“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in;
forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day.
You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit
to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Wow! So much has happened since I last wrote you from Italy.
Let me start by saying, Mike and I just arrived safely back at home; we had so many adventures all along the way.
Summer solstice is one of my favorite days of the year. Traveling home from Germany, via Iceland, certainly extended our longest day of light!
If you skipped the quotation up above, now would be an excellent moment to take it in. 😉
Our travels definitely had some "blunders and absurdities." For starters, I do really hope that my suitcase (which I haven't seen since leaving Florence, Italy nearly a week ago) finds its way back to me. Yep, there were many bumps along the way.
However, even in the fog of jet lag, I choose to focus on the gifts of the trip.
We met so many people who were kind, and helpful, and thoughtful, and delightful. Special gratitude to our hosts in Germany, Sigrid and Axel. And, extra love to Mike for being my rock all along the way.
I look forward to sharing more tales and connecting with you more deeply. I hope to see many of you, soon, on the mat; I have missed my Michigan Sangha.
For now, I will settle into home. It's wonderful being back in our cute neighborhood, and I am so grateful for those who helped during our absence!
I will also continue processing all that took place. Yoga has really helped me understand that it's okay to allow the full range of emotions to emerge. Yes, there are challenges. And, we can center ourselves. Find our strength. And move towards the light.
Thankful for the adventures in life,
"Who picks the grapes? I do.
Who does the work to create the wine? I do.
Who prepares this food? I do.
Who cleans the dishes? I do."
~ Maria Tili | *Owner of Tili Vini in Umbria
Greetings from Italy!
My heart is full. Having waited an extra two years for our return to Tuscany, it is with deep gratitude, and tremendous joy, that we are here.
I am so excited to share our adventures!
And, the wines? Wow. The wines here are so lovely, especially when you know exactly where the grapes have been grown, how they are processed, and all the love and care that goes into each bottle.
If you missed the quotation at the top, take another look.
I'm so thankful we have time here for many more adventures. I love taking in the history, the architecture, the culture, and the people! This country was devastated by the initial waves of Covid, and it's incredible to be here enjoying the warmth and the resiliency of the Italian people.
Beaming light to you all the way from Italy.
"We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known."
~ Brené Brown, Atlas Of The Heart
Last week in this space, I went for it. Sharing with you my beliefs, and my pain, was challenging. Thank you for the outpouring of love and supportyou offered in response.
I have to tell you. The juxtaposition of daily life these days can make a girl dizzy.
I feel so enriched by the people in my life. Family, friends, neighbors, colleagues . . . I experience the strength and beauty of community everywhere, and it's wonderful.
There is so much beauty all around, and I love opening myself up to the light. In fact, I aim to BE part of the light.
Honestly? Simply watching our peonies burst into bloom brings me deep delight.
After writing today, I'll be packing my bags for the Food, Wine, and Yoga tour in Italy. In fact, when this newsletter is released, I'll already be in Milan! Yes, I live a privileged life.
And, I am a realist. Alongside this beauty, this joy, and this light, there continues to be pain. And suffering. And violence. And injustice. And oppression. Tuning into the news of the day, any day, can put me into a tailspin.
When life is feeling good, and in flow, how do we stay connected to our highest, best self?
When life asks a lot, demands a lot, and keeps on coming . . . what can we do to help ourselves remain connected to Source self?
Regardless of what's happening around us, how do we resource ourselves so that we can continue being a resource for others?
To learn a mudra that helps us quickly come into a space of love, click here.
📷: Maria Fabrizio | Wordless News
It has been a rough week
"May we not just grieve, but give:
May we not just ache, but act;
May our signed right to bear arms
Never blind our sight from shared harm;
May we choose our children over chaos.
May another innocent never be lost."
~ Amanda Gorman
Have you seen the list of schools where shootings have taken place?
The length itself is tragic. In truth? That chalk drawn map of the U.S. featured above should be riddled with many more bullet holes.
Now, add to that list the other places where mass shootings have taken place in this country:
And, when we dry our tears long enough to look away from the most recent massacre, we see that mass shootings are a minority of the gun deaths happening every year in America.
The mental health issues in this country are prolific and very real. These issues need expertise, love, compassion, and resources.
America's mental health issues, though, are not unique. Sadly, our statistics of depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, etc. are mirrored around the world. (Read more, here)
However, there is another area where we undisputedly lead the world: guns.
Gun ownership. Gun violence. Gun Deaths.
(See 7 charts showing our relationship to guns, compared to other countries around the world, here.)
I believe in the U.S. Constitution, and that includes its 2nd Amendment.
And, I believe in this nation's founding document that preceded the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence. This document declared our three unalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Continue learning about our trauma, both individual and collective, by clicking here.
"Love recognizes no barriers.
It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls
to arrive at its destination full of hope."
~ Maya Angelou
I am humbled by the outreach after last week's newsletter. Thank you! I am honored by your courage to connect, and I truly appreciate hearing from you.
If you missed last week's message, you can easily blame Mercury Retrograde. 🙃 And, you can access the newsletter again, here.
