The Point of Balance

From “Zen Cards” by Daniel Levin:

The center is not always the point of balance. When you find that place where Balance is achieved, peace will result in all situations. There is no conflict, for everything rests without strain.

As I read this, I wonder…..then I pick up an un-sharpened No. 2 pencil. I lay it across one finger at its center point and ¬†it falls off. Of course it does. The eraser end is heavier than the writing end. I move its resting point toward the eraser end. It balances.

So what? Well, balance is essential to our wellbeing. Healthy diet, reasonable amounts of exercise, fresh air, sleep, and the meeting of other physical needs keeps the body in balance. Attention to these things benefits our physical wellbeing. Many of these things are also necessary for mental and emotional balance, and thus, wellbeing. Too much sugar and not enough sleep directly affect how we react/respond to daily life. These two things can throw our mental/ emotional balance off very quickly.

I am thinking and writing about these things because I have been assessing my own habits in light changes in my own life. I want to be stronger, more active, continue to learn, grow, and serve. I am finding what works for me and I am inviting you to sit with these ideas now and then and see if you can discern your own needs in ways that create more balance, energy, happiness, and joy for you.

Blessings of Love and LightūüíęūüíĖūüôŹ

Seeking Balance

Human beings are designed for balance.  Homeostasis is the natural mechanism that functions 100% of the time to establish and maintain balance.  It is an automatic and wonderfully complex process.  Mental and emotional balance are part of homeostasis because there is no separation among the body, mind, and emotions. What affects one, affects all Рwhether that effect is toward health and wholeness or dis-ease and imbalance. I can enhance balance by my lifestyle choices, making it easier for my body to achieve balance and wholeness. I can exhaust it when my lifestyle choices undermine the process.

I can raise my own awareness by asking myself these questions:  Am I helping or hurting myself?  What are the patterns in my life?  What do I want to experience? Do the choices I make in any given moment support or undermine my fundamental desires?

Have you known someone who is faced with overwhelming life challenges and yet remains loving, kind and able to find joy in small ways? Do you wonder where they find the strength to go on? Is it possible their level of self-awareness is a major factor?

Have you ever known someone who consistently creates chaos while bemoaning their fate and wishing for a more peaceful, happy life?  Do you wonder why nothing ever goes their way? Is it possible their level of self-awareness is a major factor?

My observation is that both people, consciously or not,  are seeking balance.  What we need to understand is that this balance comes from within our beings, not from the circumstances outside of us. It emanates from our personal choices moment-by-moment. The results f those choices hinge on the level of our self-awareness, our consciousness.

So, if a person is chaotic within themselves, they will manifest chaos outside themselves because, to them, this feels like balance. And they are right. What they experience inside and outside is in balance but this does not create peace and contentment.

If a person is balanced and peaceful within themselves, they will manifest balance and peace outside themselves because, to them, this feels like balance.  And they are right. What they experience inside and out is in balance and it does create peace and contentment.

The¬†difference is that one¬†achieves a¬†healthy balance and one¬†does not.¬† Remember that balance is not a static state.¬† Even the healthiest balance waivers now and then.¬†The question is “What am I creating and how am I living the majority of the time?”

Life is not about perfection.  It is about balance and harmony and wholeness.

It Is What It Is

From “Desiderata” by Max Ehrmann:

 As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

There are times when I reach out to another from a place of sensitivity and compassion only to be met with defensiveness and resentment. In the first moments of this response, I am wounded and begin to wonder how I have wounded this person, often a loved one. I know my intention was clear as I sought to share love so did I express myself that poorly?

Then this quote comes to mind and heart. I keep a wall hanging in my home of “Desiderata” because for fifty years its wisdom has taught me, guided me, and soothed my heart and soul. My truth is that my intention was one of love and I know that I can only be who I am in any given moment. The response probably had absolutely nothing to do with me.

So, I take another line from Max Ehrmann:

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, & remember what peace there may be in silence.

I enter into the silence within, remembering that I can only be at peace with another person if they allow it. When that doesn’t happen, I turn into the peace of my Soul and know that it is what it is. I surrender to the moment and choose healing and peace over woundedness. In these moments of silence and surrender, I find the ability, the love for myself, that allows me to “go placidly amid the noise and haste” produced by the turmoil of another’s heart and mind.

Yes, there is some sadness and I embrace that as part of this oh-so-human experience. In the silence even the sadness feels different and soon dissipates. Life is what it is and each person’s path is unique and sacred. I honor my own path and, in surrendering any need to teach, help, or fix, I honor the paths of others.

Be blessed today for you are Divinely, eternally, unconditionally loved. Namaste.

