six word story no. 116

Nature rumbled beneath her yoga mat.

yoga-grass

Brought to you in wildly creative detail by Journaling as Sacred Practice. Support the Arts. Buy the Book. Wait . . .the holidays are coming. . .and books make Santa happy so make like an elf and order early!

In Her Dream I Spoke Arabic

We are spellbound by this lovely essay and are inspired to share it with you. Words are power. Love is strength . . .and understanding the world is an act of extreme courage.

In Her Dream I Spoke Arabic: In a college composition class a few years ago, many worlds came together

Source: In Her Dream I Spoke Arabic

a book is a dream

Journaling as Sacred Practice is on the way!  

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Last weekend, I co-faciliated a labyrinth, meditation, and journaling retreat with my partner in Yoga Retreats Napa Valley. We spent the day with 15 women–and it was fabulous! During one of our writing sessions, I urged my tribe to journal about “my dream.” It was so powerful. This is what I wrote:

My dream is the success of my book on journaling, Journaling as Sacred Practice: An Act of Extreme Bravery.

I see myself being interviewed by Terry Gross. “What a great book,” she says. I laugh. “I had a bad break-up,” I tell her. “Instead of getting sad or getting mad, I started to write. I wrote 48 chapters in 48 days. And then I put the book in a drawer. I moved to Portland, Oregon. I moved to Napa Valley, California. When it was ready, it hatched.

Oprah calls. I don’t do the interview.

Louise Hay calls. She says, “Come to I Can Do It!”

Elizabeth Gilbert calls. She says “You go, girl!” We become besties.

Dreams, dreams, dreams. A book is a dream put down on paper. A song is a dream you can listen to. Did Mozart dream in color and did his dreams come with a soundtrack? My dream is for 2016  to be like one long, rolling, lazy summer day; an impressionist painting of picnics and watercolors clouds; of bread and wine and honeybees. I dream of the sound of water, the touch of a lover. The year 2016 should be a dress floating on a breeze, the sound of a train in the distance, a piano recital, the smell of apple pie through a window.

In my dream I rise up. I lift my heart and swallow the turquoise sky, the emerald river, the comb’s teeth of a vineyard row. I will calibrate my breath on the hush of waves. Let me rest there. 

My wish for my WordPress friends is that 2016 is BIG and BOLD! Decide who you are and do it on purpose.

Bring the Spa Home

 

Persephone

Winter is the time when we turn inward, stay indoors, feather our nest. This morning I was enjoying the amber morning light and feeling a little witchy, and a little under the weather, so I whipped up an at-home spa treatment to help loosen a stubborn chest cold. My little alchemical brew worked so well, I had to share it here.

When you can’t get away to a “traditional” spa, there’s no reason you can’t transform your bath into a luxurious spa with a little aromatherapy magic! Try this little goddess-girl two-step alchemy to chase away the winter blahs.

First, make a cold-care chest balm to slather on before bed, bath, or shower time. It’s pretty potent, and that’s the idea, so you won’t want to take this treatment before heading off to the grocery or office holiday party.

Step One.  THE BLEND:

  • ½ cup organic coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon jojoba oil (optional)
  • 30 drops organic peppermint essential oil
  • 20 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • Dash cayenne pepper, if desired

Heat the coconut oil to soften and ease the blending process. Combine all ingredients to form a smooth paste. The peppermint and eucalyptus oils lend cooling high notes to the recipe, which will help open airways and ease breathing. Pepper adds a little heat. Jojoba will make the blend more creamy, but the recipe works as well without it. Mix all ingredients and then pour into a jar for storage. This yummy, bright, cold-care chest poultice is guaranteed to chase away any lingering winter blahs!

Step Two.  THE BATH:

To make an amazing spa treatment, draw a hot bath. Add 2 cups Epsom salts to the water. Light a candle if you feel like channeling your inner priestess. Add some music to lend atmosphere. Set an intention for a healing bath. Add unscented bubble solution to the water if you are fond of a little froth. Add 10 drops peppermint oil to the water. Rub a little of the cold-care poultice on your chest before slipping into the peppermint-scented bath. Breathe deeply. Let the essential oils do their magic. While the Epsom salts draw toxins out of your body, notice how the cool peppermint contrasts with the hot water. Imagine healing whatever ails you. Go to your happy place and stay there until the water begins to lose its heat. Drain the bath, then shower off. Afterward, apply your favorite body lotion and savor the sensations of cool and warm that will continue for 30 minutes of more. Repeat as desired.

There you have it. You just brought the spa, home. If you give this recipe for bliss a try, let us know how it goes!

 Yours Sincerely,

The Girls at Seph’s Salon

 

(Fair warning:  Be a smart goddess. Do NOT touch your eyes with any of these blends on your hands. Do NOT apply undiluted essential oils directly to your skin. When in doubt, test on a small area on the inside of your arm.)

 

 

 

 

leaping dogs

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I have the best commute in the world. I travel nearly daily from Napa Valley through Sonoma County to Marin County, CA. There are spectacular views of the upper San Francisco Bay wetlands, across the lush Carneros region with vineyards for miles, the coastal Mayacamas Range, Mt. Tamalpias, and Mt. Diabo. As pretty goes, it’s off the charts.  The only other commute I’ve had to match it was 20 years ago along the Pacific Coast Highway from Long Beach to Newport Beach, with the blue Pacific practically at my fingertips.

