The Practice of Journaling

Journaling has been a part of my life in some format or another for as long as I can remember. 

I have a small book shelf with journals going back to my early teens. I have poetry manuscripts. Notebooks of prose. I have scrapbooks of favorite quotes and passages from books. I even have autobiographical collections - journals of spiritual experiences, of dreams, of pregnancy and my son's first year of life.

The point is, journaling can take on all different kinds of forms depending on your needs at the time. You can even have several journals running concurrently!

A few months ago, as the year was drawing to a close, I decided that I would write as often as possible in my main journal, which is the one in the middle in the picture below. But I also found a need to establish two others.

The one on the left is my "health" journal so to speak. I just simply jot down the things I did that day that contributed to greater health of mind, spirit, and body - not to judge myself, but …

A Year For Renewal and Health

A new year has commenced with a super moon, bearing better tidings, I hope.

I chose to dispense with my preferred rituals for ushering in a new year and instead record my theme for the coming year in my journal, which came to me from an unexpected gift.

Several friends set out to do the Camino in Spain this year. One, brought me a beautiful pendant from the region from where my family originated. It had a beautiful Celtic inscription on one side, with the the following words inscribed in Spanish on the other side:

"Renacimiento Entusiasmo Salud"
The moment I received it, sometime last fall, I knew that these words would comprise my theme for the coming year.

Renacimiento, can be translated literally as "rebirth," or as "renewal." Both of these seem appropriate for this juncture in my life.

This word is followed by "enthusiasm," and finally by "health."

I noticed that many people chose a word this year as their own theme, with the emphasis being…

Fill Your Cup With Good Things

A New Year is here. 
Another one has been dispatched...
We could sit here and talk about how hard it was - or how bad it was. But I will not do that. And neither should you. Let's not give the past anymore energy...
I choose to look ahead instead...
I am grateful for the many blessings and miracles that I believe are currently unfolding in my life, and in the lives of others...
This year, I chose to usher it in differently, and dispelled with my usual rituals. I thought instead, of what I would like to fill this year with. I thought of the new year as a cup, filled with many good things.
What would you like to fill your cup and your new year with?
What kind of drink warms your body and your heart? Good coffee - tea, or hot cocoa? It really doesn't matter what your pour into your cup.
Imagine yourself holding your cup filled with your warm drink of choice. It happens to be very cold where I am at this morning.
Feel the warmth of your cup.
Hold it tightly - and let the steam bathe and soo…

What the Ducks Taught Me

I have been watching these ducks at the pond for the last few days, in the crisp morning air.

Sometimes they come closer, and other times they simply glide on by, oblivious to my presence.

A couple of days ago, after my meditation, I watched them for quite some time, and as they came closer, I felt myself merge with them, becoming one with them, and their breathtaking spirits! I was filled with love for them, and it expanded right out of my heart! I felt one with them - they were no longer Other, but a part of me, as I was a part of them.

"You are so beautiful!" I cried out!

"We are ALL beautiful!" I also thought. Yes - every living thing is - if we only take the time to notice it and realize it.

In that moment, there was such a sense of oneness and connection that I experienced, that went beyond these beautiful creatures.

In a world that seems so torn and divided - where just reading the morning headlines can be a virtual assault and vexation, shocking our systems into …

You Never Step into the Same River Twice - A Decade of Practices.

"You never step into the same river twice." ~ Heraclitus
Nothing is ever the same. Everything changes. This river, that I have visited - at times nearly every day - over the space of a decade, is not the same. But then neither am I.

I came to this river, suggested as a meeting place by a friend during a time of neediness and great pain and impending transitions. I came back, many a morning, feeling alone, having hit rock bottom, in the throws of deep depression, to do a rosary of spiritual practices: Lovingkindness meditations, Reiki chants, actual rosaries, prayers both traditional and spontaneous, the offering of blessings, and whatever else arose from the depths of my soul.

For several years I came, almost daily.

One morning, while sitting on a boulder by the riverbank, the river beckoned me to come inside. And so I did. I bought a kayak without even thinking about it, and spent a few years paddling upstream - repeating mantras, reciting prayers, while receiving a steady strea…

A Soul Untethered

Years ago, the book The Untethered Soul, by Michael A. Singer was making the rounds. Everyone I knew in the yoga world was either reading it or quoting it.

Yesterday, as I was journaling and reflecting on a manuscript a friend had sent me for review, I had this image of my life and my soul as coming unglued or becoming untethered from its source and its essence. 

This past year has been characterized by challenges and difficulties on so many fronts. Personally, the year was punctuated by the loss of several family members and friends, and I reflected on the fragility of life during my Thanksgiving meal prayer. I recalled a year marked by sadness but also by joy. In the end, I chose to focus on the many blessings received throughout the course of the year, thus laying the foundation for even more blessings in the coming year.

When we feel untethered it is a reminder that we are simply ungrounded. Events on the political spectrum and our personal lives were just catalysts and excuses for l…

A Decade of River Lessons

Every year on my birthday there are several rituals and practices I like to do.

Over the years, these rituals have changed somewhat. For a number of years I did a yoga Sun Salutation practice for each year of my life, reflecting on the major events of each one. I was always amazed by the long forgotten memories that would spontaneously arise!

Yesterday, I did a meditation reflecting on the events of the past year, month by month. It was a meditation taught to me by a friend over a decade ago. The past year had indeed been heavy, with many sad events occurring, but they were balanced with occasions to celebrate as well.

I reflected on significant deaths that occurred in my family - including those of friends not much older than I am.

But in the early morning, I went down to the river to do a number of practices...

Some years it has rained on my birthday. This is a blessing and considered auspicious in Eastern cultures. 

Yesterday it was cold, wet, and a little bit foggy.

Ten years ago, I star…