Scattered Ashes


We scattered the rest of my husband, Mitch’s, ashes... Well, all but what remained in a small hand-carved wooden urn, those I’ll save for Ava and Amelie for when they’re older (at Ava’s request). I hadn’t been able to keep the large brass urn in my room anymore, the sight of it made me feel sad, and gave me a heavy feeling in my body. So, they were in my mom’s closest, hidden away, and out of my sight. But I knew they were there, waiting to be released.


I thought that perhaps I’d scatter them in the ocean from Mitch’s friend’s boat, and then all of a sudden Mitch’s Birthday came. My ritual of celebration for Mitch’s Birthday over the last years was to gather flowers, go down to the beach, write letters to him in the sand, let the kids play, pray, and offer the flowers to the sea in memory of Mitch. And then this year, dear Ava suggested we include scattering the rest of her dad's ashes in the ocean, as a part of the Birthday celebration.

I had to think about it for a little while before I was able to respond.  I knew that I had been wanting to, but I felt a little apprehensive. I hadn’t opened that urn since the night before Mitch’s memorial service, and my goodness, that process had been so painful that I had to call on my uncle and brother to help me. But, my intuition told me that it was a yes. The time was now.

I packed the urn in Mitch’s old backpack, and me and my girls walked down to the beach and gathered flowers along the way.

Opening the urn wasn’t as scary or painful as it had been nearly 3 ½ years ago when we first opened it. I poured the ashes into the forest green velvet satchel that the urn had come in, we prayed, and then me and the girls began grabbing fistfuls of ash, and tossing them in the ocean. It was a windy day, and so by the time we finished, we were all dusted with Mitch’s white ash. The girls were joyous as we let go of what we had been holding onto.  

His backpack that I carried home was a lot lighter, and so was the feeling in my heart.


Journal Prompting

How can you honor both a loved one who has passed and your own grief through a sacred ritual that you create?

What needs to be released in your life that creates a feeling of heaviness and sadness?

How can you include your children in the process of grieving and healing the loss of a significant loved one in your life?


Dating a Double Amputee


He will always have prosthetic legs.

That will never change.


He’s chosen to embrace it, he’s chosen to embrace the thing that’s made him different. He uses the story of his injury, and his positive outlook on life to inspire and motivate others. He wears shorts without giving it a second thought. It’s been seven years so he’s had time to work through any self-consciousness he’s felt. He’s made peace with himself just exactly as he is. And if you ask him, he’ll say that he wouldn’t change a thing about the accident or his injury, because it’s made him into the person he is today. And he really is amazing.


But I’ve had my own process to work through in dating this man, this double amputee that I’ve fallen in love with...

~Seeing him without his legs on- Everyday he takes his legs off before he goes to sleep at night, and puts them on again when he wakes up in the morning.

~Worrying about whether or not he'd fall in yoga class, and worrying about him feeling embarrassed if he did.

~Getting comfortable with the attention he receives, because everywhere he goes, people look and people ask.

~And wondering, would the kids feel embarrassed at the attention he receives, at the playground or at school?


The worries and the self-consciousness made me feel guilty. I felt like I was being shallow.


And then I wrote about it. I finally moved through the writer's block I'd been having and wrote about what had been just underneath the surface. I took my feelings out of hiding. Surely he had had his own process of embracing his legs, embracing the attention, embracing the falls, and I would have mine too. Instead of feeling ashamed of my feelings, I met them with compassion and understanding. And I was honest with him about my feelings. I spoke from the heart and I was met with love.


And now instead of feeling self-conscious, I feel proud, thanks to a friend’s loving advice. His legs are a symbol of all he has been through, of all he has overcome.


Ultimately it’s about accepting him for ALL of who he is, and isn’t that the magic ingredient for unconditional love, and isn’t that the challenge in so many relationships? Accepting the ones we love just exactly as they are? And isn’t that what we’re all here to do- support, love, and lift each other up?


Yes, I believe it is. And a part of the process of accepting ALL of him has come from accepting ALL of me, and meeting my real feelings with compassion and understanding, instead of judgment. 


Inspired, challenged, and filled with gratitude for this path that I’m on, and in love. I am in love with a man that is teaching me how to love better.


