Thursday, December 31, 2009

adios 2009

I've been giving some thought to the year...what I learned, where I was challenged, how I took a three steps forward at times, and two steps back at others. Here's a rundown of the lows and highs of the year:

**Family "stuff". And quite a bit of it. It was a common theme throughout my year. There was hurt. And confusion. And general feelings of helplessness that I think we all encounter as we watch those we love the most struggling. I learned to fully embrace my family and to understand I can't take the pain and suffering away from those hurting.

**Busy-ness and overwhelm. In the beginning of the year I was so busy that I forgot a meeting that this THIS important to me. It was a meeting in Hazard with the folks who got a grant, that allowed me to share my thing (yoga), in an area that I felt really needed it...eastern Kentucky. It took me a while to forgive myself on that one. But it totally made me re-evaluate how I was spending my time and I got it....that I would have to learn to say "no" to things in order for me to shout "yes" to the things most important. Or at least show up for scheduled meetings.

**The master cleanse. 10 days of not eating. Ouch. I learned how much of an emotional eater I am. How much I love food and how sometimes I eat food for all the wrong reasons. I learned to let go of a number (as in yoga pants size and on a scale) and to make conscious decisions to eat foods that will fuel my body, so that I can have a body that sustains me in living my life purpose.

**Uncertainty. About something really big. I'm learning that I've made a habit of hanging out in the land of limbo (or uncertainty)rather than make a decision because I don't want to deal with the feelings of loss that come along. This has been really tough as I'm typically a gal that can make decisions and follow through fairly easy. That has thrown me for quite the loop.

**Realizing that I'm not as open minded as I thought I was. There are clearly areas in which I have a tendency to limit my thinking. I'm thankful to be learning this lesson now. Big Mind. Big Mind.

**Feeling like I contributed to a student that suffered an injury during a private session. This was a toughie. I worried. And felt horrible. It made me question my skills and knowledge as a yoga teacher.

**Studio stuff. There were two months this year when attendance wasn't doing nearly what it had been in previous months. I absolutely couldn't figure out why. I was hesitant to even put this here, as one of my "highs" is that I've been successfully moving away from the mindset of scarcity. But if there was a "low" as far as the studio, this is what I can think of.

**Feeling separated from family and friends because of how much I was choosing to work.

**Studio stuff. Wow, this was a great year for Barefoot Works. I felt blessed so be involved in a happy, thriving business when many other entrepreneurs are suffering as we deal with this economy stuff. We moved into a big, spacious, beautiful studio. Added two new teachers to the staff. Added more classes. Students stuck with the practice. Lots of newbies signed on. General amazingness.

**The master cleanse. That I could go 10 days without eating blew my mind. I felt good during most of the cleanse and afterwards. I felt awake, alive, vibrant, and oh so healthy.

**Self care. I took three weeks of vacation this year (no leading retreats does not count as vacation). I haven't done that since I left my FT job in Texas. I also committed to taking Mondays off and was successful with that much of the time. And committed to not driving on Mondays. Lots of success here too. I was consistent with my practices that keep me, meditation, pranayama, walking in nature, reading uplifting feel good stuff, journaling, being creative, and retreating! To Maya Tulum. And I'm retreating for two days as the new year approaches.

**Finally getting it...there is enough!! Enough time, enough money, enough knowledge. I was on this treadmill of work, work, work to be sure to get money, money, money. After the "forgotten meeting" from above, I made some changes. I worked less. And said "no" to more things. What I got in return has been amazing. More time with Andy, more time for self care, and enough money for the business that I'm not worrying about money, and making it during these tough times, and all that ick.

**Vacations. Again, I took 3!! That is such a high that it's worth mentioning again. Two to Tulum and one to Florida with my best gal pal. I made it to the beach five times this year. Thank you universe. Thank you. The sea calls to me, and I must answer. ;)

**Me doing lots of my favorite things. Teacher training and retreats. This is what I really really love. I led the 200 hour training at the studio, plus an additional 100 hours in Hazard, teacher training for 2010 is full. For retreats...I got my magic number of 10 for Mexico, sold out for NC, and we have one spot open for the local daylong retreat.

**Plans for 2010. I pretty much have two thirds of the year planned. Crazy. And kinda cool. Plus I may be taking a BIG trip for myself in 2010. Still sitting with this one.

**Working with some amazing people that have helped me to dream, to grow, open my eyes to system, educate me with business, and helping me to get clear. Most of them have been via the web. And I've recently started working with a life coach. Love it. It can get lonely working alone and the support throughout the year has been really good.

