if every moment we were outside was pure, unadulterated abuse.

With each step I grew more and more irritated. Why?  If you asked me then I would have said this is when she does her business, every morning, and if she doesn’t go now she’ll go in the house while I’m at my meeting.  As I think about it now though, it’s really no big deal.  Her messes really aren’t that messy.  There must be more to it than that.

As I pondered (much later of course), I realized it was guilt.  I felt guilty thinking I was a bad mom.  At that moment she was miserable, and if she didn’t go then it was all for nothing.  And if she doesn’t and she goes in the house that is “bad,” so either way I’m a bad mom.  So in my head, rainy mornings = I’m a bad mom.

Obviously that’s not true, and had I stopped to take the time for myself as some wise person once suggested, then that would have been the end of it.

Of course, it wasn’t.

After the drama of the walk I left for a meeting.  I had somewhat of an idea where I was going having seen the coffee shop in passing before.  Unfortunately the business was not well marked from the street and I drove past it and had to turn around.  I then turned down the nearest side street only to find there was no entrance to the coffee shop on that side.  So I turned around again and went back out to the main road, and found once again there was no direct entrance there either.  I finally figured out I had to enter a small side street, then enter a parking lot, and then drive all the way around this building complex to reach my destination.  And of course the parking lot was pretty full, and there were several people trying to back out and pull in, and the only spot somewhat near the door was next to someone who was unsuccessful in parking within the lines.  Oh, and it was still raining. UGH!!

By the time I got into the coffee shop my blood was really pumping.  A few years ago what I would have said at this point was, “It’s going to be one of those days.”  And then as the day progressed little things would continue to annoy me, piling up until I couldn’t wait for the day to be over.  Lately I would have instead said, “Slow down.  Pay attention.  What is the message the Universe is trying to send you?”

But this day was different.

I realized that the emotions of frustration, irritation, and anger were helping me to feel more ALIVE than I had in weeks.  It felt great and I was in no hurry to stop it, fix it, change it.  It was actually quite thrilling.  It was my wake up call letting me know I’d been asleep at the wheel.  I’d been content, but not engaged in life.  I was in an emotional stagnation. Coasting.  That day and those experiences were a welcome change of pace.

Now I didn’t want to remain in the anger, frustration, irritation forever to feel alive, but it was refreshing at the moment.  I allowed them their space, and since have been finding other ways to be more alive and engaged in my day-to-day.

  • Playing outside, especially in the dirt.
  • Playing with Princess Molly, even when it’s raining.
  • Noticing the happy songs of the birds nesting on and around my house.
  • Watching the silly squirrels in my neighborhood get into trouble.
  • Greeting strangers as I run.
  • Singing and dancing while I clean the house.
  • Having fun cooking up fun things in the kitchen, especially cookies.

I’m grateful for the rain that day, and that my dog is a princess, and for the awkwardly located coffee shop.  They reminded me I’m alive and that it’s more fun to be engaged rather than coast through life.

How do you respond when you realize you’re having “one of those days?”  How might you be able to see them from a new perspective?  I’d love to hear your comments below!


The Perfect Meditation Practice

I’ve been asked a lot recently about my meditation practice.  And although I’m no expert in any meditation practice except my own, I thought I’d share my thoughts with everyone. 🙂

If you read no further than this paragraph, it’s enough for you to know that your meditation should be what you want it to be, and that no matter what style you choose, how it goes, what you do or don’t do, your meditation is perfect…every time.

There are so many different ways to do meditation that there’s really no excuse to not enjoy it.  The purpose, in my opinion, is not to force yourself into enlightenment, but to become more and more present in the moment.  It’s actually something I try to practice in all things from washing the dishes to driving my car, not just when I’m sitting on my cushion.

At the beginning of the year, I decided to create a meditation habit for myself.  I started January 1, and haven’t missed a day since January 30.  I started meditating 30 minutes every morning, and each month since March have increased that by 5 minutes, so now I’m up to 45 minutes.

I sit on a zafu and zabuton, which are a Japanese pillow and pad, that I was introduced to these at the zen center I first went into in Berkeley, CA.  I light a candle and some incense as I say a mantra or set an intention for the day, and then I start my meditation timer (there are all kinds of meditation timer apps you can find for your computer, phone, iPad, etc.).  And then I sit.

I sit cross legged and I generally have my hands on my knees, but sometimes I use the zen cosmic mudra (left hand in the right with thumbs touching, kind of making an “O” with your hands), or with palms up on my knees.

Sometimes my eyes are closed, sometimes they are open with a downward gaze.

Mostly I sit in silence, but sometimes I prefer some meditation music, a guided meditation, or binaural beats (all of which can be found in abundance on YouTube).

Sometimes I focus on my breath.  Sometimes I’m able to just sit without much thought activity at all.  Sometimes my mind is all over the place.  Sometimes I’m an emotional mess.  Sometimes the times passes quickly, and other times it seems to last an eternity.

No matter what happens I end with a bow, straighten my cushion, and then continue with my day.

I keep a smacalll calendar solely for the purpose of having a visual representation of how well I’m sticking to my practice.  I put an “X” over each day I meditate.  The day gets an “X” if I meditate with my eyes open or closed, if I was anxious to get up or not, if my mind was completely distracted or not, if I listened to a guided meditation or not, if I have a big epiphany or not…I think you get the idea.  Every day I take the time to sit, counts.

If you’re just starting out be patient with yourself.  Try some things out and see how they work for you.  My advice it to start small.  Start with 5 or 10 minutes and see how it goes.  If you’re like I was/am “doing” is a big deal, and “not doing” is no good.  At first any more than 5 or 10 minutes may be so challenging to the idea that you’re wasting time and should be doing something rather than “nothing,” that after a few days you’ll think it’s not “working” and you’ll give up.  Stick with 5-10 minutes until it feels like you want to do more.  Maybe that will be after a couple days, maybe not for a couple of months.  It doesn’t matter.  At the start it’s not about the length of your meditation, it’s that you’re establishing a habit.

My other piece of advice if you’re just starting out is to designate a specific time and location for your meditation.  I know if I don’t get it done first thing in the morning, I’m likely to keep putting it off until I don’t do it at all.  Morning is a good time for me.  Maybe an afternoon centering is what will work for you.  Or a pre-bedtime wind down.  Routine is key here.  When you find something that works for you, stick with it.

Congratulations!  You made it to the end!  Your reward is a reminder that whatever you choose to do for your meditation practice it should feel good to you in that moment.  And also, that every time you meditate it is exactly what it should be.  There’s no cause for concern or criticism.  It is always perfect. ❤

Do you have a meditation practice going?  Have you tried and not kept up with it?  What are some things that worked for you?  What didn’t work for you?  What’s your perfect meditation practice?  Let me know your experience in the comments below.