I didn’t care that I’d have to sit on the floor for months!


It’s 2001.

I’ve just bought my first quaint place in the flatlands of Berkeley. It’s 850 square feet and I need to furnish it. First and foremost, I need a couch and a bed. But my heart wants something else. It needs art for the walls. Something that will speak to my soul.

My first purchase for my new little home was a large, wooden Lotus that was carved out of beautiful wood and made in Thailand. Yes, that was what I needed. I didn’t care that I would have to sit on the floor for months.

That lotus flower was the thing for my soul.

You see, I’d entered a whole new period of my journey. I was becoming a yoga teacher. I’d just done my first yoga teacher training and had entered a second one. Yoga was my life at that time. I was using it to rehab myself after a major car accident I’d been in just a couple of years prior.


The Lotus Flower represented the calm I was cultivating within myself. It’s blushing pink beauty grows out of dark, swampy, mucky places and then dazzles the world. It was a great reminder that our own blazing light can only shine brightly if we own the shadow sides of ourselves.

I bought that heavy wooden lotus, hung it in my house and looked at it every day as a reminder of what was growing within me – calm, the ability to integrate my shadow, my own inner beauty, stability, and much more.

One might say we don’t “need” art because we can’t eat it, sleep in it, wear it (most art) or drive it. There is little “practical” use for art and yet, when we live life as a journey to open the soul, art and ritual objects become the most important things in our collection.

As the years have passed, I’ve collected pieces of art here and there. Each piece represents a time and place in my life and reminds me of my journey. When I can’t stop thinking about an art piece, it’s a sign that it is talking to my soul and will help me evolve the next place within myself.

So, next time you’re drawn to a piece of art, check in with yourself deeply. What IS it about that piece that calls you? What is the art saying to you? How does it make you feel? Do you want to live with the piece or is it enough to just see it once, or visit it regularly?


If you keep thinking about the art you’ve seen, perhaps it needs to live with you.

Just like art calls us, there is often a time when the artwork has done its magic and it’s time to move on to work with the next person who needs the magic of the art piece.

I recently sold the wooden Lotus. I was happy to have it find a new home with people who were delighted to see what it had to offer them. Letting go of that piece opened up space for new art to come into my world….and recently I bought a piece from a friend of mine, and every time I look at it I think of her.



Ode to our Mothers


We come from your flesh and bones,
Grow out of your marrow and your beating heart.
We would not exist without you.

We suckle at your breast,
We grow from your body’s rich nourishment.
We depend on your heart to love us
Without condition.

Thank you….

For the times you stayed up in the night
to rock us to sleep.
For the times you nursed us, fed us, wiped us clean.
For doing all that laundry for us!

Thank you…

For holding our hands as we walked the path
to the new school.
For bandaging up our scrapes and burns.
For coming to the play we were in, the soccer game,
the ballet or piano recital.
For all of the birthday parties, balloons, cakes
and presents you put together for us.

Thank you…

For listening to the “boy” problems,
Or “hair” problems, or for tolerating the door of our rooms
being shut with loud music on to drown you out.
For help with our English papers, math problems,
history lessons.

Thank you…

For teaching us to drive, despite your terror
and pushing your right foot onto an imaginary brake
on your side of the car.

Thank you…

For taking us out in the world to see
mountains, lakes, rivers, museums, plays, and music.
For taking us off to college and having faith
we would blossom out in the big world.

Thank you.

For all of your love throughout the years.
For rolling with your child’s evolution.
For trusting us and for trusting yourself
that you’ve done all you could
to make us the best human being
you possibly could.

Thank you.





Saucha: The Great Spring Cleaning!


Being a yogi, who’s down on the ground a lot, I’m particularly obsessed with clean floors. I’ll admit it, I’m somewhat of a clean freak.  I love to be able to eat off of any surface.

Cleaning gives me immediate satisfaction. When I vacuum up tiny crumbs, dog hair and little bits of I-don’t-know-what, I feel an inner sense of relaxation. I have this sweet satisfaction that some little part of life is in order, under control.

I can relax.

At least for a while.

Yoga gives us a built in cleansing practice called Saucha.  It is the first Niyama (the second of eight limbs of yoga). It means to purify and cleanse. Generally, the practice of Saucha invites us to examine what we take into our bodies – food and drink – but also what kind of energy we allow into our energetic fields, and how we may be “polluting” our inner landscape by creating inner clutter.   

Each Spring I ask myself what I want to clean up internally as well as externally, and this year my big task is to take on an old habit of mine called AVOIDANCE. I have the nasty habit of avoiding conflict, avoiding making “the phone call” to someone I may have to say ‘no’ to, and avoiding the uncomfortable feelings within. But the burden of Avoidance is high.

It starts to feel like I have a pile of tasks, conflicts or people I’m avoiding and I then hear the nagging voice in my head that says, “You’re gonna have to make the call. Or you’re gonna have to face that conflict, or crunch the numbers."

This year I say, “No more avoiding.” It’s time to face whatever I’m avoiding head on. What I find fascinating is that alongside the inner clean-out, I notice there is always the accompanying outer clean-out.

When I take on my inner work of cleaning out I usually find I also get a bug to steam clean my rugs, wash out all of the drawers, or do a deep clean of my closets.

