Monday, June 4, 2012

Watch what you say...

And maybe be aware of how you respond to what words people say to you.

New research on the brain indicates that the way we respond to certain words actually rewires our brain.  So if you're bathed in negative interactions (or perceive them that way) especially as a child...well, we see the results of that daily.  But if you bathe yourself in positive words and "compassionate communication" the results are a happier human being.

Your Words Matter

You can learn how to communicate compassionately through the Center for Nonviolent Communication

Center for Nonviolent Communication

You can learn to speak violently negative by attending any local youth soccer game and listening to the parents on the sidelines.

Now, my dear, wonderful, incredibly intelligent, compassionate, loving, balanced, strong, grounded readers, go out there and create a great day for yourselves!

Friday, May 25, 2012


every cell bounces against the other nervously
electric on my skin
and there is no room

faster faster they push looking for space
energy rises even higher
i feel it, taste it
it pushes the space beyond my skin

there has to be more room more space

And then

...a small, almost thought

Air gently whispers in

Cells around my skin soften, yield

Quiet, return, pause

Tenderly uncreating

Settling back in


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Knee jerk post

I just saw a commercial on a new design for knee replacement.

On television.

Knee replacement.

How popular are knee replacements when a company is advertising on television?  And what are we doing to our knees that we now have commercials - prime time commercials - on knee replacement surgery?!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mindfulness in a moment

Incorporating mindfulness into your day can be simple if you keep it simple.  Tell yourself that you have time.  And allow yourself to have it, and then, be in it.  Here's how to add it in:
  • When you're driving and you notice someone waiting to cross the street, pause and let them go by.
  • In the grocery line, allow someone to check out before you.
  • Take your time putting the groceries away when you get home.
  • When your child, or someone else you love, asks you to come and look at something, just drop what you're doing and go.  Show them you have time.  They'll learn to have time too.
  • Driving on a side street, let the person coming toward you go by the parked car before you do.  Just wait for them to pass.  
  • If someone waits for you to pass a parked car, give them a wave of appreciation.
  • Sit down to eat and pause before the first bite. 
  • Pick up a neighbor's trash or recycle bin that's blown across the street on a blustery day.
  • Let someone else take the parking spot. 
  • You have a few extra dishes in the sink that won't fit into the dishwasher.  Wash them by hand. (Or, if you can't, read this.)
It's amazing how much space I feel when my mind isn't busy distracting me with ridiculous thoughts and I take the time to let things unfold on their own.  Time feels like it's really slowed down.  My cells feel like they aren't bouncing around like the inside of a Pick 4 lottery game.  They're all nice and gently moving around, playing nice.

Listen, if you've come up with your own list of how to slow things down, let me know about them.  

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Boredom: highly underrated

 When I was an early teen a basic middle school hallway conversation would probably translate to something like this:

"Oh MY GAWD!  I'm so totally bored!"

And my friend's answer (translated into today's tongue): "Same!"

And then I would say (translated, again): "Today is - LEGIT - THE most BORING day."

And my friend would reply: "I know, right?" have those boring days back with the history I have now!  I so long for boredom.  Of course, my definition is different from Websters.  I just mean a lull, a lack of things to do, places to take people to, places I have to be, a quiet time.  A time to just be.

I have to CREATE lulls now.  I have to snatch them in between going one place to another.  I have to make them just before falling asleep.  Or just on waking.

And in twenty years, when my children have families of their own, when the family dog is buried deep in the yard, when a vegetable garden is too much hassle for just two people...will I long for the busier days?  

I don't know.  

More importantly, right now I have a few moments to play cards with my daughter.  So to heck with wishing for the past and wondering about the future.  I'm going to play.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Can't remember to meditate? Problem solved.

So you're already at work and you just remembered that you forgot to meditate.  Argh!  Another frustrating day at the office...or is it?

With this little software tool, you'll get the whole office meditating.  Check it out at:

In fact, you might want to just go ahead and load it onto everyone's computer one morning when you get in early.  Set all of the bells to go off at about 10 a.m. or so.  : )

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Drama queen

Pupils dilate.
Give your adrenals a rest. They're tired.
Heart rate increases.
Blood sugar (glucose) rises.
Blood pressure skyrockets.
Cholesterol rises.
Brain activity heightens.
Blood readies to clot.
Breath quickens and is shallow.
Digestion is put on hold.
Elimination is put on hold.
Vitamins are purged.
Immune systems weakens.

What the heck is going on?  You're being attacked by a bear, you silly human!  This is what your body does when you're under stress!  It's readying itself!  What are you going to do?  Run?  Stay and fight?  Live?!  Die?!

But more realistically you're probably just under a work deadline.  Or can't pay the bills.  Maybe family coming in for the weekend.  Maybe you're arguing with your son.

Adrenal glands activate when you're under stress and the above list is the product.  Amazing isn't it?  And why are we surprised that our culture wins highest in: heart attacks, obesity, diabetes, ADHD, ADD, cancer, autoimmune disorders, chronic pain, Parkinson's, arthritis.