The Miracle of Birth

When my sister-in-law and my brother asked me to be present for the labor and delivery of their son, I was over-joyed, and my answer was an immediate YES! I had months to prepare for my 7 hour journey to San Francisco when the time came, and I received the call that my sister-in-law was in labor. The preparation included weaning my daughter, who by the time of the birth would be 2 years and 7 months. I felt that she would be ready for that in the ensuing months. The other part of preparation included what leaving my kids overnight for the first time EVER would entail. In all of Ava’s 5 ½ years of life, I had not yet left her overnight! And honestly, the birth seemed like the perfect first time to do it, attending a birth was like a dream! And so in the months leading up to baby Isa’s birth, I weaned Amelie, I talked to Ava about what 3 nights without me would look like, and coordinated the babysitting schedule with both my mother-in-law and my mom. My sister-in-law ended up having to schedule an induction because she had gone the allotted number of days passed her due date that the hospital allowed. So when that day arrived, I left in the wee hours of the morning, kissed my kids good-bye and was on my way!


I knew that my kids were in good hands, so I fully relaxed and eased into my drive up north. I played all the music I loved, I chatted on the phone with friends I hadn’t spoken to in a while, I cried thinking about my own births and Mitch's absence, and I breathed in each hour of that beautiful drive. I felt free and empowered in a way I hadn’t experienced in a very long time.


I arrived at the hospital in plenty of time. I breathed with my sister-in-law, I massaged her feet with lavender oil, and I danced with her and my brother to Drake and their other favorites. I filled the Jacuzzi tub in their private hospital room as the labor became more intense, and encouraged my brother to get in the tub with my sister-in-law to offer support and grounding through the pain. After many hours, pain, and pressure from the Dr, my sister-in-law chose to move the labor along with modern medicinal help; an epidural and Pitocin. She worried she was letting me down by deviating away from her birthing plan, but I reassured her how strong I thought she was, and that in the end, only she knew what was best for her and her baby. It was her journey, it was her story, and I was just happy to be witness to the miracle of it all. I crashed out at my sister-in-law’s parents house in the wee hours of the night while the epidural and Pitocin sped up labor and allowed her to sleep.

I received the call from my brother in early hours of the morning that mama was 8 cm dialated and that it was getting close to delivery. I rushed back to the hospital and in the next few hours, baby was born. In the hour my sister-in-law pushed, my brother bent one of her legs and pushed and I held the other as she breathed into each push and bore down deep. I watched my nephew make his way out of the birthing canal. It was the most miraculous sight I had ever seen. My sister-in-law had never looked so beautiful to me. I cried with her as we all gazed upon him for the first time.


I stayed another two nights to help with the baby, to offer support to my brother and my sister-in-law, and knew my kids were in good hands. I think in was great for my kids to realize how cared and supported they are by others, and to realize that when I go away, I come back. All three of us got to experience a new kind of freedom, and appreciation for one another.


I will be forever grateful that I was present for the birth of my nephew! I was invited into one of the most intimate and precious moments of life, and I was able to be there as support and encouragement for my sister-in-law and my brother. I was able to witness their birth story, and see their sweet baby take his first breaths. Life is truly a miracle.


Journal Prompting:

Is there any part of your birthing story that needs forgiving or compassion?

Does your story need to be told in order to honor your experience and your baby’s entrance into the world?


What's all this talk about awareness?


What's all this talk about awareness? Well, whether or not we are aware of our feelings, our thoughts, or our body’s felt sensations, they are affecting us in one way or another… So, perhaps we are not aware of our sadness, because we don’t want to feel sad, so instead, it manifests as a short-temper, or as a sluggish, heaviness in our body, or as a weekend-long Netflix marathon in our jammies with Ben and Jerry…  Or perhaps we have this underlying fear of rejection that is just out of our awareness, originating from when our parents got mad at us when we were children, and they ignored us for weeks on end, and as a result, we felt totally isolated and rejected, but since we’re not quite aware of that, our fear of refection manifests as an obsessive need to please, or as an anxiety about people being mad at us and an intense fear of confrontation…

Awareness is empowerment. Awareness illuminates what was just below the surface of our sight, but that was causing all kinds of varying reactions, without any understanding as to why… Awareness empowers us to respond to life, rather than react to it in an unconscious way.  Like, when we’re mad, and it’s clear to others, but when confronted about our anger, we deny it, we shove it away, “no, I’m not mad,” we say through clenched teeth and intense upper back pain, and the thing is, we may not even be aware that we are.


Awareness reminds us that we create our experience from the inside out, and that all the peace, love, security, and courage we’re seeking comes from within.  Now, at first, it might feel like an impossible task, to sit quietly, and listen to thoughts, feel feelings, tune into our bodies felt sensations… or it might feel scary to sit, perhaps we're afraid of what we’ll find when we do.  All the more reason to do it.


