If you know me well, you know I am a tropical climate kind of human. You don't see turtles and egrets walking in snow. My family has been coming down to Florida for decades, not in a fancy kind of way, but in a swim in the gulf, grill some veggies and walk on the Pinellas Trail kind of way.
On a walk in this breezy easy part of Southwest Florida, a turtle blended in with the grass. Unexpectedly large, totally still, and hanging steady on the lawn, we watched her for a while. Was she alive? Where did she come from? How did she get here?
While we studied her shell, she suddenly turned her head at us and ran away.
Great to meet you turtle, glad you are on your way to bigger and better things.
WRITING YOGA® PROMPT #2005: Keep Going, Turtle
SIT: Be the Turtle
Turtles can remain still for a very long time. How long can you sit before you need to adjust your shirt, scratch an itch or change your posture. In Transcendental Mediation, a...
Much of the year, most of us live and work in climate controlled environments. Bugs are not welcome. Spring invites us to get outside and create.
In the school where I work as a librarian, the kids are developing a native pollinator garden. I didn't even know it was a thing! The idea is to plant native flowers and hopefully attract native insects and birds to pollinate them. It involves dirt. The delicate among us might complain, but we will work together as a community to make it happen. The majority of my students do not have ancestors who know what the soil looked like 500 years here. Nature returns to Long Island.
Our students are anxious to plant, but the soil needs to be prepared. We are turning over grass and putting down organic mulch. The hardest part of it all is being patient! The ground is ready but the air is not.
What are you preparing for now? How do you stay patient when all you want to do is get close to the ground and plant?
A recent challenge with a coworker left me reeling. I often hear from clients and colleagues about serious challenges, inequities and outright mean-spirited behavior that they must deal with on a daily basis. Maybe that is you? I rarely experience conflicts and live in a way that makes conflict rare, but as a human, it can and will happen.
In this situation, I compromised, but also took a good look at myself. What could I do better? How can I validate their experience? Were they right? Well, no, they were out of line, outright wrong, but does it matter?
Acceptance is key. Having healthy outlets like yoga and a meditation practice discharge the negativity of others and so after steaming about the conflict and the injustice of it all, I am back in balance. I said what I needed to say, left them to think about it, and let-it-go.
Reading the Tao Te Ching, translated by Stephen Mitchell, really helps me think about balance and how to live in a...
What does your Valentine's Day look like? Maybe you are having an overpriced meal with someone special or perhaps you are staying home with the cats and reading a page turner. This holiday can be rough or wonderful depending upon where you are in life.
What I love about mindfulness practices and yoga philosophy is that it teaches us to be with "what is" and to not judge ourselves or others. There are so many mental and physical associations with this particular holiday, but what if you could just celebrate the day as it is without any expectations?
Take a few minutes to focus on your breath if you are feeling anxious today. Allow your thoughts and feelings to pass through you without judging them. If something feels uncomfortable, can you simply notice that feeling, take a deep breath, and watch it pass?
Writing down your thoughts and feelings in a mindful way can also be a big relief. It is better to have uncomfortable thoughts as energy on the page...
Does the word "creativity" make you think of paint, clay, and kids playing dress up? We all start out creative, but school and adult life might make us think that creativity is something to be left to artists and geeks. Then we get to the workplace and are expected to be innovative and productive. Hmm, don't we need to be creative for that?
Life is creative. All of it. We are born from its impulse. We grow up, thrive, and participate in the human experience because creativity is our nature.
If you have lost your creative spark, here are 12 words to think about:
Start with your imagination. Collect your ideas and then shape them, mix, illuminate, reflect and focus on what you want to bring into the world. When you are ready, release your creation!
Print out this post, cut out the words, and use as "creativity...
Our principal asked us to pick a word at the start of the school year. The word would be our North Star to guide our goals, inform our lessons, and inspire us to do great work. School initiatives sometimes fall away as the year progresses, but a good administrator won't let that happen.
She didn't let that happen. We revisited our words at the start of the new year. What would your word be?
It feels poetic to pick just one word. No long lists, no big visions, no novels. I thought about it for days. Nothing felt right. If you know my work, you know that there are three words I think about a lot: calm, creative, and compassionate. It is my desire to see all students, teachers and classrooms feel that way in every school around the world. But these words can't be separated.
Why? It is easy to be calm if we feel safe. When we feel safe, we are free to find creative solutions, work harder, and take big risks. Safety means we are not threatened...
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...