Friday, December 30, 2011

Don't worry about the how.

Sankalpa is a powerful thing. A goal, an aspiration. As I reflect this morning on a sankalpa to lead me into the New year, I am stumped. Not because of a lack of things I want to accomplish. Oh no... there are plenty of things I would like to accomplish, to change in my life. No, it is because of the challenge of discerning which of those many things to focus on first and then immediately skipping to the how. It is a lack of faith that it will just happen unless I make it happen.

Just call me 'control.'

Where did the power to just go on the road and be a rock climber go? What happened to the fearlessness that I had all those years ago disappear to? That bravery is now buried under mounds of responsibility and things that will distract me from having to live up to that uncomfortable lifestyle. Spending your days living in a car or van, even a Ford F-150 is very freeing from responsibility, but it can be challenging to always have to cook hunched over your legs. Or to get dressed laying down.

So perhaps it is not the responsibility as much as the fear of getting that uncomfortable again. Fear of not having enough juice to do it all and then some more. It's easy to sit behind the excuse of being a single parent. Lots of people cut me slack for my very full life. It isn't easy. But it is also joyful and fun and can certainly fill ones days. And yet, there is also the possibility to add to the spice of my own life. Maybe a PhD is not the answer. Maybe the how is to just do what it is I love to do, allow the world to see it.

That takes faith and patience and perhaps a little hope, but definitely just takes doing. Can you guess what it is that I love and haven't been courageous enough to share fully with the world?
Are you holding something back?
Here's to 2012! Just a little doing each day, like one Yoga pose leads into a sequence and one 5.7 leads to 5.13, if you just keep doing.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Giving 120%

The room was still and quiet. For me there was just me and time. Distracting myself from the stillness, I roamed the internet and eventually found myself watching youtube videos of Chris Sharma. I have known Chris. I remember watching him just not let go in Santa Cruz. As I watch his Wanderlust interview and see his discomfort with new moves... Yoga moves, I realize that what we do is what we become good at. But more importantly, how we do something determines how well we will perform.

It is not a matter of technique or strength as much as it is a matter of desire. When we really want something, we will put all of our being into it. All of our strength and all of our know how. Our awareness becomes locked on the process and we are led through the process, rather than conquering it.

Clearly Chris' desire is to always climb the next level. To see what is next and can be done.
What is my desire? As I reflect on this, I realize this has always been a struggle for me. For many years my desire has been polluted with the desires that others have for me. My parents desire for a degree in science, with the end of that came my partners desire for rock climbing, so I too climbed. With divorce I found Yoga, but even there perhaps it has been the desire that others have to be great teachers that has diverted my path to teaching. And in teaching, I have found the prescriptions of yet others to shape what and how I teach.

More reflection reveals a gem. When I sat in the back of a Ford F150 in the blazing sun on warm July days in Rifle, Colorado, I was free. I was writing. I was sharing all the knowledge I had gained from my own experience with climbing. Not the training offered to me from other, but from my own experience. I was alive. I was climbing as I wrote. I was understanding and blending together all that I understood and articulating it. That was fulfilling.

Climbing routes was only a means of learning for me. Practicing asana has only been a means of gaining understanding. Reading book after book after book has been the fulfillment of a desire within me to learn, understand and offer in my own words my perception. Can my purpose really be that simple?
And yet it makes perfect sense because I cannot do anything in my life half-assed. I must do it fully and completely and when I can't put 120% in, I lose interest.

Sometimes I long for those days of climbing again... the fitness, the fun, the travel. But what I really miss is the absolute absorption in learning. Yep... that's me, the perpetual student.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

The stove burns brightly, the clock ticks and I sit. I take a breath and feel the pleasure of my lungs expanding and my heart opening to the gift of life. I watch my fingers dance across the keyboard and words from my heart skip across the page. Magic.

Today, as a community we celebrate the gift of life, we remember the generous spirit in our hearts. We connect as family, as one. I am so very fortunate to celebrate and remember these things more than once over this Holiday season. My wish for the New Year will be to remember and celebrate life, abundance and generosity every day.

With an open heart, I can find the light inside me and share it with the world. That is my greatest gift to give.... and the world reciprocates. For when I see my light, then I can see the light in others, and be grateful for their gift.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Friday, December 23, 2011


The house is quiet. With the exception of the ticking of the clock, reminding me to make my way to work, there is only stillness. A magical time to reflect inward. All of the stories are really just my perceptions of the way things are. An uncomfortable thought comes and more than the thought, I notice the feeling. It is a feeling of needing something, a feeling of lack, something missing. And yet, when I bring my awareness back to this moment, I am breathing. I am not hungry. I am comfortably warm and supported in my chair. I am not alone. So why a feeling of lack?

My voice is not being heard. I lack an audience. My purpose is to share with the world my truth. What truth? In this moment, it is the truth that we all want to be heard and yet with so many wanting to be heard, who is listening? Only I will ever really hear my own voice.

Yesterday, while listening, and allowing my father's voice to be heard, he could hear me. He could hear all the love and compassion in my heart. Isn't it funny how that is!?!

Sunday, December 18, 2011


The Holidays must be here, Fynn is off with his dad, probably hitting the slopes a little later today.

With time on my hands, another home project has begun. I filled my mind and my day yesterday wil destruction and construction. As I warmed the heating pad for my sore back and lathered my dry hands with oils, I realized that the building of things is like a state of flow for me. It is like figuring out a sequence on a hard route. It is both physically and mentally engaging. It challenges me to stay focused and yet open to what is next.

This is not work, for me this is play. Kind of like building snow forts.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Living Happiness

12 Things Happy People Do Differently
~by Jacob Sokol of Sensophy

Studies conducted by positivity psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky point to 12 things happy people do differently to increase their levels of happiness. These are things that we can start doing today to feel the effects of more happiness in our lives. (Check out her book The How of Happiness.)

1) Express gratitude. – Thank you Divine Universe for this beautiful child I get to raise, the co-workers I get to share the day with and my friends and family who surround me with love.
2) Cultivate optimism. – In this moment right now, I am healthy, breathing and full of vitality and so are the people I love.
3) Avoid over-thinking and social comparison. –God grant me the serenity to know the difference between what I can change and what I cannot.
4) Practice acts of kindness. – The greatest kindness I have to offer right now is the joy of knowing all the wonderful people in my life. Tell me if I can add to your life in any way.
5) Nurture social relationships. – This means, I will definitely be celebrating with friends this Friday night -- even if we need to leave a little early.
6) Develop strategies for coping. – my go to coping mechanism involves salt, self help books and perhaps some furniture making. I'll do my best to stick to the healthier ones this season.
7) Learn to forgive. – Rod said, "You don't forgive, you learn to love." I believe this and practice keeping my heart open.
8) Increase flow experiences - this is play. When time passes and you have no idea where it went.
9) Savour life’s joys. – I love the Xmas lights and the beautiful sunrises and sunsets lately.
10) Commit to your goals. – I am committed to being the best mom I can be. I am committed to embracing all of my life and staying curious and open. I am committed to serving the Divine however I can.
11) Practice spirituality. – I sit with Divine love daily.
12) Take care of your body. - Play. More play. I notice how great it feels to move, extend in asana!

How's your list!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Lightening up in the darkness

One thing I know. In dark times, there needs to be light. Victor Frankl discovered this while surviving in a Nazi concentration camp. There must be a purpose to live for.

Rod suggests this purpose is my dharma. My light shines brightest when I climb mountains (confront challenges) and share my voice, my own way of thinking with the world. And to leave the rest to the Divine source.

For those I love I will share my love and my passion to find their own light for however long they may be able to shine it's light to the world. And I will understand the lesson for me is to not let myself live in silence and status quo, nor will I worry whether I am heard or believed.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Layers of what I think I know...

Yesterday, I read the Huffington Post article by Rod Stryker, "The 6-Point Method for Breaking Unhealthy Habits." I have been working with this practice for 2 months. And I have to admit, not highly successfully.

