Yoga Teacher
400 463 Admin Main

Gratitude for My First Yoga Teacher

I grew-up in rural Indiana. No one knew what yoga meant. Well, one of my classmate’s father was a psychologist which was considered cosmopolitan. HE might have known what yoga was but I didn’t. So when I was a freshmen in college I saw it was offered and decided to find out.  I had no idea what we would be doing. Acrobatics? Meditation? It turns out those first guesses weren’t that far off.

But the main attraction was the yoga instructor herself. She was around 70 but had more energy than most undergrads. She had long, vibrant red hair and wore jewelry that seemed incredibly bold against her slight frame. And she said funny, insightful things. “Gang, when you do yoga, you’ll be able to eat whatever you want because you will be so in tune with your body that you will always listen to what it needs. It will be natural. Look at me! I eat as much carrot cake as I want and I look like this!” she said playfully strutting in between all of us laying on our backs. I had no idea what she meant then but found her certainty curious and amusing. Now I get it. Yoga does help you get in touch with our body. While it didn’t fully sink in at the moment, it was good to be exposed to that concept.

I’ve discovered that unless something hits me really HARD, I usually need to be exposed to an idea multiple time for it to sync in. I don’t like to admit it, but I can see from the patterns of my life it’s true. I’m starting to accept that by just relaxing during the first exposure to something new. If the dots connect then, great. If not, well I’ve collected a new dot I can keep in my hip pocket for later.

I enjoyed being exposed to these insights and was amused by adults holding poses with animals names for long periods in silence together in a dark in a gymnasium. College was so exotic. I could never imagined such a things growing up across the street from a gigantic cornfield. My parents teased me, “What is this yoga stuff listed in your schedule of classes? What pray tell are you spending our money on?!?” But quietly I bet they were proud of me for trying new things and probably curious what yoga was themselves but would never admit it for some reason. But maybe not. These are the same parents who never traveled outside of Indiana because Indiana has everything they could ever want. When we did go on a vacation, it was a big leap to go to a state park an hour or so away. So maybe yoga did seem far out to them.

What was truly valuable about that yoga class was heaving that teacher as a role model. She was worth her weight in gold – and more! I remember thinking, “When I’m 70, I want to be like HER. Wait, no, I want to be like her NOW.” Just knowing the someone so free-spirited, so confident, so unique existed was eye-opening. To find her embodied as a 70 year old woman in the middle of rural Indiana made it even better. She made a stronger impression on me than I realized at the time. I’m not sure I was even consciously aware how much she inspired me. Inspiration is one of the most precious gifts we can give one another. I am grateful for the gift she gave me and hope I can pass it on to others.

773 457 Admin Main

What grounds you most?

What are your anchors? Your touchstones?

Feel can keep you from accessing your root chakra. Attributes related to the root chakra include: ancestry, security…

Excessive energy looks like…

Rigid Boundries, Obesity, Materialistic

Deficient energy looks like…

Living in our head. Out of touch with our body.
Chronic Disorganization
Financial Difficulty

Big trees have deep roots. Envision your root system. What would a new layer of growth look like? What do you need to do to catalyze that growth? What are the new shoots? The new parts of you that you seek to develop?

Do you have strong foundation? Are you building on YOUR dreams or someone else’s? It’s important to find the courage to walk away from things that don’t resonate with you. Free that energy for other things!

Live a life of trust, not fear.


Fly high but stay grounded

Sometimes the only way to become grounded is to hit bottom.

To be rooted is perhaps the most important but least recognized needs of the human soul.

-Simone Weil


A mighty wind blew night and day
It stole the oak tree’s leaves away
Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark
Until the oak was tired and stark

But still the oak tree held its ground
While other trees fell all around
The weary wind gave up and spoke.
How can you still be standing Oak?

The oak tree said, I know that you
Can break each branch of mine in two
Carry every leaf away
Shake my limbs, and make me sway

But I have roots stretched in the earth
Growing stronger since my birth
You’ll never touch them, for you see
They are the deepest part of me

Until today, I wasn’t sure
Of just how much I could endure
But now I’ve found, thanks to you
I’m stronger than I ever knew

Your Adversary
764 557 Admin Main

Your Adversary Might Be Your Friend

It might seem counterintuitive but an adversary could be one of the strongest candidates for a future friend. Why is that? Because in conflict we show our hot button issues and vulnerabilities. This reveals a lot about ourselves which creates a type of intimacy.

