Somewhere in the Dance

November 6, 2012

The framed picture spoke a thousand words in just a few:

“I get up. I walk. I fall down. Meanwhile I keep dancing.”

Your heart can dance even if your feet cannot. As I recently posted, life is a dance. The partners we choose make all the difference. You might not be able to choose the family you are born into, but you can choose the people that surround you. You can choose who to hang out with and who to let go. You get to decide whether to waltz or do the Texas swing.

You might fall down every once in a while, or trip over life’s unpleasantness. But as long as your heart keeps beating, you can remain somewhere in the dance.

Where are you in yours?

That last statement of the pitch was what really hit home. As a long-time blogger, I receive countless pitches from PR folks about their various products, causes and ideas. It is rare that I respond to one, mainly because a good story is really hard to find amongst the massive onslaught of commercialized messages.

But this one is a story worth telling.

Christy Turlington Burns, Every Mother Counts

It is a fact that when women are healthier, societies overall are healthier.

Global health advocate and former model Christy Turlington Burns is participating in the ING Marathon on November 4 along with Dexter’s Jennifer Carpenter, World Renowned Tattoo Artist Scott Campbell, The Smile Co-Owner Carlos Quirarte, Oiselle Founder/CEO Sally Bergesen and 45 other runners, to raise money and awareness for her non-profit organization, Every Mother Counts (EMC). To expand the reach of this effort, Every Mother Counts is calling on supporters everywhere to create their own team, and participate in a 5K run/walk in their town on November 4 while the EMC team hits the pavement in New York City.

Did you know that 5k is less than the average distance a pregnant woman in the developing world must travel to receive the basic health care she needs to deliver her baby?

Let’s face it. 5K is simply too far to walk for a woman who is 9 months pregnant, in labor, and has no access to transportation.  By walking or running in communities across the country, Every Mother Counts aims to raise awareness of this simple but devastating barrier and empower people everywhere to get involved in helping women to overcome it.

How to join: It is as simple as grabbing a couple of friends and going for a 5K run/walk during the official ING New York City Marathon. Make a sign, tell friends on social media about your efforts. Then share your photos and stories with Every Mother Counts on our facebook page or by email at

Three additional ways to help support the un-official run:

1.       Purchase the official Every Mother Counts marathon team shirt for your team and all proceeds will go to EMC. This year, team EMC will be outfitted by Oiselle, a growing women’s apparel company dedicated to female runners and EMC’s official athletic apparel sponsor. You can purchase team jerseys from the “EMC Collection,” on, and 40% of the proceeds will go to Every Mother Counts.

2.       Join our Team by setting up your own CrowdRise page here and have friends and family sponsor your run by making donations through CrowdRise. All proceeds will go to EMC.

3. Please use Charity Miles, a free app that enables you to earn 25¢ per mile for Every Mother Counts, whenever you walk or run. It’s a free, easy way to raise both money and awareness for Every Mother Counts.  And you can use it any time you walk or run— even if you’re not doing a full 5K.  Please download the app to your iPhone or Android today. Every Mile Counts!

I’ve downloaded the app, which is based on your GPS so it is best to use outside (and not indoors where I tried to log exactly how much distance I run up and down the stairs all day).

You win through exercise. Pregnant women win through the help they need.

Let’s run/walk so others don’t have to.

Dance in the Receiving

September 22, 2012

A few months ago a friend of mine taught me a valuable, life-changing exercise I’d like to share with you. It has to do with removing the mental barriers we place on ourselves that ultimately hinder us from getting what it is that we want.

You may not actually be able to define exactly what it is that you want, but you know something is missing. Or perhaps you think you know what you want (but really don’t). Maybe you know what you don’t want, which is closer than not having a clue. Regardless of your current state, this exercise will release blocked energies that are holding you back.

When you engage in the receiving, you enter a place of nonjudgement. You accept everything that comes your way, opening your eyes to a new way of looking at the world without cynicism. Only love drives you. It is this unconditional love that will set you free.

It is simple, really. Close your eyes and say the following words: “I am going into the receiving of All That Is. I welcome what comes next with love, not fear.” Then tell yourself you are no longer going to push your way through the world. Remember: insistence creates resistance. When you enter the receiving, you needn’t do anything at all.

I often have to consciously remind myself to enter the receiving place. And when I do, it is amazing what happens. People suddenly let you at the front of the line at the grocery store because you only have one item to buy, or cars let you merge more easily. People show up in your life just when you need them (but maybe didn’t know it at the time). As your wall of resistance dissolves, you open up a pathway to your best life.