**Identified the "things" feeling most important to me these days....spirit and service.

**Working with the girls at Florence Crittenton Home. And leading teacher training in Hazard have been the two most powerful things for me all year long. Really huge.

**Being surrounded by a team of teachers that really love Barefoot Works and really believe in what we are doing, teaching, and sharing with students.

**I'm a leader! People have been saying it and I sorta shy away from it but I'm embracing it more and more. And it feels kinda good. Surprise surprise!

**Giving myself permission to dream a few new dreams. And having faith that the ones will come true that need to.

**And you! I feel such joy when I think about what I get to do day in and day out. I'm surrounded by amazing people. And hardly a day goes by that I don't give thanks for this. Thank you...

Have a seriously sweet new year! May 2010 be a year filled with magic and mystery. Joy and greatness. I'll see you next year!


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

photo holiday recap

Just before departing for the holidays I decided it was time for a change and got a foot long haircut. It took me a couple of days to adjust but I am now loving the lighter and livelier do'.
Just like me, my cute niece decided to lop her locks for a good cause too. We're both donating our hair. Yay for good causes! Andy and I drove to Owensboro to meet up with his mom, dad, and brother. Together we drove 14 hours to College Station, TX for Christmas. We visited one of my besties in Houston. Snuggled up with the nephews, Luke and Jake. Unwrapped gifts at 6:00 a.m. on Christmas morning. Santa was pretty sweet this year. Andy got tickets to the Final Four (yep THE final four) and I got a Sony E Reader. Andy's brother, mom, dad, sister and nephew. The Tessandori's are fun. And funny. Welcoming and Kind. I clearly love them since I spent 28 hours in a van with them, and a week in a hotel suite. ;) All joking aside, I definitely got lucky in the in-law department. Back at the studio today I am greeted with sun pouring through the windows, quiet, a peace-full feeling, hope-full heart for the upcoming year and this.....

Thursday, December 24, 2009

happy holidays

**wishing you tons of holiday goodness and cheer**

I'm wrapped up in fun Christmas festivities with the Tessandori's here in TX. Yay for sunny 70 degree days, last minute shopping, brunching, movie watching, Italian cooking, golfing (for the boys),and snuggling with some cute lil boys.

Friday, December 18, 2009

gift giving at florence crittenton home

Sharing gifts with the gals at Flo. Crit yesterday was one of the very best things I've been a a part of all year. Quite amazing to give and to be able to share with these gals. To talk about what they had to express gratitude for (healthy babies was the most mentioned) and what they had to look forward to over the next six months (transitioning to healthy homes and GED's/jobs was the most mentioned).

There are currently 11 girls at the home. And a new gal was arriving today. Please send wishes/hopes/prayers out to these gals over the holiday season. They need much energy and support. Many thanks to all of you for helping to make this a memorable holiday for them. Barefoot Works, as a community spent $1100 on giving to these girls and babies. Ahhhmazing.

Thank you from the very bottom of my heart....

Thursday, December 17, 2009

studio and class updates

Greetings All!!

I wanted to touch base via the blog before I depart for a holiday celebration in Texas!

So the first thing, Andy being a lover of the weather happenings is keepin' his eye on the potential snow storm this weekend. Just a reminder that the first place that I will post any class cancellations will be here on the blog. It's faster this way since I don't make changes on our website. I have Retta, our graphic goddess that does such beautiful things.

The class schedule is modified for next week and New Years Eve. Here is the schedule:
Dec. 20 Yoga for Stress Relief as scheduled

Dec. 21 @ 6:00
All Levels

Dec. 22 @ 5:45 All Levels

Dec. 23 @ 6:00 Yin Yoga

Closed Dec. 24 & 25

New Years Eve @ 9:15 All Levels

New Years Day @ Noon YinYasa

We have little mini schedules on the front desk. Take one if you'd like. And you can view the teachers teaching each class here.

I've been so very happy to see you guys and gals keeping up with your practice leading into the holiday. Kuddos to all of you for taking such great care of yourselves. It can be a challenge at this time of year. Sometimes a yoga class can be just the thing we need during the sometimes stressful season. Yes, very proud of you . And you too. ;)

We have a new teacher added to our schedule, Beth Barkley. Beth will be teaching the Tuesday evening 7:15 class. If you haven't had the joy of taking class with her, then do so as soon as you can. She's truly a delight and is making for one fantabulous teacher! We had to say goodbye to Emily as her schedule gets a bit tricky next semester, but luckily she'll be back to rotating Saturdays with me in the new year and teaching community yoga.

