Friday, January 31, 2014

Choosing Love

"Am I passing on my suffering? Or am I choosing love? I can either be hopeful in this moment with this person or I can make them suffer."

"Just be mindful for one day in every conversation of whether you pass on pain or love, in everything you do, whether you pass on hope or pain. Whether you ask for salt in a restaurant, in the tone you use, how you speak to a waitress, whether or not you open a door for anybody. In everything you do, whether you are passing on hope or pain. And whether you feel entitled to pass on your pain, how you rationalize that because you're in pain, and you just think you deserve it." --Carolyn Myss, "Navigating Hope"

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


"Experience is not what happens to you; it's what you do with what happens to you." -Aldous Huxley

Friday, January 24, 2014

"This Above All:"

As I get to know myself better, I learn more and more about my motivations for doing things. Sometimes, I do things just so other people will like me. Which is crazy! Oh my gosh, that's nuts that I do that; people are going to have their opinions of me no matter what I do, so I can relax and just be myself. I can do things if I want to do them and then if other people like me, great! And if not, also great!

But hey, I'm not perfect, this is a process. And this week, I did something not because I wanted to but because I wanted the other party involved to like me. I noticed what I was doing, but I did it anyway. This morning, my Al-Anon book, Courage to Change had something really nice to say about my little process:

"I will dare to be myself. I may be tempted to paste a smile on my face even though I'm angry, in order to please another person. When turning down an invitation, I may want to make excuses so that nobody will be hurt. I may be inclined to cancel plans that I care about without protest, because a loved one prefers to stay home and I don't want to make waves. These may be perfectly acceptable choices, and I may opt for any or all of them. But today I will be honest with myself as I do so--I will not pretend to feel what I do not feel or to want what I do not want. I can only learn to love myself if I am willing to learn who I am."

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

"I am in a Healing Pattern."

The other day, I went to the Doctor of Oriental Medicine for my annual check-up. I learned a lot of cool stuff and got some pretty deep chiropractic adjustments too. Since my visit, I've been tired, I took two naps on Saturday and the yoga I've been doing has been mellow. I realized at some point that I'm in a healing pattern. My visit to the doctor turned on my parasympathetic nervous system, and with that, other curative systems are in place.

You don't have to go to the Doctor of Oriental Medicine to get into a healing pattern. When you notice your thoughts and decide not to believe them, or when you notice your breath and decide to slow it down, when you take a bath, or when you lay down on your yoga mat to feel how your body feels, you can start a healing pattern. And when you acknowledge you're in a healing pattern, that bolsters the pattern. My mantra for the past few days has been: "I'm in a healing pattern. I'm in a healing pattern."

Today, when Smokey was off leash and got closer than I've ever seen him get to the road, I left the healing pattern. My sympathetic nervous system got turned on and my heart rate went up. But he came when we called and eventually, I came back to my healing pattern too. I came back by doing Rhythmic Breathing; Rhythmic Breathing is easy, and it cleanses and balances the nervous system.

You can do it too: start by taking a deep breath in and a full breath out and then inhale for the count of 4, hold your breath in for the count of 4, exhale for the count of 4 and then hold your breath out for the count of 4 before breathing in again to the count of 4 and so on... As you keep practicing, you can increase the counts as much as you would like, up to 15. Just make sure your count is the same for your inhale, exhale and each retention.

See! You're in a healing pattern too.

Friday, January 17, 2014


"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." -Albert Einstein

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Don't Take Anything Personally

Ok, kids, time to own it, somebody (it's me!) has been feeling a little sensitive lately. I'm a sensitive person, and I believe that sensitivity is a good thing; it's even a feeling we affirm in B.E.S.T. And I am grateful for my sensitivity, I think of it as a map pointing me towards what works for me and away from what doesn't.

There's a difference between being sensitive and taking things personally though, and lately, I've been taking things personally.  So today, I took a little refresher course on The Second Agreement from The Four Agreements, which is: "Don't Take Anything Personally."

Don Miguel Ruiz says, "Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. All people live in their own dream, in their own mind; they are in a completely different world from the one [you] live in. Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you."

But wait! It gets better, "Whatever people do, feel, think, or say, don't take it personally. If they tell you how wonderful you are, they are not saying that because of you. You know you are wonderful. It is not necessary to believe other people who tell you you are wonderful. Even the opinions you have about yourself are not necessarily true; therefore, you don't need to take whatever you hear in your own mind personally."

