Friday, January 29, 2010


The thing I find hardest about parenting is those times I have to disappoint Cowgirl. Tonight we were going to bring her cousin up to spend the night and to watch Cowgirl while we went out to dinner with some friends. I know every book on relationships and family stresses the need for the parents to have some regular alone time. Lying in bed exhausted at night does not count. But in all honesty, it is hard to add one more task to my weekly list and procuring a babysitter, making arrangements with other couples who have equally chaotic timetables, is not something I joyfully nor regularly take on. So this was going to be a special night for all. And a lot of effort went into the preparations.

So naturally, disaster strikes this morning. To be precise, rather severe menstrual aliments have smote me down although now I am wondering if I haven't hit the daily double with some kind of flu? I struggled all day, hoping and trying to feel better so we could proceed with our plans but I am losing the battle and the war. The husband is out with Cowgirl, an hour away to pick up her beloved cousin and I just called with the bombshell, leaving him to deal with the emotional carnage. With any luck, I will have succumbed by the time they get home.

Cowgirl has handled other disappoints with a rare aplomb for a five year old, but still I am anxious. It will be hard for her to understand mommy really really wanted this evening to happen and it tears me up to have to let her down. I am understanding the deep conflict mothers face when placing their needs before their child's. It is necessary for my daughter to learn in order to care for others in any authentic way, one must tend to oneself first. I know this but still ...

And I know my task as her parent is to prepare her as best I can for the world at large. Disappointment is inevitable and an essential tool is learning to be adaptable and flexible. I am reminded that the Yoga Sutras teach us that a number of obstacles will arise on our journey: disease, dullness, doubt, carelessness, laziness, sensuality, false perception, failure to reach firm ground, and slipping from the ground gained (my favorite as it always happens!) To hold onto one's center when everything is trying to knock you over, that is a real gift. And what is that center? Well, I firmly believe it is Joy. To teach myself and my child how to remember this truth, even when disappointments and set backs make us miserable, is my mission. Happiness does not depend upon outside circumstances, but upon an interior attitude. In any given moment, we can make our way back to our rightful state. It is in our power. As someone so wisely said, "If you cannot change the situation, then change your attitude."

I just received the phone call that Cowgirl is spending the night with her cousins - a treat far greater than having just 1 cousin over at our house. See? The universe always provides! Meanwhile, I am snuggling under the covers and awaiting the dawn of a hopefully healthier day. Did I fail to mention I lapsed from my 12 days of healthy semi-raw eating to indulge in pizza? Hmm ... loss of ground gained? Certainly my body is letting me know she is not pleased. Pass me the gatorade and please, no more commercials with food in them! My stomach is on strike.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Today's Wishcasting asks: What do you wish to awaken?

I probably ought to ponder my responses before reading some of the others, because I am always nodding my head thinking "um, yes! That's my wish too!" And then I lumber back to my little blog, trying my best to listen to my heart and answer as authentically as possible. I fumble my way through and have often surprised myself by discovering deeper pockets of truth. But it is an effort.

I realize this challenges me because I doubt myself. So my honest wish is to awaken confidence and trust in myself and in my inner wisdom. I think it is very symbolic that even when I am driving to a new location, following the directions I've been given, I almost always come to a point where I doubt that I have understood everything and I think I may be lost. I am about to turn around when I realize I am okay, I am on course. I also realize that many of the major decisions in my life, the relationship ones (marriage, children, even my animals), there is a moment right after the commitment has been made where I panic and believe I may have made a mistake. What this really is about is a lack of confidence in myself to measure up to the responsibility.

I am done with doubt. I no longer want to be held back because I question myself or what my spirit is telling me. I want to cultivate my intuition AND I want to follow it with a light heart, an open mind and a confident attitude. No longer the Little Engine saying "I think I can, I think I can." I wish to be the engine cheerfully proclaiming "I thought I could, I thought I could!"

Monday, January 25, 2010

Weekly Reflection (Week 4): Celebrating

How do you celebrate each day?

I admire those people who pause each morning before getting out of bed to visualize the day ahead flowing in a positive manner. It is like setting an intention for oneself before diving into the busyness of one's life. Me, I hit the snooze a couple of times and then realize I've done so and leap out of bed in a mini panic that I will be late. I've been on, and off, the mindful morning routine wagon with many bruises to show for my lapses. But I persist in climbing aboard again because I know from my experience the day does flow more smoothly when I start it out from a place of centeredness. I am just more calm and focused when I can take that time for myself.

