STAY OPEN

IMG_7362

Arch Bishop teaching Tai Chi in Lake County~ and friends

A dear friend of mine / sister in every way just had her 64th birthday and shared that her good friend who is in her 80s said “fight to keep your world big”.

I’ve been mulling over that statement a lot and I can’t quite get my head around it because the truth is our world does get smaller as we age in many ways no matter what we do to stay healthy.
Maybe It’s semantics but I somehow needed to ponder it to bring meaning in my life.

Sometimes things happen out of our control and there is no fighting it, the way I see it.

As I watch my parents, aunt and uncle, friends, and clients age, they continue to lose most of their friends around them which takes it’s tol and in some ways prepares them for the inevitable that they too shall face in time; like we all will.

It always rips their insides out loosing parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, best friends and especially spouses….. the one they thought would be with them forever to the bittersweet end is now gone and they are faced with the challenge of living life flying solo. Continue reading

Bitter Sweet

IMG_7166

I flutter from one bush to the other like the hummingbird not knowing which nectar to taste first and they all look good.


Not one looks better than the other in this mad rush to have them all.


I’m dizzy, running around for the sweetness of each tiny taste not wanting to miss anything. In the meantime I’m lost.

I want it all.

I don’t want to drop any thing out but my belly has filled till explosion.


Pretty soon I’m drunk with the nectar and feel drugged and my senses have stopped asking for more but my body moves constantly, never stopping to enjoy the sweetness I have devoured.

For in the haste and busyness, I have lost touch with my inner message of finding sweetness.

I wish you a blessed day with pauses in between so you Can taste all the sweetness life has to offer.

❤️

 Cindy

LOVE TRUMPS ALL

Greetings~

11-09-2016 was no different for me than it was for most of you as I greived and was in shock. I planted 300 daffodil bulbs that day, ate chocolate, bought flowers and drank wine. ok, so maybe not the best way as a health and wellness professional to deal with disappointment but true none the less and hey, someone has to tell the truth around here right?  We obviously can’t count on honesty in politics unfortunately.

Please feel free to share your thoughts with me good, bad or indifferent.  Perhaps we can get a dialogue going here on what actually matters.

I sit with my spine erect rooting into the earth, in part to draw energy in to help me get through the day and in part to protect the land that has gifted us its resources and asked for nothing back.
A place that houses our ancestors, all great leaders, and our founding forefathers.
My soul aches, the tears wash over me into a river of uncharted territory where I fear for our land, water, and children, worrying that our resources we have desperately been trying to protect will disappear before our eyes and for the first time I am scared and embarrassed for our country.

How could we have chosen a bigoted, misogynist, racist to run our country?!?!
The river feels washed up inside and out but I am reminded nature is the true teacher and lessons will enfold in time and much will make its way known.

I see women who can easily dismiss crude racial comments about blacks, woman, mexicans, shouting “lock her up” and I wonder – “who are they”?
They are not my tribe.
They are “smart” women – teachers, yogis, Christians, at-home moms, grandmothers, working moms who say they don’t agree with his vulgar language and would turn their son over their knee and spank him if they heard their son talk like that. How can they turn a blind eye to the very core values that make America great when casting their ballot for economic gain?

And who are the men that tolerate this?
Not my men. Not the ones that I have chosen or raised and for that I am eternally grateful.

The fallout with kids in the classroom after the election is breeding more ground for separation, not unifying them.
If our future President can speak with such vulgarity, bullying and tweeting no less, how can we stop this on the playground, let alone our world?!

I wore my Obama buttons on 11/9 to honor the pride I have felt during his 8 years of office, fully aware of the things he got done, the things he didn’t and the things that were fermenting in time like good wine. His dignity, grace, honesty, wisdom, intelligence, and gentle strength will always shine brightly in my heart and make me proud to be an American, along with the other great presidents and leaders we have had. His morality to his family, friends, people, and country are values I admire and respect. He leads with love, courage, and conviction which is the cornerstone for change that seeps in over time. If change is promised quickly, wisdom tells you to be leery.

People said all day “get over it and deal with it; it’s easier to join them.”

