Hello and Happy Monday,
Daylight savings time, full moon, and Friday the 13th all in one week. At one point in my life, I worked in a hospital in the Human Resources department and always noticed how much more busy the ER was when one of these events was happening, and here we are with all three.
So much outside of us changing and shifting, for some of us, this is exciting and energizing, and for others, this is stressful and uncomfortable. I've been working on my Spring Clearing and getting my ideas on paper with clarity on how I will cultivate them. It's very easy for me to get swept away with ideas and creativity. This causes me to "be all over the place". I can't pinpoint what should happen first and when I try, I get swept up into another idea. This is a fun cycle of creativity, but if I am looking to actually get something done, this can easily become frustrating.
I know that we may hear things many times before we actually register what is being said. The message, that I've been hearing lately, which I'm sure I have heard before but it hasn't really clicked, is "how do you want XYZ to turn out - what do you want the outcome to be?" For some things, it's really clear, for others I convince myself that I have no idea.
This is where an anchor comes in. I view the anchor this way - the kind of person I want to be. My Instagram handle is "Shantimommie", Shanti (pronounced with a long a) means peace. That is my ultimate goal in life. To be a peaceful being. And right now, a peaceful Mommie. The house I grew up in wasn't very peaceful, there was always a lot of stimuli, I guess that happens in a house with four children. Lots of loud talking, yelling, and commotion. It's not how I wanted my house to be for my children. I created that name, so every time I looked at it, I was reminded what my ultimate goal is. In order for me to have a peaceful safe haven for my children to thrive in, I need to be that person. Shantimommie, peace is my anchor.
This doesn't mean I am peaceful all the time - HA!! I wish it were that simple. This helps me to remember, so when I am feeling the pulls, the ebbs and flows of the creativity, and the ups and downs of sharing children with an ex-partner who is difficult to work with, I can come back to my anchor of what I want the outcome to be. This also doesn't mean because I have created an anchor it absolves me of how I was raised: riding the waves. I agree that riding the current is great sometimes, but for success in my relationships, sometimes I need to pull on that anchor and reel myself in.
What's your anchor? Has it changed? Do you want to create one? Fill me in, I am sincerely curious.
With steady love,
Hello and Happy Monday,
The sun is shining! I had a wonderful weekend and my workshop, Climbing the Polyvagal Ladder, was a great success. I am already looking at dates to offer it again soon. This is exciting because I'm sure I'll learn even more about the theory.
This weekend I had an unexpected change of plans and didn't have to be in a yoga training all day Saturday as I had originally planned. Joe and I decided to go into DC and visit some museums and grab some dinner. Inevitably yoga comes up and I got to hash out my thoughts on my teaching schedule in my home studio.
Last year was my first year in my own studio and I made a lot of changes to support that decision that has made me grow in so many wonderful ways. This year I have decided to really get out into my new community. I will be offering more classes, more workshops and more me in my new community. I am excited. So when looking at my schedule and seeing that I had planned a teacher training for both Spring and Fall, I felt anxious. How would I do it all?
I made this decision this weekend to only lead the fall intensive yoga training this fall and focus this Spring on doing all the things I want to do.
I am calling this "Spring Clearing". This is where I get clear on what I want to do, when I want to do it, and how I will get it done. Then I clear my schedule and spring into action. Have you done your Spring Clearing yet? What are you waiting for?
Here is where I need your help. I plan on offering a Saturday class starting in April. Please take this TWO question survey on what time and how long for the class. It's multiple-choice and should only take a moment - VOTE HERE
Wishing you a wonderful week and spring clearing.
Hello and Happy Monday,
We are supposed to have another warm sunny day in Northern Virginia and I am so happy.
During my full moon class, we pulled cards from three oracle decks. I was explaining that the cards were fun and how whenever I set an intention to manifest, the cards somehow support what I had put out there. I told a story of a question Joe asked me when we started dating.
