Monday, October 29, 2012

50 ❉


I'm not really sure what I've come here to say.  I find it fitting that I mark this milestone while Mother Nature makes her mark on the eastern half of our country.  I was born at the end of a historic event - the Cuban missile crisis  - which my mother has never mentioned when recounting my birth story. I need to ask her about this.  The 2004 Tsunami had a profound impact upon my commitment to become a mother and our decision to pursue adoption.  With so much uncertainty in the world, choosing life seemed to be the only course of action.  At that time, I had no idea my child was already born and waiting for me. 

I marked my 49th birthday with the conclusion of an intensive art project.  I have been wondering if that collection of guides and guardians was really gathered to prepare me for the coming year?  This birthday feels quieter.  Maybe because I've been so busy living life rather than contemplating it?  Much has happened in the past year but I am feeling like it is only the tip of the iceberg.  Yet it feels strange to consider the next 20 years - 50 to 70 - may be the most important years yet.

This is what is on my mind: at 50 I have outlived my maternal grandmother.  The stories I have inherited have come into fuller view and I am aware of standing on this edge between that past and a new future.  I am aware I have the choice to reframe those stories, reexamine and understand them within a larger context within which my individual life is just one, small part. Doing so, I see that while it obviously feels personal, it is not personal.  Wounding, scarring occurred but I wasn't so much targeted as I was caught up in a flow of beliefs, attitudes, unexamined reactions that impacted generations of us.  

But now I believe I am in a place where the light of understanding affords me - and all of us - the opportunity to recreate the values and systems I want to contribute to and live within.  I envision a world rooted in Kindness and I understand that it begins with myself and then ripples out to those around me.  

I see so many strands coming together - old and new myths, archetypal histories, karmic connections, new tribes actively seeking to contribute to positive and mindful change - all of which is healing wounds and strengthening new stories of hope and reverence and respect.  I see the woundings of my grandmothers and great grandmothers and ancestors before them and I know my daughter and I are in a position to break that cycle.  I'm not completely sure how.  I just feel it in my heart and in my soul.  I know we each carry an essential piece to this puzzle and it is our sacred duty to contribute our share.


I hope to be adding to this new story in the coming weeks, months and years. I know each voice, every new perspective, strengthens and supports me in sharing mine.  I feel the energy and inspiration of my daughter guiding me and I pray the bravery and fearlessness with which I embrace this future will nourish and support her in continuing down the path that seems to be rising up to greet us.  I believe it is strewn with roses and hope. I trust in it and in us.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

October adventures

While there is much keeping me busy - InnerGlow has been all consuming - I do not want to neglect those things that feed my soul.  Last weekend it was a drive out to a favorite family farm and their make-shift pumpkin patch.  They have a playset in place for the kids and you go out into the field to gather your own pumpkins.  


This year was a good year for pumpkins but we were late in arrive so things were pretty much picked over.  Despite the slim pickings, Cowgirl wrestled up a wheelbarrow while I stood guard over our pie sized pumpkins.  A small, but acceptable haul.


Then it was off to Sonic to slake our pumpkin harvesting thirst (it turned out to be an unusually balmy October day) with happy hour fruit slushes.

Lest you think it is all fun and games here, I have been working hard on the materials for the course which - eek! - goes live on Monday.  The day after a rather grand - ahem - milestone in my life.  Let's just say, I wish I could retire now.  So here is some proof of my nose being pressed upon the grindstone:

direct link here
password: ireallyampostingthis


And since I will be an official sage on Sunday, here is my advice to anyone needing a thimble-full ... 

Always, always choose joy.  It keeps a heart young. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

supporting possibility

One of the most beautiful gifts in the world is the gift of encouragement.  When someone encourages you, that person helps you over a threshold you might otherwise have never crossed on your own. (John O'Donohue, Eternal Echoes)

Most of the time I am so busy in my life, I don't always pause and fully appreciate the miraculous gifts that support and sustain me.  I am learning that it is important to take time to look up and notice the faces smiling at me, the voices offering kindness and inspiration.  I have this image of all of us running along in this marathon that is life and we take turns leading the way, setting the pace, then fall back to grab a water bottle, sharing refreshment and words of encouragement.  While we each run our own race, we may silently join with another in simple companionship for the rough, uphill patches as well as the exhilirating downhill coast.

