Emotional Balance

Emotional balance has been unfolding in my life for 50 years.  One of the biggest hurdles has been letting go of the belief that my emotions define me; that I am what I am currently feeling.  I now define emotion as: e-motion = energy in motion.  When I am experiencing a specific emotion, I realize that it is energy moving through my entire being.  It is energy that has been given a name such as happiness, sorrow, anger, etc.  Remembering this helps me release judgement about the nature of that energy.  Energy is energy; it is neither good nor bad; it just is.

As practices for the body and mind (yoga, meditation, healthy eating, exercise, fresh air, loving friends, etc.) have become consistent in my life, my emotions have become more consistent as well.  For the most part, my emotions fit what I am experiencing in the moment.  When each of my parents died, I was deeply sad and grieved.  I was also profoundly grateful that I was with them in their transitions. I was proud to be their daughter. I was also grateful for everything they had given me over the years.  So many emotions flowed during those times and I felt them all. Intense and fulfilling all at once.

In releasing judgement, I view these experiences in terms of intensity.  Seldom is overwhelming happiness described as bad, yet it is every bit as intense as sorrow and can be just as exhausting.  My granddaughter’s birth was so intensely joyful that there were times I didn’t sleep very well.  There were times when I quietly cried for happy.  Intense.

On the other end of the spectrum, I choose not to take in news about things like child abuse because the depth of anger I feel on behalf of these innocents is almost frightening to me.  But is anger always “bad?”  Not in my opinion, because there are many people who have been inspired to acts of bravery because of the anger that arises within them.  Anger and frustration with things I had allowed or created in my life have given me the courage to make very difficult changes.  Intense.

Intensity is seldom comfortable, which is why these energies are judged as bad or unhealthy.  The key, is – guess what? – balance!  It makes more sense to realize that imbalance in the emotional body creates confusion and can be destructive than to set the goal of never feeling these things.  When I feel angry, can I allow myself to be in it in a way that leads me to action, forgiveness or compassion?  If so, I will quickly return to peace and tranquility.  My actions will be appropriate to the situation and to my desire and intention to live lovingly and compassionately.  It is when I avoid and stuff or hide my feelings that my behavior becomes inappropriate and possibly destructive.

Balance is the key. Here are a few reasonable goals:  Feel without being thrown against the wall by the intensity of emotions. Be willing to sit with the discomfort in order to remember that energy in motion does not define me; it is something you are experiencing in the moment.  It will diminish, shift, transform because that is the nature of energy.  Embrace the experience for what it is:  a human experience that does not change or define your True Self, a spiritual being. Be patient and remember that it takes time and maturity to come into this awareness in every aspect of your being: physical, mental, emotional.  You don’t have to change everything at once.  You don’t have to fight yourself and judge yourself.  You do not have to be perfect.  You can be in this moment, experience it, and be all that you are.  You can unfold into True Self as naturally as a healthy tree matures and produces perfect fruit.

One of my favorite responses to myself when I explode into emotional intensity and catch myself in the midst of it is:    Well, Catherine Ann, welcome to the human race!


A Busy Time

I have always kept things quite simple during the holidays. Yesterday I went to pick up a gift or two for my granddaughter. All around me were parents, some with children with them, looking at toys and discussing options. I took a few deep breaths because I was I in the mood to shop – not my normal state of being 😉. As I strolled through different aisles, I noticed a few faces. Most were drawn and weary. Voices ebbed and flowed, some of tired, whiney children, others of tense parents currently not in agreement. I felt a little sad.

I decided to look at clothes and get out of the turmoil. It was not my intention to buy her clothes but walking away gave me a little time to breathe and focus. “Just be here and think about Hannah. Just be here within your own heart and mind.” As I did so, I found the stillness and peace that is True Self and it was fun to find things I knew she would like. It was fun to pay for them and exchanged smiles and laughs with the cashier.

Often lately my mantra is “Just be here, in this moment, in this place. Just be here.”

A Human Tendency

Have you ever noticed how your mind has a tendency to go to the one thing in your life that worries you or makes you sad? Everything else can be wonderful but you get hung up on that one thing? Welcome to the human race.

So, if it is part of human nature at times to dwell on what makes me sad, then I am given the opportunity to lean into and live from my spiritual nature.

It is a spiritual practice to return over and over again to what I believe is true. The emotion of the moment that creates my discomfort becomes the u-turn sign that points me within. When I turn within, I connect with the Divine, the Source of all life, all love, all peace and contentment. Now I am able to experience contentment even as I acknowledge sadness, worry, fear, etc. I can even have fun!

It is a practice and practicing means to do something over and over until it becomes natural to you. Remember that, even when it becomes natural to you, there will always be the need for consistent use of the practice to maintain your peace and contentment.

Love All Ways.

