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.

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

My dear Bo – 6/29/06-9/11/16


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?”





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.


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


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.


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


power of spirit

I believe that freedom is a right that belongs to all Beings on this planet (and beyond for that matter).  If you live in a geographical location where you are able to voice your opinions, come and go as you choose and for the most part, follow the path that speaks to you, it is indeed a blessing.

But even these gifts can be negated if the freedom we are choosing does not stem from within.  We often find ourselves in prisons of our own making, most often due to fear:

What will people think? What if I run out of money? What if I am too old/too young/too fat/too thin, etc?  You get the picture.

I liken it to being on a journey with a backpack.  Your pack is filled to brimming with all the tools and nicknacks necessary for your trip.  Sometimes you remove something and lighten it up. But mostly you either add to it or at least replace what has been left behind.  The weight, while exhausting, is appearing to ground you, though not in stability, more in ‘stuckness.’

My advice (which I don’t take lightly and am very much interested in adhering to myself) is TAKE OFF THE PACK.  Much of what we ‘carry’ in this bag are those emotions that are holding us back (the fear, the frustration, the grief) – emotions that have not been acknowledged or fully processed and therefore have made a home in the nooks and crannies of our baggage (and heart.)

So you may need to start small.  Take a few things out and don’t replace them. Breathe deeply into the space you have created.  Allow yourself to gently begin releasing what is stale, stagnant, and done. Eventually, you won’t need the pack at all.  Ahhh… the ‘incredible lightness of Being.”

Here is an acronym to inspire you on this journey of release:

F – Fully

R – Realize

E- the Ecstasy

E – of Emptiness

Fully Realize the Ecstasy of Emptiness.

And, not to introduce a paradox here, but this ’emptiness’ is of course, not really ’empty.’  When approached from a heart-centered, grateful place,  It is a ‘magical void’ that through it’s very nature invites a constant flow of synchronicity, serendipity and courage to live your life to the fullest.

One of the mantras that I frequently use and also share in my meditation and yoga classes is “MOKSHA”.   This translates into ’emotional freedom’   I will share here a short meditation where we will add in the word “AHAM” –  I AM:   Aham Moksha – I am emotionally free.

This state of liberation awaits you.

Aham Moksha


I was daydreaming about Christmases past and my reverie took me way back to 5 years of age, living in a town called El Cerrito in California (outside of SF) in a small home along with my mom, dad and two older brothers.

Money was a little tight those days and we had a special Christmas tradition.  On Christmas Eve we would open a few smaller gifts, some whimsical, some not quite as ‘fun’ but seen as necessities (socks, underwear, etc.)  But it was all wonderful just the same because of the holiday magic.

AND THEN there was Christmas morning.  Santa would come in the night bearing the ‘big gift’ – something he knew each of us was praying to receive.  And quite miraculously, this present would find it’s way to the end of our beds where we would discover it upon awakening.

Well, this particular year when I was 5, I remember going to bed in a state of brilliant anticipation.  And when I woke early that next morning, I peeked out from the covers to find what Santa had delivered… and much to my disappointment, saw nothing there.  Simultaneously I heard both of my brothers exclaiming with glee over the surprises found at the end of their own beds.  Not wanting to cry, I got up and prepared myself to walk out into the living room where everyone had gathered around the tree, rather martyr-like in my decision to just pretend, “It doesn’t matter. I’ve been ceremoniously abandoned here, but I will survive.” (THAT kind of wounded but stoic entrance…)

When much to my complete astonishment (and embarrassment) I found all of my family staring at me, wide-eyed, as I laid eyes on a big, blue bicycle.  I had recently outgrown the tricycle and pleaded nonstop to have a bike like my brothers… and here it was.  Mom said, “Santa couldn’t fit this at the end of your bed, Sweetie. So he had to leave it next to the tree!”

Talk about a complete U-turn in emotions!!  Then the funny thing was, not being able to afford a brand new bike, this was a used one (albeit in very good condition)and about 2 sizes too big for me.:)  But that didn’t matter.  It didn’t take long for my body to catch up and this two-wheeler remained with me for many years and many miles.

Remembering all of this brought some tears and some laughs.  It reminded me of how fixated we can become on what we think we ‘need’. It teaches me that sometimes these gifts can come in packages that we don’t quite expect or that sometimes while they might not seem to fit, they are actually the perfect size.

On that note, I wish you the biggest gift of all.  May you feel the love that surrounds you and fills you in every moment of every day.  May you share this tenderness and compassion with others and so feel its exponential effects.  And may the peace that comes from this love be a balm to Mother Earth and all of her inhabitants as we move into 2016, hearts open, and ready for a world at peace.

Blessings and Namasté.