Then this popped out, "It's important to know that giving it up is doable and that you're willing to give it up. Giving up a habit that is deeply engrained and has a powerful sway over you will give you maximum leverage if you succeed -- but if it's too hard, you may fail to give it up."

As I worked with the habit I had chosen so many weeks ago yesterday, I realized perhaps I did not fully believe I am able to give up the habit I had chosen. It is so deep-seated, having been well practiced for the majority of my life.
Feeling compassion for myself, I finally asked...'what do I need?'
The answer... 'I need to lighten up a little bit. The sense of failure is sending me into a downward spiral of despair.'
Then I asked, 'how can I help myself or who can I ask for help?'
The answer, 'change my expectations on this habit. Select something less intense OR change the habit to be worked with every morning, though perhaps not all day everyday.'

Starting today - round two. Wish me luck.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Embracing all of it.

There has been a perfect storm of events and messages inspiring me lately; my mother's health, my nephew's shattered wrist, a book called Play, my ever busy schedule, my son's busy schedule, my practice and impatience, and of course, noticing my relationship to climbing and Yoga. And as I sit in the chaos of all of it, I recognized one fundamental thing... I am doing my life; I am not honouring my life.

I meditate, I set routes, I clean up the RC and make efforts to teach, do my administrative job, call for updates on my loved ones, attend family get togethers, do things with my child, coffee with my friends. And in all this effort, I keep my heart just a little bit hidden away. My mom's surgery has been the real straw. I am being strong and resilient, looking forward to the completion of the event and the getting through the recovery. Staying strong. And yet all the while the tears are right there on the edge of spilling over. The fear of more loss.

Kirpalu, on day one of Yoga for Fulfillment, Yogarupa said, "you have to change your relationship to your life." I felt his gaze in my direction and the hair stood up on the back of my neck and my stomach dropped. I wanted to hide. It has been weeks since then and when I sit in truth, I can see I have been wanting it to be something easier to change like a job, health for my loved ones, eating habits, cultivating a sense of gratitude and abundance, or having a new partner, or some new hobby, better income, or a new sankalpa or practice.

The truth is what needs change is this holding back; this arms length approach to living and embrace all of the heartache in my life, because only then will I also be able to embrace all of the joy.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


A beautiful Saturday morning and I am munching on my toast and sipping coffee. Experiencing guilt for not mindfully eating. Fynn is out so I am also indulging in the quiet and listening to one of my educational audiobooks. Brene Brown is talking about play. I am quite surprised as she says, "the opposite of play is depression." Play enables us to problem solve, innovate, be happy and smart.

I type in those four letters. It makes sense. Unless I am doing something productive - reading a book on spirituality, practicing, working or doing something for my son, I feel like I am not doing enough. And I always feel disheartened, perhaps depressed. Two friends confided the exact same thing to me last night. As one talked, I asked him what he dreams about doing. He said, "travel." I asked, "when are you going to travel, where?" He didn't answer. I pressed him. He didn't really have a plan, just an idea.

I reminisced on how we had dreams as we grew up; dreams for our careers, dreams for family dreams for homes. Not ideas, but full on dreams with feeling and pictures in our heads, not to mention the belief it would happen. Now I don't really have dreams, just ideas, no strong pictures. It's too crowded with doubt. I am so busy being productive, there is very little time for dreaming.

Maybe, just maybe, if I could stop my productivity conveyer belt, and play a little, I could once again open up to some dreams. Maybe if my Yoga practice wasn't about being a better version of me, but about joyful resting in myself, my heart would open and I could dream. You know, I do have an idea, maybe I will play it out with pictures and see what happens. What are you dreaming?

Sunday, October 30, 2011


How can I move from here to where I want to go?
Put one foot in front of the other.
The problem is, I am carrying too may things to be able to open a door and keep moving over there.
I am a mother, full time with no co parent to assist me. No father for my son.
I am a coordinator with no administrative assistant, only part time help doing the best they can with how important this work is to them.
I am a Yoga teacher with only a few students. Not enough to sustain that role as a primary source of security.
I am a friend with what little time and energy I have.
What can I put down to get closer to where I want to be? What needs to go to make room for something different?
I love my role as a mother and I will not trade that for anything.
Being a teacher grounds me and cultivates peace and joy in my life.
Love and our friendships are what matter most.
I guess that means I need more assistance with my role as a coordinator. I guess that means I need to let go of the idea that only I know how to do it. I need to trust that whatever happens will be what should be happening.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Climbing, Football and Lacrosse

Yesterday I attended three sports and, other than tossing a ball, the only sport I participated in was the sport of relationship. Lacrosse was an opportunity to connect to my son, taking an interest in his interests. Football gave me an opportunity to connect to Dalhousie peers. At the climbing wall, I tried to re-connected with climbers; friends. This morning as I awoke and found myself at the games; again sparring and defending myself to these 'climbers'. Wait.... why do I need to defend myself? I may have connected with them as friends, though perhaps not as climbers. I also realized something else... A large part of relationship is what they feel, not just what I feel.

The support these climbers want from me is not the support I have offered. Maybe what these climbers really want from me is acceptance and affirmation. The only way for me to give them that is to hear what that means to them. Indirectly, my choice to not place my own climbing as high on the list as many other responsibilities in my life can be interpreted as elite level climbing is not important. That is why they want me to climb - to reaffirm their own idea that living climbing is important.

My teacher has been shaping my understanding that real fulfillment is not about getting affirmation from outside of myself; it is acting from the solid foundation of my heart. I used to get a short high from a big send (success in climbing). But then there was always just another route to do. The greatest sense of fulfillment came from teaching someone else how to succeed. In this community of climbers, only some want that from me. These friends don't need me to climb hard and probably don't feel I have much to offer them. So I have difficulty feeling purposeful with them.

As Yogarupa says.... "Meet people where they are, then you can take them for a ride." I guess I need to find a new way to meet these climbers. And a new way to serve them. And I need to let them go.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dare you to Live Fully

What does that mean? Live fully. To some it may mean deep water soloing and landing in the water from a 40 foot fall and doing it again. It may mean to have a challenging career, beautiful smart and talented children, a handsome and loving partner, a fancy house with panoramic views. Still others dream of PhD's and farms.

This chick takes living fully to mean living with an open heart. That means being able to stop defending myself and judging myself and others. No easy task I can say. As I awake in the morning I am doing 'morning pages.' Three free hand written pages of whatever pops into my head. It is fascinating to see all the things that pop up. "People have to want to participate." "He didn't feel compelled to help people..." Are either of these thoughts true? How would I know what someone else was compelled to do or not do. Maybe he was compelled, but also afraid or feeling helpless. Do people people really have to want to participate or is it part of meeting them where they are to entice, inspire them to participate?

The tone is one of "I know" not of "I wonder."

Perhaps living fully means being curious about the things the mind thinks. Perhaps deep water soloing is just curiosity about what it feels like to be that high with only water below. Perhaps the challenging career happens when one is curious about 'what if?' at work.

Hmmm, something to think about.

Monday, October 17, 2011

New floor, old steps

I am not sure how it happened... we just had a few hours to kill before climbing started and we were talking about floors, Home Depot came up and the next thing I knew I was buying 10 boxes of flooring for Fynn's room. Well of course there was no climbing to follow and home we went. With the fire of intensity I bring to any job that needs getting done, I laid the floor that evening.

In my desire to get it done, Fynn learned through instructions yelled from his room how to cook pasta. But it got done. This is the way it happens for me... the task becomes all consuming and the relationships, the nourishment and nurturing off to the side. A very helpful skill in a war or natural disaster, but perhaps not that helpful in most everyday living. Perhaps that is why I am a little less focused most of the time. Living does not require such attention - unless you are practicing Yoga.

This must be why I love Yoga so much... bringing this attention and energy to every moment.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Man's search for meaning

If you haven't read Victor Frankl's book, Man's Search for Meaning, then I think you should. The next time you think life sucks, imagine being in a prison camp. Imagine what it must feel like to know that everyone you love has died or is dying, that the probability of survival of the situation you are in has very low odds. You are hungry, tired and worked tirelessly and beaten frequently. And somewhere in this hell, you choose to survive.

