Thursday, August 30, 2012

Little Bits of Inspiration

Is it terrible to admit that I came home with figs yesterday and they are all already gone?  Check out the recipe, on Tartelette.
I am loving the wallpaper + light fixture in this bathroom! Can't get enough...
In celebration of August...  summer's coming to an end. It's getting darker earlier, and I am ready for cozy sweater, hot cups of tea... and fall leaves!

All images via pinterest

Allow the shift to occur

Happy Thursday, all! I hope the week has been going great. I can't believe it is almost September. As we close out the month this weekend, I feel like there are lots of new beginnings happening. People have started school, babies are being born, weddings are happening and people are experiencing some major shifts in their lives. I was talking to my friend, yesterday and she has quit her job and is moving to Thailand! It's really incredible that she is embarking on this journey and I am thrilled for her! As we kept talking, she said that ultimately she wants to experience what it feels like to be alone, while giving herself the space and time she needs to figure out what she wants, giving her soul room to grow, and giving herself the chance to fall in love with who she is. I thought this was really powerful and I can completely relate. When I graduated college, it was like I began embarking on a journey to "crack" myself open, and then, figure out what my soul needs and wants. I had to do it alone, without the influence of anyone. When I landed here in Houston, I really didn't have any expectations, and I had no idea that my life would change here in so many ways, from the things that have gone on outside of me, to the things that have happened internally. Walking into Yoga Ananda changed my life, or perhaps it was just the piece, the piece I came here to get, the piece that makes me feel whole, which I found through yoga. Our teacher training was called "The Art of Flourishing," and I truly believe that the name fits the program to a tee. The whole intention was not only to teach the poses, but it was to "get yourself out of the way," (meaning erasing any negative beliefs, or thoughts and feelings about ourselves) in order for your true essence to shine through. One of the major blocks that I've always had has been feeling unworthy of anything I've ever really loved. So, on the day that I graduated from the teacher training, I had to stand up and say, "I am worthy," and it was only upon really feeling it and knowing it in my soul, that I could graduate. After I shed many tears, about saying these three simple little words, I finally stood up and said it, feeling it in my body for the first time as I said it out loud that day. The purpose of yoga is to unite all the parts of ourselves. When we learn how to love ourselves, when we learn how to "have" ourselves, we begin to unite all the bits and pieces of who we are and with that, we become whole, and no longer do we need anything outside of who we already are to make us happy. That relieves a lot of pressure. We don't need the job to define us, or the relationship, or money, the list goes on and on... sometimes we have to journey near and far though, to be able to really listen to ourselves, and the thing is no one can take us there, we have to get there on our own, alone.

Here is a wonderful quote that kind of summed all of it up for me: Yoga is about clearing away whatever is in us that prevents our living in the most full and whole way. With yoga, we become aware of how and where we are restricted -- in body, mind, and heart -- and how gradually to open and release these blockages. As these blockages are cleared, our energy is freed. We start to feel more harmonious, more at one with ourselves. Our lives begin to flow -- or we begin to flow more in our lives.


So, as the month closes and we head into September, maybe we can allow for these shifts to occur, we can release a little more, give a little more and allow ourselves to flow more freely.

I wasn't intending on writing a long post today, it was going to be a quick hello, but I guess my heart decided otherwise.

Happy Thursday! :)

image via pinterest

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

It's never too late, or too early...