Yoga Teacher Training is FULL for 2010! I can't wait to get started back up again. Do completely, 100 % love this process! And we have two gals joining us from eastern KY, which really makes me happy. That's Mary above in Warrior I. She was one of my students I trained in Hazard and she's joining us for the 200 hour training. Yippy!

I'll be playing the little yogini elf here shortly when I deliver gifts to the sweet ones over at Florence Crittenton Home. I've been wrapping gifts, placing gift cards in bags, and writing my fave quotes on cards for the gals. I am truly inspired by all the giving that's been going on with our yoga community. I hope to get some pics of some type, although I don't think I can take the girls photos due to privacy.

If you are planning to come to the day long retreat on the 2nd (and I think you totally should) register as soon as you can! I think we have 8 spots open. And the price goes up to $115 on the 23rd. Get the scoop here. It's gonna be a treat and a super sweet way to greet the new year!

And a yummy toffee recipe from Cindy, one of our students. She brought this to our holiday party and it's de-lish! When she said she made it in the microwave, I knew I had to have the recipe. Enjoy!

3/4 C butter, ( 1 1/4 sticks)
1 cup water
3 tablespoons water
chopped nuts of choice, about 3/4 cup
butter to butter cookie sheet
Choc chips, about 1/2 C (may use semisweet or milk chocolate)

Melt butter in microwave in large glass bowl. Add 1 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons water and mix well. Return to microwave and cook 6 minutes. Remove and quickly stir. Return to microwave and cook at 30 second intervals until mixture is a golden brown. Immediately pour onto buttered cookie sheet that you have sprinkled with nuts. Sprinkle with choc chips, let them sit on hot candy until melted ,them spread them over candy and sprinkle with more nuts.

I'll have my laptop in Texas and will probably blog while away. I'm wishing of you a happy hoppy holiday!!

Peace out.....

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


"Within each of us, there is a silence, a silence as vast as the universe. We are afraid of it. And we long for it. And when we experience that silence, we remember who we are." ~Gunilla Norris

I'm thinking about a short, solo two day silent retreat. Andy and I will be traveling over the holiday season and it will be a great big family celebration. We will drive lots (14 hours each way, plus the 3 to and from Owensboro), eat a lot, celebrate a lot. I can already see that it will be a lil bit indulgent in many ways.

Upon returning home, I'm teaching a full day retreat at the studio (which are you registered cause space is limited and it's gonna be really really good?) then the six month long yoga teacher training will begin.

It seems to me that it will be the perfect time to get away and reflect, contemplate, meditate, move, dance, create, and just be. And it excites me to think about planning a retreat of my very own.

This is the place I've just emailed about a cabin....the writers cabin. Seems sweet....

Yay for silence.
Yay for retreats.

Friday, December 11, 2009

on challenges

So you know how much I come back and rave about my yoga times in Tulum? I speak of sunrises, walks on the beach, tree poses in the yoga hut, delicious meals with fabulous gals, birds chirping, soft breezes, skin caressed by water and sand....

Yes. Magical. All of it. Well...most all of it. In looking at the topic for the 2009 blog challenge, I can't help know that my biggest challenge of the year started taking place just as I was departing for Tulum this July. And while I was in Tulum a new challenge was added to the challenge that I took to Tulum.

Out of no where, hurt, chaos, and confusion descended. Most mornings began with me sitting on the middle of the floor in cabana 19, trying to meditate, but mostly crying for those in my life that were hurting.

Because I only choose to share my own challenges and struggles, I will not reveal the specifics. I don't think it matters at all. We all hurt. Only in different ways. At different times.

It was the toughest time of the whole year for me. I was able to be in Tulum and lead the retreat without letting my challenges interfere with was I was doing for the week. I'm actually quite good at this. Thankfully so.

I'm amazed at how suffering can feel. From the subtle aching of a lonely heart. To the gut wrenching pain one can feel deep in their belly.

I still don't know what to make about the challenges of life. On the best of days, I know that it all happens for a reason. On the worst of days I wonder how in the hell people can hurt so be on the giving and receiving end.

I do believe, really believe that our struggles and pains offer the most potential for growth and learning. I believe, really believe that it's the challenges and the pains that have the most potential to make us wise in our own ways.

To be able to stay in the light even while cursing and shaking our fists at the heavens and knowing that somehow, someway we will make it through offers great hope to me.

This was a really hard topic for me to write about. I'd love to learn from you...what do you think about challenges? How do you deal?