Everything Is One Thing

Some of my earliest memories are of feeling the Divine Presence in nature. My parents grew up on sheep ranches in northern Nevada and animals were always a part of life for them. My dad joined the Army Air Corp just months before Pearl Harbor so I grew up as the daughter of an Air Force pilot. No sheep though once we had a pig for a while. Dad won the costume contest at one of the base functions and Tojo was the prize! We had dogs and we spent most of our recreational hours outside, whether in the yard or camping by a river.

Last night I was reviewing a journal I started last May. A journal that, for some reason, I set aside about six weeks ago. The intention of this particular journal is to list some things from my day that brought me pleasure or joy, that allowed me to give and/or receive love, things that inspired me. One of the entries struck me so sweetly that I would like to share it with you this morning.

May 29, 2016

Pleasure: morning walk,prayer,talking with a squirrel – it sat on a tree very close to me and looked at me for quite some time. I spoke a few words, almost in a whisper and we seemed connected. Then Squirrel took its right front “hand” in a wee fist and touched its chest (heart). It stayed like that looking at me until I did the same and then it brought its hand down and so did I – and we parted. It was so sweet.

I walked on and felt the life force energy of the trees that canopy the streets here. I felt welcomed, known, supported.

Everything Is One Thing. I am not a squirrel and a squirrel is not a human being and yet, for a moment, we were part of the same thing. Different but not separate. Different but not separate.

People think I am so “disciplined” to walk or ride my bike every day. Nope. Discipline has nothing to do with it. Nature is God loving my very Soul, My True Self flourishes when I experience creation, when I feel the Divine in Everything, including myself.



I just read a quote on the Chopra Center Home Page:

When you make a choice, you change the future. (Deepak Chopra)

My initial response was, to my surprise, that I do not agree with that statement. It implies to me that my future is set, pre-determined, and I do not believe that. I was surprised because I have never disagreed with anything I have heard or read from Deepak Chopra. I haven’t always understood but I have never disagreed. Needless to say, I had to do some thinking about this statement. What does it mean? What is my truth? Do I really not believe it or would I simply articulate it differently? I thought my future was a field of infinite possibilities ( Dr. Chopra’s term)?

As I sat with all of this, numerous scenarios came to mind that helped me to come into clarity. As I type this, I find that I agree with what he said in certain situations and that I would say it differently in others. For example, numerous women have shared with me over the years that they are unhappy in their marriages. Each has said almost the same thing to me, the same reason that she stays in a relationship that is wearing her down, often creating extreme health issues, and undermining her own spiritual growth and sense of True Self. She tells me that she loves him and she knows “God put them together so that she could help her husband get or stay clean and sober, find God or enlightenment, etc.” She is willing to be sad, lonely, unhappy, ill, and perhaps die in the process. Sounds extreme, doesn’t it? It is extreme and she doesn’t realize she has put herself in the position of being responsible for someone else’s spiritual journey. In this scenario, I completely agree with the above quote. If she makes a choice to leave the relationship, she will definitely change the future she is currently creating. Now she has opened the door for that field of infinite possibilities for herself and, most likely, for her husband because now he will be responsible for what he is creating and he can choose to change his choices or not.

How would I say what Deepak Chopra is talking about? I would say this:

When you make a choice, you are creating your future.

Please notice that I was specific about the consequences experienced by the woman. Her health and her own spiritual journey was being seriously compromised. I have known women who stayed in similar relationships and who continued to mature spiritually and be healthy and happy in the process. They were making choices every day that supported their own highest good. Some of their husbands or lovers began making healthier, wiser choices for themselves; some did not.

When you make a choice, you are creating your future. It can either be more of the same (for better or for worse depending on the present) or it can look very different from what you are currently “seeing.” Do you get it? You can either keep creating what you are creating or, if your present isn’t what you want, ¬†you can begin to shift your creation….hopefully toward your own highest good and the highest good of all.

For some of you, this is a lot to take in and grasp. Be gentle, loving and compassionate with yourself and others. Let your truth unfold within you, turn within to Divine Love and Wisdom, seek guidance, and trust your Higher Self to lead you into your highest good.

Peace and Love All Ways.

Simple Tools

Meditate:   Sit comfortably with a tall spine. Rest your hands palms up on your lap. Feel the flow of your breath and then count each breath from 1 to 10 and 10 back down to 1. Slowly open your eyes and notice how you feel.

Walk: Stroll rather than power walking and listen. Really listen to the sounds in the park, on the mountain, or in your neighborhood. Stroll and see. Really see the gentle breeze in the trees or the ways the sun casts its shadows. Stroll and feel. Really feel the movement of your legs and feet, your arms, and your breath.

