Monday, October 31, 2005


Finding my voice, creating, letting go of my own judgement, having fun...

(if you move the paper with swirls, you see the phrase "do not be afraid")

Sunday, October 30, 2005

let it out

To be brave, speak my truth.
To breathe, think deeply, then speak.
To trust. Me.
To be open to new ideas, friends, possibilities.
To be grateful for what I already know and the lessons I continue to learn. (over and over and over again)
To own what I want to do: write more, create more.
To let go of the fear of failure.
To let it out. The joy, the laughter, the sadness, the silliness, the beauty, the colors, the words.
Let it out.

inside out

if i keep stuffing what needs to escape,
it'll just circle my mind until gaining enough
momentum to blurt its case in public,
shoving my insides out, while my
outsides are aching to climb in.

- susan mrosek
(check out her website

Saturday, October 29, 2005

a wish

Look at those big eyes, a little unsure of the camera and that large orange face next to him.

I love this kid.

His energy, his laughter, his sense of self. His kind heart.

Does he know that I wished for him? At Gino's, an Italian restaurant back home in Indiana, I held that penny tightly in my hand as I walked up to the fountain. Squeezed my eyes shut and took a deep breath. "I wish for a baby brother." A four-year-old wanting to change the course of her family.

The patience he has with others. The way he tries to help everyone in a room feel comfortable. How he goes out of his way to talk with people, even though talking with people is not always something he wants to do.

A few weeks ago, my baby brother joined me out here in the Northwest. We are now two hours away from each other instead of two plane rides.

How much he has learned about himself in the last two years. How this journey has made him stronger, braver, and more open.

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to spend the day with him. Learning, laughing, working, eating. He invites me to look at my life in a different way. He has become one of my teachers. How blessed I am that his soul heard my wish, and he came to this family.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

why wait

"it is only when we silent the blaring sounds of our daily existence that we can finally hear the whispers of truth that life reveals to us, as it stands knocking on the doorsteps of our hearts."
K.T. Jong

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

and i danced

I started ballet at 4 and danced until I was 12. Flowing, moving, breathing, up on the toes, deep bends at the knee, launching the body into the air in a spin. I loved it. There were reasons why I stopped (a story for another time). Initially, I was drawn to yoga because the movements in yoga postures connected me to the dancer I was as a child. Every now and then in a yoga class someone will comment on my arms and how I move them like a ballerina. I chuckle (it really does come out like a chuckle) because I am amazed that person could see a ballerina inside this body, so distant from that time of point shoes and dreams of becoming someone I am not.

I have been teaching yoga at a new studio in my town for the last few weeks. It is so new that my classes are not always full and sometimes I sit there waiting for one student, please just one student, to show up. And every now and then, I am there alone. Often my thoughts are negative when this happens. I am upset because I want to teach. I want students! My ego gets involved.
Yesterday, I found myself sitting calmly in the studio, waiting. I was substituting for another teacher who teaches two classes back to back. No one came to the first class so I had quite a bit of time to sit with myself. I had on the music I use during class. I stood up to get something to read, and this movement of getting up shifted my attention to the music. I began to move.

I point my toes out in front of me, lift my leg up high. Spin in a pirouette. Let myself feel my body come up on my toes, move quickly, bend, leap across the room. Spin again and again. Bring the foot to the knee then back out to the side. Reach the arms up to the sky and come back on the toes. I became the ballerina inside me. I found her again. I wasn't just connected to a distant memory in the mind but to the memory in the body. And I danced.

Letting go of the attachment of "needing students" to show up for class. Letting go of the shame that this body can't move like a ballerina anymore. Realizing that it can. Finding the space to move, breath, connect deeper within. Allowing myself this time for me. The students will come when they are ready.

And a student came to the later class. And another came to my noon class today. And after the noon class, I danced again. Welcome back.

"Dancing is just discovery, discovery, discovery."
Martha Graham

Sunday, October 23, 2005

some favorites today

Meet my new uglydoll Jeero. I bought him today at Portage Bay Goods in the Fremont neighborhood in Seattle. His new home is in my home office, near my desk, so that we can exchange ideas throughout the day. It gets lonely sometimes...and I think he is going to invite me to crack up with laughter every now and then. I will keep you posted.

Sunday morning yoga classes at Planet Earth. My teacher's classes are always what a yoga class should be - I walk away feeling stretched, relaxed, strong, and centered.

Walking through the Fremont Market. If you are ever in Seattle on a Sunday, you must check this out. Even on a rainy day you can find treasures (like my new hat, flower pin, and the fun gift I bought for J - pictures to come).

