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Each morning my beautiful golden retriever companion, Bailey Nanda and I head out for our
daily ritual of drinking in the day.  Often still dark, we are blessed with a plethora of awe-inspiring unfoldings as dawn becomes daylight. From lingering starlight on some occasions, to a sunrise over Mt. Baker in brilliant hues of gold, apricot and turquoise, to a wild riot of a billion snowflakes kissing our eyes and cheeks, to gale force winds dancing in trees and in our hair, nature blesses our every step.

I have taken to adding in a walking meditation centered on gratitude that I practice first for myself and then –  it becomes ‘Metta’ – a form of loving kindness for all of life.  I would love to share this here with you in the hopes that it may resonate and become part of your own daily ritual as you honor YOU and all Sentient Beings.

Opening:
I Am Grateful for…
– my strong, healthy body
– my calm, clear mind
– my tranquil soul
– my open, peaceful heart.

(This I repeat several times in rhythm to the cadence of our walking.)

Then it becomes “Metta” as I repeat:

May All Beings know…
– a strong, healthy body
– a calm, clear mind
– a tranquil soul
– an open, peaceful heart.

(Once again, repeating for a deepening of the prayer and intention.)

In closing, my wish for you is all of the above.  As we share our inner light generously from the from the love within us, transformation is a certainty. So simple, yet so profound, the changes we can inspire when we live and commune from our beautiful hearts.

Namasté.
BaileyNanda1-feb17

Each morning I receive an email message from Abraham (Esther Hicks) and a recent article she shared really hit home.

When we are saddened by the plight of another, be it financial, health-related, or perhaps due to the loss of a loved one, most of us find ourselves being drawn to respond in some way to ease their pain.

BUT if we respond in the same energetic frequency that is CAUSING the pain, we not only do not assist, we add to the misery. Let me explain.

Say your friend is experiencing a period of low income and struggling to make ends meet.  You would like to gift them $100 to help cover some bills. IF you make this offer seeing them in a state of lack, thinking for instance, “‘Poor’ Roberta is having some real hard times and needs me,” you will only add to the state of lack.  Alternatively, when seeing Roberta as worthy of all the abundance of the Universe (as are we all) your gift will be a true blessing in assisting her in realizing this Truth.

This same theory applies to all of the other ‘imbalances’ as well.  If your friend is ill, do what you can to assist while seeing them in perfect, radiant health, the ‘natural’ state of our bodies.  If they are going through a grieving period, gently be there allowing the grief while offering glimpses of the joy that will begin to resurface when they are ready.

It’s but a slight shift in an energetic process to really ‘get this’ but the reverberation can be truly life changing.    To quote Abraham:

“Of course, it is a wonderful thing to help others, but you must do it from your position of strength and alignment, which means you must be in alignment with their success as you offer assistance, and not in alignment with their problem.”
Seeing you in all of your innate perfection… open to the limitless gifts of this abundant Universe.
Namasté.

daisy-ladybug

Two months ago today (as I write this), Oct. 18, 2016, this beautiful Being entered my life.  In many ways it feels much longer, perhaps because he looks so much like my dear Bo. But in reality, we are still learning to ‘dance’ with one another.  Joining a new, unfamiliar household at the age of 7 offers its share of hurdles for both of us.  I do believe his first several weeks were a bit of shock to his system as he underwent surgery (having never been neutered) and unfortunately experienced an infection at the incision site.  So his ‘welcome gift’ was a removal of his ‘manhood’ along with being forced to wear a silly lampshade around his head for over 3 weeks.  (OK, a cone. But as my dear friend Chris observes, it is indeed much like a lampshade.)

So what kind of WELCOME was this?  And I’m sure in his mind he was muttering,  “You’ve got to be kidding me… WHAT have I gotten myself into?!” as he bounced off walls and any objects in his path. Not exactly what he would have chosen, I’m sure.  I did share with him every chance I got that this was indeed NOT the norm, and he had much joy to look forward to. But given that animals live in the moment, this was not the most comforting news.

I do also believe his former guardian was a male and that he lived with other canine companions. So now, along with the surgery recovery and lampshade adornments, he was cohabitating with a WOMAN in charge, as well as a headstrong deaf cat. (Who loves Bailey Nanda dearly, by the way.)  Talk about change.

So now that the incision is all healed, the lampshade long gone, good healthy food and ample treats to partake of, several walks a day regardless of weather AND cozy sleeping quarters on the couch or the bed, I am pretty sure that life has taken on a ‘new glow.’   He did also share with me the other day that he isn’t particularly fond of ‘baby talk’ so I do my best to engage him in intelligent conversation as well. He is adorable in every sense of the word and I could not be more blessed.

