Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Little Voice


The other day, The Little Voice inside my head told me not to do something and then I did it anyway. A few minutes later, The Little Voice inside my head told me to be careful when I was doing the next thing and I wasn't. An "accident" insued. Everything turned out ok and in the time between the accident and when I knew everything was ok, I was in deep judgement of myself for not listening to The Little Voice, also known as my intuition. My teacher Jen helped me to feel a lot better by telling me something that her teacher Ramesh used to say, "Intuition isn't right or wrong, it just is." "It's not that you didn't listen to your intuition," Jen said, "you just didn't do what it said." And maybe even if I had, what happened would have happened anyway, maybe what happened is my destiny. And maybe that everything turned out ok is my destiny. This learning that I've done around it is definitely my destiny.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

"This is Fun!"



I've been confused about the holidays. I'm not crazy about eating lots and drinking lots. I love giving and receiving gifts, but I don't love the pressure some folks put on themselves to give LOTS of gifts. My mom works in retail and her only day off all season is Christmas Day; to go visit her means to spend just that day with her, a day when I also want her to rest, but that's not up to me. Then there's the whole weather part, which is real, and kinda surreal. All my New York friends have been talking about how warm it is up there! There's a snowflake icon on my phone's weather app for Taos for the rest of the week! Every time I watch TV news "Holiday Weather and Travel" seems to be the headline! Has it always been like this?

I am so happy I know about a website called mysticmamma, I look to it each New Moon and Full Moon and also at the "gateways" that are the change of season. Cathy Pagano, a contributor to mysticmamma, articulates why I've felt confused and helps me find an intention for the last few days of this year. She says, "We mark time with these celestial events, celebrating their symbolic meaning on our religious holy days, although we have commercialized them to such an extent that people no longer look forward to them. Which is a shame since celebrating these celestial changes gives our psyches a chance to let go and move on through celebrating with loved ones, music, food and good cheer."

Eureka! And thank you Cathy P! It is my intention to let my psyche let go this last week and a half of 2015. "This is fun!" will be my mantra.

In the spirit of letting go and relaxing, tipsandtricks will be taking the day off on Friday December 25th, 2015. Happy holidays, and see you next Tuesday!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Deepest Night




Dear Tipandtrickers,

The next time we meet, we'll be on the other side of light.

Winter Solstice is on Monday December 21st at 9:49pm Mountain Time.

One of the many great lessons I've learned from Melody Beattie is to honor our own "Holy Days." Some of us get down with Christmas, some Rosh Hashanah, others Halloween. I've recently taken to calling myself a birthday stalker; for whatever reason, my birthday and other people's birthdays make me so glad.

I can't say exactly why the shortest day of the year is one of my favorite days of the year, but it is. This upcoming deepest night, just like any other change of season or moon phase is an opportunity.

The always inspired Lena Stevens of The Power Path recommends a ritual for this Solstice:

"Make an offering that you can either burn or bury of something written or drawn on a piece of paper folded up. You can add symbolic objects, photos, incense, sage, and decorations. Tie it up or just fold the paper around your offering. Say a prayer where you ask the Spirit of the WEST and Pacha Mama to receive that which you are letting go of, leaving behind and completing on this solstice. Breathe all the energy and emotions connected to your release into your offering and then bury or burn it, releasing it to spirit. Make sure to include great gratitude for all the lessons, wisdom and growth you acquired over the past year. Include forgiveness and compassion for yourself and for others.

Once you do a ritual like this it is important to fill the new space with something fresh and new. You may not know what that is yet, but you can symbolize it with flowers, beauty, love and joy. And for those who do know exactly what you wish to bring in, write it, or draw it and place it on an altar or in a place where you can honor it daily as you move."


Whatever you do or don't do to acknowledge or not acknowledge, I wish you peace.