I WILL NEVER JOIN THOSE WHO CHOOSE POWER OVER DIGNITY AT ANY COST.
I will never change my stance on a woman’s right to choose;  a right we worked so hard to achieve. I will never put my head in the sand denying climate change while we continue fracking, leaving our earth compromised. I will NEVER TOLERATE BIGOTRY AND HATRED THAT DIVIDES US INSTEAD OF UNIFIES US.

Today I am angry and I grieve the lives of my children and future generations with so many of you.

I have taught my children to love, stand up for equality no matter what color or race, to use words that heal not divide, to honor their environment that mother earth has allowed us to borrow.

I have taught them from early on to use their words and negotiate, not use

name-calling that is below the belt.
We will unite and not lay down to cowardly terrorists or succumb to harsh despicable words no matter what.

So, Don’t ask me today while my heart is broken to just get over it and move on.
I will never move away from my moral compass no matter what the cost.

Today I grieve with so many of my fellow Americans but we are strong and we will get through this together and justice and peace will prevail the way it always does.
We will keep our heads high, our hearts will heal, and we will work smarter and harder than ever for the values and issues that matter to us and never take our rights for granted or put our heads in the sand ever again.
We will be stronger than ever before while we stand together as one.

We will come to terms that Trump is our President elect but we will remember and know Love Trumps All!

Blessings and Gratitude, 

Cindy

 

All Paths Lead to the Same Direction

There are many paths back to ourselves and all lead to the same direction.  Being directionally challenged myself, I have had many diversions but eventually came full circle and find my way.  

Life is a plethora of choices. Discerning which choices resonate with you and which path you feel intuitively drawn to is the only requirement.  

Each has its’ twists and turns and many gifts on the journey.  

If you are naturally one pointed, you aren’t usually thrown off by options. You merely jump on the path and head in a straight line without much thought or examination. For others, all directions look appealing and making a decision or choice can send you into orbit and soon you are on land, sea and air all in one day and you haven’t even left the ground. The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost are always words that echo in my head reminding me at the end of the day, we all find our way. “TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood. And sorry I could not travel both. And be one traveler, long I stood. And looked down one as far as I could”.

I have always been jealous of those who are black and white and their clear vision. I see every point of view and have so many interests, it’s hard to hone in on what’s important sometimes and discern if the fork to the left or the right might be a better option. Through training and over time, I’ve learned to stand still until I get a clear sign.

The other day I said to a client on the way to the room; “Take either path; both lead to the same direction.”

Later that week I was on a hike to meet friends and I was so proud of myself for staying focused and not missing a turn only to find out an hour plus into it, I had no idea where I was. I remembered that I had just said all paths lead to the same direction and here I was, lost without a compass even though I got my phone out. Technology is great when it works but reception doesn’t always make it available. So, here I was on the path, stranded trying to find my way chanting my mantra; “All paths lead to the same direction”. I stumbled upon 5 banana slugs, one awesome toy for my dog I picked up, 3 cool feathers and 3 nice water bottles I left hoping someone would return for.

So many thoughts and feelings ran through my mind:

Fear, abandonment, self beat up for being so sure of myself only to be wrong , upset, laughter, and peace all at one time. I even found a stick in the event I needed it for predators that I might have to stave off and fight or run for my life. I couldn’t reach anyone. My Dad who lived up the hill wasn’t answering, my husband wasn’t picking up, none of my friends on the hike picked up and I only got a voice message when I tried to reach my friends up the hill. I felt isolated and that I didn’t matter to anyone. I made a case around all of this that I wasn’t very important and needed to cultivate more friendships and relationships. My whole life was before me in a flash and all of the stories I tell myself were in full heightened awareness. What a wild experience. My body was getting tired and my mind went in and out of all of these ranges of emotion. We all know or should know that our stories are not who we are as much as they try to make us believe otherwise.  

