How to hum along the highway of life instead of chugging along the dirt road
We need to take care of ourselves, just like we need to take care of our cars. The more fuel we burn, the more we need to fill our tank. Not just the cheap stuff either, the high-quality fuel. We need available energy to use. We need free flowing energy that’s available for all the good times and all the bad times. In yoga terms, it’s called healthy prana. Prana is the energy of life. One factor that burns excess fuel is stress. The better our prana is flowing, the better we can handle stress. We are more adaptable. Stress can be in many forms; deadlines, illness, the news, over scheduling, overexposure to electronics, toxins in our environment, and toxic relationships cause stress on our system. We all have stress, there is no way to avoid it. We all burn fuel when we are dealing with stress. And we all have a needle that creeps to the empty side now and then. The problem with running on fumes and too close to empty is we become chronically exhausted, impatient, cranky, sick, depressed, or addicted which leads to masking the root cause with cheap ineffective fuel like caffeine, drugs, sugar, alcohol, or drama. Each time we fill our tank with quality fuel - quality energy - the healthier we are in body, mind, and spirit. Life becomes more enjoyable and easier because our tank is full!
What’s your fuel? What enhances your prana?
There are many different ways to fuel up and for each of us, it can look a little different. It’s easy to start with the form of fuel we all share: the breath. Breathe with attention and intention. Keep it simple and sweet. Set an intention to enjoy the next breath with gratitude for the miraculous function right down to the exchange of gasses at the subatomic level. Then give it your full attention with all your senses. That’s good fuel! That’s prana!
Discovering other forms of fuel for us is fun! And making it a priority is even more fun! I group my areas of fuel into three categories; old pleasures, new pleasures, and self-care. Maybe it will help you find new and fun ways to add fuel to your tank.
What are your old pleasures? What did you enjoy as a child? When I was young I loved sitting in our apple tree, riding my bike and being in the snow - I loved snow - especially at night under the stars - quiet, cool and peaceful. Gradually as I got older I stopped doing those things. With more responsibilities and distractions we may lose those activities that fill us up, make us happy, or bring us peace. Look back at your childhood. What are your simple happy memories? Can you replicate them somehow into your life now? I don’t climb trees anymore but I do hug them, touch them, talk to them and listen to them. I ride my bike. I pet my dog and make sure I talk to him. I look up at the sky every chance I get. I gaze at the stars, the moon, the clouds and the colors. I even lay in the snow whenever I can. As you reflect and journal on your childhood memories maybe you’ll notice a common thread. My common thread is being out in nature. That’s my best fuel for nourishing my prana - filling my gas tank.
What are your new pleasures? Some forms of fuel we don’t discover until we are adults. Maybe it’s playing cards, wood carving, tea with friends, painting, knitting, bingo, drawing mandalas, flower arranging, reading or cooking. Start noticing how you feel after activities. If it energizes you it’s fuel! You are feeding your prana. If it sucks your energy - forget it!
Somebody else’s fuel may not be your fuel! I learned that shopping is a fuel siphon for me. I have a hard time with it. I always have. I have stopped wondering what’s wrong with me and have accepted that it’s something that doesn’t fuel me. You may be different, shopping may fill you up! Go for it! I have also learned that big crowds aren’t my fuel. I like small parties and more intimate gatherings. This is important to keep in mind because we can’t always avoid our energy sappers. We can limit them, however. We can also use our personal fuel to fill up before and after if we must take part in a fuel sucker!
Share your self-discovery with others!
When you know what fuels you (and what doesn’t) share it with your partner, children, and friends. Not only will they appreciate knowing what works for you but maybe it will send them on a path of self-discovery. It was liberating to tell my two daughters that shopping depleted me. It was also a healthy example to model to them how I take time for the extra fill up before and after a shopping trip. They understand my shopping limits and respect it. It might be liberating for your friends too. Maybe they would rather play bingo or draw mandalas with you instead of going out to eat. Maybe they prefer one on one lunch dates rather than large dinner parties. This is a healthy discussion. Honoring your energy and the energy of others close to you makes for healthy boundaries and relationships.
Daily self-care adds octane to your fuel!
