Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Because, I'm Worth It!

I used to be a NPC/IFBB Fitness Competitor, that is to say, I used to do really mean things to my body all for the sake of getting a panel of judges to think that I was more fit than the girl standing next to me. I have run miles on a torn hamstring, performed one-armed push-ups on a torn rotator cuff, denied myself water for days, carbs for weeks, taken diuretics prescribed to someone else and number of other supplements, enhancers and of course pain killers just to get though it all. I have gotten up before dawn, and stayed up passed midnight just to train. I once even had to pass through a sobriety check point on the way home from the gym after a late training session; it must have been time for the bars to close, the only bars I had seen that night had weights on them and started at 45lbs. I have dieted to the point of loosing my menstrual cycle (imagine my surprise when I found myself pregnant during one such phase!) and then during the off season I bulked up, just to diet down again.

I stopped competing, for obvious reasons, when I was pregnant with my daughter and then for other reasons after she was born. I have not “worked out” or “dieted” in five years. I still eat pretty clean but I don't beat myself up over ice cream. I practice yoga regularly and I run when I feel like it, which isn't very often, I go on long bike rides with my husband and short ones by myself. I don't think I can do a one-arm push up anymore but I can do side crow. All and all I would say that I am healthier now then I ever was as a spokes person for exercise and nutrition.

So why can't I get over the guilt?

I hurt my foot showing off in a yoga class about six or eight weeks ago. Feet and toe injuries are kinda like rib injuries, you can't do anything for them but wait it out, and as I discussed in an earlier post, patience is no friend of mine. So the healing process is taking longer than it should. It feels fine most of the time, but if I practice yoga it throbs for days, running is out of the question and when I wore heels to a dress fancy event the other day I almost died for fashion. And so, I have been taking a needed/deserved break from anything that involves standing. It's been two days... and I have enough guilt to start my own religion.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we not take the care we deserve, the help we need, the rest we require? To whose standard am I trying to live up to? There is no panel of judges in my life. No point system, no list of required skills I must perform in order to prove myself worthy. Julia Roberts in the film adaptation of Liz Gilbert's book Eat, Pray, Love said that she was thru with the guilt and she was just going to buy a bigger pair of jeans! And as soon as my foot feels up to a walk through the mall I just might have to do that! In the mean time, I will have to make like a L’Oreal commercial and affirm that “I'm worth it”.

Monday, September 24, 2012

With the Power of Thought... WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD

I’m a girl so naturally I cry, a lot. I cry about spilled milk, water under the bridge, bad hair cuts, SPCA commercials, savasana, Disney films, etc... Add a glass of wine to this mix and I am a veritable pile of emotional mush.

It is for this reason that I don't watch the news. They say that if you are not pissed off, then you are not paying attention. And this is true. I choose to not live my life in a state of pissed off so purposely I remain in my state of ignorance is bliss. This is not to say that I am dumb, or uniformed. I gather information regarding relevant current events from a number of unbiased and reputable sources and of course, because sometimes you have to laugh about it so you don't cry about it, the Daily Show with John Stewart. But I do not watch the local tally of how many people killed each other in my neighborhood, or accounts of local idiots who were surprised to find their cars up trees after running a red light while text messaging their ex for a drunk booty call (this actually recently happened in my neighborhood).

This morning however the news found me. During the commercial break of my favorite cooking show a preview for the evening news aired telling of a story about a woman who killed first her two young boys and then herself. Not a common story but certainly not an unusual one. This story hit me, and it hit me hard. I was instantly teary and the well of emotion rose and gained strength as the words of the newscaster echoed in my mind for the next few moments. I found myself sobbing with grief over people I had never met, and the state of the world today.

I have recently heard of a study that was done in Washington DC, about the power that thoughts have. A group of a hundred people gathered and meditated on positive thoughts every day for a month. The amazing results of this experiment was that with in that month the crime rate in Washington DC went down by 20%, in the month immediately after the crime rate instantly rose back to the higher rate. I would like to ask that everyone focus on positive thoughts. Stop watching TV aimed at making you angry, stop paying attention to all that is negative and instead focus on the blessings in your life. Count them one by one each moment of each day. Be grateful for the small things and give no attention to that which is not positive. Perhaps if enough of us meditate on positive thoughts we can change the world.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Balance and Blessings

Mabon, or the Autumn Equinox, reminds us to find peace in balance and to count our blessings. I have always loved the Spring Equinox above all other holy days, for I grew up in a place where longer days were a thing to rejoice!