We were in the car and Joe asked me if I believed if crystals healed people. I didn't know what he meant, so he elaborated, do you believe crystals can heal people of ailments? He went on, you are into that "stuff", so do you believe that crystals can heal people? I threw the question back at him, and he said, he didn't know that's why he was asking me. My response was, "If someone believes crystals can heal them, then maybe they can." Not really an answer, but the truth. And at the full moon class, I said something like, "what if they do? regarding the oracle cards. My friend laughed and said "what if" could be my new mantra/motto. I liked it.
What if I added "what if" after everything I questioned, or said, or did? So I've been adding it.I quickly changed where I put my "what if" and have added it before I say or do something AND after I make a comment. Yesterday, Melissa wanted to make cupcakes. She wanted to do all the parts on her own. It's definitely a practice in patience to not take over and do it my way, but know I would be stealing her opportunity for learning and growth. When it was time for the icing is when I asked myself, what if she makes a mess? What if she gets the icing all over her hands? What if I steal her joy if I take over. So I put aside my judging mind and was able to enjoy the process of watching her ice her cupcakes and she really wasn't even that messy. The pride she had in serving those cupcakes was incredible to witness.
So I ask you, what if you added those two words into your life for a week? What if they changed your perspective? What if they made a difference? Tell me about it!!!
Hello and Happy Monday,
I hope you all had a wonderful, warm, loving weekend. This was the first valentine's day that I didn't feel pressure to do anything special. If you know me, you know what Joe and I have is pretty special, there are no pretenses, we support each other's growth, we have some of the best conversations, and we love each other just as we are. You would think based on that I wouldn't feel pressure to do something special for a made-up holiday, I love Joe every day and express love every day, not just on February 14. But societal pressure is real and weighs heavy on me, can I live up to the perfectness of this "LOVEDAY". Glad I was beyond that this year and instead we treated like any other Friday night that we don't have the kids, we ate a home-cooked meal, relaxed and talked for hours. I made a silly card and he got me some stones, it was simple and lovely.
Last week I hosted my first Full Moon Mantra, Movement and Meditation class. It was wonderful! 11 women showed up and were open and receptive to sharing their dreams for the full moon cycle. We chanted with the harmonium, we moved a little and then we picked cards based off of our intentions on what to manifest for the month. It was magical. I felt high from that class all week. I can't wait for the next one on March 9. While the class is free, I ask that you sign up, it's based on space and planning on my part. If you can make the next one, sign up here: FULLMOON
I'd like to leave with you with a kindness story from an anonymous source (one of you!!)
..."Your email today really touched a nerve and reminded me that amidst so many people who are mean, litigious and downright rude, there are some exceptional acts of kindness that have touched or changed our lives and they deserve to be remembered - maybe even more so when you find yourself surrounded by people of the other sort.
A few years ago I had gotten back from a trip abroad and my leg was swollen - for 4 weeks I went to the doctor and each week he told me that he thought it was one thing - and by the end of the week that would prove not to be true and then he would tell me it was something else. Each week it didn't get better, it was painful to try to walk on. Finally, on the 4th week, I also had trouble breathing. I couldn't go very far before I was completely winded, just walking. I initially blamed this on myself - I had allowed myself to get so out of shape, I had gained so much weight... But within a day when I was getting winded just sitting still and talking to someone, I knew that something was really wrong. I called my doctor's office the next morning and they told me they were totally full - had no room to see me that day - I stubbornly insisted that I had to be seen and so they gave me the last slot of the day at 3:45 pm. A friend drove me. After a few minutes, the doctor told me that he didn't think that it was it, but maybe it was a blood clot, and I should go to Virginia Hospital to have a cat scan. My kind friend drove me. When I got to the hospital, after filling out all the paperwork and waiting a half hour they told me I had a phone call - but no one knew I was there - I took the call and they told me that I was out of network at the hospital (this being the hospital my doctor had told me to go to mind you)- that it would be $8,000 for the cat scan. I didn't have $8,000 for a cat scan and so asked what I should do. They told me that I should go to an in-network hospital such as Inova Fairfax or Inova Alexandria - Again my friend drove me. When we finally got there, me with my "stett" order in hand - they told me that they had no spaces and I should have had an appointment and I would just have to wait and they weren't sure they could fit me in. It was already 6:30 pm. Another man sitting in the waiting area for a procedure overhead the entire conversation. He could see that I was upset - and by now scared. When they called his name to go back for his procedure he looked at me and at the nurse and said: "Honey, I know that I am dying anyway - I want you to take my space - go ahead of me." And insisted to the hospital that they see me instead of him in his slot. He probably helped to save my life - I had a saddle pulmonary embolism - Only after my 4 days in ICU and a procedure did they tell me that I had had a 90% chance of dying and only a 10% chance of living. That random act of kindness by one man who didn't know me at all and who gave me his spot helped to save my life. I always have felt bad that I never got to thank him.
