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Recently through the course of our chakra yoga my yogis and I have been taking a good look at fear and how to make it an ally rather than the bad guy in our lives.

Now there are reasons to have fear – some very necessary: Practical ‘survival’ skills type of fear… you’re crossing the street and a car comes racing out of nowhere – jump back!!

And a more insidious or subtle kind of fear: something very painful in our life happens and we fear it happening again OR the fear of something that has NEVER happened but COULD; not to mention beyond our own personal lives the media bombarding us with of all of the chaos occurring globally that we have have little control over. (Less exposure helps… but it’s still ‘out there.’)

These are the fears we explored in this journey through the chakras: how turning towards the fear – recognizing and understanding it – can be a much more successful way to release it, rather than stuffing it and hoping it will go away. It’s there for a reason. It’s saying, “Pay attention to me. I’m trying to keep you safe.” And when we do stuff it rather than heed the call, it will pop up in a myriad of other ways. Like that groundhog toy kids play with – bop him on the head when he appears up out of one hole and he disappears for a moment BUT comes up somewhere else.

Fear, especially prolonged angst, can have definite emotional and physical health repercussions. So I’d like to share with you how we can make fear an adversary rather than an enemy and move into a place of peace through the avenue of our energy fields. Here are some of the steps we covered through the use of quotes and affirmation.

ROOT CHAKRA – Seat of stability, security and earth connection.

QUOTE: What we resist, persists. – Carl Jung

AFFIRMATION: May I release unreasonable fears now that prevent me from feeling stable and secure.

SACRAL CHAKRA – Seat of creation, element of water, ability to flow in relationships as well as abundance.

QUOTE: Don’t be afraid of your fears. They’re not there to scare you. They’re there to let you know that something is worth it. – C. JoyBell C.

AFFIRMATION: When I commune with fear rather than run from it, my creative powers are liberated, free to become manifest.

SOLAR PLEXUS CHAKRA – Seat of courage, confidence and the digestion of all things incoming.

QUOTE: Having courage does not mean that we are unafraid. Having courage and showing courage means we face our fears. – Maya Angelou

AFFIRMATION: Fear becomes my teacher as I acknowledge it and allow it to guide me to the endless well of courage within me.

HEART CHAKRA – Seat of love, compassion, forgiveness and oneness with all sentient beings.

And suddenly,
the clouds parted and she realized
what she had been following.
She saw it there in the distance
like a house with wings and
a candle burning in every window.
Her heart. So, of course,
she had to enter.
Once you follow your heart,
and then find it,
you must open the door…

– Monique Duval

AFFIRMATION: As I befriend fear, my heart opens to embrace all of life in new and beautiful ways.

THROAT CHAKRA: Seat of truth, authenticity and expression of our life purpose.

QUOTE: The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are. – Carl Jung

AFFIRMATION: As I befriend fear, my life becomes a more authentic expression of who I AM.

THIRD EYE CHAKRA: Seat of intuition, clarity and perception.

QUOTE: There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen. – Rumi

AFFIRMATION: When I befriend fear, my debilitating thought patterns release their grip and usher in a sense of clarity and calm.

CROWN CHAKRA: Seat of knowing ourselves as divine, eternal Beings, always guided.

QUOTE: We have come into this exquisite world to experience ever and ever more deeply our divine courage, freedom and light. – Hafiz

AFFIRMATION: As I befriend fear, I am able to more fully embrace my eternal nature and the Guidance always available to me.


QUOTE: If you surrender to uncertainty, nothing goes wrong. – Deepak

AFFIRMATION: As I befriend fear, my stress subsides, ushering in feelings of deep gratitude and peace.

May these quotes and affirmations help you to learn from any fear you are experiencing and transmute it into
peace and renewal.


I have a proposition for you. Finish reading just this sentence and then pause.

OK. Did you pause?

Now check in. Is your brow furrowed? Is your jaw tense? Are your shoulders hunched? Are your fists clenched? If any (some or even ALL) of those physical tendencies are active, it’s time for some generous self- compassion.