And the truth is, when you’re first practicing awareness, you’re going to all of a sudden, see, feel, sense things that you may not have before, but that were always there nonetheless… So, despite what you may find, when you’re sitting quietly and listening to your body, your heart, and your mind- always remember that in order to feel love, open your mind to inspiration and creativity, feel healthy and well, you might have to feel the sadness that’s been weighing you down, hear the negative self-talk that’s been making you think you can’t, or feel how sick and unhealthy you really feel in your body.  

And awareness isn’t just about uncovering negative, painful stuff, it’s also about how good and nurturing it feels to connect with that stillness, that awareness that you find within, because it’s in that space that you tap into your inner-guidance, to that wealth-spring of love and peace and joy that some wisdom traditions, and religions refer to as your soul, Spirit, God, enlightenment, cosmic consciousness, Buddha nature, Christ consciousness… It’s from this space of stillness that dreams are remembered, connections are made, pain is released, and we see ourselves in all of our humanness. If any of this strikes a chord of truth within your heart, peaks your curiosity and has you wanting to explore, then register for my online course, Awaken, Envision, Release. I help you open the door to this awareness.

A week in generosity...

This past week, our intention for the week was generosity. Generosity was the intention that my four year old daughter, Ava, chose. And so the week began, and I found myself overly correcting her, critiquing her for the ways she was not being generous…. “Not sharing? Well, that’s not being very generous, right?” After a few minutes of this, I quickly realized that if I kept on going about it this way, it wouldn’t be fun for either of us, and the lessons in generosity would be lost. And so I decided to live and breathe and embody generosity as much as I could throughout my week and teach my daughter through example. And so as I started letting generosity flow in and out of my day, naturally it began to flow in and out of conversations I had with my daughter. I began noticing ways in which I was not being generous, ways that I had not noticed before. And the beautiful thing was that with that awareness, opportunities were created to begin to cultivate that quality more deeply. I picked up my sister-in-law from the airport in Long Beach, an hour and half away, and instead of dreading it, complaining about it, I embraced it, took it as a opportunity to practice being more generous with my time, and with my love. And I volunteered to drop her off at the end of her trip as well. I also volunteered to offer my room to my grandfather during his planned visit the following month, something that I may not have offered before. And I noticed that Ava grabbed toys out of her baby sister’s hands much less often. There was less screaming and more sharing, and that was without micro-managing generosity throughout Ava’s week. Simply setting the intention, and having conversations was good enough. And now, for this week’s intention, patience… Stay tuned. :)

Sometimes, strength is just about showing up.

Strength. I'm taking an online class to learn how to intuitively connect to the major arcana cards of the tarot, the symbols and archetypes that play out in our lives. When we arrived at card #8, Strength, after spending a few days being with and getting to know this card, I learned an invaluable lesson about strength. Sometimes, strength is simply about showing up. Showing up to yoga class, showing up on the page to write, showing up in relationship even when it feels hard. Even when we feel tired. Even when we feel weak, uninspired... Just showing up. Being present. And remembering that in time, everything does in fact pass. We are sad, we are happy, we are angry, we are stuck, and then the feelings pass... so, not to get too attached to any one particular feeling, either loving or hating it, but just allowing, noticing, staying calm, and showing up. Being present. And today, I noticed with great joy in my heart that now, nearly two years since my husband died, there are more days of happy than there are sad. There was a time when there were more sad days than happy ones, and I would worry and lament over these feelings, wishing they would just go away, being hard on myself for what felt like steps backward when I would feel sad after a few days of happy... But, the grief had to move in its own time, and what I have learned from the sad, I would not trade for the world. Learn to have gratitude for it all. Rich lessons for us to learn in all of our experiences.

Another anniversary... how long do we go on counting after someone dies?

Driving to Tustin to visit with my mother-in-law, flooded with memories. All those times before when I would drive to Tustin, to see Mitch, it's different now. I drive now to see his family, the living connection to my husband, to our daughters. The girls sleep on the hour drive and I listen to music, I sing along, I cry a little, but it is good. It is a cry of knowing, of allowing, of surrendering to what is. And I enjoy the drive, the coming home, a house that is another home to me and my daughters, a place where I feel at home. And I remember that this week marks another anniversary, of the time we met. So full with possibility, mystery, excitement. This week, it would have been 11 years of togetherness. And then I wonder, how long do I go on counting the would have's, should have's, could have's...? I guess as long as I count them, as long as I remember them... The push to move on, to move forward, to be through with the pain and sadness... But I realize there is happiness in the remembering of this particular anniversary. The anniversary of when we met, when we first started dating, because it wasn't all wrapped up in a dream, in expectations of forever, of growing old together, like our wedding day. It was just a beautiful moment in time full of possibility, of mystery, of excitement... So, there is faith there, that when the time is right, I will experience true love again in a new form, something very different from what once was, but something just as beautiful. Although hard to imagine anything comparing to the love I had with Mitch, I remember that there are no comparisons, when we compare someone always loses... each person, each relationship, unique, beautiful in its own varying way. And so this week I decide to celebrate a life full of possibility, mystery, and excitement. I toast to what was, what is, and what will be.