*Also of note, especially for anyone who has a pet with seizure activity, Bailey Nanda’s medical reports – a bit scanty at best from the shelter – show that he has been on phenobarbital for several years after experiencing mild seizures some time ago.  Due to my quest to keep things as ‘natural’ as possible (along with the short and long-term side effects of the drug – lethargy, weight gain, liver damage) I am on the road to weaning him down and hopefully completely off this med.  CBD oil has been shown to be quite effective in preventing seizures  as well as various acupressure points and a ketogenic diet. (high fat, adequate protein and low carb).  If anyone would like more info on this, please just email me and I will share what I am learning.

WINTER HEALTH TIPS: So If you CAN’T Hibernate…

As we enter the season of winter, ‘Kidney’ season in Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are several things we can do to insure a healthy experience.  Just as the bears hibernate, the plants and trees go dormant, we are also being asked to slow things down.  This is, of course, not always easy as we find ourselves in the midst of holiday celebrations, shopping trips and generally more social outings and commitments than at other times of year.  So yes, indulge, but do so with some awareness on the rest your body is not only seeking but requires to maintain good health.

Foods to Support the Season:
Think yummy, warm hearty soups and foods that nourish inside and out including:
whole grains, quinoa, oats, squash, potatoes, root veggies, carrots, cabbage, black beans, dark green leafy veggies
& roasted nuts.

Lifestyle Tips:
* Stay hydrated (& avoid too much salt)  Also be aware also of not OVER-hydrating.  We hear so much about drinking enough water that we forget this can be overdone as well. You can decipher whether you are imbibing a healthy amount of H2O from the color of your urine. It should be pale straw through a transparent yellow.  NO color, you are drinking too much water.   Dark yellow, still normal but add more water.  Amber or honey, drink water now. Brown – severe dehydration and possible liver imbalance.

* Keep the feet, lower back (kidney region) and back of neck area warm. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Kidneys store what is known as ‘Jing’ – the essence of life. Keeping the feet and lower back warm will help maintain our vitality and life force by nearing the Kidney ‘qi’ (energy). Also we have acupoints located at the back of the head, neck and shoulders where our ‘Wei Qi’ (immune defense) can be easily compromised making us susceptible to wind, cold and dampness. Wearing a hat and scarf can help keep you protected.

* Practice yoga, qigong and meditation for movement and stress release – this of course, in any season.  But in the cold winter months, finding indoor activities becomes even more important.

* Get ample sleep – again – this is important all year round, but even more so in the season of darkness.  A natural sleep aid if you tend towards insomnia is valerian root.  I like the tincture and get mine at Vitacost.com.

Acupressure to Maintain Balance:
The Kidney & Bladder meridians are related to the season of winter and there are several acupressure points that can help contribute to balance, as well as massage of the kidneys themselves. These energy channels are associated with more than just the kidney and bladder/urinary health but also the spine/lower back, ears, reproductive organs, knees, feet and  joints. Working with the Kidney meridian can also help reduce the fear we carry, as this is the emotion linked to this organ when out of balance.

Two key points to consider:

Kidney 1(Bubbling Wells): located on bottom of foot, 1/3 way down between first and second toes. Very grounding as it drains excess from upper body thereby addressing headaches, ‘monkey mind’, insomnia and more

Kidney 27 (Elegant Mansion): located in small depressions underneath the knob of collarbone. Brings all energy fields into balance, addresses chest congestion, asthma, shallow breathing, throat pain and emotionally, restores balance and energy flow throughout body.

Kidney massage: above belt-line, both sides of spine- stimulates the kidneys, provides warmth and reduces levels of fear in body.

Blessing to all for a beautiful Solstice,  healthy, joyous Christmas and holiday season and AMAZING 2017.:)

I know one thing for certain… nothing is certain. – Maureen

Have you ever considered that for even the most minuscule parts of our day to unfold, everything must align? Maybe this is really most apparent when something unexpected occurs.

This message was brought home to me in a big way last week when I experienced an ‘unexpected’ collision. A gentleman at a stop sign proceeded to accelerate just as I was about to turn into the parking lot where he was situated. There was that momentary “OH SHOOT!” (Well maybe I said something a little more expressive), as I realized he was headed my way and I could do nothing to prevent it. And so, the driver side of my car was rammed – no injury – just the hassle of what follows an accident (police reports, insurance claims, etc.)