I knew someone whose answering machine message would always end with the instruction to "Make it a good day!" There is an important shift in attitude when considering "having" a good day versus making it so. If there is one phrase that will probably arise in any therapy sessions Cowgirl is fated to undergo due to my parenting missteps, it will be how I insisted we "choose happy."

Right now I am getting myself out of bed for some predawn stretching and then a few minutes listening to inspirational meditations. I am taking time to write out my Radiant Goddess day plan - very simple things to set me off on the right track. And I am finding it really helps. A lot. I am more relaxed while waiting in the parking lot that is our interstate drive every snowy morning; I am finding reserves of energy and inspiration I haven't known for months. And I am feeling happier. Or rather, I am Being Happy.

But even when I slip off and tumble back down that hill, there are a few things I do every day that signify celebration and recognition of the gift that is each new day. These are my mini routines that I wasn't even aware of until considering this week's reflection. Each day I choose a different fragrance to wear from these amazing sets of 10 perfume samples. Each is yummy and I've caught myself pausing to consider "what kind of smell do I want today to be?" before selecting a bottle. I do something similar with my expanding collection of necklaces.

More recently, I have made it a habit to pause while walking the dog to place my hands upon Mother Earth. Yes, we have a lot of snow here - but I look for bare patch of grass and I bend over, take off my mittens and place my palms gently upon the frozen grass. And then I breathe. And breathe. And breathe. I feel more aligned, more connected to this corner of the world I call home and have noticed my senses are more alert. Yesterday I had my i pod on and still I heard the song of a cardinal in a nearby tree top. That fellow was rockin' it and I savored every delicious "hints of Spring to come" moment of it.

I hope to add to my repertoire of daily awarenesses or rituals, but in the meanwhile these few help put me in the mind frame to relish and celebrate my day no matter what may come my way. At the very least, I am smelling pretty.

So how about you? How do you or how can you celebrate this day?

heart necklace by Bellawish

Friday, January 22, 2010

Emotional Detox

Today is day 6 of the Radiant goddess course. I've been chopping veggies and fruits, blending and juicing all in an effort to cleanse my body and to allow my energetic self to shine with its true radiance. It has been an amazing journey - I am getting up earlier for some movement (banish the negative word Exercise from the vocabulary!) and to listen to the meditations. I then head downstairs, walk the dog (or in current conditions, we shuffle around on icy sidewalks) and finish up with a few minutes of writing in my daily planner before watching the day's video message from goddesses Leonie and Sone.

So a couple of days ago we were directed to look at what our bodies might need to be detoxing from. Having felt physically pretty smooth and clear, albeit a tad hungry, I thought to myself "I have a handle on this." Sugar is my arch nemesis and I am aware of how those cravings operate within me. I wouldn't say I was glib, but I moved on with my day with little thought about detoxing.

Yesterday we were directed to take a walk in nature and to make it a Great Spirit walk, being open and aware of any messages the Universe might be sending our way. In a spirit of adventure, Cowgirl and I headed off to a nearby park, well aware there might be some trail breaking necessary. It was tough going through the snow at the start and I was proud of Cowgirl's spirit of willingness to plow forward, even after several incidents of her sinking thigh deep into the snow. In those first few moments, I wasn't hearing Great Spirit talking; I was hearing my huffing and puffing as we sloughed forward.

Then things fell into a lovely rhythm. The snow was less deep and we didn't have to constantly look at our feet. We could look around and see the milkweed pods, the dried berries, the bird and the squirrels nests in the surrounding trees. We could hear the Blue Jays cries in the still winter air. Then we began to notice the tracks in the snow. First deer, then rabbit and squirrels. "A Ha!" I thought. "My message is from the animals!" I would consult my animal totem cards when I got home, but I already knew the general gist: gentleness, gathering, and fear.

By the time my fingers got numb, I knew we should turn back. Pausing to take some (more) pictures, Cowgirl impatiently yelled "Let's go!" "In a minute ... just one more shot" I replied, a comment she has heard on far too many an occasion. And she knows it will be more than a minute. I was absorbed in trying to focus on a dried pod when "whoosh!" a splatter of snow flew by me, grazing the side of my shoulder.