Talking about, what I call, "the guts of life" with a friend over a snack. It is incredible to be able to share who you really are with someone and have the gift returned to you when she does the same. Then laughing together as we sit on a couch in a bookstore and read this book. It is so much fun to share this book with people. Cracks me up every single time I read it (though I don't own it; I think I enjoy discovering it again every few months).

Laughing with J about how bad the dinner we made turned out. Thank goodness for Baskins Robbins to save us with a perfect dessert.

Sunday nights on the couch:
Watching The West Wing. I was so caught up in the story line (as I have been with every episode for the last 7 seasons), I started to cry at the end as Toby left the White House. I am not kidding. I think I might be a little too involved with this show...but for those 60 minutes, I believe that those people are in charge of my country and I love them for it.
Grey's Anatomy. Dr. McDreamy indeed. Though the women in his life are giving him too much power in my opinion.

It was wonderful to have a day that seemed like a true break from it all. I didn't feel pulled it 20 directions; I did things just for myself; I had a little bit of retail therapy; and I connected with people. Bravo me.

Saturday, October 22, 2005


"Lend yourself to others, but give yourself to yourself."
Michel de Montaigne

I want to say so much about this quote...but I realize it says everything I need to say today. Repeat it to yourself so that it becomes a whisper inside your soul.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


Came across this quote today.

"Whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God."
Martin Luther

I have been thinking about this aspect of my journey for two reasons:

Yesterday I spent time in the spiritual philosophy and yoga sections in a used bookstore in Seattle. I love the books on Buddhism next to the books on Judaism next to the books on Islam next to the books on Christianity. Would four people from different faiths stand as close as these books do? On my shelves at home, I like to put my books next to other books they might be able to learn from. Elie Wiesel is next to St. Augustine who is next to What the Buddha Taught who is next to Thomas Merton who is next to Harold Kushner who is next to Pantanjali's Yoga Sutra...and so on. I love the thought of them whispering to each other, learning, teaching. Being with these books invites me to feel calm and centered.

And then today my reflections continued after I read this post by la vie en rose. She shared some real truth about her spiritual journey.

I believe that when you feel joy in your heart, the excitement that makes your breath catch, you are on the right path. And that path may, at times: wind. seem dark. be full of laughter. be full of doubt. seem not to be right. invite you to feel overwhelmed. But that doesn't mean that it isn't the right path. The most important thing for me is to continue to listen deep within, to make sure that I am being honest with myself. I believe that we have this truth, this honesty within us. Taking the time to be quiet to have this conversation within is the challenge for me. And then having the strength to share what I learn, what I know with others when they ask - that can be a challenge as well. We do not want to be judged. We must remember not to judge others.

I have to find a place for my new book. Probably will put it next to my other Kathleen Norris books, but I may just put it next to this one to let them share some secrets.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

the lessons...always the lessons

Another day filled with lessons. I can't escape them. This must be what it means to be a grown-up. But I also know that this is what it means to be a person open to the lessons. Only when you are open to them do you see them for what they are. (Though that doesn't mean that they won't repeat themselves until you learn them.) Now that I am here and aware, really, they will never stop. Still, could I have one day of peace? Just one.

Pesky Growth
By Brian Andreas

I finally got to exactly where I wanted to be, she said, so why won't all these growth experiences go away & leave me alone?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

reminding me

Be your authentic self. Be strong. Be true to who you want to be. Be yourself. Be afraid. Be willing to let go of your fears. Be silly sometimes. Be caring. Be gentle with others. Be gentle with yourself.

Let go of the ego. Let go of the need to be someone else. Let go of the images of who you think you should be. Let go of the pain, sadness, hurt. Let go of who you used to be. Let go of the need to be serious. Let go of the need to hide. Let it go. Let it go.

Remember you know enough. Remember you are enough. Be gentle with yourself. Let it go.

I give myself permission to do it my way.

Monday, October 17, 2005

take two

Went to see Elizabethtown today. One of the previews was for this movie. The clip was priceless and a great follow-up to the post below...

Also, there is something really great about going to a movie alone. Though it still is expensive to go alone. Liberating though.

(oh and my vote is wait until elizabethtown comes out on video)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

we aren't like them are we?

Tonight's episode of Grey's Anatomy:

Two female characters are talking about their mothers. One says to the other, "We aren't like them are we?" My friend Super H and I talk about this a lot. We look up to our mothers in many ways, yet we don't want to be just like them. As we talk, we often realize that we are like them in many ways. As women, we become our mothers. At least we are told we will. And this terrifies (some of) us. Why?