So if you are in conflict with someone but able to handle yourself with integrity, a type of respect and understand forms that can be fertile ground for friendship later when circumstances change. So if you find yourself in opposition to someone, recognize the unseen opportunity in play. Our enemy today has the potential be our friend tomorrow.

The Rasta in All of Us
773 359 Admin Main

The Rasta in All of Us

I’ve been learning about the Rastafari way. Both because I seem to have an innate drive to understand different spiritual practices and because I will be going to Jamaica with my family later this year and want to deepen my understanding while there. I’ll share more detail about the principles and practices later – like how I’m trying a Rasta Itality diet – but will begin with the basics now.

Rastas call their way of life LIVITY. Its essence is the realization that an energy or life-force from Jah (the divine) exists within, and flows through, all people. This energy is the presence of Jah living within us, and is often expressed as “I and I”, where the first “I” refers to the Almighty, the second “I” for oneself. A primary goal in Rastafarian meditation is maintaining awareness of I and I.

A primary goal in a Rastafarian’s life is to expand his or her Livity. Livity can be enhanced by intense prayer and meditation (often enhanced by sacramental cannabis use), adherence to a natural diet, and perhaps most importantly, loving behavior toward others. This expression of love for others is done in recognition of a central love energy within all people, a concept often referred to as One Love.

Here’s a summary of Rastafari Livity Vows. I compiled the list by reading books and articles (the best books are by Empress Yuajah) and added some elaboration upon each vow to help make them more understandable.



  • Love and accept ALL parts of myself. Rastafari is a spiritual way of being that embraces self-love.
  • Not to be defined by society or any one individual. We are not clones or zombies for society. Instead, we will define ourselves. Jah made each of us unique. We will honor this with our mindset and behavior.
  • Be a creative, free thinking human being. It is believed that creativity is a conduit for divine energy.
  • Have spiritual awareness. From this I receive strength and wholeness of the self. We need to develop our spiritual selves to have the inner strength required to deflect the pressures of the world.
  • Approach all disagreements and misunderstandings with love and understanding. Cultivate compassion and empathy. Be the first to give in or apologize.
  • Have a spiritual rebirth in the truth. This is the point where someone makes a commitment to follow a spiritual path which opens up a whole new era of life
  • Not define or dislike others based on ethnicity, class or skin color. We must train ourselves to think in terms of love, not the terms society has used to define people. We will take the higher path and refuse to participate in thoughtless, competitive, unloving behavior.
  • Unite in love and harmony with others who share a mission of peace, love and togetherness. Sharing from the heart and expecting nothing in return. Have a mentality of cooperation instead of competition. Stay clear of negative comments that cause confusion and division.
  • My life belongs to me and is defined by the daily choices I make. Jah gave us free will to enjoy our lives and own our lives. We need to use it by taking responsibility for our own happiness and be sure our behavior is congruent with our sense of higher purpose each day.
  • Remain open to Jah guidance and love. Keep your heart and mind open.

This is the foundation. More soon on Rasta Livity Diet, Cannabis Reasoning Sessions and other compelling Rasta practices!

What Are the Words Written on Your Heart? Chakras
766 448 Admin Main

What Are the Words Written on Your Heart?

When I first heard Matisyahu’s Akeda album it was like I already knew all the words. And the sounds. Like they were written on my heart. I wonder what this means? If you’ve had an experience like this, please share it with me.

I Love Mandalas Chakras
771 525 Admin Main

I Love Mandalas

I really love them. They’ve resonated with me at a deep level since I first saw one. I can look at mandalas for hours.

I had a t-shirt with an embroidered lotus flower mandala that got at a Grateful Dead show when I was 17. Even though it was just a t-shirt, it was so special to me. Today, I realized in a moment of reflection that if you could wipe the estate clean of all life obligations, I would probably just make mandala after mandala. I wonder what that means. Just be completely immersed in them. Swim in them. As a start, I studied different mandala designs for a couple of hours today and started to plan one to make. It was gratifying.

We are all mandalas. Our lives are mandalas.

