Sneak Peeks, Gratitude, and Out-takes

Sneak Peeks, Gratitude, and Out-takes

Have I said thank you lately?

I’ve been writing… drinking tea… writing some more. Book #2 (my oh-so-creative working title for this creation in process) is due in two months. Holy kamole.

(The tea of choice this week is jasmine green with a big dollop of wildflower honey and a splash of homemade cashew milk… and I’m drinking a ridiculous amount of it. I should probably keep a tea log ’cause the recipes get super-creative when I’m simmering new book ideas!) (more…)

Gratitude and Intention Setting: It’s Time For a Reframe

Gratitude and Intention Setting: It’s Time For a Reframe

Gratitude and intention setting get a lot of play. Are they played out?

I was feeling skeptical, and maybe a bit jaded and bored.

You are an old soul, she said.

Yeah, right.

Every soul feels old sometimes... and tired... and been-there-done-that, have the tattoo to prove it. Click To Tweet

 

Sometimes this “you’re an old soul” mumbo-jumbo just pisses me off.

I was this particular kind of pissed off a dozen years ago when walking into yoga class.

Most likely I won’t remember your name if I run into you on the street (sorry, it’s true, I’m one of those people who needs context), but I can still feel the warm wood under my toes and the slight sawdusty scent which always lingered under the Nag Champa burning in the old church where class was held.

Kate, who still often graces the cover of the yoga magazines, was teaching. I rolled out my mat and pretended to stretch, listening instead to the replay in my brain of Llorraine’s rant about my old-soulness.

So when Kate asked us to set an intention for the class, I did what any old soul with a chip on her shoulder would do: Prove it! I challenged the Universe, shaking my metaphoric fist at the sky. Show me just how “old soul” I really am!

And I set my intention to feel each of my lifetimes on a cellular level.

Let me pause for a moment to remind you that I food shop and vacuum and use chopsticks to fish the dog’s kibble out of the crack under the baseboard, just like you.

Most of the time I don’t live in altered states. But I cross through them, maybe more often than most, and learn a smidge more about the underside of the Universe (the part we don’t often see) each time I do.

What I learned this time was rather simple:

When I set the intention of feeling all my past lifetimes during yoga class, I felt like a bunch of puzzle pieces that don’t fit together. The length of my legs no longer matched and there was a weird stereo cacophony which almost seemed to reach my ears.

That’s exactly how I’ve been feeling these past few weeks as I straddle two timelines, two possible realities.

Honestly it’s been a bit schizophrenic. One moment I’m a complete failure, ready to fold up my part of our business and collapse in relief on the sidelines. The next moment I’m an author-to-be with an incredibly beautiful book coming out next summer (I’ve seen the illustrations and it’s going to be pretty spectacular) and a group of witchy, wise women deeply invested in my community and programs.

One moment I’m deep in the morass of a crisis of confidence brought on by a multitude of bad decisions on the technological front, the next I’m fielding emails from numerous people who suddenly want business coaching (and I’m thinking come on people! Haven’t you gotten the memo? F-A-I-L-U-R-E.).

My friends have watched me swing between these two extremes, trying on every hat in the closet to see which will get me through the day:

the wise old teacher retiring so the young ‘uns can take over, the sassy mentor ready to unstick you from your own morass, the sharp business woman asking all the right questions (this time around!), and the pathetic wreck sniveling through mounds of tissues.

This morning I was finally able to step back from myself, to get enough distance to understand I’m dancing between timelines, between possible realities… and right now, in this moment of choice, both are alive and real (and there’s probably more than two!).

Here’s the bit that’s replicable, ’cause if I’m the only one having these thoughts I’ll eat my socks:

To get through these moments I needed the next level of intention-setting and to sink into a deeper well of gratitude.

  • Intention setting has never been simply about a couple mantras in the morning and a new vision board. But this experience of seeing the warp and weft of my reality, seeing the threads I was weaving or not weaving, drove home our multitudinous levels of choice: we not only choose our emotions and our actions, we also choose how we’re gonna think about ourselves. And that last choice resonates through everything else say and do.
  • Spending time in gratitude every evening, recounting the day’s pleasures, is lovely. But gratitude runs deeper than that; it’s about where you want to put your energy and attention… which means it’s not just about being grateful for the book deal, it’s choosing to focus on being grateful for the book deal instead of spending the same time/energy worrying about the tech troubles.

The funny thing is, in the midst of the angst of the past week, I’ve heard Lorraine’s voice a couple times:

Listen, if you were some young soul, I’d take this shit! But you’re an old soul; quit wasting your energy on the wrong stuff. Get yourself together and get to work!

Guess there’s a place for all that old-soul mumbo-jumbo after all.

Oh, and some of you like to know what herbs or stones or animals I work with when I’ve got a particular thing going down. This week, I’ve been focused on dandelion, who cheerfully finds a way to grow and prosper in all sorts of odd and uncomfortable situations.

