Sunday, December 25, 2016

Keep it Local

My relationships are the greatest gift in my life. The longer we know people, the more tempted we might be to hold them to who they once were. And the longer we know people, the more we owe it to them to let them change.

You all have let me change, whether you like it or not, by allowing for less tipsandtricks. When tipsandtricks started, I wanted to practice my writing, and I was open about my learning and growing in this life.

Thanks for the support in practicing writing! It has been extremely helpful to feel fluent in writing for my work in grad school. My growth in Al Anon has shifted my process tremendously. My spiritual work lately has felt too nuanced to articulate, and I trust myself and my Higher Power to work it out.

Last night at Christmas Eve dinner, my family and I talked politics for a bit, and thanks God, the conversation was friendly and interesting. One member mentioned we have to "keep it local." The local level is where we can affect the most change and from local, the change can grow larger.

Lena Stevens has encouraged me to keep Kindness and Compassion as my theme: to start with myself, and then offer Kindness and Compassion to those I love and those I meet along my way. From loving ourselves and each other well, we can feel good to move forward with enough energy to affect greater change.

My life has been asking me to love others through growth; to not say anything definitive about anyone, to give them permission to change, and to see them anew. People do change. Allow yourself to, allow your loved ones to. Start local, grow through love and love through growth, trust your loved ones' growth, want it for them; don't be afraid of what it means for you. Allowing change in ourselves and each other at a local level is where it starts, loving each other well is where it is.

Friday, November 11, 2016

For Now and Beyond

"Never fear. Never accept the appearance of things. All this shall pass in this unstable universe of ours. Do not under any circumstances engage in fear. Do what empowers you. Keep your hearts open no matter how hard. Do not engage in martyrdom, resentment or hopelessness. Let us not allow our attachments to stand in the way of the work ahead of us." --Jose and Lena Stevens

Your love is needed friends. I have felt best lately giving my prayers and my extra money to the Water Protectors at Standing Rock. Thanks for these words, dearest Elena Brower: 

"Across the plains of North Dakota, thousands of people have gathered with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in recent months to protest construction of a 1,172-mile oil pipeline. What began as a legal battle to halt construction has grown into an international movement headquartered on an 80-acre campground in Cannon Ball, North Dakota. The community began with members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, and has now grown up to 8,000 people.

The pipeline’s path through four states not only threatens Native American sacred lands and cultural sites, but also compromises food security and water access for families who call the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and neighboring communities home. Without a guarantee that the pipeline will be halted, the community plans to remain permanently, even with winter approaching." Watch this

Water protectors and activists from across the country sleep in tents and teepees beneath flags from 300 tribal nations, gather around campfires, and cook meals in open-air kitchens. There’s even a day care center for children. Our contributions will help keep them warm and fed as they block further construction."

Also, these organizations and organizations like them in your community, give them your time and your extra money if you have it.

"Keep your hearts open no matter how hard."

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

"How to Love and Also be Free"

Tipsandtricks' birthday came and went without a peep from me regarding the usual celebration of Greatest Hits.

It has been an honor and a privilege to learn we all need to find our own way in terms of discipline and self-rules by way of writing less tipsandtricks this year, and I thank you, dear readers, for the opportunity.

In the name of freedom, a Prayer for "Honoring Freedom" (it's long; I promise it's worth it) from the inspired Pixie Lighthorse:

"Thank you for this beautiful day of growth, of separation and individuation. 
Thank you for showing us how to love and also be free. 

Thank you for the water, the grass, the simple things we need to live and tend to take for granted. Thank you for wide, open-range thinking and for the ability to create our own realities with your help. Thank you for the courage to step off of the well-traveled thoroughfare to seek our own fortunes of the spirit. 

Bless our paths as we leave a season of our lives behind and declare new footsteps, once again, as you have blessed us so many times before now. Bless the Wheel that keeps us turning and learning. Guide us to autonomy as we learn to make spirit-stuff our first priority and the closest matter to our hearts. Let us allow this in others, honoring their way-knowing that we each have our own sweet language with you.