Airbnb Experiment in Closeness
765 409 Admin Main

Airbnb Experiment in Closeness

I undertook an experiment awhile ago. It didn’t start consciously but it ended that way. I decided to get to know different parts of Los Angeles by moving to a new part of town each week. Isn’t airbnb great? It was a way of getting to know the city more deeply, forcing myself out of my comfort zone and probably distracting myself from a bad breakup. Unexpectedly, the experiment morphed from one on WHERE to live to one on HOW to live. About progressively becoming closer and closer to others with each move. I have always had an innate interest with infusing a community element into how I live.

When I started college I was drawn to live at Collins Living Learning Center (aka Collins Living Learning LOVING Center) at Indiana University. I was living on Grateful Dead tour and at Rainbow Gatherings and people in the region told me Collins had a reputation of being the hippy dorm that promoted a more experimental or experiential modes of living. Wonderful – just the place for me! And it was. I loved the communal meals. So different than the impersonal dorm cafeteria experience which had a lonely in a crowd vibe. We tried all sorts of things, including a nudity bicycle ride in funny disguises through campus during the busiest part of the day. I learned something from that. I thought people would be shocked. Instead, they thought it was hilarious. Maybe things are not as serious as we make them out to be? There’s much more to the Collins story which deserves it’s on post.

After college I was living in Los Angeles and learned about a place called Sunset Hill from documentary night at the Unitarian Church. Fun fun. Sunset Hill was a communal retirement home for activists. How wonderful! Most 24 year olds  aren’t look forward to moving into a retirement home but I thought it sounded great. I found a sense of comfort in having this plan. But unfortunately, lefty senior citizens are not well resourced and the place shut down. When I found that out, my heart sank. Oh no! What’s the plan now?!?

Okay, the Airbnb experiment…

It started by renting a bungalow in the Topanga. It was private and serene. The owner lived up the hill and might have been engaged in some sort of rituals since every time I saw her she was wearing kimono robes and burning lots of incense. Or maybe that’s just how she hangs out.

Next was an urban farm on Melrose. I will never forget how everything was painted in the brightest colors imaginable. It made my eyes happy. And the pigs. I am pretty sure you can’t keep pigs – or a donkey – in the city but they did anyway. No one seemed to mind. While my unit had a private entrance, the farmhouse had communal spaces that were lively centers of activity since they seemed to be using Airbnb to fill every room imaginable; including renting out a walk-in closet as a studio.

It reminded me of the time when I lived in a sleeping bag in small cubby space in between a banister and a wall at the top of a stairwell after college. It was a place on Wilton Blvd in Hollywood that we called the Wilton Hilton since people would come and go so quickly. I realized I was getting closer to people with each new arrangement. It wasn’t intentional but it was happening. I wondered what it would be like to take this experience all the way to it’s logical conclusion.

So the next place was a bedroom in a high-end Balinese home in the Hollywood Hills. The walls completely opened-up to let sun and air pour inside. Wow. The owner was a charming, kind and strikingly  handsome British photographer with a good natured dog. I’m not sure which I liked best – the house, the owner or dog. It was probably a tie. They liked me too. Since we shared all the living space, we got to know each other quite well. We went on outings, made dinner and the photographer took pictures of me. We even walked to a holiday party down the street hosted by my friends from the Unitarian church who happened to be his neighbors. I probably could still be living there. But I was relieved when the week drew to an end because it felt a little too cozy. It was a good life but it wasn’t not my life. The photographer was fabulous – deep, sensitive, sexy, cultured – but not for me. I don’t know why. The heart wants what the heart  wants. Human emotions entered the picture with increased closeness.

The next stop was renting a couch in a couple’s living room in a loft in downtown LA. This didn’t go so well. Interestingly, it wasn’t the couch or lack of privacy that was the problem. The woman’s lover/husband/whoever seemed very self conscious by me being there which made me feel self conscious for some reason. I was glad to get out of there. So my experiment didn’t end so well but I’m still glad I did it. I try to still practice this in many ways.

Each time I go on a retreat I make a conscious decision to have a roommate as an opportunity to get to know someone more deeply while I’m there. I also want to observe my own reactions to see how I process the experience. I don’t like an office. I just travel with my laptop and work wherever – even at the office suites I rent for my business.

