Writing, Yoga, Meditation, Retreats and SEL Professional Development
One night, my mother and sister had the same dream as I did. It was a realistic dream, just a normal day at a busy city park. I sat at a long picnic table loaded with snacks and canned seltzer. The park was crowded, but my family sat quietly around the long table. Okay, take back the realistic part. My family is never quiet.
My grandfather walked by the table and said, “I am still here.” My sister and mother said he appeared in their dreams that night too. And he said the same thing, "I am still here." We all felt so peaceful afterwards.
I don’t know what event in our lives made my Grandfather whisper reassurance in our sleeping ears. We could have been under a spell of any number of life’s transitions. It was long ago but I remember the dream part perfectly.
Breathe deeply. Close your eyes. Think of a wonderful dream or daydream (if night ones are hard to remember) that was memorable for...
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...
“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...
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...
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....
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.
Find a park bench in any town or city and visit it with your notebook. Notice the people...
People often ask me, “What is this Writing Yoga thing?” Here’s the short answer: It’s alchemy. True Alchemy. It turns paper to gold. Well, not literally, but it’s my unscientific opinion that there’s a profound chemical reaction charging up your body and brain when you put these two ancient disciplines together!
My friend, Linda Epstein (literary agent and fabulously entertaining blogger), and I co-facilitate a Writing Yoga® Retreat at the Glen Cove Mansion every summer. We thought it might be fun for our readers if we blogged on the same day about the REAL retreat experience. So let me be your virtual tour guide through the TOP 10 reasons why you need a Writing Yoga® retreat:
What does it mean to be an expert?
It feels much better to be an expert at something than to sit in a room and feel completely lost, but being “lost” can be just the thing we need to grow. Take some time today to get to know the expert in yourself and the expert inside people you know. Is there a particular yoga pose you want to master? Is there a topic that you want to know inside and out?
In this week’s writing prompt, we are exploring what it means to be “an expert.”
What steps will it take to arrive at mastery? One of the biggest lessons of working toward mastery is to realize that it’s okay to not be perfect at everything. There are plenty of experts you can call on. Think about the experts in your life. Who would you call….
If you want to write a book, lose weight, find a new job, move into a new home or invite anything wonderful and new into your life, you’ve got to start with gratitude. Don’t take my word for it. I certainly didn’t make this statement up. It’s universal law. You can find it repackaged in self-help books or written on thousand year scrolls. You can’t get what you think you want if you keep on knockin’ what you’ve got.
Can you live one full day under the gratitude umbrella? Can you do it for a weekend? Can you start now?
The answer is yes. Here’s How to Keep a Gratitude Journal:
1. WHERE —- Decide where to house your gratitude. You can buy a new journal just for the purpose of recording each day’s gifts. You can open a new file on your computer or simply turn to a page in your current journal and write, “Gratitude, Day 1” at the top of a blank page.
2. HOW —- Write for Five Minutes...
All I wanted was a week to write without getting up to walk the dogs, sit in traffic, clean the kitchen, or answer the phone. I had work to do and it wasn’t getting done. A writer friend told me about AROHO (A Room of Her own). She said it was a writing organization for women and that I should apply for their retreat on Georgia O’Keefe’s “Ghost Ranch” in New Mexico. It sounded fantastic. It was fantastic. I didn’t know that it would change my life.
It has been over one month since I left the desert but I’m still adjusting. It’s a good life here in NY, but I miss sunset colored mountains and breathing in readings and workshops all day long. I bonded with more women in one week than I had during the past decade. If you met them, you would see how such a thing can be possible. We were in synch.
I took a small group poetry workshop with Evie Shockley. I’m a fan, so of course it was very...