I know my mother has been deeply hurt when I am not quick to agree with her about some things, when I do not think her advice is right for me, when I disagree with how she is handling a situation. Yet, more than anything else, she taught me to be my own person. I am almost always surprised when my "being my own person" offends her because it always seemed to be an important lesson she was teaching me. And it is so funny that in my quest to be different than her in many ways, I find myself sounding like her, reacting like her sometimes.

I am a part of her.

Over the weekend I attended a workshop about yoga, qi gong, and chi net tsang (more on this throughout the week). We talked about how we began with the attachment to our mothers, literally, through the umbilical chord. Suddenly, it truly hit me that this attachment is so real for my mother because she remembers it. I do not have memories of this; though I believe my body does have memories, my mind has trouble pulling them forward.

Literally attached.

Another scene in the show that resonated. One of the characters finally allowed herself to cry. She couldn't stop. This is a fear of mine. That if I let myself cry that I won't be able to stop. I don't mean my crying at hallmark commercial moments or even my I am overwhelmed by the day moments. I mean the dark moments when I feel like I just might be alone afterall. The moments when I might stop letting my head get in the way of my feelings. When the truth of it all might be too much. But the lesson I do seem to get over and over is that I am not alone. I have to give myself permission to realize this.

Friday, October 14, 2005

my favorites

This week, I love:

This song. (scroll down to hear a clip, song #2) Have it on my ITunes playlist on my computer. When it comes on, all work must cease. Dancing and singing commence.

This site. I love these illustrations.

This pose.

This yogurt. I loved yogurt as a child, but as an adult, I have never been able to find yogurt that my tastebuds like. It all seems to be non-fat (read: non-taste) or artificially sweetened. This is perfect. The right size, with all those active cultures I need. And, it tastes so good. Had to go back to being a child to find what I wanted. (I buy it from my local grocery store, but when I googled it I found you could order it from amazon. that site has everything.)

These shirts. Perfect for jeans, yoga class, pj's. The price cannot be beat.

This book. I am reading one story when I go to bed at night. Her words wrap themselves into my heart and I seem to sleep better (well, first I take a bath using Chocolate Luxury milk bath from this shop. it is like taking a bath inside a cup of hot cocoa).

Thursday, October 13, 2005


I love living in the Northwest. These little guys, hummers as my Gramps and I say, are still around in mid-October. I didn't have a feeder last fall/winter, so I don't know how long they stick around. Is it possible they will be here year round? I love how quick they are, their long beaks, how often they come to the feeder. I can see them from the desk where I work in my home office. They dive-bomb each other, fighting for pecking order I guess.

One winter, my grandparents had one that didn't fly south (they live in South Carolina and their hummers would migrate in the winter). My Grandma named it Rambo and changed the food daily so it wouldn't freeze (the food and the hummer). She would call me with weekly updates "yes, he is still here. Can you believe it?"

I love the counterpose that happends when they perch on the feeder - when their wings stop for just a few seconds so they can eat. Have you ever heard the sounds they make? There is the vibration of their wings but they also chirp. It is fantastic.

Do you think they eat all night too?

(photo: hummer from office window, 10/13/05, canon digital rebel)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

my oldest friend

six months ago today my grandmother, my oldest friend, passed away. every day since then i have missed her desperately. every day has been another day when i cannot talk to her, when she won't call, when i can't tell her that the hummingbirds are still here in October!, when i can't say thank you, when i can't laugh with her, when i can't ask her advice, when i can't call her to cry and she will say it will be okay, when i can't hear her voice or smell her or hug her...

this is my first experience with deep grief, deep sadness. this year has been the year when i began to truly understand. i lost my dear golden traveler in february, my grandmother in april, and a friend in june. a year of cracking open. a year of understanding that platitudes are never really helpful, they just make the other person feel better. and just when you think the grief has become softer, something will whisper across your heart and it will still seem unbelievable. i do the best i can. all i can do.

at my grandmother's funeral, i quoted Brian Andreas:

Landscape of the Heart

It is still so new & all we see is the empty space, but that is not how it is in the landscape of the heart. There, there is no empty space & she still laughs & grapples with ideas & plans & nods wisely with each of us in turn. We are proud to have known her. We are proud to have called her friend.

(photo: me and grandma circa 1978)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

in my world

If I were in charge of the world, I would be happy with any of the following:

What would you wish for if you were in charge of the world?

