When I Am Among the Trees

This morning’s schedule change allowed me to have a long walk along a tree lined creek. I am certainly most grateful on these unexpected days where I have time to connect and be with myself and nature. Days like today are just one of the many benefits of being self employed. There certainly are some downsides to being your own boss, but time to get outside is a huge bonus! As I spent time watching hawks fly and bunnies hop, I found myself reciting this favorite poem of mine. Trees and time to commune with them often is something that is a must for me. I feel more connected, more energized and way more alive.

When I Am Among the Trees

When I am among the trees,

especially the willows and the honey locust,

equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,

they give off such hints of gladness.

I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,

in which I have goodness, and discernment,

and never hurry through the world

but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves

and call out, “Stay awhile.”

The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,

“and you too have come

into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled

with light, and to shine.”

~Mary Oliver

Follow me for more goodness.

Practicing Gratitude

I think we get so caught up in life events needing to be extraordinary in order to be happy. Learning to pay attention and practicing gratitude is key for a fulfilling life.

I am with Brené Brown on this one.

Happiness is right in front of me when I am paying attention and practicing gratitude. ~Brene Brown

When I look back at my week I can say with certainty that it was a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences. It was also a week of ordinary moments in everyday life that can either be celebrated or denied. I had beautiful work, a profound experience with a dying woman, a pretty disappointing doctor’s appointment, amazing workouts, playing in my garden, driving over 750 miles for work, celebrating my sweet granddaughter’s birthday, and quiet moments on the patio.

Ordinary moments of life experiences.

Yet so amazing in many ways. I am grateful for my life in all of its craziness–the observing of joy and sorrow, celebrating small successes, experiencing humanness, giving and receiving love, and being the witness to the cycles of life. All of it deeply embedded in my heart.

Hope you find a moment to pause. To breathe. And to notice all that is good in your life.

Try paying attention and feeling gratitude.

It just may surprise you how ordinarily awesome your life is.

A Gratitude Practice

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melodie Beattie

This is a special time of year when we find ourselves being more thankful and appreciative. I love to see the focus of many people shift from the outward struggles that the collective world is feeling to a focus on abundance. If only we could all stay focused on the good in our lives rather than the nonsense that floods and feeds the division in our world.

Gratitude Practice

I believe that a deliberate practice of gratitude can truly change your life. Many years ago I began a daily gratitude journal and after a short time I realized that throughout my day I was looking for things to be able to write down in my journal. What a life-changer to be on the look-out for what is good versus what is lack. Now after 18 years of a daily gratitude practice, if I find that in times of fear or sadness, I can open up any of one of those journals and be reminded of all that I really do have in my life.

I encourage you to spend some time each day acknowledging a few things in your life that you can be grateful for, including yourself! If you are not sure what to be grateful for beyond the obvious, then I say use your senses! What did you smell today? Did you feel something amazing today? Describe something that you tasted today that was amazing? To deepen your practice, you can include why you are grateful. I love to acknowledge that I am grateful for my friends because they help me to feel connected.

How to have a gratitude practice

When we think of abundance we often think of the tangible, material, often obvious things in our life to be grateful for; house, food, car, employment, etc. I would like to offer up acknowledging the abundance of less visible things; the love you feel for someone, the colors that surround your life, the sounds of music and laughter, the aroma that fills your home from a hearty soup, or the growth that you have shown this year.

Soak in all that is untouchable. Fill your heart with the fullness of simply being alive and experiencing the sensations each day offers.

Autumn Equinox

The Autumn Equinox is a time of letting go and harvesting the good that is abundant in our lives. To allow the stalks and leaves to fall aside and go back to the Earth. With this beautiful and colorful season emerging it is our time to loosen our grip on the focus of growth and prepare to move into a more dormant season.

Autumn Equinox and cycles

This is also a great time to look at the cycles of life; seasons, months, breath, and even life. As we embrace the time of gathering our harvest we are also preparing ourselves for the cycle in which we become more hunkered down. A little more in hibernation mode. The paradox of understanding cycles exists everywhere.

The simplest observation is the breath; to inhale you must also exhale.

When we are awake we come to know that with each ending there is a beginning in whatever shape that takes; self awareness, growth, wisdom, letting go, forgiveness and grief.  If we pay attention, we can see this so easily in the changing of leaves. The amazing color that emerges following a season of bounty. Then the ease in which the leaf lets go. Watch as leaves effortlessly fall to the ground. They are taken into the loving arms of Mother Earth for the new growth that waits for the next season.

Take time to look at letting go of what no longer serves you.

At the autumn equinox there is a dynamic shift. The season of sunshine, growth, taking action, movement to a more quiet and still season. This time of year during the equinox is a powerful time to pause after the often chaotic energy of summer. Back to school and busy-ness to a more dormant and contemplative time.

This is time where we replenish, regenerate and recuperate from a season of push. 