Now, I like to think in normal circumstances, I would have laughed at this playful gesture of impatience. But as my camera was almost hit, and as I am presently hormonally challenged and detoxing, I exploded. And by that I mean anger spewed forth from me like Vesuvius raining down upon Pompeii. Only it was words that I poured out upon Cowgirl.

The writer Anne Lamott said it best when she wrote "lashing out at your child is like bitch slapping E.T." or something to that effect. After the tears (both of us) and time talking things through, I remembered to look at my animal cards for any messages. Deer: "Stop pushing so hard to get others to change and love them as they are." Squirrel: "Lighten your load if you have gathered too many 'things' that do not serve you. These 'things' can include thoughts, worries, pressures ..." And finally, Rabbit: "Write down your fears and be willing to feel them."

And here we get to the meat of the matter. Far too often I react to Cowgirl's behavior out of a form of fear. From day one I knew she was a strong force that would challenge my abilities. She is the exact opposite of me as a child and my first fear was I was out of my league. She can be like a wild horse - a powerful, free spirit which I don't want to break, I just want to contain. A bit. I want her to do well, to succeed in whatever she sets her heart and mind upon. I want her to love and be loved. So my greatest fears are her not fitting in, struggling because of her independent spirit and being mislabeled, misunderstood.

And being totally honest, I am afraid of being judged and deemed lacking as a parent. Cowgirl is very, ahem, determined. Some might call her "bossy." I catch myself often saying to others "we are working on her bossiness" because I am afraid of what others might think. Of me. I am, in short, afraid of failing her. I fear that I might not prepare her properly for this world and all its challenges and obstacles. I fear I am teaching her the wrong values and am not guiding her skillfully around the treacherous terrain of notions of acceptance and a healthy sense of self.

Thinking about all this, I recall amongst all the animal tracks in the snow many dog prints. I've almost overlooked this message. Dog represents loyalty. Even when cruelly treated, dogs still live to serve. Their medicine teaches compassion and forgiveness and an understanding of human shortcomings. The greatest shortcoming is living our lives in ignorance of our true Self, our true nature. When I act out of fear, I am really believing myself to be this small, limited, flawed being. When I dump my fear upon my child, I am burdening her with this false image of herself as lacking in some way. Lacking focus, lacking discipline, lacking lacking lacking.

We suffer not only because we deny our Light, but because we identify with what we are not. The task as I see it is to uncover the false notions and work to let go of them. Cleansed of these misperceptions, my true Self, my Radiance, my inner goddess, will shine through. I hope now I can manage better the emotional detoxing. And to remember the lesson of deer and to love my child as she is because she comes to be already complete, perfect and gifted with the skills she will need for this life. I have to trust in her. And in myself.

We are not works in progress, but the work is always progressing ...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My World these days

What the Universe said to me today:

What if funky, confusing, gray, lonely days were just part of a "system" that, in turn, created bright, rich, happy, friendly days?
What if they were just meant to give deeper elements of your creativity a rest?
What if they were deliberately crafted holidays, of a sort, devised by your inner psyche to relieve you from the pressure of artificial expectations?
Would you still bemoan them, wonder what's wrong with you, or fear that they'll never end?
Or, would they kind of tickle you pink?

Thanks Universe, I get it.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Weekly Reflection (week 3): Cycles

What lessons are cycling through your life right now?

(Before we move on, take another look at the AMAZING "logo" designed for me by one of my Unraveller heroes, Sylvia. A beautiful work of art and inspiration - thank you sweet Sylvie! I am so honored and proud!)

This week's reflection came to me in an unusual way. Unusual for me, that is. Generally, I have a question/idea in mind and then I create something using that idea as inspiration. What I have been moving towards in my life is a greater trust of intuition. To be given a slip of an idea, with no sense of the whole picture and to take that clue, move forward and await further instructions - Definitely NOT how I am wired!

So I am taking an art journaling ecourse (fantastic by the way) and Friday's lesson was to experiment in a new technique. Yikes! Blank page - blank brain. Being practical, I recalled a previous idea to use my art journal as a way to explore the wisdom of the various goddesses from my Goddess Oracle deck. I grabbed my deck, asked for guidance, and pulled a card. Funny how there are 44 cards and I regularly pull the same 4 or 5 cards. I turned the card over and there was my familiar friend, goddess Kali. Yep, goddess of destruction.