Love,
Ash

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Another Tipandtrick About Listening


"Most people think when they're listening. You don't need to think of your response. If you're truly listening your answer will happen naturally, organically."--My Teacher Jen

Friday, December 11, 2015

"Learn About Fear"

 
 
"What is needed, rather than running away or controlling or suppressing or any other resistance, is understanding fear; that means, watch it, learn about it, come directly into contact with it. We are to learn about fear, not how to escape from it."--Jiddu Krishnamurti

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Overwhelmed



I used to feel overwhelmed a lot, inundated by all there was to do, and lots of times, not sure how to do it. Thankfully I've learned to ask for help, I've learned about my most productive time of day, I've learned I like lists, and to put one foot in front of the other. This year, so many good things happened, I climbed to the top of San Pedro Volcano and Wheeler Peak, I applied to go back to school to get my masters in counseling and got accepted; big picture stuff. And lots of weird things happened that have never happened to me before, I got A WHOLE LOT of dental work, tipsandtricks dealt with an infringement case and currently, I'm in the process of a manged tax audit courtesy of the state of New Mexico. I moved into a bigger house with a lot more to take care of, I'm teaching teacher training next year, leading a retreat and I want to save energy for the people I love. Thankfully, I was told it's best for me to try and function at 73%. Yes, one foot in front of the other, send the stuff to the accountant, make a list when it's time to make a list, add to it if I got something done that wasn't on it, just so I can cross it off. Feeling overwhelmed is a mix up of small and big pictures; feeling responsible *for* instead of responsible *to.*

"Magic and power don't come from contemplating all that lies ahead, how much needs to be done, all that might go wrong, whether we'll get through. That's fear. We won't find magic and power by denying, escaping, or ignoring our feelings, even feelings of being overwhelmed. Feel what you need to feel. Release it. Go forward in love, one moment at a time." --Melody Beattie

Friday, December 4, 2015

Apparent Setbacks



"You can use apparent setbacks or challenges to propel you forward." --Kay Kamala

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Collaboration



Back when I lived in New York, I went through a short phase where I got into fights with cab drivers. It was during the time I lived in Greenpoint, a place that most drivers didn't seem interested in going. The final straw happened when I was trying to get home from E. 38th St on the evening of my birthday, my favorite day of the year.

Getting in a cab always felt like such a treat, I would relax, sit back and space out. On this particular night, my relaxation came to a screeching halt when I realized my cabbie was taking us on a tour through Queens. When we did finally arrive back at my apartment I refused to pay the entire fare and some nasty words were said.

Talking to my teacher Jen about the incident shortly thereafter, she spoke of collaboration and how sitting in the back seat of a cab is not an opportunity for passivity, but for teamwork. Thankfully, striking this balance ended my chapter of cab driver clashing.

Some of us believe, for some reason, we have to do everything by ourselves, some of us even think that's the only way things get done properly. For me, this belief system and acting it out for many years, created a kind of hangover: I was tired. The net effect of this was often a refusal to participate when things needed my attention.

There's an Al Anon concept that states, "Participation is the key to harmony." It's been a pretty mind blowing practice for me to collaborate in scenarios where I would normally defer, and to ask for support in situations I in which I used to soldier on solo: to think of each meeting with one other person or many other people as a collaboration.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Discipline/Freedom



“The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.”--David Foster Wallace

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Self Care Pouch




My mom and I have a special ritual called "I clean out her purse." Being an unabashed, only slightly recovered neat-freak, I love this ritual; because my mom's purse is supremely unorganized, she does too. Recently during this ritual I discovered my mom had no home for her self-care products. I transferred pens and pencils from one pouch to an inside purse pocket and re-named the old office supply sac the self care pouch. My teacher Ali taught me ages ago to travel with an altar; Ali brings her altar with her wherever she goes. Some of us take the saying "the body is a temple" seriously and for that reason, if none other, a self care pouch is an excellent idea. Your body is with you wherever you go, I say bring along some nice stuff to do for it. My self care pouch has coconut lotion, extra tissues, my favorite lip balm and an essential oil I use with my intentions throughout the day. If you don't use a purse, turn a pocket of your jeans into a self care pouch, or the interior slot in your car's door. By creating self-care systems, we acknowledge the Self that is with us wherever we go.

Friday, November 20, 2015

"Prayer for Our Times"



 From the great leaders at The Power Path, Jose and Lena Stevens about what you can do during these times of fear and confusion:

"Be compassionate towards others who are having a difficult time.
Be generous with your kindness and be accepting of what is (this does not make it right)
Send love, compassion and forgiveness out to anyone who can use it.
Send out an intention to help release the trauma, fear and shock patterns connected with any acts of violence.
Take good care of yourself and your loved ones. Keep your vibration high and be around beauty, inspiration and gratitude."