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

moments of peace

I find that they come when I least expect them. In sitting down and thinking about my most peace-full moments during the year that was what I found. It wasn't anything that I had to work hard for. I didn't have to be anybody other than mySelf. There were few to little expectations. Nothing felt forced.

I had an especially peace-full moment on a Friday night leading this year's yoga teacher training. It was towards the end of the training. It was late. And dark. Everything and everyone was quiet. We had done some fairly intense work. There was a moment when I felt such perfection with everything. It wasn't anything that I said or did. It was just being there with all those people and knowing that it was exactly as it should be. This was my path.

Another deeply peace-full moment was had in Tulum in November. An early morning walk. Tank top, shorts, and barefeet. An ipod with Bob Marley. Singing....

Rise up this mornin',
Smiled with the risin' sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin' sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin', ("This is my message to you-ou-ou:")

Singin': "Don't worry 'bout a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right."

The rising sun was amazing. The beach quiet and beautiful. I can feel a light breeze. I had a huge smile on my face. And I bopped down the beach with a little bounce listening to that great message sent by Mr. Marley. Another moment of feeling deeply connected to both mySelf and nature. Nothing forced. Nothing planned.

My most peace-full moment of the whole year is one that took me by quiet the surprise. It was a moment shared with a sweet little newborn baby girl. My niece, Zoey Hazel Rose. My sister was resting in the bed and I sat in a chair over by the wall. Zoey was only a couple of hours old. I held this tiny precious girl in my arms. Her eyes were wide awake and she was staring directly up into my eyes. I sat there, staring back at her. I saw beyond her eyes. I saw everything she was in that moment, which was perfection. I felt deeply connected to her. It was all unplanned. I sat there looking at her, breathing deep, and feeling complete and utter peace.

What I've come to learn about my moments of peace for this year, they all have the following in common:

1. The ease of the moment. No plans. Nothing to force. Nothing to push.
2. Perfection in the moment. In the smallest, most simple ways.
3. Deep connection. To mySelf, people and nature. Being accepting of myself and others. Looking past any stories and being present without wanting to change anything.

May we all be surprised by a moment filled with peace today. :)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

being flexible

So I was all set for what I wanted to blog about tonight....challenges and cheers of the day. But I'm going to be flexible here. I was doing a little blog reading just now and ran across the best of 2009 blog challenge and decided I must write about my best trip in 2009.

I've had some great trips this year...three to Mexico, two to Asheville area, one big trip with Andy and friends, Yellowsprings, and such. But the one that comes to mind almost immediately as standing out the most is....

The trip to Mexico with my brother and sister. It was my fave for a variety of reasons. But when you combine two of my favorite people and my most favorite place, it's bound to make for a pretty sweet trip.

And we went on Jan. 1. Really, greeting the new year in sunny, tropical Mexico....doesn't get much better than that. I got to plan and plot out my year on the beach. I got to explore the little island of Isla Mujeres on a golf cart. I got to see my sister laughing more than I had in a long time. I got to take walks on the beach with my brother. And sweat with him in the sweat lodge. We got massages in the jungle. And played in the sea. I got to be present as my sister took her first flight. And listen to her speak her first Spanish words...grande por favor (hehe). We ate tons of delicious meals. And my sister was preggers with little cutey Zoey.

It was delightful. And heavenly. And we felt oh so lucky and blessed to be on the beach. Riviera Maya is a long way away from the head of a holler in eastern Kentucky. We relished every moment. Reveling in our good fortune to share seven days together as adults sharing a family vacation. No fighting. Only laughing. Loving. Reminiscing.

So that is my fondest, most memorable trip of 2009. What about yours? Would love to hear.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

hello december

[Warning: This is one of those completely random and odd blog posts where nothing appears to relate. But, here we go!]

I'm feeling pretty happy about the arrival of December! Good stuff going on and coming up!

Here are the upcoming goodies at the studio:

Barefoot Works Holiday Party
Sunday, Dec. 6
Noon - 2:00
Join us for food, fun, henna, massage, craft, yoga dance, and more! Bring a vegetarian dish if you'd like to share.

Donations accepted for FLorence Crittenton Home.

Ask the Yoga Therapist
Saturday, Dec. 12
10:40 - 12:30
Schedule your 15 minute session at the studio. Donations accepted for FLorence Crittenton Home.

Breathing Through the Holidays
with Anita Courtney
Sunday December 13
2:00 - 4:00, $25

Community Yoga
Sunday December 20
4:00 - 5:00

New Year's Yoga Retreat
with Sharon Tessandori
Saturday, January 2
11:00 - 8:00 pm

Good stuff. Good times. For certain.