Eat: Notice the colors and smells of your food. Chew slowly and taste the flavors. Share meals with friends and talk about the food and beverages. What are your favorite flavors and colors of foods? What about textures? Do you like crisp, crunchy, creamy, chunky? (Be sure to include sufficient healthy fluids to hydrate the body.)

Rest: For at least 5 minutes, sit in a comfortable chair and put your feet up or lay down with your feet slightly higher than the back of your head. Close your eyes, feel your breath, and be aware of your body gently releasing into the chair or sofa. Feel your body soften into the support you are giving it. Appreciate that feeling. Learn it.

Laugh: Even when forced, laughter stimulates the release of healing chemicals in the body. It eases the mind and comforts the heart.

Do a little: It is not necessary to change your entire life in a day. Choose one thing to try on each day. For example, if you run or power walk regularly, choose one day a week to stroll instead. This allows your muscles to recover while enhancing mindfulness and relaxing the mind and emotions. Another day do a simple meditation before work or before turning off the light at night. Five things are listed here so do one a day each week for two or three weeks. What are the benefits? What do you like to do best? Incorporate those things more than once a week and slowly build new practices or rituals that enhance the quality of your internal and external life.

Let it be easy. Love yourself. Namaste.

Water Consciousness

I live in a state currently experiencing drought. It is heartbreaking to see what is happening. I have lived through serious drought before. My father was stationed on the island of Okinawa when I was in high school. When we first arrived, the situation was so serious that water was being rationed. People living off base, islanders as well as military personnel, had running water 4 hours a day. The base we lived on housed the primary water systems so our water was never turned off but we were under restrictions, such as taking “Navy showers.” This means you turn the water on long enough to wet your body. You turn it off while you soap up and wash. You turn it back on to quickly rinse off. Each house was given a large barrel and a water truck came around once a week to fill it. This was water not suitable for consumption that we used to hand flush toilets and clean house or do laundry. It was a lesson I never forgot about the precious commodity we so often take for granted: water.

It hasn’t come to rationing yet in California but rain cannot come too soon. Experiencing this again has heightened my awareness of the value and beauty of water in and of itself. In choosing to focus on being grateful for water and staying positive, I have returned to the work of Dr. Masaru Emoto. His original works “Messages From Water” (1 and 2) made me aware of the power of intention and I have used his photographs of the crystals that form in water under every water bottle, glass, or cup of liquid for years. The cell structure of water changes as it is exposed to thought forms, concepts, intentions. Fascinating, wonder-filled, empowering information!

His book “The HIdden Messages in Water” is even more powerful as he takes what he has discovered to the molecular structure of our bodies, which are 70-90% water. I have reminded my students over the years of this fact with relationship to moon phases. If the moon moves the oceans, creating the cycle of the tides, why do we think we are not affected also? For example, Native American teachings suggest that the full moon, rather than being a negative influence, simply intensifies what is currently being experienced. If I am balanced and happy and joyful during a full moon, that will be intensified, If I am confused, cranky and unhappy, that will be intensified. When I am the latter, why then could I not engage the full moon energy to shift what I am experiencing. If I embrace gratitude or force laughter, will that not be intensified? Oh yeah, it will! So now the full moon energy becomes my ally in shifting heavy energy to a lighter flow.

Dr. Emoto takes this further as his photographs of crystals formed in water reveal a direct correlation to what water is shown or exposed to in his experiments. His photographs of crystals formed in response to gratitude, thank you, love, etc. are more stunning than any gem or jewel ever made by human hand. I have wept at the beauty of what is produced in water by a simple word or thought. I am also taken back by the importance of my practice in maintaining my own health and well-being in light of this information.

He emphasized the importance of gratitude and appreciation of water, yes, but also of ourselves and one another. These positive, powerful qualities affect the very cells of our body because we are, more than anything else, composed of water!!

I will end this entry with a quote from “The Hidden Messages in Water” and hope that your cannot resist the urge to explore his work more deeply. It has changed me fundamentally. From page 81 of the chapter titled “Consciousnes Creates All,”

Perhaps we are finally beginning to see that the direction we are moving in leads nowhere.  We have sacrificed too much in order to secure the riches of life. Forrests have been destroyed and clean water lost, and we have cut up and sold the earth itself.

What the world needs now is gratitude. We must begin by learning what it means to have enough. We need to feel gratitude for having been born on the planet so rich in nature, and gratitude for the water that makes our life possible. Do we really know how wonderful it is to be able to breathe a big breath of clean air?

If you open your eyes, you will see that the world is full of so much that deserves your gratitude.

When you have become the embodiment of gratitude, think about how pure the water that fills your body will be. When this happens, you yourself will be a beautiful, shining crystal of light.