That night as I was pondering the incident, I had that ‘a-ha’ moment – how EVERYTHING indeed had to align for this to occur. I had taught yoga that morning, had coffee with friends, and was heading to shop. WHAT IF I hadn’t stopped to use the restroom? WHAT IF I had chatted just a minute longer (or even 15 seconds)? WHAT IF he had taken a different exit from the parking lot? ALL of this had to align in order for us to ‘meet’. Mere seconds might have prevented it. But it was – as cliché as this sounds – ‘meant to be.’ And what else occurred to me, and this could perhaps be a reason WHY it happened, just maybe it prevented one of us from experiencing something far more tragic or set us up for something far more wonderful. If we hadn’t been delayed, who knows what direction the rest of not only our day but perhaps our lives would have meandered? Sometimes looking at a bigger picture can bring those not-so-welcome transactions more into perspective.

So yes even minuscule events that can indeed change the course of our lives. And this, I believe, adds to the mystery of the whole adventure.

I write this on Thanksgiving day 2016. In homage to this, may we find gratitude in the most mundane, as well as the most glorious episodes of our lives.

Blessings All.

wumen

Be yourself. Everyone else is taken. – Oscar Wilde

We have been celebrating heart chakra this week in yoga along with a theme of authenticity. Truth resides in the heart and when we act and move from this precious chamber we are naturally authentic.

So perhaps this practice led to the mind-heart-soul revelation I find myself experiencing regarding my ‘independent streak’. Whether due to my Aquarian sun sign or just my overall nature, I have always been what I would call individualistic, choosing to do things a little differently (or perhaps a lot in some cases).

I remember being punished by the nun ‘teaching’ me in early grade school when I chose to have my own style of handwriting – (“That’s NOT how it’s done!” I was told… “BUT this is how I DO it”, thought I) – to adopting lifestyles that didn’t always ‘conform to the norm’. (I had ample opportunity to shock while married to a man in the military for 17 years. He was remarkably understanding of his ‘wayward wife’ and while perhaps a bit exasperated from time to time, I think he also admired that I chose to follow my own unique path.)

And perhaps I just find the conventional boring. That probably won’t ever change.

What has, though, become rather unpredictably apparent is that there is indeed a shadow side to being independent. It reveals itself when one holds back from completely letting go – whether in a relationship, a life decision or any situation where there’s a fear of losing one’s way or one’s theoretical stability. And in this shadow, the heart closes off.

Because my most cherished goal is to live 110% from my heart, this discovery is a bit alarming but at the same time very welcome. I am learning that independence can indeed cohabitate with allowing oneself to become vulnerable. One can walk to the beat of one’s own drum and still shed the armor. This may take a while to integrate, but it’s worth the effort and I am willing to give it a chance.

AFFIRMATION: My independent nature coexists blissfully with my vulnerable, open heart.Rolling With It

baileymemeadows“I would love to live as a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.”
– John O’Donahue

After the loss of my dear Bo, I knew that another doggy would enter my life and was quite certain that Bo himself would have a say in the matter. I found myself perusing the petfinder site and visiting the golden retriever rescue page, and also wondering if a golden puppy was maybe the way to go… It all became very confusing and I recognized that I was muddled up in the grief process.

Well one day I did come upon a darling little 4 month old puppy rescue out of Texas, half golden retriever and half black lab named Hamlet. I filled out the paperwork, went through the ‘interrogation process’ and passed with flying colors. He would be transferred from the Texas rescue facility to the Seattle airport in about 2 weeks time.

Excited on one hand and still a bit reluctant on the other, one night it became clear to me that this was not the right move. My life being a bit in flux at the moment, I realized that it was an inopportune time to bring a puppy into the mix. I have raised a few dogs from puppyhood and understand the time, patience and work it is to get them to a stage where you can leave the house without crossing your fingers. And so I tearfully let the rescue know that I needed to let go of Hamlet. As difficult as this was, I knew it was for the best. The next morning after relinquishing him, I received an email that he had indeed already found his forever home. This helped somewhat but my heart was still so longing for canine companionship. The golden retriever rescue seemed the best place to go as they are older and more established, but when I had contacted them prior to finding Hamlet, I was told the wait for a dog was anywhere from several weeks to several months.

So there I sat. And as I sat, the hugest wave of direction came over me to go to a certain site online out of Vancouver that had golden retriever information. I had visited the page several times prior to this and it was always new puppies that were up for adoption. I fought the instinct to go there because I knew that wasn’t the answer. But the nudge was so strong I gave in… And the rest is history. There at the top of the page was the completely unexpected photo of a 7 year old golden rescue looking for a home. I immediately phoned the Canadian number and spoke with Don, an amazing man who finds homes for abandoned dogs. He regrettably shared that Bailey had just been adopted by a couple in North Vancouver. My heart sunk. But we chatted and I asked him if he would keep my info in case a similar doggy appeared on the scene.