I thought of our friend Jeremy, a Navy Seal that was just coming home after being in Iraq for 6 months and lost his best friend in his Platoon; Charles Keating Junior IV, was recently killed while they were facing the enemy which gave me inspiration to continue forward. I pictured them in the desert or just past the bank in open fire, shooting and running for their lives at the same time. I could see them in the small village at night keeping watch over their platoon mates hyper vigilant and had to laugh that I could even compare my journey with theirs. This is a great example how real or imagined fear can throw our bodies into a fight or flight response.  

I flagged down a biker on a busy road which I hated being on and he directed me towards my location. 

Finally, 12 miles and 20,000 steps later, I found my way only to discover my friends were already headed down the hill.  

My next dilemma was getting down the hill and every friend I knew up the hill was out of town. No bus, but knowing uber was available was a comfort. Finally, a dear friend I hadn’t talked to for quite a long time, picked up the phone and came to my rescue. We had a wonderful time catching up drinking tea and driving down the hill.  

We have gotten so out of touch with the instantaneous gratification, we have forgotten our internal clock and drummer that still exist if we are quiet enough to hear our inner voice, act on it and trust it.  

Devoting ourselves to a daily practice of tuning into the inner wisdom that is always there and staying focused on what is and breathing in and breathing out is all that is required to stay present.  

Our mind’s job is to analyze, judge, barter and make a story to keep us from being in the present moment and asses what we need from moment to moment.  

As I sat in my favorite chair that night with my dogs and my husband by my side, I sighed remembering if we can sit (or walk) long enough, quiet our minds and listen to our hunches and intuition life becomes a blessed journey bringing us back to ourselves and all paths truly do lead us in the same direction.  

Of course it is never a straight line and there are many detours but that is part of the journey and dance of life that bring us back to ourselves where love, joy and beauty exist.

Trust your inner compass and enjoy the ride and remember “All Paths do Lead to the Same Direction even when you are lost.

Happy Traveling,

Cindy


Good News

 

image

Good News….

This is inspired by reading the paper and finding only bad news.
It’s tragic: You would think the world were coming to an end.
After my avoidance of the news all of my life really, I thought it time to educate myself and understand current events and history.
Honestly, I’ve found that there isn’t much sense to be made out of most of it.
While I enjoy being informed, it is one tragic set of affairs followed by the next. History repeats itself and things haven’t changed much and yet in many ways they have. We have a black man for president for the first time and the first woman is running for president so this is a major accomplishment but on a whole the media leads with fear and now some of our potential leaders are running away with that message as well.

I will attempt to share these magical moments of good news so you can look for them too and we can send a message to the world that all we need to do is start sharing the goodness we see in each human being and the many random acts of kindness given.

 
Sometimes my heart breaks when I feel and hear of so much suffering present in the world.  I know there is noting truly I can do about it but send light and love, make a donation, give a smile, hold someone’s hand, offer a sandwich but still tears run down my face.

In honor of good news:

As I took my place in line to get a prescription filled at the pharmacy for the dreaded C….

I waited patiently even though every ounce of me was fidgeting.
Finally when it was my turn, the checker at the counter was most gracious and offered to take me around the store to help me find the other things I needed. I found it rather odd as I generally feel shuffled off as soon as possible and am steered to the front of the store to pay.
When we were done she said “thank you very much for being so nice”.
I was so surprised when in fact she was the one in fact going out of her way to help me.
I said “aren’t most people nice”? “Oh no”, she said. “On the contrary, they are very rude and yell about everything not being just right.  I thought “if she only knew, I was feeling the same thing just seconds ago”.
I said “maybe they are in pain which is when people can be short and irritable and take it out on you but it isn’t you”.
She said “no they aren’t in pain, I know what pain looks like”.
We had an interesting conversation of people’s impatience ( much as I was feeling standing waiting in line until I recognized it and returned to my breath, staying present noticing my restlessness;  I rooted my feet to the earth, softened my breath, and used it as a moment of mindfulness ).
After all, the only one we hurt in those situations are ourselves. Our heart rate, blood pressure, cortisol levels raise, our muscles contract and we let our mind be disturbed.
And then of course the person on the receiving end gets the brunt of either our covert expressions or outward complaints sending a rippling effect out.