I’ve been reflecting a lot lately about how we gain somethings but lose others by becoming hyper-independent adults. Maybe these are some of the things that aren’t felt as strongly with walls? But some of the beautiful things aren’t felt because of the walls between us either.  We can avoid anything that even threatens our own comfort level. As a child you didn’t have this luxury. You made the best of things – all together. This is how you got to know your family and your neighbors. You spent time together. Live together. Now you can just walk away. Or more likely, not even let the bonding process get underway. It’s easy to do everything on our own terms. But there can be too much of a good thing. I heard recently that the most googled words between the hours of 9-11p are “loneliness”, “depression” and “porn.” This makes me sad. Maybe past a certain point, so much independence comes at our own detriment?

I regret walking away from something recently. I became uncomfortable. I felt vulnerable. So I left. At the time, I felt relief amidst the confusion. Now I feel loss. When someone is important to us we need to rise to the occasion and find a way to remain as present and open as possible through the discomfort. I walked out on a big opportunity there. And I might have harmed the relationship in a way that can never be undone; although I will try.

Maybe our independence have allowed muscles to atrophy we need to rebuild? If so, seems like we need to make it a practice to reach out in our daily lives. Make an effort to stay connected. Resist the temptation to walk out when we’re squirming. Try new things. Express curiosities and desires.  Sometimes it will work. Sometimes it won’t. But we can’t give up. Making it a habit to retreat to comfort and safety would be cowardly, lazy or both. By all means, let the grand experiment of life continue.

I remain passionate about community living. The lofts I chose have several community elements, my favorite is a yoga class for neighbors which we hold in whatever units are empty. It’s special. About 3-5 people go to each session so it’s intimate. And the woman who teaches it is beautiful spirit like a fairy. We met quietly crossing paths at night around 11.30p at night. I said “good evening”, she stopped and we quickly recognized each other as kindred spirits. We hugged. Think about how unusual that is for a second. Two women who are total strangers crossing paths in the night stop and hug. And now I’m lucky enough to see this beautiful spirit each week. What a joy.

But I’m ready to take the community thing to a whole new level. Am thinking about moving into an intentional community and if I’m successful enough in life, create one. I have been researching them and it seems each community has a unique personality, like a person. I bet this journey will become even more interesting!

Beautiful Experience
770 375 Admin Main

Beautiful Experience

You never know when a breakthrough will happen. Today was one of those days. Earlier this week, a new business colleague did something ethically questionable. I was torn. The old me would have given her the benefit of the doubt, had a candid conversation about the situation then been surprised and disappointed when it reoccurred. Now I’m wondering if I see the writing on the wall and head in the opposite direction as quickly as possible. No explanation needed. That feels good for a second but then begins to feel uncomfortable. But doing the same thing seemed untenable. So I thought on it. So what was I hoping to achieve?

What am I seeking to avoid? I considered it and was surprised at the conclusion. I should do the exact same thing, go through the exact same behavior but with a different mindset. Wow. How simple. How profound. Still muster the courage and resolve to have the honest discussion but don’t expect it to turn out well. Just do your duty to speak the truth. Realize you might simply be delaying the inevitable. That okay. At least you’ve handled it with integrity. And who knows, you might just be pleasantly surprised! So it wasn’t my behavior that needed to change at all. It was my mindset.

3 Minutes of Sacredness
768 320 Admin Main

3 Minutes of Sacredness

You can go three weeks without food, three weeks without water but only three minutes without air. Our breath is our lifeblood. Air is the element of the heart chakra. The heart is where blood mixes with oxygen from the lungs.

The elixir of life. So think of how much you need air. How you are just three minutes away from death. But how we all take it for granted. Breath is so sacred. Just three sacred minutes. If you only have three minutes, what would you see in your heart? Pursue that now.

Opportunity Cost
417 463 Admin Main

Opportunity Cost

What an important concept. I remember when I was first exposed to it in business school. Clouds parted. I realized how important it is to apply this principle not just in business but through all dimensions of life.

Had a powerful experience recently that underscores this point. About 5 months ago, my yoga practice had stalled-out. I was going to this ridiculously expensive gym and kept rationalizing going yoga there instead of going to a yoga studio with more demanding classes. I kept saying  “Oh it’s so convenient. Or it will help me get to the gym to workout.”