Guide us to true freedom by showing us your part in everything-everything beautiful and of creation, as well as that which is unseemly and destructive. Both are of you. Allow us to sit on the edge of the cliff for as long as we need to before we can move forward. Keep us from hurrying the process, knowing that it is in our readiness for leaping that we gain our sovereignty. Remind us that it is in ownership of the role we've played which will release us and forgiveness of ourselves which sets us free.

Humble us by removing our disclaimers, our qualifiers and our blame of others for putting us in this place. Find us sitting on the mountain waiting for the visions to come from you, disrobed of our arrogance, stripped of our expectations, devoid of impatience. Surround us with your magical animals, vegetables and minerals which support our earth-walk toward full flexibility. Show us that it isn't others who hold us back, only ourselves and our very good reasons. Show us another way. 

Hold us tenderly when we suffer and amplify our radiance when we shine. Heal us with right medicine which opens us all the way up, in full support of our sensitive natures. 

Teach us to nurture ourselves deeply and leave tracks for others on path to find us and their freedom, too." 

Thank you and bless you all. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Unite Rather than Divide

I recently got caught talking about someone else. The someone else "caught" me not by "over-hearing" me but by saying something judgmental about me. At least they said it to my face.

In my spiritual program, Al Anon, we don't talk about other people; we talk about "principles not personalities." Even if I love what so-and-so said and it's my new mantra for living, I don't say "I love what so-and-so said!" I say "I like what was said about..."

I think we get tempted to talk about other people because we feel like it connects us to the person we're talking to. The meditation book Hope for Today taught me, "Not only do we avoid focusing on ourselves when we gossip, but our disrespect for others reinforces self-defeating attitudes about relationships."

Life is hard enough on its own, I know I can be hard enough on myself, I don't need help. Sarah Varcus says in this week's Full Moon update, "There’s a fair bit of tension around and many will be feeling it, so cutting each other (and ourselves) some serious slack is good advice! If possible, avoid heated topics of debate and focus on things that unite rather than divide, otherwise it may be all too easy to slip into overzealous championing of our own perspective without any due consideration of someone else’s view."

Criticism and judgments take us further away from love, plain and simple. If we can try to be kind to ourselves, it will be so much easier to be kind to those around us, plain and simple.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Young-ish Buck

Recently, I was talking with a client of mine about timing. He noticed he had to change his appointments a few times because his schedule had shifted. He also noticed the day he actually did come in for his B.E.S.T. seemed to be a day when he really "needed" one. These days, I trust little shifts and big shifts out of my control are happening for a reason and I believe that trust is part of what places me in "right" place and "right" time.

Over the past few weeks, on two different occasions, I've seen two "mature" bucks. And the long list in my mind remembered to look up deer in Animal Speak. I got around to it yesterday and, naturally, the deer's message is needed now more than ever.

Sometimes people say recovery should be called "un-covery." In recovery, I have looked long and hard at parts of myself that are operating from fear and I've tried to hook them back into faith. And I've had a lot of success. I missed a part though, and somehow this summer has uncovered it. Looking at it has been haaaaaaard and to make matters worse, I've been really hard on myself about it.

"When deer show up in your life it is time to be gentle with yourself and others. A new innocence and freshness is about to be awakened or born. There is going to be a gentle, enticing lure of new adventures. Ask yourself important questions. Are you trying to force things? Are others? Are you being too critical and uncaring of yourself? When deer show up there is an opportunity to express gentle love that will open new doors to adventure for you."

Or as a dear friend said yesterday, "be nice to the part of yourself that's being mean to yourself."

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Stuff Just Gets Done

If you had asked me on Monday, "Hey Ashleigh, are you ever going to write tipsandtricks again?" I would have said "Heck no." Not because I don't love writing tipsandtricks, because of the gigantic amounts of writing I'm doing in school. A big old project due yesterday had me pretty bent on Sunday and Monday because I was having a hard time finding research materials to support it.

I just kinda let myself be a crabapple about it. On Monday, if someone asked me how I was doing, I told them, "My ass is getting handed to me." And I was still a nice lady to my yoga students.

Forty eight hours later, the project is complete, not only have I turned the thing in, I've presented on it and answered questions my classmates posed regarding my subject, and now I'm writing tipsandtricks. Somehow, the stuff just gets done.