In the past couple of years, this cleaning practice has lead me to change the products I use to clean my house. I’ve gotten rid of pretty much all of the store-bought products and replaced them with three simple household products that work really well for cleaning.

What are they?

Baking soda (bought in a large back at Costco)
Distilled White Vinegar (also bought at Costco)
Dr. Bronners Castile Soap

These three are the foundation of all of my cleaning products now. At first, I was skeptical that these products would actually do a good job. To my surprise, they work great. I just cleared out an oil clogged shower drain with white vinegar (with a quite a bit of help from a friend!)

But why do this, you might be wondering, when the other products work just fine?

As I’ve traipsed down the yogic path for the past 20 years, I’ve become more and more sensitive to chemicals, smells, and their energetic impact. I love knowing that the products I use  to clean my house are safe to ingest,  and I feel happy that the products I use are all environmentally safe and made with love.

When I spray down my kitchen counters now, with my homemade All Purpose Surface Cleaner, I have a smile on my face and I just feel happy.

So, if you’re interested in this part of the journey, I’ve got a few home cleaning products listed below, and some ideas on how to use these three household products to clean your home.

Happy and Clean Spring to you all!


All Purpose Surface Cleaner 

2 oz distilled water
6 oz distilled white vinegar
Spray bottle: glass 8 oz
8 drops lavender essential oil
5 drops lemon essential oil

What to do
Using a funnel, pour water and vinegar into a glass spray bottle.
Remove the funnel and add the essential oils. Put spray nozzle onto the bottle.
Shake well to combine, and use on any surface. Works great on stove and kitchen counter tops.

Wood Cleaner

2 cups distilled water
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
spray bottle: glass 16. oz
10 drops lemon essential oil
8 drops cedarwood essential oil

What to do
Using a funnel, pour water, white vinegar and olive oil into a spray bottle.
Add in the essential oils and shake to mix.
Shake before using to mix the ingredients. 

Ode to India


Oh India, mirror of mirrors!
I walk more easily now in your crooked streets and craggy sidewalks.

You are my teacher.

You beg me to let go, to watch my step, to soften my judgment.

I walk as if in wonderland, enthralled by your jeweled colors, billowing saris, bobbing turbins. I am a child in a candy shop and you gently show me my greedy nature.

I want….
…to take a photo.
…to take the jewels home.
…to capture the flavors, smells, scents and sounds.
…to take, to have, to hold and to keep.

But there is no taking, keeping, holding or “mine.”

There is only flow.
Letting go.
Relaxing into what is.

Oh India, your dust lines my lungs, your dirt a second skin on my body.


My heart aches seeing your brilliance….
…the Taj Mahal
…the snow dusted Himalayas
…your fantastic festival Holi painting people purple and pink
…your plethora of temples honoring the gods….Ganesh, Shiva, Krishna, Kali….

My heart aches seeing your pain…
…the bride burnings
…the man with a deformed arm reaching for rupees into my rickshaw
…the shanty towns butted up against millionaire apartments
…the heaped garbage…

How do you manage?
How do you keep it together?
How does it work?

My heart starts to get the joke. It all works out in the end.


The electricity works.
             For a while.
The hotel room is mostly clean.
The horns ARE the traffic system.
             You must be the flow. No room for doubt.
Squatting and having no toilet paper IS an option.

I’ve come here to practice.
To open my heart.
To be present.

I practice breathing.
I tell myself, “Let go, let go.”

I remind myself the driver wants to live.
I remind myself they’ve done puja for good luck.
I remind myself I am not in control.

Is this why your people pray so much?
Light incense, roll sandalwood beads between brown fingers?

There are so many paths to God in your vast land, from the Himalayas to the beachy shores. Why are some lives so filled with so much struggle while others flash and sprint around in Lamborghinis?

“Only one rupee, only one rupee,” she says, hand moves towards mouth. The baby needs feeding.

Black hair is matted, her feet dry and crusty.


Another woman’s craggy face reflects the 100 years it has turned up towards the sun. Brown, with rivulets running through the valleys of her cheeks, she radiates warmth from inside her stooped and bent body that has traversed the Himalayas to find safety in India, away from her homeland, Tibet. She has no teeth. She gently suggests we give her some rupees.

We take her photo.

We take.
We give.
India gives.
India takes.

Give. And


I return home changed.
I return home with more cracks in my heart.
To let the light in.
To let the light out.

I am more resilient.
I am more tender.
I trust in the flow.
Than before.

If you feel "called" to India, check out two trips I'm offering with Mela Joy, Founder of Touch of Spirit Tours. Two spots left for the Fall 2018 trip and we'll have a new one for Southern India in early 2019. for more information and itinerary see Touch of Spirit Tours

Love Potions for a Sweet Valentine's Day

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It's here!

That week that makes some light up from the inside, and others cringe at the thought.

It’s the Hallmark Holiday week. Valentine’s Day!

Remember grade school? Where we cut out hearts and gave them to everyone in the class? Or those little boxes of chalky, wintergreen minty hearts with little ditties written on them? They said things like:

“You’re the best.”
“I love you.”
“You’re mine.”

