I welcome all feedback and look forward to reading your comments. Please be respectful of everyone's voice. My intention is to create a safe, secure place where people can be completely vulnerable and express themselves fully without fear or inhibitions of being judged or criticized. I ask that you respond not react. Practice the art of mindfulness in your comments.
"When one experiences truth, the madness of finding faults with others disappears" - S.N. Goenka.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Childhood Magic - Does It Have To End?

“I don’t like it when grown-ups kill animals and take their skin and fur to make things.  When I grow up I’m going to make people stop doing that.  I’m going to talk to the president about it.” 

Ava casually spoke her thought out loud, as if discussing her favorite toy.   She was leaning against the front door patiently waiting for the rest us to put on our jackets when her words stopped me mid-step.  Amidst the chaos, her voice struck my core like a vibrating guitar string completing a chord.  A tightness rose to my throat.   Looking at my 6-year old daughter, I saw old-soul eyes, like she already lived a thousand years.  Who told her this?  What inspired such depth and activism at such a tender age?  Questions sprinted through my mind only beaten to my voice by an attempt to express pride.  Swallowing hard I said, “Well good for you Av -” My husband interrupted me with an effort to start a Save the Animals revolution.  “And I’ll help you Ava, we’ll do it together!”  He said.  “No daddy, only I can do this.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Religion - And Where My Questions Led Me

Religion a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. 

“God will punish you and send you straight to hell if you dare cheat on another exam, young lady!” She said with a harsh and stern voice that echoed in the hall of C Wing at St. Michael’s middle school.
Sister Immaculata looked directly at me, penetrating my soul with beady eyes that hid behind black trimmed pointy glasses. Every time she spoke, the wrath of God spoke too. There was nothing warm or fuzzy about her.  When she wasn’t spitting daggers of fear directly into your heart, she stood fully erect and maintained an angry expression that repelled perfect strangers.  Her face was tense –sustaining a crinkled nose and pressed lips.  The corners of her mouth pointed downward and exaggerated wrinkles in her forehead kept her brow furrowed.  I wondered if maintaining such a constant expression could exhaust a person or perhaps cause facial cramps.  

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Dharma - Our Individual Life Purpose

Deepak Chopra explains the Law of Dharma:
The seventh spiritual law of success is the Law of Dharma. (Dharma is a Sanskrit word that means "purpose in life.") This law says that we have taken manifestation in physical form to fulfill a purpose.  You have a unique talent and a unique way of expressing it.  There is something that you can do better than anyone else in the whole world - and the creative expression of your talent is the spark that creates affluence.  Expressing your talents to fulfill needs creates unlimited wealth and abundance.  There are three components to the Law of Dharma. The first says that each of us is here to discover our true Self.  The second component is to express our unique talents; the expression of that talent takes you into timeless awareness.  The third component is service to humanity.  When you combine the ability to express your unique talent with service to humanity, then you make full use of the Law of Dharma.

Congratulations, Mr. Chopra, (someday I hope we are on a first name basis, Deepak).  You wrapped one of the most loaded words in any language (purpose) into a pretty little simplified package.  I embrace it, accept it and love it, but maybe you’re missing one very significant part. What if we’re one of the (gazillion) unfortunate ones who spend a lifetime trying to figure out what our dharma is? What if we are always chasing an elusive goal and seeking an underlying purpose?  How many times in my life have I said,  “This is it!” or  “I’ve finally figure out what I’m supposed to do with my life!” Only to turn around, practically seconds later, and say, “This definitely isn’t it.”

More than is worth counting.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The "Higher Risk" Society

I opened my eyes before the alarm clock sounded.  It was unusual to have an extra thirty minutes. With an extended yawn, I wrapped the oversized comforter snuggly around me and rolled back over, desperately wanting to go back to sleep.  It was then that I remembered. 

The day was September 29th

There were years when almost the entire morning disappeared before I caught wind of the date. Once, while mindlessly beating eggs for a Sunday morning brunch, my daughter rushed in with her arms wide open and screamed, “Happy birthday mommy!” Her greeting and comforting hug brought tears of disbelief.  I hugged her for longer than usual and thought, “Oh my god, she’s right! It’s my birthday!” My amazing 3-year old daughter had to remind me. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

InSpire Me

The hot moist summer air filled my lungs as I raced across the familiar hidden trail.  It smelled of moss and wet earth despite the blaze of the blistering sun.  Branches littered the path - remnants of yesterday’s massive storm.  The hurricane had been named Irene.  Her category I force touched land the night before.  Gusts of winds nearing 85 miles an hour, she fiercely made her way through the North Eastern coastal states and was a reminder of earth’s abounding power.  The storm’s destruction; broken power lines, fallen trees, and flooded streets – all amidst a tranquil backdrop of blue skies.  My steady pace was marked by the sount of sticks cracking beneath my feet.  The sunrays rained through branches and extended toward earth. I eagerly ran toward the brightness of a beam and closing my eyes felt its acceptance.  The surrender was complete serenity. My face flushed red from both the strength of the sun and the blood pulsing through my veins.  My heart beat against my chest as I ran with the rhythm of my breath, droplets of sweat periodically falling from my brow, stinging my eyes.  Suddenly, I had this intense urge to veer off course.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Forgive and Live

“If you think you’re enlightened spend a weekend with family and then reevaluate.” 