Sometimes resistance is a part of it, it's part of the healing, it's part of the learning, it's part of the path and it's okay, maybe more than okay, to let yourself feel it.

"If you're tired, rest. If you're sad, cry. If you're thirsty, take a long, cold drink of water. If you feel hopeless, feel that. But know it's just for the moment. If you feel confused, feel that. Feel it until clarity, desire, hope and meaning break through. You don't have to trudge on through on willpower, not any longer. Rest until you feel healed, then gently go forward. Let the universe assist you. See how the magical power of the universe carries you along, even when you get tired, even when you get confused." --Melody Beattie, Journey to the Heart

Friday, June 17, 2016


The other evening in yoga, a student spoke out loud in the middle, "I can't do that." Surprised, I offered her an alternative, "Can't do that either." I offered her another alternative, "Can't do that either." After informing me she had hurt her ribs, she decided "just to sit there" while the rest of us did the original thing she couldn't do.

In yoga teacher training, one of the things we teach is classroom management. This particular time was borderline letting one student take up too much of the rest of the class's time. And it got me a little ruffled. For the next few minutes of class, even though I was teaching and the students were breathing, I was thinking to myself, "Why didn't she tell me she had hurt her ribs?" That's a pretty important one. And she had come to class early enough to mention it, and I had made eye contact with her and greeted her. She could have told me then. I was defending myself in my own mind, a sign that I had done something I wasn't crazy about. I didn't like how I wasn't able to go with the flow right there in the middle of teaching flow.

Reflecting further I realized that it's summer and I've been working my fanny off. According to yoga's sister science, Ayurveda, we actually are supposed to have more fun in the summer. It's easy to over-heat systems of the body, even the brain; for these reasons, Ayurveda suggests keeping it simple. As I continue my regular work load and go for it with summer semester at grad school, I can remember to press play more often.

Even if I don't have a whole day off to climb up to the top of Wheeler Peak, I can find moments of reprieve in the middle of my list. I can let my mind feel cooler and lighter and less wrapped around what needs to get done. Dog walks, cracking jokes, hanging out with my six year old friend Brayden and listening to my college buddy, comedy writer Steve Basilone's podcast, check. Yesterday, I finished writing my Power Point presentation for 7:30 class with enough time to watch the first half hour of Game 6 NBA Finals, go Warriors. Because I had class and didn't get to watch the rest of the game, when I woke up this morning I watched some highlights. Those guys are the best inspiration for staying in the flow with moves called "plays." At last I understand the Martin Buber quote, "Play is the exaltation of the possible."

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


Thank you God for traveling and the perspective it provides. Usually, my travel mind is more open and less worrying. This last weekend, while I was in Seattle for a wedding, a few worries joined me. My favorite out-of-town clients texted and were in Taos for the weekend and wanted to do yoga with me, I had to turn them down. Bummer. Fairly soon though, I was able to Let Go and Let God.

Then my cousin told us a story of a baby cow she had seen traveling in a cattle trailer. Its little foot slipped out and was almost dragging on the highway. She honked and honked and finally got the cattle trailer driver to stop, just as the baby cow's foot got back inside. When she explained to the driver what was happening and why she was honking for him to stop, he didn't fix the hole and treated the cows unkindly. I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about the baby cow.

While on the phone with Jen, she informed me that she still hadn't received a package that I had sent her but post office tracking said it had been delivered on May 20th. What the heck? My mind latched right onto this problem, ready for something new to worry about.

Thank you God I was talking to Jen. I told her of all of these different scenarios my mind was holding onto; it seemed always ready for the next thing to worry about. "It's over-responsibility," she said. It's me not trusting God's divine order.

If I'm going to trust God's will about anything, which I do about lots of things, it's time I started trusting God about everything.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Great Big Energy Called 'Cat'

Animal Speak says cats are attributed with a variety of energies: "Curiosity, nine lives, independence, cleverness, unpredictability, and healing..."