This morning

I am sitting in bed and the rising sun is shining into my window. It illuminates the Chinese Noren covering the window, which softens the light without totally blocking it. Quan YIn sits on the altar beneath this window reminding me to be still. I close my eyes and let my hands rest in my lap. My breath draws me inward and I feel the silent peace of a dawning day.

Turning on my iPad, I open my blog page. The Quick Draft box asks me “What’s On Your Mind?” This morning I quietly laugh and realize my answer is “Absolutely nothing!”

What a sweet day to begin a new day! May yours be blessed with love, peace, joy. Namaste.

Love and Light in Form

Divine Love awaits your awareness.

You are that Love and Light in Form. You are Divine Love manifesting as you are be-ing human.

So often we seek to do the right thing so God will approve and love us. We follow all of the rules and, still, a marriage fails or a loved one dies. We feel we have fallen short or even that we are being punished.

It isn’t so, dear hearts. Love was and is there all the time. The Divine simply Is, everywhere, all the time.

Divine Love awaits your awareness. Rather than work so hard to “do,” receive the Love that awaits. Rather than work so hard at “becoming,” receive the truth of who you are: you exist because of the Divine spark of Love and Light within you. Let yourself BE who you are. Divine Love awaits your awareness. Please surrender to the truth and let go of the need to be “less than” so that you can justify your unhappiness and your struggle.

Divine Love awaits your awareness. Turn your awareness within to the Love and Light that brought you into be-ing so that you could BE Love and Light shining through your humanity.

You are Love and Light in form. Fan the fire of the Divine within you and Shine! As you surrender to the Truth of Who You Are: Thought processes will clarify and settle into Love and Light; Behaviors will begin to manifest your Divine Essence; Love and Light will be expressed in how you think about and treat yourself and others; Emotions will come into a healthy balance and you will know Joy.

Divine Love Awaits Your Awareness.

What Were You Taught To Fear?

I find snakes and lizards of all kinds and sizes fascinating and, for the most part, beautiful. My daughter-in-law is afraid of snakes. There is a reptile house at our local zoo and I have wanted to take my granddaughter in to see everything. Her sweet mother doesn’t even want to walk by it. Yesterday was my opportunity because my son and I took Hannah to the zoo by ourselves. I was very excited and my daughter-in-law was relieved that she didn’t have to be with us at the reptile house!

Hannah ran from window to window and it took some effort to get her to slow down so I could be sure she was actually seeing the snakes and lizards. She just turned two a few months ago so she had no idea what to look for. One of the small snakes was the color of lime sherbet; it almost looked like it would glow in the dark. She was fascinated. I think her favorites were the large lizards. At one window she said, “Gama your lizard (the one on my fence) is small and this lizard is very big!” What a joy to introduce this sweet being to creatures many people avoid because they are so frightened.

That experience was the highlight of my day. It was a special day at the zoo: field trips from at least 4 different schools. The reptile house was filled with shining faces and small hands pressed against glass to see white, yellow, green, brown, and black snakes. Squeals of excitement rang out as wide eyes came upon Gilda monsters. No fear; only openness to things they had only seen pictures or drawings of before that moment. I am grateful that these children have been given the opportunity to appreciate another living being rather than fear it because someone else does. I am grateful to my daughter-in-law for consciously choosing not to pass her fear on to her daughter.

I am grateful to my parents who taught me to respect that some snakes are poisonous and for taking the time to be sure I knew the difference. When I was little, we were stationed in New Mexico so the knowledge was important. I am grateful to the parents of a classmate in 4th grade whose parents let him have a pet snake. He brought it to school and we all were allowed to hold it, pet it, learn from it and him. I always smile because he carried it in a pillowcase that he could hang from his head and still ride his bike to school!

Life has taught me to fear some things and even some people. I continue to heal those parts of myself that hold unreasonable fear. Fear can be my friend and teacher at times because it alerts to me potential danger so that I can make wise choices. It has taken some practice to learn when to welcome Teacher Fear and when to release and heal fear that hampers my life flow and my ability to embrace life fully. Perhaps another day I will delve more into that process. Today it is enough to recognize that many of our fears are based on how we have been taught to perceive what we are experiencing rather than the truth of who we are and what is happening.

Aum shanti.

What Emanates From Me?

We have all experienced times when a loved one is in crisis. For many of us, our natural instinct is to help. What can I say or do to make this better? What does my loved one need to heal, recover, or be exonerated in this situation? Our heart’s desire is to support, to help, to make it better.

There are situations that are so overwhelming on the human level that I am left speechless. Those of you who know me may chuckle at the thought that I am ever without words! Yet there I am without a thought in my head in response to what I am seeing or hearing. All I have in that moment is “I love you.” Isn’t it interesting that I think that is not enough? Yeah. Think about that for a minute.

