Saturday, January 11, 2014


Finding space and time for meditation can be a challenge in our busy world.  In addition, we tend to think that we need a place like thisthis or this.

However, as wonderful as it may be to be in those places – it is our intention that creates what we need.  I have friends who have prayer shawls that they wrap around them and that is enough.  Or a special chair to sit in, or a favorite candle. 

You can make a meditation space as simple as you like.  As you are starting the more simple the better. 
It may be making time that is harder – but really 20 minutes a day is not so hard to carve out – especially when you have already started with 5 minutes – and then 10… waking up a few minutes early to sit and breathe can literally change your whole day.

Blessings on your journey.

Friday, January 10, 2014


I found this draft of a post the other day that I actually had started a few years ago...

"My sister will tell you that she always counted on me to be the brave one - the daring sister who would try things out first and make sure they were safe (if I didn't break something then maybe - maybe she would try it).  Well, I have broken a number of bones in my life . . . some may say that has to do with me being a bit of a klutz - and although I learned a lot from my brokenness for a long time I believed that I should stop doing "dangerous" things.  I believed that I just didn't have the athletic ability."

I realized that I let myself believe in those times that this physical ability transferred over to other  parts of my life - I stopped doing and trying new things.  I stopped swimming in the ocean, I stopped talking to people when I went for long walks, I stopped writing on a regular basis...

In the past week I recognized that being brave has been a part of my DNA - I was the brave one growing up.  I was always trying new things, meeting new people, inviting others along.  I was trusting of my intuition and of others around me.

So it came to me that this word for the 2014 is not so much about discovering - but uncovering, (maybe even re-defining) what it is to be brave;  as a mom, wife, sister, friend, healer, pastor...

Are there characteristics of your past that your would like to uncover or reclaim?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Writing Connections

Over the Christmas season it is customary to write and receive a lot of mail; Letters and card from family and friends telling you about how the past year has gone and what they are currently “up to”.  How wonderful to be able to be connected in that way.

Now that the season is past it tends to get harder to write letters, but maybe this is a great time to send just a few personal notes.  It can be a good practice for the month/year.  These are not the notes that go out to everyone, but the notes that allow us to remember why we stay connected to certain family and friends Each letter is unique, and it's contents depend upon the recipient and what's going on in your life

The following are some prompts/thoughts that may help you get started…

1 – make a list of values that are important to you that you may share with the person you are writing to.  Did you learn these values from them?  How do you see these values play out in your life or theirs?

2 – has this person been a part of any major life accomplishments?  How has that important to you?

3 – Is there anything this person has done/seen in their lifetime that you would like to learn about?  Are there questions that you could ask about that event?

4 – Are there resolutions or goals that you have over the next year that you would like this person to be a part of?  How do you see that happening

Just as a side note - you do not have to use all (or any) these prompts.  These are simply a few thoughts to get you started.  If you have some time – I would suggest sitting down for 10-20 minutes just to brain storm and get some thoughts on paper before you even start to write the letter. 

It is a true gift to receive a letter like this – (as well as being able to write one) - If you would like to make this practice more of a ritual (or more sacred) check out my next post on the Ritual of Writing.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Notes on Meditation

For those who are beginners (or even have a regular practice) it can be difficult to get into the quiet of meditation.  To let your mind actually be quiet.  Remember it is a practice, like learning to play an instrument, or a sport.

The basics of meditation are breathing and silence.  Learning to quiet your mind takes time, but we all know how to breathe, so focusing on your breath or a mantra is awesome.

This week we can start with breathing. Week 2 I will write some tips on space and place. Week 3 I will send tips on mantras and getting rid of "monkey mind" (quieting all those voices and to do lists). Week 4 will be tips on before and after meditation...(how to deepen your practice)

So to start out:
There are 2 techniques that I think are helpful in calming your body and mind.
The first is to simply focus on your breath.  Notice where your breath goes when it enters your body.  Notice if you pause at the end of an inhale of breath or at the end of exhale.  Do not consciously change your breathing, just notice.  Is the breath shallow or full?  Is your inhale longer than your exhale?  Just notice.  Likely your breathing will change.  This kind of practice will help you at other times of the day to notice your breath and gauge what it is telling you about stress, emotions and time.

The second technique is breath length and patterns.  As you sit, take a deep breath in through your nose for a count of 4. Hold for a count of 4 and then breath out through your mouth like you are blowing through a straw for a count of 8.  The practice may seem awkward at first, give it time, try it for 5-10 minutes.  You may want to change the count so it feels better, just remember it is a 1:1:2 ratio.

Peace to your practice.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Brave and Wise

It's not an easy task to listen for words that may help to define us.  It takes some practice in listening and discerning.  and then there is a certain amount of letting go of control.  

I was pretty sure that I wanted my words for the next year to be something like abundance and happiness - and maybe it will end up that way - but what came to me was a little different.

This year on Christmas morning I found myself in a store in the Sun Country terminal at LAX - waiting (for 2 hours) for a flight to MN for our Christmas break.  We had decided it would be better to be extra early than stress about traffic.  So to pass the time I was browsing in the store and looking for a comb for my daughter who has some of the most strong-willed hair of anyone I know.  

As I walked up to the register a little old chinese lady hurried behind the counter and greeted me with a kind smile and a "Merry Christmas", which at first caught me a little off guard, since I just didn't expect it (even on Christmas Day).  

I replied with a smile and a "Merry Christmas to you". 

Her eyes twinkled at me as she said joyfully "and a happy New Year"

Again - I was not ready for that.  I must have needed coffee. I responded with a smile, "and Happy New Year to you, too."  I got ready to give her my card...

But she was not finished - she looked my right in the eye and said "And be Brave, and Wise"

Who says things like that, I thought to myself, while at the same time thinking she must be very intuitive..."Thank you - those are good words"

Then very purposefully she said - "Not enough girls are brave and wise - and I think you could be brave and wise - I think more of us need to be."

I am sure there were a few tears that came to my eyes - she was so earnest in her words and I was moved that she would bless me with these words.  I responded as best I could - "Thank you, that was an amazing blessing.  YOU are a blessing." I said as I gently touched her arm - then I smiled and left.

I have now had a few days to savor these words - as I spend time with my "tribe of origin".  I am honored that these are the ones that have come to me.  I am looking forward to looking for ways they will play out in my life.

In the meantime I am shaping the new year around goals and activities that will help me live into being Brave and Wise (and quite frankly that alone feels a little brave and a little wise).

What are things that you would define or Brave or Wise?