Back in grade school we were taught to be egalitarian, to love everyone, and to make sure everyone was included. At least that was the goal.

But out here in the “real” world, life is messy. Some of us are single, others partnered, some getting un-partnered. We can’t really count on anyone to give us flowers and cards, chocolates and massages. I know I’ve certainly ended up feeling disappointed in life when I waited for that “other” person to do something for me.

So, I am advocating that we all take on becoming our own Valentine and treat ourselves impeccably. Here’s the recipe I have to share with you for a FABULOUSLY Relaxing Valentine’s Day….

Valentine’s Day Prep……(done before hand)

Start by making yourself some delicious, on-the-healthy-side chocolates. (All recipes below) Do that today or tomorrow so you’re ready with your chocolates! Then make some bath salts for yourself, so you can take a luxurious bath on Wednesday night. Make sure to get candles to light up your bathroom with a soft glow. Make a play list of songs for yourself to listen to while in the bath relaxing. Check what creams and toners you have and set them out for yourself. And/or make some. Don’t forget to get yourself a card and write out what you love about yourself and why you’re so awesome! Buy or pick some flowers and put in a vase.

On Valentine’s Day….

Give yourself your card in the morning with breakfast, so you remember how incredible you are and that you ARE loved. Treat yourself to something “out” on Valentine’s day - - a fun coffee, a delicious lunch, or dinner.

Once home, set up your spa time for yourself. Draw your bath with the bath salts, set out your candles and creams, get your playlist ready. When you have everything set up, slide in and soak, remembering how much you are loved (because you are loving yourself!). Once out of the bath, spritz yourself with your face with your favorite toner and follow up with a delicious face serum that smells divine.


Here are some of my own recipes that I use regularly. This is a fun habit to get into and doesn’t have to be reserved just for Valentine’s Day!

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Chocolate Treats with Toasted Walnuts

1 lb bar 72% dark chocolate (Trader Joes)
½ cup of coconut oil
½ teaspoon cardamom
1/3 cup maple syrup
¾ cup toasted walnuts chopped

Parchment paper
9X12” pan

What to do:

Melt chocolate and coconut oil in a pan on low heat. When melted, add in maple syrup and cardamom. (adjust to your taste). Line your pan with parchment paper while chocolate is melting.

While hot, pour the chocolate mixture onto the parchment paper and spread out evenly. Add crumbled nuts on top.

Put in refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Break up into chunks of chocolate and eat or give as a gift! Best kept in the refrigerator.


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Bath Salts

2 cups Epsom Salts
½ cup Baking Soda
2 tablespoons Avocado or Olive Oil
10-15 drops of your favorite Essential Oil. (I like Lavender and Peppermint for this)

What to do
Mix all ingredients in a bowl thoroughly. Store in an airtight container. Use 4-5 Tablespoons in your bath. Enjoy.

Where’d that Meat Come From?

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A few months ago, I wrote a blog piece about being a meat eating Yogi and how I can’t survive on veggies alone.


What I didn’t say was how important it is to know the source of your food. We actually are what we eat, and we are also what the animal we are eating has eaten. If the chickens and cows we’re eating are filled with hormones and corn, and raised in places that cause them anxiety and fear, we are ingesting those chemicals, corn and fear. Not to mention any other issues.

What we eat has a huge impact on our health and how we feel.

One of the best ways to insure we are eating happily raised animals who have lived healthy lives is to know your food source and where and how the animals were treated.

In this blog piece I want to introduce you to friends of mine, who are yogis and who raise cattle in the Inland Northwest: Frankie and Bill Browning, who run a family ranch in Spangle, WA. Their cows live their entire lives happily grazing pastures, and are hormone and anti-biotic free.

I met Frankie in a yoga class I was teaching 7 years ago, and soon after met Bill and we’ve become friends. Here’s my interview with Frankie and what she has to say about their journey:

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Why did you get into the cattle raising business?

Bill was already in the cattle raising business when I met him. He always wanted to do it. He grew up on horses and roped, so it was in his blood.

How did you start out?

We started out as sport and hobby – roping cows. I was the one who was more into the food idea.

Before I met Bill, I was a borderline vegetarian. I certainly didn’t eat beef. But, I also had this affinity towards Native Americans and their stewardship of the land, and how they offered prayers and blessings when they sacrificed an animal for food.

What lead you to raising cattle that graze in pastures?

We had an incident that changed everything for us in how we raised our cows. One of our cows had a traumatizing birth situation. The mother and calf should not have lived, but we intervened and ended up saving both mother and calf. It was truly a miracle.

The mother cow could never give birth again, and we just couldn’t send her to the feed lot to have a horrible life and die. So, we gave her a new life in our pastures and later, we sacrificed her life with much gratitude and she fed us. We kept her skull, and her hide (which is still in our house) and gratefully nourished our bodies with her meat.

That was the turning point for us. We then decided to raise cattle to sell for beef, and to raise them with love and give them a good life before becoming our food source.

As we started keeping more meat for ourselves and selling it to friends, people began to notice how good the meat tasted and we began to pay attention to how the animals lived and how the land was managed and impacted the cow’s lives.

How did your business grow over the years?

