Wednesday, August 31, 2011


This is a poem titled "Kindness" that I've loved for a while and shared several times at the end of yoga class. Given everything that's been happening with my Mom's health it's taken on a greater meaning to me. I hope you enjoy.....

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.

What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.

You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.
~Naomi Shihab Nye

You guys are amazing. I am amazed and inspired by such kindness.

Monday, August 29, 2011

i yoga

I do yoga.
I teach yoga.
I talk yoga.
I live yoga.

To do better.
To teach better.
To talk better.
To live better.

Yoga doesn't make me perfect. Or better than anyone else.
This doesn't mean it's the only way, the right way, or the wrong way.
Yoga is just my way, my path to expand my consciousness.
To be more awake, alive, and aware.
To open my heart.

Yoga helps me to be a tender human bean.
It helps me figure out my body, my mind, my heart, passions, my purpose, my relationships and how I interact and Be in them.

Today my beloved Mama has surgery at 10:45. I am one of many daughters feeling a range of emotions. She is one of many Mama's feeling a range of emotions.

It's times like these when I can feel the inherent oneness of everything and everyone. When we drop the story, the situation, the circumstances we are the same.

We all desire to be safe, to be loved, to live in health and joy.

We are indeed all the same.

Wishing you all things love and joy today.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

on designing your life

Before I owned Barefoot Works....

Before I was a yoga teacher....

Before I was a yoga student....

I knew that I wanted to create my own job. I didn't want a boss. I wanted to be my very own boss. I knew that I wanted to design my life to be true to who I was and what I wanted.

Never mind that I didn't know who I was or what I wanted. Looking back, that didn't matter.

What did matter was my intense desire to live a life on my own terms. Whatever that meant. Again, I didn't know.

I scoured websites of people doing things they loved. One of the first websites I recall finding, drooling, and reading over and over was "Girl at Play". I was living in TX at the time. I recall seeing a profile of a photographer in KY. Her name was Melanie Mauer. She was doing what she loved. I was inspired by her. And smitten by her cuteness. Oh. So. Cute.

I read books. I pondered. I dreamed of possibilities.

At my job, my co-worker Kristy (who is still one of my BF's) and I chatted about what types of businesses we would start. I can't recall what they were. But we had big plans for the future.

I talked to my brother who owned his own business. He was successful and I wanted to be too. If he could do it, certainly I could too.

Life got crazy. I had my mid 20's crisis (you think I'm kidding don't you?). I ran. And ran. I found yoga.

Or yoga found me. Who knows. But it was clearly meant to be.

Even now as new thoughts and new dreams float through my head and I consciously engage with them.... I keep coming back to:

1. Does this truly represent me? By "me" I mean what I want and not what others expect.
2. Does this support who I am?
3. Does this support what makes me feel happy and alive?
4. Does this support where I want to grow to?

Why? Because although I'm still uncertain about many things on any given day. I am 100% certain that I still want to design and live a life that nurtures my nature and drive to feel content and joy*full while making a difference in the ways that I can.

How about you? Are you designing your life (to the degree that you can) or is someone else designing it for you?

PS - That cute photographer that I admired from afar, Melanie....I've had the good fortune to know her as a yoga student and personally come to know that she is just as darling in the flesh as she is online.

a simple got one?

This morning I did my simple practice.

Actually it didn't even begin with that. It started with me getting up at 6:30 and going straight to my computer and returning a few emails I thought "had to be done" right then.

This is not my "normal" and it's not what I want to be doing every morning. Especially on a beautiful morning like today (and yesterday in which I did the same thing).

The truth was I didn't even feel like getting out and doing my normal walk in the cemetery. I thought about my other love, my yoga room and my special, special practice. And I wasn't compelled to do that either.

With everything that's swirling around I'm feeling a little off balance. Usually when we're "off" in some way, we don't feel compelled to do the things that make us to feel good. Or is that just tme?

Why is that? Do you find that true?

When I saw what was happening I immediately removed myself from the pinktop.

I marched myself upstairs, still in my robe. I lit my candle. Sat myself down on my yoga mat. Closed my eyes. Settled myself. And began repeating my mantra.

About 10 minutes later I realized I did in fact want to do some yoga. I knew a little would be better than none. And I remain committed to the fact that all we really need to make a difference in body, energy, mind, and heart are simple poses. A simple practice. Even if it's in a robe.

Yes sometimes I like to do fancy pants sequences and give myself a good challenge. Truth is, right now I'm feeling challenged enough.

I needed my practice to be short, sweet, and simple.

