Writing, Yoga, Meditation, Retreats and SEL Professional Development

The Gift of a Spiral Life [Writing Yoga® Mindfulness Prompt # 1003]

Humans, just like all of nature, move in spirals. We may even feel crushed by backward momentum, but once we see the other side, our rewards can be tremendous.  That's the gift of a spiral path.

Writing Yoga® Mindfulness Prompt:

Lumi Sit: Take 5 minutes in silence. Close your eyes. Breathe. Say to yourself, "I am here." Repeat. Slow down the words inside your head. "I am here." Repeat.

Lumi Write:  Draw a picture of a spiral. Take your time and notice what thoughts and images appear in your mind. You can color it in with pencils or decorate it any way you wish. Write down any words that come to mind inside the spiral. I kept thinking of the word, "lighthouse."

Lumi Move: These variations on the forward fold can be done anytime you need a break. Your head is down, but you are not going backwards. We can only restore ourselves when we step off the spiral and rest.

FORWARD FOLD VARIATIONS

Forward Fold: 1) Stand. 2) Bring your hands to your hips, bend your knees and 3)...

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Honor Your Milestones. [Writing Yoga® Mindfulness Prompt # 1002]

Do you remember thinking as a kid that the year 2000 was some mythical place in the future where robots ran the world? The robots aren't quite there yet and 2000 was 20 years ago! 

There is a good chance that this is a milestone year for you. Where were you in 1900, 2000, 2010?  Maybe you were a kid, maybe you were having kids, maybe you were dreaming of a future that is quite different from where you are today.

Writing Yoga® Mindfulness Prompt:

Lumi Sit: Take 5 minutes to acknowledge your milestones. Close your eyes. Think of something that the year represents for you. Maybe it is an anniversary or birthday. Not everyone made it this far so at the very least, breathe deeply, celebrate with each inhalation your arrival on this planet at this time.

Lumi Write:  Let your subconscious be your inner writer. Take 5 minutes to celebrate this milestone year using any thoughts that arose during the Lumi Sit.

Lumi Move: Mountain pose (wall optional).  This is an...

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Writing Yoga® Self-Care Practices for Caregivers

“There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.” - Rosalyn Carter

I’ve witnessed so many teachers and nurses dedicate all their time and energy to the people they serve while taking very little time to recharge. They became sick, frustrated and exhausted!  I realized that the work I do as a poet and yoga instructor could help drastically transform lives by just showing caring people simple yoga and writing exercises they can do each day. That is why I am passionate about teaching teachers and nurses the Writing Yoga ® method!

But I also know that parents, friends and family members also take on the role of teachers and nurses too. Sound familiar? 

Too often we think we need big chunks of time to exercise, mediate or process our feelings in a journal. If you have been following me for a while or have...

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What Makes You Feel Amazing? [Writing Yoga® Mindfulness Prompt #1000]

The baby boomers paved the way for us to think differently about getting old. They just aren't having it!  Studies show that it's possible to feel and look years younger than you are by developing healthy habits including practicing yoga, journal writing and meditating. Writing Yoga® combines all three to help balance your mind, body and spirit. And that balance is what makes you feel AMAZING!

Let's take a page from the boomer's book not because we actually want to be younger, but because we want to experience a life filled with child-like wonder and possibility.

Writing Yoga® Mindfulness Prompt:
Lumi Sit: Take a deep breath. Ask yourself this question: What makes you amazing? Set a timer for five minutes. Close your eyes. Breathe. With each breath, imagine how amazing you are in your mind's eye. Notice how it feels in your body to be amazing. If there is an obnoxious voice telling you you are not amazing, defend yourself as you would your own child or student. Or you...

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Busted! But Officer, I was Having an Epiphany [Writing Prompt #217]

I was driving home from work when I suddenly and completely understood the mother of one of my characters. “Siri, take a note.” Bing.

I told my phone what she wore, the color of her bedspread, the pots and pans piling up in her kitchen sink. A fictional character was speaking to me. She was there right on Forest Avenue and I was lucky because I captured our ‘conversation’ with my voice recognition software. I didn’t even pause to breathe because pauses make Siri stop and save. I didn’t want to stop the thought or stop driving because I was having a full-blown epiphany! I was ecstatic!

Behind me, there was a Nassau County police officer.  My phone was in my hand. But I was not “talking on a cell phone.” I wouldn’t do that. It’s dangerous. I tell my kids how it is dangerous. People die from distracted driving. Could it be that I was breaking the law? Yep. $218 and 5 points on my license.

