Finding Balance

Life is a balance of holding on and letting go” – Rumi

Balance comes into play in so many ways in our life. Achieving a work/life balance makes us happier and healthier.  Our lives are enriched when we engage in activities, volunteer for a worthy cause, learn new skills.  Just as important is making time to rest and nurture ourselves.  As Rumi states, it’s an ongoing cycle of opposite energies.

Yin and Yang CO

Yin and Yang has been a Chinese principle for thousands of years. It represents opposite yet complimentary forces which dynamically join together to create harmony. We see numerous examples of this in nature: day and night, hot and cold, shadows in sunlight.  Autumn prepares for the barren, stillness of winter.  Springtime is a time of growth and renewal.  Opposite forces create the flow of life.

Another perspective of balance is the tipping factor. Being in tune with our body and spirit helps us to understand our equilibrium point.  It’s the process of knowing when to make adjustments before we tip over.  Finding balance is an interconnected process as life changes.  The one thing we can count on is feeling peaceful and content when we’ve achieved it.

Power of Social Connection

Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone’s hand is the beginning of a journey. At other times, it is allowing another to take yours.” – Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

Child Reaching for Mother

I’m one of those people who strike up a conversation with strangers in the market, while petting their dog, or dining at a community table. Connections with people can be just for that moment or they can last a life time.  Once when attending an event without my spouse, a group asked me to join them seeing I was eating alone.  We’ve been good friends ever since.

“Research shows the need to connect socially with others is as basic as our need for food, water and shelter,” says Matthew Lieberman, author of Social: Why Our Brains are Wired to Connect.  Studies show social connection improves health, strengthens our immunity system and increases longevity.

It’s heart touching to hear about children who sit next to the kid at lunch who is all alone. The book and movie, Wonder is a powerful example of reaching out to people who are isolated because they’re different.

This is a particularly difficult time for people who are alone or without a family. When we take time to reach out to people, it’s a gift to see their face light up when we connect with them.  Spread joy this season – Best wishes for the New year!



Pause and Observe

Make peace with the present moment.” – Eckhart Tolle

A friend told me today I seem more calm and content. It pleasantly surprised me she noticed. I’m working on going with the flow and not getting upset by things I can’t control.  I try to take time to pause before responding to something.  Just taking a breath helps me feel more peaceful in that moment.

Pause and Observe

Yesterday I watched Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. Her guest was Eckhart Tolle, spiritual teacher and author of The Power of Now and A New Earth.  They discussed conflict and divisiveness in the world today.  Oprah asked, “Are we taking steps back in consciousness or is this happening to raise consciousness?”  Eckhart explained it is not a linear process.  Like our development in life, we experience challenges and obstacles to help us grow.  When we have setbacks, we need to pause and observe.  It’s not what happens to us but how we react to it.

He says stress is wanting something to be the way it isn’t.  Look at the situation without belaboring it.  When something happens to upset you, watch your mind and what it’s telling you.  “Rather than being your thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them.”

If you would like to hear him talk more about this concept, here’s a 2 ½ minute Youtube

Healing Energy of Singing Bowls

Do you know that our soul is composed of  harmony.” – Leonardo da Vinci, Notebooks

Sounds sing to me today. This morning, I thought I heard a bell ringing at construction next door.  Metal clanging sounded melodic.  Walking back to my car after Pilates, wind chimes drew me into their deep tone.  At the studio, I meditated to music with Tibetan Singing bowls.  I could feel their vibration radiating throughout my body. The hypnotic effect pulled me into a peaceful meditation.  Tibetan singing bowl

There’s actually a reason for this effect and why singing bowls are used for healing. In eastern cultures, illness is thought of as a manifestation of disharmony within the body.  Sound and vibration bring a deep sense of peace, releasing tension and blocked energy, balancing chakras / energy centers in the body helping restore harmony. The vibrational effect of gongs and singing bowls comes from a natural phenomenon known as entrainment – entraining or synchronizing the body to a certain sound. Entrainment occurs when powerful vibrations of one object actually change less powerful vibrations of another object.

If you’re ready to feel healing energy from these singing bowls, sit in a comfortable position, take a few breaths in releasing each one fully, and enjoy this 20 minute peaceful meditation.

Read more about the Science Behind Healing with Sound in this interesting article:




United for Change

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”   -Margaret Mead


I caught the cold being passed around. Thinking about it, I’m not surprised so many of us are sick or feeling under the weather. The election inflamed everyone, but the results particularly hit those of us who are stunned a candidate with such abusive, discriminatory beliefs and demeanor will be running our country. Like most of my friends, I grieved for days depressed and worried about the future.  I’m sure it wore down our defenses and immunity. 