When I met Bill, he had 20 cows. That was 13 years ago. We now have 150 cows. The growth of Browning Beef has been an organic process. The cows are all raised from birth on our property. They are all grass fed and grass finished. We don’t give them any grain, no GMOs or hormones. All of our hay is bought locally.

Why is your grass-fed beef not tough?

Well, it’s super fresh. It hasn’t traveled or waited anywhere. It could also be the Longhorn influence we have in our breeding. The lean flavor of the meat resembles bison.

Why did you start eating meat again?

I started eating meat again because I knew where the meat came from and how we raised the cattle. And it’s so delicious.

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How does being a yogi influence your business?

Yoga continually reminds me of the connectedness we have with all living beings. Having a first-hand connection to my food, and being able to share this with others is a gift.

What are your biggest challenges raising cattle?

The nature of raising cattle is that you don’t get to go anywhere. It is a business that grounds you. We’re also dealing with the seasons and their mercurial nature all of the time. There’s also the temptation to make your calves weigh more and use grain. But that’s not what’s best for the animal or the environment, and it doesn’t support our values.

From a fiscal perspective, I’d say it’s challenging to get people to understand why it’s worth spending more for grass fed beef that has never touched grain, corn or bread, been in a feed lot or pumped full of hormones. We take a cut in that the hanging weight because the weight of a grain fed animal can be between 800-1000 pounds where our grass-fed cattle are 400-600 pounds. Sometimes, doing the right thing requires sacrifice.

What do you see as a major benefit of raising cattle this way?

There is a symbiotic relationship with cattle and the pastures they graze – the pastures literally come alive and are happy with grazing cattle. They look like green parks.  Noxious weeds are naturally controlled with mindful grazing practices.

The food we are producing is super clean, and is a healthy source of beef for our community. We know that people feel great when eating our beef.

The major benefit is that everybody prospers.  The land flourishes, the cattle are happy, people who eat the beef are healthy. It’s a win/win all the way around.

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Our philosophy

Being so reliant on the Earth for our lively-hood keeps us highly attuned with Mother Nature. We graciously do our part, staying in harmony with the environment by creating multiple ecosystems on our ranch. Despite "loss" of grazing land from our ecosystems, doing the right thing to help the Earth and future generations is both and honor and a duty.

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Where can we buy Browning Beef?

Directly from Browning Beef 509-953-2062, Call, Text or Email: browningbeefllc@gmail.com
See website for updated farmer’s market schedule: www.browningbeef.com
Petunia’s Market, 2010 North Madison, Spokane; 509-328-4257
Golden Gem Mercantile, 18805 WA/27, Rockford, WA 99030; 509-291-3600

Get and EXTRA Pound of Ground Beef for Free

Buy 5 pounds of ground beef and get an extra pound for free. This promotion will last until March 1st. Use the Code word: YOGA to indicate you are getting the promotion through this email or blog piece



The Multi-Tasking Queen


I’m driving over the Bay Bridge from San Francisco to Oakland with my then-husband. It’s 1994 and he says, “You’re always doing multiple things at once.”

“I know!
It’s awesome!” I boast.
“I can do at least three things at once.”

I loved that feeling of being “oh-so-efficient” by doing multiple things at a time. “Don’t you think doing one thing at a time makes us more present?” my then-husband asked.

As I hurtled through space over the vast expanse of water, it suddenly occurred to me that he was not giving me a complement, but rather gently pointing out that I was not present most of the time. The very fact that I multi-tasked meant I was inevitably NOT mindful of one of the tasks at hand.

My heart sank.
“Hmmmmm.” I mumbled.

He went on to tell me some story, but all I could hear was the drone of words. His earlier comment made me realize I had a skewed perspective of my multi-tasking talent.

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Five years later, after a car accident that reoriented my life, I was on a 12-day vision quest in New Mexico. My big questions at the time were “Why am I here? What am I supposed to do now?” I felt like I’d been given another chance at life and I didn’t want to waste it.

As I sat alone under the cotton candy New Mexico clouds, with only water for sustenance and myself to be with, I waited for answers. I was eager to know why I’d been given a second chance. I wanted to KNOW. What was my life about? How could I serve best?

On day 3 of the solo- portion of the vision quest, I began to hear a whisper of an answer.
It said:

“Be present.”

Each day I chased shade in the noon sun, and battled my longing for food and my desire for big answers, and I knew it was coming.

Still the answer came:

“Be present.”

I could feel my own grasping, that desire for something else, some BETTER answer. Something more precise.

“Really? That’s it? ‘Be present’?”

Yup. That’s it.
“Be present.”

I was hoping for something more – something like
“Become a nurse, go live in Africa and help build latrines.
Something more than ‘Be present.’”

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I left the vision quest disappointed and discouraged. What was I supposed to do now? I trundled on, down my life's road and continued seeking.

It took years for me to understand the answer I received on the vision quest.  Only after I’d been teaching yoga for 5 years did the “aha” moment happen.

“Ohhhhhhhh!  I’m supposed to be teaching people to BE PRESENT because that is my biggest life lesson.”

Since that vision quest, I’ve spent the last 20 years cultivating presence in my life.  With the onslaught of technology, with hundreds of apps vying for our attention, and the constant need to stay connected, it’s harder and harder to STAY present and to not check the phone, the computer, email or texts, much less Instagram, Facebook and twitter.