Your email today made me remember this (and a few other random acts of kindness that I have been the beneficiary of) and to ask myself what random acts of kindness have I done lately? So today I decided to do one myself - and I feel better for having done it - It was only a small thing - but your email helped in the nicest way to help me remember that there are truly kind and generous people out there when more recently I have not felt that people were kind.
Thank you for reading today. How can you be kinder today?
With Love & Kindness,
Hello and Happy Monday,
I've heard from so many of you and your wonderful stories of shared kindness. First I want to tell you about how I practiced kindness this weekend, well, eventually.
I had my children home with us this weekend, which always makes for a better weekend for us. We had lots of plans - on Saturday my son had three of his friends over. I did a project with Melissa and the house was loud and messy with all those kids playing. Then they all disappeared into the basement to play board games and video games and all the things 10 and 11-year-olds do. I went to check on them when it had been super quiet for a while, they were fine, but there was a giant puddle on the floor of the [carpeted] basement. Turns out one of the blow-up tire blockade things we have, that has water in the bottom to keep it upright, leaked, a lot. This is not the first time one of these things has leaked so I was annoyed that no one told me. Melissa said she had soaked up most of the water, but I kid you not, soaking wet. I was calm, I didn't yell, I had her and Michael and his friends help clean it up. During the "play-date", now that they are in 5th grade I don't know if it's called that anymore. But during the hang out, I was upstairs baking a berry tart, we were going to our neighbors for dinner. We got to our neighbors, who made a delicious dinner - and my children didn't touch the food - they are the pickiest of picky eaters, but I wasn't upset. When we got home I told them to feed themselves, like it was no big deal.
Then Sunday morning rolled around and I messed up - we were late to Michael's baseball assessment - to decide what team he will be on - and I was in utter confusion as to stay or go. And the beating up of myself started. First I blame, I blamed my ex-husband for never doing anything, that I have to set up everything when it comes to our children. Then I shame, I shamed myself, that I am incapable of having too much on my plate, if I only paid more attention to the email that went out about this. Then I complain. I complained to my friend, who quickly said, "remember yesterday when you didn't torture your kids over spilled water? Kids don't get a mom who can let go of things like that and also always get the appointment time exactly right. That lady only exists in 50s TV shows." Thank goodness for amazing friends. It took time, but I was finally kind and I forgave myself for my behavior.
I know the work I have to do, I have been studying the Polyvagal Theory for almost 3 years, I know that the neurons in my brain are wired to do that, and it takes time to change that. Donald Hebb is a neuropsychologist and is quoted saying, "neurons that fire together, wire together". It means the more we think, feel, or behave in a certain way, the more ingrained the patterns become, on a neuro level. Difficult to remember moment to moment, like when you (or I) mess up the time of the baseball assessment and think that you have taken away your son's chances of trying out for baseball. I know I can rewire my brain, I can change my nervous system, and by practicing yoga, meditation, gratitude, and kindness are all part of that.