Sorry for the delayed post today. It was a busy day that included a lot of yoga, good conversation and overall a lot of nourishment to my soul. :) I found this quote awhile back, and just wanted to share it with all of you. This is something I haven't really brought up on my blog, but at the age of 57 my dad has been in the process of changing his life/getting it back. He often gave away his time and his self for the expense of his own well being, and it caught up with him in a big way when he got sick in October. However, he is fully recovering and I couldn't be more proud of him. It honestly warms my heart and soul, when I hear his voice and look into his eyes, because it's as if the weight of the world has been lifted off of his shoulders. I have my dad back, and I'm getting to know him all over again. We have a little bit of a different relationship now, because so much has changed, including his mindset, although, I truly believe at the core of him, that this is who he has always been. He just as my mom says, "fell off the turnip truck." I think that when you start trying to figure out your life, you have the list, and then you have what your parents want, and then if you have kids and spouses, that piles on even more to the list, because you start trying to make them happy. From my point of view my dad was the provider and he did his job very well, only to the expense of his own life. He forgot himself somewhere along the way, but thankfully he was able to go back, slow down... and he was willing to become broken open. When I look at him now, it is as if the shell that surrounded him has fallen away. All the pieces that used to "hold him together," all the masks are gone and in his eyes, I see his soul. It's really, really nice when you can see people and I mean "really" see them. I know because, I feel like I used to be very much the same way. I was covered and hidden in a shell. I didn't want anyone to actually see me, because I was too afraid, too afraid to be vulnerable. But slowly, the layers have shed, the shell has been broken open and I can relate to my dad so much, because it is almost like a new beginning. Anyway, I just wanted to share with you guys another little piece of myself and I thought this was a great reminder that it's never too late or too early to be whoever you want to be. I used to think my family was pretty perfect, until that notion all came shattering down around me. But I've decided that truth, honesty, vulnerability and an open heart is all so much better than any sort of "perfection," because at least this is real.

I hope you all had a wonderful day and wonderful evening!
Lots of love

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


... That something fabulous is going to happen today!

Continuing the inspiration from yesterday after chatting with my friend Kelly and teacher Maria, I wanted to share with you guys something Maria told us. She traveled to the Omega Institute in early August and one of the women there was talking about her childhood growing up, and her children now. She said that her parents, and now as a parent, she tells her kids before they leave for school that something fabulous is surely to happen to them during the day, and tells them to let her know what it is at the dinner table. Maria said that the woman always came home with little tid bits about her fabulous day, and now her kids do it too. When they get home, she said that no matter what, they either talk about someone sharing something with them, or something else that was just "fabulous." No act of kindness is too big or too small. I started thinking about that and life in general. Each morning we can either wake up with fear of the day, or wake up thinking that something fabulous is going to happen to us.

So, today, believe that something fabulous is going to happen!

image via HRB

Monday, August 27, 2012

Rinsing out & Filling up

"Rinse out what no longer is serving you, and open up to what does serve you."

Hi all, I know I already wrote to you once today, but I just got back from my first yoga class at Yoga Ananda in a month... which, always gives me a little food for thought. For me, being there and doing yoga is like coming home. It's my roots here in Houston and it's what's kept me here. As we rinsed out, twisted out, opened up in backbends, and surrendered in hip openers, I realized that no matter how much time goes by, and no matter where I go or what I do, this place, my mat, it's where so much has happened. The poses have acted as a gateway to some major healing, and a way leading me back home. But, first, it's taken me through things that haven't been comfortable. It's like touching a place within, that isn't usually open and accessible-- but through our breath, we give ourselves space, to move. This movement of our bodies can bring us to places, that we sometimes can't seem to get to, or don't want to travel to otherwise. I think yoga allows us to touch the depth of our joys and sorrows within our hearts and bodies, making us whole, putting us back into balance and giving us exactly what we need, while rinsing out what we don't. Today, the theme in class was aparigraha, which translates to non-hoarding. I started thinking about hoarding in my life. Hoarding my own energy, my own time, my own thoughts and my own self. I've kept it all to myself out of fear, that if I let it all go, I would have nothing left. Slowly, through lots of time, reflection and of course, yoga, I've tried to open up more and more, but it isn't easy, at least not for me. It's challenging to be vulnerable. After class, my friend Kelly, our teacher Maria, and I all sat and talked, about life and everything in between. Maria mentioned the quote from Anais Nin, "And the day came when the risk to remain in a tight bud was more painful than the risk it takes to blossom."
I don't know about any of you, but I feel sometimes we get to points in life when we're pulled for something greater. And at these moments, we are forced to let go of attachment, we stop hoarding our energies, and we allow ourselves to open up to the vulnerability that comes with sharing who we are, who we truly are. We all have things to share, we all want to share and relate, be heard and do our  life's work that moves our soul. I think that no matter what road we take... you, me, friends, family... no matter what rode we decide to take, we choose one that allows us to blossom and we allow ourselves to open up and let it happen.