Our modern times are amazing and overwhelming at once. Never before has there been a time when we have needed to find the inner discipline to stay present and practice doing one thing at a time.

Never before has it seemed so critical to practice simplicity in our complex, fascinating world.

As I look back at that vision quest, I see that the answer I got was my life’s dharma. I still practice staying present. I have some personal policies that help me which I thought I'd share with you as we start 2018:

1.       Do one thing at a time. (I’m devoting 2018 to REALLY take this one on)

2.       If I’m with a person, face to face, all technology can wait – texts, calls, emails.

3.       When eating, slow down, be present with the tastes and flavors of the food. (This often means not talking or listening to someone talk I find)

4.       Check what I allow into my energetic field – books, news, movies, music – make sure whatever I read/watch/listen to is going to help me feel uplifted, not beaten down.

5.       Get out to nature every day.

6.       Play with children or animals as often as possible.

7.       Draw/paint/dance/sing/play a musical instrument

8.       Pay attention to light and how it changes throughout the day.

9.       Practice gratitude for what I DO have.

10.   Remember that there will always be more “work” to do, “laundry” to fold, and “errands” to run, have fun now!

These are some of my practices. As I said, I’m going to take on doing ONE thing at a TIME for 2018. Wanna join me? Let me know if you decide to take on any new practice in 2018 to help you stay more present.

Life Leads me to Become a Yoga Teacher

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It’s 1999.
I’m 38 years old.
My world as I’ve known it has just been pulverized.

My identity is that of dancer, mover, yogi, runner, hiker, biker. All of that seems like a distant past in this moment.

I’ve been hit by a car as a pedestrian. As I lie on the black asphalt in the crisp February Bay Area blue sky morning, I hear the sirens in the distance.

“Oh, they’re coming for me,” I think as I lie there unable to move. I‘m terrified that I’m paralyzed.

A golden haired, black skinned angel comes by, looks down at me and says, “You’re alive honey, just keep breathing.”

I do.
I breathe.
I wait.

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The paramedics come.

“Do you know what year it is, mam?”
“Really?” I think.
“Don’t these guys KNOW what year it is? And they’re the ones taking me to the hospital?”

“1999.” I say curtly, with a dash of disgust thrown in.
“Thank you,” They reply.

Four days later, in a morphine haze, lying on scratchy hospital sheets post-surgery, the doctor who operated on my leg tells me, “You’ll be able to walk normally in about six months.”

“Six months?” I blurt out before he finishes. “Doctor, I need to know when I can dance? I need to dance,” I demand, as though saying it forcefully will help make it happen faster.

“Well, that’s going to be a while young lady.”


Months go by.
My boyfriend and I break up.
I convalesce at my parent’s house.

I’m left with myself for days, journaling, doing physical therapy, learning not to be afraid to cross the street.

My yoga practice, which is only a few years old, becomes a refuge. Though I have a hard time surrendering to restorative yoga where I hang out over bolsters and blocks, and wrap myself in blankets. I still identify myself as physically capable and strong.

Not long into the recovery journey, the physical therapist tells me I’m good to go, and I think to myself, “Are you kidding? Look at that poor range of motion in my ankle.” But it’s no use fighting the system, they have other people to rehab. So, I take it on.

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“I will rehab my body through yoga,” I reassure myself.

I find another yoga class in Oakland taught by Susannah Bruder. She’s awesome. She gives me alternative poses for my recovering body. It’s a whole new experience for me. I walk into class with a cane and have to use 2 bolsters for Virasana (a pose in which you sit on one block on the floor with bent knees). I’m tired and fatigued by many of the poses, and Susannah has to give me alternative options frequently.

Yoga becomes a haven, and a deep practice of acceptance. My identity has been stripped down to the essentials. My body and heart are raw and vulnerable. I have to re-learn how to walk, and how to move my ankle and knee, as well as develop a lot of patience with myself and the healing process.

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What I don’t realize at the time is that I’m being trained for my soon-to-be profession as a yoga teacher. I spend hours learning to do yoga poses with props to help me get into poses I wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.

A year later, I take Susannah’s teacher training in San Francisco. As part of the training we have to offer some public classes. It’s the year 2000. I’m TERRIFIED to stand up in front of people and speak. But I forge ahead with the assignment. I have NO intention of becoming a yoga teacher. I just want to deepen my knowledge of yoga.

Life has other plans for me.

Within six months of finishing my teacher training I’m teaching 7 classes a week in the East Bay, and that grows to 10-12 a week. When people walk in and say, “Oh, I could never do that pose,” I look at them and say, “I know exactly what you mean.”

Then I tell them my story.
I see them visibly relax.

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They settle in on their mats, with their props and my instructions to support them to get into a pose they thought they couldn’t do.

Joy bubbles out of me when I see them accomplishing something they thought they couldn’t do. It makes my healing journey worthwhile.

Over the years, I find gratitude for the man who hit me as a pedestrian. The one who fled the scene because of his own fear. I am grateful, still, for the accident that lead me to become a yoga teacher.


