namaste and welcome’

This poem by Rumi is the most frequently recited poems in mindfulness retreats and courses around the world. I am pleased to share it with you here.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jellaludin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks

if the monster wants you…

Thank you Alanna for being real. I am comforted. This talk touched me on so many levels – both my story and my experience as the daughter of parents who both dealt with issues related to dementia.

As I wrote in my last post, I have a familial gene for Frontal Temporal Dementia (FTD)….. and like Alanna I want to keep it real.

My father was very loving up to the end of his life and that is my wish, too.


living “what is”


Oh my, I have not written anything on this blog in almost a year. I didn’t realize that I have been away for so long…

Much has happened this past year.
Some good… some not so good. I will recap my year very briefly to give context for this blog post’s title.

A year ago I began teaching therapeutic yoga/mindfulness meditation at LaVita and I LOVE it. Even though I am only teaching a few hours a week it is allowing me to continue to participate in life, to be seen and heard… and to teach. As a person living with a disability, that is important, as too often we become invisible.  More importantly, it gives me the opportunity to BE of service to others by sharing what I have learned about living well with chronic illness.

Physically, my body is changing as MS continues to progress. It is becoming more difficult to walk and my pace has slowed. I find myself relying on my cane and walker more. Burning pain in both legs keeps me awake some nights.  This is all new… and to be honest I don’t really like that part much.

In August, I participated in a study at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester for Alzheimer’s Research. My father passed away a few years ago from Frontal Temporal Dementia (FTD).  The gene for FTD, identified in 2009, runs in my family…. and it turns out that one of my three brothers and I have the gene. It expresses in 90% of all cases.

Convinced that I did not have the gene, I signed up for the study and genetic testing  If I don’t carry the gene then it cannot be passed on to my children.  What a gift I am giving my children! Or so I thought. It didn’t turn out that way … I have shed many tears – for myself, my husband, and my children.

Now my research has shifted somewhat from diet and lifestyle changes to manage an autoimmune illness to brain health. If dementia is in my future, I am hoping that it is  the distant future.  I am putting together a “team” of functional medicine and healthcare practitioners to help me in doing so.

We are looking at dietary changes… so I am re-committing to eliminating gluten and dairy from my diet. I struggle with that on and off. (More “off” these past few months if I am being totally honest).

More importantly, I am meditating and spending more time in contemplation. I am learning compassion towards myself through mindfulness practice and study.  Self-compassion, it turns out is more challenging than giving up bread and cheese.

Deepak Chopra says that “healing is remembering our wholeness.”  What is wholeness? How do I accept this new  “what is” with dignity and grace?

This is my journey towards wholeness and acceptance of “what is.”



holding space

All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well. – Julian of Norwich

I came across (on Facebook) this lovely interview from Grace Quantuck that I am pleased to share. Learn more about Grace here. I am a big fan of Heather Plett. Enjoy!

In this interview Heather and Grace talk about:
– Handling the desire to fix others or be fixed, feeling broken and how to manage that.
– Holding space for pain and illness and using this practice to live well, no matter the challenges.
– Dealing with being ‘inspiring’ when living with disability.
– One thing to do today, to begin compassionately holding space for yourself.


Clear the clutter ~ When in doubt throw it out.

I am the clutter queen when it comes to my office and my sewing room. My eldest daughter often teases me about the fact that I am always cleaning off my desk…. sigh….If I just put everything away at the end of the day it would stay clutter free.

Alas, that has never been my practice. I like to have everything I am working on in plain sight and I am usually working on more than on project at a time.  Oh…  I tell myself it is not clutter but it really becomes that when the piles (projects) start to accumulate.

And have you noticed how clutter  or piles have a way of growing?

My husband and I are both really good at getting rid of “stuff.”  The benefit of having a small house is that we don’t have the storage space to keep so we are regularly donate to Goodwill, St. Vincent dePaul or the Easter Seals.  That, of course, does not apply to my office or my sewing room.

If you are looking for assistance with de-cluttering my good friend, Karyn, offers an ebook on clutter clearing. She makes it easy by breaking it down into manageable steps. You can find it here.

I also found this great infographic.

Enjoy! And may the de-cluttering force be with you.




