“This is a wonderful day.
I have never seen this one before.”
~ Maya Angelou
Bring It ALL Into the Light
September might just be my favorite month, and the equinox is always one of my favorite days of the year. The autumnal equinox is nature’s reminder to turn towards the light within. Nighttime arrives a little earlier and lingers longer, gradually inviting us into deeper meditation and more stillness.
I look at this day as an opportunity to reconnect and reboot. And this year, I am not going to shy away from settling into shadow self.
Here’s the thing. The shadow side of self may sound dark, or ominous, or scary. Definitely something we may wish to avoid.
But that’s just it. Without shadow, there is no light . . . and I want all of us to shine brightly! Which means being honest, and getting clear, about our shadows.
Example: my pattern of people pleasing. I used to tell myself that people pleasing was kindness, or caring. Definitely a sacrifice. It made me feel better about myself, and I used that faux superiority to set myself apart. Maybe even resent others? 😔
So, when I read a piece from Jesse Johnson Coaching identifying people pleasing as manipulative, it as an Aha! moment for me. The true root of my behavior, the depth of my shadow, was plain and clear. And, while it was not attractive, now that I could see it for what it was, it was easy for me to make a switch to authentically pleasing people.
With respect for myself. With love and light for others.
I encourage you to celebrate this Equinox and take some time in stillness. What aspect of yourself do you want to bring into the light so that it can be seen? With soft eyes and playful curiosity.
Does it need healed or mended?
Further nurtured so it can grow and blossom?
I know shame thrives in secrecy, so let’s not reside there.
This Equinox, let’s be willing to look into the dark corners.
Let’s lovingly explore the shadows.
And let’s choose to live in the light.
Thanks for being here,
P.S. ArtPrize is HAPPENING!
Abdoulaye’s mural, Raining Wisdom, can be viewed @ 45 Ottawa Avenue.
Vote early and often 😉
“Peace, in its most fundamental form,
is the connection of one human spirit to another.”
~ Bishop Desmond Tutu
In October 2021, Mike and I went to Beaver Island (the largest Island in Lake Michigan) for a getaway weekend.
After the short, bouncy plane ride from Charlevoix, we hoisted our bikes into the back of the rental pickup, (Yep, you can bring bikes with you on the tiny plane. Fantastic!)
The pickup was a little beat up, not particularly clean (but, highly fragranced from the pine tree air freshener hanging from the mirror 🌲😉) and it certainly was not new. The keys were in it, and there was a handwritten note from Bob, the owner, with a reminder of where to return the truck when we were finished.
As we began the drive towards our rental property, we noticed everyone we passed waved at us. Well, they weren’t exactly waving. People would simply extend some fingers from the grip around their steering wheel, smile, and nod. Sometimes four fingers were raised. Other times just the pointer finger. But always a moment of acknowledgement.
At first I thought, “Wow! Everyone must know Bob, and he must be really well liked on this island.” 😄
It took me a while to figure out . . . people on Beaver Island always greet one another, in some small way, when they cross paths.
For our short time spent in this isolated location, the simple acknowledgment of one another was . . . comforting? This subtle moment of recognition said, “I see you,” without having to say a word. It was nearly effortless, and yet, it fostered connectivity.
Of course, even in our small villages of Saugatuck and Douglas, “waving” at everyone we pass is not practical. 😆
But, no matter our surroundings, this got me wondering: What can we do to foster kindness and connectivity with our fellow travelers? Especially something that takes so little effort and still has impact??
I almost always wear a cuff bracelet that says, “Be the Light.”
It reminds me of my commitment to being a person who brightens the world.
For as many people as possible.
For everyone I connect with.
Yes, when I am teaching classes, but also as I move in the world.
I’m not thinking of grand gestures, or expensive options, I’m thinking of things as simple as (literally) lifting a finger.
Honestly? We may never know the impact of our kindnesses.
But, that’s part of what it means to be genuinely kind.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about if we want to be joyful?
We have to feel, and experience, joy.
If we want to be calm?