I spent many years in support groups learning how to let people live out their own situations. I had to learn to stay in my own life and take care of me so that I could wisely discern when my help was necessary and truly supportive, when a hug or a kind word was my greatest gift, or when quietly showing up with food or a restaurant gift card met an immediate need.

When those closest to me (my children or other family members) are suffering, is when I am most challenged to stay in my own life. Learning about energy and emotions and what love really is has helped me to understand the greatest gift I can give to others. I will try to put this into words with clarity and simplicity.

Love is the Divine Emotion. Like all emotions, It is energy in motion (e-motion). Energy emanates out from my being on all levels of awareness – this is what an aura is. My aura is the energy that emanates out from the physical body that I am currently occupying. My aura fluctuates, sometimes expanding outward without limit and other times moving close to my physical body. Emotions are powerful energies; some are extremely intense. For example, have you ever felt heat emanate off a person who is furious? Anger is an intensely hot energy, isn’t it? Have you ever entered a room where everyone is quietly going about their business yet you can feel tension in the air? Conflict can be felt long after those involved have stopped arguing.

So, what emanates out from my body when someone I love is suffering? What am I “sending” to them when I think about them? I believe that what I am feeling for them goes to them. If one of my children calls me and shares something they are struggling with or hurting over, I remind myself that my response matters – not because I can fix everything for them but because we are so deeply connected that my energy will interact with theirs quickly and even from a great distance. If I worry and fret, that is what they will feel from me and it may cause them not to reach out because they don’t want to upset me. They may also feel that I don’t have faith in their ability to deal with life. Is that what I want? Absolutely not!

Now, my intention is very different from what it used to be. I still hurt when my dear ones hurt; I grieve and am profoundly sad at times. What is different is my awareness that this will emanate out from me to them during stressful times. My spiritual practice becomes clear. I sit with my own emotions and honor my own pain, moving through these feelings as quickly as I can. Then I fill my heart, mind and body with light and love for that person. I envision my love as soft light that bathes them and permeates their being physically, mentally and emotionally. Every time my loved one comes to mind, I take a slow breath and picture them bathed in light and love. I send them blessings and silently tell them that I love them and I believe in them. And I let this be enough. I trust that, when they think of me, the only thing they feel is my love and my faith that this will work to their highest good.

And it is also what I say when given the opportunity: I love you, sweetheart, and I believe in you. I trust you to find a way and I trust the Divine to bring you your highest good.

In the moment, this doesn’t always feel like enough. My experience, however, has shown me that it is enough. Loved ones have come back to me and said they trust me with their struggles because I don’t try to fix everything or give them all the answers. They tell me that they know I believe in them. Whew! The first few times it blew my mind! It still makes me emotional because their highest good is what truly matters to me. And it is grace in action to understand on a deep level that I do NOT know what is best for others in any given moment.

May you be blessed today with the wisdom and understanding of what is best for you. I love you and I believe in you. May your life unfold for your highest good and the highest good of all.


The Ego in Balance With The Soul

I am currently using a guided meditation program produced by Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey. It is titled “Miraculous Relationships.” Of primary focus is my relationship with myself because, in this context, I am the center. How I see myself and feel about myself determines the balance and well-being of all of my relationships.

In one of the meditations, Deepak Chopra says that my self-image is the result of who my ego thinks that I am. I have been thinking a lot about this because I have come to believe that one of the keys to a good life is a healthy, balanced ego. I have heard it said many times over the years that we have to overcome or do away with ego. These teachings never resonated with my soul. I have also known yoga/meditation practitioners whose goal is to release emotion. My experience with these people is that it is difficult, if not impossible, to interact and have a relationship with them. I can only love them as their personalities dissolve; it is as though they are disappearing.

Please hear me: I do not have all the answers. However, when talking with teachers I know, love, and trust, I am guided to balance and wholeness. Balanced emotions allow me to embrace life with passion while not being ruled by emotion. For example, I can experience deep loss and allow myself to grieve until I am finished grieving and not be devastated. I can admit that I am disappointed without letting that disappointment drag me into depression, hopelessness, or judgement.

Dealing with the ego is a bit more complex. In a private session with Richard Miller years ago, we spoke of ego getting in the way. He was the first one to clearly say that it is a healthy ego we need rather than a banished ego. Have you ever known someone with a lack of self-assurance or confidence who is, at the same time, arrogant and controlling? It occurs to me that the ego of this person rises up to hide that lack. It boasts and claims to be in charge to protect the person who feels less adequate than others. There is another possibility for those who feel insecure within themselves, who don’t know who they are. The ego can make them fearful of trying something difficult because they might not succeed. This was my issue when I was young. I was taught to be confident and things came to me rather easily through high school. Because of that, I didn’t have many opportunities to learn how to carry things through to completion whether I succeeded or not.  That began to change in college. When hurdles presented themselves, I felt overwhelmed and tended to quit rather than fail. Rather than being challenged from within to figure it out and find solutions, I gave up because somehow I thought successful people got it right the first time. My ego told me time and time again that I couldn’t get it right. It felt safer not to take many risks.

