This morning was my morning to sleep in. (Yay.) But because I’ve been craving a long meditation session, I rolled out of bed and went to sit on my cushion in my closet. (Short backstory: I’ve got a ton of big, exciting work projects going — including my first retreat this Friday, woot! — and my husband and daughter have both been sick and in bed for several days, meaning I’ve been busier than usual on the caretaking front just as my workload is amping up. My meditation practice for the last 10 days or so has been relegated to a few deep breaths when I needed a moment of quiet reflection. The pain of not having a longer conversation with my intuition was building up, big time, and it was starting to affect how I was relating to others, and feeling about myself.)
Everything was going great. I was in a good mental groove — I was getting a ton of insights, coming fast and furious, but I trusted that I would remember them when I was done and could return my focus to my breath. This was all happening even though I could hear my husband getting my 2-year-old up and out of bed, and there was tons of their external chatter to focus on. And then my 2-year-old started to have a mini tantrum. Read more…
Sometimes, everything gets all messed up. Even broken. It’s like you wake up one day and all your super powers vanished over night. The tricks you use to cajole the kids in to the car seat don’t work. You hit the snooze button, like always, but now it takes 5 or 6 times for you to muster the energy to get out of bed. The dark chocolate you have in the afternoon just leaves you with a bellyache. You sit down to do something at work that you’ve always prided yourself on being great at, and it feels hollow.
What’s going on?
What we do, how we think, how we are is constantly evolving. There is no figuring out what kind of a person you want to be and that staying that way forevermore. (Sorry! Bummer, I know, but the one constant in life is change, and that goes for us too.) What works for us will inevitably stop working one day. Seemingly all of a sudden, we don’t get the results we used to, we aren’t satisfied with where we are, and we feel our energy draining away because of the effort we’re putting toward things that are keeping us stuck.
I was there not so long ago. After my second child was born, I spent two years pitching and writing articles even though when I sat down to write every cell in my body thought, “I don’t want to do this.” Read more…
I’ve been thinking a lot about the truth lately. Truth seems like a concrete thing—something you can stick a pin in and hang on the wall, like a butterfly. Something that can only be one way, forever.
But the truth is a lot more slippery than that. What you accept as a truth may actually be a belief that has nothing to do with reality.
Here’s how figuring out what I know to be true has gone down lately: I had an a-ha moment when working with my coach that an assumption I had taken as the truth – that I had to be smart, buttoned up, and eternally productive and high-achieving in order to be a valuable human being — was in fact, a belief. That was a real mind-bender. If what I thought was true isn’t, in fact, the truth, then what is? (For all your Matrix geeks out there, it was a real there is no spoon moment.) Read more…
Here, for your listening pleasure, is an audio clip of our recent hike in the George Washington Land Management area, in the Northwest corner of Rhode Island.
You can hear cicadas, birds, the wind, and little snippets of my husband talking to the kids, doing his best to keep them quiet and away from Mommy.
That’s my little fairy ballerina hiker to the right.
When you listen, open your ears and let all the sounds in, registering everything that passes your eardrums. In this instance, the focus on sound replaces the focus on breath of a more traditional seated meditation.
Growing up, I learned that staying busy was the only way to achieve great things and fulfill my destiny – whatever that might be – as a smart person. As a result, I filled sashes with Girl Scout badges, became a perpetual spelling bee participant, ran for every student government office, played basketball, soccer, and softball, ran track, cheerleaded, entered beauty pageants, sang in the choir, edited the yearbook, played piano, and participated in every contest that crossed my teachers’ desks.
I was torn between being driven to prove I was more special and talented than everyone else and just wanting to be one of the gang. This struggle came into sharp relief my junior year in high school, when I missed out on a John Cougar concert (that my friends are still talking about) because I was at a symposium in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania—the prize for my winning essay on “What is terrorism?” Read more…
I was happy to be included in an article on Lifehacker.com on how to reinvest your health insurance rebate check back in to your health. Taking the time to answer the question inspired 4 others ways you can sink a little bit of money in your wellbeing for big payoffs that go way beyond the relatively small number of dollars they require. So, without further ado, here they are!
1. Make yoga a habit. Buying a pre-paid class card at a yoga studio will typically get you a reduced per-class rate, and will inspire you to actually get to the classes before the card expires. (Before you plunk down your dough, however, ask about the fine print — some cards become worthless after the expiration date; others only require you to pay a small surcharge to use the classes after the expiration dates; some allow you to give your pre-paid classes to a friend; others are more strict.) Or, you could buy a subscription to an online yoga studio, such as yogaglo.com, and get a lot more classes for your money. Read more…
Each time I sit down to write this newsletter, the same thoughts run through my head. They go something like this: What if my family reads this and something I say upsets them? (Hi, Mom!) If I leave something out, does that make me a liar? (My worst nightmare is a James Frey-esque scandal—he’s the guy who was called out by Oprah for making up parts of his memoir, A Million Little Pieces.) What if something I write annoys someone, somewhere? Which would be worse – having a ton of people read this, or having no one read it?
I’ve got a confession to make. I’ve been wussyfooting around claiming my role as an expert in mind-body matters. Yes, despite my 15 years of practice, intensive trainings, published articles and book, and appearance on the Today Show, I’ve been secretly believing I really didn’t know what the heck I was talking about. Read more…
Craving a little beach time, right this very minute? Here’s a 90-second ambient audio clip from our trip to the beach this past weekend. The roar of the wind is loud, so start with your volume a little lower.
In addition to the wind, you can hear surf, seagulls, a Dad building sandcastles with his kids, and maybe even a little snippet of a radio playing nearby. It’s not so much a serene beach moment as a full-on, jam-packed, let’s-see-how-many-people-we-can-fit-on-this-strip-of-sand beach trip.
I’m sure there’s more to be detected here. What else can you hear?
I love the calm clarity that comes meditating. But I don’t always love the idea of meditating itself. Some days when I’ve been running around like a crazy person, sure, sitting in one spot focusing only on what’s going on with me is compelling. But some days it just doesn’t have much allure.
If meditating feels a little like eating broccoli or flossing — or something else you’re supposed to do because it’s good for you — here are some legitimate ways you can do it that don’t require you to sequester yourself in a quiet room. Hooray.
This is actually an article that I wrote for Beliefnet.com, so to give you the full scoop, I’m going to send you over their (most awesome) site.
(This is my first monthly article that I’m writing for them, and I’d love to get my stint over there started with a bang. If you read and like the article, please share it with your people. Please and THANK YOU!)
I’ve been taking Alexander Technique lessons for 12 weeks now, and it is starting to seep in to my subconscious.
The Technique is a combination of body awareness, mindfulness, cognitive behavior, and biomechanics. I started taking lessons because my on-again off-again neck crick was stuck in the permanently on position, and visits to the chiropractor and massage therapist were only making it feel better for a day, max.
Then I was assigned an article on the Alexander Technique for relief of back pain, and I asked my expert source how to tell if the technique might be right for you. She said, “Any time you see a chiropractor or get a massage, but the benefits only last a day or two.” Ding, ding, ding. I did some Googling and contacted a local teacher the next day.
Fast forward three months, and here are my biggest takeaways: Read more…