Wednesday, December 30, 2009


As 2010 quickly approaches, I am thinking of what I would like to do differently, what potential goal I would like to achieve? I remember when I was climbing, I always had goals - the next route to climb, the next grade to do. I was really good at achieving goals - I could plan the right amount of physical work, when to rest and how to learn the route and climb it pretty quickly. I realize that what I was really doing was trying so hard to feel good enough. I would climb route after route so that I could be seen as strong enough, fit enough, smart enough to train people in rock climbing. I felt a great deal of gratification too - the process of getting to experience movement in such a state of flow was very exciting and gratifying.

I know I am not alone in this. Lots of people will be setting goals with the new year and many will be about feeling better about themselves. Some people will excuse themselves. I hear it all the time as a teacher; "I am not flexible enough to do Yoga." "I need to get stronger before I take a climbing lesson." People are funny. The whole point of being in the class is to learn how to get flexible and strong efficiently and safely. But no one wants to look bad or inept. We all worry about how we will be perceived. Maybe this should be my New Year's resolution. I resolve to not worry about how I look to others. In a positive statement, my resolve is to offer my best to whatever I am doing and whoever I am with.

Step two in setting a goal is to figure out how I am going to practice it and plan to practice it regularly, getting outside my comfort zone. What does offering my best mean? In Yoga in would mean to apply skillful effort to the poses; more importantly, to practice with healthy alignment and attention to my breath, drishti, and the messages from my body about my limitations. It is so easy to apply to movement for me. Notice there is an inherent element of needing to practice, there is also the attention, focus and concentration and to challenge myself in the pose.

What is my best in relationships? I love what a great teacher for me said recently, "when you don't know what to do, ask yourself 2 questions; first, is this good for me? And second, is this good for the other person?" In relationships I will begin to ask these questions - is this act, these words good for me? Does it feel good to me? And as importantly, I will ask myself, is this act kind, helpful, necessary and honest toward someone else? (I tend to talk too much, so the necessary part will be very helpful in paying closer attention to the needs of someone else). I think this second question is very helpful in really listening to what someone wants to share with me.

Third step in planning is accountability. I will not ask myself to be perfect in all my encounters with being my best. But I will ask myself to set aside 3 times a day where I will focus on being my best. I will practice really asking these questions at least three times a day in relationships. I will also keep a journal of my experience so I can see even the smallest improvements and see what works and what doesn't. Nothing like a little failure to learn from.

Now... about my over 40 yr old ass... that needs work too. Compassionate work, but work none-the-less.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Spirit of Giving

It is Christmas and this is my first Christmas without my son. It's lonely. It's freeing and it's fearful. It's joyful. All of it, in different moments. I have plans of visiting people and spending time with my family and their families, but ultimately, I still feel alone in those rooms full of people. A little part of my heart closes when my son goes away and when I have to think of my dreams of my own family that was dashed upon the granite shoreline of life, shattered and washed away in the ink of separation agreements and divorce petitions. I had a dream of my family and faithful love and growing old together and now that is gone. I did not dream this dream of my son being in a world I do not know. I did not dream this time alone at Christmas, with people but feeling so very lonely. And yet it is what seems to be happening.

Or is it? "You cannot search for reality, or for what you will, in isolation. It comes into being only in relationship, only when there is right relationship between man and man. So the love of man is the search for reality.' ~ Krishnamurti

My version of reality is that I am alone. Yesterday as I approached the malls and looked beyond the scene of hurried people, I could see people intent on the perfect gift, men tired of being in the mall, children excited and exhausted. As I looked at each, I could see a little of my own spirit. My own tiredness. My own frustration. My own worry of whether this would be a good enough gift. When I could see a little of my own emotion in others, the door to my heart opened and I felt so much compassion. Then my compassion turned on me. I am just like all these other people with their stories of what a perfect Christmas should be and their striving to make it happen. I understood, my own desire to have a perfect family, and that it is gone -- at least with the man I had promised my dreams to.

As I settled into the front seat -- still thinking that perhaps these weren't the perfect gifts -- I turned on my audiobook - little tidbits of support and encouragement as I drive home. The message coming to me loud and clear is the power of my dreams. I was still stuck on my old dream. I need some new dreams for this new, re-singled life I am living. What would that dream be? As I pondered this I came to see that the joy in our dreams is not just in what we are doing, but the joy in being a mom or a partner is in what we are GIVING. So I have decided to approach each shop clerk, party goer, and family member with the following mantra, 'what can I offer to THIS person in front of me right now?' Because right now and with the person I am with, is where the power of fulfilling my dreams and my love lies.

