Monday, November 25, 2013

Abundant Gratitude

Yes. That word alone speaks to the abundance that is surrounding you all the time. As you look around to this marvelous world and say "yes", you will find that you are given constant love and blessings. The Universe gifts you with a new chance each day. In any moment you choose, you can start fresh and you can remake your life. It's all a matter of saying "YES!" Yes to this abundant world, that includes birth and death, richness of experience, the greatest heights of passion, the balance of serenity, the tragedy of war. We are in this world and all is okay AS IS. What if all you needed to change was your own view.

It takes small adjustments to make big changes. A shift in perspective opens a whole new world to you. I realize and have experienced those moments that are difficult to embrace with a wholehearted yes. In that case, a yes to the NO!

Here is my gratitude list for this week of "Thanks giving":

1.  Grateful you are connecting with me by reading this list.
2.  Grateful to be able to take deep breaths.
3.  Grateful that I have not needed glasses!
4.  Grateful that I am able to feel compassion for my brother who still struggles.
5.  Grateful that I don't have to go back and relive my 20's!
6.  Grateful for and organic food delivery service: Farmbox L.A.
7.  Grateful that my mother is still alive.
8.  Grateful that I still have memories of my father, although he is gone.
9.  Grateful for curly hair. And the occasional blow dry.
10. Grateful that I enjoy sweating.
11. Grateful for the ocean.
12. Grateful for yoga!
13. Grateful for coffee.
14. Grateful to be amongst the human race. And to be very fallible and human in it.
15. Grateful for helpers and angels along the way.
16. Grateful for flexibility (internally and externally).
17. Grateful for Paul Simon and Cat Stevens.
18. Grateful for love.
19. Grateful for change.
20. Grateful that I always get another chance. There is hope.

Have a great, full week.

Easy does it on the pumpkin pie.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Holding On/Letting Go

If you are anything like me, you are dancing with the balance of opposites. How do we really know when to fight for something, to hang on and stick it out, to claim it and own it, OR to release and let go, shed the old skin, let something die so that we may begin anew?

We have just experienced that polarity with the Scorpio Full Moon (which occurred yesterday, Sunday). The things that are no longer serving us must be released. Even that which we have built and claimed as our own becomes outdated and must be shelved for the better. The Scorpio Sun energy is possesive, obsessed, and intense. Yet it's true lesson is in transcendence and allowing things to die in order to become new. Release is a most powerful expression, and is true liberation.

I can think of several times when I willingly let go in my life. I had been working for others for so long, and it occurred to me that it was no longer correct. After much prayer and meditation, and a pros and cons list, I realized that the only thing to do would be to let go of my job of 16 years. I had no idea what would come of this, but I never looked back and I have never done better. Of course, there have been numerous times when I had to have something torn away from me, or worse, when I have held on when it was only hurting me, reminding me of that saying: "Let go, or be dragged." I held on so tight and fought for what I thought was mine, to no avail... Pain and remorse followed.

The flip side of this Scorpio Sun is the Taurus Moon. This represents ownership, being the boss, and being comfortable. This is also the ultimate of nurturing moons, providing sensual pleasures and a bounty of possessions. It has the sense of entitlement and "having-ness". In a way, we should have all of our needs met. It is often easier to accomplish things when we have our comforts—we needn't always fight so hard.

I found this beautiful saying online about letting go versus holding on: "Let go of your worries. Hold on to this moment." Ah. This felt so good to read. Letting go of my worries. Letting go of my old ways of over-thinking it, taking polls about my options, and referencing the past. Hold on to this moment. My feet on the ground, my steady constant breath, the gratitude I have for this day. Somehow, when I take this to a broad philosophical place, I find some peace.

Life is unfolding in so many ways that are unimaginable, and much better than I ever could have dreamed. I can be sure to know that I can let go of the illusion that I am in control at all, accept my current circumstance, and know that no matter what I decide, the Universe is on either side of any decision I make. Since I cannot make a wrong move, I can let go of my worries, and hang on to this moment, which is all I ever had in the first place.

Monday, November 11, 2013


When I was a child, my focus and intensity of emotion felt like it was just "too much". I remember being told that my tears, fears, and angers were "over reactions".  I have not really changed that much in terms of what I feel internally. What I have learned over the decades is that when I take that emotional energy and intensity, and direct it into a tangible project, a fitness regime, or a program, I can use it as fuel to forward myself.

I can often feel an internal pressure building up when I am at a party or when I am not putting myself to good use with a purpose. The beauty of self-observation is that I can turn myself in a new direction, but I must stay awake to my own feelings as they rise.

I always used to mention in my old Spinning classes that the intensity and the feeling that you are "too much" out there, when properly channeled, can be used to reshape and sculpt your body and drive you towards any goal. Just make sure you point that energy in the right direction. That intensity is perfect for a fitness class, whereas if pointed in a different direction it could be destructive. I know from experience. The very same energy that I used to use to take myself down, when turned around, has brought me to the greatest health and heights.

Here is a great example of this: Several years ago, I found out that Elvis Presley and I had similar numerology and astrology. I thought that was pretty funny, mostly because I could totally relate to Elvis' seeming extremism. I have become convinced that if Elvis had found yoga instead of prescription drugs, that he would be alive today, very thin, and would be able to wrap both of his legs behind his head.

Just remember, whatever you have going on that evokes extreme feeling, that energy can be used like the one-pointed focus of a laser. Stay aware and use your powers for good. Waste no energy on anyone who has "done you wrong", but consume it and use it as fuel for your own transformation.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Alchemy: Turn Lead Into Gold

The process of alchemy, or simply put: changing something toxic into something valuable, has been a part of my personal journey. In homeopathic medicine, the cause of the disease can also be the antidote. I view my upbringing in this light. My conflicted relationship to my father was peppered with all sorts of practice in this area. This included meditation, self-exploration, and yoga. When I was a child, a part of me resented that yoga and meditation took my father away from me. His journey into self-discovery left him ignoring me and my brother, and left us scrounging for ways to get his attention. One of the only ways he seemed to notice and pay attention to me was when I mimicked what he did and assumed the yogic positions.

Although my journey into yoga began this way, there was also a curiosity; the desire to learn this skill, and take this path of self-observation and detachment. It sure didn't seem like dad was detached. It seemed as though he was able to unwind himself right out of his pretzel contortionist position with both legs wrapped around his head and yell at me for something as innocuous as drawing too loudly with my markers. Wasn't he missing the point? These exchanges often left me feeling empty and alone. As if I could do nothing correctly and could never be enough.

This foundation for my relationships became the very fuel that I have used to achieve and accomplish my goals. Initially, the desire to be self-sufficient, so that I would no longer "need" my father's or anyone else's approval or support, sent me on a path that lead to lack of vulnerability. In turn, this created a loneliness that would only be salved by that ability to detach and look inward.

Back to the meditation and yoga that my father was immersed in (to the point of ignoring me.) I was now following in his footsteps and giving to myself what he never gave, and what nobody else really could give to me. Over the years, there have been several turning points and incidents which could be viewed as unfortunate, however, within each of these experiences there was fuel. There was the opportunity to take that very same energy, hold it, and let it burn until something pure appeared. In essence, I have found that my ability to take any incident and transform it into something valuable and beautiful far outweighs any storybook fantasy I may have had.

It takes hard work. Sitting in the process of purification, without shying away from the unbearable feeling of transformation, and sticking with it long enough until one day: Poof!... It gives every single moment—"positive" or "negative"—true value. The ability to turn lead into gold. Knowing the True Self. Namaste.