At the center of things.

"How many times did you center today?"

With the speed our culture moves at, it sounded like a lot to ask. Kids. Work. Emails. Commutes. Who has the time? 

But it's not centering that we can't afford. Going interior, even for just a moment or two, has a wealth of benefits – and you don't have to sit cross-legged to reap them. Standing or sitting, planned or unplanned, short, simple pauses throughout the day help us view situations from a different (and distant) perspective. Centering grounds us. Revitalizes our mental energy. Gives us space in a world crowded with obligations.

After all, we're not just doers. We're human beings. And sometimes, well, we just need 

A simple centering: Bring awareness to your breath. Offer it your undivided attention. Close your eyes or soften your gaze. Deepen your inhales. Allow the breath to fill the belly, expand the rib cage and touch the collarbones. On your exhalations, send the air out in reverse: from the sternum, the chest and finally, the belly. Then scan your body for tense spots, and visualize your breath traveling to each of those areas, a swirl of healing, unfurling the kinks with each exhalation.

The power of perception.

When I was little, I was fascinated by wings. Birds. Butterflies. Bees. All spontaneity and freedom.

I, on the other hand, was all hands and feet. Capable of many things, yes. But with no way to touch down softly on a flower. Soar through the sky. Be out of reach in the blink of an eye.
All I saw was up. Not downs. I never thought of how exhausting flying must be. How much effort is needed just to take off.

Romanticizing. Easy to do, but it doesn't do us any good. It blocks our view of reality. Creates envy. And lowers what we all need more of: compassion.

Want the truth?

Just practice it.

Truthfulness (satya) is another yama of yoga. Yes, that means not lying. But it goes beyond that. Satya encompasses intention and mindfulness. It is never sheer fact; it is discerning. Honesty...softened.  

Ask yourself this: Something may be the truth, but is there any value in saying it? Is our purpose to show what we know? Prove we are right? And, most importantly, will speaking it cause more harm than good?

If the answer to that last one is yes, remember this: Satya is not satya without ahimsa.

Inwardly, in our personal mind chatter, satya is about integrity. Not only telling ourselves the truth, but also maintaining purity of thought and action when no one is observing us. How do we change our internal chatter and make room for satya? Meditation and asana. They quiet our minds, so we are free to view the world with sharpened clarity. Making truth easier to seek, receive and accept.  

Take a peek at satya's etymology.

Sat= the eternal unchanging truth beyond all that is known
Ya= do it

That means, if you want the truth, you just have to practice it.

Look around today.

Look around today, and bask in the world's existence. Notice the paths not taken. Find beauty where there is none and seek rejuvenation from the mundane. Feel the grace in the air, the salvation in the wind and ahimsa in every smile. Know that all of this – all of these wonders – are not meant to be yours for the keeping. But they are still forever yours to keep.

Going Thoreau.

Sometimes I want to go off the grid. Lakeside. Mountainside. Farmside. Doesn't matter. As long as there's a cottage. One that sits high off the road and water first spits rusty from the faucets. The type of place that has no yard. Just earth. Maples and tall pines poking holes in the clouds. A rambling dirt drive. And skylights to let in the sun and frame the stars.

No past, no future. Just now...and crickets. Beauty, optimism, and simplicity settling like dust in every nook and cranny of existence.

Go ahead. Chat someone up.

It hadn't been a great day, and I didn’t want to stop at the store. By the time I reached checkout, I had built a wall. 

The bag boy chatted and laughed softly anyway, while tucking away my groceries. A smidge past small talk. His cousins were getting married over the weekend, he told me. But not to each other, he added quickly. More laughter.

“Weddings are great because it means more people in my family,” he said. Smiling. Cheerful. Genuine.

He talked with me all the way out to my car. I never let anyone carry out my groceries. But he insisted, and I couldn’t say no. 

Why? Because he was kind. Happy. Open.

Which brought my focus to what seems startlingly obvious but isn't: Every time we move through the world closed off, we do ourselves—and others—a disservice. We’re not only less likely to reach out, but we're also harder to reach. Offer a helping hand. Make someone’s day better.

Weeks later, I am still pretty grateful for that 10-minute conversation. I left it feeling seen. Better. Like someone had started demo on that wall. 

