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On a recent shopping trip to Haggen Market in Ferndale, Washington, my partner Tim and I did our usual routine – he goes one way to do his shopping, I go my own way to do mine and we meet up beyond the registers to await one another when complete.

This particular day I had a number of things on my list, including several items from the bulk food section. As I headed for check out the lines were quite long and I was pondering which one to join when a store employee tapped me and guided me to use the ‘Express Lane’ (9 items or less) since it was open. I pointed to my cart and though it was obvious, mentioned that I had many more items than that. She just nodded and said, “I know. No problem. Head on over.”

So against my better judgment (I tend to be quite rule conscious at least in these type situations), I went to this aisle. A gentleman was just finishing paying and I was next. Just then another man walked up behind me carrying only his lunch. I asked if he would like to go in front of me and he said no. Feeling quite out of place now, I just did my best to breathe and remember, “SHE told me to get into this line. And she WORKS HERE.” I did explain this to the cashier when she eyed my cart, and she just smiled and shrugged her shoulders as if to say, “Well, whatever.” Now as she began ringing things up, including WEIGHING the bulk items, the line had now morphed into at least five folks waiting, all with just 2 or 3 things to buy. I SO wanted to run up and down the line and screaming, “THEY TOLD ME TO STAND HERE!!”

Now… it gets even better. In my attempt to overcome my discomfort, I began to chat. With the cashier, the man behind me, etc etc. Just about now, Tim was on his way to another check out line and noticed a woman in the express aisle who appeared to have way too many items for this line. (He only saw the top of my head and didn’t yet know it was me.) Thinking to himself, “Well how rude. Can’t she see this is for a quick check out? Guess the world revolves around HER.” THEN he noticed it was ME!! And was quite taken aback. “Wow,’ thought he, “I’m really surprised she would do that.”

OK. Now. Finally. All checked out and paid up and meeting up with Tim. He kind of looked at me funny and while I noticed that, I was MUCH too anxious to explain to him what JUST HAPPENED TO ME. Total discomfort and embarrassment.

After sharing my experience, we just looked at each other and burst out laughing!!! Relief on my part that I was finally out of there… Relief on his part that his partner wasn’t capable of such blatantly rude behavior.

SO. Next time you witness what you BELIEVE to be the truth of a situation, stop, take a breath, and remember, things aren’t ALWAYS as they appear to be.

(And next time someone offers me the ‘gift’ of standing in an express lane with my full cart, I will politely decline.)

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

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

Ahhhh-choo!!

GRRRRR…

Owwww….

These are a few of the sounds you may be making as we move into Spring.  In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) this is the season of the Liver.  If you are experiencing any of the issues below, though they can occur at any time of year, they may be more pronounced as we move into this time frame.

Headaches/ body aches and pains:  In TCM language, we would call this STAGNATION SYMPTOMS – pain that feels like pressure, tightness or restriction.

Muscle Stiffness: The Liver and its associated system, the Gallbladder (the Yin and the Yang) bring nourishment to the body’s connective tissue including tendons, muscles and ligaments. If you are feeling more tension and tightness this is often believed to be arthritic symtoms when it could well be a sign of Liver imbalance. These feelings may feel exaggerated as we move into spring.

Feelings of anger: This is the emotion associated with the Liver – and while occasional bouts of anger are to be expected – kind of like a release valve- more frequent outbursts can suggest that the Liver is overtaxed.

Irritation/Frustration: These two emotions are associated Gallbladder imbalances and go hand-in-hand with the physical stagnation that can take place causing a feeling of ‘stuck-ness.’ You may feel yourself clenching your jaws more than normal, stiffness in the shoulder muscles, etc.

Feelings of anger: This is the emotion associated with the Liver – and while occasional bouts of anger are to be expected – kind of like a release valve-  more frequent outbursts can suggest that the Liver is overtaxed.  The Gallbladder kicks in with the feelings of frustration.

