"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.
"The function of music . . . is to quiet the mind,
to make it more sensitive to Divine intervention."
~ Sama Veda
Greetings from Joshua Tree!
Being immersed in Mantra, in this place, with this open-hearted Sangha, is incredible! And, I am here for it; I am here for it all. There is so much more I hope to share, but for now, I'm going to soak up every moment that I can.
Thank you for joining me this past week in a practice for peace. As I continue to learn about the power of sound for our mental bodies, our physical bodies, and our energy bodies, I know you are doing powerful work.
I take comfort in the knowledge that our mantra practice is yet another thread connecting us to one another and to all of humanity.
If you can, please keep it going.
Click here for a powerful, simple Mantra practice.
"Never forget that you have already arrived at your destination.
There is nowhere to go to find your home.
It already lives inside of you, and always has."
~ Judith Hanson Lasater
Many of you know me as a person who sets up her mat in the front of the room; I absolutely love holding space for you and sharing practices with you.
In my closings at class, I frequently express that it is both a joy and a privilege to be with you. That is never simply an expression; it is always deeply heartfelt. Whether I get to see you in person, or over zoom, or connect with you at a workshop, or meet you here once a week . . . I am honored by your presence. I love the Sangha, this community, we have all created.
This week, I return to another Sangha of mine. Due to the Pandemic, I have not been in person with my primary teacher, Kia Miller, since 2019. Now, I am packing my bags for Joshua Tree Retreat Center in California to immerse myself in Mantra.
Join me in a Mantra for Peace by clicking here.
"Please do what you need to do
to protect your peace today."
~ Austin Channing Brown
Did you notice something unusual about this week's post?
Yes! I have the exact same photos as I did last week . . . and that's not how I usually roll. However, my world looks very similar to last week: weather, moods, and energy levels still fluctuating.
Overall, I'm feeling a bit like the daffodils and irises in my yard. At times, experiencing glimpses of vibrant growth, ready to bask in the light. Other times, staying grounded and hunkered down in order to protect myself and consolidate energy.
On Monday, I heard an episode of NPR's Fresh Air featuring Sam Waterston. Mr. Waterston was being interviewed about his decades long success as an actor. However, in answer to the first question, Mr. Waterston spoke at length about how wrong it seemed to be talking about his acting accolades when there's so much happening in the world of far greater import.
This caught my ear because it encapsulated the juxtaposition of daily life for so many of us. Spring is here. Covid restrictions are loosening. Yes, I do have real struggles; but, sometimes, my daily "challenges" include things like: Do I have time for a haircut before my yoga training trip?
And yet, there is so much suffering. There is so much that deserves our energy, our attention, our creativity, and our commitment.
"No problem can be solved
from the same level of consciousness that created it."
~ Albert Einstein
Happy Spring, everyone! 🌷
How are you doing in this change of seasons? We've just had our Equinox, honoring the balance between darkness and light, and that's something I'm still thinking about.
I have to admit, these past few days (weeks?) I don't know if I'd describe myself as feeling balanced?! 🙃
The word "balance" connotes a sense of equilibrium and calm. But, my internal self feels a bit more like the weather we're experiencing: bright, blue, warm, and sunny one moment; dark, gray, cold, and rainy the next.
Finding the first crocuses in our yard, seeing the robins playing near our feeder, feeling the warmth of the sun . . . breathing in this moment fills my heart with hope.
A few minutes later, listening to the latest news from Ukraine, I hear the devastation, the anguish, the suffering . . . and my heart sinks.
Certainly life has always been full of contrast and complexity. Right now, it's all feeling a bit extra.
Thank goodness we are not our feelings, and there are tools to help us self-regulate and return to that blissful place of balance.
"It's not so much about finding our purpose, because it's already there.
When you protect your purpose, then is protects you."
~ Jay Shetty
Full Moon Greetings 🌕 & Happy St. Patrick's 🍀
This past week, I learned so much from you about active self care. Thanks to all who reached out and shared!
Today, I want to talk about the power of healing and the importance of protecting our purpose. Notice, I did not say, "finding our purpose," and that's thanks to Jay Shetty (if you missed the quote above, check it out now:🔝)
During a Satsang (a wisdom talk) when I was in India, a question was asked of master teacher, Anand Mehrotra: "I want to better understand Dharma. It says in the Bhagavad Gita, 'Better to do ones own dharma imperfectly than the dharma of another well performed.' Can you please talk more about that?"
"Mind your own business," Anand replied, without skipping a beat.
Laughter bubbled up throughout the room.
Anand waited for the room to settle before doubling down: "I am not joking. That is what this sutra means.”
We all leaned in to hear more.
"First keep peace with yourself,
then you can also bring peace to others."
~ Thomas a Kempis
How are you doing this week? How is your heart?
I know during times of challenge, I am tempted to reach for simple comforts and distractions. Yes, these can be temporarily satisfying and alleviate some strain. Nothing wrong with a little of that. And yet, I understand that tuning out, or busifying, or eating another round of dark chocolate, may not truly reduce my stress, nor regulate my emotions.
I also know I have to be careful to keep some semblance of balance between effort and ease. In difficult times, my energy is more readily depleted. This means my fuse becomes shorter, and I feel out of alignment within.