As I reflect on what enabled this man to choose survival I realize some fundamental things. He did not have anything to give up. He did not have a loved one he was trying to please... they were all dead. He did not have a comfortable salary and home to go home to at the end of the day. He had squalor and hard planks to sleep on with no blankets. It was rock bottom; there was no safety net, no comforts, no disappointing anyone.

It takes great faith to believe that no matter what, risking any of this will be for the best, especially when I do not even have a clear picture of what that looks like or see a path. Maybe it just needs to get that uncomfortable and that dark before we have faith in the light, our own light.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Move toward fear.

Following My gut is the challenge I have put forth for myself as Fynn spends this weekend with his Dad. Yesterday my gut told me to show up for a group expecting to go geo-caching, so I did. And I had a great time. My gut told me to listen to my audiobook instead of the radio or watching TV. My gut told me to practice this morning. And now my gut is telling me to write. I am not even sure what needs to be said. But I am following my gut.

Pema Chodron says move toward your fear. Don't repress it, don't ignore it, don't distract yourself away from it. Real compassion for yourself is to turn toward it and allow yourself to experience it. My fears seem so large it is much easier to run. But what I have noticed when I have followed this advice, is that I actually soften toward myself. I accept my own imperfection and allow myself to be less than perfect. And a smile can usually creep across my face.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Play isn't something you do... it's an attitude.

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year of conversation." ~ Plato

This morning I tried this new activity to try to begin to get beyond my stream of consciousness and as I sat there doing this writing project. I was ranting about how much time it was taking and how was I going to get my meditation in and there would be no room for asana. I was striving to complete all the things I was expecting of myself. And I was striving for things to be different.

As I continued this writing and glimpsing at the clock, I decided I could change my attitude. I could do this because I believe there is value in it and I appreciate the process. Then as I approached my meditation cushion, I took the same idea with me. I would just open to what would happen, even if I did not have a lot of time.

A simple change in attitude and a beautiful feeling of lightness.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


I see that in the folks who come to the Yoga classes I teach. Some really like pushing themselves as deeply into a pose as possible. These folks remind me of the athletes I know who are comfortable being uncomfortable. The irony is that what makes them really uncomfortable is to relax and surrender to a more comfortable version of a pose where the breath is steady and the mind is calm.

We all have comfort zones. Even when we are challenged there is a response that makes us comfortable. This week I was rejected. My comfort zone was to rally the "you're okay" from supporters and to, in turn, reject this person. As I went through my habitual response, (yep, I've been bullied before), I held tightly to how wrong this person was and how right I was.

I am not sure how it happened or where it came from, but a thought creeped through my consciousness. What would make me most uncomfortable would be to let that person know they are right. I am not and cannot be what they believe I should be. As the thought went through my mind, I realized a sense of empowerment behind it and a softening. He is right. And it is okay.

"I must sacrifice what I am for what I could become." I must sacrifice what I am... the expert climber I try to be, for what I could become... the real expression of my soul, a teacher and a creative force.
I am not an exceptional climber.
I am a person who loves to explore possibilities and create ways and space for people to learn and grow.
It is okay that some people want me to be an amazing climber and dislike that I am not pursuing that and supporting them. And it's okay that it is not what I want for myself. No one is wrong, we are all right.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Lies & Love

This morning an hour slipped away from me as I pondered the lies and acts of deceit that have been perpetrated behind my back. Oh sure, I rationalized that it is not about me. Choices others make are choices they make about who they want to be.
But is that entirely true? I could not conceive of lying or taking advantage of my teacher.
Ohhh wait... that's not entirely true. I now recall sharing his audio files with someone. Not copying them, but lending them. Is that stealing?
What was my intention? To share this amazing experience I had, all I had learned. And maybe to buy a little credibility with the person.
So what was the intention of those who lied? To maintain their own credibility in my eyes. Yes. And to save themselves from seeming to have made a mistake.
Yup, I've been there.
So... now there is room for compassion. Sometimes, thinking is a helpful tool to get back in the heart. :)

Friday, September 16, 2011


My mind was replaying the story of last night and generally beating me up for being socially inept. As I replayed the conversations and thought, "that probably sounded stupid," and "I really shouldn't have shared that." I realized again how I was rejecting who I am.

What if it wasn't a stupid comment? Could that also be true? Perhaps it was my best effort to express how I felt. My intention was to make a connection on a heart level. Perhaps my awkwardness, confusion, was a reflection of how uncomfortable people are really talking about how they feel. It is often challenging to really express ourselves because we try so hard to sound professional and intelligent.

I guess the trick is to sooth my awkwardness by finding contentment in just wanting to share myself with others. Leave the rest of it up to them since it's out of my hands what they do with it.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A world of Love or Hate

I choose today to be a day to remind me of love; the love that we all shared, opening our hearts in compassion to those who lost their lives and those left behind.

I recall looking at the beauty of my 8 week old child and wondering what kind of world I had brought this life into. I recall the horror of thinking of being a mother to a person who could kill so many innocent people. I recall the helplessness of not being able to make any kind of difference for anyone.

But that is not true. Every day, I can choose to accept others as they are and love them anyway. I can choose to feel compassion. I can choose to stay open. I can choose to work on me and my ability to love, not hate. And that will make all the difference.

Monday, September 5, 2011


I had a dream I needed to hold onto a bar, 20-30 feet above the ground. My body was swinging wildly as this spun in a circle. I needed to let go with one hand and grab a ladder which would allow me to climb to the ground to safety. I would let go and reach and not get the ladder and swing out again. I was afraid. I felt like a failure. I felt like I was too short to do it. And everyone else could. I awoke feeling depressed. I started journaling about this dream. Then it slowly dawned on me. But I was willing to try. I was afraid, but I was trying even when it seemed impossible. Why did I put the emphasis on the failing and not on the effort?

My Dad last night spoke of me as the "child who drove him crazy." I have spent a life time interpreting that as the child that wasn't good enough. Why didn't I see it as I was the one who taught him the most?

The quality of my Life is formed by the choices I make in how I see things. The joy in my life is either squashed by a choice of negativity or blossoms with a choice toward beauty. Today I will choose to dream, because "Living starts with dreaming." And I will choose the perspective that gives me even grander dreams.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Changing my relationship to my life.

A week in reflection and self care. A week in excavating desires. A week of insight, love and support, A HA moments and tears. At the end of it all, I am still me... the same woman who walked in, has walked out.

As I move back into the routine of being home, I feel the resistance of the mind so much more profoundly. I sit in meditation, now justifying the need to get on with the day. I sit with food with the observation of rationales that are luring me to get up and do something else. I sit with my own busy mind willing the heart to open to the moment, only to have that willfulness impede the experience.

Change takes more than remembering all that has been revealed. Change requires surrender to skillful action; meditation, Yoga Nidra, Sankalpa, just eating and embrace all of me, no matter how challenging it seems in the moment. Change requires faith. 'Change requires understanding that the chronic pain of not changing is greater than the momentary pain of change.' ~ Yogarupa.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Whole hearted

As I sat in room of eager PTA tip ers, listening to the wisdom of my teacher, he said "change your relationship to your life."

I feel his words were intended for me with intense power behind them.

That was two days ago. My interpretation; start really doing the things that matter to you. Step into your own power, take responsibility for your future. It's not quitting my job, it's not changing the house I live in; it's wanting to fully be the expression of who I am. Honor me; the body for the temple it is, the mind for it's amazing melodramas and ability to problem solve, plan and imagine, my heart for it's incredible love, and my spirit for it's ability to what it loves to do, move mountains with love.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

On the right track

July 2008 I discovered Rod Stryker. Nick asked me to bring Fynn to Colorado, Rod happen to be teaching Yoga for Fulfillment at that time, I went. That was the year I was getting the separation stuff sorted, and I ended up rooming with two women I did not know, one who had manifested all her dreams and one who seemed to be in an endless and bitter struggle with an ex-husband. One of these women was doing something right and I wanted to be like that.

