On my Heart
Welcome to my first official newsletter, which, by the way, has been on my wish-I-would-do list for several years now. My hope and aspiration is to reach out to you periodically with thoughtfulness and care to plant seeds of self-reflection and self-discovery, to offer words of kindness and self-love, and to provide a little slice of spaciousness in this hurried and fast- paced time that we live in. In this newsletter you might find poetry, literary recommendations, music, nourishing recipes for the body, mindfulness practices, meditation retreats, upcoming classes, as well as my personal thoughts on living.
I write to you on a cool summer morning with my beloved golden-doodle, Frenchie, by my side, and a warm fire in the distance. It is only fitting to include Frenchie in the inaugural newsletter as she is the quintessential compassionate representation of unconditional love and support. In the end, aren’t we all looking for a sense of acceptance just as we are? The kind of acceptance felt when we see our own reflection through the eyes of a compassionate loved one or beloved pet?
What is on my Heart this month?
What happens when your awareness radar senses love?
So often I feel that we, as humans, are looking for ways outside of ourselves to become better versions of who we already are or to cope with the stressors of life. Of course, it is natural to strive for greater peace, for understanding, for a new skillset but why do we do this? Understanding the “why” behind our actions is another way of showing up for ourselves either from being "in love” or “out of love” with who we are right now. Let me give you an example from my own life as an invitation to step into your own gentle self-inquiry. Ten months ago I made the commitment to eliminate alcohol from my life for a period of one year as an experiment. (This is a beautiful story which I will share in more detail with you at a later time). When I looked back at some of the most painful experiences in my life from childhood through adulthood I realized that alcohol was involved in some way, it was a main or supporting actor in the narrative of the event. For me, as an adult, having a single glass of wine covered up my innate wisdom, it numbed all of my senses, not just the stressful sensations.
The author, Brené Brown talks about when we drink alcohol it may take the edge off of a stressful day but it also dulls our positive emotions as well, after all, alcohol is a depressant. When I realized that a single glass of wine each evening was not only effective in relaxing my body after a full or stressful day but was also effective in reducing my ability to be aware of the presence of love… I stopped AWAKE in my tracks. It hit me that there may have been a mixed tape song unconsciously playing in the background of my mind 24/7 with a chorus of “you don’t have the skills to soothe yourself.” I began to curiously question, “Am I reaching outside of myself for soothing and might this be a subtle form of being “out of love” with myself?” This began my year-long journey of loving self-inquiry. I began to inquire about my “why” from a place of being in total love with the desire to know myself. What I learned was that not only did alcohol cover up clear seeing, and the opportunity to heal even more deeply, but it also robbed me of the innate selflove that I truly needed on a day-to-day basis AND THAT I ALREADY HAVE WITHIN ME. MY AWARENESS RADAR sensed the presence of love ALL OF THE TIME and it is this “aha” moment that allowed me to call LOVE to the forefront as the leading actress and to greater understand the roles of fear, loss, and ultimately forgiveness.
Bringing Awareness to Everyday Life: Is there an aspect of your life where love is not (yet) on your radar?
There are many ways we can step into love. I explored curiosity and insight as acts of love in my personal story with you. Sometimes just the simple act of acknowledging our pain is all that is needed to begin to soften and soothe ourselves. Pema Chödron shares in her teachings that we can “relax our struggle like touching a bubble with a feather.” When we neither occupy the space of denial of our pain nor over-identify with our pain, we have another choice. We may step into the role of a compassionate observer who turns toward the pain with curiosity and care. Over time we are able to move in and out of pleasant and difficult sensations with greater trust, ease and confidence. We learn that no part of ourselves is unworthy of compassion and that no part of another is either. Learning new ways of being in relationship with ourselves and others takes time and practice. Please be gentle with yourself.
What would life be like if we spent more time embracing the joy that is already present and less time attending to negative states of mind? Have you heard of Dr. Rick Hanson’s research on the brain’s negativity bias? Dr. Hanson states, “The brain is like Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones.” Another act of self-love is to study and become educated about the similarities we all share in being human. You may enjoy reading Dr. Hanson’s article to learn about evolutionary development and the ancient circuitry of the brain to understand how, for our ancestors, being fearful meant self-preservation and how, as modern humans we have choices in where we place our attention in turn reframing our interpretation of reality and thus rewiring our brain. You can read this article here.
Women's Retreat Sunday, September 24th
Distractions fill up space in our lives and yet space and stillness are our helpers in healing. Please join me for a day of mindfulness, silence, yoga and spaciousness on Sunday, September 24th. I will guide you in meditation and soothing mindful self-compassion practices. I have joined hearts with Nikki Breedlove who will lovingly guide you in an extended yoga practice followed by a beautiful vegan lunch magically prepared by an in-house chef. Goody bags containing healing crystals and essential oils will be provided to each guest. Registration is open until Friday. Register here.
The next course I will offer in Salt Lake City is an 8-week Compassion Cultivation Training Course from CCARE and Stanford University’s School of Medicine. You can learn more about this course and registration on my website.
My private practice is currently full as I am choosing to carve out more time to devote to writing my first book, taking care of my body and the day-to-day attentiveness needed to respond to living with an auto-immune disorder, and celebrating the lives and needs of my own nuclear family.
Item of the Month, Available for sale at THE SHOPPE:
PRITI MAT is a natural yoga mat made from sustainably harvested tree rubber.
New Wellness App! Jiyo
Deepak Chopra is the co-creator of this awesome holistic health and well-being app. There’s a community feed where people share inspiring content — it’s great for finding spiritual running buddies. You can listen to guided meditations, read articles by experts and watch videos. Plus Jiyo has a health tracker that monitors you and delivers personalized health tips and reminders!