Smudge Your Cute Self

Smudge Your Cute Self

Geez-Louise what a week. I have had personal things go wrong. I have had personal things go real right. I have had professional things go wrong. Then right. Then wrong. All in a week – up and down, down and up. You spin me right round, baby Right round like a record, baby Right round round round ~ Dead or Alive I have been having a difficult time not blaming this roller coaster on Mercury in Retrograde – Ryan (my super cute husband) teases me about this – but between you and me, I am pretty sure that this week’s turbulence is its fault. What to do? What to do? First, I practice (yoga, chanting, Reiki, breathwork, meditation – every damn day) and then I smudge a lot, often multiple times a day. I started the practice as a way to clear my living space, than it moved into my office. I have even been known to do it outside under the watchful gaze of the sun and the moon. I believe that by bringing the smoke of sacred herbs, resins and woods around me I am able to clear my energy field. And so I do. It is a simple ritual that anyone can employ. Many cultures have used the burning of sacred herbs or wood in some form for millennia. Anthropologists believe that the practice of using sacred smoke for medicinal and spiritual practices dates back to prehistoric times. The Native Peoples are known for their use of white sage in medicinal and spiritual practices. At Catholic Church the priest enter the sacristy with Pontifical Incense (a...
15 Years Have Passed

15 Years Have Passed

I think that we can all agree that on September 11th, that heart breaking beautiful day, we awoke to one reality and went to sleep in another. In the fifteen years since, on each anniversary, I always take time to say a prayer and honor those that passed in my own simple ways.  The emotion of that trauma hovers below the surfaces and each year there are tears. I did have a number of friends in NYC that day and many of them worked in the towers – luckily, all of them survived.  Like many, I spent the majority of that day in absolute shock. Calling anyone I could think of to give me information about my loves.  I had just moved to Pittsburgh for graduate school in Library Science of all things – I mean seriously what was my younger self thinking with that? As the Towers fell I thought that I couldn’t have chosen a worse thing to study.  Although it is an of service degree it became immediately apparent to me that it wouldn’t be of service enough. I almost dropped out. The week after 9/11 as I moved through the reality of living near no one I actually knew, I remembered thinking that this is why people go to church.  Church provides instantaneous community and I decided to seek out a yoga studio to help me deal with the trauma of my changed reality. Although I had been practicing for years already, my practice wasn’t deep, and I decided to make it so. I decided to practice daily and to use Yoga as way to...
The practice of Restorative Yoga and its power to restore you

The practice of Restorative Yoga and its power to restore you

I found my way to Restorative Yoga several months into my battle with chronic fatigue. Up till then, I loved power yoga and had a type-A grip on my daily practice.  As my illness progressed, I began to recognize that my practice was depleting me rather than supporting me. At the time I held the notion that Yoga had to be taxing to truly constitute a practice.  Rest at the end, work-it the rest of the time. In order to shift to a truly Restorative Practice the first thing I had to do was broaden my definition of Yoga.  Not the easiest of shifts for me. But one that as I transitioned through it began to inform my current beliefs around Yoga, its practice, and its teaching. Interweaving a Restorative Pose into your daily life is a powerful form of self-care. Although the object is always a supported rest the poses can require as little as a blanket to as many as twenty props per student. Like other forms of Yoga there is a vast array of postures that may be practiced.  The trick is having enough props and enough help to ensure each student’s comfort.  The more elaborate the pose the more time required by the teacher to assist the student. This is a labor intensive style of teaching and one where the devil rests squarely in the details. Recently I was honored to teach a segment on Restorative Yoga for the University of Maryland Medical Center’s 500-hr Teacher Training (TTY). I focused my portion of the TTY on postures that required a minimum of six props to...

Resolution versus Intention

Miracles do happen. Grace does occur. But more often than not, change, transformation and growth require baby steps – many, many, baby steps. I love the turning of the New Year. It always seems that there has been a reset on a grand scale. The coming months somehow spread out and seem fresh. Time seems abundant and hope is high. New Years resolutions stream through the world, and the people run forth to the new dawn resolved to: read more books, exercise, eat better, loose weight, volunteer more, etc. For a while gyms become packed, yoga classes cram mat to mat, volunteer organizations field numerous requests, 52 new books are bought and then mid-February hits. The newness begins to wane, and for the majority, there is complete fallout. Over the years I have had a lot of resolutions blow-up, how about you? Rather than setting resolutions, I now think more about setting an intention. These words are often used interchangeably, they seem so similar, but there meanings are meaningfully different. After so many years of failed resolutions I now choose to start my New Year not by what I am resolved to do but what I intend to do. To feel the energetic difference between resolution versus intention, say the following two statements out loud with your eyes closed: I resolve to practice yoga regularly. I intend to practice yoga regularly. They create a different feeling, right? Just like wanting change and choosing change: I want to change. I choose to change. Here are my intentions for the coming year: Be better in all areas of my life and...

Elderberry Syrup

I love Elderberry Syrup. In the fall and winter I take it daily to boost my immune system and ward off the sniffles and flu. It’s an old elixir and as an added bonus, it happens to be delicious. The first time I heard about Elderberry Syrup was several years back when I had a never ending cough. My friend Jenny who owns Zensations by Jen suggested I try it. Although I believe in the power of herbal and traditional medicines Elderberry Syrup caused a “WOW!” moment for me. It made an almost immediate difference and it felt soothing to take it. By the way, Science agrees. Elderberry has been studied. There are resources listed below if you want to read more about it in the medical literature. Recently I started playing with making my own medicinal tinctures and syrups. I now make Elderberry Syrup for myself. It’s a simple recipe and requires minimal effort. Plus, when you are done it is yum. 2 ounces of Dried Elderberry – Sambucus Nigra 1 quart of water 1 cup local honey (LOCAL!) Additional herbs: Whole Cardamom and Cinnamon Sticks Healing Prayer Bring the quart of water to a boil. Add 2 ounces of Dried Elderberry and reduce heat to a simmer. Add additional herbs. Reduce liquid by half. Strain. Return liquid to pan and stir in honey, as you stir, say a healing prayer over the syrup. Store in a sterilized jar. Refrigerate. It should stay good for about 9 months as long as it is stored properly. *I take 2 teaspoons once a day. Its my night time ritual and...

Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease

Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease vs. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome At the age of 25, I was officially diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. When my doctor told me, my first thought was: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) was the stupidest name for what I was experiencing.  To be honest, I never got over that. I still think that the name is dumb. My battle with CFS lasted for several years. For a time I identified with my illness, I wrapped it around myself like a blanket and slept away my days.  I was a year in before I decided to try to figure a way back out. It was almost two years before I chose to identify more with healing than with my illness. Looking back, that shift in my focus from illness to healing was in many ways a miracle. Someone I loved once gave me a box of darkness. It took me years to realize that this too, was a gift. ~ M. Oliver During the time of healing I learned far more than I lost. I recognize now that the process of healing from CFS was a remarkable teacher.  My illness, in many ways, woke me up to my life. Nearly 15 years since my diagnosis and it turns out that I wasn’t the only one that hated the name Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Recently the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has chosen to reclassify CFS as Systemic Exertion Intolerance Disease.  It may seem silly, but even now, ten years out from my healing, I am glad for that change.   In my healing practice I specialize in helping others find...