image via inspiration for wellbeing

{Happy Day, Monday}

Happy day everyone!! I am particularly welcoming of this Monday, because I think I am finally good to go and stomach bug free of whatever I came down with last week! Hoooray! I spent the weekend, trapped in my apartment, writing, "pinteresting" and on face book. Which has helped me come to the conclusion on two things. Number one: I wish "pinteresting" was my actual job. Number two: Face book is rapidly making, my life look more and more inadequate... considering: my news feed is quickly filling up with babies, weddings and engagements. Bah! I thought this happened more around the time we were all closer to 30, no? Oh well. However, I did come by this awesome closet turned bunkhouse in At Home in Arkansas. The whole house is pretty wonderful, if you'd like to see more,  check it out here. Arkansas looks good. :)

I hope you all have a really wonderful day!

Friday, August 24, 2012

A late evening post...

Hi all! So, yesterday, shortly after I posted to all of you, I came down with something resembling the flu or food poisoning. Either way, I haven't really had the energy to think about anything other than trying to get down some liquids. I am so thankful for my old neighbor, who brought me some gatorade, water and chicken noodle soup, which I have been living off of for all of yesterday and today. I hope you all had a wonderful Friday. Just wanted to leave you with a little happy weekend note. :) I am going to be soaking up some rest!

image via pinterest

Thursday, August 23, 2012

It's Thursday

Where has this week gone? If feels like I was just writing to you guys on Monday. Alas, it is almost the end of the week! I hope you all are enjoying it. I have been busy making cookies for all of my new (well, almost, hopefully new) neighbors. I made my friend Kate's cookies and they are delicious, even for breakfast.

Here is the recipe:

Oatmeal Banana Bread Cookies (I say banana bread because they taste like banana bread)
    1/2 c. margarine at room temp.                   1/2 c. whole wheat flour
       1 c. brown sugar                                      1/2c. sifted flour
    1/4 c. water                                                1/2 tsp. baking soda
     1tsp. vanilla extract                                      1 tsp. salt
          1 ripe banana (mashed)                        3 c. rolled old-fashioned oats

Directions: Preheat oven 350 degrees
Mix margarine, brown sugar, water, vanilla and banana together. In a separate bowl mix flours, baking soda, salt. Then add dry mix to wet. Stir well. Add in oats. Drop tsp. size dough onto greased cookie sheet. Bake 12-15 min.

**I added a little cinnamon and used 1 cup of sifted flour
**For vegan use soy margarine

P.S. I started reading Emily Giffin's new book, Where We Belong, yesterday and stayed up till one in the morning trying to finish it... not the best idea, but it's a great book.

image via pinterest

Monday, August 20, 2012

One crazy, busy Day.

Starting the week off with a bang.

I hope all of you are having great day. This week it is pedal to the medal when it comes to getting some stuff done. Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith, and although I don't really know what I'm doing or if it's the right thing or not, I'm taking the leap.

I love this quote: If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when? (this quote is from a yoga sutras book that I don't have with me right now, but I'll let you all know the name when I do!)

It goes on to say that the true purpose of yoga is to discover that aspect in us, that can never be lost. Although our jobs may change, relationships may change, our bodies may change, beliefs may change, desires may change, your ideas about the roles you play in the world may change, but the essence of who you are is the continuity of awareness that has no beginning or end.

So although we are always experiencing change, there is a place in each of us that is constant. I refer to this place as "the root" or "core" of our being. When we are in line with ourselves, and living from this place that is constant and connected then we are shown the way, always. It may seem hazy, cloudy, foggy and the path may be long, but no feat is ever too great when we are following our hearts.

image via bippityboppitybootumblr

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Travel Day.

Wishing all of you a wonderful day! I am heading to Oklahoma City for a cousin's wedding this weekend. I'm hoping to do some antiquing while I'm there, and then it's off to Houston!