Well, at least we should try to as the we are so in tune with nature and the natural rhythms of the world, if we are paying attention. Nature responds to the lessening hours of daylight by slowly fading into dormancy. Watch as the leaves fall from trees, the lush green of shrubs and vegetation fades, and animals forage and gather for a season of hibernation. How do we mimic these natural occurrences? We withdraw from the rush of outward action to a season of a more contemplative inner reflection of our spirit.

With this season also comes a wonderful reminder to gather your harvests and share with others and to celebrate the abundance of the world with your neighbors, your family, or even a stranger. We tend to want to hang on to “things”, both tangible and intangible and really all that does is is exhaust us and stop the flow of goodness.

During a yoga practice watch as you move in and out of balance and neutral. How your breath becomes rapid and slow, though we strive for equality of breath. Notice how the tension in our body is often paired with ease. Thoughts come and thoughts go.

The skills that we learn on the yoga to find neutral, equanimity, and harmony teach us the gift of following the rhythm of nature. Remember, our time on the mat is truly a practice for living yoga as we know that yoga really happens off the mat. 

Our practice this time of year should reflect the message of the equinox and allow it to be filled with times of pausing to gather your breath, to reflect in mountain pose with a sense of neutrality and to find the balance between dynamic postures and stillness.

Welcome the harvest that is within and always look for opportunities to be grateful.

 I know for myself, the practice of gratitude has lead me into a life of awareness that has enhanced my life everyday.

Life is really good, friends.


Over the last few weeks, more and more people have mentioned to me that they think  I am lucky.  People have said thing like I am lucky because I have an amazing house, lucky I have my own studio, lucky I can still make a living during the COVID outbreak, lucky I have amazing sons, and lucky I am active, thin and healthy.

Lucky? How about instead I made choices.  I made really important, life-changing, courageous choices. These choices were made with the Divine guidance of Spirit consistently nudging me along. There were many times that I was not able to see the clear path, but somewhere deep inside of me, I had faith, even when I did not know it existed. When I chose to commit to becoming the best version of myself and to be of service to my family and the world, the things that might appear to others as luck, became my well-deserved life that continues to be in alignment with Spirit.

First of all, I never got a penny of alimony following my divorce and I received child support for about a year. The inheritance I got when my father died was simply $100. I paid the full listing price for the house I bought from my mom.  Nothing was handed to me. I have earned every single amazing lucky thing that I have. I chose to create this lucky life.

Here is how:

My first major choice came when I was facing a divorce with three young children, one of whom is disabled.  I chose to commit to being the best mom (and dad) I could be.  I chose to keep the stability of my home for my kids at the cost of eating way too much french toast and hamburger helper sans hamburger.  I chose to stand my ground when it came to raising them with integrity and values. No matter how strapped we were for food, I can see now that something much greater than me was operating and we were always provided for and somehow, we made it. My grown men are amazing people and luck has nothing to do with it.

The second major choice came on an early spring day.  I woke up one day knowing that I was tired of being heavy.  I was done with eating unconsciously and I was done self-loathing my size 16 body. So, I chose to get a weightloss book and take action.  I stopped the habits of mindless snacking and afternoons lazily laying on the sofa.  I even gave up ice cream and wine!  I chose to create new habits; daily walks twice a day, preparing healthy snacks, using smaller plates, putting the kid’s snacks in a high cabinet that required serious thought to scramble with a chair for a goldfish cracker, I taught them to wash their own dishes so that I no longer cleaned their plate while I loaded the dishwasher, I chewed gum while I cooked so I would not be tempted to taste-test each step.  I chose health.  I chose to love myself enough to stop unhealthy habits and instead make new habits.

The third major choice I made was on another spring day when someone recommended that I read the book Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss.  I remembered the day I was listening to her audio version while I was out for a second walk, and the moment I felt as if God was speaking directly to me, I got it.  I chose to wake up.  I chose to live in alignment with who I wanted to be.  I chose to live with the right thought, right actions, and right words. I chose to feel the indwelling Spirit as me become, and radiate, the Light I had always been, rather than hide behind the chronic complaining and blaming.  I chose to let go of anger and disappointment and welcome in forgiveness.  I chose love.

The fourth major choice I made was investing myself into radical personal development books and courses.  I immersed myself in therapy.  I gave myself the gift of learning boundaries and self-love practices.  I began taking yoga classes.  I got back on a bicycle.  I surrounded myself with people who uplifted me. I said yes to joy. I committed to a rigorous financial plan that set me on course to someday own a home, be financially self-sufficient and stable, and save each and every month. I chose to take ownership of my life.

The fifth major choice I made was to listen to the longing in my soul and share yoga and the process of waking up with anyone willing to say yes.  And, this included my heart and passion of reaching those with disabilities or other barriers to a traditional practice.  I said yes to my purpose.  I said yes to the gift Spirit chose for me to share. I chose to listen and take action.  I left a j.o.b. and I ended a relationship that gave me financially security, but left me empty and alone. I chose to be free.

You see none of what I have is luck.  None of what I have was given to me by another human.  Nobody saved me and nobody did this for me.  I did it.

I co-created through Divine Love the life I wanted and then with an open heart, I said yes!

That is a choice, not one bit of luck.