I began working on my page, trying some new techniques and staying open to what lovely Leonie so aptly calls "divine messes." First I journaled on what Kali means to me and then - gasp! - I gessoed over my writing. Destruction is definitely not my forte. The page is many layers and I had to keep pushing myself to go further, even though that meant risking passages I liked being covered over, damaged or obscured. I tend to hold back, to play things safe, bird in the hand type person. But if I am clutching that bird, how can I grasp new gifts, new lessons as they wing by?

As I continued to lay down color, lines, stamping away new images, the reflection for this week emerged. The journey involves setbacks, discoveries, getting lost and then being found. In that process, we come to a new place, a new space of understanding or wisdom and from there, we move forward to the next discovery, our next truth. In yoga and meditation retreats I have often heard "you have to break down before you can break through." I am not comfortable with the ensuing chaos of a break down - everything is turn arse upwards and the pieces are scattered about with no clue to the final form. But creativity, growth all need the nutrients found in that murky pool of chaos.

I have described the previous year in my life as a thawing out. Images of seeds, tender shoots emerging from the earth embody how I feel right now. The cycle I am in, the lessons I am learning are about growth, letting go of what no longer serves me and shedding outmoded notions of myself. I am the hermit crab who had outgrown her shell and is in that vulnerable stage of moving into a new home. Options abound and it is overwhelming and confusing at times. But the message of Kali is to trust the process, recognizing where I am in the cycle of destruction, birth, and life so I can know how to be. In my current stage, I recognize that being overwhelmed is okay. It is part of the cycle and if I am patience, if I keep exploring, examining, trying things on for fit, well, order will slowly emerge. The path is there, it just is cluttered a bit which forces me to stop and linger awhile.

And take time for creative play ...

(okay, so it is very hard to look fierce while sticking your tongue out! I guess I needed some blood dripping from my mouth and a necklace of skulls around my neck. But here is another act of being Fearless!)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Winners and Losers

We play a lot of games in our house. A typical winter afternoon will find Cowgirl and I hunched over the living room table playing Chutes and Ladders, then Trouble, and then Gobbler. Candy Land is another old time favorite with Cowgirl while I prefer the challenge of Blokus.

As a child I hated to lose. I used to believe I inherited this trait from my father who once knocked over a chess board when I put his king into checkmate. Aware of my tendency to be a bad winner (yes, I have been known to gloat and boast) I have been very mindful of my behavior when playing games with Cowgirl. So I am slightly surprised by her behavior at losing. She either sulks, gets grumpy, refuses to play any more or collapses into tears, moans and groans.

Now we've talked about not giving up, how the game isn't over until it's over (the only wisdom I can glean from Chutes and Ladders), how we get better when we keep trying, and the biggie: how something is worthwhile when we've had to really work for it. I try to be philosophical: "If I let you win all the time, then would winning really mean anything?" I try to be practical: "If you act this way with your friends, then they won't want to play anymore." When I win, I always tell her "good game! You played well!" which never softens the blow. And I try to point out, in many cases, it just is a matter of luck and has nothing to do with skill or how you play.

To some degree, Cowgirl is better about losing when she plays with me. This is not the case when she plays with her father or her cousins. What baffles me is how quickly she latched onto the notion of losers/winners and the leap from losing a game to the notion of being a loser?

I wonder if this is just part of human nature or is it a product of our competitive culture? In either case, I do not help her by letting her win. As frustrating, annoying and heartbreaking as it is, I cannot just let her win. Oh, I've overlooked some strategic moves and you know what? The universe throws the opportunity back at me again and again until it is obvious to Cowgirl that I am making some pretty dumb choices.

So I persist in playing games and hoping that I am slowly nudging her towards the realization that while Life may often seem to be about winning and losing, in the end each game, each moment is just that - an opportunity taken or not taken, but hopefully learned from as we move on to the next challenge. We all lose at something at various times in our lives, so best now to try and derail this notion that failing = I am a failure, or losing = I am loser. Because the real danger resides in becoming fearful of trying, growing, or expanding as to do so carries a potential risk of failure. But if we resist living up to our potential, isn't that the ultimate failure?

I know, I know, the word itself carries such heavy baggage. But it is out there being used on the playground and in the lunch room and classroom, never mind the dark recesses of our psyches (I carry to this day the humiliation of being a kickball loser in second grade; it didn't help to have the gym teacher yell at me as well.) What I hope I can teach Cowgirl - and myself for that matter - is that who we are is not summed up by a label, but by what we carry in our hearts. It is our motivations that matter, the outcome generally being beyond our control. To play the game well, to know we acted from our understanding of Truth and Goodness - that is all we really can control.