Breakfast at Yurmans

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

No Holding Back

There comes a time when we have to make a commitment to ourselves; to our happiness. We will always have decisions, we will always have tough times, there will always be things to overcome, but I think in life, one of the biggest commitments we have to make is the one to ourselves. The one that says, no matter what I will take care of myself and stick up for myself. I will nourish myself with good people, good books, good habits and make a commitment to be there for myself always. There was a time in my life when I became very afraid. Afraid that if I let people see me, I would get hurt. I kept everyone and everything at an arm's length because I thought I was protecting myself. I thought I was doing myself a favor. But, now, I've realized that the person I was protecting, the little one inside of me, doesn't necessarily need to be protected anymore. I think it's easy for all of us to shut down and shut off. Being human is painful. I don't know about you, but I've been through some stuff that I thought I would never get through. There were times when I felt like I was wading in mud and I would trudge and trudge and trudge, feeling like I wasn't getting anywhere. I kept trying to keep it together but slowly the light dimmed. I was in college. I looked in the mirror and I didn't recognize myself. I thought time and time again, "I just want to be okay. When will I ever feel okay?" It wasn't that I didn't have fun in college, but I somehow disconnected from myself without even really realizing it. And it's hard for me to admit these things, because I really wanted to hold myself together, I thought, surely if I fell apart I would never be able to pick up the pieces. But, about a year after college, I couldn't hold it together anymore. I had to fall apart but, afterwards I got myself back. It was only in really falling apart that I could heal. Don't get me wrong... stuff still happens,  life is always teaching us. And sometimes things show up, giving us indication that there's still more to heal. **I'm not sure it ever stops, even when we are given more challenges, we don't have to shut down, shut up or dim ourselves. This time we can choose to stay open. Stay awake. And stay bright.

I read this earlier today and I wanted to share it with you all. It's from Melody Beattie's, Journey to the Heart.

"Who told you you had to hold back? Who told you your gifts, your talents, your beauty– your natural, loving delightful self was wrong? Who told you not to be all you could be? Maybe, as some suggest, we've gotten too comfortable focusing on our flaws, our errors, our dark side. Perhaps it is not our dark side we fear. Perhaps we're afraid of our gifts, our brilliance, our light. Now is a time of light. It's time for us to shine. We've worked hard on ourselves, dealt with our issues, gone back to the past. We've learned our lessons well. The reasons to hold back and hide away are no longer there. Enjoy the fruits of your labors. Be all you can be, and enjoy being that. Don't hold back. Use your gifts with joy. Use your talents. Let your light shine for all the world to see. Finally, you are free to be all you can be.

So just remember to not be afraid of your light and to not be afraid to let others see the light that is within you. Don't hold back. Don't let other people's opinions control what you do, where you live or who you want to be. Just feel it and do it. Stay connected to your core and let yourself shine. Because we have to be our own best advocates. No one can save us, we have to be the hero of our own story. Always. And that starts with a commitment to ourselves and to our happiness.

I hope you all are having a great Wednesday. Extra long post this evening... but had to share. Lots of love to you all!

image via pinterest

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

To be really alive... is to...

Happy Tuesday everyone! I hope you all survived Monday successfully and perhaps even enjoyed it a little bit? Last night, I picked up The Four Agreements. Have you all read it? Ohh, it's so good! I read it during my teacher training as a required reading and since then, I've passed it along to family members, friends, anyone and everyone. There's a passage that I wanted to share really quick, about resisting life. Our own life. The one that we want. Not the one our parents want for us, or our friends and teachers, but the one we want.

It says: "To be alive is the biggest fear humans have. Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive – the risk to be alive and express what we really are. Just being ourselves is the biggest fear of humans. We have learned to live our lives trying to satisfy other people's demands. We have learned to live by other people's points of view because of the fear of not being accepted and of not being good enough." - The Four Agreements

I just thought this was so good and true when I read it again last night. I think when we individuate from our parents, it can be really hard to decipher what we want. But the truth is, we still have to be true to ourselves. We have to decide how we want to live in the world, be of service and make our way. It isn't anyone else's decision or choice. It's ours to make. Therefore, we have to stay connected to ourselves no matter what. Be brave and have the courage to be different.

I hope you all have a wonderful, wonderful Tuesday. I'm teaching a morning yoga class today! Ah, teaching yoga is one of my favorite things in life. And that is all I know right now...

image via serendipitousromancetumblr

Monday, August 13, 2012

Let's get things shakin'...