Digestive upsets: For our digestive system to run smoothly, the Liver needs to maintain a balanced flow and consistent movement throughout the body. Add to this the brain-gut connection and if you are more more stressed out than usual, the digestive function takes a hit as well.  KEY HERE:  Don’t eat when you are angry or upset – turn OFF the TV (especially if you are watching the news).

Vision/Eye imbalances:  The sense organ relating to the Liver is the eyes.  Any issue here is typically attributed at least in part to a Liver imbalance. This includes poor vision as well as eye pain and fatigue and dry eyes.

Acupressure can come to the rescue in many of these imbalances. There are two key points that can be used to address  many of the issues listed above. They are LV (Liver) 3 and LI (Large Intestine) 4 and are referred to as the ‘Four Gates’.

LV (LIVER) 3:  located on foot between first and second toes in front of bone convergence. This is the source point of the Liver meridian – like a ‘hub’ – where primordial qi (source of life) from particular organs gathers to be distributed throughout the rest of the body.  This is a ‘go-to’ point any time of year to release stagnation throughout the body and because of it’s connection with spring, even more so now. Press often and firmly.:)

LI (LARGE INTESTINE ) 4: located in the webbing between the thumb and index finger, with pressure slightly up underneath bone of index finger. (Do not use when pregnant – can induce labor.)This point is helpful for allergies, headaches, hay fever, and general pain in upper body.

daisy-ladybug

Some other tips for a healthy Liver:

* Consider a cleanse (check with your doctor) or at least add sipping lemon water to your schedule every morning and even throughout the day.  Lemon helps to not only cleanse our system and remove toxins, it also alkalizes the body, a key component of good health.

* Limit intake of unhealthy fats as this puts a lot of stress on both the liver and the gallbladder.

* Increase consumption of fresh leafy greens, fruits and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage) – and organic whenever possible.  Also fruits that are high in fiber such as apples and pears.

* Dandelion tea would also be a nice addition as it helps to detox the body and promote bile production.

* STRETCH & BREATHE!! Consider practicing yoga & meditation to release pent up anger and frustration. (Click here for class schedule or to learn more about sage butterfly yoga.) Also, get out in the fresh air and nature daily even for a few minutes to ground and refresh your spirit.

* Do your best to not SIT too much. This not only affects our digestive system, but also our lymph system.  If you are in a desk job and/or have a long commute or many hours in your car, schedule some time every hour to stand up and move around. This is absolutely essential for the health of our whole being – not just the liver.

****  And lastly, and perhaps most importantly (in any season), stop long enough several times a day to notice the miracles within and around you – everything from the blossoming of the trees (and your ability to see them), to the sound of the birds singing (and your ability to hear them) and your heart beating and connecting you to this amazing gift of Life.  Now. And now. And now…

Chakra Balancing Meditation to Release Feelings of Anger

We can hold anger in any of our energy fields for various reasons, for instance, in our throat chakra if we feel unheard or stuck as far as self-expression. Or in our heart chakra if we are having a difficult time either giving or receiving love. Each of the fields can become blocked due to these emotional states. This meditation will help to alleviate the stagnation and invite in a free flow of energy from root to crown.

Chakra Balancing to Release Anger

guru-allchakras

Recently in yoga we were focusing on ‘Ajna’ – the third eye chakra, our seat of perception and command located back behind our physical eyes.

When there is a disconnect between our heart and our third eye, it is like driving around with a broken GPS. You may be moving, but without direction. As we celebrate the day/month that has come to represent love, my wish for you is radiant communion between your heart and your inner ‘GPS.’

And for those times that you feel you are floating around in a void or fog of confusion, here is a poem that may jumpstart the focus of the journey.

Spirit,

Take me beyond – wildly beyond –

my out-dated, antiquated patterns

of thinking and being…

even beyond concepts genuinely believed

to be original and expansive.

Take me to new, untrodden paths

and ways of envisioning.

Allow my journey

to be one of moment by moment

serendipitous unfoldings,

eloquently propelling me out

of my comfort zone

and hamster-wheel paradigm

Into the unexplored.

– Maureen

beach