Within this restless, hurried, modern world…

Gustav Klimt

This was the first line of an Oscar Wilde poem from the 1800’s. It seems some problems are less about our time and more about being human. This gives me solace as I look back over 2011. I consumed the days of the year as if I was starving for tomorrow. I often caught myself thinking and planning for the next day while barely living the present moment. This is not the natural rhythm by which I thrive and I believe this to be true for most people. It is more nourishing and sustainable when we are able to live solidly connected to the present moment. It feeds our souls to have the time to notice the details within the everyday; to drink tea without checking our email or to watch the shadows change shape upon the foothills.

With this knowledge I have attempted to slow down, but have found it to be a challenge that continuously resurfaces. I have decided to face this challenge head on. I have made some deep cuts in my schedule. Each cut hurts like a physical laceration, but the calm that is already edging into my life is quickly healing the wounds. Many emotions have surfaced during this transition; fear, guilt, shame. Questions arise such as, am I letting people down and am I enough? With each emotion and question that arises I am given an opportunity to learn and grow. All provide lessons I have been avoiding.

As a yoga teacher I regularly ask students to witness whatever arises during the moments of silence. I have become rusty at practicing this myself. As I step back into the practice I immediately feel like I am being enveloped by a familiar old worn quilt. A sense of calm and clarity begins to creep back into my everyday.

Published in: on December 29, 2011 at 12:36 am  Comments (1)  
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Another word from Tolkien

I Sit and Think by J. R. R. Tolkien
I sit beside the fire and think
of all that I have seen,
of meadow-flowers and butterflies
in summers that have been;Of yellow leaves and gossamer
in autumns that there were,
with morning mist and silver sun
and wind upon my hair.

I sit beside the fire and think
of how the world will be
when winter comes without a spring
that I shall never see.

For still there are so many things
that I have never seen:
in every wood in every spring
there is a different green.

I sit beside the fire and think
of people long ago,
and people who will see a world
that I shall never know.

But all the while I sit and think
of times there were before,
I listen for returning feet
and voices at the door.

Published in: on December 20, 2011 at 4:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

One tiny detail…

Stu and I prepared to leave this morning on our grand trip to the mountains of Panama.  We worked into the ween hours of the morning.  We packed, checked the list and repacked.  Everything was in order as we hoped out of the car at the Boise airport adorned with backpacks and smiles.  Minutes later our faces melted with the news that our flight left at 6:30 am and we had missed it by several hours.

Luckily we were able to reschedule to leave later tonight. Only one flight per day flies from the US into Panama, so unfortunately we are losing 24 hours from our itinerary.  Best part we came home and I slept 5 hours.  I now feel like a new person.  I guess the universe knew what we needed or we are both overly busy space cadets. Either way Panama here we come!

OK, one other small detail…after the third time Stu ran into the house to get something he had forgotten, while I waited in the freezing car, I said, “If we miss our flight I am never flying internationally with you again.”  I know this wasn’t very nice and I obviously had to eat my words, but this is not the whole story.  On another trip (our honeymoon) we flew out of Spokane.  I feel asleep in the car.  Stu preceded to get lost and slide the vehicle off the icy road not once but twice.  Long story short…we safely made it to Spokane, but missed our flight.  Our 24 hour venture to Barcelona took several days that included being stranded overnight in Atlanta.  Luckily the hotel had really yummy waffles with the continental breakfast.  I sometimes wonder is the world making fun of my over preparedness.  Telling me, “You know that feeling of control you have right now?  Don’t ever forget it is an illusion!”

Published in: on December 18, 2011 at 11:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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So much to learn …

I recently received an eloquent email from a student and friend of mine.  We have both recently read Brene Brown’s book The Gifts of Imperfection.  Susie was generous enough to let me share with you…

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.


“We can learn so much of life’s important lessons when we take the time to listen.  Aren’t these regrets some of the exact lessons that Brene Brown is teaching about how to live our lives now/today, before we no longer have the luxury of time to do so?