Pain, we decided together, might be many levels deep and we will never truly know what is behind it or what the person is going through.

We both left with appreciation. She felt better having someone with patience and got to kvetch  about all of her rude customers and I felt better that I used my waiting as an opportunity to be kind even though underneath, my impatience was bubbling up.
It was a beautiful exchange and reminder to use everyday moments as opportunities to first adjust my own attitude and then to interact with others that offer kindness and joy.

Oh, and the dreaded C is the colonoscopy which I could have been very impatient about since there is no part of me that wants to do this except for the very fact that it is routine at 50 unless you have a history in your genetics that might require it earlier and then every 10 years after that.

I can hardly wait to practice patience 😁😁😁 when I start the ghastly drink and meet my doctor in the morning for the procedure.

NO, I WON’T TELL YOU MY AGE OR WHY I AM GOING IN BUT I HAVE YOU GUESSING RIGHT?!  I’m sure this is more information that you cared to hear about but all I can say is if you’re lucky enough this will be you someday and then you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Just this week I heard some beautiful stories of 2 dogs, a whale, and dolphin and one strong woman.

I also heard a miraculous story of a young man and a whale.

Care to share?

I would LOVE to hear about it.

I’m off to the beach with my 2 dogs and husband to see if I can find them.

 

Love and Blessings,

Cindy

 

 

 

The Lesson of an Orange

image 

As I was walking on my path today I kicked an orange that had fallen from the tree. A light bulb went off when I realized I had done this way too many times. Somehow I had judged our oranges on our property as bitter and sour and not worth eating.

I had a bite out of one once and that was my experience. I bent down, picked it up and examined it.  It was true;  it was asymmetrical, smallish, the skin was rather soft with spots and it certainly didn’t look very appetizing.  And then I had a conversation with myself that went something like this: “This comes from my tree on my land that I grew and I’ve been poo pooing these oranges all of this time. I have judged it as being bad since that one bite even though I have been painstakingly feeding and watering it.  I still keep the bitterness in my mouth unwilling to open to new possibilities. How many other things do I do this with?  It is here to nourish me and is loaded with vitamins. This is food and some people don’t have food readily available. I am hungry this moment and I am turning my nose up and judging this piece of fruit that so graciously showed up for me , the same way I turn away from what’s good for me sometimes because of a past memory”.

Really?

Talk about judging a book by its cover.
And what’s worse, I go and buy these at the store often because I think mine aren’t good enough.

I sat down and peeled the orange and juice ran down my fingers. I put it in my mouth and it was so sweet and delicious, I was surprised.  As I thanked this delectable fruit, I was thankful for the sunshine, water, the people who planted this plant before I got here, the critters of the earth that mulch the soil, the birds and bees that pollinate it, and I thanked it for showing me all of the places that I think I’m not good enough like I thought this orange wasn’t good enough.  The time I think other people know better than me, that I think I am flawed, or they are, that I gained 2 lbs, that I have 3 new wrinkles on my face, that I wasn’t as tolerant with someone when I could have been.  Well, how can I be when I kick an orange out of my path that I don’t think is “good enough” or think I don’t measure up.

As I allowed the sweetness of the orange juice to drip down my throat I was grateful and become one with the fruit and forgave myself for taking it for granite and being so hard on myself and others.  I remembered it is my job to see things fresh with new eyes everyday, grow, forgive myself and others so I’m might have more sweetness in life.

Who would have guessed the lesson of the day would be received by the wisdom of an orange and to think I may have kicked that down the hill and missed the nectar and gift it had to offer.

I only have 5 pears on my tree but I’m going to go check them right now.
Who knows what they have to teach me.

Here’s to a juicy wonderful day!

Love and Blessings, 

❤️🙏🏼

Cindy

 

 

The Gift Of The Lake

Everyday is a gift at the lake.

image.jpeg
Today after my practice I strolled to the beach to see what treasures might be in store for me. It was just yesterday that one of my daughter’s Renee,  found the most beautiful pieces of liquid amber that washed up to the shore.

The other day my husband found a beautiful lure and it just so happens that I’m making a shadow box with special antique lures.

