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...

Mary Oliver

Whenever I am out moving through a beautiful landscape it is so much easier to feel at ease. There is an abiding peace that happens when I spend time with the waters, the forest, the desert, and everything else in between. Does that happen for you?   The world did not have to be beautiful to work. But it is. What does that mean? Mary Oliver Nature is my personal church. I find it easier to pray if I am outside. Usually I am walking. Sometimes I am dancing. After all, there is always a reason to rock out to the Joyful Song. Last night I listened to several interviews with Mary Oliver – she and Rumi are my most favorite poets. Much of the conversation was based on her love of a walk in the woods, both in reference to exercise and Walden’s beautiful book. Like him, her love of nature resounds throughout her writing.   For an entire year, at the end of every yoga class I read Mary Oliver’s poem Wild Geese. Arguably a repetitive offering to my students. But I often find that there is power by way of repetition. I have certainly seen that power in my personal practice and in my students’ practices. During the course of the following interview she speaks to the the necessity of repetition and rigor in her art. She touches on the many failed attempts and the requirement to keep going, keep doing, keep writing. Plus she recites Wild Geese: Mary Oliver On Being Question: Where have you seen the power of repetition in your own life? To...

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...

Be a Glowworm

I feel as though lately that I light candle after candle. I name individual people, I imagine cities glowing, and I move through life with the taste of blessings continually on my lips. Right now, right at this moment, there seems to be an abundance of fear, anxiety, grief, struggle…To be honest, the energy of the earth’s peoples can be overwhelming and I feel reactive in a way I haven’t for a very long time. But I know my role is not to be angry.  My role is not to harbor ill will. My role is not to join the multitudes that are inadvertently aligning themselves with the darkness. My role, my job, my life’s work,  is to herald the light and to be as bright as possible. When I feel the darkness most, I remind myself  of my work. I interweave light practices into my teachings. I align with the light daily and I make a point of offering the light out. I believe that it is important it to become as light as possible, to literally: make of ourselves a light, as Buddha counseled.  There are so many simple ways to up our vibrations and glow just a wee bit more. We are all worms but I do believe that I am a glowworm. ~Robin Williams The more of us that are light the lighter the world will become. After all, we all ONE. It is we who are the universe. But remember:  You cannot be high vibration and exhausted at the same time. That is like being anxious and relaxed, which is physiologically impossible.  Treat yourself,...

What choices are you making?

I believe that there is a huge difference between choice and habit. Making a choice, also known as a decision, requires presence, awareness, and discernment. Habit is a default setting. Habit is you on repeat. Habit, is your foot on the gas while you are asleep at the wheel. We become what we repeatedly do. Sean Covey Since most of our daily behaviors are habituated we stay on our track, comfortable with the familiar. Humans dislike discomfort and when I say dislike I mean HATE, humans hate discomfort. It doesn’t matter one lick if the habit is helping or hurting you, I guarantee you that even your baddest, darkest, ickiest habit is comfy like a perfectly worn pair of jeans. So many people desire change. They want it so badly they can taste it. They yearn for it. Yet they run their day exactly as they did the day before. Each habit bolstering the track they are on. They get to the point where even the desire to change becomes habituated. How many friends do you have that are talking about creating the same changes in their lives that they were embarking on a decade ago? Life is a series of choices. Each choice leads to the next, a chain reaction that starts in the past and impacts our future. Minor choices, major choices, and all the choices in between create ripples of impact, ripples of possible change. Repetition is not failure. Ask the waves, ask the leaves, ask the wind. Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening. The simple truth is that when we change it is going to...

Change, Transition, Growth

I teach about change a lot.  I have a workshop (In Transition) dedicated to its power. I push my students to transform themselves and step out of their comfort zones.  And at this moment, I am being schooled on how much change, even when it is positive and kick-ass, is uncomfortable.  Frankly, change is hard. Changing is not for sissies. Currently I am mid move (state-to-state). I am packing 3,000 square feet of living and studio space.  I am shifting my business, letting go of my beautiful studio, and transitioning from brick and mortar to: traveling as a teacher, writing my second book, and working with clients online. I was recently and joyfully engaged to my longtime love. A new member of my family was born . My best friend just had twins. I published my first book and with its printing finished a project I had worked on for eleven years. Things are definitely different and in FLUX to say the least. Change is gonna come, like the weather They say forever, they say ~ M. Gray     It is times like these, even though I would prefer to eat pizza, brush my teeth with coffee, and drink martinis straight and dirty, that I have to be the most diligent about my practice, my diet, and my sleep.  That is because when my stress gets high my nature shifts and I am ready to GO. In times like these I have to rein in my own intensity. I have to actively stop myself from going into overdrive.  Otherwise my ass would be up at 3am jumping like...