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On the Nightstand

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.

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Posted in Fun | Toning the Om

Coming Back to Yourself

November 12th, 2015

MindfulnessCome 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.

Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om

Less Grit. More Love.

November 5th, 2015

meditation cushionAs 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.

Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om

Meditation: Tuning into Your Inner Teacher

October 30th, 2015

Spend five minutes tuning into your inner teacher. This Toning the OM Meditation is about listening to the inner wisdom of now. Starting with the breath, take a deep dive into your inner teacher. Enjoy this video and deepen your relationship with your inner teacher.

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Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om

The Trail from Here to … Here

October 22nd, 2015

TrailWhat if the human heart and all your experiences were your map?

Who would you be?

What if a map was more than a linear trail of getting from here to there?

What if a true map was the inner story if getting from here to here? Heart to heart?

Shift your orientation. Leave your ordinary attitude — and go for refuge. Reduce anxiety, worry, fear in the refuge of inner peace.

What if your heart said – YOU ARE HERE. And here meant wisdom, peace, contentment, joy. Wouldn’t you go there?

We need to want to go there. We need to make a decision that this inner peace is the guiding source of who we really are.

Follow your inner map of peace and joy and love. And let yourself reside there.

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Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om

Breathe and Be. Make Time for Yourself and Others.

October 6th, 2015

“It’s strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you.”
~John O’Donnoghue, Anam Cara

flower breatheAfter two weeks of walking, bird watching, enjoying nature trails, and relaxing, I realized just how much I was rushing—Every. Single. Day.

And I know I am not alone. So many friends tell me things like, “I’m too busy.” Or recently, people have shared, “I don’t have time to talk to people, so I just text them.”

The funniest part about texting is that I can receive 20 texts from someone who doesn’t have time to talk. When did we become so busy?

Everything feels urgent. Everything should have been done yesterday.

Why do we often allow our email inbox to dictate our entire life schedule?

It seems we are always on our way to somewhere else. We are ahead or in a past tense.

We’re afraid to give ourselves what we need – sleep, food, time – because we believe that if we were perfect, we wouldn’t need those things.

What takes us away so regularly from presence? We walk around in a trance going from one activity to the next. We often think that something is missing. There must be something wrong with us. Right? No, we are enough and always have been. Making space to feel that can be downright frightening. But without the space, what are we left with? The mad rush.

There is a finite amount of time and what we do with it and how we show up in it matters.

Make time for those you love. Forget the text. Pick up the phone. Sit with a loved one. Send a card. Give a big hug. Go take a long slow walk. Notice everything green today. Smile at a stranger.

All we really have is this moment. And this moment. And this moment.

When we get honest, we’re clear that life’s most beautiful gifts – like time with life-long friends – just can’t be rushed.

I don’t know about you, but I am getting off the rollercoaster of the mad rush.

It’s braver to take care of ourselves. How can you create a path of making sure you have time to just BREATHE and BE?

Posted in Toning the OM | Toning the Om

Pause into Love

September 30th, 2015

Meditation2015Meditation is the bridge between longing and belonging.

Meditation is a practice of homecoming.

It’s a place of creativity, love, and wholeheartedness.

This moment counts.

Every moment counts.

The greatest gift in slowing down is the pause. Taking small moments to pause. Just stop – the doing, the thinking, the obsessing. We can reconnect with kindness. Pausing is a key to a meditation. Pausing is a life practice.

Pause into yourself. Then, listen to the wonder, notice the light, and feel the deep quiet.

Practice pausing so you can be here wholly.

What would happen if you deepened the yes to your heart?

What would happen if you paused into love?

Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om

Meditation on Uncertainty

September 20th, 2015

What if you could spend your day without a map and without a goal? What if your heart and breath were your maps showing you the way?

Spend five minutes meditating with Toning the OM on uncertainty. Experience yourself through your breath. Your breath is your first teacher. What is your breath showing you today?

Allow yourself to let go of expectations and experience the freedom of experiencing yourSELF.Enjoy the gift of wonder. Be curious. Allow yourself to wander, to experience,to open, and to notice the unknown. Experience the depth of uncertainty. Sit in it. Be in the NOW and the NOW and the NOW. Allow life to show up right at your heart.

Notice that when you let go something new is available to arrive. Leave space for surprises. Allow room for more – the gift of YOU.

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Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om

Why Do You Meditate?

September 16th, 2015

What’s the point? I am often asked this question after people have tried to meditate. Many people say that they can’t meditate. There is the misconception that meditation is about shutting down or shutting off the mind. In fact, it is the opposite. The whole point of meditation is to allow the mind to feel free. The best meditations happen when we can acknowledge our thoughts flowing through us without judgment. And like anything we want to cultivate, meditation is a practice.

MeditateMeditation is about cultivating the mind. The very word “meditation” in Sanskrit means “to cultivate.” In Tibetan, the word meditation translates into gom, which means, “to become familiar with.” Meditation is about becoming familiar with ourselves over and over again. It allows us to cultivate the chatter and draw out what we have kept stuffed inside.

Cultivating our mind is essential if we want to develop our emotional well-being, create inner peace, and our service to others. The more we attempt to block thoughts during meditation, the louder they will be. The whole purpose of meditation is to show us what we need—to allow our thoughts to arise and dissolve into mindfulness. This might mean allowing ourselves to set a course that is most desirable for our experiencing peace.

Imagine the benefit of giving ourselves a new experience of the world with each passing breath. All it takes to start is ten to twenty minutes daily to get to know our mind.

Why do you meditate?

Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om

Beyond Routines and into Work as Love

September 8th, 2015

As I come back into my daily routines, I am reminded of one of my favorite books, The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. Perhaps it is time to see my “routines” as a way to work with love!

Gibran writes: Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy. For if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man’s hunger. And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distils a poison in the wine. And if you sing though as angels, and love not the singing, you muffle man’s ears to the voices of the day and the voices of the night.

Yes, work is love made visible. Look to see my work as love more visible. How about you?

Posted in Gratitude | Toning the Om