The Gift of Time

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I’m standing at the pharmacy counter in San Miguel de Allende, asking for directions in Spanish to Belles Artes when the other woman on my side of the counter approaches.

“Are you American?”
“Do you have a moment you can spare?”

I assess my personal agenda in a nano-second  for the last day I’m in town.

“Yes, I can.”

I can see the relief on her face when I say yes.

“And you speak Spanish?”

She launches into her dilemma – she can’t get through to America on her cell phone. Her daughter, actress in Mexico City, who’s been there 22 years has set her up with a phone. She needs to find At&T. She’s got a plan. It should work. The download of information comes in rapid fire.

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“First things first, let’s find AT&T,” I say.
She sighs. “OK.”

We wander the street we’re on. It’s supposed to be close. I pop in and out of stores asking, “Donde esta AT&T?”

Multitudes of answers come. Just up the street.

We find our destination and I spring into action.
Questions are asked.
Responses given.
Money paid.
Sighs released in frustration.

After a good ½ an hour of sorting through the confusion, paying more money, and getting her cell phone number sorted out, Sandi makes her call to the United States.

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“I’m never letting you go.” She says, a wide smile shining out from underneath her broad brimmed hat.

“My pleasure,” with the utmost sincerity.

I’m relaxed. Like this is my purpose for having gone into the pharmacy – to help sort out the confusion for Sandi.

She beams. She’s connected now.

It’s now been an hour since I met her in the pharmacy. I have the afternoon to go see the last sights and shop for a few items. And yet this diversion from my own “plans” feels like the most important thing I will do today.

Sandi and I hug, we exchange phone numbers and emails. She invites me to her farm in upstate New York.

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The whole encounter wakes me up to how the gift of time and attention are more valuable than anything else I could give anyone.

As the heaviest shopping time of the year approaches, I’ve decided to take this lesson to heart and put it into practice.

I will give the gift of time….by either spending time with people, doing something with them, or making them a hand-made gift.

As I leave Sandi, she pops into a shop where she’s spotted a pair of pants she fancies. As I walk down the cobble stone streets, my heart feels fuller than it did before I’d bumped into her.

Thank you, Sandi! Happiest of holy-days to you!

You're a Vegetarian, Right?

“You’re a vegetarian, right?”
I'm asked this question often as a yoga teacher.

After all, it’s practically in the doctrine of the yoga world – that we should all be vegetarians.
“Do no harm. Don’t kill.”

I get it.
I’ve tried.
And I’ve withered on the vegan diet.

So, the answer is a big “No!”
I love meat. I feel best eating ribeye and tenderloins sautéed in some bacon fat. And now that Bone Broth is in, I’m in carnivore heaven!

Philosophically, I’m in complete accord with the Vegans. I WISH I could be a vegan. I don’t want to kill any other sentient being to survive. But when I listen to how I FEEL when I eat a vegan diet, I notice I don’t thrive.

I lack energy.
I’m lethargic.

I know, if you're a Vegan, you might be saying, "Well, you just haven't found the right combo of food. Or perhaps your not taking enough B-12." I’ve had a number of born-again-Vegans proselytize that anyone can be a vegan, and in my own experiment I know this to not be true. I've been experimenting for over 20 years with diet, and I know a few things now.

I need the flesh!
I need the high fat.
My body does a little happy dance when the bacon is sizzling on the stove.

I used to feel guilty about it - that somehow I just “wasn’t a good enough yogi” if I couldn’t grock being a vegetarian.

But yoga is about bringing body, mind and heart into union. If your body is withering because the diet you’re eating isn’t helping you thrive, then a third of the trinity is missing.

The yogic way is to find the right balance for you. Each of us is different, with different needs and different ancestral roots. There IS NO one perfect diet for all.

So, I say, listen deeply within. How do you FEEL when you eat what you eat? For that matter, ask the same questions when ingesting anything from the outside world into your inner world.

How do you feel when you hang out with certain people?
At your job?
In your family?
Pay attention to what you allow into your inner sphere and the impact of that energy.

This is the path of learning to tune into our own inner wisdom and to trust what is true for us. What is true for you most likely won't be true for your friends, family or partners. Only we can know what we need, and the answers lie within.  

In my own acceptance of my love of meat AND vegetables, I offer you this new delight I concocted, called: 

Vegetarian Carnivore’s Delight:
1 head of broccoli – chopped into small pieces
3 strips of bacon – cooked to crispy and chopped up
½ a yellow onion – chopped
¼ cup of bone broth (or bouillon)
Pinch of ginger

In a pan cook your bacon until it’s crispy – set aside and crumble. Pour out some of the bacon grease, but leave some and saute your onion. Add in your chopped up broccoli and saute. Add in your pinch of ginger. Then add in the ¼ cup of bone broth to steam the broccoli a bit. Cook to your preferred texture – crispy or more fully cooked. Sprinkle the bacon bits over the broccoli. Serve right away!

In Troubling Times....

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It seems the world really IS spinning out of control with the abundance of tragedy around the world, from bombings, to shootings, to hurricanes, fires and floods.Things feel tenuous at best, and yet I can't help think that we are all being called forth to create the new world we want to live in. So, in these troubling times, when life as we know it seems to be falling apart, here are simple practices to create more love in life. 

