Hug it out!

Ha, ha… if you were an Entourage follower – you’d be smilin’ right now.


I was reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin today and though I’m not a huge fan of the book, I did gain some insights as great take-aways, including this interesting tid-bit.

Gretchen writes that in her research she discovered that when we hug it takes at least 6 seconds to promote the flow of oxytocin and serotonin, the mood boosting chemicals that promote bonding.

So you don’t need to count the next time you give or get a hug, but if you are really in the moment, you’ll feel when it’s been at least 6 seconds.

Wishing you a happy, beautiful, amazing week!




TIMBo Training and Wholehearted Living.


photo: Tracy Rodriguez Photography

“Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.” Brené Brown – The Gifts of Imperfection

We all have a natural tendency to focus on the story. The story of why we are sad, depressed, angry, lonely, bored (insert other emotions here) and the feelings that result from them: guilt, fear, shame, resentment. The TIMBo (Trauma Informed Mind Body) Program is designed to more strategically address the effect that stress and trauma have on the body and the mind.

It’s okay to share and process our stories and equally important to recognize when we get caught up in the drama of the story rather than doing what we can to work toward healing the hurt associated with our emotions and feelings.

I’ve attended many workshops and trainings in my years of preparing to be a yoga teacher trainer and health/life coach as well as for my own personal development. The TIMBo Training has reinforced much of what I have learned in the past decade including:

> The Saber Tooth Tiger Syndrome (or as I affectionately refer to it: STTS) – a real or perceived threat to survival (when we have the urge to ‘fight or flight’) is the root of many of our reactions to people and situations. In the caveman (I prefer ‘cavepeople’) days, if you were dismissed by the clan, they would throw you out of the cave and guess who was waiting for you? Yup – the Saber Tooth Tiger – and it would be likely there would not be an option to fight and you’d be running for your life.

Watch this YouTube video about the affect of stress on our body.

> From the Buddha’s Brain book – the Path of Awakening
Being with what arises (mindfulness), working with tendencies of the mind to transform (virtue), and taking refuge in the ground of being (wisdom)

> There is nothing to fix! This is one of the first things Sue Jones (facilitator and creator of the TIMBo program – and also an EJ writer) said to the group. Five seemingly simple words. Sit for a moment and think about that. How often do we act and react from a place of trying to fix something or someone (including ourselves)?

> FEAR – False Evidence Appearing Real
Lao Tzu wrote:
If you are depressed, you are living in the past,
If you are anxious, you are living in the future,
If you are at peace, you are living in the present.

When we live in the present moment, we are aware of how we are ‘being’ and decrease our likelihood of being depressed or anxious – which is excellent since both those feelings can lead to feeling fearful and being stuck in sensations that don’t serve us. When we are living in the present moment, we can be present with something we need to process without being stuck in the past or the future.

Sue also reminded us that regardless of the trigger, fear is the same. We feel it in our body and it invokes a physiological response – which can be addressed via verbally processing the emotion/feeling, intentional breathing, yoga, and meditation. Sue reminds us that it’s a process – it is about learning to be okay where we are at and moving toward happiness. Not labeling an emotion as negative, being with it as it is.

ImageThe TIMBo Program is great for self-development as well as learning to facilitate groups and yoga classes for women who want to live more authentically and let go of emotions that no longer serve us/them. In this 4-day training you will meet women who will be your friends for life. The day after the training Sue wrote on her Facebook page: “Laugh with me and we connect for a day. Cry with me and we connect for a lifetime ♥.” This pretty much sums up how powerful the training was and how deeply connected I feel to the women who were at this training.       
photo: Tracy Rodriguez Photography

Post-TIMBO days/weeks also remind me of the post-Reiki training days – it’s emotional (in an awesome, powerful way), you feel fully present in your life, and you are really clear on what is leading you toward your life’s purpose and what is not. This training will change your perception and will provide you with the strength to move toward that which energetically and intuitively feels right for your life and will help you release from that which does not resonate.

ImageYou will need to be prepared to get in touch with how emotions are stored in your body – which is why it quickly becomes clear why Marika walked into the training room with multiple boxes of tissues. It’s quite cleansing and healing as we realize that life is not always about being happy and that we cannot truly know happiness without being familiar with sadness.