We're so quick to blame our eating, lack of exercise, genetics on all of our health issues.  It sure does play a part.  But stress is HUGE.

And we're addicted to stress.  A bunch of drama queens, we are.  We get the rush of the adrenals, dopamine and epinephrine is released and pain dissipates.  And we do it again.  And again.  And again.

Know someone who actually CREATES drama in their lives?  You can probably bet they've got an adrenal rush addiction and really don't know how to turn it around - or may not even know they're creating drama in their lives.

Don't those little glands deserve a break?  Overwork a joint and you've got bursitis or arthritis or replacement.  The same thing happens to the adrenals.  They stop working properly when they've been abused.

Take up a practice that helps you relax.  Do it.  Get your health back.

Butt nasty coffee

Sat down this morning with a cup of the nastiest coffee I've probably ever drunk.  And I drank it.  The whole thing.  Sat in silence, drinking tongue-coating nasty stuff. Tasting every sip.  And sitting.

Sometimes we find ourselves in situations that are nasty.  A lot nastier than a cup of coffee.  But sometimes there is no action you can take and you have to sit in it until things shift.

Enjoying the moment?  Not so much.

I've tried and failed - on many, many occasions - to force my will through situations that are highly energized and chaotic, only to produce more chaos, anger, hate, frustration, tears.  When this happens, I know that I'm never really present in the moment: I let past confrontations color the current situations. I let my ego control the moment by choosing to feeling affronted.  I lose control.

So here I sit.  With my nasty coffee.  Not really enjoying the moment.  But all moments are not for enjoyment.  So we practicing being present in a situation that is not so pleasant.

And sometimes you have to start really, really small and build your way up.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Don't just "Like" it

Just for today, don't click the "Like" button. Make time to tell them why you like it.

Be brave! Write it ALL THE WAY OUT.

"I like this because I laughed my fat ass off when I read it! I was on the floor, rolling around laughing! And laughing that hard is dangerous for me - I gave birth naturally!"

Abbreviate NOTHING today!

Don't like it? Great!

"I don't like this! If there were a "Don't like" button I wouldn't even press it because I actually don't "Don't like" this...I HATE IT."

Be brave!

There are some things that raise your qi, your energy. You learn from them! Look at them! Why are your emotions strong?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Kill the mind chatter

There are a few ways to kill mind chatter:  The voice that constantly feeds you information about your life, whether it's based in reality or not.

#1. Simply feel your breathing:  As you walk down a hallway, drive to your next appointment, look at the choices in front of you at the grocery store.  If you feel overwhelmed, it's generally due to the stories that your brain creates.  Stop the thoughts by feeling your breath.  When your brain begins stories again, bring your thoughts back to your breath.  These simple moments are yours to relax your mind, get a reality check, and stop the incessant mind chatter.

#2. Feel the palms of your hands.  Bring your attention to them. Try to feel the simple pulse, the air movement around them, or the underlying layer of energy that is always there.  When your mind tries to interrupt, bring your attention back your hands again.  Don't allow the thoughts to take over.  Dwell in the moment.  Your strengthening your mindfullness each moment you continue the practice.  Don't give up.

#3.  Focus your eyes on something (not an electronic thing!).  A cup.  The wooden tabletop.  Grass.  A tree.  Let your eyes watch the graceful curves of the cup while you just breathe in stillness.  Allow your eyes to follow the grain of the tabletop, breathing in and out.  With your eyes, feel the wind shift the blades of grass or watch the gentle bend of the trees.  And breathe.

These exercises bring you to the present moment.  And because your mind is not creating stressful thoughts, you body relaxes as well.

Keep practicing.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sometimes the dishwasher is full

And no matter what rearranging occurs, the rest of the dishes need to stay in the sink or on the counter. 

Let it go. 

No more shoving.

You'll be happier with the results.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Cutting off the rage

My friend was in a neighborhood notorious for its crime rate.  You know the area if you live near a city in the US.  It's where local television news crews park to capture drama to help perpetuate the stereotype of the neighborhood and to avoid actual journalistic work.

A work situation had actually brought my friend to the area.  As he was driving back, he  took a look at his map, trying to figure out which way to turn.  Realizing he was in the wrong lane, he swerved quickly over severly cutting off the guy in the next lane.   He almost caused an accident.

And the guy behind him was on his tail.

My friend was nervous, knowing some stories about the neighborhood.

He was even more nervous when he was caught by the light and the guy he cut off pulled up beside him waving his arms.

My friend looked over and rolled his window down to apologize.

But the guy cut him off before my friend could open his mouth.

"Hey!  Hey!" he yelled still waving his arms. "I just want you to know:  no big deal.  I've cut people off by mistake, too.  It's all good.  You have a good day."

My friend was amazed.  He calls it "Reverse Road Rage".