Fast forward to 5 pm that evening. I receive a call from Don. The couple had decided they would prefer to have a puppy and not an older dog. Would I still be interested…. YES!!! So a meeting was set for the following day in Cloverdale BC for me to meet and walk dear Bailey. I thought I would go, make his acquaintance, and if all went well, return a few days later to bring him home. Well you already know what happened. One look and he was mine.

He is lying next to me as I write this. The most loving, sweet, calm beautiful boy I could have asked for. I call him Bailey Nanda (Nanda meaning ‘Bliss’ in Sanskrit). That’s who he is and what he inspires.

So when you get that heart ‘nudge’ – LISTEN. The angels are whispering (or sometimes shouting!) in your ear. And your loved ones on the other side are very likely to be involved, too.

“The best way out is through.” – Robert Frost

Grief is a process.
I can’t just say,”Its done”…
It must travel its due course.
In this journey, I honor my pain,
my need for solitude,
my aching heart.
And, when the time is right,
I will emerge
from this place of loss
ready to love again.
– Maureen

As I meander this winding road of grief in the loss of Bo, my dear Golden, many thoughts and feelings join me on the path. I believe it’s perhaps natural to wonder if you are ‘staying there too long’ but in truth, there is no right or wrong way to grieve. I’m reminded of another time of sorrow, this one after my divorce from a man whom I loved dearly, but after many years together, the time had come for us to part ways. Shortly thereafter, when seeing me crying, someone I thought cared for me asked me quite matter-of-factly, “Aren’t’ you over that yet?” Not only did those words cut like a knife, it aroused both anger and guilt inside of me. (“Maybe should I be ‘done’ with this,” I thought…)

But now I know better. Not only is everyone’s journey with grief totally unique and personal, there is no ‘correct’ way to experience it. Even years after going through a loss, something can trigger that memory and pain, calling up a wave of heartache.

Sometimes guilt does become a part of the journey as well. We may find ourselves comparing our circumstances to those who are in ‘far worse states’ – perhaps having survived unthinkable catastrophes – and this triggers a sense of self-reproach. But again, the experience of grief cannot and should not be compared.

We must feel what we are feeling. Know also that it is not a weakness, but a strength to ask for help – whether from a friend, from Mother/Father God, the benevolence of the Tao, angels and spirit guides – from whomever you feel will understand and offer compassionate presence.

Another aspect that might keep us feeling stuck on some level is the perhaps unconscious presumption that letting go of the pain also means letting go of the bond. “If I stop hurting, my connection will be severed.” But trusting in the belief that NOTHING can separate us from a gift of a love shared, regardless of dimension, can indeed be a balm to the heart.

“Love has come to rule and transform; Stay awake my heart, stay awake.” – Rumi

So yes, feel gratitude for all of the wonder and gifts that grace our lives every single day. But don’t allow guilt or ‘wondering if you are doing it right’ to stop you from fully experiencing what you must experience. Know that this pain is indeed enlarging the chamber of your heart to allow just that much more joy and love in.

I will end here with a quote from the timeless spiritual teacher, Eileen Caddy.

“Call upon me and I will answer you. I will be with you in trouble. I will uplift you and set your feet upon the right path and will guide your every step. I am with you always.”
– Eileen Caddy/ Opening Doors Within

Blessings All.

Bo Bearing Gifts

Bo Bearing Gifts

Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul there is no such thing as separation.
Rumi

My dear Bo- 6/29/06-9/11/16

My dear Bo – 6/29/06-9/11/16

bo-puppyjpg

Where do you even begin? After sharing ten years with a Being who was your best friend in every capacity and then finding a way to say goodbye?

Bo joined the family shortly after my other dear doggy, Genesis (“Genner Bear”)
left this domain. Francesca (“Monkey”) found herself as the lone canine and I knew that she would very much appreciate having another sibling to share her home with (besides the three cats whose purpose she could never quite figure out.)

Thus Bo was adopted from a litter of puppies born in Bow, Washington (hence the name, but I figured everyone would call him “BOW – rhyming with WOW” – so easiest to just drop the W.) We first met in a parking lot at Lake Padden in Bellingham where the puppies were being shown. I was seated on the parking lot ground viewing all of the golden furballs and he toddled over to me and fell right in my lap. I felt chosen and knew it was kismet.

Over the years we had countless outings to the amazing meadows near our home where he would run like the wind, tennis ball (or balls) in mouth. Every season was celebrated there through the flowers of spring, the warm breezes of summer, the amazing skies and colors of fall, and making the first tracks through the snows of winter. Our other favorite destination was, of course, the beach. He was a golden retriever, mind you. Water was one of his domains. He would joyfully swim – again after the tennis ball – and proudly bring it back to me just in time to shake his soaked body all over his up-til-then dry Mommy.