I wanted to share two stories of kindness - one is from a woman who shared this story with me in 2017 when I did a month of pay-it-forward classes - this story has always stuck with me. The other I just heard last week and is very touching. I have titled them both.
No Red Lights in Love
Seven (now 10) years ago we suddenly got the news that my husband, had to have a quadruple bypass. The morning of the operation, I left our home in Alexandria very early to get to Washington Hospital Center in time to see him before surgery, but when I got downtown there were a bunch of streets closed around the Mall. My Garmon kept sending me in circles and I was starting to have a panic attack. I must have been driving erratically, because a van pulled up next to me and the driver rolled down his window and asked whether I was OK. I told him the situation, and he simply said: "follow me." He drove me all of the way from the Capital to Washington Hospital Center, always making sure I was behind him. I got to the hospital and ran from the parking lot to my husband's room just in time to kiss him and tell him I loved him before they took him into surgery. I'll never forget that driver's kindness!!
I was really struggling with life, in several ways several years ago. One a trip back to VA from visiting my family, my engine light came on. I took it to the dealer and was waiting for them to do the testing to figure out what was wrong, and to fix the problem. In the meantime, more people came thru, but one individual started to talk to me, just casual conversation. Cedric.
We talked about random stuff, about finances (he was giving me advice as I had been laid off of work a few months prior and the restaurant was slow), why he moved to the area, etc. As the morning wore on, and the mechanics gave us each our estimates. Mine was nearly $350, which would put an incredible strain on me. His was considerably less, at only around $100. He offered to exchange bills with him. I'd pay his $100, and he'd pay my $350. Just his offer alone touched me and made me cry then and there. However, I declined the help. I told him I can't ask him to do that. He pointed out that I didn't ask, he offered, and that he would not offer unless he was able to do so comfortably. I said thank you several times, that kindness alone touched me, but I still declined the help.
We continued talking for a bit before he was called up to pay for his bill. As he passed me, he handed me a note, wished me well, then left. I was called up to pay for my bill before I had the chance to look at it. When I got into my car, I opened the note and found $250 in cash in it. The difference between his bill and mine. I lost it, I couldn't stop crying at that point.
I can't ever repay Cedric, for what he did for me. So I try to do little things for people on a regular basis, strangers and friends alike. Tie a shoe, visit a neighbor, return a shopping cart... And I can share the story, so other people can hear how sometimes, just one small act of kindness for one person can make a big difference in someone else's life.
Thank you for reading today. Be kind to yourself.
With Love & Kindness,
Hello and Happy Monday,
Wow!! I've spent the last 15 months writing about the eight limb path of yoga. I wondered what would happen when this day arrived and what I would write about. It's funny, I wasn't worried because there is so much more yoga has that I could write about, beyond my lifetime. But this month, I'm taking the lead from Michael and Melissa's school. Each February they compete in the Kindness Challenge and they and I love it!
Over the years, I have taken this lead and have shared stories of kindness in my classes, and some of you have shared your stories of kindness with me. I always love the random acts of kindness stories. If you have an incredible story, please share it with me and I'd love to share them with all of you.
The Acts of Kindness Challenge includes complimenting a friend, waving at a crossing guard, helping a friend, you get the point. We all know how to be kind and this challenge highlights all of that.
I want to share one of my favorite stories from a holiday season a few years ago. My ex-husband had been unemployed for 2 years at this point and we had been separated for a year, but still living under the same roof. Michael and Melissa were smaller and I was trying my best to support our family teaching yoga. Not many people knew what was going on in my personal life, especially in my classes, and some of you might be learning this right now. One day after class, a practitioner, who was a regular in my Friday afternoon class and it was her last day in Old Town, gave me a Trader Joe's gift card. I was so appreciative of the gift, I shop in Trader Joe's a LOT, and it was so very kind of her. The next week I brought both kids to Trader Joe's to get all my holiday shopping done. When I got to the register I handed over the gift card, my total was about $150, so I waited to hear my new total, expecting to hear that I owed $130, but the woman at the register, it was Thelma (if you go to TJ's you know her - she is one of the nicest people), handed back the card and said there is $50 left on the card. I was stunned and started crying instantly at checkout. Both kids were wondering why I was crying and Thelma got it, as we stood and cried together. I will never forget that day. That feeling of kindness and knowing I could never thank her, but feeling so overwhelmed with love and support in that moment.
