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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.


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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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Cowboys and Pickle Carts [Writing Prompt #257]

A horse rides through the streets of Dallas. Soon he will be back on the range, dusting dirt off his jeans, but for now, he’s suspended in a painting on the 12th floor hotel wall.

I passed this cowboy on my way to the rooftop pool. He tipped his hat. At least I could have sworn he did.

The man pushing a pickle cart definitely tipped his hat. We were on Houston in New York’s lower east side. He was wheeling past, heading to Delancey and I was in 1899.

Every city has history and imaginary ghosts. What stories do the ghosts of your city tell?

I stood in front of the cowboy at the hotel. He would never have met the pickle man in New York City. I relate better to tenements than ranches, but both are far away from my life today. When we write about the past through the lens of a modern visitor, interesting things can happen in the mind and on the page. 

Lumi Sit:

Find a park bench in any town or city and visit it with your notebook.  Notice the people...

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Yoga Journal Conference, NYC 2018. Masterclass with Master Teachers & How to Remove your Armor. [ Writing Prompt 266]

  One morning, I set an intention to go to the Yoga Journal Conference and just like that, a ticket somehow manifested for me on Facebook.  No joke. Cindy Mussman Valentine and Michele DeNocola of Yoga Shack in Bethpage had made an offer to donate a ticket and I was the lucky recipient.

The next day, I got a sub for my own class and arrived 30 minutes early for Colleen Saidman Yee and Rodney Yee's 8:30 am sequencing workshop. Question: Do I prop up against one of the pillars in the middle of the room, hide on the side, hide in back, or just go for it and put the mat right up front?

The workshop was like one long dance. I've taken many of their classes, online workshops, and yes, Rodney Yee's videos dating back to the VHS days over 20 years ago! Those two are a powerful, lovely team and when they alternate voices as one gives cues as the other adjusts students, it sounds like music and poetry.

Next up, a spring reset class with Jillain Pransky and live music by Scott...

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Is the Torch Really Lit? A Writing Prompt on Labor Day

You have a better chance of visiting the Statue of Liberty if you DON’T live in New York than if you do. This post goes out to all the New Yorkers who can’t find time to visit and for rest of the world who is fascinated by the green lady with a very tired arm.

Zoom in to the fire. It’s copper, and covered with 24K gold that reflects the rays of the sun, but can’t you see it flicker? Can’t you smell it burn?

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor….


Thank you, Emma Lazarus. Now, it’s your turn to explore:

* What’s your torch?
* What do you carry around and wave for others to follow?
* Can you hold still and let the light find you?
* Who looks up to you?
* What responsibility does it hold?

Maybe you want to tell Lady...

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A Table in the Clouds, after Robert Therrien [Writing Prompt #261]

Uncategorized Aug 07, 2017

I was in a castle. The castle was in the clouds. I stood under the giant’s table listening to the song of the harp and the sound of golden eggs dropping from a hen.

When was the last time you suspended belief and stepped into a fairy tale?

At The Broad art museum in Los Angeles last week, I walked under a table and all I could think about was Jack and the Beanstalk. I remember being a kid and sitting under the dining room table pretending it was a gingerbread house in the woods or a castle in the sky.

The artist, Robert Therrien, seems to want us to remember having that experience of living in the possibilities of the imagination. It worked.

Write about a setting from the point of view of a child. Pick a piece of furniture or object from your childhood. Crawl into a space that you would be too large for now. What does the world look like from there? How does it feel to be so small?

Done Writing?

Check out “Under the Table” by Robert Therrien here: ...

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Stung by a Bee! [Writing Yoga Prompt #262]

Nothing like a bee sting to interrupt your Zen.

I raise my hand in the lawn for a seated twisted yoga pose.  My waist is wrung out like a wet rag. I think I’m so graceful, my fingers reaching for sky. My arm moves in slow motion toward the grass. I’m fully in the moment, describing the pose to my students step-by-step. The gaze comes last and with my head and neck aligned with the spine there is no reason to look down.

When my hand reaches the earth, it meets a bee. I’m stung. My yogi mind observes. It says, “You have been stung by a bee.”  Yes, I have been stung, it hurts, and the class remains centered in the pose while I look down at my swollen finger and continue to cue.

It’s near the end of class and my non-yogi mind says, “Run! Get ice. Get Benadryl. Your throat will close. You will go into shock. You will die.”

We finish class. I ice my hand. I’m calm and surprised to be alive.

Have you ever been stung? I have...

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