Fulfillment is about learning who you are and making a plan of action for getting where you want to be. As I went through the exercises and small group discussions. Some people had very concrete things they wanted; a new house or money. When I imagine my perfect future, it is a feeling rather than a thing. In 2008, I wanted to feel prosperous, abundant and grateful. I very clearly recall the day, months later when I realized that I actually felt abundant and grateful - without trying. It was just a part of me to see the opportunity and positives around me. I was amazed at the power this work had for me.

Rod's book walking the reader through the process was published last month and I greedily devoured it and the exercises again. There are new things, greater depth to things already uncovered. And again, rather than naming a thing... it is a feeling of a future I want. Or maybe I am afraid to name the things in the images I create when I see my future. Next week, I will be with Rod again, doing the process with a group of fellow students. Being a student myself again. I am really looking forward to a future full of light, love and joy.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Yesterday I went running, headphones in listening to "the Voice of Knowledge."
I stopped running.
What are the truths I have learned to believe? I need to be capable, responsible, perfect to be loved. I got good grades and never felt they were good enough, I ran and never came first. I never got tall, or developed larger boobs. My body was not beautiful enough. I climbed and never was the best, I wrote a book and it wasn't a best seller. I married and now I am divorced.
I was running, despite the pain in my low back, not for fun, but for fitness. I was running to try to make this body stronger, leaner and better. I was running so I would maybe be loved by others. As Swami Rama points out, when we do something not for the joy but the outcome, we are never happy in the end, because the outcome can never make us happy, only the path does.

As I prepare for a week of Yoga with Rod Stryker, I see how much self-rejection is happening. Do i need to be more content, which of my bad habits should I change, what should my goal be? My goal is to love myself as I am, to appreciate the degree of practice I do, the contentment I have; accepting all of me as I am and allowing, not beating myself into more and more truth.

Today I will do as my heart wants. I will sand if that is done with joy in my heart. I will discern the difference in feeling good while challenged and bad and uncomfortable. I will do my duty, which is to follow the love in my heart, even when it is tinged in sorrow.

Friday, August 12, 2011

For me

"The vows and beliefs you hold dear, speak directly to the Universe, compelling it to act on your behalf." ~ Rod Stryker.

How has the Universe been acting on my behalf? I recall being raised with the mantra.... "you wait until your father gets home." In my home, my Dad had final say in everything, dolled out all the punishment and the scheduled operated around him. No surprise I would seem to attract men into my life who would treat me the same?

I second ideology was, "You cannot eat the raspberry preserves if you do not pick the raspberries." And this was confused with my siblings not having to pick the raspberries, but being allowed to eat them. But then I was always told I was the best raspberry picker. I seemed to be the capable one and responsible for taking care of others. Any wonder then that I am a single parent and that I do not make a lot of decisions without checking in with others first.

Now I have also loads of wonderful beliefs that have provided me with a foundation of amazing experiences and relationships. I believe that if you want anything badly enough, you can make it happen. I believe that there is infinite potential in each and every person and that everyone deserves love and nurturing.

Let's hope that recognition of beliefs opens a door to clear understanding if something is right or not. I managed to recognize that I did not want to cow tow to the man doing drywall in my home and I did not.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


This summer I have had the pleasure of working with some youth who have not had the start in life I have had. The truth of their early life has been abandonment, beatings and abuse. Not surprisingly, they come into the lives of those who have not suffered similar experiences and respond very differently to people telling them "no!" They respond violently. They try to take power if it is not given. They close themselves off from others.

Is this really any different than the riots in London?
Is this really any different than the hundreds of investors pulling out of their stocks, further causing the decline in the market?

All powered by fear. Fear of not having any power, they grip and covet what they have, what they can control. I am no different. And yet in all that holding, there is no peace, no contentment, no getting what one really wants. Opening and accepting what is, finding a skillful way to work with it.... that is where real power lies. That is where real contentment and peace can be found.

Friday, August 5, 2011

My was body was my voice

Yesterday I shared an amazing evening with a friend. We shared our stories. We even acknowledged that it was all stories. We filled the space between us with the love and understanding that at all times, there is really nothing ever wrong or needing to be different. Through our conversation, what I became very aware of was the many ways in which I have used my body to speak for me.

I have used it in relationships as a means of bartering.
When I rock climbed, it was my body expressing it self with intensity and the fire of my desire having a way to burn.
Running cross country it was a force propelling me toward better, faster, stronger.

Now I see the ages effect on my skin, my tissues, muscles. I am not as inspired to be intense and push myself physically. I still get excited by the emotions conjured by climbing videos, but even then it is emotion brought on by the challenge. Perhaps there have been too many for me to feel empowered by them now.
When I practice now, rather than a train driving me forward, I feel myself settle into the space the body guides me into. I feel a soft expansion and calm. For me, that is when I know I am practicing Yoga, not stretching or doing calisthenics. The breath leads me and I surrender.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

It's a new day

The summer is in full swing and continuous change. The end of another week of camps, the end of my summer with Fynn as he is off with his Dad. The end of a four week program. The end of daily visits from some very special little people who I will miss.
Each ending creates a new beginning. What will this next week of campers bring, what will this time with Fynn away bring. The first thing... Time for me to focus on nurturing me.
I've a good book, a comfy bed, a rainy day and lots that could get done, or could wait. Maybe just for today I will let go of my responsibilities and just be indulgent.

Maybe I will just reflect on all I have to be grateful for and dream about all my potential. Dream of all the potential of those I love. Empower myself for my tomorrow.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


As I puttered and toiled this weekend, I listened to an audiobook and the message that continued to turn up was that the purpose of my life is to allow my soul to express itself to it's fullest.... the question was what was this expression struggling to get out? Fortunately, the book came with an activity. All that was required was to finish some sentences with the first things to crop up. I finished the statement, "I love...." I love to nurture and support, teach, encourage, show others their potential. And the statement, "I am...." I am kind, generous, curious, analytical, insightful and creative. Followed by "I would like to have..." more patience, acceptance, letting go. Finally... "The purpose of my life is..."

I know that if I has endless resources, I would still want to try to show people how amazing their own potential is and all that they are capable of. But MY purpose is really about my own growth and expression. I recall fondly recall launching onto the lake with my homemade raft when I was 7 years old, and the excitement and purpose I felt when I left NS and went on a road trip that turned into 5 years of travel, climbing, teaching, a book and incredible adventures. Being a mom gives me that same sensation; you just never know what is next.

So seems like the purpose of my life to be an intrepid explorer, always expanding my world by moving in new directions and never settling into one spot too long.

The book, "The Purpose of Your Life," Carol Adrienne

Saturday, July 16, 2011

It's really not about me.

Yesterday I wanted to throw my hands up in the air. It seems that there are so many messages coming my way and to live by them, I need to get really uncomfortable. I don't want to get uncomfortable. I feel I deserve a little security and safety. But even as I say that, I know there is no such thing. We cannot ever protect ourselves from pain and suffering for they are our own creation, the result of resisting what is true. It is not the events of our lives that make us angry, upset or sad; it is our thinking that it should not have happened.

It is not my mom's illness that is making me upset. It is my desire for her not to be ill. My fear of life without my mom in it. I count on my strong and nurturing mom. Who will love me like that if my mom dies?
This is where faith comes in... faith is believing that whatever happens is what should happen.

Yep, my suffering is me making it all about me. And it really is not about me at all. How on earth could I know what should happen next?!? I only know what I want to happen and what I don't want to happen. Me Me Me.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Divine shakti

This week there was the love and joy of being a mother and yogi. This identity intruded upon by my responsibilities to the 10 instructors I guide, the 50 children they teach, the office mates who support and request things from me, the regular climbers using the gym, the parents of these kids, the social workers, the Spell Read folks we are coordinating it all with and next weeks crowd wanting changes, new potential folks in camps later this summer, the bus company who transports these folks to outdoor sites. The energy in thinking of my 'to do's' around the house, at work, for my health.