Begin by breathing. REALLY breathing. Close your eyes if that helps you slow down. You can continue reading (if you choose) after a couple of deep inhales and full exhales.

Now find one word that resonates with you, that supports a letting go.
Perhaps PEACE. Or SURRENDER. Or GRACE. Choose a word that encourages you to pause and just BE. And then tuck it into your heart for safe keeping, where it will grow and flourish and call you back to your natural state of balance and ease, bringing you home to YOU.

One word. In this moment. A simple companion reminding you that you are complete and worthy of a life of joy each and every moment of this earth journey.

“This too shall pass.” Growing up I can still remember these words shared by my Grandma, said in reference to some current life upheaval. My mom echoed this sentiment often in her own life as well. It typically related to times that were painful and difficult, suggesting that an end and a turning point would come to relieve the turmoil.

But now I know it refers to ALL life occurrences, the challenging as well as the joyous. And it’s in that acceptance and ‘knowing’ that true freedom comes.

This idea is beautifully mirrored in a quote from the Buddhist author and teacher, Andrew Holecek in his book, “The Power and the Pain”:

Imagine that we are driving after a rainstorm and see a brilliant rainbow. We stop to admire the vision, and as we gaze in wonder it doesn’t even cross our mind to try to grab the rainbow. We don’t think about taking it home, pushing it away, or trying to buy it. We just appreciate the play of light and space, and the fleeting nature of the appearance makes it that much more precious… Imagine how our relationship with the world would change if we realized it is all made of rainbows.
– Andrew Holecek

Every experience, the trying as well as the magnificent, adds up to the magical gift of being alive. Now.

My wish for you: An endless flow of rainbow experiences that fill your always expanding heart.


This journey through the chakras my yogis and I are returning to a theme we have visited often in the past and one that I believe deserves to be tuned into at every opportunity – and that is gratitude. Thankful for not only the beauty and gifts of our lives, but also for the more trying moments and challenges that are often the building blocks to becoming truly open and heart-centered on this amazing earth trip we find ourselves experiencing.

So last week we embraced gratitude from the perspective of Muladhara, our root chakra. This is our seat of stability, security and earth connection. We opened with a beautiful quote from Rumi:

Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life. – Rumi

Again, we find balance in this energy field when we are feeling stable and secure and these feelings relate to more that just physical security; it’s truly a sense of belonging, a moment by moment trust that we are supported on our path and therefore not holding on too tightly.

I know for myself that I often forget to surrender my weight to gravity. Whether walking, sitting or even lying in bed, there is often a sense (usually subconscious) that I need to ‘hold myself up.’ Now when I realize I am doing this, it’s a chance to breathe, to let go and to allow the support of the earth to carry me. (This is why I often remind all of us in class in various yoga poses to surrender your weight to the earth.)

Even now – let’s check in- are you clenching anywhere? Jaw? Shoulders? Buttocks? (that’s a real important one… unclench!) Let it all go – but in an upright and aware manner. It’s amazing what opens up when we do this. Energy FLOWS unencumbered. Channels open. We are think more clearly, react more positively to things that might have shaken us, we love more deeply – self and others – from this place of BALANCE and support.

What I have been doing at various intervals throughout the day is just saying to myself, “State check.” Where Am I? Am I HOLDING on too tightly? Ahhhh… breathe and let go. Feels SO good.

That is my goal for us from here on out: A grateful, cognizant, free-flowing sense of balance and stability, that lights our path and lightens our load.

Wear Gratitude Like a Cloak... Rumi

Wear Gratitude Like a Cloak… Rumi


It’s just over seven weeks now since Bianco Nove went home. I thought it was only proper that this blog was first shared on October 4th, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi (Francesco). He has been a prominent ‘mentor’ in my life given his love of animals and tender ability to communicate and become ‘one’ with them. Growing up Catholic, I even took his name at confirmation. (The only girl in my class to take a male name. Guess the rebel was in me from an early age. haha)

Instilled with the respect and yearning to care for what part of the animal kingdom that I could, I realized early on the healing power they shared, the development and nurturing of a heart connection. This has resulted in the adoption of a little girl named ‘Sukanya’ (beautiful  girl’ in Sanskrit.) Knowing we never replace a dear animal family member, I do also know that opening my heart and home to one in need is perhaps the perfect solution to easing the pain of the loss.