In the Pacific Northwest during the fall and winter months the sun can go down as early as 4pm, add to that the fact that the sun never really comes out at all and you have a recipe for a serious vitamin D deficiency also known as Seasonal Effective Disorder. Living in the dark can make you feel dark and the coming of spring always gave me a overwhelming feeling of relief.

However, for the last few years I have been living in either a desert (Phoenix has summer temperatures up to 120*) or in the sub-tropics (Costa Rica and Florida where it's not the heat it's the humidity, but it's still pretty freakin' hot, so it's the oppressive heat!). And so I find myself with an overwhelming feeling of relief for the coming of fall.

Equal parts night and day, dark and light, spring and fall, there is balance in the universe and so there shall be in my life!  

I am grateful for the summer rain that has made my world juicy with life.
I am grateful for the warm sun's rays which have kissed my skin with a healthy glow.
I am grateful for the heat that drove us into the healing salt water bath of the Gulf waters.
I am grateful for the summer storms that lit up the sky with awe inspiring light displays.
I am grateful for the safe shelter (aka: central air conditioning unit) of my home!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Metta: a Practice in Loving-Kindness

Metta is a word that means loving-kindness. When we practice Metta we bring loving-kindness into our lives and the lives of others. The following is a Metta meditation that I like to do either as a quiet seated meditation or along with my yoga practice.

Think of people that you are close to, loved ones, family, friends... as you picture each one look them in the eyes and say, “I wish you peace, joy and happiness”.

Think of people with whom you have a casual acquaintance, co-workers, neighbors, yoga teachers... as you picture each one look them in the eyes and say, “I wish you peace, joy and happiness”.

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. Breath in their love for you, breath out your love for them.

Now think of people for whom you have dis-like or have had a temporary misunderstanding with... as you picture them, look them in the eyes and say, “I wish you peace, joy and happiness. I have no ill thoughts or feelings toward you and I know that you have no ill thoughts or feelings toward me”.

If YOU want to be happy, practice compassion. Breath in their forgiveness of you, breath out your forgiveness of them.

Think of all the people in the world, those you have not yet had the pleasure of meeting... as you picture the worlds population, those with similar and different views from you on politics, religion, money... picture each person on earth as if they were a reflection of you. Look at yourself with in that reflection and say, “I wish you peace, joy and happiness”.

Look at yourself, see yourself as you are today, in this moment. Say to yourself, “I wish you peace, joy and happiness”. Repeat the word “metta” to yourself for as long as you need.

Remember to carry this feeling of loving-kindness with you as you go out into the world today.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Diet Advice for Your Soul

Many years ago I worked as a nutrition counselor. My clients were those wanting to learn healthy eating habits in order to loose weight. When they would come to me with their craving dilemmas I frequently gave the following two pieces of advice: when a craving for (insert bad for you food here) hits you, #1. go brush your teeth. It is unlikely that you will still want the taste for (above craving) when your mouth is minty fresh. We are all familiar with the bad combination of a freshly clean mouth and orange juice! #2. if #1 fails, follow up with a cup of tea, not only can the preparation of a cup of tea distract you from your boredom (big-time contributor to food cravings), but filling your belly with hot tea can make you feel as full and nourished as if you had had a meal there-by eliminating the need for a snack.

Recently I have found that these two bits of wisdom can be transferred to dealing with unhealthy thoughts.

When you are faced with brooding thoughts of (insert negative bad-for-you feelings here) go wash your face, take a shower or better yet a candle lit bubble bath. This cleansing act can help refresh your mind by literally washing away the negative energy. And, I am pretty sure it is scientificly impossible to be in a bad mood while you are soaking in sweet smelling suds.

For super duper thunder clouds of (above thoughts) for which the above alone cannot solve, drink tea. Not only are there many herbal tea remedies for boosting a bad mood (ie: St. John's Wart) but tea, and the making there of, in and of itself, can be very uplifting. There is no trouble so great or grave that cannot be much diminished by a nice cup of tea. ~Bernard-Paul Heroux.  

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Red Doughnuts


This is a course in miracles. It is a required course. Only the time you take it is voluntary. Free will does not mean that you can establish the curriculum. It means only that you may elect what you want to take at a given time...