In a war-torn world, we need leaders who unite people rather than divide or discard them, a government which upholds principles of ethics, equality, and justice, one which protects our rights as well as our environment.  Our Declaration of Independence gave power to the people for defending our rights.

In Franklin Roosevelt’s speech on The Four Freedoms he said, “As Americans, if we say we love our county then it is OUR JOB to stand and speak up for those whose rights are being taken away. It is OUR JOB to stand and fight for them in the same way that people have fought and died for the freedom we have been blessed to experience today. Our ultimate goal and purpose, no matter what party you represent, race, background, poor, or rich should be: to aid the common needs of the common people of the United States of America!”

Now many of us are asking what we can do to voice our concerns and take action.  It’s time to unite and support one another to feel safe, empowered, and help make a difference.  As I recuperate physically and mentally, I thought it would be helpful to compile a list of resources to keep us peaceful, united, and engaged.  I hope these suggestions encourage us to work together creating change for a better world for us, future generations, and our planet.

Coping Tips:
Happiness and Inner Peace during Turbulent Times:
How to help our children:
Twelve steps we can take:

Sitting in Nature

“Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” —John Muir, Our National Parks

Yesterday morning I woke with a need to sit in stillness with nature, to be in the midst of trees. I’ve always felt a connection to them, climbing the tall one in our backyard during childhood to be alone, sit and reflect with a bird’s eye view. Later in life, I sought refuge from stress in the towering redwoods of Cazadero.Bench in treesSipping my morning cup of lemon honey water while reading How to Sit by Thich Nhat Hahn, I was particularly touched by The Moment of Enlightenment: “Siddhartha, the man who became the Buddha many years ago in India, sat for a very long time at the foot of the Bodhi tree.  He appeared just to be sitting, but his body was also participating.  In his awakening, he was very closely observing his body, his feelings, and his perceptions.  As he continued his practice, his power of mindfulness and concentration became stronger and stronger.  One day at dawn, as the Morning Star appeared, he felt a liberation that dissipated all the darkness within him.  That was a moment of enlightenment.”Tree in parkFeeling a little gloomy the past couple of days, I knew sitting in nature would help dissipate my darkness. Throughout the morning, the universe kept sending me trees: from practicing a new Pilates “Climb the Tree” pose to reading Tiffany Caronia’s response to LA Yoga Magazine’s question: What rituals do you incorporate in your life to encourage restoration?  Part of her answer was “Spending time in nature.”  I knew that was just what I needed.

I wondered where I would walk while I was out running errands. A sign popped out at me as I drove along Crown Valley: LN Botanic Preserve.  I made a U-turn and pulled into the park full of walking paths, benches, and trees. I kept climbing the winding path until the singing of birds became louder than cars whizzing below.  When I reached the top, I was rewarded with another thing I love – a labyrinth.  I followed the maze mindfully letting all other thoughts slip away feeling nature’s peace.




Happy Heart

“Among the things you can give and still keep are your word, a smile, and a grateful heart.”   Zig Ziglar

happy heart

I really believe attitude and gratitude make a huge difference in our lives. The best test for a good attitude was when I was diagnosed with cancer almost 14 years ago. It was devastating to hear that dreaded word. I had two choices: feel doomed or fight for my life. Thankfully, I chose to fight and thought: This will not get me. I will beat it!   Keeping a positive spirit, doing things that made me smile and laugh, support from family and friends is what helped me through the most difficult year of my life.

It’s one of the main things I’m grateful for today. Gratitude and a happy heart go hand in hand. The more you give thanks, the better you feel. The opposite is often true too. When we grumble and groan about life, we open the door to more hardship. We all have bad days or times when things aren’t going well. It’s the course of life. I find it helpful after ranting to turn it around and recount all of my blessings. I always find the gratitude list is much longer.

There is actually an Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude Project at UC Berkeley and Davis to document and promote benefits of practicing gratitude which include:

  • Strengthen our immune system and lower blood pressure
  • Higher levels of positive emotions
  • Acting with generosity and compassion
  • Feeling less lonely and isolated

Pam Grout, author of E-Squared and E-Cubed believes our thoughts can create reality. Love her recent blog on gratitude. As I continue to feel grateful, I really do feel happier, and it makes me smile when hearts randomly appear in my morning coffee.