Friday, November 11, 2011

11.11.11

@11:11 a.m. Full charge, strong signal, radiant mala.

Namaste.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Life Outside of the 9-to-5 — Week Two



I’m adjusting to my new way of life, slowly but surely. I’ve indulged in many simple pleasures.
Yoga at noon. In the city(!).
Meet ups over chai with wonderful friends who already live on this side of the 9-to-5 equation who’ve created their ideal, a combination of freelance gigs with blogging and more.
Tools, chiefly gmail chat and AIM, to stay connected with former colleagues on the inside. One day I am in the office, with them. Pinging. The next day, I am 10 miles to the east. Separate. Pinging. I find comfort in periodically reaching across the digital divide.  
There are also some unexpected delights. 
Yesterday at around 6:20 p.m., I sat in my home office {home work space? play space?}.
The wind, out of the west, delivered the sound of Taps being played on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory, where one also finds the residence of the vice president of the United States. Taps used to be played by a live person, but I’m told it’s a live person recorded for the occasion. Either way, it’s lovely.

This afternoon, I listened to a police escort of protesters walking south on Connecticut Avenue. I spied many individuals carrying flags of Tibet across the bridge over Rock Creek Park to the Chinese Embassy. I can hear their call and response chants ... what do we want? ... when do we want it? 
How fortunate I am on so many levels. Happily present to bear witness. 
Photos: A view at twilight toward Taps. An afternoon shot in the same direction. Above the light brown tree, lower left, can you see The First Amendment in motion? And that white dome in the upper right corner is the Naval Observatory.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Let Go and Go With the Flow


Surreal -- one of the words that describes my last week. Leaving a relatively safe corporate job and saying good bye for now to many dears friends has been an emotional adventure. Some moments up, some moments down, some moments in between. 
I’ve felt a sense of drifting, too. And, with merely a week under my belt, I view this movement in a good way.  
Like a message in a bottle. Which reminds me of something I’ve been meaning to post.
Amid my hectic life in August I skyped an interview with Patrick Manning, a wonderful reporter with FOX NEWS. The story features my message-in-a-bottle-hunter friend Clint Buffington.
Indulge me, please, as I riff on my part in the magical, mystical story. Watch the video embedded in the photo at the top of the story on Fox's website.

I detect a theme. Today I pulled a card from a small deck of OM cards I brought home from India:


So friends, with the flow I shall go.
Namaste.
The top photo is the note my husband and I penned, placed in a bottle and tossed into the Atlantic Ocean. The rest is history

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Thanks. I Quit.*


Over the last three plus years, I’ve weathered a lot of changes in my professional life. Some glorious and some, honestly, awful. Throughout, I chose not to write about any of it here. 
My day job with a huge global, Fortune 200 corporation intentionally has been off limits as I instead focused on the other parts of my life -- from yoga and creativity to kindness and connection.
Until now.
Change has been a constant in my work life with said institution. Much of the change has been not of my making nor done with my input. Thus, I’ve been reminded over and over about attachment. Respond instead of react. Loosen the grip and let go, allowing room for acceptance to enter.
I’ve been a corporate yogini working from a place of compassion alongside many competitive souls who provided ample opportunity to practice ahimsa. And for that I am grateful.
In January, I set an intention of considered change. Julia Cameron says in the Artist’s Way at Work, "Choosing change as a considered, deliberate course of action makes us feel powerful and alive."
I’ve been pondering these words over the last 10 months and making micro movements everyday in the direction of my dreams. 
On October 5, after much consideration, I resigned my position. Today I take the leap.
The risk of leaving one job without another in place is mildly unnerving. However, I’m grateful for the privilege to do so with the love and support of my husband and dearest friends. 
I’m inspired and empowered as I say goodbye -- for now -- to my big, fat crazy corporate job. To restore and renew, create and discover. I’ll miss so many wonderful souls who’ve enriched my life and taught me a lot about . . . moi.
I’m honored to share the rest of my journey with you here as I find my way.
Namaste.

* Merci, Martha Beck, for the perfect incantation. 

PHOTO: From the etsy collection of the talented Christine Mason Miller. Much love.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bliss, in Abundance!

