Blog

The power of 3

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my affinity for the number 3. Perhaps it’s because I am one of 3 sisters. For many years, I’ve noticed how I like to do things in 3’s: 3 reps of a yoga pose, 3 beautiful Glassy Baby candles, 3 recommended links on this post (and I just listed 3!). I have 3 ‘CDFs’ – Core Desired Feelings – that drive my Desire Map Planner (see the first recommendation below): Connection, Quality, Simplicity. I used to have 5 CDFs, but one day recently I realized that it seemed time to drop a couple of them. Having three feels more spacious and open. As I mentioned last month, I am making a strong effort to prioritize creating more ‘white space’ in my life.

I’ve never been that great at math, but I do find number patterns fascinating. My birthday is 111. Recently I dreamt several numbers, which were all 3-digit numbers. I like to notice number patterns and wonder about their potential significance.

As the year draws to a close, it’s easy to get caught up in feeling like you ‘have to’ do so many things: celebrate the holidays in a certain way, see certain people, feel pressure to be happy and to make sure you reach all the goals you set out for the year. Goals and intentions are great, but at this point in the year, it’s a bit like cramming for a test to try to complete things that you haven’t yet.

I invite you to pick three things that truly matter to you to focus on for the final month of 2019. Don’t over-think it, don’t spend too much time on it, but tune in to your inner landscape and let those three things rise to the surface. Then let the rest go.

Wishing you a serene season of light, whatever your beliefs may be.

Recommended links:

Danielle LaPorte Desire Map Planner

Glassybaby Candles

The Wisdom Your Body Knows

Consistency

When I first began writing here, my intention was to write a post every week. It’s something I felt called to do , for myself. Whether or not anyone else read it, I felt called to do it.

But I have not written every week. Why? I’m not completely sure, but one reason is how strongly I feel about creating white space in my life – and truly, finally, doing that consistently. I’ve spent my whole adult life ‘doing,’ filling all my time. While I believed in theory in the concepts of ‘white space’ and ‘down time,’ I left myself very little of either.

Between having a full-time day job, teaching yoga and officiating at weddings, spending time with friends and family time, there hasn’t been a lot of down time. And I am fully aware of how fortunate I am to do all of those things, to have my health and to have a wonderful family and dear friends. Not having enough down time is a problem of privilege. But I’m also learning at age almost-64 that I don’t have to justify making time for myself, either.

At this point, making consistent time for myself is a higher priority than feeling that I ‘should’ write something here every week – or, for that matter, that I ‘should’ do anything. Writing because I ‘should’ is meaningless, and offers no service to others.

So my encouragement to you is that you make prioritizing down time for yourself a consistent aspect of your life. No matter what that looks like for you, make it consistent. For me, that means morning meditation and yoga, evening savasana. Figure out what it means for you and give yourself the gift of making it consistent.

Recommended links (simply because they’re inspiring to me):

Britt B. Steele: the real deal

Francesca Cervero: Always of service to the yoga community

Joy Harjo: first Native American to be named United States Poet Laureate.

Equinox and acceptance

The fall season begins tonight in my corner of the world. I’m learning to welcome the shorter days, the cooler weather, the return of the rain. In the past I’ve resisted the half of the year from late September – late March as ‘not my favorite time of year,’ but in the past few years I’ve begun to embrace the opportunity to go within more, to rest more and to ‘hunker down.’

When my son was small I used to tell him often, ‘what you resist persists.’ a phrase we’ve all heard but may not have taken to heart. My encouragement to you is to try being curious about accepting what is without trying to change or control it. Be open to the possibility that the rhythms of the seasons, one of many rhythms in nature, are a natural unfolding – after all, resistance does not stop the seasons from changing. We all have our personal preferences, but even if long, warm days are your favorite, there is deep significance in more time spent in quiet, reflective pursuits and more rest.

I wrote last time about the importance of my (mostly) daily savasana ritual and that has continued to be very healing and restorative. I’m excited to begin 4-week Restorative yoga sessions at my studio in the woods next month, and to sharing the magical benefits of incorporating Restorative yoga into daily life as a way to ease and flow with transitions, including the changing of the seasons.

I wish you a restful and restorative fall season.

Recommended links:

Satya: A Practice of Truthfulness

5 Lessons the Fall Teaches Us About Life

Just for fun: dance to this song of fall!

Practice, practice

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how important it is to take 20 minutes a day to do a restorative yoga pose. Time for a true confession: at the time, I wasn’t yet ‘practicing what I preached.’ I wasn’t making sure I found a way to do that myself every day. I fell prey to that all-too-easy excuse ‘there’s no time in the day.’