And we understand that we can experience confidence by recognizing our shame and we can move toward the light by having knowledge of the darkness. We need to allow ourselves to be vulnerable – which according to Brené Brown is an accurate measurement of courage. When we live truthfully, with courage, we are living authentically. (Two links below to Brené’s powerful TED videos):

TED talk: Vulnerability
TED talk: Listening to Shame

What can we all do to live more wholeheartedly?

Consider one or more of the following to begin to build our toolbox:

> Shift judgment of reaction to the stories/feelings with Mindfulness Practices: Practice Pranayama, Yoga, Meditation

> Breathing off the mat – pay attention and lengthen our breath to change the physiology of your body

> Read, Learn and Be Inspired – here are some of my favorites: Brene Brown: The Gifts of Imperfection; Buddha’s Brain: Richard Hanson; Life Lessons – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross & David Kessler; Anatomy of the Spirit – Caroline Myss; The Power of Intention – Wayne Dyer; Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life – Wayne Dyer; Seven Spiritual Laws of Success – Deepak Chopra; A New Earth – Eckhart Tolle; Mudras – Yoga in Your Hands – Gertrude Hirschi; Creative Visualization – Shakti Gawain

> Life/Health Coaching

To process the stories of our lives so we can release the emotions that we attached to the story, when we are no longer attached to them in a way that is creating harm to our body, we begin the healing process and to understand yourself, learn about how your values and beliefs contribute to your actions and reactions.

> Attend a TIMBo session and learn to ‘put space between what you FEEL and what you choose to DO’.

> Recognize, and take time, to do what grounds you – nature, reading, yoga, spending time with friends & family, etc.

> Believe that you have the resources within to accomplish anything you want in life.

> Understand the concept of choice – Living Life, Making Choices

Every day we make choices.
We choose one thought over another,
we choose one behavior over another,
we choose to take one path over another.

When we investigate our lives,
existing with awareness
and taking responsibility for our choices,
we are choosing to live an authentic life.

For more info on Sue Jones:

Be Who You Are!

Dr. Seuss said, “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

I’ve written about authenticity before and the topic came up again a couple of weeks ago during week one of the most recent Yoga & Wellness session that I am facilitating.  The word/concept inevitably comes up when we are talking about core values, beliefs and living yoga on and off the mat.

So, that led to my posting the Dr. Seuss quote yesterday morning on my Living Life, Making Choices Facebook page (if you haven’t ‘liked’ it yet – click on the link to the left) and then the topic of ‘keeping it real’ arose again when I spent time with a good friend yesterday.  Where is this leading me, you might ask?  I’m not sure – I don’t really have a detailed, thoughtful post here, but feel that it’s important to trust my instincts that someone needs this message today.

So, I’ll keep going with the flow…. I’ve been thinking about how even when authenticity is one of our core values – it can be challenging to be real all the time. I pride myself upon being authentic and truthful.  I do, however, find myself thinking carefully about how I word things when I am delivering a message that I think might disappoint someone.  My friend reminded me of the importance of Dr. Seuss’ words…. if someone ‘minds’ my truth – and/or I find it difficult to deliver that truth, then I should ask myself how much it matters since I am not responding authentically.

This is not new information to me – I know this – I practice this in my life pretty regularly, so what does it mean when I find myself spending too much time thinking about how to word something …. nothing, really – just a gentle reminder.  No judgment of self, no harsh words for others… just a gentle reminder.  Those who matter – they really won’t mind.  So say what you want to say.

Then I think – well this might not be realistic for us to do with everyone in our lives 24/7.  So if we think about times when there is someone who we can’t say ‘it’ to, we can consider if anything needs to be said at all because most times – it doesn’t.  Pay attention and you’ll be surprised how many times you feel like you REALLY need to say something and when you think about it, you really don’t.

Thanks to my friend, Tee – for her wise words and to my friend, Linda for the beautiful photo in this post – from the North Country of New Hampshire!  And thank you, readers, for accepting this post as is…. usually I take more time and edit, edit away, but this one – I want it to be as it is.  Thanks for not minding!

End of one year, beginning of another

As I scroll down my Facebook news feed, everyone is, of course, talking about the new year.  There are quotes and posts about:

Giving gratitude.
Setting intentions.
Sending love.
Special thoughts.
Extending blessings.
Letting go.
Making dreams come true.
Abundant Health.
Dealing with changes.
Living life fully.
Being happy.

My wish is for us to live in this awareness every single day.  To make the choice to find time every day to think about what is important, what we want from life, how we want to BE (with ourselves and others)… living with purpose and intention.