Truth be found when we stop running and start breathing

The beauty is always found in the remembering, the remembering that all of the answers, inspirations, creativity, and connectivity, come not when I am striving, thinking, agitated, afraid, overwhelmed, but when I am fully present to the beauty all around me and within me. As I undergo the transition of my business evolving into being more of “me,” (upgrading my website, changing my business name into a name that is me and all that goes along with doing that), I spent a couple of days feeling overwhelmed, the overwhelm springing forth from the underlying fear that I couldn't do what I was trying to do, and that there was not enough time for me to do it. Now, it's so easy to simply stay in that state of overwhelm, feeling like if we slow down at all to get to the root of the chaos that we might never get to where we are going... And that's exactly what I did for two days, stayed feeling overwhelmed, not present when my daughters were awake, wishing them down for their naps and sleep at night so that I could get to the overwhelming amount of work I thought I had... That at one point, I woke up, and I thought, is this how I want to move through my life? I am going to be busy for a long, and I have responsibilities (bills & kids), and is this how I want to experience being “busy?”

That's when I realized the fears that were driving my sense of overwhelm were that I couldn't quite possibly do everything I needed to do, and that there was simply not enough time in each day to do it... And so, those two self-imposed limiting thoughts were the first to go, once I slowed down enough to realize what was happening, to become aware of the thoughts driving my running-around-like-a-chicken-with-her-head cut-off behavior. I simply decided upon that awareness that that was not how I wanted to navigate through this very busy, but very exciting time in my life. I had to let go of the perfectionist desire to go to bed every night having everything “all done.” That would probably not be my life for a long time, or forever really, maybe not until I was about ready to transition into the next life... And that all of “this,” this work, this time with my baby girls, has to be fun, it has to be enjoyable, or else, what is the point, really? I needed to reframe what was happening in my life, it is not stressful, overwhelming, it is full, it is exciting, and as B-school founder, Marie Forleo would say, it was all “figure-outable.” It was time to let go of all of this; “there's not enough time, I can't do it” nonsense and expand right out of that shell that was no longer fitting. And remember again and again, that all of the answers I seek are always found when I am just presently enjoying my life in each moment (so I keep a notebook around so I can jot down inspired ideas), like when I am cooking for myself and my daughters, sweeping the floors, doing the laundry, playing barbies with my daughter, nursing my baby, tidying up the house... Quite simply when I am seeing the sacred in all of it, every little bit of it. So, when you feel like you're running around in circles, STOP, just stop, breathe in the beauty all around you, breathe, and lovingly engage with the people around you, with your home, with nature, and remember that life is beautiful and to be enjoyed.

Yoga-ing around the house

Seeing yoga in a completely different light today... After I put little ones down for their nap, I decided self-love was what I needed to turn my day around, I decided yesterday that when I felt “off,” I would do nothing other than connect to my Spirit and the Spirit all around me. And so, I began a yoga practice unlike any other I've engaged in before. My yoga practice consisted of feeling into my body, stretching, breathing, and flowing as I did my chores around the house... the washing of the dishes, the laundry, the sweeping, the picking up of things on the floor... each movement, deliberate, conscious, a pose to hold, to move through as I “worked” and yoga'ed throughout my house. And then it just felt so darn good that after I finished the tending of the house, I went into a full blown practice, but a deeply inspired one. And as I practiced, I had the idea, or the realization that as I stretched my muscles through each pose, strengthening and lengthening, burning excess fat in the process, I thought about what it really meant to dedicate the practice to a person, or persons... As I imagined the crown of my head opening, and receiving the energy of our divine source entering in through this chakra, I imagined it flowing throughout my body, my breath and each pose directing it where it was needed most, dissolving clustered energy, each breath of this prana, or life force energy freeing my body to feel, to move, to be, more easily. I imagined this energy dissolving, burning, and flowing right out the tips of my fingers and the four corners of my feet, and then I understood what it meant to dedicate my practice to another, and visualized this loving, life force energy moving toward someone else in need. It was a deeply moving practice. As you engage in your regular routines around your home, try slowing down and feeling into your body as you move, stretching, strengthening, deliberately breathing, you will be surprised at how your body knows exactly how it needs to move in order to release excess energy stored as tension or pain. And as you focus on deliberate cleansing breaths, feeling into your body, stretching, and strengthening, your mind will calm, and you will open yourself up to fresh ideas, inspiration, and creativity. How can you live a more intentional life this week?