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Waiting Isn't Just Waiting



Thank goodness for my recent Ayurvedic consultation in which I was told to live life at 73%. 73% is a great way to spend a snow day. Typically in the past I would have been sad that my two clients cancelled and might've felt the need to go into town for some of my errands. Not today. I got 9 hours of sleep last night, it's almost 11 and all I've really accomplished is a little snow shoveling and some car sweeping. That Nature is one of our greatest teachers is not news to me. I wonder why it's taken me so long to get that the seasons are great teachers too. Winter teaches the art of patience and that waiting isn't just waiting.

"We cannot always have what we want when we want it. For different reasons, what we want to do, have, be, or accomplish is not available to us now. But there are things we could not do or have today, no matter what, that we can have in the future. Today we could make ourselves crazy trying to accomplish what will come naturally and with ease later."--Melody Beattie, The Language of Letting Go

Friday, November 13, 2015

For Paris

thank you Jean Jullien for the beautiful image

"Pray without ceasing." --1 Thessalonians 5:16



Tuesday, November 10, 2015

"It's A Privilege"



Recently I took a course on manifesting from the great Elena Brower. I enjoyed it and what she's teaching feels pretty much the opposite of the work I do in Al Anon. For the most part, the other people in the course asked questions about their careers. Some of the students wanted to talk about their anger and others, the school their kid goes to. The questions were great and I got something out of listening to Elena's response, even when it didn't feel like the topic had much to do with me.

In the last five minutes of the 4 week course, someone asked basically "Why Me?" She had the feeling that in some of her relationships, she's the one that tries, she's the one that is doing her work and she's bringing that learning her relationships. Maybe she even felt a little burnt out, like "Why do I always have to be the one...?" Elena didn't pause, "It is not your burden," she said, "it is your privilege." It is a privilege to do any growth work, any healing work, however large or small, and offer that learning, that vibration, to all our relationships, however large or small.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Ordinary People



"We meet no ordinary people in our lives."--C. S. Lewis

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

73%



A few weeks ago my teacher Jen came to visit. She mentioned she wanted to try and sleep as late as she could while on her trip. "I wish I could do that," I said, "I just keep waking up earlier and earlier all the time; there's so much I want to do." She said something about how, according to Ayurveda, one of the best things we can do is not let our ambition interfere with our sleep. "What a nut-job," I thought. The morning is my most productive time. To be honest though, I do wish I could sleep in a little later, at least sometimes.

I visited our local Ayurvedic doctor and she addressed the dissatisfaction I'm having in the sleep department as a pitta imbalance. According to Ayurveda, pitta's main element is fire; pitta controls our digestion, metabolism and energy production. All great things except for in excess. My over-ambition of late had me waking up too early; sure I was getting loads done and basically I was ready to sack out at 5:30pm. Tizia, our local Auyrvedic guru says that she suggests to her pitta clients to try and function at 73%, a still high rate of accomplishment with plenty of time for rest and rebuilding.

It's been funny for me to find out I'll follow pretty much any new rule that comes my way, no matter if it's about working harder or working less. I've been following the new 73% rule to great success, stuff's getting done and it's okay if it's not getting done as quickly. And, very happily, I'm getting more sleep. And I'm still pretty chipper around 7:30pm.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Sometimes...



"Sometimes I go about pitying myself 
And all the while I am being carried across 
the sky 
By beautiful clouds."

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Love Yourself


"Do you like what you are attracting? If not, change yourself." 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Insight



Crush alert on mediator and shaman Elizabeth Clemants. I learned about Elizabeth thanks to my boyfriend Mike, whose love language is telling me about media I would like. Talking about "clearing dark energy" from our system, Elizabeth is open. She says we can go to a shaman to have them clear it out, or we can have coffee with a friend. "How do you get that heaviness out of your system?" she asks, "it's through insight, it's through awareness." I love her answer on this; insight and awareness are things we all have access to, we don't need to pay anyone. We can go for a walk and discover why we feel the way we're feeling, we can call a friend or stay home and be still with ourselves.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

"Karma"



"1. Take into account that great love and great achievement involve great risk.
2. When you lose, don't lose the lesson. 
3. Follow the three Rs: Respect for self...Respect for others...Responsibility for your actions.
4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
6. Don't let a little dispute injure a great relationship.
7. When you realize you've made a mistake take immediate steps to correct it.
8. Spend some time alone every day. 
9. Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good honorable life. Then when you look back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation in your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don't bring up the past. 
14. Share your knowledge, it is the way to achieve immortality. 
15. Be gentle with the earth. 
16. Once a year go some place you've never been before. 
17. Remember the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
18. Judge your successes by what you had to give up in order to get it. 
19. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon."

