January 21st, 2016
What would it take to liberate your breath?
Your breath is an inhale and exhale to Life.
Your breath is your meditation practice.
Your life is your meditation practice.
Breathe your liberation.
Breathe your life.
What are you breathing in?
What are your breathing out into the world?
Breathe in love and exhale it out into the world.
Here is to the liberation of your breath that allows you to become aware, awake, and alive!
January 5th, 2016
May the nourishment of the earth be yours, may the clarity of light be yours, may the fluency of the ocean be yours, may the protection of the ancestors be yours. And so may a slow wind work these words of love around you, an invisible cloak to mind your life. - John O’Donohue
As a yearly ritual, I give thanks for the past year and the lessons it taught me. I took time to look back at 2015 in order to give it a proper ending. I found it to be a tough year, but looking back and reflecting, 2015 had many moments of my theme word – blessings.
January was a quiet month with many cold days in New York City. I started the year committing more to my meditation practice. I was blessed to deepen my meditation practice at Kadampa Meditation Center.
February – snow. And more snow. I cocooned for most of the month and spent 10 days with the flu. The blessing was I found lots of new books and podcasts and spent a great deal of time writing.
In March, I was blessed to give my third retreat in Hawaii! I was so happy to give the Wild Cosmic Heart Retreat at Kalani Oceanside on the Big Island. I was joined by 10 amazing women who opened their wild cosmic heart during days filled with rain, rainbows, crazy wind, and blue skies. It was a reunion of hearts from those near and far, including a friend I have known for almost 25 years. Learning to play three cords on the ukulele was a sweet highlight. The biggest blessing was sharing the retreat with my spouse.
May was all about essential oils. I was blessed to be introduced to some amazing essential oils that have helped me on my health journey and have taught many other people how they can support them. I have been able to incorporate these essential oils into my healing practice, retreats, as well as give classes.
In June, my spouse had major surgery. It was a stressful time and the blessing was the incredible surgeon who was so good to both of us. It was nice to see a caring person in the medical field – something neither of us had experienced much. This doctor was a huge blessing!
We spent a wonderful weekend in July in the Catskills for one of my retreats. It was nice to be surrounded by such beauty. The mountain views were incredible and the fire ceremony was magical. We sat within the Panther Mountains and experienced a deeper connection to Pachamama (Mother Earth) and one another. Menla Retreat Center was a refuge and a blessing.
In August I returned to Camp GLP (Good Life Project). I once again spent a weekend playing, creating, connecting, and learning from an amazing tribe. I jumped onto my first paddle board. Blessed to know there are kindred spirits out in the world who feel as inspired and vulnerable as I do.
September included a lot of play and travel. I headed to the annual NY Open where I spent the day watching many tennis matches. I walked the grounds and enjoyed seeing a few players as they entered the stadium. Later in September, I traveled to Utah for an Essential Oils Conference. I spent four days with our team and meeting wellness advocates from around the world.
In late September into October, I was blessed to spend 10 days in Cape May mostly for bird watching and nature walks. It was a sweet week. I had time to refuel and take many photos. I saw a few life birds and enjoyed evening sunsets.
When I returned from vacation, I was blessed to see many Mets playoff games and even made it to game 2 of the World Series. 2015 was all about the Mets and lots of cheering at games with family and friends. Going to all the playoff series with my family was beyond anything I could have imagined.
In November, my spouse had emergency surgery. While I had a hard time finding the blessing in this one, I realized that I am grateful to the medical staff at Columbia and our families for their support.
In December, I spent a warm birthday weekend in Cape May. It was sweet and beautiful.
Yes, despite a full year of ups and downs and hard decisions and some losses, I had a year full of blessings.
So, as I step fully into 2016, I am profoundly aware of my inner source of peace. I am attuned to the beauty that surrounds me. And I am beyond grateful for a loving spouse and wonderful family and friends. As I step in 2016 with a more clear sense of my essence, I am grateful for all my blessings.
With deep gratitude, I let 2015 close and open to 2016 with great wonder. Perhaps, 2016 is all about WONDER. I am still listening…
What are you stepping into more fully in 2016?
You are invited to take time and listen for your intention, your word, and your heart.
Thank you to everyone for being a part of the Toning the OM journey and my heart’s journey. I am grateful to this OM Tribe every single day.
December 24th, 2015
Let there be peace on earth And let it begin with me. Let there be peace on earth The peace that was meant to be. Let peace begin with me Let this be the moment now. With every step I take…
Yes, let there be peace on earth.
Let there be peace within me. It all begins with ourselves. If we want peace in the world, we need to BE peace in our world.
Let me be the peace I seek.
How will you be peace in your world? Let this be our moment – now.
May the season of hope, miracles, and light allow each of us to be the peace we seek.
Wishing you all a peaceful season of miracles and light.
December 21st, 2015
How will you celebrate the light in the darkness? As winter draws near, it is a time of going inward. The winter season allows us to align with a slower pace. In the depths of winter, when the bears hibernate, trees put their energy deep into their roots, and many of us dive deeper into the dream world, it is a natural time to retreat.
As we go inward, let us notice the beauty and tranquility of winter. Let us celebrate the light within that is always available. Let us embrace the opportunity for deep rest and integration that winter provides.
How will you keep the candle lit inside yourself this winter?