When someone offers advice or makes a remark that annoys the heck out of you...

What to do when someone offers advice or makes a remark that annoys the heck out of you, or triggers feelings of anger, or insecurity? Get to the heart of the issue... it's more about what was said than about the person who said it, and even more about what feelings are stirred up within ourselves in response to what was said. So, the challenge? Before immediately reacting to what was said with a sarcastic remark, angry silence, or outright combative stance, sit with what was said, internally sit with the feelings associated with what was just said. For example, I shared with a certain someone in my life about Ava's latest trend of going into her bedroom and slamming the door when she's angry. The response I received to my share went something like this, “she's only 3 years old, did you do that when you were 3 years old? She needs to learn what is acceptable behavior. I hope you don't mind me offering my advice.” My internal response to this was not a good one. So, instead of responding immediately to the remark in anger or annoyance (it was via email), I sat with the feelings that it stirred up inside of me, as much as I didn't want to. As uncomfortable as it was to sit with the feelings, feelings that I felt in the pit of my stomach, I realized a few things. Those remarks stirred up fears within me of not being a good enough parent, that I should be doing something other than what I'm actually doing. And that there is something “wrong” with my daughter. So, where to go from there? First, reassure myself that I am a perfect parent for my child, and that on some level we both chose each other. Second, realize that my daughter is imperfectly perfect (as we all are), and that with time, compassion, and creativity, we will figure out how to how to channel anger and frustration in healthy ways. And third, see what is positive about the situation; she is clearly embracing a newfound sense of independence in going into her room and slamming her door and learning how to take time-outs for herself (yes, we can work on the slamming part, but that's okay), and that she feels secure enough in my love for her that she is able to express big, “negative” emotions such as her anger. And finally, offer myself some grace, this is new for both of us and we both need time to figure it out, and that is my right as a parent. And in getting to the heart of this situation, which actually had nothing to do with the other person other than she helped illuminate some areas of myself that needed healing, I was able to release the feelings of annoyance and insecurity that were revealed. And so how did I respond to her advice? In short, that Ava and I would work through it together like we always did, and that if I needed advice, I would definitely ask, that she needn't worry, and that I loved her. And she responded oh so kindly. Relationship crisis averted, a healthy and loving boundary set, and a chance to offer myself some extra love and reassurance, something that we all need from time to time.

Let go of old habits peacefully & enjoy your newfound freedom

If there's one thing I've learned about letting go of old habits and replacing them with new, healthier ones, is that the last thing you do is condemn and hate the thing you are looking to let go of (whether it be cigarettes, over-eating, television, alcohol, weed, drugs)... The reason being because whatever it is you are trying to let go of, has most probably served a crucial purpose in your life at some point.

For example, when I quit smoking cigarettes, the time that actually stuck was when I wrote the story of our meeting, the circumstances that brought us together, my reasons for trying them, what purpose they served then, what purpose they served over the years, and what purpose they were serving in the present, as well as how they were affecting me in the present, and then gratitude for them. Cause chances are, whatever you are trying to let go of has been a companion, a silent witness to all the sh*t you've experienced over the years. And then a good-bye, a grieving for them as you write about how they are affecting you now, I am assuming that if you are trying to let go of some habit, then it is having adverse affects on you in one way or another (guilt, shame, compromised health and immunity, etc). And don't be surprised if you cry during any of this process.

After you say good-bye to whatever it is you are trying to let go, be clear about what you will do instead that feels healthier and more aligned with body, mind, heart, and spirit health that can also serve the purpose that your vice served. So, for example if the purpose of your vice was relaxation, (but chances are when you first started it served a completely different purpose), what can you do for yourself that will relax you now (with special importance to doing this new thing during the times you would normally smoke or engage in your habit)?

I recommend engaging your senses to aid in this process. For example, if you were a nighttime smoker like I was, during the time you would go and smoke, light incense or a floral scented candle, create a sacred space in some part of your house, so you can enjoy your alone time if you normally smoked alone, read a page from a sacred or inspirational text, take a bath, write in a journal, paint, listen to or play music, rub a calming essential oil on your neck, make a yummy cup of tea, meditate, do yoga, whatever it is, let it be something you enjoy, something you can look forward to. Implement a new ritual that is loving, healing, and brings a sense of peace.