Reconsider a commitment ~ You have the right to change your mind.

choicesIt’s absolutely true! We can change our mind…..

Ever say yes to something and then …. the more you think about it you regret saying “yes?”

Me, too!

As women, we tend to over-commit. We juggle work, raising a family, maintaining a household and personal relationships. It’s what we do.

And then, the inevitable happens – we get older (and wiser)…. or we get sick. Because we are not going to let old age or illness defeat or change us…. we continue to say “yes” when a firm “no” is the right choice for our time, energy, and motivation.

Sometimes I wonder if that is what illness or physical challenges are all about…. to teach us about CHOICES. Our life is really all about the choices we make… My life is all about the choices that I make.

Being honest with myself and others when I have over-committed is a loving act of self-care and respect. The Brene’ Brown quote that follows describes it pretty well. (I am a fan).

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”
Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

This is a rambling post. I make no apologies. It is the place I find myself today. I am pondering a commitment I made to help out an organization that I used to be quite involved with after my daughter’s wedding and now am having second thoughts. What was I thinking?

When I examine my thoughts and feelings I discover that it is about wanting to belong… to feel valued… to be seen as competent (when I am not always feeling so). Oh, that “needy” sub-personality gets me in trouble.  Will I allow it?  Not this time.

How about you?  Have you ever over-committed?  Said yes when you wanted to say no? Are your CHOICES based on your heart’s desire and values or a sense of obligation or co-dependent need?


Express your creativity ~ Delight in the mystery of your inner muse.

The desire to create is one of the deepestOh my, it has been two weeks since I have posted on this blog. I have been busy with my daughter’s wedding which was on the 21st of August. The wedding was beautiful and last week I took some time to unwind. At least that is what I have told myself.

The truth is that I was not very motivated to write about this card. I found it easier to BE creative. Creativity, for me, is a release valve.

Instead of writing about creativity I was setting up a new website, making some new pillow shams/pillow for my guest room, and cutting out my next quilting project. All projects that were put on hold to allow for wedding preparation. Avoidance of writing this blog?  Maybe.

As a therapist and as someone who lives with a chronic illness, I know the importance of creativity to living a meaningful/purposeful life.  My creative endeavors allow me to share my computer skills, gift my family and friends with handmade quilts, and be of service to others in some small way……. and it feels good and it keeps me engaged life.  It is an important part of my self-care.

Creativity, it turns out, is good for our health in so many ways. According to researchers Ebersole & Hess, (1998) here’s a list of things that creative expression may do for you:

  • Create balance and order
  • Give a sense of control over the external world
  • Make something positive out of a loss, bad experience or depression
  • Maintain our sense of integrity
  • Help resolve conflicts
  • Make thought and feeling clear
  • A greater sense of well-being and personal growth.

Read the article….


Need more information on the benefits of creativity?  Click on the links below.

A Creative Life is a Healthy Life

The Benefits of Play for Adults

How do you express your creativity?


Care for your body ~ Self-love and self-acceptance are the ultimate acts of self-care.

Two weeks ago I wrote about attending a yoga nidra retreat. (Read the post). An important part of our yoga nidra experience was sankalpa.  Sankalpa is an “idea or notion formed in the heart or mind, a solemn vow or determination to perform, a desire, volition or will.” The instructor invited us to state our sankalpa at the beginning and again at the end our practice.

Mine was to love myself and my body. 

Lo’ and behold….. I drew this card. The Universe is reminding me of my sankalpa. So often I forget about all the wonderful things I experience on retreat when I return home and get into my “busyness.”

Not this time.  I am grateful for the lovely reminder this week.

I have never loved my body. I look in the mirror and I see saggy skin, my heavy thighs, etc…….. it’s a long list.

My inner critic works overtime.  Can you relate?

So this week I am sharing a lovely quote from one of my favorite spiritual teachers, Byron Katie, who has taught me to question my negative thoughts – about everything.

My wish for you this week is that when you look in the mirror you see the beautiful soul that you are and if YOUR inner critic starts to speak ask, “Is this true? Is it really true? How do I behave when I believe it to be true?”

Silence that negative inner voice with loving kindness:

May I be safe.

May I be healthy.

May I now my true nature.

May I  be at peace.


Do you want to meet the love of your life-