For seven months now I have hosted a monthly women's circle gathering.  We had a slow start finding our rhythm, but now it is pretty much a given we will all be together on the second Saturday of each month.  Some of us knew each other beforehand, but several members are new to the others.  Very quickly, the group settled into a level of trust and comfort, sharing our vulnerabilities and struggles within the safety and sacredness of the circle. Our stories have unfolded naturally and effortless.  It is amazing to witness the shifts and changes in lives when greeted with regularity and attention. It is a privilege to recognize how the group has supported growth within each individual.


After our most recent gathering, I realized the power of the circle lies in holding a space for expansive thinking and dreaming.  Coming together, we share our struggles, but in those conversations we share how we want to live and grow.  We share our hopes for ourselves and our intentions for our lives.  We speak about what might be possible and by sharing that vision, we hold space for its realization.  

It is easy to fall into the habit of seeing what is lacking in our world: kindness, respect for diversity or difference, loving use of power and privilege, a regard for the unity of life and ourselves as part of a natural world that we are slowly and methodically destroying.  But when we focus solely upon the negatives, the lacks, we stunt our mind's ability to expand and create alternative possibilities.  We limit ourselves when we dwell upon what can't be undone; we narrow the scope of possibility by limiting ourselves and our dreams.

Sitting in circle, I was aware that the safety of this group affords me the opportunity to speak of what may initially seem impossible.  But by saying the words, I set into motion a process.  If every action has it ancestor in a thought, then our dreams and our future begins with allowing wild, dangerous, life-embracing thoughts to be uttered. In a space of support and love, those thoughts become the seeds of a future I want to inhabit, a future dream I can imagine passionately co-creating and supporting.

I want to dream big.  I want to allow room for all manner of miracles, healing, love and kindness to bloom full, fragrant, and enduring. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

these days

I can't quite explain it ... the day trickles by, but the weeks are rolling past at a furious clip.  How it is mid October already?


I am trying to find my balance but the more I seek solid ground, the murkier things seem to be.

So I stumble through my days.  Admittedly, preparation for my venture in leading an  ecourse is keeping me busy, much as prep for final exams (the name dead week must refer to the absence of any pulse in one's extracurricular activities) had my eyes and attention focused upon my books.  Don't get me wrong - I loved the intensity of studying for end of term exams and the process of pulling together all of the material, feeling the connections clicking in the old gray matter. It is exhilarating and exhausting. A kind of intellectual purge after the rigors of the semester.

But I am feeling the dryness settling into other areas of my life.  I pick up my paint brush and my hand hovers over the page until I put it down.  I have nothing to feed that muse and I know it is best that I rest.  The time will come for paints and words and colors.  But first this phase of leaf dropping, shedding, emptying before I can fill again.

So I hold onto the pieces of my day that matter. The sliver of moon and sprinkling of stars in the dark morning sky as I walk the dog. The smell of coffee waking me up. The colors of Autumn after a dry, bleached out summer. 


Cuddling with my girl (honestly, no one told me how deliciously radiant and cozy a child's body snuggled against yours can be!) and having her ask "Am I warm and toasty?"
Sharing bad jokes.  "Why did the chicken cross the road, roll in the dirt, then cross the road again?  Because he was a dirty daredevil!"  

"Why did the cow cross the road? She wanted to go to the moooo-vies!"

"Knock knock."  

"Who's there?"


"Boo who?"

"Ah, don't cry Cinder-ellie!"  (this one makes Cowgirl really cackle.)

She woke me at 3 AM this morning with "Mom! Mom!  My tooth fell out!"


Did I neglect to tell the story about Cowgirl giving herself bangs 4 days before school pictures?  (Apparently if you trip and fall while holding scissors, you end up with bangs.) Sigh.  See ... so much is happening ...

I am putting into practice the pieces of self care I will be sharing in a few weeks. Slowing down. Paying attention. Being present as best I can. Finding and honoring my natural rhythms and understanding how the cycles of nature move through me.  I am - we are - human animals after all.  We just forget or deny that truth.  But it is best to go with the flow even if that flow is a slow, thin, rivulet.  It is still flow, it is still life.  I am following my energy and right now that feels like drifting fog.