All I know is that it's just one more person practicing being in the moment and feeling empathy.  You aren't alone out there.  Keep up the good work.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

I haven't gotten enough exercise

I see them sitting on the couch. 
They're soft and unfocused.
I stare.
Eyeing every movement, every breath.  Inside of me, every cell is 

A T   T H E   E D G E

I smell every subtle scent, feel every shift in cells surrounding me, taste the target.

If I were a football lineman the quarterback would taste grass, hands still holding the ball.  Basketball: my shots would sift through the net.  Painter: the line would flow, no pause.  Piano: the keys are my fingers.

But I am none of these. 

I am one with everything.

And I am ready. 


I feel the screams of terror before they reach my ears.

"MOM!!  You scared the crap out of me!!  What the HECK?!!  Go AWAY!  You need to run or something!

I stalk away. 
I've won.  

Friday, May 4, 2012

You feeling strong, my friend?

Ever seen "Elf"?

If not, you'll have to.  Really.  

There's a lot of innocent honesty in Elf's character.  You know?  The kind of honesty that has no agenda.  It's just honest with an undercurrent of caring.

Have you ever just come out and said something without editing it in your head?  I think even people who are known to "not have a filter"  really do have a filter.  Their's just works differently than those who want to be polite.  Generally, they want to shock and that's how their editing software works.

Next time your software kicks in, settle into the moment.  Find your compassion. Tell your agenda-less truth. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Fibromyalgia, chronic myofascial pain and movement

Weeks ago...okay...sigh...months ago...I posted about movement and fibro, myofascial pain and movement. I promised that I would continue with another article about how to move when you are in constant pain.

Every 'body' is different, so when you've met one thousand people in constant pain, you've probably seen 1,000 different pain experiences.  There is no special secret to releasing pain through movement.  Because every person's situation is unique, the exercise "prescription" is patience, shifts and adjustments.  It takes time...time...time.

But here are a few simple tips to think about when starting to fold movement back into your life (and first read:

1. Feel your body as you begin moving.  Whatever your movement choice is: walking, household chores, aerobics, yoga.  Doesn't matter.  Be aware of your body in movement.  How's it feel as you're moving?  Ten minutes afterward?  The next day?  Take notes so that you can shift and adjust your movements for the next time.

2. As a trainer, form is VITAL.  How is your form in the movement you've chosen? Are you using your abdominal muscles to gently support your spine when moving through household chores? Are you bending your arms at the elbow when you walk to lessen the tension on the shoulders and neck?  Are you centered or are you leaning to one side or the other when moving?  Take your time.  Feel your core centered and balanced over your feet as you move.

3.  Imagine this when you're moving: you have this time to move just for yourself.  Nothing is waiting for you.  Nothing is pressing.  It's just you, moving slowly, with intention, observing your body, breathing.  Take your sweet, loving time.

Adding these three tips to your plan for movement will really help you not only fold movement into your life, but keep you aware when shifts to your plan are needed and when your body has had enough.  Just take your time and listen and do what your body tells you.

It knows.  You know.

The image is from

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A short, savory practice

Hold up your hand.  In the air, draw a figure eight with it.  Feel your hand curve the surfaces of the eight.  Is the eight standing up or is it on it's side like an infinity sign?  Is the back of the hand feeling the path or the palm of the hand?  Are you using your left hand or right hand?

Continue moving the hand smoothly through the air, as if nothing else mattered in the world, but relaxing the hand and moving it slowly.  Don't think.  Feel.  As you continue, do you feel your shoulder?  Is it becoming tense?  Can you relax it more?  Can you move your position, continuing the hand movement, and become more relaxed in the shoulder?

Are there parts of the taiji form you practice that are uncomfortable?  Can you shift your body to make them feel less tense?

Try it.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Taiji eases depression...but why?

There was a study published about a year ago about taiji and how it helps the elderly with depression. It was important because depression is pretty tough to "combat" in the elderly due to the lack of response to medication. And of course, here in the west, medication is always the first step. (That was sarcasm. I completely apologize for it. I don't know what came over me.)

The results make taiji an excellent choice for abating depression. Here's the study if you know of really anyone of any age who is dealing with depression:

What I find interesting is that all of the studies from well known institutes never include, discuss, mention the spirit within taiji, at least of which I am aware.

They inform us about the movements (helps balance, stability, strength); educate us on breathing (helps heart rate, increases oxygen levels, helps assimilation and digestion); social stimulation (eases depression, brings sense of control), but not a mention about what the spirit is doing during all of this movement, breathing, socializing.

Are we afraid to add this when it comes to studies and taiji? Is this still too woo-woo for the general western public? Or is it because taiji teachers across the country don't incorporate this vital aspect into their classes so it isn't part of the study?

If you teach taiji, do you incorporate spirit? If not, why? Have you had potential students walk out when spirit in the form was discussed or practiced?

How does that effect your spirit?