I have been studying the Course in Miracles, or rather I have been listening to the CRASH Course in Miracles pod-casts hosted by my beloved most favorite yoga teacher in the whole wide world, Philip Urso (, because, as I disclosed in an earlier post, I have not quite developed a strong enough relationship with patience to read through the 500+ pages and lessons; and this is what I have learned so far: I have issues with the word god, and my “red doughnut” is delicious and cozy.

First my issues with god. Even though my god is that bright shiny thing in the sky that gives us light, warmth, life and protection from all the scary night predators, when someone says the word god I can not help but think of that imaginary white haired bearded man in the sky and I cringe inwardly at the audacity of all that he implies. I do not have any tragic fear inspiring memories associated with the church. For all intents and purposes I grew up rather agnosticly. The reasons for the involuntary flinch that occurs in me each time I hear it uttered may require some investigation... more on that later.

Right now, I am eating doughnuts. Delicious, warm and soft, food that hugs you, red doughnuts of fear. I mean really, when life gives you doughnuts the only thing that you can do is eat through them, binging on all that greed, lust, suffering, rage and ego until you are so engorged with your own sense of self that the only thing left to do is purge. Stick your finger down your proverbial throat and face the truth. None of that is real. The only thing that is real is love. When you eat through to the other side of the barrier you might even realize that not even your indulgence caused stomach ache is real and all that is left is, well, god... also known as joy, love, spirit, trust, forgiving, peace, wholeness, stillness, knowledge, healing, etc...  

* Photo is from Philip Urso's Crash Course in Miracles which can be hear on iTunes as well as his live recorded yoga classes (my favorite is the floating turds class, don't ask, just listen!)
*PS I did not ask permission to use his photo or his name so I hope he doesn't mind!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


A very good Yogi, Massage Therapist, Reiki Healer, Reflexologist, Cranial-Sacral Goddess friend of mine is fond of quoting old Chinese proverbs saying, “if, and only when, you are ready the right teacher will be presented to you.” My quandary is often I find that I am presented with teachers, and consequently their lessons, that I am not ready to learn. The universe thereby responding by presenting the lesson again and again in some sort of karmic Groundhogs' Day forcing me to re-live similar situations with the same results over and over.

per·se·ver·ance [pur-suh-veer-uhns] 


1. Steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.

2. Continuance in a state of grace to the end.

It would be fair if you were to say that I was a runaway. I have been known to, without much warning, hightail it out of there, and run from any given perceivable to me difficult situation, be it a less than fabulous job, not-so-great relationship, home, etc. You name it, I have quit it.

When I first met my husband 15 years ago I had been in just such a situation where everything that could have, did go wrong; people died, I was shot at, I was homeless (or would have been had it not been for the beautiful angel who let me sleep on her couch), and I was out of money. I had told him that I was buggin' out and goin' home, explaining that there was a very fine line between the Gods testing you, and the Gods sending you clear as a neon sign message that you have made the wrong f*cking choice somewhere along the line and it is time to turn the hell back.

And so my lesson has always been: how do you know where that line is? How do you know the difference between a situation that requires perseverance and the realization that as the Turkish would say “no matter how far you have gone down the wrong road, turn back.”

It is interesting to me that as I looked up the definition of the the word for the purpose of writing this post a second definition was offered. Perhaps I have been asking the wrong question? Perhaps whether or not I can endure is not in question, but maybe the lesson that I have been missing is not just getting through it, but continuance in a state of grace until the end...

I would like to thank my husband for not letting me run away 15 years ago, and if you ever find yourself in the lush mountain top town of Monteverde in Costa Rica do yourself a favor and look up the amazing Karen Gordon at Revive Healing Arts Studio (

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Livin' La Vida Loca

The unlikely yogi, Ricky Martin said, “It is useless to label things as either good or bad. The key is to see everything as a lesson.”

This morning I received news and I find it a difficult effort to not put a label on it. The reality is that I am no worse off than I was before the news and while the news was not exactly what I wanted to hear it is in fact a step in the right direction. I had been expecting this news, or rather some news, and I had tried not to have expectations regarding the news but I would be lying if I said that I didn't have high hopes for the news.

So, what was the lesson, you ask? Well, I haven't figured that part out yet. For now I’m gonna go dance around my living room to some live Ricky Martin tracks and see if he has any other words of wisdom to impart!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mirror, Mirror!