Monday, October 10, 2005

ring ring ring

I have put a post-it on my phone. It says "Take a breath. Do you want to take/make this call?" My friend Super H gave me this idea last night after a conversation that involved me in tears, blowing my nose in her ear after I had gone from a place of calm to a place of freak-out-ed-ness (yes, may not be a word, but best describes how I felt) following a conversation on the phone with another person.

I have a problem with the phone. It is my addiction. Not so much the talking/gossiping/fun parts (which I do enjoy) but the "does the person on the other end need me to fix something" part (that part = addiction). I always answer it. Always. (That is very finite, but I do answer it almost all the time.) I/we can be eating dinner, watching a movie, on the way out the door, sleeping, in the middle of another conversation, grieving, getting ready to walk the dog, taking a nap, and on and on. I know the desire is to be wanted/needed by the person on the other end of the phone. What can I do for you? How can I help? Is everything okay? And when they say, "Is this a good time?" Oh sure I say. And sometimes it really is. And sometimes it is okay to pause a movie to talk to a friend. I love my conversations with family and friends - especially because I am on the other side of the country from many of them. But sometimes it is not a good time. I have caller-id and I shouldn't have answered. I am busy. I am having my own moment. I am getting ready to go somewhere. I am spending time with my husband. But my need to take care of others means that I don't take care of myself and my other relationships. Then, when I am needed, I sometimes may not be fully present because I am spread to thin. The reward is helping the other person, but if I am really honest, the reward is knowing that I am needed. Knowing that I am the person who will be called first. The next part is that when I express my needs (which in the moment feels very brave and something I have thought about for a long time - I think I am setting a boundary), they do not realize I am actually coming from a place of having sacrficed my needs to begin with. So possibly my needs come out as sounding like something else. Then they are annoyed, they misunderstand, they are hurt.

Yesterday something happened to cause me to think about this phone thing (again). Making calls and answering calls. Sometimes people we have relationships with trigger us in certain ways - that is what happens whether we want it to or not. And before I talk with those people (because I do still want them in my life), I need to make sure I have my own self-protection in place so that I do not accept their invitations of guilt and other things. Maybe they even feel the same but haven't realized it yet. It really is okay not to answer the phone. To sit in the quiet and not share things with another person unless you feel comfortable with how they might react. To sit in the quiet and just share things with yourself and whatever you feel is greater than you - just to tell your thoughts/feelings/ideas to the universe, the god your heart desires, your self with a capital S (as I think Oprah says). And it is okay if you cannot be the support person for another (or everyone) in every moment of your life. Just because this information age has given us so many ways to get in touch with our friends and loved ones doesn't mean you always have to be available. At the same time, it is also okay to be the person people call for support/advice/shoulder to cry on. Just make sure that you are also meeting your own needs - that you identify these needs daily so you can do a self check-in to make sure you really are meeting them. That is the key. Now if only I could remember that...

Take a breath.

Do you want to make/take this call?

the fine print reads: do you have your own self-care in place if this person wants you to drop everything for them, or if they do not react to your needs in this moment. If the answer is no, save yourself and make another choice. Leave that phone alone.

updated at 5:30pm, 10/10/05

PS - They can also leave a message.

(photo: me with my addiction, 10/10/05, canon digital rebel)

Sunday, October 09, 2005


When I was little I always wanted a little fort, cave, playhouse that would be my very own. A place where I could escape from everyone and live on my own. Though, I knew I would have to go home when I needed more supplies or needed to use the bathroom or needed to take a bath. Still, I had it in my head that I wanted to live in my parents' backyard inside a special tree house or hidden cave all alone. I guess I craved solitude as early as six. I still crave it at times, but recently I have felt like I might have a bit too much of it.
This picture captures a little tiny cave created by the roots of a giant tree in the Grove of the Patriarchs near Mt. Rainier. I can imagine a little girl with a backpack filled with fig newtons, cheerios, and apple juice and carrying her brother's fischer price compass coming across this spot - "perfect! just perfect!" - and settling in for a little while. At least until she ran out of cheerios. Or until she started to feel a little too alone.

(photo: taken by j. Grove of the Patriarchs, 8/20/04)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

scenes from the day...

sometimes i actually put my pj's (or in this case the ones i stole from my husband) back on after i shower

my view as i drove my vw bug to yoga

before class begins

taking out the dog; she sniffs the tomatoes still on the vine (in October!)

lunch. i remembered to eat around 2:30 - it is easy to forget this part of the day

checked out the last few flowers in the garden

millie eats her dinner - inhales it really

the day was crazy for both of us; that means thai take-out!

tired, stop working, ready to close down, time for bed...


"Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for the truth." Benjamin Disraeli

I am feeling judged today. Strong words that bring up stuff. All that stuff. To be thankful for the opportunity to look at it - not so much today. I am tired. The rain falls outside. Gray, northwest autumn weather. I miss my grandmother. I want to call her. I feel empty.

When we let someone know how we feel about something, even when we are not asked, do we always need to reflect on the possibility that they may feel hurt? I think so, but I know I don't always do this. (And I see myself so concerned about placing blame on another outside myself. I have to own this observation first because I don't want to say "people do this to me all the time and it sucks.") When I have a relationship with someone, at whatever level that relationship is, I want that person to be who they are - real, honest, open - that is what this journey seems to be about. The moments of truth you have with another person. Can we have interchanges filled with truth?

Do we only know the surface of another person? Do we get past that surface? Do we let other people see inside to all the icky stuff - the guts of who we are? What are we afraid of? What am I afraid of? Only a small handful (child's hand) know who I am. Even they don't completely know me. Are we ready to see the guts of another person? What would happen if we let them in? Can we dive underneath that surface? Let someone do the same with us? Quiet the mind enough to feel safe with another person, allow uncensored thoughts to be shared. We can try. Not today. Time for a nap I think.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

what is your practice?

At a workshop I attended this summer in Manzanita, OR:
Write about the following -
Who am I?
What is my contribution, my work? What do I want it to be?
What makes me content?
What makes me unhappy or vulnerable?
What are you willing to give up so that you can have more contentment?
Look over the above and circle two or three ideas/statements from each question that stand out to you. Create a paragraph from them.

My paragraph:
I am a thinker, teacher of others, and dancer of life. My work is to create peace around me and to write about true things, feelings, and moments so that others will know they are not alone. I am most content when I am experiencing moments of laughter and when I am talking with others about things that are real. I feel vulnerable around people who do not have boundaires, when I feel like I do not have control of my environment and/or future. I am willing to give up the need to influence others who do not want to be influenced and to realize I am only in charge of myself. This is my practice.

I write this today:
To remind myself of what I wrote in late July.
To remind myself that I know my practice off my yoga mat, at least I know what it is right now, at this time, on this path of my life.
To remind myself not to judge me and not to judge this path.
To remind myself to check in, in this same way every few months.

What is your practice?

(photo: Sunset at Hug Point, OR, 7/28/05, canon digital rebel)

Monday, October 03, 2005

patience hides

I have been doing some reading in preparation for writing the content of my new website (for my yoga teaching business). I am always intrigued by the way the universe hands you exactly what you need, though you have to be open and quiet to notice sometimes. Some of this reading has been about having patience for yourself and others and having the courage to ask for what you need - letting this be part of your yoga practice off the mat. And in my life in the last day, I have had some moments where patience seems to have hidden under the bed just out of reach. And in losing this patience, I have lost empathy for another and courage to say what I need in the midst of a challenging moment. My mind becomes too cluttered with "the stuff" that comes up in a moment of anger or disappointment. Yet, these moments pass. Thank goodness. And the universe handed me a call from my dear friend who listened so I could let some of the stuff go. Then once again, I can recognize the love that sits in the room in the midst of the challenging moments.

(photo: beach in Pt. Townsend, WA, 2/5/05, canon rebel)

Saturday, October 01, 2005

the mind ebbs and flows

This morning I taught a free yoga class (at union yoga center, the studio where I teach some classes). Such a great way to start the weekend. Inviting the students to breathe and let go of the mind.

How do we let go of the mind though? Even in our calmest moments this is not easy. A very foreign concept to our bodies and minds. To dwell in the body, in the breath, without grabbing onto any and all thoughts. I struggle with this all the time. However, I notice that when I allow myself the space to try to let go, even if only for a few seconds, life is as though I am actually in my body living my life as opposed to being in my head and letting life happen. By letting go of the control, I feel more in control. Letting go of self-judgement; quieting the inner critic.

I recently picked up a copy of ascent (a yoga magazine published in canada). Inside there is a wonderful cartoon that illustrates scenes from the Bhagavad Gita - focusing on the yoga of action and the path of knowledge (illustrations by R. Sikoryak). Inviting us to find humor in between the lines of our quest for detachment and freedom. Find a copy and check it out!