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“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


How do you describe what I believe to have been (at least partly) a Turkish Angora cat? These traits include: “Intelligent and companionable, loves attention, loud and talkative, keeps his kitten-like playfulness well until his old age, is friendly towards guests and a sociable breed. A bored Turkish Angora can cause a lot of mischief. He is affectionate and always ready to help and participate in all your activities.”

Bianco Nove came into my home in August of 2007 and though he was ‘greeted’ by 3 other cats and 2 dogs, he quickly assigned himself to be in charge. While my orange tabbies just basically ignored him, my elderly silver tabby, Simba (Pim) was often the recipient of his mischievous behavior. In her final years (she lived to 20), he would still chase her through the house on a rampage. She, though, gave it right back to him. “Outa my face, you…” (fill in the blank)

My golden retriever, Bo, was only a year older and he established a very close relationship with him that lasted until my dear golden left this earth. (He did tell Bo what to do on occasion, but being a generally laid back chap, his older brother took it all in stride.) When Bo became very ill in spring of 2016, he actually held vigil by his bed until his passing.

It was a strange time then for both of us, after being in a home with an additional three cats and two dogs, to be the only Beings wandering through what felt like a very empty house. That was about to change when only 5 weeks later, a beautiful rescue golden named ‘Bailey’ (who I call Nanda – means bliss) through very auspicious means came to join us.

Snow Lion developed an immediate connection with Nanda and I think I physically heard him breathe a sigh of relief.

My two furry family members then supported me through the sale of my long-time home and move into a condo. I was disappointed that he wouldn’t have his fenced-in kitty yard to play in and lounge in the sun, but Mom bought him a little kitty condo for the patio that would have to suffice.

Not long after our relocation, his health began to decline. He was diagnosed with IBD (irritable bowel disease) and then with liver imbalances. Over the last year of his life, he was the most amazing trooper. Through multiple trips to vet, he would rally and let me know he was still intent on being here. The last few weeks, though, the decline became more evident. Though he still perked up, it was less frequently and shorter lived.

And so, today, August 14, 2018, my little Snow Lion went home. It’s never something one gets ‘used to’, despite the number of furry companions that grace our lives. The simultaneous emptiness and heavy heart battle for dominion. It brings to mind words of a poem I wrote when I lost my first golden retriever, Chica 19 years ago:

I cried
til there was nothing left to cry.
And now all that’s left
is a gaping
hole in my heart.
How can a hole
weigh a million pounds?

I honor you, my little Snow Lion. I will feel you at my feet, on my lap, on my bed and forever in my heart.

May 28, 2007 – August 14, 2018


P.S. A huge thank you to my partner, Tim, who was a shoulder through this entire process of change and loss.


We can carry tension in several areas of the body, some more prevalent than others, including the shoulders, the back and for many of us, the jaw. (I happen to be one of ‘those’.)

Having worked with the chakra system (energy centers in our body) for well over ten years now, I have recognized the correlation between emotional, physical and energetic imbalances.

The jaw region relates to Vissuddha, the throat chakra – our seat of self-expression authenticity and truth. Tightness in this area can have many underlying causes: frustration, grief, and fear to name a few. These emotions can be broken down yet again to address deeper issues. For example, if you are holding back from sharing information with someone because you either fear hurting their feelings or you yourself fear the backlash, we can hold this tightness in the jaw.

If you are going through a period of loss in your life (or anticipation of loss) – whether of a loved one, a home, or even a job, this is another key stimulus for aching jaws.

So what to do to relieve the pain? Of course addressing (or at least acknowledging) the emotional component is key in the process of release. There are also acupressure points that can help alleviate the pressure. (Most specifically, “Jaw Chariot” – Stomach 6 point.)ram-ham-yam1

What I would like to suggest to you today though is a very noteworthy practice to consider. As a sound therapist, I have long encouraged the use of toning, chanting and affirmations as a means to achieving healing and balance, particularly the Sanskrit Seed sounds relating to each of the chakras.

These sounds are ‘infused’ with thousands of years of energy meaning when we tone them we are immediately tapping into the healing potential associated with eons of previous chanting. The sounds are as follows:

ROOT CHAKRA – LAM (Stability)
SACRAL CHAKRA – VAM (Creativity/Flow/Release of Fear)
SOLAR PLEXUS CHAKRA – RAM (Courage/Confidence/Digestion of all things Incoming)
HEART CHAKRA – YAM (Compassion/Love/Forgiveness/Non-judgment)
THROAT CHAKRA – HAM (Authenticity/Self-Expression/Truth)
THIRD EYE CHAKRA – OM (Clarity/Focus/Intuition)
CROWN CHAKRA – SILENCE (One with All/ Consciousness)

(All ‘-AM’ sounds pronounced as “-UM” e.g. LAM sounds like LUM.)
Now whether you buy into the energetic component of chanting or not, when dealing with pain in the jaw the very practice of toning a sound that incorporates “MMM” sound will cause a vibrational repercussion in this area. This vibration stimulates a relaxation response that I have found capable of at least temporarily alleviating the pain and the tension.

So one could leave it at that. Chant OM or YAM or even just hum and be done with it. BUT I want to add one more piece to the process. I created (and wrote an entire book) on the theory of what I call “Chakra Play.” In Chakra Play we marry up more than one energy field to address emotional or physical imbalances.