But be warned: I do play to win.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

"Well, we all shine on ..."

The question this week is: How do you wish to shine?

It took awhile for a response to bubble up, but when it did I knew it was my inner sage whispering to me.

I wish to shine as my authentic self.

Now, let me explain. I have been simultaneously stimulated and overwhelmed to the point of despair by the wealth of inspiration available at my fingertips. As I wade back into the waters of creativity, I have found so much to delight and excite me in books, online, and in ecourses. At the same time, I also find it challenging not to fall into the mud puddle of comparison. I dip into the magnificent pool of images over on Shuttersisters and feel compelled to grab my camera and rush out into my subarctic landscape to snap away, wind chills and frostbite be damned! (Actually, now it is warmer out, so I could head outdoors without risk to life and limb, if not for the duties of house and motherhood that keep me busy inside.) But whose pictures am I trying to take? When does inspiration morph into emulation which in turn can easily slip into slavish aping?

I am trying to learn, to hone my craft as they say, so studying another's technique and trying it on for size is part of the learning process. I also am loving the variety of ways people enhance their lives through cooking, crafts and let's not forget those spiritually inspiring folks weaving it all together with doses of prosaic wisdom! But what happens too often is my measuring myself against another and finding myself woefully lacking. My pictures don't look like hers! I am not making by hand all of my child's clothes! I need a Bento box for Cowgirl's lunches (and an open account at Whole Foods for all the organic fare I ought to be serving!) Poetry! What happened to my writing poetry?! A Haiku a day?! Daily gratitude?!

If this all sounds a bit flippant, well it does not always feel that way. I beat myself up, speaking ill of myself, my art, my parenting, my home ... my life. But when I step back, I remember I am doing all these things because they feed my soul. They enrich my life by forcing me to slow down and notice the beauty and magic of my world, which in turn inspires me to do more. I have to gently remind myself, I am trying to find My Voice, My Eye. To look to others for inspiration is merely to try on new glasses, but it is my eyes that are looking through them, not another's. Comparing myself accomplishes nothing. Or rather, I can only compare myself, my work, to what is in my heart. That is my ultimate compass.

So I wish to shine by remembering myself and staying true to the Me I want to uncover. I may try on a few new things, but the clothes do not make the woman. I am still finding my way, so it is okay to get lost sometimes. But now I will remember where I've stored my GPS. It is only a whisper away.

As the song goes - Yeah we all shine on, like the moon and the stars and the sun ...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Photographic Reflections

The theme for January over on Leah Piken Kolidas's blog is Body. As part of my being Fearless, I am participating in her Creative Every Day Challenge and so here is a sampling of my use of body in my art. I especially love hands, but in reviewing recent photos, have snapped a fair share of other body parts. Enjoy!

Weekly Reflection (week 2): Tea for Two

Today I wish I could enjoy a cup of tea and some time with ... ?

So many ways to consider this question. For enlightenment, I would love to listen to the Dalai Lama; for conversation on parenting as spiritual practice, I think I would enjoy meeting Karen Maezen Miller; for inspiration and great stories, Jane Goodall (I heard her speak once and I loved her stories about the ways her mother encouraged her curiosity and independence); Ringo Starr seems to tell the real story behind the Beatles; and being honest, I would have to add Ewan McGregor because then I could listen to that accent and stare into those blues eyes.

But honestly and seriously, if I could be magically transported to a tea house with a wide open afternoon and anyone sitting across from me, well I would want that person to be my friend Melissa.

I met Melissa during my senior year in college. The first time we did anything as friends we went to the art theater to see the movie Harold and Maude. When my relationship with my boyfriend (now husband) got a little too intense for me, I took refuge in her apartment where we spent many hours in her cozy kitchen drinking tea and talking about feminism, art history (we both ended up going to grad school to study art history; I got my master's degree, but she went all the way and got her doctorate degree), music, books, travel and boys. She taught me to knit, to love cats, and indirectly she helped me to access my feminine side. She was my maid of honor when I got married and I was around for some of her big relationship moments. We wrote each other long, long letters and we made a pact that should anything happen to the other, we each would go and retrieve the others journals before husbands or boyfriends could read them.
I loved her like the sister I never had, and was jealous and envious of her and her life which was probably why we had a falling out almost 18 years ago. We quickly had fallen into a deep friendship with each other and as quickly, we fell out.