Grounding ourselves in confidence, and living into our highest, best, self is big, powerful, important work. Or, more accurately, I would say it's a big, powerful, important practice. Because just like learning to play the guitar, or how to knit, or how to speak another language . . . finding the courage to ground yourself in confidence, and to connect to your heart space, takes dedication.
But, here's the thing. Learning a new language, or how to play an instrument, can take a huge amount of time.
Learning to live into our heart space? That's an entirely different endeavor.
Find the courage to follow your heart by practicing this mudra.
📷: Rhoda Thurston - Lewis 🙏🏻
"You wanna fly, you got to give up the sh*t that weighs you down."
~ Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon
Hello, my open-hearted friends!
Last week I wrote about loneliness and its impact. I'm curious, did you find out what loneliness feels like in your body? Do you better understand how to help yourself through this experience?
If you missed last week's message, or simply want to refresh, click here.
Today, another look at how we are wired for connection and the obstacles that might trip us up along the way.
I am an introvert who cherishes time alone. Knowing this about myself, and honoring this, definitely serves my well-being.
I also know I put up barriers that keep me separate from others . . . even when I want and need connection.
What kind of barriers you ask? Hmmmm. Vulnerability alert: this isn't the pretty stuff. Some of my favorite blockades include defensiveness, perfectionism, judgment, and lack of self-worth.
When any of these barriers go up, and sometimes take center stage, I am sending signals to others to keep their distance. Truth? I can be a force and an unpleasant challenge.
At times, I even default to hiding myself away in order to spare others the totality of who I am. Why would someone want to be around me when I know I am miserable?
Of course, this is typically when I most desire, and need, connection.
So . . . how do we be more fully present with ourselves and others? Click here to read more.
"As members of a social species, we don't derive strength from our rugged individualism, but rather from our collective ability
to plan, communicate, and work together."
~ Brené Brown, Atlas Of The Heart
It's as if Mother Nature decided to deliver on the title of this year's Tulip Time poster. Suddenly, everything is Bursting With Color. Cue the marching bands and pile on those socks underneath your wooden shoes . . . spring is here. 🌷
(We can all be thankful I didn't dig up photos from my Dutch Dancing days. Nothing like dressing as a boy while also attempting to have big hair. Gotta love the 80's. 🤣)
The warmer weather certainly has shifted things around here. People are riding their bikes, working in their yards, walking on the beach, firing up the grill, and generally smiling a heck-of-a-lot more.
Smelling the season's first lilacs is celebratory. Checking in on the "secret" trove of trilliums makes my heart soar. Welcoming neighbors and yogis back to town is a delight, and I am so excited for the return of our outdoor yoga season.
This boost in energy and mood got me thinking about our need for connection.
To read more and learn more about how we are wired for connection, click here.
"The experience on the batey was eye opening . . .
the poverty and living conditions were such a stark contrast
to the joy that each child radiated."
~ Dominican Republic Traveler, April, 2022
Back in December, I wrote to you about the Saugatuck High School Interact Club and their upcoming travels to Batey 106, Dominican Republic.
(Weren't yet part of my email list? Simply want to learn more? Click here.)
So many of you supported this year's trip by joining me at a festive fundraising yoga class or by donating directly. Thank you!
While the ongoing pandemic postponed the trip from January to April, your generosity helped make this year's travels a huge success.
Twenty Saugatuck High School students continued the tradition of fostering relationships and forging connections. This year's project? Helping to build a playground for the incredible kids in the batey.
If you know any of the students or adults who were on the trip, please ask them about it.
"Mainly, I see this trip as a kind of cultural exchange:
Our students learn about both Dominican and Haitian cultures,
and they bring back the valuable experience of navigating
these cultures. For many of our students, it's their first trip to another country. The icing on the cake is that some absolutely wonderful magic happens in working together as a group in partnership with the community of Batey 106,
and it's always an honor to be there to behold.
~ Mike Shaw, SHS Interact Club Sponsor
Thank you for being part of the expansiveness,
P.S. This time between two eclipses is powerful. Keep both ears active, listen within, and stay focused on your intention ✨
"Take close care of your inner stories.
They create your outer life."
~ Jaiya John | Fragrance After Rain
I am super curious: how was your week of listening with both ears? Were you able to gift yourself extra moments to pause, to slow your breath, and to deeply listen? If so, what did you attune to? What observations did you make? How did it shift your pathway forward? Drop me a line, shoot me a text, give me a call, and let me know what surfaced for you.
If, for whatever reason, you missed last week's newsletter (or listening with both ears simply got lost in the shuffle) why not go for it right here and now? Simply click to begin this simple, transformative practice.
Ready to up your emotional intelligence? Read more and gift yourself 5 minutes for powerful work within by clicking here.
"Mantra closes the gap.
That space that exists between us and our best self"
~ Kia Miller
I arrived home safely late Saturday night, and I feel part of my being is still singing and chanting in the high desert of California.
This week, I am creating space to listen deep within to integrate the learning that took place in Joshua Tree.
Our trainings always feature a closing circle. This time, we were asked to share just two words about our experience. My words? Renewed and devoted.