I hope all of you are having a great Monday thus far. I have had trouble getting motivated this morning... but, I'm happy to get this week started. I was thinking earlier today about alignment. Yoga is about aligning our bodies, as well as our soul and mind. When we're out of alignment we can feel off kilter and off balance. Our thinking can get fuzzy and we might forget how to trust ourselves. It is often said that ultimately when we listen, we know the way to go. Well, I have teetered back and forth with this a lot lately. I will make a decision and then I'll feel uncertain again. When big risks are involved, it's really easy to get wrapped up in our fear and instead of trusting what we know to be true, we think about all the things that could go wrong. Right now, I'm trying to decide whether or not to buy an old house, fix it up, and perhaps one day teach yoga in it as well. There's a part of me that gets so excited to imagine what I would do to the kitchen, and how it will look when it's all fixed up, but then there's another part of me that worries about the roof caving in or being stuck in a money pit. Have you seen the movie...  The Money Pit? If you haven't please view. See how badly this could all turn out? 

Anyway, back to alignment, I think one of the hardest things to do is trust what we know. And hope the roof doesn't cave in! 


Spinach, Avocado, Goat Cheese...

Need I say more?

This makes for one delicious salad.

View the recipe here from Recipe Girl

Friday, August 10, 2012

Happy Friday!

Good morning loves. I hope you all are having a wonderful Friday! Last night, I started getting frantic about all the things I need to accomplish. The big things. The life things. I started feeling like I haven't done enough, accomplished enough and the feeling led to tears.

I usually read before going to sleep and I came across this passage called The Pain of Becoming. It says:

"We do ourselves a great disservice by judging where we are in comparison to some final destination. This is one of the pains of aspiring to become something: the stage of development we are in is always seen against the imaginary landscape of what we are striving for. So where we are-- though closer all the time-- is never quite enough. The simple rose, at each moment of its slow blossoming, is as open as it can be. The same is true for our lives. In each stage of our unfolding, we are stretched as possible. For the human heart is quite slow to blossom, and is only seen as lacking when compared to the imagined person we'd like to become." -- The Book of Awakening

I thought this was so true and such a great reminder. We can't really force ourselves to grow any quicker than we already are. We have to be patient with ourselves, as well as patient with  life. Ah, for me it sounds so easy, but lately I have been having the toughest time with this. But, hopefully some yoga + breathing + having a little more faith will help me out on this.

Wishing you a very wonderful weekend. :) Lots of love and light.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Spaces in Between

Welcome to Thursday! I can't believe it is almost the weekend. I hope your week is going great.

I thought I would share these two lovely spaces.

Have a great day!

image via pinterest

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sunny Disposition

Happy Tuesday everyone! I hope your Monday went smoothly. I actually had some moments of clarity yesterday. Finally! Turns out some time by myself, a run and some breathing exercises seemed to help calm me down enough to step out of some big fear. I'm sure there will be more times of anxiousness and unsure moments, but that comes with change. I posted a quote about change a couple of weeks ago, "The good stuff can scare us. Change, even good change, can be frightening. In some ways, good changes can be more frightening than the hard times.- Melody Beattie I just wanted to share it with you all again, because I think it's so true.

And since it's still extremely hot outside, it's hard to imagine September rolling around any time soon, and even further than that seems the arrival of fall. As I start daydreaming about chunky sweaters, boots and being able to step outside without panting, I am still scouring my wardrobe for lightweight comfort. I'm not quite ready to give up my sun dresses and shorts yet, but I am getting excited for a change of season, perhaps a change of address and some terrifying exciting new adventures! :) 

Monday, August 6, 2012

What if...

Good morning my dears and happy Monday! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Mine was good, although I felt like my head might explode with confusion. You know when  you start making plans, making decisions, and then you wonder how you ever got the idea to put the plan into action in the first place? Well, I have sauntered between that and feeling utterly hopeless about what to do, where to live and how to make  living? I know... you'd think I know by now. After a night of turmoil on my own behalf, I woke up feeling somewhat refreshed and I thought to myself, what if I never asked anyone else's opinion about what I should do with my life and I just did it? I thought to myself, well, that's probably how I got to making the decisions and putting this plan into action in the first place, but now I'm questioning everything, alas you can see how this goes... round n' around, and around. Oy. I hope you all have a wonderful Monday. The good news is, I took two yoga classes over the weekend. It was so nice to rinse out, sweat and release some of the fear and anxiety I've been having. Love to you all.