Monday, December 21, 2009


I am but a speck in this vast Universe, a mere stage hand in the grand play of the Universe. My life is no more than a pebble or grain of sand on the beach of all that is. And yet... so much revolves around my very presence.
Or does it?

I awoke this morning pondering some financial goals and though my dreams are for abundance of money energy, my head could not wrap itself around the who would pay me that kind of cash. Surely I would have to win a lottery or come into an inheritance of some sort. WOW!
There was an amazing revelation in that moment. I do not think what I offer this life is of value -- that kind of economic value. To see myself holding this belief, I could suddenly see all the truths of it. I recollected all the thoughts about each job I undertook. I saw my insecurity in offering my fees as a personal trainer, my disbelief in myself to be a life coach -- who would pay me $75/hr to help them figure out what they really want in their life? Who would by my books? Who would ...
Well, ironically, a lot of people do. I get paid to teach Yoga, I get paid to teach climbing movement, I get paid to mentor people. I get paid to write. I am still getting paid for a book I wrote 9 years ago. Why then can I not accept this abundance freely? Why to I question my own value to the Universe? Not only do I question it, I limit it. That is I with a capital I.
The turnaround - I am part of the Divine - all creator of the Universe. I am an integral part of the lives of so many in ways I cannot even imagine. I offer love - and truth. Immeasurable value to the lives of so many. I am not owed for each other person on this planet offers in kind. But we each have unlimited value we bring -- it is our own heart that puts the cap on it.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I right, I am coming clean. I am pretty hard on myself about my habit of having wine with dinner. I usually only have a glass, sometimes two. But every time I do I feel bad about it. I feel like I should not be doing that. I keep trying to let it go, realize it is not a bad thing, it is not like I can't go a night without; sometimes I do.

After looking at, trying to not have a glass is actually worse than dealing with my feelings of guilt. I know guilt is ridiculously useless and my standards are ridiculously high, but it all happens anyway. Following some guidance in a recent read, Spiritual Materialism, I decided to stay with the feeling. Identifying it, feeling it in my body as I was awake early this morning thinking about how I should not have had 2 glasses of wine last night. The feeling was tightness across the front of my chest, I was justifying, defending my position.

Pride. I hold such incredible standards and feel full of pride and arrogance about how one should live, by what standards one should conduct oneself and clearly somewhere in my mind having a glass of wine each day is wrong. This may be borne from the challenges around drug use I have experienced with loved ones in my youth. Perhaps it is from all the spiritual self help books I read. Perhaps it just doesn't feel good in my body at 3 or 4 am. Whatever the motivator, my consumption seems to go against a belief.

No... it is that I succumb to desire. Deep down, I feel ashamed that I cannot hold to my own high standards. The lack of discipline is what I dislike. Discipline equals being good enough.
Can I accept me? Can I accept me for all my humanness? Perhaps the way to acceptance is to practice loving kindness for myself. For I am one just another of the universe's children who suffers.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Love -- it is energy we radiate out. This radiation of love is what connects us to the energy of others and draws energy together and can transform it into something that seems to have even exponential potential.

I see people who radiate loads of this energy through smiles and hugs. Positive love. And yet, I cannot get connected to it. Why? Is it the the offer is not real? Is it that when I try to force a connection, the connection cannot be made because there is not an alchemy of the two energies. Perhaps for me I am approaching with a vampire nature and the desire to take energy away blocks a potential connection.

Perhaps there is just the lack of awareness of what I and everyone else is doing with their energy. Maybe it is the very lack of intentionality that is the problem in making the connection. Why does anyone of us want a connection to another? Validation that we are okay or to offer something to that person? For me it has been validation. Now I try to just offer out -- but it is still challenging to deal with it when it gets thrown back at me. I am not responsible for what someone does with my good intentions and spirit of love. Man that's a hard one to believe all the time.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Desire creates wanting...