Friday, October 16, 2015

All of My Years


It's taken me all of my years to learn the way to support our friends and loves ones when they're going through a challenging time in relationship is to support both parties. We do not bolster the support we give our loved one by tearing anyone else down. Our judgement of the other person in our friends' situation, in sneaky little ways, can be judgement on our friend. For sincere and loving support, simply listen to your friend, truly listening is the greatest gift. If you want to offer anything back, reflect back to them what you heard. If your friend asks you for your advice or feedback, there are thousands of ways to give it with love for all involved.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

"You Are On Time"


"Quit wondering, worrying, and blaming yourself for being late. Or worse yet, missing the boat. 'Nothing else in the universe frets about being late. Does the moon ask itself if it's where it should be? Does the sun say, 'I must hurry, else I'll be late?'' a friend asked one evening when I was worrying about not being on time. 

Stare up at the sky on a beautiful moonlit night. Feel the quiet, timeless rhythm of the planets, the moon, the stars, the universe. Know that you're connected, tuned into a deeper rhythm deeper and more secure than all your wondering could imagine. Breath deeply. Relax. Let your pace spring from knowing that inside your heart.

Trust the rhythm of the universe. You are right where you need to be. You'll get where you need to go. You have all the time you need." 

Friday, October 9, 2015

A Judge



"Time will change and even reverse many of your present opinions. Refrain, therefore, awhile from setting yourself up as a judge of the highest matters."--Plato

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Changed My Mind



I love The Artist's Way and have done it a couple times over the years. It's provided much great magic for me, and allowed me to get rigid in some of my thinking. If I remember correctly, Julia Cameron suggests while you're writing Morning Pages, not to read them. This got me into my black-and-white thinking and I've thrown away many notebooks over the years in the name of not reading what I've written. Recently, I changed my mind and re-read a notebook/journal I've been using since May. It's not all Morning Pages, a lot of it is notes I took on the energies, ideas on writing, my Step Work and things I've learned that might be worth sharing. This softening around reading what I'm writing feels more open than my rigid ways of the past and grants me the opportunity to be, what Elena Brower calls, "a student of myself." I'm not a student of myself out of ego or because I'm some great teacher, I am a student of myself so I can do my best to learn what I've learned.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Change Their Minds



"Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything." --George Bernard Shaw

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Good Grief



Thanks to getting older, and my time in Al Anon, I am much comfortable and familiar with the emotion of grief. If grief surfaces, I feel it rather than stuff it down. I feel grief over the loss of a close friendship. Sometimes when things don't work out the way I had hoped, I feel grief for the way things might have been, and sometimes things work out better than I could have imagined. I love fall so much, and the other day, I got sad summer was ending.

I have a friend who doesn't like autumn and really hates it when summer ends. We have a ritual we do together at the change of each season, and on the equinox, I asked her if she was ready. Her way of saying "no" was to say "It's been fall for like one hour!" "Okay," I smiled, "we'll wait til Day of the Dead." She thought that sounded better. When we can joke about being in denial, we aren't actually in denial. And it's more than okay, maybe even good, to grieve. Maybe grief is a quick joke putting off plans or a new way we have to learn to live.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Work Life Balance



I've always enjoyed my alone time and I'm better now about peppering it into my schedule and making the most of it. It's been a full fall so far with the blessing of a family member who moved nearby (Hi Cous!), a visit from my teacher, and now my dad and Dee are in town. I am grateful to have so many people I love in my life who love me and want to come see me. I am realizing though that it is hard for me to have friends and family visiting while I maintain a slightly pared down work schedule. And it's always been challenging for me to take time off while remaining in town. My energy gets frayed more easily when I'm alone less and stuff gets bungled. This morning, trying to get one too many things done on my way to morning class, I locked myself out of my car.

I felt a bit curmudgeonly recently when I told my mom, "I don't think I get as excited as you do for vacations." It's just that I like real life and my routine so much, and although I do need breaks, traveling's da bomb, and I love my visitors, I'm always happy when status-quo returns. Taking little pockets of alone time in the midst of the visitor mix helps. Today I sent my dad and Dee to lunch solo; while they were gone, I did 20 minutes of savasana and wrote tipsandtricks.

It's kinda like balancing your checkbook after each use versus letting a whole bunch of transactions pile up before you deal. Have fun spending and take the time to do the math.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Happy Autumn Equinox


"Decide that this is a magical time and that you are moving into a time frame where anything can happen and whatever happens will support you in ways you cannot imagine. Then go with your faith and trust that it will be so.