Living Life, Making Choices – what are some of the ways your choices will impact the 365 days of 2012?!


Photo courtesy of my niece, Olivia Barker.

Living in the Mystery – let it unfold

Wayne Dyer addresses living in the mystery in the very first chapter of his book, Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, his interpretation of the Tao de Ching:

“Let the world unfold without always attempting to figure it all out….  Don’t try so hard to make something work – simply allow…. When expectations are shattered, practice allowing that to be the way it is.  Relax, let go. Allow and recognize that some of your desires are about how you think the works should be, rather than how it is in that moment.  Become an astute observer… judge less and listen more.  Take time to open your mind to the fascinating mystery and uncertainty that we all experience.”

     One of the key components of what Dr. Dyer is telling us is to be the observer.  When we notice we are experiencing anxiety, fear or an uncomfortable sensation, we can transform that awareness into a learning opportunity.  And when we are reminded of the ways we can access our centeredness, being at ease, then perhaps the next time we begin to experience anxiety or discomfort, we can choose joy and take steps to eliminate anxiety (or at least decrease it) from our emotional reactions.  When we can do this without judging, ah – then it is easier.  So, we remember – it is a practice.  We live life, we make choices, we learn, we move forward.

Take some time to think about what contributes to wonderful days or joyful moments, when you say to yourself – ‘THIS was a very good day or I am experiencing joy in THIS moment’.

Is it when you look into the eyes of a child or a loving pet?
Is it when you are connecting with nature?
Is it when you are practicing yoga or meditation?
Is it when you are out for a walk, run or a hike?
Is it when you are reading a spiritual text or listening to an inspirational speaker?
Is it when you are having a meaningful conversation about life?

When we experience more of THAT, we are able to stay connected, be more grounded and we will most likely find it easier to go with the flow.

Another way to live in the mystery is to practice gratitude.  When we are in the moment, we can notice if it is possible to transform an ‘uncomfortable’ emotion (fear, worry, anxiety) into gratitude.  There is always something to be grateful for.

Living in the Mystery requires awareness of (and responsibility for) our reactions.

Living in the Mystery is about letting go.

Living in the Mystery is about accepting that we are enough and we are perfect just as we are!

Living in the Mystery is about being grateful.

Living in the Mystery is about embracing, acknowledging and celebrating our wisdom and the light within.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?  Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”  ~Marianne Williamson

Living in the Mystery

My friend, Sandra, suggested I write about Living in the Mystery…. while I reflect on that – here is a poem about the very subject.

walk straight into the mystery

Walk straight into the mystery in all of its majesty
and fully embrace that which frightens you the most.

Surrender. Let go.

Disregard the expectations of others
(the voices that attempt to bleed your soul)
by offering an unbounded outwardly flowing stream
of unconditional loving kindness.

In your heart, know that the universe always shows up perfectly,
reminding us that some of our most important nourishment
will come from that which tastes awful.

Openly embrace change, as it is not only inevitable—it is life;
providing us the opportunity to see beyond
the limited abilities of our ordinary eyes.

To see that for our spirits to be at peace, they must be at home.
Letting go is the way home, the way back into the stillness.
The place where the miracle is the ordinary not the exceptional.

The place of bliss.

Dr. Mitch Tishler



Lots of fun and informative links along with my thinking!  Hope you enjoy!

I think a lot.

About what to write about in a blog.  (And how do I get on this list? :-))

About yoga.  (Ahmmm, because I love yoga, personal development, spirituality, philosophy.)

About life.

About choices.  (Recognizing we always have a choice – so important.) 
Life is the sum of all your choices.  ~Albert Camus

About love (Is it standing right here singing this song ~Sugarland).

About vulnerability (I’m reading Brené Brown’s book – The Gifts of Imperfection.)

About why I keep coming across the word ‘flourishing’.

About intuition.  (And trusting it, always!)

About synchronicity. (Meaningful coincidences – according to Carl Jung, who coined the phrase.)

About spending too much time on Facebook and Twitter.  (Am I an addict?  Are you?)

About what Sage is doing at this very moment.

About Nappy Yoga. (My name for restorative yoga.)

About quieting my mind, stilling the body, stepping away from the computer and meditating.

Well – I have not posted for over a month and plan to think about how to be more consistent.  If you are reading my blog and have questions or a topic you’d like me to write about – please email me….. as well as commenting and providing feedback.

Make an amazing day, everyone!