And wanting creates more dissatisfaction and wanting. This has been the way of things lately. As the Holidays round the bend and my son will be leaving to be with his father for 2 weeks, I am in a continual state of wanting. Wanting all this to be other than it is. I want my obscured view of security back -- where I did not wonder if I would grow old alone. I want the knowing that my son would be with me for all the special occasions -- okay so maybe knowing is not true, assuming. I want to be lost in the world of having meaning.

When I was going out and meeting guys at parties in my university years, I was always looking for this or that, wanting to attract someone and find the perfect love. I wanted to be loved. Not to give love. When I had to get really honest about my marriage, I had to admit, that there too it was love I wanted. I wanted him to love me and I did not really examine how much I could love him until our son arrived. Then I started asking that question. And I knew, I would leave him before I would leave my son. Why? Because I meant more to my son and I willingly would love my son unconditionally. In the early days I struggled with the idea of would I love him if he raped women or killed someone and I knew even then, I would. But I could not truly say the same for my ex. Then I chose to love him that much and he chose not to love me that much.

Perhaps then this divorce is an opportunity to recommit to that unconditional love. And to recommit to being enough for myself -- to loving myself enough that I do not look for it from others.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

"To open to oneself fully is to open to the world."

I totally get this and at the same time recognize how challenging it is to be completely open to oneself. I recognize each night I am home and striving for the time when my son is in bed and I have a few moments to myself. Why? Why am I striving, waiting? Why can I not see the pleasure in the time he is awake? Because I somehow believe it will be better when he is asleep. But it isn't. It is the same. As soon as he goes to bed, I want to munch or have a glass of wine or use some pleasurable distraction until it is time for me to go to sleep. Why am I so afraid of this time?

I am alone. I am completely alone with myself. As much as I long for it while he is awake, I also fear it when it occurs. Alone there is only me to be with and I really deep down don't think I am enough. All day every day I build walls, defenses around who I am. I shouldn't have to do that. That person should talk to me. That guy shouldn't have cut me off. I deserve this new xxxxx. It's their fault, they shouldn't have.....

It is all a story to support the vision of me I want. Not who I really am. The vision of me I want. So who am I? Really? I am a person who judges, I am a person who is human and screws up. I am intense and passionate and I speak my mind about others but not my truth. I am also kind and generous. As my high school friend says, "too nice." I unnerve people. Can I completely open to that? I haven't yet because I also long for the approval of others. I am human.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Loving What Is

The first step to loving what is, is seeing what is. I just don't know how to see what really is. Am I really a defensive, closed person? Byron Katie, the author of "Loving What Is," would ask 4 questions and turn it around and see the truth on all sides. Maybe the real truth is that all of it is true each in it's own way.

Maybe it is all about expectation. I expect things to be different and therefore I am not accepting what is and loving it. Can I see the love in my energetic child who wants to fill the planet with paper airplanes? Can I see the love in the people I coordinate when they choose not to follow the appropriate guidelines and policies that we agreed to put in place?

Yeah. It is all about expectation. I keep expecting people to do what they say they will, be who they say they are. And I guess I am just as unpredictable. I say I am going to do a daily practice, to be open to what is and then..... things don't go as I planned.

I guess that is why it is called practice.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

We are all Divine

As my eyes open to the darkness of early morning, my thoughts slowly come into light. I am judging the actions of my ex, his grandfather, myself. I am not paying attention to the softness and love of my son laying next to me, I am spinning a story in my mind about all the ways these people should have been or should be.

As the judge rears it's head on myself, I cannot help but admit, maybe I have made mistakes. Maybe my divorce was my fault. Maybe I was just not lovable enough. Uggghhhh, this again.

I can feel the tension in my body, my shoulders being held in, mind resisting these thoughts. I thought I dealt with all of this. I write. I sit with my little book with flowers littering the cover and I write it out. My Yoga book, "The Secret Power of Yoga," is open to the heading "we are all divine." I recall the podcast I listened to on my way home last night --- 'think of everyone else as Buddha, here just so you can discover the Buddha in yourself.'

As I write, I question the judge. I notice that I am responding, not to my heart, not to my feeling, but rather to the behavior of myself or others. Is the behavior really a reflection of intention? No. My face softens.

What is my intention now? I want to love all these people I judge, I want joy and happiness. So why would I choose the thoughts that make me defensive toward myself and others? Why would I choose the thoughts that close my heart? It doesn't matter if I am right. It matters what I intend. Opening. Loving. Softening.