For reals guys, if we can't believe everything we think, we certainly can't believe everything or anything anybody else thinks.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Remember to Feel Optimistic

The last time I had a B.E.S.T. treatment, I got only one word: "optimistic." You guys may think I'm a already an optimist, but actually, I'm not. Alcoholism and depression run in my family, and when you're in a family with these tendencies, but you're not sad or on the sauce, chances are you may be a worrier or have trust issues. Or maybe both (like me!).

Since getting the word optimism from my B.E.S.T. treatment, I've caught myself a few times assuming that no one's going to show up, imagining someone's mad at me, or that it will all end in disaster. When I catch myself not feeling optimistic, I try to "erase that thought" and remember optimism. One definition of "optimistic" is hopeful and confident about the future. My teacher Jen says that when we're optimistic we're always expecting God.

Don't get me wrong, expectations can be tricky, but if you're going to have them, at least let them be good ones.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Mind a Rest

A while back, I made a little note for myself that said, "Today, I'm going to give my mind a rest." I ended up taking a picture of that little note and putting it up on Instagram. I remember that day I was feeling particularly anxious and troubled about this one thing. I kept that little note in a place where I could see it for most of the day, and every time I saw it, I did my best to not focus on what was troubling me, but rather on what was happening around me.

Upon seeing this little note, my Instagram friend mslennywilliams proclaimed, "Teach me, teacher!" Ok, mslennywilliams, I'll do my best. Excellent proclamation and you've made me think about what and how to "give my mind a rest," so thank you! I don't know about you, but I can be obsessive. I can think myself into a frenzy, and quite often, I do. Usually, I'm obsessed about one thing at a time; thank goodness it's not more than one thing.

Recently I was convinced that a good friend of mine was really mad at me. I didn't want her to be mad at me anymore, but I was also afraid to call her because I was scared by just how mad at me I thought she was. I thought about this all of the time. Yep, all of the time, until I decided that I didn't want to think about it all of the time anymore. Now, just because I decided I didn't want to obsess about it anymore does not mean I was ready to call my friend. So I "Gave it to God." Every time I started thinking about my little conundrum, I stopped myself with the thought, "I'm going to let God be in charge of that one." And I kept letting God be in charge of that one until one day I woke up and I felt ready to call her. You're going to love this mslennywilliams, my friend wasn't mad at me, not at all.

That's all I got: give to God each thing you want to give your mind a rest about. Maybe there's an action that will follow. If so, do that action the best you can, and if there's not an action, just keep giving it to God. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Sending love your direction, old friend.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Strong In Your Roots

I forgot to tell you guys that I had my first tomato plant over the summer. It actually worked! I watered it almost every day and when I was out of town, my friend Doug watered it, and then, in September, bada boom, bada bing, there were tomatoes on it! For eating! Speaking of tomatoes, this was no small potatoes for me. Before I moved to New Mexico, I had not yet been a successful parent to a house plant. In September, when it started to freeze, I would bring my tomato plant inside my tiny apartment to sleep overnight. In the midst of all this fussing, however, I forgot all about my beautiful pink-leaved cactus plant.

My cactus especially means a lot to me, but you wouldn't know it by the way I left it out there in the cold; somehow I thought it was robust enough for the cooler temperatures, but it wasn't. The day I brought my poor frozen cactus in, a dear friend was over and we looked at its roots. In the time that I'd had it, it had grown tall and wide, and all of those tall and wide parts were icy-crisped, but the base of the plant was healthy and green, the roots were strong. I took the scissors to it and cut off a whole bunch.

In the past few months, it has grown back so vital and hearty. It reminds me every single day of the importance of the root chakra. Your root chakra is located at the base of your spine and is in charge of your most basic survival needs as well as your sense of belonging. You can stay strong in your roots by relating to the earth every single day; you don't even have to go on some big nature hike, just feel the ground underneath your feet. Feel the ground underneath your feet no matter what you're doing, and especially when you're eating. If you are actually lucky enough to walk around on dirt, grass or sand on the beach, feel the energy of the earth underneath your feet, the earth has some strong and steady energy and it can help you to feel settled, even when you're moving.