Other studio and yoga news:

Emily only has one more Tuesday class before she has to give it up due to school and a bunch of other adult stuff. Makes me very sad. But the good news is that she'll stay on the Saturday rotation and start teaching the community yoga class in Jan.

Teaching training is filling up so very nicely this year! I keep getting phone calls, applications, and inquiries from people. I loooovvve teacher training. Can't wait for the fun times to begin.

As the temperature drop outside and we start to cuddle in and cozy up for the winter season....don't forget about Tulum. Yoga and Tulum. Tulum and Yoga. And get this....airfare is still super cheap. I just checked delta and they have the direct flight for $290! Yep, that's right...

This isn't studio news but it's exciting yoga news. Two of the people I trained in Hazard this fall have started their very own yoga operation in Whitesbug. North Fork Yoga. Super cool. The seeds are planted. And I can't wait to see yoga growing in eastern KY.

Sue Jones presented at the KASAP conference this week. Luckily for me we have a darlin' student at the studio who informed me of this (you rock Addie!) and the KASAP people were so sweet to let me in on the yoga action. Anyway I was so inspired by Sue and her bravery in sharing her real, raw and authentic story about what motivated her to found yogaHope. Super inspired about the power of yoga and how it helps all of us to grow and to heal. And super excited to spend some time thinking about our very own yoga programming over at Florence Crittenton Home. I'm feeling really drawn to service these days. It feels so good for my soul.

Still thinking a lot about mindfulness. And using the breath to create space in all ways possible. And about contemplation and action and how they go together. And how we need to share our stories. And the ways in which we're connected.

Exciting news at the Tessandori casa!

Andy and I bought tickets to see Bon Jovi April 15 in Atlanta! Yippy! Love it when you know exactly what you want for Christmas, glide up the stairs to purchase two tickets while listening to the new cd. Happy holidays to me. :)

We also went and purchased a tree on Friday. That's Andy with our pretty tree stuffed into the box (car). We'll be gone the whole week of Christmas as we're traveling to Texas to spend with Andy's sis and the little ones. We decided not to drag all the decorations down. Opting only to decorate the mantle and create a wish tree instead of a christmas tree this year. So much fun to do something different!

Spanish! I had a breakthrough during my lesson this past Sunday. Jessica is such a kind, patient, and passionate teacher. We actually had a conversation about our families in Spanish. It was a really slow Spanish conversation. But was Spanish darn it!

Alright I think that concludes the random hello december blog post. Adios!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

a good day indeed

I had so much fun teaching yoga on Thanksgiving day! I could never have imagined that I would be so happy to work on my favorite holiday. We had 33 people come get their yoga groove on. Barefoot Works regulars, their family members and friends. It was truly exciting for me. And luckily for me, Sarah assisted the whole class so we could take care of the thanksgiving day yogi's. We also raised $250 for the gals at the Florence Crittenton Home. I'm super excited about going out and shopping for them. Thanksgiving Day class will certainly become a tradition at BW.

"Coach T" even came out for the practice! That's what his kids at school call him. Pretty darn cute....
"Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to.” ~John Ed Pierce

Then Andy and I went home to Vicco to celebrate with the family. As always, my mom really out does herself. Such good fun. And she always so sweet to go a lil bit more out of her way to make sure that their are plenty of vegetarian options for me.

We took the traditional hike up the hill after the feast. This time we lost Andy due to asthma...or was it that Cowboys game? ;)

As my brother Joel says, "The rock that changed it all."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Come into my lap and sit in the center of your soul.
Drink the living waters of memory and give birth to yourself.
What you unearth will stun you. You will paint the walls
of this cave in thanksgiving.
~Meinrad Craighead

My Thankfuls:

*The, a home, a family, friends, clothing, a job I love, a car to get me where I need to go, my doggies
*Blue sunny skies
*The baristas that know my name and take great care in making my lattes.
*Leaves to rake
*Babycakes cupcakes (raspberry white chocolate)
*Books to inspire me
*Jessica, her patience and enthusiasm in teaching me spanish
*This training/workshop
*Bon Jovi's new cd (and the many appearances they've made this week)
*A husband that surprises me with said new cd
*Yogi's supporting the gals at Flo Crit
*Happy, thriving plants at the studio
*My little camera that goes everywhere with me
*Sun salutations in my yoga room
*Mala beads from India
*That such a place like Tulum exists
*Fresh linens
*Retta, her amazing design skills, and her ability to create something wonderful for yoga teacher training
*The smell of the ocean
*Vision boards
*The yoga treehouse
*Copal incense
*Candles and twinkle lights
*Hills to hike
*Cemeteries to walk
*My ipod and Stephen Cope who talks Andy and I to sleep at night
*Mary Oliver poems
*Artichoke and olive pizza
*Strangers that smile at me
*Dance parties with Andy
*Stones and seashells on my altar
*My vessel, my body that contains my spirit
*The exchange of ideas
*Any and all travel that I'm lucky enough to partake in
*Old trees and short lived flowers
*Happy family moments
*Quiet mornings at the coffee shop
*Yoga Journal
*Sweet nieces and potty trained nephews
*Earrings made by Lisa
*The growth of yoga in Lexington
*Pretty journals and pretty pens
*The ability to dream
*And the bravery to move towards those dreams
*Talented, loving, and compassionate yoga teachers
*Words like unravel, revel, and deliberate
*That places like this exist
*The students that I've trained, that have now become teachers.
*Seane Corn's hair, and this even more so
*The growth of compassionate communication (aka, nonviolent communication)*
*The strong, real, raw and beautiful women in my life

What's on your list?

Have a happy happy thanksgiving. Wishing each of you a day filled with joy and gratitude.

sweet darkness

When your eyes are tired
the world is also tired.

When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.

There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.

The dark will be your womb

The night will give you a horizon
further that you can see.

You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
except he one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.

~David Whyte

**Wow. Goosebumps.**

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


With stammering lips and insufficient sounds,
I strive and struggle to deliver right
the music of my nature....
~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Yesterday evening I had an interview with a gal with Health and Wellness, a local magazine. The article was about mindfulness. I thought I had my thoughts and ideas in order, but I hung up the phone and said to Andy, "Wow, I hope that makes at least a tiny bit of sense."

We chatted about what mindfulness is....being aware of what you're doing saying, and thinking without judgement AND my fave way of thinking about deliberately.

How being mindful impacts people's lives...aside from the many many benefits that research has now proven, being mindful allows us to choose our attitude, break free of bad habits, see things more clearly, take a few steps away from the drama, and live moment to moment...amidst the joys and the challenges in a more calm and peace-full manner.

What activities help a person be more mindful....ummmm yoga and meditation. That's an easy one, right? ;) Certainly, starting with the body is the first place to go.

Ways to think about the new year as it approaches...not to overload it with expectations, lose the resolution and work with an intention, reflect on areas of growth and challenge, then let go and step brightly into the new year.

So yes with "stammering lips" I tried to convey the beauty, the simplicity and the power of mindfulness. We'll see how it turns out in the January edition. :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

not all roses and rainbows

Because it's really important to me to be as real, as honest, and as authentic as I can I want to share the "other" end of the spectrum in returning home from retreat:

1. It's not easy for me. Never. Ever. When I return from Tulum I need time. And space. And more quiet then I normally need. Andy knows this by now. While he does kid me about it, he respects my need for it. He doesn't quiet understand it, but he supports it. Leaving Maya Tulum and then stepping into the Cancun airport is a toughie for me. For a week you live as close to nature as you can, then it's bright fluoresecent lights, loads of people (are they always this loud), lots of noise, and really bad food. Really bad food. Too. Much. Stimulation.

2. Sometimes getting clear isn't easy. Every single time I leave Tulum, I'm at least a little different than before I went. I can't explain it. That's just how it is. Getting clear usually means that some sort of change is in order. Sometimes change is hard. Even for a lover of change like myself.

3. Who took the beach away? I grew up in the hills of eastern Kentucky. I love the mountains. I love how you get a sense of being held and enveloped within the hills. But the beach....ahhhh the beach. The sand, the sun, the sea. It's so very healing to me. I love everything about it and it's hard for me to leave it behind. Hence all the beach pics....tired of em' yet? ;)

4. Balance. Easing back into work, tending to homelife, nurturing relationships, and nurturing yourself as you re-emerge. Finding the happy place within each might be even a greater challenge post retreat.

So there you have it. My thoughts about removing the rose colored glasses when looking at retreats. What I do is really plan for re-entry (Andy thinks this word is hysterical) by:

1. Spending more time in meditation. This time I brought back copal incense from Tulum. This is what they burn during treatments (and Temalzcal). It's my new fave. My replacement for nag champa. I've been meditating each morning for at least 20 minutes and using this incense has been so great.