If you want to honor the time with a ritual, we always recommend honoring the harvest and doing something around gratitude."

--Lena Stevens, The Power Path 
Update--Fall Equinox

Friday, September 18, 2015

Opportunities



"Each and every experience provides us with another opportunity to respond from the place of the soul or from the unhealed personality."--Angelika Koch

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Practice Being Present




Lately I've been practicing being present with my whole self, with all of the parts that make me who I am, all of my energy; even for the mundane stuff like waiting in line at the grocery store and brushing my teeth. I'm thinking this practice will help me be more fully present for the expected and unexpected super great stuff, and the challenging stuff too. Last night I felt present when Jen and I were on a walk and there were beautiful horses on our left and the brightest rainbow we'd seen on our right.

Friday, September 11, 2015

"What's Your Tell?"/Forgive Yourself


Speaking of Gretchen Rubin's podcast, the other day, they were talking about their "Tells." Kinda the oppositie of a poker face, your "Tell" is a habit or tendency that comes up when you're anxious/nervous/not really feeling like yourself. Gretchen and Elizabeth say it's good to know what your Tell is. Their Tells are binge-watching reality TV and having to re-read the Harry Potter series; neither of which I could relate to. As far as I know, I have two Tells, one is when I can't decide what to wear and change my clothes a jillion times. The other is when I obsess about being wrong, or in trouble, or even generally about what other people think of me. This week, both of my Tells showed up pretty full tilt.

I had the last of a series of big dentist appointments yesterday.

And the caretaker of the ranch I live on found a pen and a hair clip in my bathroom sink plumbing which had recently been clogged which made me feel terrible.

In hindsight, I can say easily I was huge-time scared of the dentist. The last time I had the appointment I had yesterday, on the other side of my mouth, it concluded with 3 weeks of nerve pain, a root canal and then another 5 days of serious soreness. Knock on wood, no nerve pain so far, and no mention of a potential root canal yesterday.

In terms of the clogged sink, well there's not anything I can do about that now. My sponsor asked me to be real with myself about the pen, and truly, that wasn't me, it's probably been down there a long time. The hair clip, yeah, that was probably me.

"Forgive yourself," she said. I'm not positive I know how to do that yet, but there's a wikihow on it, and I know that a cumulative practice of self-acceptance will set the stage. Sometimes I screw up, sometimes I'm scared, and I'm learning even when I do, even when I am, it's okay.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Aka Don't be Afraid of Being Boring



In the past, I've allowed my creativity to feel tapped out. Last year when I was writing big lesson plans for yoga teacher training and pieces for Vapour, tipsandtricks suffered. I recently started writing a book and thanks to the discipline I've cultivated with you guys here, it's not daunting for me to set a goal to write a page a day. I haven't done it every day since I started, but today, I am not behind. Since beginning the book, I've wondered if I'd keep up the tipsandtricks practice, sorta doubting that I could.

I have a friend who lives halfway across the world, who I hear from, so sweetly, once a year after I send her a Happy Birthday message on Facebook. She often mentions she reads the blog. I told her the truth of how I'd been feeling writing it, that I felt it had suffered since the book project began. She said what she likes most about tipsandtricks is "my honesty about different challenges and successes," that it makes makes her feel okay about her different challenges and successes. I felt happy.

Gretchin Rubin on her podcast with her sister recently talked about talking about the minutia of everyday life. In telling each other about our days (our challenges, our successes) we feel close. Aka, don't be afraid of being boring.

And my policy, and tipsandtricks' mission remains clear: to do so honestly or to quote Elena Brower's best friend from seventh grade one more time cuz it's so good: "Tell the truth about your feelings and your experiences; the good and the difficult and see the golden road appear that immediately connects you to others on the path. It's my favorite alchemy: this turning the garbage of shame and pain into the gold of understanding and relationship."

Cheers to believing creativity is a muscle, that there is an endless well, and to the truth and how it can teach us everyday.

Friday, September 4, 2015

"One Day at a Time"


"Anyone can carry his burden, however hard, until nightfall. Anyone can do his work, however hard, for one day. Anyone can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely, till the sun goes down. And this is all that life really means."--Robert Louis Stevenson

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Greatest Hits Tipsandtricks 2014-2015



I knew I liked September first, but I totally forgot why. This morning tipsandtricks' editor-in-chief had a clairvoyant moment when she thought the Greatest Hits Tipsandtricks 2014-2015 was missing from the site. She then emailed me, remembering that tipsandtricks' birthday is "sometime in the fall." Yep, that's right, Morgs! It's today! And thanks for reminding me even though you didn't mean to!

