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<Drums Rattle Djembe Doumbek>

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

What Is Mind Chatter Costing You?

September 3rd, 2015

mind-chatterI sat on my blue meditation cushion with my eyes closed, crossed my legs and started some conscious breaths. I wanted to experience a quiet space within that would allow my heart to expand into the awareness of stillness. There I was on my cushion breathing in and out, slowly and deeply. On this particular morning, as soon as I started my breath work, my mind chatter began sprinting in my head like a racehorse out of a gate. Immediately, running thoughts and questions began: ‘What are you doing…Can’t you do more…Can’t you keep up…Other people are thriving, Don’t you want to be like other creative people…Your week is too busy…You are not doing enough’…and on and on and on. I watched then as my breath became faster and faster until I became light headed. Suddenly, my entire body exhaled. I was exhausted.

I breathed slowly into each part of my body with awareness and intention. I breathed into my feet, my legs, my stomach, my abdomen, my heart, my arms, my back, my neck, my eyes, my head over and over again. Each breath was a gift to my body. I noticed the absolute silence in the room. I found myself with a big smile on my face swaying to stillness. As I sat in stillness, I could hear inside me, “How much is mind chatter costing you? Stillness is free.”

I have been taking an inventory of my mind chatter. I have noticed and watched the impact my mind chatter has on my body, my energy, and my spirit. It’s not a matter of shouting to my mind chatter, “Shut Up!” When get angry at the chatter, it only becomes louder. Instead, I watch the thoughts float in the air and imagine them like clouds in the sky and watch them float across. By doing this, I am reminded that thoughts are the clouds that move and change and shapeshift and I am the sky filled with awe and beauty. With this mindset, my mind chatter begins to get swept up and in its place, I am able to find stillness.

How much is mind chatter costing you? How do you release mind chatter?

I invite you to breathe into all parts of you. Breathe into your body and wait for stillness to emerge.


Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om

Aligning with Our Inner Peace Meditation

August 19th, 2015

Spend five minutes listening to your inner landscape of peace. Take time to slow down, deepen the breath, and open your heart. Give yourself permission to bring more peace to your inner landscape. Share that peace to your outer landscape. Watch how you can align your inner and outer landscape with more peace.

You are peace. Breathe that. Be that.

With each breath, share your peace with each person you meet today.

Meditation was recorded on City Island (Bronx, NY) – Toning the OM

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Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om

Book Review: On the Move by Oliver Sacks

August 7th, 2015

Oliver_SacksRenowned neurologist, Oliver Sacks opened our eyes to the world of clinical neurology. Sacks is a prolific writer of numerous works. Most know of him from his book Awakenings, which was subsequently made into a film in 1990. The movie is about the transient release of patients from their frozen state with the Parkinson’s drug L-dopa and their subsequent development of debilitating side effects. He is also known for his bestselling book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, which is a collection of fascinating neurological case histories. What makes Sacks so remarkable is his ability to relate all of his patient’s stories to remind each of us of our own humanity.

In his recent memoir, On the Move, Sacks shares his life through relationships with family, friends, colleagues and lovers, from his teens in north London, through his university days at Oxford, and on to adult life in the United States, where he worked first in San Francisco, then Los Angeles, and finally, New York. He frequently returned to London to visit family and friends, and to write.

Sacks is a captivating storyteller, and he gives us a front row seat to share in his non-work activities – motorcycling, weightlifting, as well as a brief but intense period of addiction to amphetamines. He comes across as a lovable, refusing to edit out many parts of his life and events that many would consider too vulnerable or too embarrassing. And, despite his phenomenal success, he is so shy that he spent 35 years without a lover.

He tells stories about the owner of the headache clinic that he worked with who not only threw a jealous tantrum and dismissed Sacks when he published a book about migraines, but he also plagiarized him. Fortunately, this did not impede Sacks and his successes continued, along with friendships with many with great talents of his era as well as key medical researchers. A wonderful book by a great neurologist and teacher of empathy. Sacks gives all new meaning to the words: modern medicine. His story is healing and makes us grateful to have learned from him.

I highly recommend this book.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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Posted in Life | Toning the Om

Sunset Meditation on City Island

July 28th, 2015

Spend five minutes enjoying a sunset meditation from City Island. Take in the sounds of the wind, water, waves, birds, and boats as you bring in peace to your heart center and share peace with at least three people.

Let the wind be your teacher. Let the waves be your teacher. Let the birds be your teacher. Let the sounds be your teacher.

Thoughts are like clouds that pass in the sky. Breathe and release.

Follow the in-breath to your heart – the center of your being.

We are one thought away from peace.

Breathe the peace that resides in you as you.

Be peace.

Posted in Meditation | Toning the Om

Well-Being Matters

June 22nd, 2015

I have built a tribe around well-being and wholeness over the past nine years. It started out as fun drumming circles. I didn’t know how much people longed to experience wholeness until I met people from around the world who craved connection, service, ceremony and joy. The circles grew over time. People have come together, sometimes virtually, around various experiences and themes, including, drumming, meditation, forgiveness, healing, heart-centered practices and ceremonies, shamanic journeying, nature walks, and so much more. My goal has always been to create heart-centered connections.

I also had to live from a heart-centered place. To do this, I have put myself out there in the world – I show up fully and at times with great vulnerability. If I am to bear witness for others, it is my belief that I must fully be myself in the world. At times that has meant sharing the deep grief of losing my mother or sharing about health challenges.

For those who have followed my blog over the past few years will remember how much I struggled with dizziness and fatigue. I went to many doctors, had numerous tests, and was given a misdiagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. Doctors could not figure out what I had and all of my symptoms did not fit neatly into a text-book category. I was given medicine to temporarily minimize the symptoms as I kept getting shuffled from doctor to doctor. There were days I was filled with despair. After a few pity-party moments, I did what I had taught so many of my students and clients to do – meditate, spend time in nature, keep a gratitude journal, and write daily.

Through it all, I paid attention to my well-being. I listened to others when they spoke about what was helping their health and well-being. A friend started using essential oils and they were making a huge difference in improving his occasional digestive issues. I reached out to see if I could try some of the essential oils to help me with supporting my immune system and relieving occasional sleeplessness.

After a few weeks of using some essential oils, I had relief from restlessness and found they helped restore alertness when I experienced fatigue. The essential oils were supporting my immune system and relieving neck tension. The essential oils have become part of my well-being habit. I now speak to people about essential oil uses and give free classes.

Well-being matters. When I feel full of joy and light, the world is full of joy and light.

If you would like to know more about essential oils or have me host a FREE class, please reach out to me.

FDA disclaimer: These products are not intended to diagnosis, treat, cure, or prevent disease.

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Posted in Vulnerability | Toning the Om