Be kind.
Make it a point to be kind to the person in front of you in any given moment.

Play with the children and the elderly.

Make art.
Create something. Write a new song, paint a painting, write a poem, make up a new dance.

Gather together.
Get together with loved ones…family, friends. Make it a priority. Time is short and we never know when we won't have the opportunity to do so.

Remember all of the small things your grateful for.

Break bread together.
Share meals with friends, family and strangers. Cook something and invite people over.

Go out of your way.
Take time to honor people who are important to you. Send a card, pick up the phone, send them a present.

Get out to nature.
Go on a hike, get on your bike, sit in the trees or by the ocean. Listen to the wind, the trees, the waves.

Love the animals.
Spend more time loving your pets, or other people’s pets. Go to an animal shelter and love up the furry ones.

Tell someone you love them.

It's Getting Personal

When my friend in the Bay Area texted me late Wednesday, saying, “Did you hear about the school shooting in Spokane?” my jaw nearly dropped on the floor. My immediate thoughts were, “No, not in Spokane.”

“No. Where?” I asked, wondering if I personally knew anyone who was affected. Because that’s how it is right? We want to know if someone WE know or love was impacted.

And the answer is yes.


A dear friend of mine has been a teacher in the Freeman community for years, and in fact, she knows most of the kids in the school who were involved and impacted. She is devastated.

Needless to say, the community is reeling with grief and broken hearts. One student was killed and three others are in critical condition. It’s not only heart breaking, it reminds me that no corner of the world is “safe” and we are all dealing with the DIS-EASE of violence around the globe as a symptom of something much larger than each stand-alone incident.

I know in my own life, when I feel that DIS-EASE – when I have a fight with my husband, or a conflict with a friend, or I’m torn up by grief – I want to blame the outside. I blame the other person, I blame the circumstances, where I live, the conditions of my life. But it never helps. It feels futile and mis-guided.

When I dig deeper, I notice I just want to be loved, and sometimes I’m not going to get that from the outside world. It’s up to me to nurture and soothe myself, because no one, really, can “make me feel better.”

Often, I just have to feel the feelings and let them move through me.

So I dance.
I do yoga.
I hike.
I journal.
I make art.
I cry.

These are my ways to soothe myself, to help move the energy through. These are my ways to handle my own rage, my jealousy, my resentment, my grief, my anger.

I named the art show in Oakland, The Inclusive Divide because it’s about owning the disparate parts of myself – the good, the bad and the ugly. My thought is if I can gently love those “un-loveable” parts of myself, perhaps I’ll find enough space within my heart to be able to love those ugly places in other people.

None of us is perfect. We all have a shadow side that pops out from under the bushes in twisted ways. But the intense violence we are seeing around the world in communities everywhere is symptomatic of the shadow side of humanity and we need to find a way to heal that which is broken within all of us.

It’s not easy to look in the mirror and see, let alone OWN, those parts of myself I’d rather get rid of. I know from personal experience, it takes practice to keep loving – myself and others – and not run away. It’s a moment to moment practice.

As I close, I want to offer my prayers to the Freeman Community and to all who are impacted by this tragedy. I offer prayers for ALL people who are suffering around the world from whatever pain is moving through their hearts.


Here are a few good books to support your inner growth, and a TED talk by the mother of one of the Columbine High School Shooters. She talks about her journey as the mother of the shooter and the grief and despair she’s dealt with.

Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chodron
The Places That Scare You Are by Pema Chodron
When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron

My Son was a Columbine Shooter – This is my Story – Sue Klebold



How Long did it Take to Paint That?

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The truth is, I never know how to answer this question when people ask.

I work on multiple paintings at once, often bouncing from one to another in the same session.

Each painting is infused with lots of energy, intention, play, fun and joy. I put down texture and color, layers and richness as I go.

When I dig deeper to answer this question, I can’t help but think my latest paintings are loose and fun because I’ve been studying color, composition, art, and my inner world for a good 40+ years.

Every doodle, every art journal entry, every museum visit has lead me towards the creation of the latest painting.

Each art piece is a practice of letting go, taking risks and having faith in the process.

So often, I get to the “ugly teenager phase” of a painting and the critic comes out with her bullhorn saying,  “See, you can’t REALLY draw.” Or “SEE you’re not a REAL artist.”

Finishing a piece involves facing the inner critic and telling her to leave me alone. It requires determination and faith that I CAN get to the other side and resolve the piece.

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Painting is a spiritual practice where I come up against myself on a daily basis, alone in my studio. Sometimes the only thing to do with a painting is to step away. Go for walk in the park. Or sit by the river.

So, I ask myself, “Does that ‘count’ as part of creating the painting?” Or are people asking about the actual hours of putting paint on a canvas?

Sometimes a painting will sit in my studio for months, almost finished, but “not quite there” and after 5 months of seeing it and not wanting to mess it up, I will whip out the final layer in one session because it’s brewed within me and that “something” is ready to emerge.

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How long did it take me? I have no idea.

Months of waiting? Months of looking?

Years of building up my skill level? Years of practice letting go, trusting my own marks, learning to love my marks? Years of playing with color and finding my voice in line and form?