Without further ado, here are the greatest hits from the last year:

1. What Is

2. Small Town Hygiene

3. Dang Quad Stretch on the Left Side

4. An Extra Day

5. Alchemies Between People

6. "Honor It By Relaxing"

7. Dear Chachi, (To be clear, I don't really feel like I wrote this tipandtrick, it came through me as a message to our dear friend who we lost too soon. I think of you every day Miss Chach).

8. For Being Gentle with Me

9. The Flow

10. "Like A Prayer"

Thank you for continuing to read, dear readers!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Full Moon Mañana



I'm ready to party with the full moon tonight and tomorrow (Saturday 8/29/15). Dipali Desai's full moon forecast offered me a great mantra for today and always, "I am willing to surrender the worry and expand faith in daily life."

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What am I Trying to Control?




Part of the opening reading in Al Anon talks about the way one might feel without the Spiritual Help that Al Anon offers: "Our thinking becomes distorted by trying to force solutions, and we become irritable and unreasonable without knowing it."

Today, I was early to an appointment and sitting in my hot car, with the air conditioning on, going over some notes, and becoming more irritable by the minute. I turned off the car and opened the door thinking what I really needed was fresh air. That didn't seem to help, I abandoned my notes, got out of the car and sat under a shady portal until it was time. The under-the-portal-move helped a little.

After the appointment, I hurried to lunch, barely conscious of how contentious I'd become. Sitting down to eat I realized I was super hungry and that I'd been hungry for a while, yep, probably since I was all unhappy in the car. 

Geneen Roth, eating-disorder-be-gone-guru, is responsible for connecting my eating with my Higher Power. It may sound crazy, but the more I'm connected with myself and even to God while I'm eating, the more likely I am to eat what I want when I want, and stop when I'm full. For years I had lots of eating rules, and as the saying goes, "old habits die hard." For reals my rules are a thing of the past, but every once in a while, I don't eat when I'm hungry because I have some sort of weird-not-true-totally-made-up-belief that I'm not "supposed to be hungry" until... lunchtime, or after 6, or after I've excericed.

I was exasperated earlier today because I was trying to control something that is out of my control: my very own hunger. I'll bet ya next time I get testy it's cuz I'm trying to control something that's out-of-my-control. Hopefully next time I'll have the insight to ask myself, "What am I trying to control?" And to bring snacks.

Friday, August 21, 2015



"An ounce of practice is worth a ton of theory."--Taoist saying

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Wasps: Not the White People Kind



For reals, I am so grateful to those few weeks I spent living with mice. I am much more aware of the big picture in lots of areas of my life and it is such a relief. The lesson I learned from having mice and looking into their totem has re-committed me to looking up animals when they show up wholeheartedly. Until yesterday when I got stung by a wasp--ouch! And I said some other bad words too. Mr. Andrews of Animal Speak doesn't have too much to say about wasps, and looking them up online wasn't terribly fruitful either. One word that did stick out to me though was evolution. In Al Anon I have learned not to compare myself to other people but to compare myself to how I used to be. And not to be too hard on who I used to be; I didn't know then what I know now.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Like A Prayer


I've genuinely worked on getting clear in my communication around money. I have many different clients and businesses that pay me for my work. Because often in my work it's just me and one other person who's paying me, I like be sensitive to others while having strong boundaries. Some clients don't mind paying me every time they see me, some would prefer to pay for a package of sessions so we don't have to do the money part every time. The other day a client paying for a package accidentally wrote the check out for less than they usually do. Problem easily solved. We'll just say this time they're buying fewer sessions. But when I noticed the amount the check was made out for, much later in the day, I got nervous. There was no reason to be nervous, but I did want to be conscientious in my text to my client about my solution to the problem. I sat with the words I wanted to say a bit and had the thought, "What if I treated this communication (or every communication) like a prayer?" I can be clear in my hopes and in the words I use to ask and then let go, just like a prayer.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Wild Wild West



I just re-read a tipandtrick from almost 2 years ago about how I was letting the Restorative Yoga Teacher Training I was in change me, and boy has it. I have slowed down my personal practice, I teach a lot more restorative yoga, very happily, and I'm better about taking naps if I'm tired.