Self-care is also a fantastic fuel. Self-care will boost your energy and eventually will become a source of pleasure. These habits and practices are what I call the non-negotiables. They are the things I know I must do daily to keep my engine humming - my prana flowing. My non-negotiables are walking, yoga, meditation, and self-massage. If I don’t make them a priority I burn my fuel quickly. I’m less efficient, less happy, less peaceful. These things along with my old and new pleasures are MUST-DOs for me. By the way, if I have to choose ONE - I would choose meditation. I have found it to be the key to a day lived with vitality and a peaceful flow.
It isn’t selfish and you have the time!
As a yoga teacher, I hear a lot of guilt and feelings of selfishness from students who take time for themselves. I also hear the excuse “I don’t have time” for self-care. To this, I have one thing to say. How can we serve others and our community genuinely and with quality if our tank is empty? What would you rather drive, an old rusted jalopy chugging along spitting and sputtering on fumes or a sleek shiny red Porsche smoothly humming down the highway with a full tank of high octane? Who would you rather be with? Someone who is nearing empty - exhausted, impatient, cranky, inattentive? Or someone who is attentive, pleasant, grateful, positive, giddy, open-minded, flexible - prana filled up!?! That someone is US. The person we spend 24 hours a day with. It may mean a radical shift in taking responsibility for ourselves - why not start with the pleasures of filling your tank.
We owe it to ourselves, our family and community to keep our tank full! High octane full. No excuses. Take care of your prana and flow! Share with me what fills you up. If you need ideas - especially in the meditation, self-massage, and yoga department, ask your teachers. (or e-mail me) Your prana feeds my prana. We fill each other up! Enjoy! You are worth it! We are worth it! #goloveyourself
Let’s grow up fellow Americans - Playground banter won’t help!
Why are we getting sucked into this immature playground banter? Are we so weak we need to feed our egos with the tweets, Facebook posts, speeches just to affirm that “we are right - you are wrong”? We must get off the playground. This is real life and there are serious issues to consider. And the 5th grade “I must have the last word or I will lose” mentality is distracting us from learning the facts, forming intelligent opinions and taking a selfless stance on our principles. I believe we are (or at least we can be) more mature than this. I believe for the sake of our country and our communities we must be more mature than this. None of us, individually or as a group, need the last word! Our energies should not be wasted on this nonsense - we must direct it to creative problem solving which will only happen when our countrymen come together.
Emily Post said that etiquette stems from three values; consideration, respect and honesty.
That’s all it takes! When we stop feeding the banter and start feeding real communication that is based on consideration, respect and honesty then we will get somewhere.
Consideration in communication looks like curiosity and listening - considering one’s past experiences, knowledge and circumstances. Consideration is not spouting one’s own opinion and leaving it at that. It’s a woven tapestry of ideas among two or more people - colorful, rich and with texture.
Respect goes deeper than politeness - it’s being polite with sincerity. Believing that their worth, opinions, experiences, knowledge and circumstances may be just as important, just as meaningful and just as worthy as ours.
Honesty is more than truth telling and spouting facts. Honesty is considering the facts, considering events in history, considering our own experience and how it all fits into this complicated puzzle. It’s thoughtful reflection based on facts and experience.
When did we become a society that needs to have the last word to be the winner? It’s playground mentality. Let’s get off the playground or change the game. Let’s be curious so we can grow, expand to a place of compassion, understanding and creativity. If we continue to argue, like/dislike, share, retweet the banter we agree with, then we promote and perpetuate small narrow-minded thinking. Solutions will be postponed and solutions will be difficult. We must use the differences, the discomfort and the curiosity to create healthy expanded forums. When we welcome creative ideas and push ourselves to grow and expand, accept differences - not as lesser but as equals - then our society will grow and expand with forms of solutions, agreements and policies that are more creative than any one individual could conceive and achieve.
We all see a gap among our fellow Americans. It’s being perpetuated by this ego building playground banter. Until we set aside the ego and “getting in the last word” mentality then the gap will only widen. This is based on fear - maybe it’s fear of government control, fear of the top 1% control, fear for the health of our planet, fear of our guns being taken away, maybe it’s fear of our loved ones being shot, fear of losing healthcare or reproductive rights, or maybe it’s fear of government control of healthcare. We do have much to fear. But wallowing in fear, bantering without listening will not help us rise above the fear to find solutions based on consideration, respect and honesty. The fear will eat us alive if our energy continues to focus on these fears and then we are losing solutions. Let’s change the focus to creative, collaborative solutions.
