Shine on!


“I think that we are like stars. Something happens to burst us open; but when we burst open and think we are dying; we’re actually turning into a supernova. And then when we look at ourselves again, we see that we’re suddenly more beautiful than we ever were before!”
C. JoyBell C.

photo from National Geographic
click on the photo for a full page view of this amazing photo.

Living Free

On, independence is described as freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others.  This morning I read an article about why Katie Holmes filed for divorce from Tom Cruise – who knows if it’s the truth or not, but allow me to use it as an example that could be true.  The article gave many examples of how TC has not allowed KH to live independently – where he stifled her ability to live her life in a way that made her feel free to make her own choices.  The reason I use this example (not just because I secretly think I could have been a celebrity reporter – a legit, respected one! ) is that I think this type of relationship can be common.  I would bet each of us knows of a couple where one of the people is overbearing in a way that is not healthy.  It comes from a place of fear – for both the one controlling and the one allowing themselves to be controlled.

On this day, the day our country gained its independence, my wish for all of us is to recognize when others are attempting to control us or influence us in a way that does not resonate with our core values and belief system.  Oprah often talks about when something in our life is not quite right (a choice, a relationship, a job, etc.), that the universe lets us know and when we really pay attention, we truly know the right thing to do.

“I say the universe speaks to us, always, first in whispers. And a whisper in your life usually feels like ‘hmm, that’s odd.’ Or, ‘hmm, that doesn’t make any sense.’ Or, ‘hmm, is that right?’ It’s that subtle. And if you don’t pay attention to the whisper, it gets louder and louder and louder. I say it’s like getting thumped upside the head. If you don’t pay attention to that, it’s like getting a brick upside your head. You don’t pay attention to that—the brick wall falls down. That is the pattern that I see in my life and so many other people’s lives. And so, I ask people, ‘What are the whispers? What’s whispering to you now?'” — Oprah

Oprah’s mentor and friend, Maya Angelou, says – ‘when you know better, you do better’.  I think the knowingness of what we need to do and the reality of putting it into action can be scary.  Another powerful woman, Pema Chödrön,  asks us to ‘smile at fear – live from the heart’ and be filled with potential.  You cannot do that if you are controlling someone else or when you are living a life controlled by another person.

‘Be honest with yourself and be open to the world.’
Pema Chödrön


Change is saying goodbye to an old, familiar situation and facing a new unfamiliar situation. Sometimes it’s not the old or the new that unnerves us, it’s the time in between. Ronnie Kaye, author of Spinning Straw into Gold and two time breast cancer survivor says “ In life when one door closes another always opens, but the hallways are a bitch.” That is how change works, it usually begins with a door closing, an ending, a completion, a loss, a death. Then we enter an uncomfortable period, mourning this completion and living in uncertainty of what is next. This period of uncertainty is hard. But just when we feel we can’t take it anymore, something new emerges: a reintegration, a reinvestment, a new beginning. A door opens. If you fight change, you will be fighting your whole life. That’s why we need to find a way to embrace change, or at least to accept it.   ~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross ~ Life Lessons

photo – Govinda Kai (

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:

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.

Guest Blog post: Job-Related Stress: How it affects You, Your Family and How To Beat It

by Elizabeth O’Malley

Today’s high level of job-related stress has reached once unimaginable levels. There is a definite correlation to the stress experienced on everyday jobs and the related illness reported by a generally long-living American public. There are essentially two kinds of job-related stress: physical and emotional. Both affect us and our families on a daily basis. However, they can be dealt with and lessened so there is hope at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

Physical Stress
In most jobs, you are training your body to perform tasks that don’t come naturally. This can be a cause of physical stress. Whether it is as a fork-lift operator at a warehouse or Certified Nursing Assistant, (CNA) working at an assisted living facility, much of work-related stress can come from danger and frequency of work-related injury. A nurse or nurse assistant who does not knowing how to properly lift, move or turn over a bed-ridden patient may suffer a life-long back injury. One fairly recent 1999 Ohio University study listed patient handling as a hazardous job, causing frequent low back injury. In particular, the following most commonly used lifting techniques were not considered safe enough to use in health care facilities.

Physical Stress can manifest itself in other ways as well, such as through migraines from staring at the computer or varicose veins from sitting or standing too long in an office or retail position.

Its effect on families: If someone is working in a job with a high level of physical stress, their injury and risk of injury may harm their family. Getting hurt at work can leave someone susceptible to other health problems, and leave them unable to earn money. For those with children, this is a big danger. Partners and children may become stressed by worrying about the worker getting hurt as well.

Emotional/Psychological Stress Related To The Families of Workers
Persons experience emotional stress in most any work environment but particularly susceptible are those who regularly deal as “helpers” or “facilitators,” police and first responders, social workers, air traffic controllers and teachers among many groups. A large factor is how much time the employee spends with people on a daily basis.

Its effect on families: When someone works with people all day, they may come home from work feeling emotionally exhausted, and have a difficult time responding to loved ones’ emotional needs. This can cause partners and children of the worker to feel like they are being left out of the worker’s life, or may even cause feelings of grief and abandonment.

Methods To Combat Job-Related Stress

Below are a few of several effective methods used to help deal with job-related stress. There are practical, simple to implement and above all, they work every time they are put to work.

Time Alone
For most, being alone helps with time and space to organize one’s thought patterns, evaluate one’s inner-most feelings and get away from it all. Saving time for ourselves is an important factor in dealing with stress. Finding at least 15 minutes for quiet reflection can help you reconnect with others again and feel refreshed.

It is important to move around at work- sitting or standing for too long can cause stiffness and soreness, or even medical problems later down the line. Getting up every hour or so from your desk at work, or walking around and shifting weight from leg to leg in a standing job can really make a difference in how the body feels once work is over.

Prayer, Meditation, Yoga

As tools for helping clear the mind, yoga, meditation, and prayer can be incorporated as part of any daily routine. Yoga is especially helpful as it focuses on relieving the physical and mental stress simultaneously, calming the mind and stretching the body.

Today’s high level of work-related stress has become a danger to our health and well-being. However, incorporating some relatively simple and inexpensive techniques can help you safely navigate through life’s minefields with less damage to your body and mind, keeping you healthy for yourself and your family.

Elizabeth graduated with a degree in Public Health Administration before relocating with her family to Seattle.  She is currently writing, and her favorite topics include health care, work-life balance, and travel.