2. Watch even less television.

3. Read more books that inspire and elevate me, my mood, and my thoughts.

4. Get creative. Debra and I did some great creative exercises in Tulum. On Saturday I spent some time updating my vision board with the words I identified as meaning the most of me right now....spirit, service, abundance, personal growth, freedom, wisdom, and creativity. I also used images to go along with the words.

5. Bring a bit of your special place back. I picked up a couple of rocks and tiny seashells from my walk at Tulum. These now have a special place on my altar. I also brought over 3 lbs of homemade granola back from Maya Tulum. I gave some to each gal that attended the retreat this past summer and I've been enjoying some too. It's de-lish and reminds me of my happy place. :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

reflections from maya tulum

Monday Nov. 9, 2009
I took an hour long walk on the beach this morning and passed only four people. It feels as if the beach and I belong together. I wonder if everyone that steps onto the land feels the same. Are they as moved, as connected as I? The gentle breeze on my back ever so sweetly nudges me onward, encouraging me to move forward. Embracing myself. Embracing life.

Tuesday Nov. 10, 2009
Mother nature is truly inspiring. I constantly stand in aw of her. Especially here in Tulum where I feel so connected. Being here I'm reminded "there is no God, when there is nothing but God".

Wednesday Nov. 11, 2009
Several years ago, when I first came to Tulum I thought I had it together pretty well. It only took that first session with Fabian to clearly show me that I didn't have it together quite as much as I thought.

Thursday Nov. 12, 2009
Floating in the water, listening to the waves as they make their way towards me...relaxing, breathing, knowing that if I can give to to them, I wont go under.

Friday Nov. 13, 2009
*You are living juicy! Ride into your life on a creative cycle, full of juice, abundance and ecstatic wonderment. You are a star. ~Sark
*Life is a bridge. Cross over it, but build no house on it. ~Indian proverb

Saturday Nov. 14, 2009
It's the drive back to the airport. I woke the usual time, 5:30...wrapped myself in a Mexican blanket and watched the most beautiful sunrise of the week.

Appears that what I was needing most from my week here at Maya Tulum was the time, the space and the resources to connect with my spirit and the spirit of the universe which I've come to know and feel as one.

Being surrounded by the people at Maya Tulum make it easy to connect with spirit, to see the good in the universe, and bow down with deep and great gratitude for life.

Leaving this time doesn't feel as sad for me as times in the past. I'm taking away an even closer, greater friend, a slight tan, a smile that feels permanently plastered to my face, and a renewed spirit.

Now I've come enough times to know that I'll be back. So it never feels like goodbye. It feels so much more like....until next time.

**This was my cabana. See how very close to the water?! How could I not wait to get back? ;)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

why retreat?

A retreat is the restorative by which you walk away from being a woman who exists only in a relationship to others and walk toward a self that relishes and enjoys her relationships because she has a strong center from which to relate. Creating your own retreat allows you to encounter your deepest needs, feelings, and impulses away from the voices and needs of others.
~Jennifer Louden

rituals at maya tulum

"Women who create such ritual retreats together, listening thoughtfully to each other's voices, have the transformative potential to change the world."
~Virginia Beane Rutter

This is a picture of myself and Debra during our two hour work session. I use the word "work" not loosely (because it was some of the best, most important work I've done in a while) but instead with a smile on my face. Anytime you can work in a restaurant in one such as Maya Tulum's with a Corona on hand, a great friend nearby, and a view of the Carribean's truly a magnificent day.

Debra and I had a loose plan in place for our retreat. We each took a couple of things to work on and some creative exercises to explore. We had a little bit of a plan, but no so much so that it felt like we were controlling the whole week.

Which was a good thing because it appeared that the universe really wanted the week to mostly be about relaxing, reconnecting, and letting go of those important work things so that we could create some room for new ideas and dreams.

There were other amazing women that we met on this week of retreat. Most all of them were at Maya Tulum alone. Some were using the trip to transition to a new stage in life, some came because it seemed to be the only thing left to do, some came because they've been to Maya Tulum (and once you go you can't not go back), some came to vacation.

My days at Maya Tulum were so simple, yet so utterly profound. Here is how the days mostly unfolded:

5:30 - Wake up. Sun is beginning to rise. Sit on our little couch with a blanket wrapped around me listening to the waves crash and watching as the dawn appears.