To my surprise today as I walked the beach I found another one.  About a month ago, a huge log floated in. I had been looking at buying one for an end table and low and behold, here it was and it had so much more character with beautiful rich colors than any of the ones I was looking at. I find when I know what I want and I’m patient things find their way to me.

I also found a very tiny empty shell reminding me that the critter is somewhere else now and has outgrown its home expanding to a new one, much the same as we do. When we are busy running so fast and trapped in the past or future, we may feel in the same rut and forget the beauty of feeling the earth at our feet, our breath that expands our chest and lungs, our sense of hearing the birds, the water, the smells and beauty around us.

Slow down and don’t miss these treasures that are ours every moment of everyday if we stop and listen. We continue to grow and expand. Nothing ever stays the same. The tide continues to teach me that lesson when somedays it’s smooth as glass and others it’s choppy and rough the same way life is.

Listen to what your heart says today and where it leads you. Where do you want to move to next leaving your shell that no longer fits to find the next?

Perhaps you are already living in the perfect spot for you this moment.
Basque in the delight of being content and joyful!

Life is a treasured gift to be lived in the present moment.

Blessings,

Cindy

A Window into Our First Day

8/27/15
A Window into Our First Day :unnamed
Life stands still looking out at the birds flying overhead spreading their wings.
Light filters into the room reflecting hues of green from the leaves that surround us as the sun takes its place in the sky.
Sideman, a small village central Eastside Bali near Padambai is quiet an remote amongst the rice terraces and lush palm trees and greens.  It is an artisans village where they specialize in colorful threads of double ikat and silk-woven clothes to be appointed on your walls, bed or body.
 The women painstakingly weave these beautiful threads and hand dye them with vegetables extractions teaching the younger generation to preserve these ancient customs.  It is out of the hustle and bustle of town and it’s been said that this is what Ubud was like 20 years or so ago.
On Sept 1st, the streets are closed and they have a cremation of about 100 people.  They create beautiful pagodas of animals and put the bodies in there to burn. After 7 days of prayer and preparation, they burn the bodies. Then they take them to the river to return them to the earth. Life is simpler here and in much the same way they have other celebrations, there is a communal synergy you don’t see in our part of the world.
They live together in family temples and collectively care for each other as a whole completing the cycle of life. It’s quiet here with the sounds of frogs, birds and insects buzzing, but at 8 or 9 we will begin to hear the scooters in this tiny village and gasp on the smell of the fumes as each one passes us.
The pool is small but well appointed and the temples on the property remind us to pause and reflect.  I am once again reminded to slow down as I do my breathing/meditation  and stretch qui overlooking the veranda.
My monkey mind is still fighting for survival but slowly I can feel a calmness wash over me as I sit on the couch contemplating my navel as I sip a cup of fresh brewed luwaik…. (coffee from the poop of a luwak.. gross sounding I know).

The Magic Bullet: Combating Fears and Phobias

 image8

I wonder if the one cup blender is so popular because we are all looking for the Magic Bullet in our lives.

I have news for you and you’re not going to want to hear it….. There isn’t one but the magic is there hidden behind layers and layers of denial and unconsciousness and it takes peeling back the onion skin to get to the core of that truth which takes time and patience.

We take a pill for everything these days and hope it will take away all of our troubles and cares and we will be worry free. I know a lot of people who take a pill for less than a hang nail. We are a quick fix society and we want to be happy, rich and skinny all of the time. Who doesn’t! With social media in our face 24/7 and seeing people sharing their happiest of moments or what “looks” happy in a picture, it’s easy to compare and judge our own life discounting ourselves and think these people have the perfect lives. Reality gets left out of those pictures and we don’t see the morning face of wrinkles before make up or a shave, taking out the garbage or sitting on the pot; thank god. But none the less, we extract out of it “Everyone is having an amazing life but me”. It’s the farthest thing from the truth in actuality.

You will hear people who have found something that has worked for them as if by magic and that is awesome. Staying open to trying new things which bring hope and change is something which we never want to lose sight of but it is generally learning to hold yourself through the ups and downs and surrounding yourself with a network of support that penetrate the magic inside you.

