• being human,  featured,  writing

    Keeping a Commonplace Book

    I have collected and filled notebooks for years, mostly recording things I was learning, other times journaling or Morning Pages. Beginning in my teens, I continued sporadically, and by my late twenties, I was deep into yoga and yogic philosophy, filling several notebooks with wisdom. I didn't know there was a name for what I was doing until a few years ago. I ran across the Bullet Journal concept which covered bits of it, but it didn't address all of the note-taking I had been doing for years. A Commonplace Book is the name given to small notebooks that house notes, learnings, anecdotes and more. I consistently keep a Commonplace Book with Bullet Journal elements so all of my stuff is tidy in one space. 

  • being human,  embodiment,  featured,  writing

    Embodied Writing

    How often are you in your head, and can you, instead, reside in your heart or gut, or even your feet? Embodiment, in its simplest sense, is being present and ‘in’ the sensations of the body on a moment-by-moment basis. Another simple definition I recently heard is “living life informed through the sense-experience of the body.” Most of us, unfortunately, are foreign to this idea and we are in our heads quite a lot. We are thinkers and doers and overachievers (me included), but learning to drop into the body actually provides us with more information, more choice, a fuller life, and gives the brain a much needed break. Often we are participating in life but not fully participating. Have you driven somewhere and realized that when you got to your destination, you couldn’t recall the drive? Or been in conversation but didn’t hear what the other person said? Were you thinking about what you’d say next? What about being somewhere and simply wishing you were someplace else? All of these situations point to a disembodied state. Head is primary. Body is someplace else entirely. Practicing mindfulness is one solution; practicing embodiment gives depth and richness to mindfulness. Depression and anxiety are head-space ailments. Though they…

  • being human,  featured,  writing

    Five Simple Tips to Make Writing an Everyday Priority

    Write first––and I do mean first. Write before email, tv, social media, a book––everything. Writing first gives us the opportunity to check in with ourselves. We are the most meditative early in the morning, before the day takes hold. Write first. All forms of writing count. Journaling, blogging, emailing, love notes, letters, writing articles for others. Any writing IS writing. Of course, you may set goals for yourself about the types of writing you want to accomplish each day, but all forms count as writing if you are counting the number of days in a row you write. Use ‘free form’ or ‘flow writing’ as your go to in stressful situations. When the mind won’t stop, write. Get it out. Set a timer for five, ten, fifteen minutes and just write whatever is on your mind. After spilling the contents of your mind, you may find it is easier to write about what you want to write about. Make writing a ritual. Pour a cup of tea. Light a candle. Use the same book and pen. Write from the same space each day. Eventually it will become a habit. Be gentle with yourself. Recognize that you will have distractions. You will be tempted to not…

  • being human,  featured,  writing

    The Benefits of Journal Writing

    Reflecting about your life is one of the most self-healing activities you can undertake, and probably the least expensive therapeutic avenue to healing available in our modern world. You need nothing more than pen and paper to journal, and you can do it literally anywhere. I can personally testify to the healing work that journaling has done in my life, and I realize after more than twenty years that it’s been the one mainstay in times of crises and change. Journaling saw me through my mom’s terminal illness and subsequent passing. The practice was a trusted ally on many darks nights of the soul. I also discovered some new things about myself throughout that time, all from putting pen to paper. But don’t take my word for it. There are hundreds of academic reviews that prove reflective writing is healing. Here are just a few of the effects therapeutic writing/journaling can have: lowered blood pressure reduced stress increased clarity a sense of calm more balanced emotions the ability to better find answers within instead of seeking help (though seeking help is NEVER ill-advised!) increased ability to learn and retain info strengthened immune system better overall health lowered anxiety and depression Interested in beginning a journaling…