I honestly think that we can learn the most about living from those who are dying. It seems like those facing death have given up the perceived need of a false sense of themselves and the requirement that most of us give in to of being something and/or someone we’re not. And with that clarity, they see how a great life is to be lived and they are hoping that we allow them to teach us these crucial lessons. What they are telling us, really, is that it (living a great life) is in being authentic and true to who we are – having the courage to choose to play to our gifts and imperfections, to share our stories, to express our feelings, dreams and fears, to let go of shame and guilt, to cherish the relationships that mean the most to us, to spend less time working and more time playing, and to invent our lives as we go, so as to choose consciously, wisely and honestly. Now, if only we will learn and listen so we can live that kind of life now, instead of ever having to someday regret what has been and what could have been, but wasn’t. We can find tons of really good reasons to do this work, can’t we?”



Mind-Body Connection?

Researchers and yoga practitioners alike speak about the mind-body connection.  I often bring it up and spent time contemplating it’s meaning and existence.  What if it doesn’t literally exist, because there is not a separation that requires connection?  The separation itself is an illusion.  It is this illusion that we tackle through the practice of yoga.  “Candace Pert,  former chief brain biochemist for the National Institute of Mental Health, said, ‘In the end I find I can’t separate brain from body. Consciousness isn’t just in the head.  Nor is it a question of mind over body. If one takes into account the DNA directing the dance of peptides, [the] body is the outward manifestation of the mind.'”

When you contemplate the question of a mind-body connection what do you think?  How do you believe those thoughts might effect the body?  What are the origins of the messages we receive from our bodies once we become conscious of them? Isn’t the subconscious still a form of conscientiousness and therefore are thoughts able to evolve around mechanical actions of the body?  What does this all mean in regards to how we practice yoga asana, meditation, pranayama?  How does the mind-body effect our choices and actions?

Mechanism Behind Mind-Body Connection Discovered

Mind/Body Connection: How Your Emotions Affect Your Health

A Shift of Mind: Rethinking the way we live by Mel Schwartz, L.C.S.W.

“Don’t stop at the tears, go through to the truth.”

Natalie Goldberg published Writing Down the Bones in 1986.  I just happened to pick it off the library shelf.  I am unsure what even brought me to that section of the library, other than I needed to pass it to get to the restroom.  Then what made me walk over and pick it off the shelf?  I have no idea of the answer, but I am so glad I did. The book is about “freeing the writer within”, but as I read it I can’t help relating the messages to yoga.  I would recommend the book if you have ever had the inkling to write anything at all.  I have written pages over the last couple of days, and although not all of it is filled with gems of wisdom, I feel nurtured by the act of expression.

I want to share a short excerpt from chapter 2 that particularly touched me.  I have experienced and seen the same thing happen with yoga.  Natalie Goldberg writes, “…You must be a great warrior when you contact first thoughts and write from them [might also be thought of like our authentic voice].  Especially at the beginning you may feel great emotions and energy that will sweep you away, but you don’t stop writing. You penetrate into the heart of them.  Often in a beginning class students break down crying when they read pieces they have written.  That is okay. Often as they write they cry, too. However, I encourage them to continue reading or writing right through the tears so they may come out the other side and not be thrown off by the emotion.  Don’t stop at the tears, go through to the truth.”

And the Dish Ran Away with The Spoon

The Man in the Moon Came Down Too Soon
by J. R. R. Tolkien
There is an inn, a merry old inn
beneath an old grey hill,
And there they brew a beer so brown
That the Man in the Moon himself came down
one night to drink his fill.

The ostler has a tipsy cat
that plays a five-stringed fiddle;
And up and down he saws his bow
Now squeaking high, now purring low,
now sawing in the middle.

The landlord keeps a little dog
that is mighty fond of jokes;
When there’s good cheer among the guests,
He cocks an ear at all the jests
and laughs until he chokes.