As we grow and move forward into the light and find solutions to problems, we continue to unfold and bring more joy to our internal world.

For some, medication is vital and needs to be adhered to, together with a self-care routine of exercise, affirmations, a healthy diet, sunshine, family and friends to fully thrive. When someone suffers with a phobia, fear, or something that is debilitating creating anxiety, darkness, panic and immobility; it is scary and a vicious cycle and takes patience, support and bringing in your army of support to combat this. YES: It can feel like you are going into battle and the battle ultimately is yourself and if you have your armor and tool bag ready, YOU CAN BEAT THIS! I often say; it’s only your mind and you are not your mind but that is easier said than done because the mind is so cunning, seductive and erodes and takes us down if we don’t catch it right away. The job of the mind is to judge, analyze and keep us in judgement. Under your mind is your higher self that loves, supports and is non judgmental AND that is what we need to practice assessing until we master it. Because that is the place that sets us free where peace and tranquility lie.

It usually goes like this: The imagined fear is a thought in your head which provokes a feeling of panic, fear, shakiness, doom and gloom etc. Then the mind comes in that says “oh no here we go again” which sets an alarm off in your head creating worry. When worry sets in we move out of the present moment (which is what starts this vicious cycle) and worry sets in about the upcoming event of the future which takes us out of the present moment where everything was fine. Fear takes on a life of its own. We start worrying that this is going to take us over which sets up a chain reaction of fight or flight in our bodies sending out messages and chemicals which are released that shoot adrenaline racing through our bloodstream exasperating the problem increasing cortisol levels. Depression sets in because we then worry we will never get out of this cycle and we feel powerless, hopeless and full of despair.

We have to break the cycle which is easier said than done. Sometimes medication is needed to help the synapses in the brain recover so we can take advantage of doing the other things that feed us emotionally and get us back engaged in life and bring us the peace that is rightfully ours. Meditation, exercise, breathing, affirmations, healthy food and drink are imperative to do everyday to keep you in the present moment and see what is driving you. There is always trigger and something that the fear is protecting you from on a deeper level.

When this happens to you try this step by step action:

1) Identify the feeling

2) Ask what this feeling is trying to protect you from.. there is always something

3) Ask yourself what is the worst thing than can happen

 When your mind starts the vicious cycle of negativity, fret and worry:

1) STOP in your tracks

2) Breath: Slow your breath and count 8 counts in, hold your breath 5 counts and then out 8 breathes, do this 8 times or continue until you slow down enough and relax your mind and body.

3) Look at what triggered the worry and what it’s trying to protect you from.

4) Have a list of affirmations that you can say to counter act each one and say them to yourself silently or out loud until you feel a shift.

5) Circle white light of protection all around you and take a touch stone with ‘ you in your pocket.

6) Tell yourself “me and the fear are walking together and I will be ok”

. 7) Have a list of things you can do when this happens that will soothe you and bring you back to calm and peace and serenity

8) Stay in the present breath until you calm down.

Example of a list

1) Meditate: Sit, light a candle, incense,

2) Breathe: Pick a flower and breath in the scent. deep breathing, breathing techniques with counting find others. Go to yoga and learn. Groth breath work is great.

3) Remind yourself this is protecting you in a weird way and you will be ok.

4) Go for a walk

5) Call a friend

6) Write in your journal

7) Go to a movie

8) Stay present in this moment only

9) Say your affirmations

10) plant a plant

11) do whatever you are doing bringing your attention to your breath

12) Go to a class

Continue adding to this list.

Remember: You are never given a wish without also being given the power to make it come true.  You may have to work at it however”. – Richard Bach- Remind yourself of that and never lose hope no matter how hopeless or long the situation has been going on. While it might feel like forever and it will never change all of life is change and all things come to pass with time.

There is a magic bullet and the magic is you uncovering your beautiful free self while you continue on your journey. Please share your insights of how you have changed so we can help each other grow to our fullest potential of light and love which is our birth rite.

Blessings, Cindy