Never had I ever had the desire to own a cat; maybe I knew somehow that cats can't be had. But last year, during my mousecapades, getting a cat seemed like the best option. I didn't get just one cat, I got two. My intention to be a good person won out, and I adopted two cats from the shelter: a mommy and baby who weren't together in cages there. I thought I'd do the right thing and bring them back together to the "barn" at my house, which had recently become a mouse paradise. I named the mom Ingrid and the baby Cher, and I set them up in their new, warm, exciting spot. Cher was sociable, and Ingrid less so. Almost every time I checked on them, they were nursing. "Gosh this is so great," I thought. "Mommy and Baby together." My feelings of being awesome, however, were dashed two weeks in when Cher up and died. I was devastated, and my fears that I had done something wrong were gratefully diminished by my dear friend Raven. Raven works at the shelter and had helped me with the adoption. She told me sometimes kittens have "a failure to thrive," and just, die, and there's not much one can do. After going through this loss together, Ingrid and I became closer but I was determined still to keep her at a distance. She was not my cat, but the barn's.

As months passed she kept warming up to me. We spent more time together, and I got used to her independent company. When I came home this past Friday night, she didn't follow me into the house for our usual night-time-do-separate-activities-together hang time. I didn't see her on Saturday or on Sunday, and I was starting to get worried. But somehow I still knew she was okay. I contacted my neighbors, and they wrote back to say they were so sorry, they had no idea that she was my cat, and they had captured her and taken her to the local feed store which was in need of a barn cat. At the feed store, I was met with extraordinary kindness from the owner, who felt terrible; she knew upon Ingrid's arrival she was not a feral homeless cat and accepted her against her better judgment. After surveying the feed store and all of its barns twice and calling Ingrid's name to no avail, I was discouraged. We couldn't find her.

My friend Aura's cat, Albus, was missing for two whole weeks and just recently showed back up; this gave me hope. My other friend's kitten, Madonna, was out mouse hunting one evening and never came back. Madonna's mom re-framed it: although she was sad to no longer have the sweet separate company of lovely Madonna, she talked of "the great big energy called Cat." Sometimes cats come from this energy and into our lives, and sometimes they go back into it. It's their choice and not ours. Animal Speak reminds us that cats are synonymous with magic and mystery.

Maybe I had to give Ingrid back to the energy of Cat. Or maybe, as my friend Morgan so nicely re-framed, maybe Ingrid was coming up in the world, getting to be the barn cat in a big feed store versus my barn, which is really just a glorified laundry room.

My values are more and more aligned with the practice of letting go. Al Anon has taught me so much about acceptance, especially of the things I am powerless over. From this place of letting go, Mike and I went out last night, at perfect-cat-come-out time in the enchantment of a post-rain dusk, to try again to find her. Ingrid came right out, right into my arms, and ready to come home. Back at the house, she drank a shit-ton of water and fell fast asleep, ready to relax after her big adventure.

My spiritual practice is about letting go, I agree with the Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson that "[s]piritual life is always about letting go. It is never about holding on." In my life in the physical world, I'm learning to "...know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em..."

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

On Purpose ADD

To complete my work for the end of the semester, while I keep a little-bit-busier-than-normal work schedule, many highly focused hours are required. Breaks seem even more important and necessary to keep my productivity levels high.

The work I've been doing for the past two hours is reading stuff on my computer screen and writing notes. When I take a break, I do so consciously and try not to take part in a similar activity during my break.

I tidy up around the kitchen or make breakfast, sometimes I even eat breakfast standing. Standing while eating might break "best-food-eating-rules," but in context, an upright position is part of my on-purpose ADD. We can get out of balance in many different ways and focusing too hard for too long (my poor eyes!) and even too intensely can be out-of-balance. I try to notice what any long-term activity I do to my body and give corresponding body parts breathers and refreshers during breaks. If I want to read during my break from screen-work, I try and give my eyes a page in a book rather than another screen. My favorite break from sitting-down-screen-time is yoga-with-eyes-closed-time. This allows my body to move and my eyes to bathe in darkness. Even better is when I take a walk with my dogs, for expansive eye focus, contact with dog joy, and outside time.

