Monday, December 31, 2007


Ah, praise. Perhaps some of you find yourself frequently encountering it; maybe it curls up with you on a cold evening or takes you out for fancy dinners on school nights. Or perhaps it even leaves little gold stars on your pillow in the morning just so your day will start with a nice spot of sparkle. I hope this is the case for you.

I hope that you are given praise at every turn with thank-yous galore. I also hope that you hear things like, "you are talented," "you are smart," "you are beautiful," "you are gifted" and "you are valuable." And I not only hope that you hear these praises, but that you feel them as well. I hope you feel them in the actions of others. I hope that in whatever job you hold, you know (and are told frequently) that your work and presence are valuable (and I hope you get regular raises). Why should we find out that we are valuable to the organizations we work for just as we leave our jobs? I hope that your friends, family, and significant other remind you that you are loved. Why does it sometimes take a crisis for us to tell each other how much we care for each other?

While I hope you are receiving buckets full of praise in your life, my guess is that you could receive much, much more of it. Sadly, praise seems to be an elusive little thing these days, hiding in the shadows, burying itself with the eight track tapes in the attic. I believe that we don't give each other enough praise -- even on a daily basis. Even the very straight-forward "good job" and "thank you" are simple, yet affecting ways to show appreciation. Oh, how many of us don't know how our actions or mere presence affect others!

So, starting today, I am on a praise campaign. I will try to remember to give warm fuzzies, kudos, and positive acknowledgment to those in my life and to those who I encounter. When I notice something beautiful, well done, or kind, I will say so. If you see a flash of light across the sky, it is me in my superhero costume (I'm "Praise Girl," of course) spreading positive feedback throughout the land.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Abundance Box Workshop: January 2008!

I'm delighted to be offering "Intentional Desires: An Abundance Box Workshop" once again! Click on the flyer above for a larger view.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Yoga & Ayurveda Workshop

My friend and bodywork colleague Bethanie Sand is offering a great workshop I want to share with you:

Yoga and Ayurveda:

Yoga and Ayurveda are considered “sister sciences”, both coming from the wisdom of the Vedas. Once we have determined our Ayurvedic constitution (our Dosha) we can use this knowledge to tailor a yoga practice that is most compatible with our needs. We will determine our Ayurvedic constitution and from there learn about yoga poses, breathing practices and meditation techniques that are best suited for each Dosha.

Please join us Saturday, Jan.12, 2008 from 2-4:30pm; $40
NW Community Yoga Studio: 701 NW 70th St. in Ballard

Contact Bethanie at: (206) 949-8442 for more information or to register.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Abundance Abounds!

This afternoon, seven creative women gathered at my home for "Intentional Desires: An Abundance Box Workshop." What abundance right from the start!

With dreams, visions, and positive intentions in our hearts and minds, we explored the abundance we wish to receive in our lives through the process of creating abundance boxes. My lovely participants ruffled through images and decorative papers; sifted through bowls of Chinese fortunes, colored feathers, and semi-precious stones; and painted, glued, and glittered their way into understanding the intention of their boxes.

Many remarked how the process of creating took them to deeper (and surprising) levels. I often find this is true for me whenever I create art; even when I hold a specific theme in mind, I find that the images and colors I am drawn to end up transforming my art -- and I find myself transforming in the process.

To my dear participants: thank you for your openness, creative energy, and willingness to dream thoughtful dreams.

Note #1: I may offer this workshop again in January. If you are interested in attending, please send me an email.

Note #2: The photographs in this post are a few of my abundance boxes. From top to bottom: Creativity (Writer) Box, Contemplation and Spiritual Clarity Box, Rising Bird Healing Arts Prosperity Box, and Health and Wellness Box.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Body's Memory

“To embrace our body’s truth is to embrace our past. There is no other way. The body is home to all that has happened to us, and it remembers."

“We must go to the cells for our truth."

--John Lee, Writing from the Body

If our body does indeed remember all that has happened to us in our lives, imagine how much it knows about us. Imagine how much we can learn about ourselves when we listen deeply to what our body has to tell us. We know that the body responds to daily stimuli -- temperature, light, sound, vibration, etc.--but I believe it also responds to inner rhythms or memories within us. Have you ever involuntarily responded to something and later realized with your conscious mind why you had such a reaction? Or think of a time during a massage when you've suddenly felt an emotion unexpectedly surface without your knowing exactly why.