So I went to my three go to poses...down dog, yoga squat (malasana), standing forward bend. I stood in mountain pose for a long time. I then did three half sun salutations, and three lunge back salutes.

I finished standing in mountain pose, eyes closed. I say a prayer. Blow out the candle and begin the day in a much more balanced way. Green furry robe and all.

How about you, do you have a go to practice? Yoga or otherwise? What are the minimum "things" practices you do when feeling a lil off?

Monday, August 22, 2011

your mistakes can lead you to the truth

Do you know what the music is saying?
"Come follow me and you will find the way.
Your mistakes can also lead you to the Truth.
When you ask, the answer will be given. "

Sunday, August 21, 2011

on goodness & sadness....and making room for it all

Dear Blog,

It's been a while. I know. I know.

The truth is, I'm not sure where the week has gone. I'm not really sure the last 2.5weeks have gone. The truth is I'm having a hard time forming my thoughts and having a hard time expressing here.

The week was full of goodness. Andy celebrated his birthday this week (yay for 34!). I actually found and bought new yoga clothes. I got to participate in a photo shoot for Natural Awakenings (check out the cover next month and see me bust a yoga move with other local wellness peeps). I got to spend the last six days at BW's, the yoga treehouse. Taught some fun and fulfilling private sessions.

Andy's parents came in Saturday and we enjoyed a delish meal at Regatta. And we got to sit outside. That was a real treat.

We had the fundraiser at the studio for Namaste for Strays. OMG. So cute. See the cuteness above. Really?

I sat outside under the sun and watched my niece play soccer. I took a nap under a big tree, in the grass on Friday afternoon. I got all the details together for a new year yoga retreat.

I got to spend time today with some of my fave peeps, the tree house teachers. I walked around at the Woodland Art Fair and bought a box to hold my dreams (and anybody else that comes to the Big Blue House).

I drove home on a beautiful day under the sun and a blue sky. Driving down my pretty country road and I hear this song playing:

I think of her and before I know what's happening... the tears are there. Forming. Flowing. My heart is thumping. My hands are shaking. I feel a lump in my throat.

"Little Miss down on love
Little miss I give up
Little Miss I'll get tough
Don't you worry 'bout me anymore."

I'm driving on the same road that nearly three weeks ago I saw the "two words" I never wanted to see. Words that changed everything in an instant. Everything is different, yet it's the same.

I made a vow years ago to never share things here while I was still in the thick, in the midst of them. I really feel that part of my journey and part of my own growth and healing is sharing from my heart. Sharing what I'm learning from this crazy thing called life. That's still my intention. I thought I might be ready to share more. Today I learned that I'm not.

So I'm giving myself permission to go easy on myself while I continue to wrap my head and my heart around all of it.

There is so much beauty.
So much goodness.
So much happiness.
And so much gratitude.
There is hope.
And bravery too.

Yet there is uncertainty.
And fear (sometimes a lot of fear).
There is anger.
Sadness and sorrow make their appearance.

I take it all in. Making an attempt to not get too attached to any of it. If I stay present I can breathe with it and find myself on the other side. And just like that the emotions subside and I find myself Here. Breathing. Living. Being present with all of it. Making room for all of it.

Thank you blog and readers and friends and family and teachers for holding space for me in the meantime. My heart is filled with love for all of you.

Many, many, many Namastes....

Monday, August 15, 2011

ending the clean cleanse + healthy yogi treats

Today marks the "official" closing day of mine and Andy's three week program of eating clean. The end was a challenge, especially with the challenges I was facing last week. By Saturday Andy and I were both ready to eat more than one meal we could actually chew on. In fact he sent me a picture on Saturday declaring, "Clean party is over." In the photo was two of the things he's been craving most...saltine crackers and graham crackers. Weird, I know.

Sunday we ended the clean party with a bang. We went to Magee's and settled in with a book, coffee (for me), and the most delicious donut my mouth had ever tasted. Oh my. We tipped the scale back to balance by having our detox pizza (we love it) with a side salad for lunch, and dinner was delish fruit.

We're both happy that we did the cleanse, and feel really happy with how we did and how we feel. Together we're pondering the changes we want to make and the boundaries we need to have around eating certain things (sugar and dairy especially).