Breaks in monotony are necessary in all aspects of life, and they can be used effectively to bring us into balance. When I'm in balance, fun and ease are closer allies, even in the midst of a busier than normal week.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Us Chickens

“There were no formerly heroic times, and there was no formerly pure generation. There is no one here but us chickens, and so it has always been: A people busy and powerful, knowledgeable, ambivalent, important, fearful, and self-aware; a people who scheme, promote, deceive, and conquer; who pray for their loved ones, and long to flee misery and skip death. It is a weakening and discoloring idea, that rustic people knew God personally once upon a time-- or even knew selflessness or courage or literature-- but that it is too late for us. In fact, the absolute is available to everyone in every age. There never was a more holy age than ours, and never a less.” --Annie Dillard

Friday, April 22, 2016

Pig Medicine

The other day, Cousin Sally and I were hanging out in a beautiful park on the top of Canyon Road. All of a sudden, a big black pig named Doobie came over and stood and sniffed by us. Doobie had a human companion as well as a Chihuahua mix who went by Snick Snack for short. Cousin Sally and I were thrilled. Later back at home, I was disappointed to discover pigs don't have a place in Animal Speak. Pigeons, yes but, pigs, no; weird. I looked around online a bit; sometimes pigs are associated with fortune (hence piggy banks) and also, fertility, and also, lust and laziness.

Upon seeing meeting Doobie, Sally said she had recently heard of a practice of noticing delight. I hereby claim Pig Medicine is delight. When I encounter a pig from here on out, I'll take note of all of the things the day has brought that caused me delight.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Do Not Seek and Ye Shall Find

I've been getting lots of messages lately to Let Go and Let God. Yesterday morning after pouring through my notes, I couldn't figure out what I was supposed to teach for my portion of meditation this weekend at yoga school. I decided to let it go for a bit; within the hour I had a great idea of what I could teach, and then I realized, that's probably what I taught last time.

A new favorite pair of earrings were missing for a little over week, I had been looking and hadn't had any luck. When something's missing, you can either keep looking or Let Go. After I finally surrendered looking and forgave myself for loosing them, I found them within the hour. They had been outside on the ground for over a week, and they were still good as new. Maybe it's more like "Do not seek and ye shall find;" maybe all the answers are in surrendering, forgiving and letting go.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Therapy School

Hi friends, in case you haven't heard, I'm back in school, getting my Masters in Counseling. I'm only going part time and I haven't "dropped" anything from the rest of my life. As a result of still continuing to teach, regular classes and teacher training, doing BEST and private yoga, I can occasionally feel a little over-articulated. My voice is often froggy.

I've given myself an "out" from tipsandtricks. I do intend to continue to contribute, hopefully even twice a week, maybe even still on Tuesdays and Fridays, maybe on other days. It's good for me to give myself an out. In learning about Behavior Therapy this week in school, it was good for me to learn the underlying principle of Assertiveness Training: "people have a right but not an obligation to express themselves."

I also just recently learned in Al Anon that "people have a right not to change." This was news to me since I'm always Changing McChangerson. One way I'm choosing to change more and more is to be gentle with myself, and although I love writing tipsandtricks, the way I relate to writing it is changing. This is not goodbye, more like, "maybe I'll see you on Wednesday instead of Tuesday."

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Yesterday a friend told me she woke up sad. She knew it was a good thing, "Something's being burned out of me," she said. 
"Spiritual progress is like detoxification. Things come up in order to be released. Once we have asked to be healed, then our unhealed places are forced to the surface." 

Friday, March 25, 2016

Angels of Aries

I've been feeling especially tender towards the baby cows on the main drag and the baby horse across the highway from Medley on the way home. My sponsor needed help picking up her dying dog and putting her in the car; I cried the whole time, some help I am. Spring is a delicate time; the flowers that make a go for it to bloom might be met with the frost. I'm calling on the Angels of Aries to help me find strength in my sensitivity. According to Nature Speak: "Aries angels assist us in new endeavors. They help us to become more assertive and develop self-control. They assist in developing greater effort in creating our magical personality. They also help us to overcome obstacles. They are the keepers of magical beginnings."