How simple, but out of it came this: The people we run into casually may not be in-in our lives like friends and family, but they're still in our lives. If we're open, we have the power to affect them. And they have the power to affect us.

All this from the grocery store.

Let it go.

yoga: let it go

When I get upset, my husband bears the brunt of my venting. Inevitably, after a while of patient listening, he says:

Let it go.
I always thought this was a copout on his part, but, turns out, the Bhagavad Gita, a beautiful ancient Hindu poem, says this…this is the ultimate freedom.
Letting go. Not detachment. Nonattachment.
Subtle is the difference between the two, but it’s there. Detachment? That’s purposeful. Avoidance. Dropping out of life entirely. Nonattachment, on the other hand, is a simple… softening. We are still observing. Still experiencing. Only we’ve loosened our grip.
We've let go of outcome.

Metta: Pass it on.

From all the flashing lights, you can tell it’s a bad accident.

Fire trucks. Ambulance. Police cars.

I wait a few seconds as all the cars finally inch forward. A horn beeps—long, disruptive, angry. In my rearview, the driver behind me throws up his hands. We are bumper to bumper. Packed in like sardines. Save three yards, there is nowhere to go.

One more peek. He looks like he is about to snap, and I find myself wondering: Is he impatient...just because? Is it his ego? Or does something else have him at wit's end?

The point is, we never know what people are walking (or driving) around with. My friend Sara calls them bricks. Doesn't matter if it's illness, depression or some other problem, we all carry weight on our shoulders. Burdens that are often invisible to the eye.

Metta. Loving kindness. Send it someone’s way.

9-1-1-ing through life.

All sets of feet thudded to the front of the mat.

The sound rose up from the wood floor. Loud. Anti-yogi. Like movers dropping furniture to the ground.

Say “hop forward” to a class in plank pose, and this is what happens.

But we jump into our lives that way too. Most of us move like we’re dispatching an emergency response team. We speed carelessly through tasks that will get us to the next best thing. Type the keyboard harshly. Toss things in the trunk. Slam the door. Stack precious dishes without care. Clanking. Clattering. Making lots of unnecessary noise.

It was just after the foot thunder when the instructor's voice echoed softly through the room. “Do not act haphazardly,” Roger advised us in that soft, knowing way of his.

Isn't that something to think about? When you act with intention, it's next to impossible to rush. In purposefulness, everything has a purpose.


A few months ago, I stood by the kitchen sink slicing into a honey mango. Across the counter top next to me marched a little black bug. Tiny. Barely bigger than a pin.
Without a thought, I reached down and flattened him with my fingertip.
If I had to guess, I'd say that we all grew up smooshing the insects in our homes. Now, it's just reflexive. Reactionary. Not even on our radar. But does this make it okay?
Even though a smoosh here or there may seem minute in the scheme of things, it's really not. Ahimsa—another yama—is the practice of nonviolence and non-harm. Ahimsa says we should be compassionate. On scales grand...and small.

To me, ahimsa it is about two things. First, it is patience. With ourselves and others. A deep breath when we fail, fall short, or when anger, slowness, or frustration has us issuing prejudices. It is a little softness when it is easier to dislike, to speak strident words, or to chastise someone whose life choices are different than our own.
Secondly, ahimsa is how we choose to view the rest of the world. We are all here purposefully and we each have purpose. Building hierarchies around whom we bestow kindness on is wrong. Plants, people, animals, and, yes, even tiny black bugs, are on the same level. Living. And they each deserve to go about their path. Unharmed.


Asteya is a Sanskrit word, one of the yamas of yoga (codes for living). In English, it translates to "non-stealing." I remember when I first heard it a few months ago. I was settled on a bolster in teacher training class, and my first auto-thoughts were: "Don't take candy from a drugstore. Don't steal music offline. Don't rob a bank. Got it."

It was right about then that my teacher issued a caution: Asteya is not limited to physical actions. Yes, we shouldn't take material things that are not our own. But there are countless other ways we can and do steal.

Think about it: When someone tells you a story, do you piggyback? Tell your own story? You got a promotion? I once did too. Oh, you've been to Europe? I have too.

Culturally, I think we've all come to see this as sharing. But is it? Or are we stealing someone else's joy?