The truth is, it has taken my whole life to paint the latest painting. It pours forth from a deep place within.

Paintings are works of art because they embody the energy and intentions of the artist who created them. They are literally a piece of the artist. When you buy a piece of art, you are taking home some of the energy of that artist. That’s why original art is so powerful.

So, how long does it take to make a painting? You tell me.

(Post Script:
The abstract painting above was finished in a few sessions. Underneath it is the image of this boy I'd been working on for MONTHS. I could never quite resolve it. I worked from a photo I'd taken in India 20 years ago. I so wanted to represent the mystery of this boy. But after 5 months of waiting, I was finally willing to let go and do something radically different. The outcome was the final abstract piece.)


I Have Everything I Need....


As I was parking my car for the journaling workshop, I saw a woman towing a small cart behind her.

Hmmm, I mused. She must be going to Orly’s class too.

I wonder what she has in tow? For once, I was traveling light. I’d brought my journal, a few paints, brushes and pens.

I’d been following the teacher, Orly Avineri for a few years. I love her style, her depth and her rich textures. Her work feels like someone who’s traveled her inner highways.

I knew I had to be here at this workshop, on this weekend.

As Orly began, she told us to bring out the materials we’d brought – fabric, old pictures, memorabilia. We were building nests.

I looked around.
My stomach did a mini-flop.
I didn’t have any “materials.”

I didn’t bring anything but my journal. After all, it was a JOURNALING workshop. I’d even asked in the FB group if we were supposed to bring anything and I heard nothing back.

I gently chirped, “Ummm, I don’t have any materials. I must have missed that memo,” feeling the heat of embarrassment race down my neck.

With eagle eyes, Orly looked at me, “You didn’t bring any materials?” she said, in a kind and yet curious tone.

No materials.
Missed that memo.”

“OK,” she glided on without missing a wing beat.

“Well, you can use some of mine and I’m sure people will share.”

Heads began nodding in the room of 11 women.

Before I knew it, I had a pile of papers, cheese cloth, string and pictures in front of me to build my nest. I felt my shoulders drop down away from my ears and I took a long inhale and exhale.

Of course!
I have everything I need, even when I think I don’t.
Even when I think I don’t!

We were building nests.

I’d been thinking about the nest – a home, a safe place, a place to grow and develop. A place that is about coziness, togetherness and family.

Just like Orly’s rich journal art, the weekend was already more complex than I had anticipated. Just weeks before, my half-sister, Vicki, had died and her memorial was in Los Angeles on the Saturday of the workshop weekend.

The moment I found that out, there was no question I had to be there.

My Saturday was spent in Vicki’s nest. I flew into the tender place where her kids, friends, and family honored her through their stories. I walked away with a beautiful picture of a woman devoted to raising her children to bloom into their most authentic selves – a true gift of a mother.

We all laughed and cried and I felt a sense of being inside the nest while there.

On Sunday, the instructions were to pull our nests apart and lay out the newly died strips of fabric and paper. Some balked a bit at deconstructing the carefully stitched together bundles. And yet everything that comes together eventually falls apart. Nothing is permanent.

The whole weekend felt like a dream and like I’d been delivered to the place I needed to be without me having to do anything. It was the perfect lesson. I just have to remember that I have everything I need, even when I think I don’t.

We Have the Same Eyes, Lips....Like His...

I asked for her address a few months ago. I wrote down her new digits on a piece of paper which lay in some pile on my desk. I had good intentions of writing.

Writing a letter to reconnect.
Writing a letter to see how her new life in LA was going.
Writing to stay linked to a past I know so little about.
Writing, perhaps, to just say hi.

After all, we were related by blood. There’s something to that right?

Even if you don’t grow up in the same household.
Even if you have different mothers.

We have the same lips. Similar eyes. They look like his eyes and lips.

Over the years, I’ve scrutinized pictures of our father, me, her, looking for something. But truly not knowing what I’ve been looking for. Perhaps a sense of belonging.

A sense of family.
A sense of connected-ness.

The long Winter came and went, the tulips bloomed, the dogwood shed her pink buds, and now the poppies are blooming.

I didn’t write that letter.

And now it’s too late.

She has transitioned….passed on to the other side where letters are of no use. So now I’m doing my best to talk to her in my prayers, connect in a way we couldn’t in this physical form.

It happened so quickly.
Nine days from knowing she was in the ICU to her being on the other side, address-less.


We weren’t close, though she always had a tender spot in my heart. Family. Blood line. It counts, right?

I have no answers.

I spent the weekend going through old photos, looking for bread crumbs through my past to help me make sense of it all. Make sense of the twists and turns in life that have broken my heart open to grow bigger each time it’s smashed to smithereens.

The day after she died I wrote 10 people in my life and sent them photos. I have more to send. I don’t want to miss the opportunity to let them know they’ve been important parts of my tapestry.

That counts right? Letting people know you love them. Or have loved them to the best of your ability.

It’s all I know to do. Sweep up any mess I’ve made in my past. Forgive myself and others and move forward.

So she’s helped me write the letters to the ones who still have addresses.

I will miss you V. Miss the chance to reconnect here in this sphere. As they say,
“May you rest in PEACE.”