Last week on a walk with Smokey, out of nowhere, a small brown dog with a skinny body and a curly tail started following us. Smokey's really cool about other dogs, usually he can take 'em or leave 'em, but this dog seemed to be getting on his nerves. Looking at the situation a little closer, I noticed the dog was un-neutered. He kept following us, Smokey kept not liking it, and in my big girl voice I said, "No!" and "Git!" The dog got distracted by a man jogging with two dogs on a leash, but was back on our behind just as we were rounding the corner home. After I filled Smokey's food and water, the dog was still on the other side of the fence, egging Smokey on.

"This will not stand," I thought. I grabbed a hose attachment off Mike's porch and came out swinging with my big girl voice fully in tact. The un-neutred dog got my message to "git," and finally got. The whole exchange, although frustrating at times, was hilarious to me, even while it was happening. I'm still a nice lady, my favorite chant is still "Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu," I'm still vegan (except for the occasional times I don't ask the restaurant if there's dairy in the salad dressing) and I care, sometimes more than I should, about the feelings of other animals and humans. AND this is the wild wild west and un-neutered dogs make it tricky, and don't F--- with Smokey.

Friday, August 7, 2015

(It's Been Too Long Since I've Made) A Hotel Altar



"Remind me each day that the race is not always to be swift; that there is more to life than increasing its speed. Let me look upward into the towering oak and know that it grew great and strong because it grew slowly and well." --Orin L. Crain

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Experience

 
 
"Experience is not what happens to you, it is what you do with what happens to you." --Aldous Huxley

Friday, July 31, 2015

Reflection



"The world is a great mirror. It reflects back to you what you are. If you are loving, if you are friendly, if you are helpful, the world will prove loving, and friendly, and helpful to you. The world is what you are." --Thomas Dreier

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Even Realized



Today is my teacher Jen's birthday. I met Jen when she had her B.E.S.T. practice in a little healing center just south of Grand Central Station. I got a job there as a receptionist after graduating from yoga school. God's honest truth? I didn't like Jen at first. She's kooky and a little over-communicative. The owner of the healing center had been my friend for several years, he had told me about B.E.S.T. and Jen many times. He said B.E.S.T. was helping him and he thought I'd really like Jen. "Ugh, weird, why?" I thought, "She's dorky." Dorky like me.

There at the healing center, I met my first private yoga client, a broker on Wall Street who was committed to changing his relationship to stress. We met twice a week, and I started teaching group classes too. Before long, I was working a lot. The vibe at the healing center was often challenging, the owner and his partner, who was the mother of his child, were going through a break-up; many of their fights happened in the healing space. I became more and more aware of how I didn't really like working there, the stress of the dismantling partnership was hard on everyone around it. I honestly don't remember how, but I ended up with an appointment with Jen. The first "priority" we worked on together for my health was quitting my job at the healing center. "But keep coming here to see you?" I asked. How awkward. I wasn't sure about B.E.S.T. at first, but over the months, she helped me navigate many more awkward situations, she helped me take responsibility for myself and get honest about the resentments I was harboring. I felt clearer in myself and about everything else in my life.

After working with Jen for four years, she helped me navigate my fears around leaving the lovely life I had in New York. One day, after she said something particularity profound I said, "You know Jen, you should write all this stuff down; people should read it." "Yeah," she laughed, "but I'm not a writer. You, you're a writer." Jen has used the computer like twice. I moved, I started tipsandtricks, I kept working with Jen, I learned more about B.E.S.T. She still helps me navigate awkward situations, I keep feeling clearer, things still get hard, and we work through them. About a year ago when I was back in New York, I had an in person session with her. She said something that she had said before, something I was still learning, "I should get this by now," I said, "there's even a tipandtrick about it." I told her about how often I quote her and what I'm learning from her. She only reads these posts if I send them to her email, but she knows. "Yeah, like we talked about," she said, "you're the writer." I hadn't even realized.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Flow



The other night, sitting in my kitchen, I realized I was flexing my foot. This noticing made me realize that actually I've been flexing my foot regularly since my ankle injury; to protect it. But my ankle's better now, my chiropractor moved a misplaced bone back into the right place and healing has been happening since. "How interesting," I thought, "I'm still defending it even though it's better." No doubt all the unnecessary foot flexion is not helping release and lengthen the tendons around the ankle. Time to let the habit go.