I have made two yummy snacks over the weekend....spicy chickpeas and kale chips. Both are super easy and very tasty. For the chickpeas simply rinse, drain, and place in a pan. Preheat the oven to 425. Toss in the chickpeas + two tablespoons oil (I used olive oil) + 1 tsp coriander, 1/4 tsp cayenne, and 1/4 tsp salt. Swirl it all around in the pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool then continue to pop them into your mouth for a spicy snack.
Kale Chips - Wash your kale, tear into pieces, dry, then place in a big bowl. Make sure it's good and dry. Preheat oven to 350. And 1-2 tablespoons olive oil to the kale (I used 2 but could have gotten away with 1 I think). Add either a teaspoon of tamari or some sea salt to the mixture. Evenly coat the kale with the oil and salt. Line a pan with parchment paper, spread out the kale, and bake for 10-15 minutes. They'll burn quickly so keep a close eye. I did tear my kale into pieces that were too small. Next time I'll tear into about 3 inch pieces.

Both are yummy and even Andy agrees. Pssstt, he's totally getting into the "hippie food." ;) Let me know if you try them out!

Happy Monday Friends. Andy and I are off to see the Dominican game at Rupp tonight, so excited!

Friday, August 12, 2011

the places that soothe you

I hit the ground nearly running. I hear my feet pounding the earth beneath me. Between the tall trees I see patches of blue sky and the flickering of sunlight as I dash up, down, and around the hills. The sounds of the birds chirping bring me comfort. Nothing smells quite like being out in the woods.

Henry David Thoreau said, “I go to nature to be soothed and healed and to put my senses back in order.” I do exactly the same.

The yoga mat and being outside in nature are two of the things that most soothe and calm me. If you read my previous post then you know that this is a challenging time for me. My usual daily walks in the cemetery would not cut it alone. I knew that I needed more woods, less pavement, and more quiet.

I've walked over 8 miles the past two days at Raven Run (and spent nearly three hours on my yoga mat). The beginning of my hikes have been similar to some yoga practices in that I hit the mat, feeling stressed and all out of sorts. When I'm not able to ground my energy from breathing alone I hit the mat in a bit of a frenzy. I give myself permission to move in a fast and furied way, burning off some of the energy that I have. I flow through sun salutations at a quick and harried pace.

I started my hike like that today. But at some point, as with my yoga practice, my body is grounded by the movement, I connect to my breath, the spaces between thoughts grow longer, and my mind grows more calm and clear.

I realized that one can approach both yoga and walking with the intention of exercise. Or/And one can approach both yoga and walking with the intention of putting their senses back in order and healing body, mind, and heart.

I've had a love affair with nature for a long time. I can thank my Daddy for this. To this day my fondest memories of growing up are the days I spent out in the hills surrounding our home. I snapped the photo above this summer when I was home on my cell phone. It is quite simply, the greenest, most lush place of all.

In college one of my favorite classes was outdoor recreation. For class we met out in the woods. I loved the idea of being in school, yet not being contained, or confined within four walls. The earth was our classroom. Looking back now I can see just how amazing that was.

For my major, Recreation and Park Adm. I got to do two internships between my bachelors and master's degrees. All of my internships were outdoor related. I worked at Fort Boonesborough State Park and spent a summer in a rural area of SC on a project through Clemson University. Again, in each place my office and working environment was outside in nature. After graduate school I actually worked for several months at Raven Run, the same place soothing me now. I led groups on nature hikes and helped maintain the trails and property in general.

I can see now how important it is for me to have access to beautiful places. I can see important it is for me to be outside, connecting and communing with nature. I can see how important it is for me to have a job that's flexible in order to do so. I can see why I love going to Tulum so very much. It is there that I combine the things that I love so much, yoga and nature.

I have a feeling that as the days of summer dwindle and the stresses come and go, I'll be making the short drive (only 15 minutes away) to Raven Run and making the four mile loop around the property as often as I can.

It will be here that I will play and pray, that I will connect to nature, that I will move my body, hear my breath and my thoughts, be soothed and healed. And to put my senses back in order.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

on dealing with lifes challenging moments

Greetings Friends,

The past week has been a difficult one and while I'm not ready to share all the details around this I would like to share how I'm coping (or not).

Over and over I've said that the power of yoga lies not in the power one has to pretzel him or herself into pretty pretty poses. To me the magic lies in the simplicity of yoga and this week that again has proven true to me.

Stay grounded.
Stay centered.
Pay attention.
Just breathe.

There were times when I was so upset. A moment of sobbing in the shower as my mind raced into the scary unknown future. I could feel pain my mind was predicting as if it was happening in the moment.

But it wasn't the future and once I could calm myself down, which usually required me saying to myself, "just breathe" over and over again. When I was able to do that, I was able to connect to my breath, and once I connected to my breath I felt the presence of peace and calm that was available to me even in a heart wrenching time.