And if you start smoking again, or start whatever it is you were trying to let go of, be gentle with yourself, be loving, be kind, treat yourself as you would your best friend. Write your way through it, seek support from a loving friend or professional helper, and notice any tendencies to condemn yourself harshly, judge or criticize yourself, notice what it is you are saying and feeling toward yourself, notice and choose what kind of a relationship you would like to have with yourself moving forward... More loving, more gentle, more patient, and begin now. Wrap yourself in a loving embrace, pray for divine intervention to help you fulfill your intention, and forgive yourself. And when you're ready, go through the process of letting go once more. And believe in yourself, and if you don't believe in yourself, decide that you are ready to now to be the kind of person who does believe in herself. A wonderful prayer I heard from Dr. Christiane Northrup was “Dear Beloved, change me into a person who... lets go of what is no longer in service of her mind, body, heart, and spirit health (or you fill in the blank).” And surrender to your humanness, praise your spiritualness, and enjoy your feeling of FREEDOM when you let go!

Spiritual Practice; cause we forget, we must integrate, and we can always get higher...

After experiencing a state of spiritual enlightenment (that ah ha moment when you are in complete alignment with all that is, when you suddenly have a glimpse of the true meaning of life, when you are in complete present moment awareness and “see the light,” experience an awakening...), that can be induced through drugs, chanting, trauma, near-death experience, meditation, birth, a manic episode, sex, yoga, or even spontaneously...Well, then comes the part of the process where we must digest, we must integrate into our daily lives, into our relationships all that we've discovered or experienced during our enlightened state.

Thich Nhat Hanh sums this up beautifully when he says, “before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.” I think he says this because after we experience a state of enlightenment, our natural inclination is to want to repeat the means in order to continuously achieve the ends, but then life still carries on as usual... So, if you had your enlightened state of mind through meditation, your natural inclination will be to want to meditate all the time to maintain that enlightened state, or if the enlightened state of mind was achieved when smoking marijuana, the natural inclination will be to want to smoke marijuana all the time to maintain that state. But, seeing as we live in the physical world, where we all have responsibilities, we cannot be meditating all day, or smoking marijuana all day, well, some of us can, but not the average person, and then even if we could, we'd end up suffering because of our attachment to it...

And so we can begin to make it a daily practice to awaken, to stay awake, as we experienced in our enlightened state, so that over time, each part of our day, each moment of our day, we can begin to fully feel alive to the true meaning and purpose of what it is we're living for (love, God, service, peace, joy, gratitude), and living fully in the present moment with all of our spiritual truths... And so this is why we maintain a spiritual practice even after we've experienced an enlightened state... because we forget, we must integrate, and we can always get higher in light, love, and awareness ;)

So, what is a spiritual practice? Exactly what is sounds like, an act you consciously choose to do that connects you to your spiritual Self, connects you to others, connects you to the Divine/Universe/God (much more on this topic of spiritual practice later).

Beach Pondering and Poses that are Heart Opening

As I walked along the beach this morning, I noticed my shadow, for the first time noticed it was just me, just my shadow, no pair, no partner walking beside me in this physical realm. I didn't cry with this seemingly simple revelation, just noticed, but for the first time really. As connected as I feel with Mitch in the spiritual realm, in this earthly physical realm it was just me now, I was no longer a part of a couple. I straightened by spine and stood a little taller with each step, admiring the reflection of my own strength, my own poise, and continued walking with a humble sort of pride in my step, I was proud of who I was. And as I walked I pondered how I didn't feel alone, everyday I engaged with my Self, everyday I engaged with my children, and everyday I engaged with a blessed friend or family member. This year I had learned to be “alone.” It was the most pained year I had ever experienced, and yet the most blessed year I had ever experienced.

And then I went to a yoga class, and what do you know? It was exactly what I needed, although I can't say I was surprised... The theme of the class today was love, and each pose we did was intended to open the heart. By the end of the class as we lay in shivasana, or corpse pose, I began to cry, I cried as I felt the tingly sensation that connects me to Mitch, that connects me to the divine. I cried tears of thanks for his presence, and leftover tears of sadness for his physical death, it felt like the emotional cleanse I needed. Ah life, this life, bringing me exactly what it was that I needed this morning, but then it always does one way or another, right? And so I let the tears flow until they were done, and thanked the teacher and my dear friend for inviting me to the class, and then went about my day with my heart just a little more opened than it was when I arrived.