Of all of the lessons that I am learning from tea cups, tarot cards, horoscopes and Buddha quotin' yoga teachers, the one lesson that seems to constantly allude me, is patience. And while I will admit that I am WORLDS better than I used to be, (before living on Tico Time) I still find impatience rearing her ugly head up into the middle of my tranquil yogic life. What is it with instant gratification that we find so, well... gratifying? And not only is it my own impatience that I find to be frustrating, but nothing, and I mean NOTHING, bothers me more than the impatience of others! What is that saying about seeing clearly the faults in others that we don't like about ourselves? Or as a dear friend and old boss of mine used to say “Spot it? Got it!”

Oddly enough idle empty time or what I like to call “the art of doing jack-shit” has no ill effect on me. I can laze around all day, in a hammock, curled in bed with a book, watching complete seasons of a mini-series... you get the point, but just as soon as you add to that equation the idea that I am waiting for something the art is lost and all that is left is the frantic wondering of the when if and how the thing that I am waiting for is going to occur!

My friend Impatience is not pretty or well behaved. And she makes the poor habit of hanging out with the likes of Dependency, Addiction, Vanity, Jealousy, Judgment and Desire; the Seven Dwarfs of my personality. No matter how I strive the be the Fairest Behaved of All these hoodlums just wont seem to leave me alone. They have bullied me into nurturing, caring and feeding them, and they never fail to leave me in their wake with their mess to pick up. Not even my Prince Charming can rescue me from my short-comings, him being one of those frustrating impatient types, no- this is a job for the Evil Queen, ironically enough. Don't look so surprised, she's not really evil, just miss-understood. I mean really, all that “mirror mirror on the wall” stuff was just a metaphor for self reflection.

And so I take my cue from the Queen and look into the magic mirror, also known as, still water: We cannot see our reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see... ~Taoist Proverb.

The Queen teaches me that this waiting time is a blessing, it provides for me the opportunity to learn and grow, to know myself and the Seven Dwarfs better. Perhaps one day I may master the art of waiting, in the meantime I can at least let that trouble-making-no-friend-of-mine know that I am not allowed to play with her until she can behave better!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Take Your Medicine

I have a friend, a fellow yoga teacher, who always says, “yoga is medicine”. But when you are sick the last thing you want is to choke down some cherry or grape flavored spoon full of elixir; and yet just as your mother knew best and forced it down your throat when you needed it most, I am here to tell you that when you don't feel like going to yoga class is when you need it most and even if you feel like you are forcing it down, it will make you feel better.

It is hard to imagine that breathing in, breathing out, bending, twisting, folding, breathing some more, holding chair pose, hows your breathing?, oh my god are we still holding chair?, keep breathing, don't bite your lip!, really! we are still holding chair!?, don't forget to breathe, and Thank GOD! he finally said forward fold... inhale... exhale... could be medicine, but like my favorite yoga teacher says (usually right before asking me to do some Cirque de Sole pose) “imagine the possibilities”. Imagine if you could let all that was bothering you before class roll off of you like sweat on to your mat. Imagine if you could feel the sensation of the burning in your thighs and without making a judgment about it just be. Imagine if you could let go of all that you think you can or can't do and come into crow without fear. And if you could do all of that for the 90 minutes that you spend on your mat, imagine what that could mean for your life when you step off of it.

So, go take your medicine!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Nutty Methods

I have taken to reading my horoscope at the end of the day as to not be influenced by what I may find there. Often times I find that for me, reflection is more valuable than anticipation...

Besides, There are many methods for predicting the future. For example, you can read horoscopes, tea leaves, tarot cards, or crystal balls. Collectively, these methods are known as "nutty methods." Or you can put well-researched facts into sophisticated computer models, more commonly referred to as "a complete waste of time. ~ Scott Adams.

And The best way to predict the future is to invent it. ~ Alan Kay.

but I do read it, being the sucker for good news and motivation that I am.  This is why I love fortune cookies and Yogi Tea. 

There is value in taking note of the planetary alignment.  It is not a good idea to start new projects when the moon is void and when Mercury is in retrograde, however it is also important to remember that the only thing that can trump the stars is human will.  At the end of the day responsibility falls on us.  One cannot simply say that the stars made them do it.  Rather, we should try to succeed even if the stars tell us that it is unlikely.