Each day as I would prepare his breakfast and dinner, just prior to eating I would sing a chant over his food (Om Shree Dhanvantre, Namaha) – this to the god of healing to bless his meal and keep him strong and healthy. Whenever he heard me sing this, he knew it was chow time (though I would like to believe he knew it went a bit deeper than that…) And when lately he found himself in some of his absolute weakest moments, often unable to get up, he would hear that and totally shock me by making his way out to the kitchen. Such Spirit.

And so it is with an extremely heavy heart that I write this. On September 11th, after several weeks of debilitating health challenges, he left his physical body, in company of myself and two very, very dear friends. It always sounds so cliché to say “It’s for the best, he will now be out of pain and running free” but in my heart I believe that’s true. We shared some of our most tender moments ever that morning and I will be forever grateful to him for the gift of those ten years together.

So, if you can hear me, my dear Bo, know Mom is always with you and trusts that the energy of love will keep us connected and in radiant communion until we are once again together.

I love you forever.

P.S. Tell all of your brothers and sisters in the celestial realm how much Mom still loves and misses them, too.

Do you find yourself in a life situation where the direction is feeling a little foggy, perhaps in a relationship, a health decision or a financial arena? We can make ourselves a little bit crazy getting clear around what path to take.

Often when we find ourselves in a quandary of sorts, we may feel that there are either NO options available to us or perhaps see it as an ‘either this or that’ scenario. That’s when our head is taking over. But when we allow ourselves to quiet the mind and connect with the heart, we open ourselves up to a myriad of possibilities that may never have had room to enter your consciousness. We create a vacuum of sorts that draws in the unexpected and often miraculous.

And while we can learn from the past and envision the future, I believe it is also vital to come into the present moment to allow us to be clear in our choices. Only in the NOW can we truly connect with the energy necessary to move forward.

I’d like to offer a 5 step practice and short audio meditation of this process to help usher in clarity.

1) Breathe. There is nothing like becoming aware of the breath to bring you into the current moment.
2) Surrender. And I don’t mean give up. As C.J. Jung so brilliantly states: “What we resist, persists.” Recognize the futility of denying ‘what is.’
3) Drop into your heart. (The heart always knows what is best for us.)
4) Become the observer. Take a step back from the situation and create space for answers and as you do…
5) Get quiet. Turning down the noise within from this ‘witness’ stance allows for miracles and beautiful synchronicities.

Meditation for Clarity for audio meditation.

Those renowned words from the mascot of MAD magazine have crept into the prefrontal cortex of my brain. I’ve not thought of them in eons… just a memory of my oldest brother Ricky lounging on our living room couch deeply immersed in its contents.

Now while this magazine is not a habitual part of my thought process, the idea of WORRY has been quite prominent. I realize now more than ever before the implications of succumbing to this emotion.

The most enlightened quote I know of regarding this tendency comes from author, Dan Zadra: ‘Worry is a misuse of the imagination.’

I grew up with a mom who worried A LOT. Her last words to me as I would leave the house were ALWAYS, “BE CAREFUL!” I love(d) that woman more than words can say and still feel her with me every single day, but I do hope that now that she is ‘seeing things from a more universal perspective’, the apprehension has morphed into peace.

Worry when examined really breaks down to fear – fear of ‘what might happen.’ It is using the mind to imagine worst possible scenarios. And when we realize that our thoughts and intentions are ENERGY, we also become aware that we are sending this energy into the exact outcomes we most want to avoid.

So. What if we used that energy in a more positive way. Why not picture the best outcomes rather than the worst? I am not saying that there aren’t times in life when we will feel concern. But why imagine the future with anguish?

If you find that you have a tendency to negatively project outcomes in your life or the lives of others, just give this a try:

Come back into the present moment. Take a nice long breath. Be grateful for all of the gifts currently in your life. (For instance, if you are reading this, be thankful for your vision. If you have a full tummy, be thankful for the food available to you. If you are saying, “This woman is just nuts”, be thankful for your ability to think. You get the idea.)

And remember – ‘seeing’ your loved ones in a scenario that is less than healthy or safe is not doing them any favors. Be vigilant, yes, in proactive ways. (i.e. eat healthy, exercise, meditate, inform yourself what to do in emergency situations, do that ‘gratitude’ thing, etc). but also do your best to curtail the toxic ‘what ifs’ until you can also exclaim, with confidence, “What, ME worry?”

Peace.CHOICE1