We have to invite in, and practice, being calm.
We can’t ruminate in anger, or fear, or misery and expect to magically wind up in a different state of being.
So, here’s to doing small things that make a big impact.
And, for ourselves.
Love to all,
P.S. Planning a trip to ArtPrize in downtown Grand Rapids?
Voting begins TODAY @ 5PM.
You have to register to vote, and place your first vote, in person, in Grand Rapids. Then, you can vote every day from home. 🥰
Abdoulaye’s mural, Raining Wisdom, can be viewed @ 45 Ottawa Avenue. Measuring 30’ tall and 66’ long, it’s one of his most ambitious projects to date!
"Almost everything will work again
if you unplug it for a few minutes ... Including you."
~ Anne Lamott
Don’t Want to Miss Out?
Gift Yourself the Moment to Pause
How’s your start of September?
Maybe it’s the super warm weather we enjoyed over the holiday weekend, or the fact that we still have two full weeks of summer ahead, but I’m thinking more about my next swim in Lake Michigan than I am about Pumpkin Spice anything. 🤷🏻♀️
Lots of us (especially here in West Michigan) want to make the most of each and every blue sky moment. We continue “doing it all” so that we won’t miss out on anything.
Believe me. I get it. 😉
And, I realize that when I am going, going, going . . . I am missing out on something super necessary.
I am missing my moment to “do nothing.”
It’s when we pause that we can become calm.
And get clear.
Find that next burst of creativity.
Or necessary step towards healing.
Turns out, we need rest.
Our hardworking, fun-loving culture may not applaud us when we stop doing, but I am here to encourage you to take those moments of pause:
I believe these moments of doing nothing?
They”ll make all we do even better!
Give it a try and let me know how it goes. 🏽
Send me a favorite photo of your version of “doing nothing.” 📷
Okay, time for me to take a pause. 🥰
P.S. Voting for ArtPrize begins in 1 week, Thursday, September 14.
Get excited! And remember . . . you have to register to vote in person. 😍
"Never ignore your dissatisfaction. It’s not always a sign of ‘ungratefulness.’ More often, it’s your Higher Self… your Divine Self nudging you to evolve and grow!
~ Marie Forleo
Taking Up Space
No Longer Living Small
I admire, and am astounded by, Abdoulaye’s vision and courage. He’s been in this country less than a year . . . working hard while adding English to the list of languages he already speaks,
Simultaneously, he had the bravery to envision himself entering Art Prize. The trust that he could find a premium location and the funds necessary to buy all the necessary supplies. The confidence to get on that lift, day after day, and create.
I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to put myself out there like that?! And when I examine why, it’s not very becoming. My penchant for perfectionism. My fear of “failure.” My propensity to diminish myself and live small. 😓
These are just a few of the things that swirl around when I look within.
I also wonder if I’ve had some limiting beliefs when it comes to gratitude.
Believe me, I’m a fan. In fact, I have both written about, and given speeches on, the topic of gratitude. I AM a believer in its power, and the science backs up these beliefs.
But, can’t I be grateful for the privilege and abundance I enjoy AND be honest about what is no longer working for me? Shouldn’t I be willing to examine the parts of my life (my routines, my habits, my work, my relationships, my lifestyle) that I have outgrown?
This seems like healthy internal investigation that will spur on growth.
When I saw this image in a newsletter from Marie Forleo, it definitely made me sit up and take notice. 👇🏽
So, as I delight in watching Abdoulaye’s daily reels documenting his progress, I’m also going to check in on my own internal progress. With soft eyes and an open heart.
Are there areas of your life where you desire change?
Where you want more?
Here’s to us all taking a small, courageous step (or a huge, giant leap) towards the life we truly desire.
With deep gratitude and growing internal awareness,
"When change comes, you gotta slow down and take note of it.
In the midst of that change is all the possibility in the world.”
~ Bertice Berry
Moments of Transition
Please. Be patient with me today. 😉
I have some thoughts around what I want to write, but these thoughts are more like feelings. And these feelings have not yet found their way into fully developed thoughts. So, thank you for being here with me and helping me sort through. 🥰
I’ve been thinking a lot about transitions and liminal spaces.