image via pinterest

Friday, August 3, 2012

{Happy Weekend!}

I hope all of you have a fantastic weekend. It is hot, hot, hot in the south and I am vowing to try to remain as cool as possible, but I'm not sure that will happen. I'm going to head to yoga this evening, my first class in weeks! I'm excited. Hope you all have some fun this weekend! This slip n' slide looks pretty good right now!

image via pinterest

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Loving Kindness... to Oneself

Lately, I have been thinking about the ups and downs of life. The steady ebb and flow that seems to be ever-changing and the way we endure what goes on in our lives, from the "good" to the "bad." One thing, among many that I learned throughout my yoga teacher training was to not be so attached to the outcome of anything. We often have a picture in our heads of what we want our lives to be like, then we run around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to make that life happen, meanwhile, the universe is working to give us exactly what we need. I mentioned in a post earlier that I have big decisions to make and within these big decisions is a huge fear of failure. Failure in my mind is making the wrong decision, because that would mean it didn't work out. But, we are so often told that things are working out exactly as they should. Although I do believe this, it's so hard not to attack myself or beat myself up when something seemingly "fails." About a month ago I picked up a book at the bookstore written by Pema Chodron called Taking the Leap. I opened it up in the store, sat down on the ground and started reading. I came across a word I had never heard before called maitri. I wasn't really sure what it meant until later on when it was explained that "maitri" is loving kindness to oneself, or unconditional friendliness to ourselves. Many of us have experienced unconditional love for others. If you have a pet, or a child, you know exactly what I'm talking about. But, when it comes to ourselves, we may not really recognize the same type of unconditional friendliness... we get hard on ourselves, beat ourselves up, all the while people are looking at us not expecting us to be perfect at all. But somewhere along the way we started expecting "perfection" from ourselves. Maitri doesn't mean we indulge our ego, senses or become reckless with selfishness, instead it's calling for compassion. Pema Chodron talks about a story and it is one I really liked, especially since I can relate to being uncomfortable during meditation, so here it is, along with a bit of her teachings from

There was a story about the Zen master Suzuki Roshi. This was a situation where his students had been sitting and they were 3 or 4 hours into a very hard sitting period, a sesshin. The person who told the story said every bone in his body was hurting, his back, his ankles, his neck, his head, everything hurt. Not only that, his thoughts were totally obsessed with either "I can't do this, I'm worthless. There's something wrong with me. I'm not cut out to do this." It was vacillating between those thoughts and "This whole thing is ridiculous. Why did I ever come here? These people are crazy. This place is like boot camp." His mind and body were just aching. Probably everyone else in the room was going through something similar.

Suzuki Roshi came in to give the lecture for the day and he sat down. He started to talk very, very, very slowly and he said, "The difficulty that you are experiencing now..." And that man was thinking, "will go away."

And he said, "This difficulty will be with you for the rest of your life."

So that's sort of Buddhist humor.

But it is also the essence of maitri. It seems to me in my experience and also in talking to other people that we come to a body of teachings like the Buddhist teachings or any spiritual path, to meditation in some way like little children looking for comfort, looking for understanding, looking for attention, looking somehow to be confirmed. Some kind of comfort will come out of this. And the truth is actually that the practice isn't about that. The practice is more about somehow this little child this I, who wants and wants and wants to be confirmed in some way.

Practice is about that part of our being that, like that finally being able to open completely to the whole range of our experience, including all that wanting, including all that hurt, including the pain and the joy. Opening to the whole thing so that this little child-like part of us can finally, finally, finally, finally grow up.

Trungpa Rinpoche once said that was the most powerful mantra, Om Grow Up Svaha.

But this issue of growing up, it's not all that easy because it requires a lot of courage. Particularly it takes a lot of courage to relate directly with your experience. By this I mean whatever is occurring in you, you use it,. You seize the moment? moment after moment? you seize those moments and instead of letting life shut you down and make you more afraid, you use those very same moments of time to soften and to open and to become more kind. More kind to yourself for starters as the basis for becoming more kind to others.

One time when I was a child, I was feeling very upset and angry at one point. I think I was around seven or eight. And there was this old woman, who I later become very close to. But the first time I ever met her, I was walking down the street kicking stones with my head down, and I was feeling very lonely. I was basically feeling that nobody loved me very much and that people weren't taking care of me. So I was walking along angry at the world, kicking stones. And this woman said, "Child, don't let the world harden your heart."