All it takes is trust that what unfolds is exactly what needs to occur. Imagine the whole world dancing in the receiving. What a wonderful world that would be! The more people who enter the space of receiving, the more energy gets unleashed to heal ourselves and others.

When you believe, you unlock the key to your own divinity, which automatically has a positive effect on others. Like laughter, this space of open receiving is contagious, really. And that, my friends, gets us all one step closer to Nirvana. I’m willing to do my part to get us there. Are you?

Language of the Heart

September 21, 2012

The heart speaks in ways we sometimes don’t understand. That is the nature of its language: we can’t always interpret what it means through our minds. It speaks in riddles, always informed by our intuition that delivers meaning beyond words. Our hearts can make us cry without our wanting to do so. It effects everything about how we see the world when we lead by its example.

As a physical organ, the heart can tell us when things aren’t quite right with our world by beating out of step, seizing up entirely or aching because we hurt immeasurably. It can shout at us when our minds are in conflict with it, leaving us confused and uncertain. Our hearts can flood us with overpowering emotion, shower us with forgiveness and, yes, even grace.

The heart speaks a language that is universal. No matter our culture of origin, the language of the heart is always the same. It speaks of love as easily as the wind blowing through the pines; it sways to its own internal song like the reeds on a lake’s edge; it dances like a prayer on the lips of a priest. The heart’s meaning is deeper than the caverns of Middle Earth. It is stronger than steel.

When you listen to your heart, you are unstoppable. It holds the key to your very existence. Embrace the meaning that your heart gives to you. When you let your heart be your guide, your highest purpose in life will be revealed.

The heart is life’s greatest teacher. Believe in its power. It will lead you to where you need to go. Every time.

If you are deep water, you may wish to learn to dive. Fast.

Listen to the In Deep Water audio post. To listen, click on the link, and you should automatically be able to hear it. If not, right click the link, then save to your desktop to listen on your own audio software.

You can’t argue with the American Heart Association when it says leisure-time activities are good for you. Especially when it plunks down a longitudinal study that proves it.

In a new study that was just published in the AHA journal, Circulation, more than 4,200 participants (average age 49) reported the duration and frequency of their leisure-time physical activities such as brisk walking, vigorous gardening, cycling, sports, housework and home maintenance.

“It’s not just vigorous exercise and sports that are important,” said Mark Hamer, Ph.D., study lead author and associate professor of epidemiology and public health at University College in London, U.K.

“These leisure-time activities represent moderate intensity exercise that is important to health. It is especially important for older people to be physically active because it contributes to successful aging.”

Overall, 49.1 percent of the participants met the standard physical activity recommendations for cardiovascular health (2.5 hours per week of moderate to vigorous physical activity). The rate reached 83 percent in subsequent phases of the study as the participants entered retirement.

“We have shown that retirement seems to have a beneficial effect on physical activity levels,”  Hamer said.

The benefits of exercise cannot be denied. It can keep you vital in all areas of your life.

So what activities can you engage in this week to get that body moving? Gardening? Cycling? Something else? Whatever you do, get that blood pumping.

It’s good for you. And your heart too.


The Phases of Our Lives

August 9, 2012

“It’s just a phase,” I would hear my mother say to her friend on the phone. As teenagers, my sister and I had no idea how much we put our mother through and while she says now we were just fabulous, I know the teen years are far from it.

With a teen of my own, I get to experience several phases at once: the remembering phase (“God, was I like that?”); the mothering phase (“Because I said so.”); the daughtering phase (“Mom, I am so sorry if I ever, ever said something like that to you.”); and the mid-life phase (“What do I want out of  life?”).

All that rolled into one makes for some interesting times.

A friend of mine once told me I could choose how to view this phase of parenting: as either a gift or a curse. I have chosen to look at it as an opportunity of self-discovery as I witness my children grow into the people they will become.

Whether you have children or not, we all go through phases in our lives. Sometimes we are up; sometimes we are down. Sometimes we are suspended on a tightrope, daring ourselves not to look down.

While work-life balance experts will tell you that equilibrium is the goal, I disagree. Alignment with your truest purpose, and all the hills and valleys, are what you are here to experience. So what if you topple off that balance beam? Maybe it’s just what you needed to get a different perspective.

When we take back our lives with clarity and vision, those valleys seem less frightening. Grab yourself some sentries in the form of friends and loved ones who will stand by you in stormy times. Reach out when you need it. We all deserve that kind of support.