All week I've been mediating on "letting the energy continue to flow," rather than letting it get stuck around ALL aspects of my life. My exploration was highlighted when my teacher-crush Elena Brower talked about the same stuff with such wise words in her weekly newsletter to fellow yoga teachers:

"In Taoist philosphy, rather than placing emphasis on an individual component in any given context, the most important aspect is the flow. How well is energy moving through this situation, moment, pose, body, mind? 
When things become confusing, we have a tendency to focus, fix or finish this one thing--and think that will make it better. This mindset feels fearful, limiting and stagnent. 
Let's practice giving preference to fluency, fluidity, and allowing. Each time we do, we hand ourselves over to the highest intelligence. To stay connected to Source, to be in the flow, just a few remembrances will do.
Trust that all is moving in an evolutionary direction. Apologize when it's time to own it; and forgive when it's time to let go. Let the universe lead sometimes; but be ready when it's time to grow. And move, and meditate."

Thank you Elena, for the work that you do and for your wisdom, and for sharing yourself with us. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Enough and More



"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend." --Melody Beattie

Friday, July 17, 2015

Two Mamas



Recently the inside of my head was telling the inside of my head all kinds of big and crazy untrue stories. The perspective I was getting on the 68 x 24 inch rectangle of my yoga mat felt helpful and then all of a sudden too small. Best I could, I stayed in practice and I busted out on a walk, just like that, still wearing my sandals. With the movement of the walk, the air on my skin, and the gorgeous New Mexico sky as my friends, I started to feel better. And then I came upon a family of cows, two mamas and a baby. Animal Speak has just a little to say about cows: "[The] cow is predominately a symbol of motherhood and nourishment..."

Sometimes when I'm feeling sad, off-center or kooky in the head, I say out loud or silently to myself what I'm feeling. And then, sometimes, what happens after is that a wiser, more removed version of myself responds, and usually has some pretty insightful things to say. I started to do this after learning about something called "re-parenting." Re-parenting is exactly how it sounds and if you do it, it doesn't mean you have or had bad parents, although it might. Re-parenting acknowledges that we all have a "parent" inside of us, kind of like a therapist, who can give us the response we want and need. Those of us who are lucky enough to still have our moms alive and around for us to call when the going gets tough (Hi Mom!) have two moms, maybe even three. Re-parenting says that those of us who have a mom on the other side or a mom who's not so easy to talk to, still have this "parent" inside of us and maybe even a dad or two who's nice to talk to (Hi Dad!).

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Whims of Approval



Speaking of apologizing, in the program there's this really cool thing called a "Living Amends." It's when you change the offending behavior rather than just apologizing for it. I'm pretty open to changing my behavior and I like to do right by my loved ones. Recently, it became clear to me that I sometimes "over-correct" my conduct, by taking it to the other extreme. If someone points out that I keep complaining about something rather than doing anything about it, I might never talk to that person about that complaint again. That's pretty defensive and according to Jen, "severely codependent." How to step back from this extreme behavior is easier said than done. "Work towards approving of yourself," says Jen. When we approve of ourselves and our behavior, and know that we are doing the best we can, right by us, we're not reacting to the whims of approval of others.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Lucy's Skin



I know we've already talked about snakes, but that was before I had a snake living under the flagstone in front of the door to my laundry room named Lucy. Today while I was on my way out of the laundry room, I noticed that Lucy had shed her skin. That's a good sign people! Snakes shed their skin to support continued growth.

Animal Speak says, "In the Americas, the snake served as a prominent symbol in art and lore. To the Native Americans, the snake is a symbol of transformation and healing."

It's been a weird summer since I sprained my ankle and then re-sprained it; I haven't been able to go hiking, my favorite summer thing. I've been resting my ankle and icing it and not practicing Child's Pose or Upward Dog for the last month and it still hasn't felt much better. I went to the chiropractor the other day and he moved a bone from the wrong place back into the right place. My ankle felt more stable immediately, although stiff. Lucy's skin is making me hopeful that all this ankle stuff is just me learning about patience aka growing. William C. Hannan says "I know this transformation is painful but you're not falling apart you're falling into something different, with a new capacity to be beautiful." That's so nice.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

"Open to the Ordinary Encounter"



 "My greatest challenge is to be open to the ordinary encounter, to not withhold the love in me from the bored or incompetent person behind the counter, the slow driver ahead of me on a country road."--Rolf Gates