Thank you Rob Brezsny:

LIBRA: *Meraki* is a Greek word that refers to the bliss you feel when you're engaged in a task that's important to you and that you're doing really well. It's your theme right now, Libra. According to my reading of the astrological omens, everything's in place for you to experience *meraki* in abundance. Furthermore, that's exactly what your destiny is pushing for. So please get out there and do everything you can to cooperate: Make this a *meraki*-filled week.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What Steve Jobs + Yoga Taught Me About Living


Steve Jobs so inspired me, helping shape my perspective about life on many levels -- beauty & technology and faith & courage. For years, I’ve carried one of his quotes:

Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Considering Steve’s words this morning, I see a formula:

                follow your heart + intuition x courage = freedom

Courage is a quiet cousin of faith, Judith Lasater writes in Living Your Yoga, Finding the Spiritual in Everyday Life. Have faith that:

When you act from true courage, the people, the tools, and your own inner knowing needed for the heroine’s journey will be available to you.

The point is to choose to do what is possible in the face of fear. That defines courage. And with it comes a sense of freedom.

Today I encourage you to take one small step into the unknown. Be unafraid. Freedom awaits, I promise.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Blossoming in the Fall



Maybe it’s because my Vedic astrology chart tells me I’m a double Libra, which began on the autumnal equinox. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the upstate New York where fall is glorious. Or, maybe it’s just a coincidence {but I believe there is no such thing}. 
Fall is the time of year during which I stretch my soul in a number of ways. Yoga and meditation are areas of my life where I see a pattern of change over the last few years.
October 2008 ... committed to a steady yoga practice 
I quit gym yoga {not that there’s anything wrong with that} and joined a space devoted to the practice. After a tumultuous year of wrestling with every manner of personal and professional challenge, I sought refuge on the mat. 
December 2009 ... started a daily meditation practice 
I’ve meditated on and off over the years yet never found a way to add it to my life consistently. It’s benefits were as fleeting as my effort.
Years ago I read about the work of Herbert Benson, MD, on stress reduction. Dr. Benson, Harvard Medical School, pioneered research of the Relation Response, based on the Transcendental Mediation technique. His research found meditation beneficial for stress relief. 
Scientific validation of an ancient practice calmed my mind as the pressures of my day job in corporate America ratcheted up. Plus the promise of consciousness and bliss awaited.
I found my way to the Arlington, Va. TM Center. Sarina taught me the technique that I use everyday, everywhere. jai guru dev.
btw, I was also named Yogi of the Month at the above mentioned yoga studio. Shortly thereafter, I enrolled in yoga teacher training level one.
November 2010 ... traveled solo to India for a yoga retreat
Two of my favorite yoga teachers teamed up to lead a yoga retreat to Rishikesh, India, the birthplace of yoga. Irresistible.
I’ve traveled solo many times before, so that part would be easy. India, I thought, might not be. The film Slum Dog Millionaire gave me nightmares for days. I braced myself for the noise, crowding, filth and poverty. 
What I found was a rich, vibrant culture of fascinating people and beautiful sounds, sights and smells. 
And I befriended some amazing individuals and forged relationships for which I am grateful.
October 2011 ... immersed myself in a 200-hour yoga teacher training
I’ve joined 11 other yogis to deepen our practice and learn more about asana, anatomy, physiology and philosophy. 
A beautiful friend from my India journey wrote these words of encouragement, which I hold dear, when she learned I was considering the program:
"What was important for me was the spiritual path of growth and the connection to other yogis. Training opened doors to deeper understanding and a life path of greater richness for which I am so grateful to have for the rest of my life. 

"I so wished I would have know to follow yoga at this deeper level years ago. I hope that you give yourself this lovely gift. You will survive the physical challenges and gain so much more."
My plan? Use the knowledge I gain to uplift others and myself.
Photo: Moi at Ma Ganga, with hands in lotus mudra at my heart.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It {Walt Disney}

Every autumn I feel a surge of energy. Summer has waned and fall has arrived. My head clears and pace quickens as I gain relief from the heat. 


Before the equinox, I sat in contemplation and created a new vision/inspiration board for the coming months. It's a snapshot of a moving target.

Sneak a peek at a sliver of my dreams:




Saturday, September 24, 2011

Blessings and Joy




My beloved mother was born prematurely in Russian tenement housing in Trenton, N.J. According to the midwife who lived nearby and assisted, the kitchen scale weighed her in at one pound. A miracle baby. 

Paraskeva — Americanized as Teresa and Tessie — lived a very long life. Three years ago today she slipped out of her body and journeyed into ... I'm not sure where exactly, but certainly a better place.

The sadness I feel with her death is replaced with blessings and joy. I'm honoring my mom today by breathing deeply and smiling with gratitude.