As I have played with this idea of self-image being who my ego thinks I am, I smile with the realization that my ego has become more balanced as I have stayed with my yoga and meditation practice over the years. Just as my emotions are healthier and I embrace life with passionate equanimity, my ego is healthier and tends to be more attuned to my Soul, my True Self. Ego is learning that I am this loving and compassionate being who currently lives in this body-mind but who is not defined by it. Ego is learning that expanded, enlightened awareness is not a threat to its existence. This Awareness is, instead, what allows ego to attune to and be in balance with True Self. The result that is emerging is a self-image based on the truth of who I am.

I am a spiritual being currently having a human experience. As my awareness expands, my desire to manifest love and compassion while in human form is supported by an ego getting healthier every day, an ego that “gets me.” I am laughing as I type that….is it happiness or is it my ego thinking it has fooled me into thinking I am enlightened once again??!!


Are you waiting for something to happen that will make you happy? When I was growing up, the books I read and the movies I saw all intimated that life promised a happy ending. I believed it all. I dated in high school but never had a long-term or steady boyfriend. I dated in college but was never pinned or engaged. The illusion began to wear thin. I was married during the Viet Nam War and I loved married life and becoming a mother. It was not the fairy tale ending I assumed from the movies and books. It was hard and I wasn’t happy all the time. Aren’t I supposed to be happy all the time? I was having a difficult keeping the illusion alive.

Along the way, I began to understand the difference between happiness and contentment. For me, contentment comes from within, from being at peace with myself and my life in that moment. It springs from a deep place of knowing my Oneness with Source and With All That Is. It is sweet and enduring even in the face of deep sorrows and disappointments. Happiness has more to do with outer experiences and circumstances. It is more likely to come and go. I know now that it is okay to be unhappy about something though it is best not to abide there. Like disappointment, unhappiness is an energy that can inspire me to make healthy changes in my life. Unheeded, it can drag me down.

Years ago I watched an interview with the Dalai Lama. (I apologize for not remembering who did the interview so that I can reference it more specifically.) The Dalai Lama has not had an easy life, as most of you know. In light of that, the interviewer described him as a person from whom joy bubbles up naturally and often, quite like the refreshing water from an Artesian well. This was evident in the interview as His Holiness would grow quite serious and express sorrow over all that his people continue to suffer. There was film footage of him greeting refugees coming out of Tibet and weeping with them as he listened to their stories. After resting, he sat with the journalist and laughter bubbled up as he spoke of other experiences or shared thoughts about the meaning of life itself. He gave me a vivid image of the balance of emotions in a life lived fully and passionately.

I have met others along the way who believe that enlightenment means the opposite. They live with little emotional response to life at all. It is true they are not tossed about by the waves of life but I haven’t encountered them on the ziplines of life either! This is the path they have chosen and I honor that for them. For me, I want those “Wahoo!” moments and I am willing to embrace the deep sorrows as well because I know it all comes and goes. I know the well of contentment within. I know true joy which never ceases, even if it grows quiet at times.

There are no longer “Somedays…” in my life. There is now. Living mindfully from True Self is quite enough for me. It is a ride of cosmic proportions and I am grateful for the journey, especially now that I know who I Am.

Group Energy

I attended my first yoga class in my new home town this afternoon. The studio is called Yoga Blend and it is on Magnolia Avenue in Burbank, California. It was recommended to me by my daughter-in-law, my fellow yoga teacher, and my new friend who is a neighbor in the complex where I live.

I have been doing my own practice but there is nothing that compares to taking a class and experiencing the energy of a like-minded group. I did not know a single person in that room but we all came seeking the gifts of hatha yoga. We all came equipped with a mat, a body and mind, and a breath.

I came away feeling like my body was my own instrad of some tight, stiff vehicle that had carried me around but didn’t feel like me. Now, four hours later, I am beginning to feel where the muscles stretched or worked. There is that sweet tenderness that lets me know my practice released pent-up toxins, tightness and emotions. A cup of soothing mint tea is steeping on the kitchen counter. I will sip it after I finish this and have a quiet evening, preparing for a night of restorative sleep – and perhaps dreams of rainbows and unicorns.

Group energy takes me where I cannot go alone. No thinking “what next,” just relaxing into the guidance of a caring teacher. I could feel the energy of those around me as each person turned within and honored themselves and others with their mindful presence.

It was just what I needed and I am reminded to always be in gratitude for my teachers and their teachers, for the knowledge and traditions passed down through the generations. Yoga is a gift taken deep into my being when my heart and mind are open to receive. Thank you, Divine Love, for bringing yoga and meditation into my life.

Aum shanti. Namaste.