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Thank You Walk

Thank You Notes are a part of my spiritual practice. Today, I wrote many to friends all over the country for sending me birthday cards and presents. After my right hand was sore from writing, I walked in the wind to my little post office to drop them into the slot. Because walks are precious things these days, I appreciated each step, and because I was delivering a backpack of thank yous, my walking mind rested on gratitude. I've heard of a gratitude lists; this was a Thank You Walk. On a Thank You Walk, I try only to think of things I'm grateful for. I can't say I was successful in doing so for all 40 minutes of the walk, twice these reflections inspired me to call friends I was feeling thankful for, and I count the time on those calls as being apart of the practice too. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Robin Medicine

With all of this working as usual, teaching yoga teacher training and being in graduate school part time stuff, it's a treat for me when I get to take a nice long walk and even when I take the time to watch a show on Netflix.

Last week, I made time for several walks; once I saw a coyote, once a hawk, and I saw robins on two different occasions.

Animal Speak says about robins: "...this wonderful bird is a traditional herald of spring." Spring is always associated with new beginnings and the robin symbol has a special slant on spring because of the robin's song: "The song of the robin is a cheery rolling trill. It reflects a need to sing your own song forth if you wish new growth. The robin lays a distinctive powder-blue egg. This is a color that is often used to activate the throat center in humans. This is a center associated with will force and creativity. The robin egg reflects the innate ability of those with this totem to assert the will force to create new growth in his/her life. When the robin comes to you it is to help you in this process. The robin will show you how to do it successfully" (Andrews, 1993, 190).

I do alright with speaking my truth in my journal, to my teacher, and in my Al Anon groups. Dear Robin, thanks for helping me continue to be brave in speaking my truth for the greatest good and for new beginnings in my personal relationships.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Prayer for Control Freaks #3

"Help me. Help me Higher Power. Help me remember that the purpose of making mistakes is to prepare myself to make more; help me remember that when I'm no longer making mistakes I'll be out of this world." --Courage to Change

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Total Eclipse

One of my teachers, Lena Stevens talks about eclipse periods as powerful, "Because this time frame is more potent than usual, it is more important than ever to have as much clarity as possible about your direction and where you want to put your energy."

Today we have a New Moon and Total Solar Eclipse at 6:54 pm Mountain Standard Time. I often notice around opportunities like these that some of my old patterns pop up, to remind me that I want to let go of them truly and finally.

Lena's friend and astrologer Pat Liles says of this time period, "We are being reset in a big way to hold more love, to integrate all our past experience that has gone before and forgive any remnants of the past that cling to us."

When we're present for ourselves and any intention we might have, the power to heal and let go increases greatly. 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Let Go of It

"Never love something so much you can't let go of it."--Ginni Rometty

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

This Time This Week

Around this time last week, I started to get nervous for a midterm paper that's due March 7th for one of my classes. For the paper, I have to interview somebody, and then, in a nutshell, write about it. I had someone in mind and I hadn't talked to him about it yet.
I called him and when he didn't call back, I stopped by his office the next day and left another message. The next day, when he still hadn't called back, I started to get more anxious. Instead of panicking, I decided to throw some energy at it. I threw energy at the project by writing down all of my potential back-up plans. I left a message for one, looked up the email address of another, I reached out to a friend to get a number of someone who might work....
After spending about a half hour throwing energy at it, my first choice interviewee got back to me.
And this time this week, the interview is complete, now I just have to write the paper.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Rise and Fall

This week has been one of letting go. Some of the letting go has been the "on purpose/spiritual practice" kind of letting go and some has been the "oh no! I didn't know that was ready to let go" sad kind of letting go. We learn when we practice yoga for an extended period about how life is so much like the rise and fall of the breath. And sometimes there's more rise and sometimes there's more fall. 

"And don't worry - there will be more grief. It's not going anywhere. There will always be more. The idea is to go there, and come back. It takes people to help you with that. It takes a village to grieve. When you grieve, you feed Spirit." --Martin Prechtel

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Disappointments of Others

Thanks so much to Jen and Al Anon I'm learning that I can't control the disappointments of others.

I can't even control the disappointments of my sweet dogs, Panda and Smokey (Smoke's in the background) when some days, there just isn't enough time to go for a walk.