Chakra Visualization for Balance

My last entry was about the fifth chakra energy of self-expression. In that post, I included the colors associated with each chakra. The colors are primary and align naturally in rainbows and prisms – and in us. One of my favorite and most practical meditations uses these colors to enhance balance throughout my chakra system. Read through this presentation and try it for yourself. You can even record your own meditation for future use. Hearing your own voice guiding you through your energy system is powerful.

Create a comfortable place to sit or stretch out fully – you choose. Begin by connecting with the flow of your breath by taking 3-5 slow, expansive breaths and let yourself melt deeply into your exhales. Then let your breath return to a normal, soft flow.

Feel your entire body and the flow of your breath. Form the intention of creating balance with a simple affirmation. A few possibilities are:  I am balance itself.  I experience balance in body, mind, heart and spirit.  My chakras align with my soul. My chakra system is balanced.

Bring your awareness to the first chakra at the pelvic floor and visualize the pelvis as a shallow bowl. Breathe into that bowl slowly and gently and let it fill with red earth energy, hot like the earth’s core.

As you continue to breathe into the bowl, the energy rises and begins to fill the lower abdomen. As the second chakra receives this energy, the color becomes a deep orange and only slightly cooler.

The belly fills and the energy rises toward the space behind the naval, the third chakra. Now the energy is yellow and bright like the sun. It warms the center of your being and, for a moment, your breath expands again.

As it does, the energy continues to rise and you feel the base of the ribcage open to receive. Now the energy cools slightly and the color transforms to a rich verdant green as the heart center or fourth chakra opens wide and is filled with the Love of All That Is.

Breathe into the heart and let the energy rise even higher to the throat. The fifth chakra opens and the energy becomes rich and blue like the robes of royalty. Upper chest, throat and neck, jaw and mouth soak it up and relax into the openness of love and light.

Still the breath carries the energy upward to the sixth chakra at the base of the skull and the center of the forehead. The third eye fills with a much lighter, clearer energy that has become amethyst purple.

This energy rises to the crown of the head, chakra seven, and expands outward into All That Is. All awareness meets and crystal white light begins to gently swirl into a downward spiral that enters your body through the crown.

As it rotates down it collects each color: purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red. Now a spiral of rainblow light, energy, flows up and down through the chakra system bringing balance, wholeness, oneness. Embrace this rainbow spiral. Let it flow gently and freely as you immerse yourself in oneness, balance and wholeness. Stay in this space as long as you like.

When you are ready to emerge, expand your breath slowly and gently and feel your body move with your breath. Breathe into your toes and fingers and slowly begin to move. If stretched out, return to a sitting position.

Bring your hands namaste to the heart. Take 3-5 deep, slow breaths. Bring to mind your affirmation and repeat it a few times. Bow as you whisper “Namaste” to end your meditation.

Aum shanti, dear hearts.

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.

Are You Listening to Your Body?

I am currently participating in the free 21-day meditation experience offered through the Deepak Chopra web site. He and Oprah present these meditations throughout the year. Each session takes just twenty minutes and I would encourage you to visit the site and consider participating at some point.

Today’s meditation focused on being successful in the care of your body. A journal is provided after you meditate to bring your experience into your practical life experience.

I want to share this idea with you and ask if you have learned how to hear your body’s messages, its voice. A very simple example comes from my own life. Years ago, when learning to buy and prepare healthier foods, I attended a women’s retreat one weekend. One of the speakers was presenting ideas on introducing brown rice, unrefined sugars, higher nutrient foods to our families. This was 30 years ago so it was all new to us at that time.

One of the things she said that day struck me as so simple I have never forgotten it. She put out the idea that most of us were not drinking enough water. She suggested that we often eat when we are really thirsty. She also suggested we stop for a moment as we walk toward the pantry or the frig and take a few breaths. She said to use that moment to ask ourselves if we were hungry or thirsty. “Ask your body what it needs before you automatically put anything in your mouth.” What?! Talk to my body?!

Well, I tried it and, to my most pleasant surprise, it worked. It worked and she was right. Most of the time when I headed for the kitchen I was more thirsty than hungry. How did my body tell me? I doubt it is the same for everyone but I will share my experience. When I stop and take a few breaths to center within, I quietly say, “What do you really need? Are you thirsty or hungry?” When my body needs water, my awareness quickly settles in my mouth and I realize it feels dry. When my body needs food, my awareness goes to my stomach and I feel a sense of emptiness. Because I have used food for comfort, even then I will ask again – especially if I am in an emotional state – “Are you really hungry or will a cup of tea satisfy you?” In this case, I trust the first thought that comes to my mind and respond accordingly.

There is nothing magical about this. It is a state of unity of body, mind and heart or emotions. It is letting my True Self, my Soul, bring me into oneness with my entire being. It is caring for my body so that I live a vibrant, engaged, and happy life.