In the past week, I was determined to change that, and made it a priority to ‘bookend’ my morning mediation and yoga practice that I have been doing without fail for about two years now with a 20-minute savasana, between my afternoon walk with my dogs and making dinner. What an amazing difference this makes in your day! The tensions of the day melt away as you transition from day to evening. You can feel your nervous system down-regulating. And, as you can see from this photo, you don’t necessarily need tons of props, or even to be in yoga clothes. If you don’t have an eye bag a scarf or sweater draped across your eyes for darkness will do.

Even without the eye bag and yoga mat this Restorative pose is totally doable – and magical!

So don’t let yourself fall for the excuses. This really matters and makes a huge difference in how you feel. Even after practicing this daily for only a week, I can feel a noticeably greater sense of calm. 20 minutes a day of ‘doing nothing’ is the opposite of a waste of time.

Recommended links: My favorite restful Instagrammers:

The Slow Moment

Restorative Yoga Tribe

Elaine Yoga Therapy

Have a Restorative week!

Lessons from my dogs

I’ve often said that my dog Lucie, who was one of those truly special dogs, was one of my greatest spiritual teachers. She was pure love. Below is my favorite photo of me with her.

We always told her she was the world’s best dog.

Lucie and Miele (the Italian word for honey, pronounced Mee – el – a) crossed the country with us when we moved to Vashon Island, and unfortunately, Lucie died suddenly just before our house and studio were ready. Miele, now probably about 12, developed arthritis in the past few months and it’s been a lesson in aging gracefully to watch how she’s dealt with this new way of living. We are fortunate to have a wonderful school of animal massage on the island, and today Miele had her first session as a demonstration dog for the massage students. True to form, she was a big hit and hopefully will be able to go back often.

Miele giving a massage student a big wet kiss.

Our pets are with us for far too short a time, but in that time they teach us two of life’s most important lessons: Live in the moment, and always love. The simplest lessons are always the best.

Recommended links:

Northwest School of Animal Massage

Animal stories like these always make me cry

Fabulous dog photos guaranteed to make you smile

Connection: why is it so hard?

For the past few years, I’ve used Danielle LaPorte’s Core Desired Feelings planner/calendar and one of my CDFs is ‘connection.’ I shared some thoughts in a previous post about the importance of community, and I’ve read that research shows that having meaningful connections with others is actually more important to our health than whether or not we’re a smoker.

But given the especially horrific events of recent days and all the talk about how divided we are, both in the U.S. and worldwide, it seems that connecting with others, especially if they look different and/or come from a different background, is pretty challenging for most people. And while it’s true that technology keeps us less connected and in the moment face-to-face, there is clearly a lot more to this issue than just distraction and lack of awareness.

A big part is played by fear and judgement: fear that others won’t like us if we reveal who we truly are; judgement that we think we are superior in some way to others. Below are my favorite resources this week that I hope will inspire discussion for you that creates more connection in your life. The flip side of fear is love. And truly, as trite as it may sound, what the world needs now is love.

Recommended links:

Living with Less Judgement

Honoring and Remembering Toni Morrison

Why You Should Put Down Your Phone and Say Hello to a Stranger

Simplify, simplify…

Most of us have heard the quote from Henry David Thoreau, “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.” This has always resonated with me, and my motto, if I have one, is “As soon as things get too complicated, all your problems begin.” The thing is, as we all know all too well, contemporary life is complicated by nature. But I do think there is a lot we can do to simplify, and it all comes down to awareness and intention.

There are millions of distractions and shiny objects out there. It’s so easy to go down a rabbit hole of something that doesn’t even matter to you. This is why it’s so crucial to stay as present as possible, so that you can recognize when this is happening and, with compassion, bring your focus back to what truly matters to you.

As Oprah would say, “what I know for sure” is that I feel so much better when I keep things simple. Whether it’s planning a yoga class, cooking a meal, writing a blog post – or whatever – tuning in to how something makes me feel and only doing what feels in alignment is the best way to keep things simple. In fact, my word for 2019 is ‘aligned.’ (2017 word was ‘home’; 2018, ‘experiment.’)

It’s a beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon, so what feels aligned and simple right now is to go outside and read the Sunday New York Times. What helps you to feel aligned and to simplify your life?

Recommended links:

The Absolute Necessity of Doing Nothing

Be More with Less

Slow Your Home