Friday, February 19, 2016

"Give Yourselves"

 "To the wrongs that need resistance, to the right that needs assistance, to the future in the distance: Give yourselves." --Carrie Chapman Catt

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

This Mountain

Taos Mountain

Deepak Chopra says "Everything that is happening in this moment is a result of the choices you made in the past." I had a jillion things to do today, homework, taxes, returning emails, more homework and I chose to go for a walk. Nothing got crossed off the list, actually the list got added to because my shoes got so muddy they now need to be cleaned.

I'm more ready now than I've ever been to keep working full time while going back to school part time because my priority is truly, deeply, to take care of myself. This priority is a balm for stress, a way to keep perspective, to not let the list rule my world. I will let this mountain and my gratitude for my ability to walk rule my world every chance I get. 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Morning Hugs

"When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive--to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love." --Marcus Aurelius

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

On Why I Love Cleaning

(and that I cleaned it.)

Louise Hay (Goddess) has a buncha good stuff to say about cleaning, especially cleaning out closets; she suggests using the affirmation "I am cleaning out the closets of my mind," during closet cleaning time. I do love a good closet clean and a good drawer dump-out, and also a good surface spree. And Feng Shui Touching Everything feels fantastic if time permits. But sometimes there's only 5 minutes. 

Last night before settling in for 3 hours of online classes, I did a tiny cleaning sesh. I swept my office floor and started up some incense; nothing fancy. 

I love cleaning because it changes the energy of a physical space and because it's a physical action, it changes my energy too.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Productive Putzing

My Aunt Sheri and my mom were recently in town for a visit. During their stay, my mom made a special point to tell me about Sheri's packing and unpacking procedure. This ritual takes place at least once a day in the hotel: Aunt Sheri takes all of her stuff out of the various little bags it's packed in (the bags, by the way, are referred to by both Sheri and my mom as marsupials) and then puts the stuff back in.

My mom thinks it's kinda cuckoo. I relate to what Aunt Sheri's doing. When I'm out of town, for the most part,  I like to keep my stuff in my suitcase and refold it frequently. This putzing doesn't make logical sense, in fact it might seem like a strange way for me to waste my time, but somehow it helps me feel grounded. And anything that helps us feel grounded, whatever it is, wherever it is, is productive. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

"There is a river flowing..."

"There is a river flowing now, very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold onto the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and suffer greatly. 
Know that the river has its destination. The elders say we must push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open and our heads above the water. 

See who is in there with you and celebrate. 

At this time in history we are to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves, for the moment we do that, our spiritual growth comes to a halt. 
The time of the lone wolf is over. 
Gather yourselves; banish the word struggle from your attitude and vocabulary. 

All that we do now must be done in a sacred way and in celebration. 

We are the ones we've been waiting for."
--Hopi elder

Friday, January 29, 2016

Practicing Asking

It occurs to me that we're all different about asking and receiving. There's folks like my dad who flirt with the ladies working at the airline counter and ask if he can "balance out the load" by being upgraded to first class. There's a This American Life about guys like him who ask for the good guy discount.  Then there's folks like me: I feel kinda guilty asking for anything ever, unless it's from my mom or I'm paying for it.

One of the many great things my Restorative Yoga teacher Judith taught me is that giving is the best gig in town. I love giving to people and *I know* other people like giving too. I'm practicing asking. Twice this week I've asked friends who work up at the Ski Valley if I can partake in a hook-up or two, and I'm about to ask a third one. I'm not attached to outcome and I've said "Thank you either way." And true to my over-sharing self, I even told one of them I was practicing asking.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


"Find a place you trust and then try trusting it for a while."--Corita Kent

Friday, January 22, 2016


During the planning of my first yoga retreat, my retreat partner and I would get together once a week in the name of the retreat. Sometimes we would get a bunch done; people would sign up, we'd send money or work on the design of the postcards. Sometimes we would just sit and talk about how much fun we were going to have. Both felt productive; the sitting around and talking about fun fostered our connection to each other and to the retreat. Fostering whatever it may be: your own happiness, communication with people in your life or a specific project is a great way to spend time.