Photo: Late summer blooms, most fragrant, from my favorite urban rose bush in the neighborhood. A tribute to Tessie’s mother, Rose.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Deepening My Yoga Practice


Apropos of fall, I’m heading back to school. I’ve enrolled in the nine week, 200-hour yoga teacher training course at Tranquil Space (TS). While it’s a big commitment of time and energy over the next several months, nearly every weekend between October 1 and mid-December, I’m super excited.
I completed TS’ 33-hour, Level One training over the Martin Luther King Holiday weekend last year. As with my everyday yoga practice, I set an intention at the beginning of the training. John Friend's Anusara Teacher Training Manual influenced my three part aim:
    • Serve each *student* and help them unveil their innate goodness, worthiness and supreme nature
    • Celebrate beauty and the divine in all its diversity
    • Align with the flow of grace. 
While I am not teaching now, these principles guide my life off the mat. Some days are more challenging than others. I’m at times the steadily balanced yogini and at other times I wobble. 
Nonetheless, I face each day with an open heart seeking to hold space and reflect the other’s light.
My present intention is to build on my personal practice and witness the transformative power of yoga. Ultimately, uplifting others and myself. 
Photo: The inspirational-to-me image taped to the cover of my TT1 journal is the model/yogini/entrepreneur Christie Turlington from a Vogue magazine shoot. {My heart leaps, such an amazing photo!}

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Tier of Knots From Way Back


Think back to your childhood, career coaches advise, to discover your true calling in life. What did you love to do? How did you spend those hours so consumed you completely lost track of time? 
Me? I climbed trees, skinned my knees and dreamed BIG with my best friend. 
Turns out, I also made knots. 

I learned to tie my shoes at four or perhaps five years of age and enjoyed great success creating snug little clumps in my laces. I don’t remember the experience, actually, but I do recall one Christmas gift that informs.
Under the tree early on Christmas morning, my oldest brother handed me a small brown cardboard box and coaxed me to open, “It’s from Santa.” 
I lifted the top and looked inside, puzzled for just a moment. There was a length of red string, like the butcher used to wrap up our deli packages. It was tied into knots. A pair of tweezers rested along side. “You can practice.” Thanks, bro.
My siblings don’t remember the incident, but I assure you it’s vivid in my mind’s eye. 
Dozens of years later I found my way back to string. Is it possible to parlay this long-lost talent into a lucrative creative outlet after all? Wish me luck!
Photo: Moi playing mermaid at the Shore, taking a break from all that string.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Big City Harvest Moon


Shine on, over Washington, D.C. This glorious shot of the moonset is not enhanced, although it appears to glow with love.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

May All Beings Everywhere Be Happy and Free


Chloe lives across the street from me. I’m not sure how long we’ve been neighbors nor am I certain of her age, exactly. 
I know of no other being who greets me like I am the only person on earth. Who takes the time to pause and look into my eyes with what feels like the deepest love. Unconditionally. Every. Single. Time.
Chole is one remarkable golden retriever. I encountered her this morning on my way to yoga at Tranquil Space, a pleasant 15-minute walk though the neighborhood. I had been reading the current issue of New York magazine, with its intense coverage of the 10th anniversary of 9/11, and need to pause, disengage. 
Chloe crossed the street, walked directly over to me and sat down as close to my right foot as she could without sitting on it. Then, she leaned ever-so-slightly against the outside of my right calf, tipping her head back against the front of my quad. She cast her deep brown eyes directly upward into my eyes and smiled. I melted.
Winnie, Chloe’s person, tells me that in the face of a spate of unusual climate and seismic event recently -- an earthquake and aftershocks, a hurricane, a week of torrential, monsoon-like rain from the remnants of a tropical storm -- Chole was chill. 
Calm and centered, she eagerly headed out to the neighborhood park twice everyday to see who else was around. Not only is Chloe patient and kind and loving, turns out she is fearless, too.
At the end of yoga class, my teacher Todd concluded with tonglen meditation. He encouraged us to use this Buddhist practice of taking and giving to ease the suffering of an individual or group of individuals. 
My first thoughts were with the victims of 9/11 and their families. There are no words. 
I then thought of Chloe, greeting me without a sound. Present, open, patient and fearlessly kind. 
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all. 
ps Alas, I was so busy soaking up the love, I failed to capture a pic of Chloe. So I’m honoring her with this lit-from-within morning glory I snapped with my iPhone on the way to yoga.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A New Strand of Peace&Love

A brilliant hand knotted mala of 108 simmering teal glass crystals, with faux pearls and faceted gold glass accents as marker beads and the guru. 


Dites moi, SVP, what colors are in your palette this fall?