Yesterday I received this message from "The Universe" (I'm glad she emails, might I add).....

"You knew there'd be things that would rattle your cage, push your buttons, and rock your boat, sharon. These would remind you that there's still more to know."

I've also said often that it is the dark and scary times that have so much to teach us. I still believe this to be true. There is power and potential for transformation during these wild and scary times. I will forever consider myself a student of yoga. I in no way think I have everything in life figured out and it's times like this that I see how much more work there is to be done. Yes I can celebrate where I've been, and where I am now. I can feel good for all the work I've done, for the changes I've made, yet "there's still more to know." And I'm happy about that.

Another nugget from the Yoga Sutras that I keep coming back to is replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. I'm striving to find a balance between expressing myself and my emotions as needed in the moment, but not (or should I say attempting) getting trapped in a place of anger and frustrations as that doesn't do good.

I'm also observing my tendencies during moments of crisis, which are mostly to:

1. Run away. After receiving the first of the bad news it was only a few hours later that I had found a yoga retreat outside of Puerto Vallarta and was scouring plane tickets. I have to go I thought. Clearly I don't and now is not the time to be running off to Mexico. Luckily I saw this for what it was which me running away from the problem at hand.

2. Hide. Maybe these two go hand in hand as they are sorta one in the same. I'm usually very present online with blogging, facebooking, and emailing. Not so much (hardly at all) over the week. I'm doing my best to discern the difference between giving myself time vs. simply withdrawing from the world (which is my natural tendency). I felt myself slipping into withdrawal so that's partially why I'm here now typing this.

3. Eat carbs. People resort to all different things during challenging times. Some people want to have a "stiff drink". Some want to shop. I want pasta smothered in cheese. And bread. I am happy to say that for the most part I've remained committed to my cleanse even during this challenging time. I've packed food for the day(s) when I've traveled to and from eastern KY. On Monday at the hospital my sister ate the most delicious looking brownie. My niece has turtle cheesecake. In the past I'd have buried my face in both. But I sat and ate my salad. On the way home that night I might have killed for baked spaghetti and a tray of breadsticks. But when I checked in I wasn't really hungry. At that point I was two weeks into the cleanse and I knew I had to stay on "clean: the best that I could. The one thing I have allowed myself is a soy latte from Starbucks. There are worse things in life and I feel ok with this.

Other things I'm doing to stay calm and centered include:

*Doing yoga. Today was actually my first time on the yoga mat since Sunday. My body, mind, and heart just feel so much better. I know that even as time gets busy and crazy I have to find time for yoga. It makes that much of a difference.

*Having a trusty touch stone nearby. The mala necklace I'm wearing now in the photo above. I also wore it yesterday to doctor meetings with my family. When I start to get anxious and scared I take hold of the seeds strung together from India and remind myself to "just breathe". In my yoga room I have a feather from Mexico. And rocks and pieces of coral. All of these soothe and ground me.

*Having a network of friends to call on. I can't even begin to explain how much love I've felt over the past week. Friends from long ago, friends in far away places, friends from the tree house, friends I haven't actually met, teachers, family's all been amazing and remarkable and has kept me going in so many ways. I called Sarah early Monday morning to see if she could get my classes subbed for the week. Before the day was over it was taken care of. I feel blessed, blessed, blessed in so many ways.

*Witnessing beauty around me. I'm seeing this in all forms. In the form of the patient young man valet parking cars at the hospital. As I fumbled around to get my things,clearly scattered and emotional, he assured me to "take my time, there is no rush darlin'". Beauty comes in the form of youtube videos reminding me, "all I need is love." Beauty comes in the form of a blue sky. Beauty comes in the form of matching Teva's my Mama and I are donning. Beauty comes in the form of the crying nurse. Beauty comes in the form of family coming together. In hearts being cracked wide open, and the embrace of my sister and brothers.

As I shared with my Mama yesterday, "We just have to keep clinging to the diamonds, the jewels in these very rough times." Together, that's what we're doing.

No matter where you are, who you are, what you do, what color your skin, no matter your age, your gender, your religion, your circumstance or your conditions...may you too cling to the diamonds and the jewels. May you see the beauty around you even in the darkest of times.

That's my wish for you.
For me.
For all of us.

Monday, August 08, 2011


It doesn't have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don't try
to make them elaborate, this isn't
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

~ Mary Oliver

Spending lots of time in my sweet yoga room. Sitting. Lighting a couple candles (the big one above is the unity candle from mine and Andy's wedding over 10 years ago). Doing yoga. Writing. And praying.