6:00 - 7:00 Take a walk on the beach. Everyday is different and beautiful in it's own right. So much sky to see. So much water to be in awe of.
7:00 - 8:00 Drink coffee and journal

8:00 - 9:30 Yoga class or yoga on my own. I was so super excited to get away and take yoga classes, but I found myself being drawn to practicing on my own some days. Funny how that happens. :)

9:30 - 10:30 Breakfast. Some days I had breakfast with Debra, some days with the gals I'd met, and some days alone. The great thing about being at Maya Tulum is that you can have as much group time or alone time as you need. I believe it's an unwritten rule....but if you are sitting with a book or journal in hand people know that you are needing some space.

10:30 - 1:00 Lay on the beach, float in the water, exfoliate at the edge of the water, yin yoga on the beach, and my fave (ala Jeanne)...laying on my back (think savasana) just close enough to the water that it gently washed up on me.

1:00 - 2:00 Lunch. Always delicious. Sweet people working ready to greet you with smiles and kind words. The people that work at Maya Tulum are just one of the many reasons I continue to go back. I learn much from them.

2:00 - 4:00 Work session. We always took a different table to transition to work time. One further away from the views of the water and one further away from people. We each had some sort of delicious Mexican beer with each work session.

4:00 - 5:30 More. Yoga. Yes.....

6:00 - 7:30 Spa treatment. I had a couple treatments during the day. But I love this time. I had five (yes 5!) treatments during my stay. Three holistic massages, one thai yoga massage, and one Mayan Clay massage. Yep, heavenly. For you gals that know the therapists/healers, I had two with our fave Shaman Fabian, two with the Chandree, and one with Adrian.

7:30 - 9:00 Dinner. More deliciousness

9:00 - Back to the cabana for reading and usually falling asleep around 9:30. 5:30 comes pretty early in the morning. I find that when I'm at Maya Tulum, my body is reset and I find myself living in unison much more with nature.

It was pretty much like the retreat I always lead. But this time I wasn't a group leader, or a teacher. I was just Me and I had no roles to play. I love love love leading my annual retreat at Maya Tulum. But I gotta say that this was much different. Oh, and I usually had to make time for a shower in the day. ;)

We left the property one time to walk up the road to the tiny little market area. Other than that, it was a week of what you see above.

And it was needed.
And unbelievable.
And now I completely, 100% know why people return here each year to retreat for themselves.

Maya Tulum has a way. A very good way....

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

to be connected

"To be connected with and to nurture others is a precious, delightful, integral part of our lives. We are constantly giving in a personal and emotional way. We want to do so, some of us must do so, but we also must take time in solitude, to find and tend our selves, or we risk becoming ensnared in a tyranny of relationships, unable to locate our authentic core. When this happens, we risk losing not only the meaning in our lives but ourselves, the deep rooted, innermost knowledge of who we are and why we are here. "
~Elinor Dickson

Monday, November 16, 2009

perfecting love

"You are love yearning for the perfectly lovable, and you, yourself, are the perfectly lovable that you long to experience.

Give to yourself with unlimited abandon and you will discover that what you once considered selfish is, in fact, the epitome of selflessness, for when you know yourself as love, you love everyone, unconditionally, unboundedly, eternally.

You will discover that there never was anyone more deserving of love than you, no one more perfect than you, and no one to love other than yourself.

For within you resides everyone. Perfect your love of yourself and you will love everyone perfectly."
~Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Sunday, November 15, 2009

hola hola

Wow, still shaking the sand out of my suitcase and processing an amazing week at Maya Tulum. So much to say. So many reasons to keep quiet. And still. Hold it in my big ol' open heart.

Looking so forward to being at the studio today for community yoga and teaching yoga this week. Feeling much gratitude for all of life these days. :)

Friday, November 06, 2009

off to maya tulum

I'm leaving tomorrow for Mexico. So very excited to greet the sun. And sand. And sea. Everything is dreamier there. Love love love it.

Most everyone knows how much Tulum means to me. When I step on the beach and my feet hit the sand, it feels like home. Next year I'll get to experience Mexico one again with Andy. And again with my sister. And my mom. As both of those trips are on my mondo beyondo dream list, so they will happen. Very certain of it.

My sweet friend Shelli asked me today what I was most looking forward to in Mexico. The answer came quite easily and quite quickly. "The relaxation" I answered without hesitation.

I imagine it will take me all of 20 minutes to to slip away into relaxation mode. Looking forward to a little work, a lot of play, tons of bodywork and treatments, dreaming sessions, delicious food, yoga, being in the presence of many healers, reading, and relaxation. And the relaxation, did I mention that one?!

I'll see you in a week....Adios amigas. :)