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Messages in Books, Bottles, Boxes




Two individuals have inspired me to give away things. For free! 
Russell Simmons, in Super Rich: A Guide to Having It All, encourages one to give until others cannot live without what you create. Give unconditionally and “go do what you are supposed to be doing.” 
Imagine, Uncle Rush says, “if a comedian said, ‘Sorry, but I can’t be funny right now because no one is paying me.’ Man, it’s a comedian’s job to be funny all of the time. ... The moment he stops giving away his humor, he stops being a comedian.” I heart you, Russell.
The lovely creative spirit Christine Mason Miller  (aka swirlygirl) launched and concluded her 100 books project as an expression of gratitude for the many gifts she has received along her journey. Her book, Ordinary Sparkling Moments: Reflections on Success and Contentment = incredible art. Giving copies of it away = incredible generosity. I cherish my purchased edition.
And a third individual―my friend Clint and the recipient of a bottle tossed into the sea―is a personal inspiration to keep putting stuff out there. Cathy Dyson of the Freelance-Star’s blog Real Life just posted about Clint’s influence. I’m honored to be a part of the unfolding story.
My things and stuff are hand-knotted strands of faux pearls and iridescent crystals, hand knotted with love (and peace&love). My 108 malas are a larger-than-life gesture of joy to the Universe. Look in an unexpected place for a small white box tied with lavender ribbon and filled with peace&love.
Dites moi, SVP, what greatness are you putting out in the world?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Go Shorty




Add the numbers of my new chronological age and you will get eight, which in numerology represents abundance. I’m truly grateful for my full, beautiful life, which is rich with love, lusciousness and adventure. A slice of the daylight:
  • Detoxed for five hours with the fabulous Seane Corn in her mind/body/spirit flow workshop, complete with a Sweetgreen lunch with Alison and Kristin
  • Gifted Seane with a handmade-this-morning card of thanks, featuring the lovely photo of perogies (a comfort food we share). I’m working on quieting my cravings for the plump dumplings
  • Shopped at the Tranquil Space boutique for Yogi Appreciation week; scored a fabulous TranquiliT hoodie tunic in noir at a deep discount. Love! 
  • Sipped iced tea with city/girl/eats, hang on little tomato and everyday revelry. At long last!
Tonight? A cool, quiet evening in the a/c on the sofa with my man.


Dites moi, how do you celebrate transitions?


    Tuesday, July 19, 2011

    A Wise Young Man Named Anand



    My birthday is July 23, and depending on who you believe, my sun sign is either Cancer or Leo. All my life I have deliberately chosen Leo over C honestly because I always wanted to be queen of the jungle.

    Anand Mehrotra
    ― thank you Brittny for introducing us in Rishikesh ― and Vedic astrology, or Jyotish, the science of light. After a profound reading last November, I found myself no longer guessing about my sign and have gained new insight.
    Anand used the date, time and location of my birth to prepare my chart. My sun sign, according to the calculation, is unquestionably Cancer. 
    Interestingly, Vedic astrology considers the ascendent more influential than one’s sun. My rising sign and moon are both in Libra, making me a double Libra. Squarely Libra. A seeker of balance and harmony. Sociable, cheerful and charming!
    Anand also told me I recently completed a BIG Saturn period; whew! now so much of the past struggles make sense. I’m now thankfully entering an uplifting period of Mercury, a time of quick changes, the creation of new possibilities and personal transformation. The years 2012 through 2015 will be an especially magnetic period. Until then, he told me to crystalize my personal expressions of creativity. And write. So here I am.
    Interested in learning more about this wise man? If you’re in the Washington, DC, area mid-August, Anand will teach yogic philosophy at Tranquil Space as well as offer Vedic readings. 
    In addition, Anand is the subject of the compelling new documentary, The Highest Pass, which will premiere later this month at The Topango Film Festival in Los Angeles. 

    Dites moi, SVP, would you like an enlightening sneak peek


    Thursday, July 14, 2011

    His Holy Gentleness, The Dalai Lama


    His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama came to Washington, DC, this month to celebrate his birthday, participate in the Talk for World Peace on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol and to confer the Kalachakra Initiation, a respected Buddhist empowerment and teachings on peace. 
    While all of this occurs two miles from my home, I will not attend but am there every day in spirit. I have had the honor of attending HH’s teaching on two other occasions, both in Washington. Both, compelling sessions with a simple buddhist monkas he humbly asserts.
    The Dalai Lama is a remarkable being who teaches that real religion is combination of compassion and tolerance. The embodiment of what he says is the true heart of the human spirit ― gentleness ― he prays:
    I pray for a more friendly,
    more caring and more
    understanding
    human family on this planet.
    To all who dislike suffering, 
    who cherish lasting happiness --
    this is my heartfelt wish.
    - His Holiness the Dalai Lama
    Dites moi, SVP, what is your prayer for peace&love?