Let’s return to the above-mentioned example. You are feeling frustrated because you need to share some information with a friend or loved one (or even an acquaintance) and are fearful of the response this may bring. You don’t want to hurt anyone but you also know that the status quo is no longer manageable.

I would suggest to you toning the following three Sanskrit Seed sounds in succession, for a total of nine rounds.
RAM (build your confidence)
YAM (do this with compassion for self and whoever else is involved)
HAM (open the lines of communication/ free up throat chakra)

(Each of these sounds also has particular hand motions that also go along with them. For a much more in-depth look at chakras and chakra play, please visit my webpage

I encourage you to give this chanting a try if you are suffering with pain in your jaw and the potential headaches that can also come about from holding the stress. Below also find a recording of the chakra play I have detailed above.

Let me know how it goes for you!! Here’s to an authentic, stress-free life and our part in bringing this about.


I recently read an article that has had such an amazing impact on my overall approach to life that I had to share the message. It was all about letting go of complaining, starting each day with a firm persuasion to remain calm and neutral even in the face of great adversity.

Now I don’t normally consider myself a huge grumbler. Yes, there are times when the energy can run a little amok and I find myself a bit more verbose than others. Take for instance my recent reaction when folks asked me about my 4th of July ‘adventure’. My response: “AHHHHHH!!!!” I would ramble on about being horror-stricken by the incessant war-zone atmosphere that pervaded the entire Birch Bay beach area (where I now live) – so loud that the walls shook and windows rattled. I would mention being grateful that my cat is deaf and my golden retriever, Nanda, was drugged. I, on the other hand, suffered through…

Before I continue with the sharing of how this wonderful practice can usher in great inner peace, let me preface it with how I would NOW respond since implementing this ‘tool’:

How was your 4th of July? “Well, it was pretty loud. And If I find myself still living in Birch Bay next year, I will opt to go somewhere else for the night.” Done. Period.

So this is what I have learned. No matter the circumstance, complaining or carrying on about it in no way makes the situation easier to handle. On the contrary. It exacerbates it. Life is full of ups and downs. I now make a pact with myself each morning to NOT COMPLAIN. Even the very act of doing this brings me the most amazing sense of peace. It ushers in a slower breath pattern. It calms the heart. It empowers me to fully understand that it is ALWAYS up to me how I react in any given situation.

I am on day five of this ‘experiment’ and it is working beautifully. Red light? Just breathe. Twenty minute long train? Chance to meditate. Someone attempts to engage me in a pity party or anger session? I choose not to participate.

I invite you to give this a go. Be aware of what’s going on inside of you and around you. If you catch snatches of conversations in your environment (without being an eavesdropper) just get a sense of the quality of the exchange. So much of our ‘communication’ is caught up in negativity, blame and divisiveness. It really is totally up to us whether we walk a path of peace regarding both our internal self-talk as well as the banter going on around us. We can choose to remove ourselves from either scenario.

Making the effort to embrace the positive and relinquish the negative will escalate the experience of joy in your life in ways you may not even expect. So my invitation to you is just that… Go from grumbling to gratitude whenever possible and invite joy into your life by letting go of complaining.

Peace is an inside job.peaceisaninsidejob

Ahhhh… Stillness.

Each morning when we wake life offers us a blank canvas. Regardless of what’s happened in the past, we have a moment by moment opportunity to allow the colors of this day to emerge.

When we come from a place of loving-kindness both for ourselves and others, the unfolding will be a much more eloquent one. It doesn’t mean there won’t be twists and turns that may momentarily grip us but a heart-centered base will ensure that, regardless of the outer cacophony, the inner landscape will remain peaceful and profound.

From this place of inner peace, may we dip our brush into the wells of love, joy and equanimity, painting an evolving portrait of this miracle we call life.

Ahhh…. Stillness. This is what meditation teaches me. May this gift be a part of your life as well.



You know when something that you already ‘know’ sinks in at a deeper level and you get it from a core place within you? Well this is happening to me all around the words, “YOUR THOUGHTS ARE POWERFUL.”I was listening to a beautiful guided meditation that ended with these words when this happened.

I think we can all relate to times when we have entered a room and though no one was speaking a total feeling of dread or unease comes over us. Or in another situation, unbridled joy for no seeming reason at all.

As beings of energy, every thought we think, every word we utter does not remained contained in some bubble. This energy is communicated to the world around us. I was pondering the meaning of all this as I walked Bailey Nanda, my golden retriever, along the beach the other morning. And I asked myself, what am I sending out to the world… Daggers or flowers? It’s sometimes easy when experiencing some unrest in our lives to allow it to overtake our thought patterns often in an endless downward spiral. BUT when we become aware of the repercussions, it does indeed get easier to question if that is the direction we want to go – not only out of personal reasons, but to be shall we call it, environmentally correct? Littering goes far beyond ‘physical garbage.’

And so I find that I am now a much more dedicated steward of thought. If it doesn’t serve me or the world at large, let it go. Find, rather, one of the myriad reasons I have to be grateful and share that. Years ago when I was living in Nashville, I ran a song writer’s night at a local venue. One older gentleman named Joe who was a regular participant sat on stage one evening and played a song I will never forget. It was entitled, “The City of Contentment is in the State of Mind.”

Profound, dear Joe. Share Flowers. No daggers.



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

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.)