They also keep a hornéd cow
as proud as any queen;
But music turns her head like ale,
And makes her wave her tufted tail
and dance upon the green.

And O! the rows of silver dishes
and the store of silver spoons!
For Sunday there’s a special pair,
And these they polish up with care
on Saturday afternoons.

The Man in the Moon was drinking deep,
and the cat began to wail;
A dish and a spoon on the table danced,
The cow in the garden madly pranced
and the little dog chased his tail.

The Man in the Moon took another mug,
and then rolled beneath his chair;
And there he dozed and dreamed of ale,
Till in the sky the stars were pale,
and dawn was in the air.

Then the ostler said to his tipsy cat:
‘The white horses of the Moon,
They neigh and champ their silver bits;
But their master’s been and drowned his wits,
and the Sun’ll be rising soon!’

So the cat on the fiddle played hey-diddle-diddle,
a jig that would wake the dead:
He squeaked and sawed and quickened the tune,
While the landlord shook the Man in the Moon:
‘It’s after three!’ he said.

They rolled the Man slowly up the hill
and bundled him into the Moon,
While his horses galloped up in rear,
And the cow came capering like a deer,
and a dish ran up with the spoon.

Now quicker the fiddle went deedle-dum-diddle;
the dog began to roar,
The cow and the horses stood on their heads;
The guests all bounded from their beds
and danced upon the floor.

With a ping and a pang the fiddle-strings broke!
the cow jumped over the Moon,
And the little dog laughed to see such fun,
And the Saturday dish went off at a run
with the silver Sunday spoon.

The round Moon rolled behind the hill,
as the Sun raised up her head.
She* hardly believed her fiery eyes;
For though it was day, to her surprise
they all went back to bed!

Published in: on December 10, 2011 at 12:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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Tummy Resources

Thank you everyone for your great recommendations for information.


But You Don’t Look Sick



Gastroparesis and Gastronomy

My Crazy Colon

My Sleepy Stomach

Published in: on December 8, 2011 at 5:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Published in: on December 5, 2011 at 7:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tree City Juice Cleanse

I recently decided to try Tree City’s juice cleanse.  Tree City is Boise’s locally owned juice and smoothie bar.  I had heard about their juice cleanse from a friend who is also ‘gastrointestinally challenged’.  The juice regime is designed to “remove toxins, assist in weight loss and help with aches and allergies.”  The main reason I decided to try it is that my doctors had recommend that I remove as much fiber from my diet as possible.  What no fiber? Yes that is correct.  Fiber is great once it is in the colon, but really slows things down in the stomach. So if you have gasteroperesis, when the stomach muscles are already sluggish, then fiber just bogs down the whole system.

I decided to start with a three day regime.  Each morning I picked-up six fresh beverages for the day. There were four juices, one coconut water and an almond milk.  All the products are raw (unpasteurized).  Without exposure to heat the beverages retain the maximum level of vitamins, minerals and enzymes.  In total there were 1100 calories per day, so I knew it was going to also be somewhat of a fast for me.

To be honest, on the first day I felt miserable. I felt distended and nauseous most of the day. The juices didn’t taste very palatable, the flavors were very overpowering. Surprisingly hunger was not an issue, in fact I could finish all of the beverages.   I wasn’t sure I could stick to it for three days, but by the second day my stomach settled.  I slept better than I had slept in years, but continued to feel sleepy throughout the second day.  On day three I felt great!  The juices tasted wonderful and I actually found my body craving the next jar of nourishing liquid.

The experience has given me a new sense of control over my health.  I am working to integrate fresh juices into my daily diet.  When making your own juices, make sure to use the best produce you can and only make as much as you can drink that day.  Freshness and quality really count.  If doing it yourself is too labor intensive, I would recommend trying out Tree City.

Published in: on December 5, 2011 at 12:58 am  Comments (2)  
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