It is so moving and powerful for me to witness, time and time again, how conscious touch can reveal a person's history within their own skin. In massage school, I had a practice client who had some old scars on her body related to abdominal surgery when she was a child. When I massaged the scar tissue on her abdomen, childhood memories emerged and she was able to release an emotional holding related to fear and pain that she had been holding in that area of her body. And in a most beautiful way, both her physical and emotional tension related to her surgery came to the surface and then slowly melted away.

I need to take a deep breath now as I write this, for I remember that moment in my body, too. Sigh.

What does your body remember?

Try this: The History of a Scar

We all have scars. Well, I think most of us do anyhow. Choose one of the scars on your body, whether this mark on your skin is wide and deep or microscopic in size, and write its history. Start with how the scar came to be. Recall the moment when you received this mark on your body. Record not only how you physically felt, but also what emotions or thoughts came with the experience. Remember to write down your sensory experience, too -- sight, sound, smell, taste, touch.

Now, document the life of this scar. How has it changed over time? Has it faded? Stayed the same? Are there emotions still hiding in the creases of your skin or in the depths of your heart?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Living With (and Without) Grace

“Grace: The exercise of love, kindness, mercy, favor; disposition to benefit or serve another; favor bestowed or privilege conferred.”

Today would have been my grandmother’s 92nd birthday. Grace died last December, just shy of the new year. All day I have been thinking about what is has been like to live with grace after the loss of Grace.

My grandmother taught me the art of listening deeply, with pure openness and compassion. She always seemed to live very much in the present moment, and she met me wherever I was in my life without judgment. She saw the present me, not some shadow of my former self.

This capacity for listening, true and genuine listening, without judgment, is a powerful gift she gave to me. And, this poem by Naomi Shihab Nye reminds me of this gift—and of Grace.

You Have to Be Careful

You have to be careful telling things.
Some ears are tunnels.
Your words will go and get lost in the dark.
Some ears are flat pans like the miners uses
looking for gold.
What you say will be washed out with the stones.

You look a long time till you find the right ears.
Till then, there are birds and lamps to be spoken to,
a patient cloth rubbing shine in circles,
and the slow, gradually growing posibility
that when you find such ears,
they already know.

May we all become the open and accepting ears for each other, listening deeply with compassion and grace.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Self-Focus Day

Today is my birthday. [Insert high-pitched "Yay me!" voice here]. For me, birthdays are about self-care, self-love, and self-celebration. So today, I am embracing this self-focused energy with full force.

My day began with a wonderful massage with Tom Gowian, my trusted massage practitioner and certified herbalist. I resonate with Tom's approach so much that I drive all the way to Kenmore for treatments from him each month. I left Tom's space warm, calm, and with a greater sense of connectivity in my body. Lovely how massage does that! (BTW, Tom has a great online "health analyzer"; to take the quiz, click here.)

Next up: a day at the spa. Olympus Spa has become so popular that I venture to guess many of you know of it--and perhaps many of you have already experienced it! This Korean Day Spa has two locations (Lynnwood and Tacoma) and is for women only. And the amazing deal is that on your birthday, the entrance fee ($35) is waived. The Lynnwood location has warm whirlpools, a steam room, a dry sauna, and heated earth rooms. Today I took advantage of the heated earth rooms, which served to warm me to the core. The healing power of these hot rooms (ranging from 75-degrees to 170-degrees) is in their ability to help expel toxins from the body, increase circulation, reduce stress and fatigue, and help ease sore muscles.

This visit, my favorite room was the Salt Room. The walls are lined with salt rocks and the floor is a bed of salt covered by canvas. This room was a sweat-producing 140-degrees; I felt my back muscles soften as my body absorbed the healing power of the salt beneath me. I also visited the Sand Room, the Charcoal Room (also one of my favorites), the Meditation Room, and the Elvan Stone Room. Healing. Cleansing. Heavenly. I highly recommend this spa on your birthday or any day.

And speaking of any day, it's clear to me that I need not wait for my birthday to give myself a day (or fifteen minutes or an hour) of self-care. Today was a special treat, but I can find that inner calm and peace with a bit of time, some healing intention, and some inner focus. Even a fifteen-minute meditation can help restore me. What about you? What do you do to care for yourself on a daily basis?