I didn’t know that talking...

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When Must You Be a Warrior? [Writing Prompt #264]

Uncategorized Aug 23, 2020

When was the last time you felt really relaxed, calm, and centered? If you have a regular yoga and meditation practice, it might happen once a day. When you’re in the writing zone, cooking zone, or off on a run, you may forget yourself and feel as if you’re floating in a fluffy cloud. That’s what keeps me on the mat.

When was the last time someone really pissed you off? Even if you have a regular yoga and meditation practice, it can still happen more frequently than you would like. We live in an upside-down world where someone is always saying something stupid or doing something hurtful and wrong. You have a choice to take it personally or not, but sometimes we have to step in and speak up.

This is what it means to be a warrior. You have to be fierce and hold your position for as long as it takes to get the job done.  Sometimes not saying something is much worse than voicing what must be said, even if you wish someone else would say it instead of...

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Do Vision Boards Work? [Writing Yoga® Mindfulness Prompt # 1001]

It used to be a big joke in my house. Mom’s got a vision board. Let them roll their eyes at me and my ‘little arts and crafts project.’ I don’t care. They work.

In 2015, I dreamed up beauty, wishes for my family, success and travel on a cheery pink piece of construction paper. I dreamed of love, determination, and kindness. It reminded me to live in the now and to practice all my practices daily (yoga, meditation, writing) wherever I go. Five years later, my vision is not exactly what I thought it would be, but life is definitely moving forward!

Why does it work? You see your goals happening as if they have already happened and a vision board helps to activate your imagination. Your brain can be fooled into thinking that what is sees is reality. It's a positive step toward the life of your dreams.

Week 2 Writing Yoga® Prompt:

Lumi Sit: Take 5 minutes to honor your inner dreamer. Close your eyes. See, touch, hear, smell and taste the life you will create....

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The Art of Mess and Love: ‘Golden Venus of Rags’ vs. ‘Venus de Milo’ [Writing Prompt #210]

Venus stands in the middle of Dallas. She’s golden, glowing and powerful, but her bedroom is a mess. Could it be she has too much to wear? This artwork, Venere deglistracci dorata (Golden Venus of Rags), by Michelangelo Pistoletto was created between 1967-1971, long before Forever 21 sold disposable clothes.

I took this picture and sent it to my daughter by text, “This looks like your room.” Very funny, she said. But it’s true. It does.

What does it take to create beauty?  Naked, Venus is stunning. What transformation will be made by adorning rags? What is true beauty? What is excess? Do you really need all those clothes, Venus?

Write Venus a note. Begin something like this: Dear Venus, How far you have come from Botticelli’s shell. Or, Dear Venus, let’s sing to Bananarama and wear rubber bracelets up and down our arms. Or, Dear Venus, I’m sorry it took me so long to write, please forgive me for not understanding your...

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Mothers, Mothering, and The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe [Writing Prompt #250]

Some of the best mothers I have ever known never gave birth. One is an artist who plays with legos and crayons on the floor at dinner parties with the host’s children. Another is a teacher who has raised thousands of children over her long career and now goes to her former student’s weddings.

There are some mothers who have many children but like the old women who lived in a shoe, these moms are totally overwhelmed. And there are the super organized mothers (they wouldn’t dare raise their children inside a boot!) who make it look easy, but that doesn’t mean it is.

Most of us, myself included, fall somewhere in between. No shoe. No every-project-my-child-does-in-school-is-stored-in-a-filing-cabinet either. I’m super proud of my two kids who are well into college and almost out into the world, but don’t take one day or even one minute for granted. Being a mother taught me how fast, scary, crazy, unpredictable, and wonderful life can be.

So…...

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What Happened on the Roof? [Writing-Yoga Writing Prompt #223]

While standing on a line to a midtown diner in New York City (don't ask), I overheard a visitor from the South say, “Imagine if this was always your view of the sky?” She looked up, tried to find the horizon, but without it, she felt lost.  And I felt like I had been missing something my entire life. 

Maybe this is the reason we seek rooftops. That extra bit of sky, horizon, and light makes us feel a little less bemused.

A rooftop view is powerful. You are above it all. The worries are down below.

A rooftop is an ending. It is completion. It is the furthest a human can go in any one particular space of land before meeting the stars.

When was the last time you climbed up to the roof? Were you a teenager sitting on the shingles of a friend’s house? Did you race to the top of an abandoned building? Were you drinking a martini at a swanky rooftop bar?

How does it feel to be on top of the world? What discoveries can be made when it’s just you and the...

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