December 16th, 2015
In a social media world where we can like, follow, tweet, add, watch, text, and update a status in an instant, let us remember the importance of sharing a real conversation and developing healthy relationships. Perhaps we can power off the smartphone and power on a personal connection with a friend. Perhaps instead of reading status updates, we can pick up the phone and hear about the status of a loved one. Perhaps we can kindle a conversation rather than add to a long thread on social media app. Perhaps we can have more personal experiences.
To invest in the life of another is perhaps one of the best trust funds we will ever have.
Technology has the power to ignite, connect, provide accessibility, increase workflow, and connect to others on a global scale. Yet, it can also keep us isolated, disconnected, and addicted.
This holiday season, I am inviting everyone (myself included) to use social media to kindle a conversation, connect with a community, create a tribe, lead a powerful dialog, invite others into mindful practices, and provide opportunities that leverage social movements. We have the power to promote relationships over results.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
December 10th, 2015
Every December, I listen to my Dad tell the story of my birth. He remembers the weather (a snowy, sleety, rainy night). My birth story includes how I was a preemie – born seven weeks early. Separated from my mother right after birth, I was transferred to another hospital, put in an incubator, and hooked up to breathing support tubes and machines.
I love hearing how much love and care I was given in order to breathe and how many nurses held me my first few weeks. The story of needing support is universal. At some point I needed less mechanical support and I was able to take full breaths on my own. Through the years, I have taken for granted the miracle of taking and releasing my breath. I still hold my breath when I feel stressed.
While my birth story is a gift about the miracle of my life, it is also a reminder that we each have our birth story and the experience of being breathed. We all have experienced the kindness of others on our journey.
In what other areas of my life do I experience the moments of being fully supported and being breathed?
Perhaps it’s possible that with each inhale, we breathe support into the world and with each exhale, we free ourselves of our struggles. Maybe with each breath, we gain insight and release pain.
We are all being breathed. Each moment gives us the blessing of experiencing the first breath, again and again.
December 7th, 2015
Nature has natural rhythms. It makes regular visits with itself to become alive. We need to find our natural rhythm where can make regular visits to ourself – to our heart.
November 24th, 2015
I am often asked what I am reading. As a pretty veracious reader, I enjoy various genres (although, I am partial to non-fiction). Most books on personal growth, heart-centered practices, and biographies frequently make their way to my bookshelf. I also have the pleasure of receiving copies of books to review on this blog.
After a few wonderful conversations with friends and colleagues about books, I wanted to share what is on my nightstand right now and what I will be reading over the next few weeks.
“Life is at the bottom of things and belief at the top, while the creative impulse, dwelling in the center, informs all.” Patti Smith, M Train
M Train is a journey through eighteen “stations.” M Train is a meditation on the depth of endings and on beginnings
How to Love Yourself (and Sometimes Other People) is for spiritual seekers who want to experience more love and stability in all forms of relationships. Told from the vantage points of authors Meggan Watterson and Lodro Rinzler, this book explores staying anchored in the foundation of self-love as you navigate the cycle of a relationship. Their dual perspectives as teachers and scholars of Christian mysticism and Buddhism make for a unique dialogue.
Modern Buddhism provides a comprehensive presentation of Buddha’s teachings, including practical descriptions on how to attain lasting happiness and freedom from problems for ourselves and others. With clear and user-friendly language, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso guides the reader from the fundamentals of Buddhist meditation and philosophy, through a powerful explanation of the true nature of reality.
Rising Strong is all about how owning our stories of disappointment, failure, and heartbreak gives us the power to write a daring new ending. Struggle, Brené Brown writes, can be our greatest call to courage, and rising strong our clearest path to deeper meaning, wisdom, and hope.
Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs takes us from the mysteries of dark matter and our cosmic environment to the conditions for life on Earth. Professor Lisa Randall weaves together the cosmos’ history and our own in an expanding intellectual adventure story.
November 12th, 2015
Come back and be here. Being in the present gives us permission to release the past and open to the future. A great way to start is to drop out of your thoughts and into your body.
First is your posture. Sit upright. Feet on the ground. Feel the earth rise up to meet you. Soften the hands. Take a deep inhale and exhale. Allow the spine to be straight, yet relaxed. Be aware of your senses. Shift your body into a deeper relaxation. Listen to your body. We carry so much on our shoulders. Relax the shoulders. Whatever you are carrying, you can let it go and bring to the center of your sacred space – your heart center. Breathe into the belly (one hand on your belly). Feel the in breath and out breath. Feel the expansion. Ground into yourself. Your breath is your anchor. Your body is the shore. Enjoy the view. Come back and be yourself. This is your pure nature. Welcome home.
November 5th, 2015
As I begin a new 30-day meditation challenge with my friend KC, I am reminded how my view of it changes everything. I am looking forward to sitting – just sitting. I am looking forward to chanting. I am looking forward to listening and being. For a while, my meditation practice was feeling like a chore to be done rather than a practice to be experienced. From that perspective, it was easy to skip the meditation “chore” and come up with excuses. It is humbling to go back to the meditation cushion. It reminds me that I am always the student and the teacher.
Life isn’t about gritting through it. It’s about the fullness of every experience. When we grit through our meditation or any spiritual practice, we lose out on experiencing the deeper connections that reside within us. We cheat ourselves on creating deeper connections with others.
What are you gritting through? Are you willing to let go of the grit and open to more love?
Less grit. More Love.
Go ahead – go back to your daily practice and experience the delight of deeper connections.