A few years ago, we reconnected first through letters and then over the phone. While we seem to have smoothed over any differences, clearing the misunderstandings that led to our "break up" (because honestly, a deep friendship is a relationship perhaps more deeply rooted that any love affair), the friendship as we knew it was changed.
And to this day I mourn the loss of this special friendship.

So, given the opportunity, I would love nothing more than to have the time to reconnect with this dear friend. To wrap my fingers around a warm mug, snuggle back into a overstuffed chair and move into that magic space where time seems to be suspended, which is what happens when deeply absorbed in listening and sharing with another kindred spirit.

Who would you like to have tea with today? Or is there somebody you would like the chance to reconnect to?

Friday, January 8, 2010

On My Mind

One of my intentions for this year (and for this blog) is to write on Fridays about my attempts to parent Cowgirl using the philosophy of Yoga as a guide. Among the foundational principles of Yoga - Nonharming, Truthfulness, Nonstealing, Moderation - is Contentment. This is something I continually aspire to and struggle with in my own life. One of the biggest roadblocks to contentment within myself is body image.

I recently read an article (where? Oprah's magazine? I've recycled or collaged the magazine!) where a mother and daughter talk about the pain the daughter felt from her mother's efforts to "help her" avoid being heavy as a child. While the mother's motives were to shield her child from the pain of being overweight in a culture that prizes slenderness, the daughter received and absorbed the image of herself as unlovable as she was and only worthy of affection if she was thinner.

This article has haunted me for weeks now. Weight, body image, feelings of not being worthy - this is all too familiar and painful terrain for me. As a child, I was overweight and I remember at an early age feeling rejected because of the way I looked. I grew up at a time when every female adult around me was talking about dieting and food scales, weight watchers cookbooks and appetite suppressant caramels were familiar items in the kitchen. I can still remember my mother's diet "danish": take some low fat cottage cheese, mix in sweet n' low (saccharine sugar) and spread on top of a toasted english muffin. Sprinkle with cinnamon and place in broiler until the cheese begins to melt and bubble. 35 years later and I can still vividly recall the tang of the fake sweetener with the melted cheese.

I wasn't even in high school when I tried to do a liquid fast for a day. I made it until 10 am and then had to feel my teeth crunching into something, anything solid. Now, as a child I had horrible eating habits and I am not exaggerating. Sugar was the only food group I knew and I knew it well. So my weight was not generic, but my eating choices and habits were inherited. So I did need to change. Unfortunately while rejecting the foods and eating patterns of my family, I also rejected the body that had first suffered abuse through sugar and then was to be further abused by strict discipline.

So I swung wildly in the opposite direction and thankfully some healthy habits did sneak in like eating salads, vegetable and low fat proteins. Unfortunately my body was still the enemy, something that was capable of letting me down and had to be monitored at all times. I think for 2 years my lunch was whole wheat bread with 2 slices of tomatoes (this I called a sandwich) and an apple. My weight dropped below a hundred pounds and girls in school came up to me and asked for my diet secrets. Only one boy who had know me since first grade was honest enough to say to me, with annoying regularity, "you're too skinny!" Somehow I knew that although I got seemingly positive attention while thin, people still were not knowing or liking me for who I was inside. My diet victory was hollow and I was skinny and still miserable and a small voice inside let me know there had to be a better way.

To this day, I cannot explain the exact progression from unhealthy to healthy my body and attitude took. I do know Yoga has taught me to see my body as my ally in spiritual living. The school of Tantra yoga teaches that our having a physical body is a gift that allows us to experience the world and through that experience we can come to know the divine. I firmly believe this as I tasted the divine when I was in Greece eating the ripest, sweetest, juiciest peach of my life. Sunlight, earth, rain from the heavens and nectar of life was embodied in that single peach.

The great yoga master Iyengar has said "If our body is a temple, then the Asanas (postures) are our prayers." I need a healthy, flexible, strong body to carry the stirrings of my heart into the world. Yoga has mentored me in a new relationship with myself and while negative habits creep back in, still it is a healthier relationship built upon respect and love.

And yet ...

How do I share with my daughter these hard learned lessons? I want her to have a healthy relationship with her body and a sense of self based upon values of respect, kindness and compassion; to measure herself not by how she looks but how she thinks about and treats herself and others.