Our household experienced a major transition this week: Mike returned to school Monday morning. This shifts everything about his daily routine, but it also has sizable impact for both me and Javi.
And, we’ve had the privilege of hosting our friends from Park City as they launch their youngest son into his Freshman year at Hope College. Alongside becoming empty nesters, they have also sold their home and are contemplating all sorts of options for this next chapter. It’s exciting to witness their journey as they dream, debate, plan, and problem solve. I am not-so-secretly rooting for west Michigan to become a larger part of their plan. 😍
I also know that these periods of big transition, these liminal spaces in between phases of life, can be . . . frightening! Uncomfortable. And stressful.
In my classes, I’ve been paying particular attention to the transition moments that happen on the mat. In a practice with a lot of flow, some of these transitions ADD challenge. Because let’s be honest, busting out a bunch of chaturanga dandasana? Not exactly easy.
Nor, necessary. 😉
The other day on the deck at Lakeshore, after doing some work in seat, I simply asked people to take their time standing up. That’s it. A transition without any stress, or challenge, or time pressure. People giggled. Relaxed. Enjoyed the view as they came up. And then, we allowed ourselves to arrive in Tadasana. Often characterized as a “basic” yoga pose, Tadasana, or Mountain Pose, is anything but basic. It embodies beautiful alignment as we reach the summit and arrive at our peak. We have clarity and expansiveness out in front of us for our pathway forward. And, guess what? We didn’t have to struggle to get there.
How lovely. 😍
During this time of transition, I am going to try and remember . . . not every transition has to be strength building. I don’t always have to power through in order to reach the next stage. Sometimes, maybe I could simply pause. And giggle. And take my time reaching the new phase, enjoying the journey all along the way?
I love learning on the mat and transferring that knowing into my daily life. That’s what yoga is. Being in union with our breath, our body, and our moment-by-moment journey through life.
Thanks for being patient with me and gifting yourself a moment of pause, 🏽
"One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar.”
~ Helen Keller
The Thread of Yoga
The Fabric of my Life
The days are whizzing by and are packed with teaching, friends from near and far, a giant painting project (more on that in future letters, but please. If you are considering the privilege of owning a really old boat AND a super old house at the same time? Talk to me, first! 🤣) and oh-so-much more.
Amidst the swirl, someone I did not know walked right up to me and said (with more than a little attitude), “I just don’t understand yoga.”
I’ll admit. My chin probably dropped. I’m sure I initially looked a bit flummoxed.
But, I paused and gathered myself and softened into listening.
I asked him what he was curious about? Or, what he would like to know?
He said that yoga seemed like stretching, but he heard me talking about things other than muscles and flexibility. 😳
He told me my answer could be as long as it took his wife, who was about 20 yards away, to get back to the deck where we were standing. 🥺
This moment was challenging, and a little uncomfortable for me, but I assumed he was also uncomfortable, I figured since he had the courage to ask, I should try and reach him. Right where he was. Hopefully I could plant a positive seed about what yoga is, and can be, for everyone.
Honestly? I don’t remember precisely what I said. I know, in my slightly flustered state, I did my best to alleviate any fears and encourage an open mind in the short time I had.
This conversation got me thinking about some of the funny things that have happened for me as a yoga teacher. The strange settings for class, the unexpected conversations, the unusual questions, the ongoing list of assumptions. I have some pretty funny stories. Maybe I’ll write some newsletters that read more like a blooper reel? 😆
Overall though? Leading yoga classes has never felt better. I love it more this summer than ever before. This week’s class at our welcoming local studio, Satya, had some magic built in. Half the class were regulars, the other half visitors . . . everyone dropped in with full commitment to the shifts and the openings. The community energy lifted us all.
The nearly record-breaking class sizes recently on the deck at Lakeshore Resort? Always memorable.
I have yet to mention the deck of honey locust trees where a few dear friends gather and practice. None of us wanted to move, or leave, after our most recent session.