 Meanwhile, I wait on the edge of the next adventure.  Thanks for leaving me the snacks by the side of the trail.  I'm making my way ...

(much gratitude to all who are supporting me on my ecourse adventure.  While I love the gathering of goodies to share, I am uncomfortable with the self promotion.  I know what I have to offer is rich, important, and so needed in our world.  And perhaps banging my drum is what has left me so weary ... so thank you all who have banged it for me and who will be joining me in two weeks for a month - heavens yes! - of self care. I promise I won't let you down!  And yes, there is still time to sign up.  All the info is here.) 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Energy Rx (an offering)

I wanted to offer this practice that has been so soothing for me and for my students and family.  As I surf the wild waves of the season, I am mindful that I have a whole arsenal of tools at my disposal ... it's just being mindful and remembering to use them!

I briefly discuss the concept of subtle energy channels or nadis as they are described in yoga.  This breathing practice is working with the Ida (the left channel, often described as cooling, soothing, lunar or feminine aspect)  and the Pingala (heating, active, solar or masculine aspect).   These two channels run up the center of the energy body, crisscrossing at key points in the Chakra system.  In some texts it is said they end at the nostrils (not the forehead/crown as I state in this video) and in others they are described as terminating at the level of the third eye chakra, the left channel merging into the right brain and the right channel merging with the left brain.  There is a third channel, the Sushumna, that runs up the entire length of the energy body which does run up through the crown of the head.  For anyone wanting more information, there are many good articles

What is of use is understanding that we want a balance of these two energies.  We want access to sun and moon, feminine and masculine, right and left brain function.  These two channels represent sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.  These two systems make up our autonomic nervous system - in other words, the part of our nervous system that controls involuntary responses such as heart rate, digestion, circulation to name a few.  When one aspect dominates, there is imbalance, stress and if left unchecked, illness.  A popular analogy is our body is a car and the brake and gas pedal are the autonomic responses.  So this breathing practice helps the body and the mind return to a state of balance where we are neither pushing the pedal to the metal nor riding break.  

I invite you to try this simple practice out and measures its effects upon the body, mind and breath.  I've actually used this practice when having blood drawn to assist blood flow (we say in yoga, where the mind goes, energy and blood flows) and studies have suggested it may positively impact blood pressure.  If nothing else, I hope you find it is a welcome pause in a busy day!

password: breathingbreak

For more practices and ideas for slowing down and making time for exquisite self care, visit my ecourse InnerGlow Self Care and learn how you can enjoy a four-week home retreat!  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

very over due ...

It has been two weeks since Cowgirl's birthday, and what every mother will understand (and most fathers fail to appreciate) is that while the work of the celebration is over (or in our case, celebrations as there were private moments, family gatherings and a party with ten kids - which nearly did me in by-the-way) the job is not done.

There remains the thank-you notes. 


I actually enjoy this process when I let myself off the hook for it being done in any timely manner.  I have always sent thank you's (although typing that makes me cringe as I wonder if I have forgotten someone in the past?) because truly, I am grateful for each and every thought, gift, or kindness that has been sent my way.  And I know the joy of giving is in witnessing the recipient's pleasure in being remembered and celebrated.

We are in the thick of thank you letters.  The initial wave has been individual drawing made with notes inside - these go to family and close friends; the next batch are cards decorated with a stamp I made out of a drawing Cowgirl made for the occasion.  I love its rather Medieval style dragon!

As Cowgirl has worked her way through the thank you's, I am realizing I too want to partake in this ritual of giving thanks.  

I want to extend my gratitude to each and every one of you who visit me here on Dandelion Seeds and Dreams.  The feeling I have is that you have stopped by for a chat, a quick cup of coffee, or just to check in with me and I appreciate your care and concern. Your comments feel like a refreshing breeze after an arduous trek and an encouraging smile amid the busyness of the day.  Even when you don't comment, I feel the imprint of your care lingering long after you have moved on to other places and spaces that fill your day.

It is odd to feel so connected with so many that I have never met in the flesh.  But the reality is we are connected through words, thoughts, and the sentiments of our hearts. And while you don't know all the deep corners of my heart and mind, you do know the pieces that I value and treasure above all else.  You know my loves, my dreams, and my aspirations. I am grateful for the times when you share those pieces of yourself with me. We are a band of merry joy warriors attending to our world. My heart swells to think of it.