Not all stories have to be about someone paying for someone else. So please share with me yours, or share with me how you plan to be kind this month.
In my next act of kindness, the free Meditation course starts this week. If you are still interested in signing up click HERE. Each week in February you will receive a separate email from me with a 10-20 min video all about meditation, benefits, guided meditations, and hopefully a way to spark your own practice.
With Love & Kindness,
Hello and Happy Monday, I’m on my way home from Costa Rica. I fully immersed myself in retreat life. I ate delicious food every day, felt the sun on my face, floated in the pool and visited the beach, met 16 others who I resonated with and connected with, and I barely touched my phone. I decided to rely on WiFi only and it was the perfect decision. As we gathered around the fire pit on our last night, one of my new friends mentioned how refreshing it was that none of us were on any electronics.
This is our last week focusing on samadhi, bliss, the last of the eight limbs of yoga. While I’m not sure if I have obtained perfect happiness, I’ve definitely experienced pure joy.
Each night this week we ventured onto the star deck, which had incredible views of the stars and the ocean. On Tuesday night after a particularly tough day, my new friend Ellen and I headed to the deck to stargaze. Like old friends, we laid there and talked and laughed and marveled at the Milky Way. Meeting like-minded beings is one thing, sharing experiences and stories takes it to another level. As others gathered on the star deck we all laughed together as we recalled with awe our evening.
This past week was pure joy for me, disconnecting from life and connecting to myself is exactly what I needed. I’m committing to myself to ease back into reality and stretch this bliss for as long as I can. If you have experienced a similar experience I'm happy to take any tips on easing back into life.
If you are interested in the Free February Meditation course, please sign up HERE .
Each week in February you will receive a separate email from me with a 10-20 min video all about meditation, benefits, guided meditations, and hopefully a way to spark your own practice.
There are a few spots left for Friday night yoga and the Reiki share after class. See below.
With Love & Pura Vida,
Hello and Happy Monday,
I'm writing today from beautiful Costa Rica. This is a trip Joe and I planned early last year and I'm so glad I am here. I am on retreat! I plan on doing as little as possible, which will be a lot of work for me.
This month we are focusing on the last limb in the eight limbs of yoga, Samadhi. Samadhi is the word used for higher states of awareness in yoga. Samadhi is when we attain knowledge that is radically different from our usual methods. So, not from a book, from others, and so on. Instead, this knowledge is intuitive.
The Yoga Sutras, compiled before 400 CE by Patanjali, describe different levels or categories of Samadhi. How I try to understand it is that there are many paths to the same road or many rivers to the same ocean. There are so many ways to get to Samadhi and they all lead to a state of absorption or bliss. The only way I can describe this feeling is, for example, when we get a spontaneous realization, where you feel like your mind is blown. That's the feeling - that it's too hard to put into words what just happened, but everything seems to make sense. I think you know what I'm talking about. Imagine you were absorbed in that. I can't really imagine that, being in a state where everything made sense. The sutras state is this way, Samadhi is the state in which the differentiation between knower, knowable and knowledge dissolves. How I break this down is if I meditate on an object - after a period of time of intense and right (using the other limbs) meditation, I dissolve, the object dissolves, and what that object is/means dissolves - we become one, everything is one, we are all one. Is your mind blown? Maybe? Some days this makes sense to me and other days it's tough to comprehend. Please share with me any and all of these moments you have experienced.
I'm working on the meditation course for February, Next week I'll send a sign-up form, thanks to all that have expressed interest. I'll send all the details in that note.