I love Mary's instructions for prayer. Just paying attention and patching a few words together of thanks and gratitude. Hope too.

May you and all of yours be well today.

Monday, August 01, 2011

the scoop on the cleanse - week one

Andy and I are now one week into our three week cleanse. Yay! This is a photo I snapped yesterday after going and refilling on veggies and fruit. I just asked Andy the most challenging part of the cleanse for him and his response is "not being able to eat at night." Poor guy. Andy has always been a snacker at night. Usually opting for a big bowl of cereal before bedtime.

Drinking your meals, consistently over a few days (like 7 so far) does take some getting used to, I agree.

Andy says that the best part of the cleanse has been eating meals with me. With the cleanse we're only eating out if we really need to (like Saturday in Louisville, but we stayed cleanse friendly with our meals). So we are sitting at our table at least once a day for lunch and joining each other for our liquid breakfast and dinner. I cook, Andy sets the table and brings everything out, then he cleans up afterwards.

I had made a few new things, which is fun for me and Andy has reallly been lovin' my veggie cooking. I'm not quite sure if it's because the food it truly that wonderful or if he's just that hungry and that happy to chew on food. Perhaps a combination of both. ;)

We have had some yummy meals like this detox pizza, guacamole, and veggies. The pizza is made with Ezekiel sprouted tortillas and piled high with veggies.
And sauteed sesame asparagus with chickpeas serves with a BIG salad with lotso veggies.

Andy and I both agree that the most rewarding aspect so far is that we've each lost six pounds. And I'm really enjoying the whole part of planning for meals, shopping for fresh food (it feels so satisfying limiting my shopping mostly to the produce section), prepping, and then making smoothies and food.

I admit that it takes quit a bit a time. Not so much the actual making of the food, especially the smoothies, but the other parts...the planning, shopping a few times a week, and doing all the slicing and dicing. I'm feeling very grateful that I can work from home most of the time and be at the studio for teaching. This makes it much easier for me. Not that it would be impossible of course.

Alright, we're officially into week two now which is pretty exciting! Go,go, go.....

on thriving

Julie Ransdell shares what it means for her to thrive. As we welcome a new month (welcome August!) we say goodbye to our theme of "thrive" and hello to "trust". Its not too late to take a few moments and ponder the things you did in July that brought you health and happiness and helped you to thrive. For me it was an amazing time in Mexico sharing my love of yoga and all things Tulum and coming home and starting a cleanse with Andy. Enjoy these heartfelt and wise words from an amazing yogini, Julie.....

As I ponder the word, thrive, I automatically think of prayer. In my life, when I am truly thriving, I am praying daily. Whether the prayer occurs in my car during 5:00 traffic, at night just before bed or during savasana at the closing of a yoga class, I am filled with energy from my spirit and the great spirit around me. To me, prayer isn't just kneeling at the foot of my bed with hands clasped together, asking God to do something for me (though that is how it happens sometimes), but prayer is when I stop to breathe. It is when I flow through sun salutations. It is when I bring awareness to my thoughts, slow them down and be in the moment. When I am consistently doing these things, I am thriving. My body feels lighter, my mind is less distracted and my heart is joyful.

I recently began a morning routine that is slowly but surely becoming a much needed ritual. I wake when my alarm goes off, no hitting snooze, no moaning and groaning, just stepping out of bed and taking a peak out of my window. I roll out my mat, breathe, stretch and get my coffee going. Sometimes I step onto my deck just for a few moments and take in the smells and sights of my backyard. Just these simple actions have changed the way I walk through my day, allowing me to take a little more time with everything I do, breathe a little easier, and thrive daily, knowing that I'm a work in progress.

This month, I plan to take steps towards a more fulfilled life by first, taking the time to organize my house. My husband and I have been there for over a year now and I believe that bringing a little more order to our home will allow us to open up just a bit more in our space. I plan to add some refreshing colors to our home, something that will make us feel calm and inspired each day. Bringing a freshness to my home is always a great way to keep thriving. Second, I'm going to eat the fruits of mine and my husband's labor by cooking with the veggies harvested in our backyard garden! To continue to thrive, one must eat veggies and veggies straight from the land that you dug and planted and watered is something truly special and sustaining.

Thriving to me is being consistent with your values and your beliefs. When I'm praying and keeping in touch with the Creator of my being as well as the heart of my soul, living becomes thriving. When I'm taking good care of my home and making room for color and openness, when I'm cooking in my kitchen with whole foods fresh from the land, living becomes thriving. When I nod gently to every person in a way that honors them, living becomes thriving.