Most of all, I want to acknowledge how you see me even when I try to hide in shadow.  By being so witnessed in this safe space of my own creating, I have learned how to gradually step out into the light and claim more of myself.  I hope that by doing so, I invite everyone here to stand firmly in their own light and heart radiance.

So for all that, and so much more, I say

Of course, Cowgirl says it best ... and with fiery dragons! 

I hope you will join me in November for my first ecourse, InnerGlow Self Care home retreat.   I am having so much fun putting the materials together, gathering up all of my most favorite practices and tips.  I can't wait to shower you will lots of nurturing care!

Friday, October 5, 2012

fear tripping on itself ...

I am scared I'll make the wrong move ...
I am scared I won't move ...
I am scared that taking a chance will result in disaster ...
I am scared that playing it safe will mean missing out on opportunities to love, shine, and grow ...

I am scared my time has passed ...
I am scared to believe so much of myself ...
I am scared to believe so little in myself ...

I am scared to imagine coming to the end of my life and finding I failed to fully inhabit my life.  I am scared to think I might miss out on witnessing all the wonder of Cowgirl's childhood.  I am scared, and I am sick and tired of feeling scared.

I am tired of fear and how it holds me back from unfolding my wings and taking up full space in the sky.  I am tired of letting myself down by yielding so often to fear and uncertainty.  I am tired of questioning my right to creating the life I want to inhabit.

I am scared and tired, but I am also ready.  Standing on the edge, ready to leap.  I am casting my vote for LIFE and JOY, daring to say and live my dangerous thoughts.  One of which is that I have something of value to offer and share.  I have gifts and I am ready to share them.  I am ready to shine because, well, why the hell not?

I am extending a personal invitation to you to join me in a gathering I am hosting here.  

InnerGlow Self Care 
A 4 week online home retreat 
October 29 - December 1, 2012

I am pretty thrilled to be dreaming out loud. 



I would love to circle with you.  Imagine the intensity of our light joined together? The glow of love, possibility and inner fulfillment spreading out into our world?  I say we dare!

Monday, October 1, 2012

sacred journey

 It is a trip we take with some preparation.  Snacks, water bottles, extra clothing for cooler night temperatures, camera and maybe a favorite musical instrument are gathered and toted to the car.  Fuel tank filled for the drive and ample time to make the journey without rushing through the landscape.


We drive around the edges of town


Past farms and fields

Over the river


Our destination tucked away within the unusual landscape feature known as the Loess Hills.  


 Rising 200 feet above flat fields and plains in craggy cliffs, a rich soil comprised of quartz, feldspar, mica and other minerals ground into glacial flour and  carried to the region by winds (eolian) rather than ice age rivers or lakes.  These hills unique in all the world for the depth and intricacy of their features except for a region in Shaanxi province, China although those features have been altered by human habitation.


We wind our way through these hills to come to a temple.  A dear friend and a source of inspiration for her ability to manifest dreams and heart energy into walls, shingles, ceramic sculptures, bronze bells created this temple in honor of her guru and mine, Swami Kripalu.  


A temple built with love and dedicated to the power of love.

This journey we made in honor of another love as magical and expansive - defying space and time.  Returning to the site of our conception ... 8 years later ... a full moon, the same Harvest Moon that is know as the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival in China.  It is said the moon shines brightest on this night and under her light we are united with all of our loved ones.  Bathed by the light of this moon I prayed for a healthy child.  Bathed in the same moon light, but on the other side of the planet, my girl was just 2 days old.  Yet here we are ...


now and forever. always.


We came to sing, to celebrate, to remember divine mother's love and to be nourished by the crickets' song, the flight of hawk, swagger of turkey and the dance of deer.  When I think I cannot possibly love my girl anymore than I already do, I look over and see her playing the bongos, eyes closed, head tipped back, singing Om Namah Shivaya and my heart cracks freshly open. She expands my capacity for love and I watch her shadow run across the dark fields, my cellphone held outstretched in her hand to shine a path, her hair flowing back and blending into the dark blanket of night and stars and moonlight.

 This is our sacred journey ... to remember and celebrate our love and the gifts of this beautiful life.  And we bow down to it again and again.  Om Namah Shivaya.