Do it with love. Do it shamelessly. Hug out the pain until it slides back into the shadows.

We’ve got this life, broken down into units of time. Take it all. It’s yours.


Water under the Bridge

August 3, 2012

Water is essential to life. It can also be a lot of fun. If you have never been tubing down a river, splashed in the ocean or dove into a cool mountain lake on a hot summer day, now is the time to consider the Sierra Club’s promising destinations.

  •  Everglades National Park, Florida – Kayak a subtropical wilderness, home to exotic wildlife, warm breezes, tropical beaches, and countless small islands.
  •  Olympic National Park, Washington – Explore rainforests, Pacific beaches, rivers, lakes, and hot springs in one of the most diverse ecosystems in the U.S.
  •  Adirondack Park, New York – Raft the magnificent Hudson River Gorge, swim in clear lakes, and canoe the scenic waterways of the Lower 48’s largest park.
  •  Na Pali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii – Discover this magnificent, chiseled coastline on challenging kayak excursions and day hikes to spectacular waterfalls.
  •  Missouri River – Perfect for American history buffs, this huge river features diverse wildlife, old river towns, and of course countless historic attractions.

Feeling adventurous, but not sure where to go? Sierra Club Outings and My Piece of America are giving away a 6-night stay in Everglades National Park, kayaking lessons and two round-trip tickets to Florida!**

**Editor’s note: The sweepstakes is only open to legal US residents, excluding Rhode Island and Tennessee. Don’t feel bad. I can’t participate either. However,  you are welcome to submit your photos to the My Piece of America site, even if you’re just visiting the area. Have fun and be safe!

Tango with Myself

July 7, 2012

The carousel of our thoughts that make our minds  go round and round is a lot like the tango. We go in one direction, then the next. Sometimes we’re passionate, sometimes we’re fierce, but always in touch with both sides of ourselves: the leader and the follower.

Depending on our mood, your positive thoughts might be the leader, sweeping the negative ones across the dance floor with ease. On other days negativity might take the lead, nearly dropping your positive ideas to the floor in one fell swoop.

According to a book I’m currently reading, Buddha’s Brain, we can actually train ourselves to create new dance tracks in our heads. So when the negative thoughts creep in, we can place our tango dancers back on track to a smoother rhythm. I’ll be blogging more about the book when I’ve finished reading it, but one thing is for certain: we are in charge of the dancers in our craniums.

It takes two to tango. In the case of our brains, we have an entire fleet of dancers rocking it out in our heads.

If you’re feeling time-crunched today, ask your time abundant dancer to take over. Breath is important in dance so remember to get enough air while you go through the steps of life. Give the clock a hug and don’t worry. Wherever you are going, you’ll arrive at the right time, even if it’s not ‘on time’ in our always-on world.


June 28, 2012

What would people say about you if you left the room? Are you living a life of true intention?

I know it’s a heady question, but it’s one worth asking. Luckily, Bryan Clay, Olympic hopeful for this summer’s Olympics in London, started to ask himself that question before it was too late. In his new book,  Redemption, Clay reveals his life story in great detail, such as how he had a very troubled childhood with parents who made their own share of mistakes. Throughout high school, and then later in college, he continued to ignore his highest athletic potential by drinking too much and engaging in dangerous behavior. It wasn’t until he met the woman of his dreams that he started to see a future beyond his current one.

Love can do that to a person.

Even then, however, he nearly lost his girlfriend because it took him a long time to realize the impact his partying was having on his relationship. The moment he changed his way of thinking, however, everything changed. A religious man, he began to see that he could indeed worship God through the sport instead of seeing his athletics and his spiritual practice as two separate things. He moved away from believing sports were a way to glorify himself; instead, they were a way for him to glorify God. Magically, his extreme partying dropped off.

The Big Picture can do that to a person.

“Keeping my priorities in the right order had brought me there,” he writes. He found Slow through God. Pretty darn cool.

So what do you think people would say about you if you left the room? Would they say you are kind, generous, emotionally available? Or would they consider you closed, disruptive, shut down and unreachable? As Maya Angelou says, people may not remember what you say, but they’ll always remember how you’ve made them feel.

My guess is you can make someone feel really good today. Maybe in the form of a hug or a smile. There is redemption for us all, and it only takes one baby step toward your own truth. Don’t be afraid of it because it is there to show you the way even when you are lost. Embrace that beacon of light for all it’s worth. When you do, you will be set free.

Slow can do that to a person.