I beg of you, my friends, let’s get off the playground and grow up. Let’s move past the banter, the “I’m right and you’re wrong” dialogue. Let’s create something beyond our limited beliefs, beyond our limiting fears and beyond our wildest dreams! Let’s create a new way to think for ourselves while at the same time considering and respecting the opinions of others. Let’s create productive dialogue that leads to creatives solutions. The time is now to be vigilant, protect our freedoms and promote the welfare of our society together as one.
How do we do this? How do you rise above the playground banter? How do we help right the ship and move to a direction of unity? I have come up with a couple of things that I am adding to my day and I will share them with you - if you wish me to. Where am I going to improve:
My answer so far is to love more, learn more and apply more.
I can love more. Martin Luther King Jr. once said how grateful he was that God didn’t say he had to like his enemies; he only had to love them. So the first step I am taking is to consciously choose to love those who are the hardest to stomach. I don’t have to like them, I don’t have to agree or accept their actions. I do have to love them. I can pray for them just as I pray for myself and my family. After all, all people are part of my extended family. I can ask for love in my heart and understanding. This is the highest form of faith I believe.
Secondly, I will study civics and the art of debate. I didn’t have these courses in school and many scholars today believe this has been reason for our lack of effective communication and our lack of appreciation of the design of our democracy. Join me and let’s study them together. This will support progress conversation and ideas within our society.
Lastly (for now) I am studying how the principles of yoga can be applied to politics. I believe that all life principles can be applied not only to us as individuals but also families, communities, businesses, cities, states, countries. Yoga is brilliant, fascinating, vast way of thinking and living that incorporates life principles in a challenging way that is non-threatening. I will explore that more and share my thoughts.
What else, how else can we raise the bar, reawaken, take back our democracy so it’s of the people, by the people and for the people?
Share with me your ideas, thoughts, suggestions, please. I would love to listen. Your thoughts, opinions and ideas are safe with me!
I am thankful everyday. I have so much for which to be thankful. In November 2016 I can choose to be thankful or choose to worry. I choose to be thankful. I choose to be a peacemaker. I choose to stay informed, active, gentle and kind.
I am thankful...
…because more US citizens are more actively involved in learning, discussing and participating in our political process,
…because we have been enlightened a little more about the differences of beliefs that so many people have,
…because I have choices - a choice to be part of the solution or to be part of the problem,
…because I have a creator, our world has a creator - a Divine presence - that has blessed each and every one of us with free will, amazing spirit and unlimited love!
Like many, I too have been struggling this past week with fears and doubts. Ultimately, my struggle is with myself because I am generally a positive person who believes that truth, love and peace can and will prevail. This has caused deep reflection within as to why my reaction was so severe with distraught and fear - the very things I thought I had voted against.
I have read and listened to countless responses regarding this week's election results. I have been hungrily searching for validation, hope and things that make sense. So many responses were beautiful, compassionate, intelligent and helpful as I tried to digest my feelings and come to terms with my visceral reactions. Finally, I found one that spoke to my spirit of Truth - the spark in me that I want to keep lit. It’s entitled Daily Practices for Peacemakers by Deepak Chopra, M.D. It's helpful because it's hopeful but also because it's something simple that I can DO that WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE. WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. I hope it speaks to you, too.
Namaste my friends! Let's be peacemakers together. We are in this together!
This meditation is one way that I settle down when things can get a little crazy. I also use it when I am short on time. It is inspired by Aadil and Mirra Palkhivala of Purna Yoga. To go directly to the meditation skip to 1:30.
You are enough. Do you believe it? You should! You are enough. I am enough, too. It can be tough to believe because our usual inner dialogue may sound something like: “I am not smart enough, rich enough, skinny enough, strong enough, funny enough, serious enough” or "I don’t have enough time, enough money, enough friends, enough fun, enough work, enough free-time.” I get tired thinking about what my inner dialogue thinks about!
I like affirmations because our brain is wired to think critically (such as the thoughts described above). Dr. Rick Hanson says that our brain is like velcro to the bad and like teflon to the good. See his Taking in the Good, program here Apparently, it was a matter of survival for our cavemen ancestors say the neuroscientists. But we don’t need so much negative self talk anymore. What we focus on expands. Re-read the negative statement in italics above. Did you feel your heart rate go up, a knot in your stomach or start to feel bad? I did. That’s because if we naturally focus on the negative, critical thoughts - the bad experiences and bad judgments will expand - in our bodies and in our environment. The good news is we can change it. So let’s change it! We have that option.