Coming Full Circle

My girls and I just spent one month back in California after ten months of having been away... When I left California last February to move to Costa Rica, I wasn't sure how long I'd be gone, I actually booked a return ticket for one month later, but that was just to be safe... I knew I was meant to stay, I had followed a very strong intuitive knowing in moving to this place I had lived years before with my beloved hubby. Yes, what a month in Cali, a lot of letting go's, saying good-bye's, moving forwards, and inviting in the new and exciting. It sort of felt as if in going back, I had come full circle. The one year anniversary of my husband's passing came just before my trip, and going back felt like a time to relax, catch up with family and friends (wish I'd had more time for friends...), reflect, feel proud of myself, and get excited for the new year, with this year's focus being on love, joy, and success, and inspiring that in others through my spiritual health services, ie. counseling, writing, meditation, and creative expression workshops, helping others discover and embrace their authentic Selves, heal, and transform experiences from the darkest of nights into the lightest of days, and write, write, write. This is a year of giving back, enjoying the fruits of my labor, which is the peace I feel now after having healed through the darkest of days when my husband passed in December of 2012, loving and supporting my daughters and myself, and listening and trusting my intuition. So, we've been back in Costa Rica for a few days now, and I've enjoyed catching up with friends, de-cluttering my house, really creating a space of ease and clarity, and resting. Now, I learn to honor my body's wisdom, and rest when I need to rest, clean when I need to clean, work when I need to work, cook when I need to cook, without a lot of the resistance I have had in the past, and this time with an infusion of ease and surrender into each of these processes, and it is a process... Try to find the joy in what you do, and the compassion for who you are, life is what we make of it, with a lot of divine intervention and guidance along the way... Blessings!

Letting go of the guilt as the grief lifts...

There's a guilt that comes as a heavy layer of grief lifts, as another layer of letting go is exposed, as I start to feel better...I really loved him you know, ten years of my life, I'm just trying to heal... Yes, a certain guilt when you let go of another layer of grief, especially when someone else is still cloaked in a heavy sadness for him, when they're still crying, and I'm not crying as much... Part of me wants to justify my feelings, I still love him too, I've been sad too... As if my love is measured in how long I grieve. Everyone goes through their own process of grieving when someone close to them dies, and goes through their own healing process too. Ahh, the pain of being heartbroken after someone dies, and then the guilt of starting to feel better... This part can't last, I know he knows I love him. I decide to give myself and everyone around me permission to go through their own process in their own time. I send my beloved love and embrace each moment of joy I feel. I let go of that nagging guilt, it's okay to heal, it's okay to feel better, it doesn't mean I don't love him still.

Celebrating Our Successes

Last week after I gave my second workshop on meditation, I was aware after I finished giving it that I should be very proud of myself, and I was, until I quickly moved on to what needed to be done next... How many of us dwell on our failures without taking proper time to celebrate our successes? Last week, I had much to celebrate; I was less nervous than when I gave the first workshop, those who attended seemed to really enjoy it, I felt like my authentic self, and the workshop seemed to really flow... But, rather than taking time to bask in my success and celebrate myself a little, I ran out the door to run errands, and began planning the workshop for the coming week. In neglecting to take time to rejoice a bit, we may very well end up working ourselves to the bone, seeking approval from others to feel good about ourselves (of course we all want to be loved by others, but I'm talking about not giving ourselves the proper love and praise we deserve, so much so that we're practically begging for it from others), and we miss the fun of celebrating a job well done. And celebrating may just mean sitting for a few minutes with how good it feels to have cultivated a new quality of being (such as patience with our children that afternoon), or to have accomplished something new or difficult, (a meditation practice, new skill, or professional task), or celebration may mean sharing the success with a friend or family member, taking ourselves out for a special treat, ordering take-out, or watching a movie just because. Whatever it is, it is so good to celebrate not only because it feels good to do so, but also because it can counteract all the focus on our “failures.” So, I encourage you all to take some time to celebrate yourself in some way this week because it feels good and because you deserve it!