All of these forces drawing on me for guidance or information, support. And there are the few who give it back... the child who will sit still with me for a moment and tell me about his/her success. The child who runs to me to say "watch me!" The parent who tells me the kids are having an amazing time. My son who follows me through all of this, helping where he can, sometimes mothering me. The pay check which enables the home, the car, the food.

Life seems to be an exchange of energy out toward others and receiving back in. I have noticed in my practice lately, just a sitting and receiving. It is lovely. More interestingly I have noticed how much energy just goes toward the things that draw energy away and how little attention is paid to the energy in, unless it is first judged as positive. Even in the exchange of someone pouring their troubles on me, I could see their trust in me, their openness toward me, their sense that I would listen. That is an offering of one's energy too. The person who complain's, looking to find support from me... seeing me as a potential ally, also believing in my strength and openness.

Perhaps this is the real key to happiness; being able to receive even from the child with defiant eyes, telling you they just want to go home. Finding the Divine shakti in all of it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


My duty these days seems to be juggling the many desires of many people around the months of July and August. People who want to work, people who don't. Kids who want to climb and kids who don't. Parents who want to pay and those who don't. Youth who want to help and those who don't. Yesterday I struggled all day with trying to feel compassion, to create space for their stories. Perhaps not very successfully. Perhaps I should feel honoured they want to share their story, they feel they can explain themselves to me. Perhaps it means they feel supported and accepted by me; they feel I am a compassionate person.

Is that my soul's desire to run around fixing things; coordinating things? I certainly feel unhappy when I can't. As a kid, I always wanted to take things apart to see how they worked and 'fix' them when they didn't. I always wanted to build rafts and set sail on the lake to explore the other side. My sister and I wanted bunk beds so I made them with the tools and wood we found at home. I took apart the TV when the reception wasn't great - to see if I could fix it. I took apart Mrs. Beazley to see what made her talk.

So perhaps not to fix things, rather to understand how things work and use that knowledge to launch myself in some new adventure or direction. It explains the continual remodelling and furniture building I do at home. So this time at work, trying to coordinate the chaos is not really my duty. Unless... I can find a new way to understand those instructors in my care and use that understanding to get them working better together and with the youth.

Today I will say what I need. I will ask each of them to say what they need to the person they are working with and to me. Then maybe I will better understand who should work with whom and which youth.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Big picture

I am watching the spinning kids, the throwing and chasing of balls and the crushing of bodies on the floor. This is lacrosse. The original intention of this game was to resolve disputes between native tribes. The spirit then is to bring opposing teams together and resolve disputes... and yet when the skills of the game are not mastered, the hitting and slashing gets harder and more frequent.

Step outside the arena and see these same youth without pads and helmets, tossing the ball, playing tricks with their sticks and reliving their memorable moments of glory and challenge in the game. There is a connection to something bigger - the game - and how they challenge and master themselves within it.

It is the connection to something bigger that helps them to connect to each other. Every player wants to win. Every player takes the hits and runs the floor, tosses and shoots, in this way they are all the same. The game is a vehicle of experience that lets them see their own skill, strength, agility and speed AND in feeling that power, they can open to the others who share that experience.

This is the value of sport, recreation, so often missed when the focus is the score and not the experience. This is the value we could glean from work too when the bottom line becomes more important than how we play and when we can't see ourselves on the same team. It is when we see ourselves as separate the slashing and the checking begins.
If we placed more value on the experiences of our lives rather than our power, our wealth, our self importance, I wonder too if the world would resolve it's disputes and put an end to the slashing and checking. It's subtle isn't it; it's the focus on how well we are playing, not whether we are winning or losing.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Miss Fix it

The busy-ness of camps has begun. Trying to coordinate the unknown is the order of the day. People do not seem to want the place you have space, rather only the places you don't. Employees want the best of the work and not necessarily the worst. The joy in all of this chaos is in the beautiful little faces that come your way and ask, "can I please have a badge with Rock Court on it?"

There is such hope in the request and such a desire to be a part of something bigger than they see themselves. It is so beautiful. A soul expressing itself.

I am no different in my desire to coordinate these many souls into the experiences I can create. The souls I am negotiating with are no different; all wanting to be a part of something bigger.

My desire to be helpful, to solve, to fix for people, to figure it out is innate and has been with me since I was a little girl rescuing stray cats and dogs and taking apart the television to see how it worked... much to the dismay of my parents. So when presented with the souls that are well cloaked by the ego, or the "I amness," of another demanding my energy, I will practice keeping my soul's desire to 'fix it' balanced with a desire to 'fix it' for myself and perhaps from there I can feel the joy in the challenge.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Letting go continuously

This morning I opened one of my favourite books and I read, "When we feel nurtured, it is easy to nurture others...... Not paying attention to our own needs causes them to borrow and hide deep within our hearts."

As I reflected on this, I believe it to also mean when we feel love, it is easy to love others and when we feel rejected, it is easy to reject. The rejection really being a rejection, not of the other person, but rather of the possible love and faith in our own heart.

My teacher once said, "You don't forgive someone, you practice loving them. And maybe forgiveness happens." I truly believe this to be true. It is our own turning away from love that allows the negativity to come upon ourselves.

The letting go, then is not relevant to the circumstance. The letting go then is of the walls to protect the heart, letting go of the sense that whatever is happening has anything to really do with me. Nurturing myself begins with coming back to that feeling of love... opening the heart in every possible moment.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Choosing enjoyment

Within the body there is a system called the Autonomic Nervous System. This is the system which "acts as a control system functioning largely below the level of consciousness." This is what makes the eyes blink, the heart beat and perspiration cool the skin, among other things. The Yogis have shown that this system can be brought to the conscious level. We can learn to control the beat of the heart, the temperature of the body. It takes awareness and practice.

So too.... we can control so many of the things we believe are beyond our control. We say we cannot control the weather. Is that true? Seems to me there is a lot of discussion around global warming which we as humans have an impact on. On a much more immediate level, we can also control our experience of the weather. I can choose to take an umbrella or where rain pants and jacket when it is raining, or not. I can choose whether I go out into the elements or not. I can choose to be grateful for the rain if I consider the potential drought and lack of food without rain. So why do I choose to resent the weather when it is not what I want it to be?

This too takes practice. Today as I went to meditate, I went to 'do' my practice. I was choosing to sit, but not from a place of intending to enjoy it or see value, rather from a place of obligation and discipline. As this awareness of my choice toward obligation rather than enjoyment grew, I decided to enjoy. I decided to be there only if I really choose to be.

It was nice.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A smile goes a long way.

As I littered around this evening, I recognized the mind creating an argument for self care,self love and all the while the body tense, the face firm, the mind tight. Seems the real argument is to model softness and a smile.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The power to thrive

"The more we understand this idea that the more I thrive, the more I fulfill my unique destiny that is consistent with the greater purpose of life itself, the more my thriving serves the worlds thriving." ~ Rod Stryker

I believe this teacher came to me on the heels of my separation because I habitually react to the things I believed were expected of me, rather than moving in the direction of my own passion, my own inherent needs.

If my soul were to truly speak its truth, today it would smile a thousand times at people I know and people I don't. Today it would stay grounded in the belief that what I want is okay too and I would not be afraid if it displeased someone. Today I would do everything as an expression of the pure pleasure of doing it.

It is so habitual to just keep thinking. Stillness opens us up to the heart and feeling. Today, I will move with stillness - to the best of my ability anyway. I have also been cautioned that taking things too seriously is not helpful either and I have a great tendency to do that in my efforts to change the world.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Since the beginning

I am sometimes confused about how long ago it started that Fynn had to leave me to be with his Dad, but this time, something has stood out; I recognized the same pattern that emerges every time. Yes, I always get a little on edge or excited some might say, a little more intense, but this time I heard the self talk that breeds that intensity.