  • being human,  featured,  writing

    Writing to Heal

    Life gives you plenty of material to write about. Whether mad, sad, full of joy, rage, curious, life is full of surprises and writing helps us make sense of the confusion. As I sit to write today, I feel regret … for how I behaved yesterday. While I have reason to feel angry and frustrated with a particular situation in my life, I unloaded on someone else. It wasn’t fair to her and I told her so today, but the feeling in my heart remains heavy. I feel shame for my actions and for discharging them through the spoken word. For me, writing and saying ‘I’m sorry’ are the only ways to move past them. One testament to daily journaling is to simply let it out. I can’t undo what I did, but I can not let it continue to affect me. I can also choose a new story for myself. That new story is that my past trauma and wounds are healing as I write this, that I am better for writing this and that today is a new day. Instead of drowning in doubt and fear, I choose empowerment, better words and better thoughts, the ones the make me a better me, ones…

  • being human,  featured,  writing

    The Art of Slow Writing

    In our digital age, we’ve moved from everything slow to everything fast; anything and everything we need we can get now: food, news, a new relationship, the delivery of goods (directly to our homes); you name it, you can have it immediately. We are changing as a race because of it. Our brains are adapting to the speed at which we can get everything, and I’m wondering if that speed is also creating a constant craving and setting us up for future failure. There have been studies of such things. You can read two articles here and here. Perhaps a slowing down is in order. Perhaps it will balance our nervous systems. Perhaps we’ll become kinder people when we slow down enough to pay attention to ourselves and others? Perhaps. As a yoga and embodiment educator, I’ve seen firsthand the effects of a slow conscious breath. I teach people these tools every day. And today, I want to introduce the concept of slow writing as another practice of embodiment. While I write here and other places professionally (on a keyboard), ‘slow writing’ has been a lifelong practice of mine. Simply put, ‘slow writing’ is putting pen to paper, writing by hand. I’ve kept a commonplace…

  • being human,  embodiment,  writing

    Learning to Live in Direct Experience

    I’ve gone quiet lately. Last week was busy with work and graduation prep and the weekend was full with my girl’s graduation ceremony and party. Yesterday was the first day I journaled in a few weeks. And it struck me … I wasn’t writing because I didn’t want to fully feel, didn’t want to acknowledge the sadness that was here, under the surface. Anxiety was here. Angst was here. I felt it all. I’m much more in tune than I ever have been before, but I filled life up instead of slowing down to fully experience it. I think most of us do that, sometimes out of habit, others necessity, and sometimes we’re completely unaware. I am not saying we should drown in our fears, sadness or anxiety, but I do think we often mask it or avoid the negative feelings in lieu of the goodness of life. We are human; our emotions make us human, and I think avoiding the full range of that limits our ability to live a rich, full life. If we push the bad away and only try to experience the good, when will the good simply not be good enough anymore? And if all we ever do is fill…

  • being human,  embodiment,  writing

    A Word for 2019

    I’m convinced that most of us don’t know what the hell we’re doing here, on this earth, in this time. We think we know, then it all falls apart, and when it falls apart, we often defer to old (destructive) habits instead of digging deeper. One step forward, two steps back. That's been my pattern. I’d ‘do the work,’ then sink in despair, and the cycle would repeat. After about two ‘dark night of the soul’ YEARS, I’d had enough. I had a breakthrough at Christmastime, on a trip away from home. I can’t define the event, but the ensuing thoughts were, ‘this is my life, WTF am I doing?’

  • writing

    Fulfillment Comes When We Live On Purpose

    My mornings are sacred—hot tea, meditation, reflection, gratitude practice, reading, journaling. Its my favorite part of every day & I am ‘off’ if I go too many days without this time. Its a ritual I started about ten years ago as I began to teach yoga, and I’m so glad i did.

  • being human,  writing

    Craving Depth

    I crave deep conversations with people who are real, wholly and unapologetically themselves, people who listen with their hearts and share what's inside of them, without fear of judgement, knowing the same will be reflected back. I don’t have much patience for casual meaningless conversation & ‘chitchat.’ I wish I did. I’d probably be more likable. Instead, I crave deep conversations & meaning, and I was blessed to have two interactions like this yesterday ... one with a friend (who also happens to be my amazing massage therapist) and another with a new colleague at OU. I shared parts of me that I don’t share with just anyone & they did the same. There was deep listening, reflection & heart connection.

Intentionally create your days; start with a mindful morning.
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