I’ve also called on Owl, who moves easily between realities. Finally I’ve been taking some probiotics to help my gut digest life a bit better and massaging the Liver3 acupuncture point to support my liver assimilating all this new information!

Big hugs,

Communion, Devotion and Keeping the Faith: Why I Blog

Communion, Devotion and Keeping the Faith: Why I Blog

Blogging is an act of faith.

Three years ago, when this blog graduated from random occurrence to weekly newsletter, I didn’t realize I was making a commitment to noticing the curious and the intriguing, the magic in the ordinary, the way the light reflects off a dew-splattered leaf or the scent of rosemary in the afternoon sun.

I didn’t know that in bleak moments when life seems annoying or painful or heart-wrenching, I would still be finding lessons and bright spots because I had made a promise to both myself and you to create something worth reading every Sunday morning.

I didn’t understand that blogging would become my act of communion, first with the world around me and then with you.

Writing has forced me to live in wonder.

It’s shown me how to keep the faith—to confidently approach each week knowing that at some point my imagination will be sparked by something worth sharing, something worth the time it takes for me to write and the time it takes for you to read.

It’s only this morning, lying in a borrowed bed at my sister’s home overlooking the Mediterranean, watching myself watching the world waiting for a moment ripe enough to become story, that I’m realizing this devotion I’ve created, realizing how I’m devouring details—the jasmine planted strategically beneath the open bathroom window, the word play as my niece and nephew switch fluently between English and Hebrew, the avocado green of the pistachio ice cream at the local gelateri.

Last night I looked around the table as we had our usual rambunctious family dinner, noting that “family” includes a childhood friend who is often willing to make the long flight from New York to join in our Israeli gatherings. Will this week’s blog be about friendship?

I think about my sister, who growing up wanted nothing more than to buy my parent’s house in a small suburb near Philadelphia but instead married into a foreign country, became unexpectedly bilingual, and is now a favorite teacher who can’t walk ten steps down her town’s ancient shopping street without being waved to, hugged, flagged for a quick chat.

Will this week’s blog be about brave choices when there’s an unexpected fork in the road?

I never know what I will write but I do know that if I pay attention it will come to me.

So I keep the faith, pay attention, commune with the world around me.

What I realized this morning at 3:30AM, jet-lagged and headachy, is how friggin’ grateful I am for this practice. Knowing that I am going to write, come headaches or out-of-town guests or wedding anniversaries or trips overseas, and knowing that you are going to read, keeps my life wonderous. It keeps me paying attention and in the game. This is why I blog.

So thank you. You are part of this equation and I hope that in the reading you too are sparked and your capacity for noticing the sensual world expands, that you begin to know both yourself and the world around you more deeply.

Tell me—what are you noticing in your world? What is lighting you up today?

Big hugs—

 

 

 

4 Gratitude Rituals for Over-Achievers

4 Gratitude Rituals for Over-Achievers

Some people are grateful all the time.

I’m not one of them.

I tend to be a striver, an achiever, a “what’s next?” kinda gal.

For me, gratitude has to be a ritual, otherwise it only happens on the rare occasion when something completely out of the ordinary whacks me over the head with the wonderfulness of this world.

So, as a Thanksgiving treat, I thought I’d share my super-easy gratitude practices (the ones I actually do.) (more…)

How to Practice Happiness

How to Practice Happiness

 

Do you know how smart, beautiful, and fearless you are?

Have you given yourself a cheeky wink and a thumbs up in the mirror lately?

If you haven’t, make kissy faces at your beautiful-being the next time you pass the looking glass.

Why?

Because being grateful actually has a neuro-chemical effect on the brain. Which is why I have my clients start every session by telling me what’s new and good… especially when things are horrible and crappy.

Gratitude increases activity in the hypothalamus, which controls things like metabolism and sleep and stress. Which means that your decision to notice the good in your life affects your weight, your rest, and your relaxation.

Studies are showing that gratitude actually affects dopamine levels in the brain (read more here), which means being grateful makes your brain a happier place to live… and puts you in a positive feedback loop that makes it easier to be happy.

We tend to think of happiness as a fleeting feeling over which we have little control. But what happens if you think of happiness as a practice?

I suspect, if you are like many of my clients, it’s a practice that might be particularly relevant right now; at this time of year, when winter is beginning to soften but spring has not yet pushed through, aggravation can quickly become a dominant emotion.

The best antidote for aggravation is a little gratitude.

There are many ways to have a gratitude practice and you might have to experiment to find the one that flows for you:

* Keep a gratitude journal.

* Share something you are grateful for with your partner before bed.

* Use the camera on your phone to record moments of gratitude during the day (this is especially useful if you, like me, find gratitude in things you can see).

* Use essential oils to remind you of things you are grateful for (pine to remind you of Christmas with your family or clove to reminisce about Thanksgivings past).

What difference would it make in your life if gratitude became a practice and happiness a habit?

How do you practice gratitude and happiness? Share with us below!

Big Hugs-

maiasig1