It begins with, 'I need to lose weight.' yes, I harken back to the early University days of anorexia. I become very dissatisfied with my appearance; it calls for coloring my hair or cutting it, doing my brows, you get the picture. The evidence of how much I need to change with myself continues to grow. I need to drink less wine, exercise more, get a better job, write my blog, clean my housemate do the weeding and mowing... And so on.

I see the link now between feeling the loss of my son, my connection to him disrupted, and self rejection. If nothing else, it has made me stand back and question those ideas I just took for granted were true. Maybe I don't need to loose weight, maybe the lawn is ok and perhaps it's alright to just focus on the possibilities of this moment.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Shifting Awareness

I opened my iPad at 4 am and began to write. I recognized that perspective is all about the starting point and it seems with us humans, most always start from the place of being in a drama rather than a comedy. I started from the place of drama - look at all the stuff I have to do and worry about! But nothing I was doing at 3 am was going to affect those conditions so why worry about it?!?

What if I chose comedy? It is really quite comical to be unhappy about killing ants in the kitchen. Yes all life is sacred and these ants do not distinguish between my kitchen or their kitchen, they are just ants. And they are pretty funny to watch.

I could chose curiosity and ask myself what was the driving force behind agreeing to take my son to a lacrosse tournament in St John the day before he and I fly to Europe?

I could choose gratitude for all the conditions of my life that seem to attract my energy - work and the great amount of energy that it draws on to support all these summer campers, their parents, the instructors and the organization itself. I get paid to help people have fun while being in nature and moving! Very lucky indeed.

If these are all possible, why do I instinctively move to drama - despair, feeling overwhelmed? Fear? Seems my own ego self importance thinks it is all about me. How will anything happen properly without me?

Looks like I interrupted the story somewhere along the line and chose curiosity. And a little distraction - I went online and booked myself in Fulfillment with my teacher.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Being responsible, disciplined and honest... these are the things I value. Or so I thought. I was raised to 'do', to take care of, to be responsible. And so I have done, for years, that which I believed is expected of me. I have not always said what I wanted or what I was willing to do. And in a swift moment I realized that perhaps I was not as honest or responsible as I thought.

Doing what I believed is expected of me is not responsible if it is not something I want to do. Not saying what I am willing and not willing to do is also not honest.

To be responsible, I must choose based on what I want and believe in, on what I value. To be honest, I must live from the place of acknowledging and honouring my desires. Sometimes, doing what others want will be what I want and sometimes being silent about my needs or desires will be what I want or need. But this is the secret to authenticity and fearlessness. And real love for ones Self.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Worth it

So busy getting things done. Arrived at lacrosse late. We lost the game by a whooping 11-3. Arriving home, the package Fynn was expecting hadn't arrived. There is so much more still to do tomorrow.

Checked out the news and the story about Oprah's show. Watched an amazing video of a woman dying of cancer who video tapes messages for her daughter.
And I am sitting here feeling sorry for myself! I am not sick, I have years of life as far as I know with my son. A bright future, a beautiful home. I do not have problems. It seemed selfish to think I did.

Then I realized everyones problem feels just as big to them and we all to some degree feel that pain at one point or another in our lives.
No, the tantra approach is that you acknowledge your desires and pursue them. Not acknowledging or pursuing your dreams is telling yourself you are not worth it.
I am worth it.

Monday, May 16, 2011


This morning I lay in bed and thinking, thinking. I was going through a litany of what was wrong and a passage I quickly skimmed in the Oprah magazine came to me. Oprah said that one of her favourite moments hosting her show occurred in seeing the face of a woman who had been mourning the death of her daughter for ten years when she absorbed Dr. Phil's comment, "So you have spent 10 years mourning the death of one day, rather than celebrating the 18 years of your daughters life." (paraphrase).

I asked myself, what am I mourning? And what could I be celebrating?

There is so much to celebrate, starting with the very breath that I breathe in. This well performing and mobile body I have and all this love around me. I am surrounded by beautiful trees, grass, the warmth of my home, or today a friend's home, I have plenty to eat and love all around. There is beauty in just this and yet, so often I awake thinking of some worry or resistance. Seems such a waste in the light of so much wonder.

Have a beautiful day!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Rolling right along

Today I reflected on words I heard recently; "There is never enough time." I have felt it myself. Today I managed to pick up my son only 50 min late and we will be out the door in 15 min after munching on warmed up pizza and tomato and cheese sandwiches. Is it any wonder I feel like I am accomplishing nothing. I haven't finished - at least not as well as I would like 3 projects at work. I promised myself I would prioritize which house project I would work on by actually costing out the three different options... nope haven't done that either. This blog is my candy, my free time, and even with this I will wish I spent more time writing it better.

Yoga has taught me to be a researcher, examining how I respond and feel about the things that are happening all the time, these little things. I ask why I feel unhappy about not completing a project to my own expectations all the time. Is that my ego, my perfectionist? Or is it because I truly desire to present myself 100% in everything I do all the time? It's a good question. Satisfying my ego will last for only a brief moment in a brief encounter. Satisfying my heart, expressing myself with complete honesty and truth is my soul.

So it is not about perfect outcomes, results. It is about whether I feel I have offered the best I have with what I've got (fatigue and all). Opening up to the full potential of myself or feeling limited. Ahhhh... as I write this I felt a few limiting thoughts creep in... time to examine them or maybe just sit in the stillness of my own self.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Brene Brown, researcher storyteller found in TED talks, speaks of the discovery that vulnerability is necessary to experience real joy, a whole heart. Does a heart need to be completely shattered to piece it back into wholeness. Is it the depths of shame, fear, loss and despair that get us in touch with ourselves, all that we truly only have - ourselves?

Is that the gift in my divorce? Being left for another person pushing the shame of me to the forefront of the world. Despite being so completely humiliated, rejected, betrayed and afraid, some people still loved me. I so clearly remember asking God for an answer, trying to understand why I had to experience such pain. What was it that kept me curious? I must have believed that there was some greater good to come from all that was happening; that somehow it must have some meaning that I could not see.

Here it is, a few years later and this curiosity has continued. When a new betrayal or rejection confronts me, and I move toward resentment, I see how I am letting the 'I am not enough' thoughts permeate my being. Resentment reflecting a need to defend myself. Sure, I am feeling hurt, but I am the one giving the action the meaning that it was because of ME. I am now certain it is not about me at all. "If the child asks for bread and none is forth coming, has not the father answered." I choose to be happy, not right. I choose to honour my own values and work on not judging the actions of others, after all, have I not also committed selfish acts?

So, I sit in stillness and get to know me. I have eventually begun to believe that I am enough no matter what. Sure the feeling of 'not enough' still comes and goes, and I am still influenced by the pull of others at times, but now I have had a glimpse of the truth, and I have tools to revisit the essence of who I am. I consider myself very fortunate to have gotten an answer from the Divine.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The raging tyrant

Last night and today were filled with moments of cleaning, fixing and doing. All the while, bantering around in the background of my mind are the angry thoughts,the resentments toward people and the unhappiness that I am not selfishly lying in the sun reading a good book. As the evening draws to a close, I am thinking about a good book about stillness. One more thing to put away, one more thing to clean... It seems endless.

Then the words creep into my conscious awareness, "this is the right way to worship, the real Yoga;not to perfect physical postures, but to make every home a happy home."

It is not the doing that brings happiness, but the connection to ones own heart, leaving open for others to meet. All the effort to perfect my home, and I missed hours of opportunity.

It is a good thing there is tomorrow. And it is a great thing that I could see it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Conversations swirl around me and I listen, hearing the sense of "I" in all of it. "I" was thinking ...., "I" don't think she has dealt with...., "my" back is....

Is it true? Who is this "I" we give so much credence to? How can I know what I think is right or true? None can see just as I see because they do not have my experiences on which to interpret these circumstances. Nor I their experiences. Perhaps we do not even value the same things. Perhaps we do but we express those values differently.