I have no answers yet. I just know I cannot shield her from the pain of rejection, the pain of comparison in a culture based upon outward appearance. To try and shield her might result in her believing there is something "wrong" with her, something to be hidden away from view. It is a tricky act. What I hope I can provide for her is positive values to live by. I hope I can use the teachings of Yoga that have helped me to help guide her. Ultimately, it will be her path to walk. I just pray I will have armed her with the right map.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


(bellawish necklace by Stacy)

Today's Wishcasting asks What dream do you wish to explore? Immediately I think of my Aunt for whom Cowgirl is named, and who always said to me "you can always dream; dreaming is for free!" If I've discovered anything in the past year, it is not to stop at dreaming, but to think about Action and take those first steps towards manifesting my dreams.

I have a list of dreams in my new planner and in thinking about which one I want to explore, I find myself getting really excited when I think about a retreat with some of the women I've connected with online. My Unravellers 365 group has discussed a retreat/get together and I want to be part of making that happen in the coming year. I also have dreamed about attending Squam in the Fall and am especially eager to go this year as the lovely Susannah will be teaching there for the first time. (And YIKES! The Fall 2010 schedule has been posted and registration opens February 1 which means I have to act on this soon!)

In essence, these dreams are about connection. I want to explore these new friendships and strengthen the bonds that have brought us together. I want to make new connections, as they generally bring with them energy, inspiration and creative resources. Both these dreams involve travel, which I've always loved but now am more hesitant to undertake because of Cowgirl. And Moosie. But I know when I journey away from home, it is to fill myself with new ideas and travel is a way I replenish my spirit. I return home better able to share myself with my family. And these trips would strengthen the network that supports me as I work to spin my dreams into reality.

So I'm getting my calendar out and inking in some dates ...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Weekly Reflection (#1): My word for 2010

Here it is - week one of the new year! And here is my first reflection project of the year: What word or affirmation describes what you want to bring into your life in the coming year?

Choosing a word to act as my compass for the coming year proved harder than I initially thought. Of course, reading what other people had chosen as their word didn't help as everyone else seemed to have found my word. I even pulled an oracle card and came up with Focused Intention. Hmmm .... yes, focus sounded right but what, pray tell, is the intention I want to set for myself?

I tend to over think and over work things, so if inspiration is truly going to strike, my brain has to be totally distracted. So there I was, watching Julie & Julia (okay movie, but I loved the book My Life in France by Julia Child), when my word leaped out at me from Meryl Streep's lips: Fearless. I felt that immediate twinge of excitement as I dared to imagine myself embracing Fearless living in the coming year.

First of, I love the scene where Julia Child proclaims "You must be fearless when flipping an omelette!" after dumping her omelette onto the floor. Imagining Julia, I see fearless as a quality that embraces daring, humor, and a zesty attitude towards life that eagerly takes on whatever comes ones way. To be truly fearless, one must be forward facing but anchored firmly in the present moment. To live in fear, is to live tied to past hurts, wounds, or actions and to anticipate the future through that distorted lens. I want to face each moment fresh and open to its possibilities, its lessons and insights which is impossible when reacting out of fear or a sense of lack.

And lack is something else I want to shed in the coming year. Or to be more precise, I want to let go of the feeling of lack in myself or in my life. That feeling is the stepchild of fear. When I believe myself to be small, incapable, not worthy then I am in fear's grip. Trust is the flip side to all of this, but to live with a sense of Trust in myself and in my world, I must first come to terms with fear.

This past year it has felt like many seeds have been planted. Roots have begun to burrow down and shoots have moved upward, seeking light. Everything feels new and tender right now and I want to nurture these seedlings. My creative life, my inner life, my life as a mother, this journey towards discovering my true or spiritual Self and what all of this means for my family is at a vulnerable stage. I cannot see where I am going but I have to Trust this path I am on is the absolute right one. So goodbye doubt, fear, lack and hello trust, acceptance, and presence. I read that and I feel light and joy filled.

Thinking about living Fearless, I find myself practicing my favorite yoga pose, Warrior II, as it so beautifully evokes the feeling of Fearlessness: heart open, arms wide, firm stance in this moment, attention awake to all directions. For my seedlings to break through soil and rocks requires a fearless attitude. And once I anchor myself in Fearless living, then Joy can flow in and water my seeds.

Can you tell I am excited? Have you found your word yet? Do share. Any format is welcome. I'm thinking I need to create a costume to evoke my inner wonder woman. What do you think?