And then there’s the gorgeous lawn where I meet my friends twice a week. I have been practicing with these women every Wednesday and Friday since . . . 2016? Amazing! There’s so much love built into every class simply because of the consistency of the group. What a gift.
Unfortunately, I did not have the time, nor the composure to tell the gentleman, yoga is the beautiful thread that weaves the fabric of my life:
Connection to others and to my highest, best self.
Thank you, my yogi friends, for being part of my foundation. For lifting me up. For helping me soar.
"A glimmer is the exact opposite of a trigger—it is some kind of cue, either internal or external that brings one back to a sense of joy or safety.”
~ Theodora Blanchfield, verywellmind.com
Micro Moments of Joy
I’m a huge believer in the breath by breath, moment by moment. opportunity to evolve and grow. ✨
And, I am frequently humbled by the challenges of every day life.
Recently, I read something that talked about how our bodies and our beings are like velcro for negative experiences. You know, when the one negative interaction of the day is what dominates your thinking, your mental looping, maybe even your conversations and/or your sleep? Negativity seems to stick to us and stay put.
Conversely, this article mentioned that our bodies and our beings act like teflon to positivity. Maybe we dismiss, or brush off, the compliment. Barely recognize the small moment of kindness. Or, we bustle about in busyness, ignoring the beauty all around.
So, as we wind down, we feel as if the down side, the difficulties, the discomfort are what dominated our day.
Cycling around in negativity deepens the grooves of this patterning, triggering our nervous system to be in a place of chronic stress. 🥺
One way to help us reset, change gears, move the needle towards rest and digest is to observe, and absorb, micro-moments of joy . . . aka, glimmers.
This is not about forced positivity or feigned happiness. This is about moving through our stress cycles so that we can climb up the ladder to feel safe, nurtured, and ready to thrive!
When we gather up the glimmers around us, we shift gears into a place that’s more calm, more inspired, and definitely full of more ease.
While this all makes sense and sounds great, I still wasn’t sure how to move about in the world gathering glimmers. This got me wondering, what are some examples of micro-moments of joy throughout my day?
When I am present enough to truly explore and experience these glimmers, I know I am in a more relaxed, more joyful, place.
I’m going to try and talk more about my glimmers than my triggers and see what happens! And, I’m going to make a conscious effort to see all that glimmers around me.
Sparkle on ✨
2023 | The 60 / 80 🎉
Honoring some important milestones happening in my family. 🥰
My parents celebrated their 60th anniversary this summer, and my Mom’s 80th birthday was yesterday!
Longevity + a love that lasts.
Doesn’t get much better than that. 💗
"My humanity is bound up in yours,
for we can only be human together“
~ desmond tutu
Inspiration All Around
Let LOVE Lead The Way
Last week I wrote about doubling down on our active self-care routines and how to ensure we have a stable system of support for ourselves. Why? Because we’re worth it!
And, I asked what YOU do that really supports your well-being.
I LOVE the feedback that came pouring in; I am excited to share so we can all continue inspiring one another:
YES! These are just a few of the responses that have me motivated.
Some of you also shared WHY these self-care routines are so vital:
“This has resulted in me being so much more centered and peaceful;
the value of these various practices is undeniable,
and becomes a motivation to continue them.”
Thanks so much to ALL who reached out; I appreciate our connectivity.
In the spirit of connectivity, I have another family shout-out today.
This time for my niece and her husband. 💕
Some of you know that my husband went to University of Michigan for his undergraduate degree, and then he served in the Peace Corps. He said he would go anywhere in the world, and he served 2.5 years in Guinea Bissau, West Africa.
Fast forward. Our niece, Anisa, graduated from the University of Michigan and signed up for the Peace Corps. She, too, said she would travel anywhere in the world. She served her term in neighboring Guinea Conakry, West Africa.
After her service, she remained in Conakry, worked, and fell in love.