I started a new commute three weeks ago. I had just come off a lovely, lazy summer vacation. I was about as Zen as I’ve been in years after spending four months meditating daily, taking long walks, adopting a puppy, and generally finding ways to revel in happy.  Weirdly, the day I suited back up and started commuting to work, I stepped right into the old habit of taking myself Very Seriously. I drove fast. I cursed red lights. I started driving like a maniac on the devil’s raceway. It’s embarrassing to admit, but every other driver on the road was either a) stupid, b) blind, c) ignorant of my supreme mission to arrive at my very important place in the world. I couldn’t get where I needed to fast enough, or efficiently enough.

And then, gratefully, before I got too out of control and gave myself an aneurism, I recieved a cosmic thump on the head. I was driving to work one morning last week, raging against every slow driver between me and the Golden Gate Bridge. The line of traffic was (finally!) moving swiftly along, we had gotten a green light through a three-way intersection near an abandoned dairy in Sonoma and were picking up speed for an uphill climb. Suddenly, out of the overgrown bushes of the ghost dairy on my right, a beautiful golden coyote darted toward the far side of the road and to my horror, leapt straight into the grill of the car in front of me. There was not time for the driver to even slow, much less react. Impact was a foregone conclusion. I watched, horrified, as time slowed and the scene played itself out.

The driver did not stop. Traffic did not stop. We swerved and eddied around the carnage, but we did not stop. I reached for my phone and made a lifeline call. I called B, my friend, crying and shuddering. “Pull over,” she said. As soon as I could, I did. I did not see anyone else pull over. Bless her, B helped me through those first few minutes, until I could breathe and continue driving.

Later that day, I called her and we talked. “Coyote is known as the trickster in Native American legend,” I told her. “It wasn’t funny.”

“There, there,” she said to me, “There, there.”

I know enough about stuff to know that seminal events like my catastrophic commute are never about what they seem to be about. They are always about something deeper.  That night, while on the phone with B, I sat at my computer and did a Google search for “coyote totem.”  The page I found said that the message from Coyote is “to not take things too seriously, to remember to have fun.”  I was stunned. I looked at my behavior leading up to the incident of the commuter coyote, and I was indeed taking the world waaaay to seriously. It was as if the spirit of Coyote had orchestrated the whole show just to get my attention, as if to say, “Really? REALLY?”

Since that awful day in Sonoma, something has shifted in me. I’ve decided that ten minutes one way or the other doesn’t matter. Slow cars don’t matter. Rude drivers don’t matter. What matters is how in-tune I am with my soul, and nothing is important enough get in the way of that.  Period. I show up for my commute, and whatever happens, happens. Sluggish cars, silly drivers, et al.

A side benefit of my tragedy/epiphany is that I have been dumbstruck by my travels. I am lucky enough to get to traverse some of the most beautiful natural scenery on the Pacific coast. It is lush and dreamy and fecund in a hundred ways. It is splashed by farm ponds that turn silver and reflect the rising winter sunrise. It is dotted with working barns that have withstood wind and rain and sun. My route is part of the original El Camino Real, the path driven by faith, one that Padre Junipero Serra took through Alta California more than two hundred years ago to bring God to a wild land. I didn’t see that before. In my rush to be important, I had ignored this amazingly beautiful place. Coyote, in his wily wisdom, knew that, and brought it to my attention in a way that was impossible to ignore.  

So now, I am reminded of Ram Das’ famous admonition: Be Here Now.  Thankfully, I am. Here. Now. And the view is amazing.

evolve or re-volve

We so love this video. Are you ready for a change in your life? Chances are this will resonate. Undo that block. . .and watch out what you wish for!  Cheers, love.

suspended in blue

bellinghamWhen I meditate, the big things fall into perspective. When I sit and let my body relax, I can feel my bones and muscles, my blood and tissue, letting go of all the big ideas, the big worries, the Big Bad (as Buffy would say). My breath deepens, my shoulders drop. I would like to say that I let my worries go but it is really the other way around. When I fall into the sweet relaxation that mediation opens in me, worries let me go and my consciousness expands and rises up into the sky like a soap bubble. From that high-deep place the “big things” that occupy so much of my waking life seem as small as marbles in the dust and I wonder how they ever seemed important at all.

It took a couple of whole-day meditation retreats to reach this place. I like to think that I have meditated for years, but now I realize, I dabbled. I would do it when the timing was right or the moon was aligned or if I had not hit the snooze button and rose naturally, and meditation was a yummy doorway between dreaming and awake. But I never did it for more than 20 minutes. Tops.

I began attending a weekly Satsang in Napa and got to practice 30 minutes sessions. They were challenging, but I got the hang of it. Then, I did a couple of full day retreats at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre.  These took a little more concentration, a little more physical discipline. I struggled at first, but when I stopped efforting so much. . .and when I forgot to try, it happened.  The world and everything in it (including me) simply expanded and I found my mind floating in a sparkling pool of iridescent blue. I call this feeling Suspended in the Blue and it is completely, utterly, and deeply delicious. I won’t pretend that I get there every time, but now that I know how, it has become an unfolding, and I appreciate the practice as much as the experience.

Big worries? Meh. I breathe in, I breathe out. Everything else is optional.