After going down to Santa Fe and back twice this week, I was thrilled to spend some time at home. Although I do have some home projects I want to tackle and spaces I'd like clean, I just set the timer for an hour to foster my home and its energy. I didn't accomplish anything grand, I swept, I put ice melt on some slippery parts of the path, did the dishes and burned incense. Nothing got checked off the list but I feel more grounded and connected to my space, which is enough for me. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Decidedly Towards Cozy

Pretty much the only hope I have for sleeping a little later in the morning is when I'm at a hotel or someone else's house. Last night I stayed at my cousin Sally's lovely old Hacienda north of Santa Fe. Sally's alarm went off at 4am so she could do school work before going to regular work; my chances for sleeping in were shot. At that time of day, my mind loves to turn on. I didn't have anywhere to be until 1:30 pm; I was kinda at a loss. I stayed in bed for another 45 minutes, got up to do some work and then when it came time to meditate, I decided to do so laying down; not savasana, but a specific a meditation Jen taught me to soothe Vata. What came up for me for during my meditation was to be as nice as possible to myself for the rest of the day. A friend of mine has a rule: if she doesn't sleep well, the next day, she takes a nap. Laying snug under the covers, instead of upright on my cushion for meditation shifted the day decidedly towards cozy. "I'll take all this extra time to be nice to myself," I thought. The next logical question is: why don't I do this every day? Answer: no good reason. Even on busy days, even on days I'm working all day, slammed, running around hair-on-fire, there is no good reason not to be cozy, not be be nice, not to do my meditation under the covers.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Being Quiet

"If the silence has in it even a trace of anger or hostility, it loses all its power...true quiet has the quality of serenity, acceptance, peace." --One Day at a Time in Al-Anon

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

David Bowie's Death

Thank you God for David Bowie: his fantastic music, his theatricality, his timing. In his nearly fifty year career, the fluidity he played with around gender is a small slice, and it powerfully impacted me and my actual real life friends. "Heroes" will always been one of my favorite songs, singing along to it makes me feel like a hero. Lordy I was sad yesterday when I heard the news of Mr. Bowie's passing and I still am. My good friend Lynne said, "Some people, you think, are never going to die." My first love and I listened to David Bowie's debut album "David Bowie" all the time, songs like "Uncle Arthur" and "The Laughing Gnome" are silly and so good. My best friend in college performed Hedwig and the Angry Inch at Dragtoberfest; I'd never been so proud of anyone in my life. Without David Bowie, there would be no Hedwig and the Angry Inch, no Dresden Dolls and what about Michael Jackson, Madonna, Beyoncé and my good friend Mali's band? And these are just examples that have impacted ME; I'm no David Bowie scholar, there's thousands of other examples I've never even heard of. David Bowie's death brought up loss around more than David Bowie, it brought up pride and regret; some deaths do that. Sometimes you'll break up with someone, start dating someone else and when it ends with the second person, feel grief about the first. Thank you God for recovery, "In Al-Anon we learn that we cannot escape our feelings; we only postpone them."--Opening Our Hearts, Transforming Our Losses

Friday, January 8, 2016

"If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished?" --Rumi

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Self-Esteem Check-In

What a strange time it's been lately. Mostly things have been going well; I'm excited about a new year and to go back to school. I like my work, my relationships feel solid, and I'm even remembering to have fun sometimes. But inside my head I have I been super mean to myself and judge-y. 

I took a little time this morning to consider self-esteem and to accept that it's fluid.
The great teacher Angeles Arrien says that "[t]he six steps to support and maintain self-esteem are: 1) being able to follow things step-by-step, which is a discipline that can sustain self-esteem; 2) being open, flexible, and resilient maintains self-esteem; 3) following what has heart and passion and meaning sustains self-esteem; 4) staying in one's truth and authenticity, and not abandoning oneself supports self-esteem; 5) communication that is delivered where content and timing are in sync sustains self-esteem; 6) consistent, sustained energy put into creative endeavors and relationships rather than erratic energy put into what we do will maintain self-esteem."

I resonate with this list and know that I'm doing pretty well in some areas whereas others could use my attention and support. Our relationships with others need time and energy in order to grow and strengthen, as does our relationship with Self.

Friday, January 1, 2016

"Hearts Desires"

"Write down your heart's desires and reflect on them often. 
Hold these intentions in your heart steadily, undisturbed by life's duality.
Choose faith and flow over fear and control."

-Rolf Gates has a new book!