It was early in my yoga career the first time I heard that statement. The beginning stage is when everything is new and blissfully exotic; where you start to connect meaning with every movement and every breath.  This phase in a relationship is where the fantasy of the next encounter keeps a smile etched as a permanent expression on your face. Your eyes are glazed with a sweetness that permits a glimpse of perfection. The thought of this new romance causes your body to tingle and palms to sweat.   At that eager stage of my yoga affair, every morning began by chanting the sweet sound of OM in a class filled with equally fervent yoga students.  My mat time triggered new thoughts and lessons learned. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Trusting Our Truth

My dad signaled when he was about to strike. His round, hairless head turned a bright shade of red while his lips pressed so tightly together, they lost their color.  Like a gazelle looking up in a nature film my body became aware of an impending danger. It was when my Dad’s upper lip virtually disappeared and his bulging, eyes shifted from green to a devilish red – that I knew I’d better start running.  His glare was so frightening; I literally felt the wrath of God.  I ran with the same fierce, life-saving determination of a gazelle that spots a salivating leopard ready to pounce.  Nothing stood in my way from trying to escape his rage.  I turned over chairs, moved tables, jumped furniture - all with the gripping hope of making it to the door in enough time to open it. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hello Stillness, Nice To Meet You

My formal introduction to the word meditation happened during my third year in college when I enrolled in a course entitled Mind, Body Medicine.  The course was a requirement for my Health Science major and, in hindsight, a fortunate obligation.  I was in my early twenties, on the brink of adulthood - somewhere between reckless, insecure teen and responsible, "in-control" adult. Everything in this world was possible, where you know the rules to success and you agreeably play the game. But where trepidation and inhibition keep you bound to perpetual self-doubt. And yes, smoking lots of pot and drinking beer through funnels seemed to be the most effective way to cope.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Everything We Need, We Already Have

“Happiness is not getting what you want, it is wanting what you get.” – Neale Donald Walsch.

I grew up on the outskirts of the City of Detroit’s west side, just one mile north of Eminem’s now famous 8 Mile Road. Our neighborhood streets weren’t exactly tree-lined, nor were there pools in every yard. Instead, it was abandoned lawns, cracked and crumbled driveways, and homes in desperate need of fresh paint.

Tom’s Party Shop was just down our road. It was a place where neighborhood kids went with their pockets flush with coins to buy handfuls of candies or frozen treats. If you were an under-aged teen with a little extra cash, you had no problem getting your share of Marlboros. Tom’s was the meet-up point for our neighborhood “gang.” After meeting, we scattered throughout the neighborhood. Days spent riding bikes, running through sprinklers and hiking the woods. We climbed trees, ate Popsicles and sometimes smoked those shared Marlboros. We had everything we needed. There was nothing lacking in our world. We were simply flowing with a curiosity borne of our childhood innocence. A feeling so intense, that we explored our world with creative imagination and complete openness.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Stepping Into Fear

“Power over others is weakness disguised as strength. True power is within, and it available to you now.  -  Eckhart Tolle

Fear was a major life motivator until it practically consumed me.  There was a point where it held on so tight I felt desperate for breath.  It only took a few months for me to realize it’s not a comfy place to pitch a tent. It’s too cold, dark and lonely – a place too desolate and barren to set up camp.  We each have had intimate relationships with fear, in one form or another, and in varying degrees.  We understand its power and its conviction.  And we all want to break free from its hold.

My life during those few desperate months would have appeared to an outside observer to be picture perfect. I had a supportive, loving husband along with two beautiful, healthy, spirited daughters. We shared a home nestled in an established neighborhood just outside of New York City.  I was a full time mother, grateful to be home with my kids. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Listening to the Whisper

I can remember, with exact clarity, the moment when my father uttered the statement that sparked my curiosity about the purpose of life.

I was in my early teens – a rebel with a quest to break free from the madness that was my family life. My parents were a perfect pair. My mother, a petite, Italian woman, spoke little English and understood even less about American culture. She kept her distance from the unfamiliarity of this new world by distracting herself with perpetual housework. Despite her constant feelings of hopelessness, she managed to channel her nervous energy into keeping a spotless home, making the meals on time, and getting the kids to school or practice. Her inner turmoil created an outer world of disconnection, and she lacked the capacity to relate, to trust and to love. At the time it appeared that she just resented everyone and everything, but now I recognize her struggle as a disconnect within herself. She portrayed the life of a victim, as if everyone had the sole purpose to cause her discomfort and pain. My brother and I eventually gave up trying to convince her of anything to the contrary. Instead, we simply turned a blind eye to her despair.