It’s this easy: just think and feel affirmations (positive and in the present tense) then we will re-wire our habitual thinking and we will experience life in a better and freer way. Go get a piece of paper or your journal write it down right now. I am enough, I have enough time, …imagine yourself this way and feel it! Dr. Hanson says this is key to re-wiring the brain!
Mantra: I am enough!
I love this poem by Tosha Silver:
For those who so oddly thought they weren’t enough
- Please change me
- Divine Beloved
- into One who can feel
- wildly open to receiving
- Let me know my own
- value, beauty
- and worthiness
- without question
- And let me allow others
- the supreme pleasure
- of giving to me.
- O let me know how to receive
- in every possible way!
- Pelt me with miracles
- like rain soaking a
- cracked desert floor.
- Caress my soul
- with Your grace.
- Steep me in Your Love
- like peaches in wine.
- melt my heart
- Melt my heart
- Melt my heart
- Change me into One
- who can forgive
- so I may carry Your Light
- with full abandon.
- Let me accept myself in every
- possible way
- for I am utterly
- Your- Very- Own.
There's a Chinese proverb that says, "Happy spine, happy life." That's true but I also think "Happy feet, happy life!" Give your feet a dose of happiness by following along with this video.
You will need bare feet, a towel to protect your clothing and furniture, some sort of lotion or coconut oil and willing hands. Love those feet and enjoy!
Hello smiling friends,
I am excited for this amazing online food summit starting tomorrow.
What's an online summit? It's a virtual conference or discussion by the researchers and pioneers in a particular field of study. It's on the internet and easily accessible to anyone like us so we can learn. And it's FREE! The experts are brought together to this summit, interviewed and then recorded so that anyone who is interested can listen and watch the interview.
There's no catch, no obligation at all - (sometimes your email address may be added to the experts guest list - but you always have the option to "unsubscribe"). I have joined about a dozen summits in the past year or so. I never listen to all the interviews. I just pick and choose the interview and/or expert that intrigues me the most. Usually the videos are available for a day or two and then expire. I just make sure I take detailed notes. A new batch of 3-4 videos are accessible for free and then they expire - so on and so on until the Summit is over (usually they last about a week). If you really like them and you want to buy the recordings then you can listen at your convenience anytime forever.
2000 years ago, Hippocrates famously said,
"Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food."
Let's learn together what he meant by that. It's a little more complicated today but we have the advantage of all these amazing experts' wisdom right at our fingertips.
I am excited to share this Food Summit with you because it's got many of the experts that I read and follow on a consistent basis. If you decide to join in and listen, I would love to hear from you! Who did you listen to? What did you learn? Did you like it?
Let food be thy medicine!
I believe that giving thanks in the form of prayer before mealtime, before preparing a meal, before anything really is extremely important. This practice of gratitude keeps me grounded and happy. For the past few years I have adopted the habit of saying a little prayer of thanks for my feet and legs when I hop out of bed; for the clean accessible water when I shower; for the nutritious and abundant food before I eat; for the fantastic students that I teach; and for my amazing friends and family before we gather. This little habit has resulted in giant shifts of my experiences. For that I am grateful too!
I am grateful for Mother Earth for providing wonderful minerals and vitamins! Here's my Magic Mineral Broth for this week cooking over the flame - Yum!
Our Earth is in trouble…..Each of us can help. How? Say NO to plastic!
Plastic is poisoning our bodies and choking our planet. Each of us needs to take radical responsibility to help ourselves, the lakes, rivers, oceans and the air we breathe.
We made this mess and we must get us out! One less plastic bag, plastic container, plastic item at a time.
Say No to plastic! The U.S. alone throws out 88,000 TONS of plastic every DAY!
Click to watch this Jeff Bridges video from the The Plastic Pollution Coalition.
Get educated and then make some good decisions at the grocery store and in your home...your life...the planet's life...our lives.
We owe it to ourselves, we owe it to our Earth! Let’s keep it healthy!
I am thankful for the beautiful Earth!