And I always remember that. It was the first real teaching I received, I think. It's still a teaching I remember. And in terms of this teaching on maitri, this is really the key. People's lives, through all of time, have had a lot of difficulty in them The Buddha's first teaching was that there is suffering in life, If you're born as a human being , there's suffering. At the very least, there's the suffering of illness, of growing old and of death at the end. Not to mention that the more you love are able to open, there's the suffering of not getting what you want and of losing what you do want. Just some inevitable sufferings.

Nowadays, this is an especially difficult time in the history of this planet, Earth. it's a difficult time. And in times of difficulty, people get very frightened. Often when I'm teaching a lot of the questions are that people ask about just the subject. People inevitably say, "Yes, but it's dangerous, it's getting more and more dangerous just to walk down the street. We need to protect ourselves."

I think the point is when our lives are difficult, in small ways or large ways, when we're going through a lot emotionally, or when difficult things are happening in our environment, do those things cause us to become more uptight and afraid. or do those very same things, when the teachings are applied, soften us and can open us?

To me, this is how I practice and this is the most important thing. You never know what's going to happen to us. In any day of our lives you never know what's coming. That's part of the adventure of it actually, but that's what makes us scared, is that we never know. And we spend a lot of time trying to control it so that we could know, but the truth is that we don't really know.

Really, I think a lot of people, like children, you're wanting some kind of practice that's not going to take you into anything uncomfortable but at the same time you want the practice to heal you. And it just doesn't work like that.

The question is how do you relate when things are uncomfortable? That's really the question.

As far as I'm concerned, in terms of spiritual path, that's the main question: how do you relate with the difficulties? How do you relate with the feelings you have and the situations you find yourself in?

This particular teaching on the Four Limitless Ones, on maitri, compassion, joy and equanimity is really a teaching on how to take the situations of your life and train- actually train- in catching yourself closing down, catching yourself getting hard, and training in opening at that very point, or softening. In some sense reversing a very, very old pattern of the whole species, which is a pattern of armoring ourselves. It's sort of like the essence of the whole Path is in that place of discomfort and what do you do with it? 

Pema Chodron tells this story so well, and I really love the message of this. In my life, I have experienced things that I blamed myself for, that I realize now, after a lot of therapy, were not my fault. I didn't practice loving kindness to myself at all for a long time, because I believed I didn't deserve it. The truth is, we all deserve it. When things are uncomfortable, it's a reminder that we are human, perfection isn't needed, but compassion is. 

I just wanted to share this with all of you, because when I read it, it really made sense to me and it resonated within. Perhaps this week, this weekend, or even when you find yourself in difficulty or even good times to allow yourself some compassion. In difficulty, be kind to yourself, in times of joy be kind to yourself and let yourself feel it. Sometimes, that's the hardest lesson of all-- to feel what we feel and not be afraid. 

Lots of love to you all!

image via pinterest/quotes

It's been a couple weeks...

Good morning all! I am so sorry to have left you all hanging with such long radio silence. I went straight from Florida to my cabin in New Mexico where there is no TV, no telephone and no internet. Hell, you can't even drink the water from the faucet because it comes from a stream. Don't worry, bottled water is available, but literally it's a step up from camping in a tent, and I love it! We went horseback riding, backpacking-- both of which I came back bruised blistered and exhausted. But it was beautiful and awesome and the retreat itself is my favorite place in the world and it's been two years since I've really gotten to spend time there, so I was soaking it up. I have come back to find the world relatively exactly the same, I was a little shocked,   not surprised at all to hear of the breakup between Rob Pattinson and twilight love Kristen Stewart. I mean... c'mon. Anyway, I hope all of you are having a great week/summer. I have some big decisions to make in the next few days. I wish someone could just tell me what I should do with my life. But, I guess we all have to try to figure it out ourselves. I'm missing my yoga studio in Houston, I'm planning on doing a little bit of yoga here in Arkansas. It might be my new home in a couple of months. We shall see! Happy August, everyone! I have a feeling it's going to be great.

image via a well traveled woman