Weathering through the pain in order to fully enjoy the pleasure

In the still of the afternoon after both girls have gone down for their nap, I let myself feel the sadness that has been welling up inside me since Ava's birthday party two days ago. I tried to feel happy today for Ava, but then after we ate lunch, she asked me why I wasn't happy... I guess I wasn't fooling anyone... I think putting aside certain feelings and allowing release at the appropriate time (aka not at your daughters birthday party), is one thing, but it is quite another thing to try and pretend that all is happy when it isn't. And to be okay with that. To let that emotion arise, find healthy expression, so that you can move on, a bit lighter, a bit more healed. But trying to pretend to be happy, to see all the bright things, all the while ignoring the dark things, is just simply bound to drive a person mad. And so I tried to pretend all was well. Be strong to send Mitch only love and peace, but right now, I am feeling sad, I am sad for my daughter, I am sad for myself, I am sad for Mitch, and I am sad for my family. But, time has taught me that these feelings don't last forever, I was never completely consumed by a sadness I couldn't come up from... In fact, time has taught me when I've ignored real feelings, the painful ones, they just linger in my body, eat away at my soul until I cry, write, and simply let go, and stop trying so hard to be happy all the time. But, seeing as it's Ava's Birthday, I will work through some of this stagnant emotion that has been lingering, begging for expression now while both girls are napping, so that when they are awake, I can be fully present to the joy and excitement of my daughters very special day. And then I won't be faking it because I am acknowledging what has been lying below the surface, I will express it, and I will allow for more healing. I will weather through the pain so I can fully enjoy the pleasure that is sure to follow.

Inviting in a little pleasure amidst the chaos of parenting...

All of a sudden in the midst of what felt like pure chaos, a stream of awareness stopped me in the midst of it all; my toddler refusing to nap while peeing on the kitchen floor, tiny ants crowding the juice spill on top of the kitchen counter, my three month old sitting in her bouncy chair looking like she was on the verge of tears, the sound of rain pelting the roof, dishes in the sink, and a full bladder (so busy, literally putting off peeing)... And I began to laugh, I lightened up, gathered a little perspective as the stream cleared through the muck in my mind. Everything in it's seemingly chaotic state was okay, but if I went ahead and “lost it” in that moment, things would not have been so okay... My toddler and I cleaned up her accident on the floor, we hugged, and I told her it was okay (although there have been plenty of times that I have not been so cool, calm, and collected). I turned on my i-pod, turned up the speakers and started to dance, a complete letting go, feeling-the-music kind of dancing, it felt wonderful, and it was the pleasure I needed to invite into my day at that exact moment... My toddler joined in, my newborn watched in awe, and all was truly good, except for the fact that I almost peed my pants as I was jumping through the air... I decided to allow myself time for a bathroom break. And then I went ahead and worked in squats amidst the dancing and playing because I heard that helps strengthen the pelvic floor... Yes, all was good.

Green-eyed-monster as teacher...

So I noticed I was starting to feel envious and irritated with my friend because her facebook posts were always expressing how joyful, successful, and beautiful she felt. After sitting with these feelings and not liking them very much, I decided to refocus on myself, to see what these feelings of envy and irritation were trying to communicate to me. It seemed everything I read that my friend wrote began illuminating my own gnawing self-doubts and challenges to feeling joyful, successful, and beautiful. This was about my own self-imposed limits, and not about her. Thankfully she was the catalyst that begged me to look deeper within myself. I could have dwelled on my irritation and envy, and come up with a whole host of justifications for feeling that way, continuing to blame her for being her, and neglecting an issue within myself that clearly needed my loving attention. And instead of using this as an excuse to feel bad about myself, by judging myself for having those feelings of envy and irritation, as we all tend to do sometimes, I used it as intel that I needed to give myself more love and more faith. I needed to embrace my own own joy, success, and beauty. We can go deeper into our darker feelings that often lurk in the shadows of our awareness to illuminate areas within ourselves that are in need of our caring attention, and let go of trying to be anyone other than ourselves.

Life is messy...

I am practicing being mindful about letting my daughter Ava make messes, life is messy... Letting her take out all of her barbie clothes, dolls, dress up stuff, dr stuff, without cringing, already anxious about cleaning it all up, just letting her be, letting her play. Letting her get lost in her world of make-believe, and when she asks me to play, play, really play, without playing on my phone, thinking about other things that take me away from being present with her, just being there, all there, playing, really playing. Letting go a bit and leaving the dishes until after she goes to bed some times, and fully engaging with her, learning from my daughter the art of presence, the art that we as adults re-learn through a meditation practice. Little kids know how to do this intrinsically, their minds are with their bodies, they are all present, always eager to teach us what we have forgotten; that life is now, and as we awaken to that, we stop getting lost in the past or the future. We awaken to living life by being grateful for our relationships, really listening to others, being spontaneous, seeing the beauty all around us, realizing our potential and self-worth, and loving ourselves, others, and life. A few days ago when my daughter wanted to paint, instead of thinking about the messiness of it, I painted too, and then when we were finished painting, we cleaned up together. It was beautiful.