Seems that allowing others to be who they are all the while allowing me to be who I am is the only answer. And when the two are in conflict, I must make an adjustment that is true to who I am. None can be and I can be no one else, so my answers must be unique to me. Then there is only accepting others in their uniqueness too.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Love is internal

"Love is internal.... Only Interiority can give you Bliss."
I came across this quote yesterday and it was for me a profound truth.
Loving oneself just as I am opens the door to real understanding of all that I am. Believing that everything I do is enough at least for that moment it was my best is the first step in self acceptance. If I do not love who I am, how can I love others? Without self acceptance, everything I do is tinged with doubt and a lack of self-respect.

Sounds easy enough... but then yesterday I was reminded that even my thoughts of how I try to live according to the Golden Rule, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" fall short. Can I honestly say that my actions do not harm others? No... when Fynn insisted on a bike ride and that involved mechanical work in the cold and not doing what I really wanted to be doing, my actions of prepping the bike and going for a ride were creating resentment within me toward him. It was very unloving to me and to him. And yet to the outside world, I was probably looking good. Not doing isn't the answer either, for then I would have felt denied Fynn and that too would have felt bad. The solution was to find the way within me that could allow for the doing with the desire to do.

Love is internal.

It is not what you do. It is what you do with a full open heart and positive intention that is blended love, for oneself and for the other.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Armed with shoes

A new challenge faces me tomorrow and I sense my own excitement and trepidation at the same time. I will be getting uncomfortable. Heck, I already am uncomfortable. As the thoughts about what may happen play out in my head, my heart pounds a little faster, a little louder.

Hello fear. You cannot have me now. I am too busy being focused and breathing. A cute pair of shoes and listening and offering, and it will all be fantastic because everyone coming is fantastic and they will bring the answers, my job is just to create the space.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Layers upon layers

What started as a simple call turned into a dark drama.
Anger tore through me. "How dare he! This is not right!" Fortunately, alone, I just let this dialogue of my mind swirl.
Then another layer of mind interferes. "But wait, don't I believe that I am not these thoughts?"
Deeper still, the thought arises, "I remember this feeling. This is just like when that person behaved this same way." A feeling of being out of control erupted.
There was some deeper layer holding me back from fully giving in to this. There was some layer of curiosity about what was true.
Then from my heart sprung the words - "This is fear."
In that moment of recognition the emotion transformed from intense anger and confusion to fear and sadness.
I could still sense a subtle exploration for a truth. Then a thought whispered, "What someone else does isn't about you. It's about them and their own pain."
In an instant I could see how I has been set up. I could see my own momentum that carried me into this. A dry quick meal, eaten in stages. A glass of wine drunk with the goal of relaxing, all the while continually moving. Waiting and rushing at the same time all day. No time for just sitting and connecting to my soul, the essence of that little girl in the picture my big sister Cathy had posted, holding her sisters hand and blocking sunshine from her eyes.
I could see I was reacting to a litany of memories that triggered these negative feelings which I attributed to defence about some lacking within me.
Even with this recognition the powerful habitual thinking that was taking me on this roller coaster ride was reminding me, "If you just committed to more practice. You should meditate more. You should do more asana practice." And there it was again, that habitual quiet voice critiquing me at every opportunity.

This time I smiled. I turned away from the story of memories, the thinking part that was trying to figure it out and the sensory stimuli that was still living in that past moment that had started this ride. I turned toward my own essence. I looked for that little girl within me. I looked for the force of life that draws breath into my body. My body softened. My face relaxed and I could feel a smooth softer breath come into my body.
"None of this is about me," she said.

The whole event was story steeped in memories of emotional response, that wrote a story about the event and who this Heather is to the rest of the world. And there backstage is this Divine little girl, quietly waiting her turn.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


In Yoga - family means the people you live with. The people in your life on an immediate basis. Sometimes I feel my family is very small. I am very alone. I am a parent raising a child on my own and I guess everyone sees me as so capable they do not realize I really feel overwhelmed with what I am doing. To 'do' parenting and my job, I have stopped taking time to just be. My Yoga Intensives are trips back to just being me.

Maybe it has nothing to do with being a single parent. Maybe most people feel this way. Maybe most folks are so busy doing, they cannot imagine just sitting and being. As I worry over who may help me with dog sitting, and if only it could not cost a lot, I realize for anyone else it would just be one more 'doing' taking them away from their own being.

If I could just remember that being is what it is really all about all the time, especially when I am thinking about the desire for more charms on my bracelet, or even one more Yoga Intensive. If I could also just remember not to take a 'no' personally. It's only about me, when I am rejecting myself.

The fear of someone saying no or the expense of dog sitting is me rejecting my own resourcefulness. I have never yet had to cancel a trip because I did not have a dog sitter. I have never yet gone hungry. And that says a lot coming from a chick who left NS in a truck with her boyfriend 11 yrs younger than herself, with a cracked head gasket driving to Colorado in winter with credit card debt, student loans, $200 cash, 2 boxes of Power Bars and a dream.

I believed in a dream, a partnership and OUR potential. Clearly he is my ex because I need to believe in MY potential.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Honoring the Divine within

As I prepare for this trip to Mexico, I am reading Kundalini Anghora. The point is to prepare oneself for the awakening of Kundalini. This involves purification practices, many of which have me with a furrowed brow and saying, "really? Maybe I don't want my kundalini awakened."

Then there are the parts that are so very real and sound of truth to me. "The point of Yoga is to make every home a happy home." The guidance that seems quite relevant and attainable, is the thought of practicing one Niyama. A Niyama is a quality you wish to cultivate, such as faith, humility, honesty, spiritual study, equanimity. As I considered these options, I realized how much of my life is spent feeling envy of others. I envy my friends in loving relationships. I envy my ex-husband and his life of leisure. I envy others their fields of work. Envy blagues me on a regular basis. And when the seed of envy is watered, I become very unsteady. I strive for more, better and change. I no longer value and appreciate what is all around me, I begin to resist my life and live somewhere in the future where I imagine it will be better.

Stepping back and looking with appreciation at all that exists in my life is a helpful step toward coming back into balance. Seeing the landscape before me, I begin to embrace where I am. And yet with this reading I am also so very aware that the real intention of this practice is to be attached to none of it - the blessings or the displeasures. The intention of this practice is to simply offer one's self with no measure, no judgment. To be motivated from with in to express oneself fully, rather than being motivated from with out.

Seems I am still in the early stages. Whew, takes the pressure off. ;)

Friday, February 25, 2011


'It is when you, as a leader begin to see your own
excellence, the difference that you make, the growth that you have achieved, and
believe in yourself, that you will then be able to see it in your people.'
~Susan Cavanagh

To engage people one must first inspire or ignite a spark. One's passion is infectious. Great leaders have passion, they have a dream.... even if it is just a dream of survival. But it is a dream.

Today I will begin dreaming...

Sunday, February 20, 2011


My neck is in discomfort. I have suffered a sore throat, muscular tension and strain. I made a choice to get help. I did think I could fix this on my own, but I cannot. Now I am receiving care.

What great metaphor for the other areas of my life. I am healing the physical, now I shall work on the mental and the emotional with practice and the guidance of a teacher.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Plant the seeds of love, cultivate trust and compassion, gratitude.
Wait and continue to cultivate with skillful action, using all that I have at my disposal.
Have faith.
One day things will blossom.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I sit and listen as Fynn goes through his card pack. We have returned from a visit with his father at a private boarding school. After an interesting four hour visit to the school, most of it spent in a closet during a lock down, I probed the young senior school students about their experience. I listened. Despite the discomfort of the room, the opportunity to be locked in with students gave insight not only to what they said, but how they were as people.

Openness was facilitated by the conversation with my seat mate on the plane. He had attended boarding school. In fact he was on his way to visit his own child at a school. Hearing the experience of someone with no power to influence my decision was an opportunity I could have missed if I had not engaged in conversation.

I challenged myself to be honest and vulnerable with someone I have difficulty trusting. It was the opportunity to feel so challenged that forced me to speak.