While I know nothing of her beginnings, I do know that Sukanya came into my life from an anything but optimal situation. She was found outside a shelter in Los Angeles in near 100 degree heat, abandoned in a carrier, pregnant and about to give birth. The shelter was full and going to euthanize her. There she was discovered by a cool rescue group out of Ferndale, Washington called ‘The Main Street Mutt Gals’ – yes, a doggy rescue. Their van was down south picking up abandoned dogs, bringing them back to find homes when they ‘met’ Sukanya and she joined the canines for a trip north. She was then taken in by a foster mom where two days later she gave birth to 5 kittens.

Knowing that adopting another kitty would be balm for my grief in the loss of Snow Lion, a random search of the internet brought her to my attention. And the rest was history.

She is now in the process of making herself at home. Apparently living with a dog had not been a part of her ‘past life’ because she was originally terrified of Nanda, my rescue golden. He would look at her with total confusion not understanding why in the heck she would be so mean to him. Over the days there has been a bit of mellowing in her behavior, but he has had to put up with several unprovoked swipes of the paw. Now it’s looking more like a power play on her part than fear. Hence, the addition of a squirt gun to our home. (No one hurts my boy.) 😉


So while the grief is still just below the surface, the healing is taking place. And our newly modified trio celebrates each day and each moment with
an angel kitty watching over us.

“Not to hurt our humble brethren is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission — to be of service to them wherever they require it.”

-St. Francis of Assisi


Recently I said goodbye to Bella. Bella is/was my 20 year old burgundy Toyota Rav4. Some may find it odd or even a little silly to be saddened at saying farewell to a car. But as I thought about the sadness, it occurred to me the many reasons why ‘letting go’ of her was an emotional event.

In 1996 I purchased her when I was living in Nashville, Tennessee and in 2001 she made the move with me to Birch Bay, Washington. During those two decades, she was privy to many a life event, often joyful, some scary and others heart-wrenching. She was there when I lowered the windows, playing favorite tunes singing at the top of my lungs. She was there when I closed all the windows and either screamed or swore in frustration. She was there when loss entered my life and I cried my eyes out. She was there during many journeys carrying several of my past canine companions (at one point three at once) as well as my most recent sidekick, Bailey Nanda. She was there during travels with some of my closest friends, offering us a haven to share our deepest dreams, concerns and triumphs.

So yes. I am sad. Her successor is a very good-looking 2015 Kia Soul who, being her brother, is christened with the name ‘Bello.’ (Male version of Bella. Not sure how I know he is a boy but it felt right.) When I was about to leave her at the dealership in Everett, tears in my eyes, I asked the salesman if any of his other clients had cried when they said goodbye to their cars. He had a twinkle in his eye as he replied, “Maybe one or two.” (Somehow I think there may be many others who will relate to this story.)

As I pondered what I wanted to say in this blog, a poem that I wrote way back at the tender age of 19 sprang to mind. I was considering leaving college to go travel and had some big decisions to make. It was a time of letting go at that early point in my life as well. The words to the poem seem now quite timeless to me. No matter our age, our situation or our evolving path, it seems we all celebrate, mourn and experience very similar life emotions.


Standing At Midstream

standing at midstream…
looking back, looking ahead-
wondering why, and then why not…

smiling at memories, aching at losses.

hoping for more time to live,
more strength to love,
more will to conquer
all that crosses my path.

needing someone near,
finding them.
needing to be needed,
being there.

breathing deep to clear my head…
phrases, conversations, bits and pieces
of long ago and yesterday
flitting through my mind.

hello’s, goodbye’s,
intermittent moments shared with friends.

goals accomplished,
others discarded…
new aims to be molded and strived for.

a whirlpool of endings,
a collage of beginnings…
flow on,
flow on.

– Maureen
© sage butterfly

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.

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.


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.


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

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.