Now, she and her husband, Abdoulaye, live in Chicago. Abdoulaye is engaging, curious, courageous, and talented. He is a musician and an artist. In fact, he is preparing a giant mural, right across from Rosa Parks Circle, in Grand Rapids for Art Prize!
I can’t wait to see his mural come to life, and I wanted to let you in on a special project of his. 🎉
Abdoulaye has created a beautiful series of pilates-inspired tote bags to will help support his Mom in Conakry. I have the Balance Tote already, and I love it! It’s stylish and roomy, and the print quality is great. Better yet, it supports a wonderful human being! The Stability Tote is next on my list! 😍
Sending you love and light,
~ m ♥️
“When you rest, you catch your breath and it holds you up, like water wings…”
~ anne lamott
Keeping Up Our Self-Care
We’re Worth It!
How are you today?
How are you?
Have you taken a moment to pause? To check in?
This is the time in the summer season when I begin losing track of days. And, I have to be super conscious to build in moments of relaxation and rest.
Here’s something I am really beginning to understand. If I don’t have solid infrastructure in place that supports my relaxation and rest? I’m apt to let all that goodness slip away into busyness.
Summer in Saugatuck means there’s always another art opening, an outdoor show, an opportunity to get together with friends, etc. And, I love it! I’m super grateful to live in a place where people come for vacation. It delights me to support my friends in their creative endeavors. I’m never going to say “no” to an opportunity to sail or swim.
But, when you are one of the people not on vacation? Things can feel a little different.
I certainly don’t want to just “show up for work.” Every time I teach a class, I understand it is a privilege. No matter where I am leading a class, I view it as sacred space. Whether I am with my long-time, regular yogis (thank you! 🙏🏽), or I am meeting someone on the mat for the very first time (thank you! 🙏🏽), I want everyone to have an enriching experience in their brain, body, and being.
So, my own self-care is even more important when I am busy.
Here are some ways I make sure to keep up (and maybe even double down) on active self care:
Got a self-care tip or routine you want to share?
Drop me a line, or send me a text, so you can help me and others! 🥰
"If I could give you one thought, it would be to lift someone up.
Lift a stranger up - lift her up. I would ask you, mother and father, brother and sister, lovers, mother and daughter, father and son, lift someone.
The very idea of lifting someone up will lift you, as well."
~ Maya Angelou
Adjusting Our Own Lens
Lifting Up Others | Lifting Up Ourselves
Hello, my beautiful friends!
Honestly? I looked at my calendar this morning in disbelief. How are we already cruising into the second half of July?
In some ways, it seems my summer is just getting started. Even though our boat went into the water in April, Mike and I are JUST beginning to sail. Time on the Big Lake is one of my happy places; it helps me reset and refill my own well. I consider Lake Michigan to be our wilderness, and exploring it is always healing and regenerative.
While I hope for many more opportunities to sail away this season, there is a lot that needs my time, my energy, and my love.
And, I want to continue showing up as a source of light. For myself and for everyone else I connect with. (I love, and believe in, the Maya Angelou quotation up above ☝🏽) Sometimes, lifting up others flows easily. Other times, I have to remember to pause and check in.
I appreciate the questions that were written on the white board at Satya a couple of weeks ago: What am I doing? How am I being? The answers, posed in pairs, helped me simplify within myself.
Some days are very busy for me, and I find myself feeling rushed the entire day. But, why? Sure, I have a schedule, and commitments, and a timeframe . . . but that’s all in place. Could I move through that same day feeling calm and patient instead of rushed? What would it take for me to make that internal shift?
I’m thrilled to report that this shift is possible, and it is SO DARNED HELPFUL!
When I can be patient, and settle into flow (not shifting my schedule at all) I enjoy myself more all along the way. I have stronger connections with people throughout the day. And, I have more energy left at the end of the day. With that much payoff? I’d say that’s a shift worth paying attention to!
The other one off the list I have been spending time investigating is: Proving? Or, Secure.
I have made gains in this area, and I know there is more digging and unpacking to do.
As we enjoy this week’s New Moon energy, I’m curious:
~ m ♥️💡