Please scroll down - I have so many things happening in the studio right now, everything I've been working on, for what seems like years is all finally happening.
With Love & Pura Vida,
Hello and Happy Monday,
What a weekend! What amazing weather we had, it was such a nice treat and a great way to spend the first weekend in 2020!
We are on the last limb of the Eight Limb Path, called Samadhi. Samadhi means union or integration, or complete absorption, bliss, a state of oneness. We have all had these feelings of bliss, for moments. I have yet to meet someone that has had the feeling for a sustained amount of time. If you are out there, let me know.
The other limbs are used in support and lead up to Samadhi. This is liberation. I can tell you this, sometimes, when I meditate I get there. For moments. Where I don't feel my body, it's not fallen asleep or numb, it's just not there. And then, poof, as soon as I realize I'm back to the moment, feeling everything, hot, cold, uncomfortable, itchy. I am always itchy when I sit down to meditate, it's my body trying to distract me from meditating and it reminds me that there are so many distractions. I think, like most things, meditation takes consistent practice in order to find some of that bliss, that complete absorption of oneness.
Meditation is very powerful and there are many ways to meditate. So finding what works for you is the first step and the second is being consistent. So since this is a very special year, the first in our new decade and a leap year, I will be leading an online meditation workshop weekly in February. It will be free, all I ask is that if you make the commitment to yourself to show up and do this. More details on that soon, but please reply if you are interested in joining.
I have lots coming up this year. Please keep scrolling to see all the wonderful offerings happening here in my space.
With So Much Love,
Hello and Happy Monday,
Happy New Year! We are here! 2020! A new decade!!
I want to thank all of you who came out to my New Years Day Workshop. Supporting me in a new space means so very much to me. If you have a question about your angel card, please ask, I have a book that gives more of an explanation of the cards meaning and I am happy to share that with you.
We are in a new month and on the eighth and last limb of the eight limbs of yoga. This is Samadhi, meaning unity, or bliss or enlightenment. As tough as these were getting, this one is the toughest. If I think I am experiencing bliss am I then out of the bliss state? Probably so. I know I have had glimpses of samadhi in my life and as soon as I realize where I am, it's gone. I will tell you this, I know when I'm not in a bliss state.
Over the past couple of months, I've been hearing chatter about why I left Radiance. I've been asked if I left on good terms, if I got fired, and the worst was, I heard that someone who I thought was a friend was telling people I stole from Radiance. Frankly, all this scuttlebutt caused me to feel the opposite of samadhi, in fact, I felt angry and annoyed that I was hearing these (all) untrue rumors.
On this journey, I'd like to think I've already learned lots of lessons, one being I don't have to explain myself or my story to anyone. But in reality, I'm not so sure I'm there yet. Turns out, I disguised explaining myself as needing to stand up for myself. I told myself that not every situation calls for me to allow time for things to pass. At first, I did *try* to choose to ignore this. I reminded myself that rumors are just that, and in time this will pass. But I remained unsettled and uneasy and I couldn't let it go. I reached out to this person and spoke with her. Sadly, this didn't bring me the peace I was looking for. I still felt unsettled, and miles away from a blissful state.
I had to go back to the limbs. To process this, to move on from this. I set out with an intention, I moved my body, I meditated, I journaled, I concentrated on why I really did leave, and it's all a process. I'm not one of those that can easily forgive or move on. I am hurt and even though I know it's my choice to hold onto this, it sure doesn't feel like I can just choose to move on. Funny how that works.
So bliss... blissful moments for me, are remembering how far I've come. The communities I have cultivated and lead through yoga. The courage it took me to realize, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, that I had the power within me all along to do this on my own. Yoga is my calling, my steady, what I am passionate about and what gets me moving through every single day.
I would love to hear from you? What are some of your unblissful moments? What has brought you away from feeling that connection within yourself?
With So Much Love,