At the end of these very impressionable 48 hours the learning has been that by not knowing what is 'right' and not knowing how things should be, I have discovered more about myself, my intentions and my desires than if everything went the way I wanted it to go.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Last week as I waited for Fynn to finish his Spell Read session, I sat next to a woman who is fast becoming a friend. I was leafing through the pages of the Home Guide and pondering what was out there. It was quite apparent to me that there were lots of possibilities but very few that fit my criteria. "Still considering moving?" she commented as much as asked. I said, "yes" perhaps more then a little defensively. I have lots of reasons to consider moving. My sons school and my work is 25 km at least away, as are all his friends. This means we drive a lot. This year we have been away from the house for 12 hours at a time, easy. When home we are rushing a meal and homework, then sleep. It feels very busy.
"I really want to have a decent yard and be near water." I elaborated.
"It would be really hard to give up what you have." she said. "The view, close to the water, a pond up your road."
"Yes," my mind reeled through the images of my neighbor Stuart plowing my driveway, my dog running over to Barb and Brian's house for his daily visit. My view... so gorgeous to see the waves crash over Sambro Island. A smile settled on my lips and a warmth filled my chest. For the first time in a few weeks, I settle into my home in my heart again, reminded that it is not changing my home that will make the difference, it is changing my way of living. I do not want more time to meet these responsibilities, I want fewer responsibilities so I can meet the ones I keep with the best I have to offer. That is where peace and happiness rest.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

From where I am.

Snow days are days for sitting and thinking. The world stops doing and there is nothing to do but think about where I am. Where am I? I notice that the process of determining where I am begins with assessing how everyone else sees me. Some people think of me as a great once-upon-a-time climber, some people see me as a bar-too-high-pain-in-the-ass, some people see me as strong and talented, some people see me as intense, stubborn, critical and hard to love.

The irony is we see ourselves through each others eyes. Through the eyes of my son, I see the power of my love and nurturing spirit. Through the eyes of a climbing friend, I see my physical strength and flexibility. Through the eyes of a co-worker I see my creativity. Through the eyes of a girlfriend, I see my beauty. Through the eyes of someone not a friend, I see my negativity, my stubbornness and inflexibility.

When I turn my gaze away from the eyes of others and place it on my own heart, I see all that I am and that it is always enough. I see my own truth and kindness. I see the falsity of all the other views of who I am, for no one person can know all of me. Just as I cannot truly and completely know anyone else. That only leaves room then to have faith that we are all beautiful - even when we don't act that way.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Stop the chase

I spent a good portion of the mid and late 90's driving back and forth across America and Canada climbing and teaching. There were countless hours of redpoint attempts, too many blocks of chalk to speak of, hours of driving, a great many nights of sleeping in a tent or a car. I climbed and when I was tired of climbing, I went to gyms and I taught people all I knew about climbing... all I knew about training and being the best climber they could be. I made very little money then.

Now I work for a big organization. I spend countless hours convincing people that what we do in our little racquetball court is meaningful. I lobby for people to be able to get in. I lobby for the climbers. I lobby for the organization that pays for the space, the lights and the heat. I lobby for the parents who want qualified and safe instructors and I lobby for the sport, indoors and out. I make better money now.

People used to come to me already convinced, or at least willing to see if I had something of value to offer. Now I chase people trying to convince them I have something of value to offer. Perhaps all this convincing is making me question myself. I wonder what would happen if I didn't chase them anymore.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Tonight I received an award. I was recognized for my contribution to the climbing community. One part of me was stunned and one part was hurt. There were many who have been involved to a lesser degree than I have for less time. I wondered about why I wasn't good enough to receive an award sooner. I beat myself up. 'It's my intensity. It's because I have such high standards I hold people to. It's because I am a woman.' Lot's to build a story around.

The truth. I was recognized for my contributions.

But then... I realized my contributions have always been for those who are other than those recognizing me. I have worked hard at engaging the youth. I have not been as connected to the adults. I am deeper than the grades. I am about the process. The growth.

I am about the feeling good for teaching people and I get more thanks from kids than adults because the parents can afford to pay.

One breath at a time.

I sit on my mat and follow my breath deeper into a forward bend. As I breathe in, I can feel the expansion of my ribs and the added physical discomfort. As I exhale, I become more aware of the lengthening of my hamstrings and the physical expression that come with it. As I twist to the right, I experience the combined compression and lengthening. To the left, slightly different, but still the discomfort is there. I enjoy this feeling of physical length and the muscular strain that comes with it. I have become very skilled at moving with it on my breath and that makes it possible and even enjoyable.

I reflect then on how this is really no different then moving beyond the challenges off the mat. It is difficult to move on and into new relationships, to move into a different career, to move into the challenges of growing children. Really challenge and discomfort are just challenge and discomfort.

Can I just ride the breath and take it one inhale and exhale at a time? Noticing the expansion that occurs with each breath. Can I just move one step, one breath, at a time toward the completion of a big hairy audacious goal, (BHAG), just as I ride one breath at a time into a pose?

Am I prepared to challenge myself to lengthen toward my BHAGs each and every day? You bet because I know one breath at a time, there is Joy and excitement in the discomfort.
Want to join me?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Achievement or fulfillment

These days things do not seem to be going exactly as I would like them to. The result is I feel quite out of control of circumstances. Then along came insight and I realized I really was free to have things a different way, AND that would mean I needed to be honest, brave and actually say what I wanted. I needed to take responsibility for what I want.

A little goal setting later and I a few uncomfortable actions and the wheels began to turn. In some aspects, I can see things happening. In others, I am at least more clear - clear I will not be getting what I thought I wanted. In steps disappointment. There is an inclination to halt forward movement with the response, "see I tried, and all I got was disappointment." Then the little voice in my heart asked, "Really? Or are you just ego bruised because you are like the child who didn't win?"
Yep, ego bruised. It wasn't about really wanting to give. It was about wanting to get.
Ahhhh... Achievement comes when we get what we want. Fulfillment comes when we offer our heart, regardless of how it is received.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Divine embrace

"In life’s sea of hassles and troubles we search for Grace. Most look where they can find it: pleasure, even if it’s the kind that has no staying power. Seekers comb for it, knowing that its rays beam brightly during certain phases of the swinging pendulum of mind. The sage sees Grace’s ceaseless blessing everywhere. What hardship? Life’s a Divine embrace, like so many sweet kisses from Eternity that never stop." ~ Rod Stryker

I am definitely one of the seekers, not yet a sage, but less frequently seeking pleasure to mask pain. It has become apparent to me that I am at war with myself. I am warring about what I see as the confines of my life. I am at war with the box I have placed myself in. The heart wants out of the box and yet the head is saying, "you can't... how will you afford your home, food?" The how's showing up, shows me that I do not yet have absolute faith in the Divine. I do not have absolute faith in my own ability to make my way in this world.

The solution... move in the direction that the heart directs, one baby step at a time. Cultivate faith by learning from each moment - open to what each moment teaches me.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Yesterday as I stepped onto my mat, I allowed the thoughts to flow through my head...
"Everyone lives each day for him or herself, no matter what they did.
No one owes anything to anyone, no matter what happened.
And from this, what I hope you most get, is that whatever you do next, you do it for the joy it brings you.

No one owes anything to anyone. I could see how I think somehow people do owe me and that I always feel like I owe them. A friend asked for something from me and I felt I owed him. I felt uncomfortable because I felt I couldn't disappoint him. I argued with my self and him in my mind, justifying my defense with, "what's in it for me? You are not interested in helping me."

Stepping back from the mental game of thoughts, I moved into my practice. I moved into trikonasana (triangle pose) experiencing the pull at the inside of my groin, through my side body and my twisting ribs, my shoulder ached with staying. I could stay with the experience of discomfort, but I choose to move my awareness to the lengthening, to calming the breath and the lengthening of my front and back body. As my body opened, quieted, I became aware of my strength and flexibility, my personal power and joy bubbled up. No one owes me anything and I owe no one.

I was free to choose my response to my friend. I was no longer negotiating a deal for myself. I was free from my story that I could somehow lose or win.