October 14, 2016


While reflecting on a couple of lovely days spent traveling around my beautiful island of Santo Antao, I’m inspired to think about the journey of life. The featured photo was taken from the crater of a volcano here. How does someone come to live in the crater of a volcano?

How do all of the decisions that we make…and life experiences that we have…connect? 

How do we let go of our preconceived notions about how something is supposed to go?

I think of how people and mere moments can inspire you to make major life changes. We may expect that those people and those moments are there to stay and meant to last, but maybe that’s not the way it’s supposed to go. Maybe those people and those moments were necessary to push us into the next phase of our evolution.

Or maybe that person was meant only to connect us with someone else we needed to have in our lives.

I think of the cherry tree in Japan that inspired the first meditative question…and ultimately led to a book (!!!). When I asked the concierge at my hotel in Tokyo where I could find a cherry tree, I had no idea that the answer to that simple question could be so inspiring.

Life gives us moments that move us in different directions. Sometimes we are moved because of profound beauty or love…two things that could never truly be put into words (though art is made from trying!). Other times it is a feeling of struggle that makes us believe that there has to be another way.

I once read that our brain only processes a fraction of the stimuli around us, for if we were able to process more, we would be overwhelmed. Life is so much bigger and broader than we can imagine. But it is so easy to get caught up in our own little worlds. Because we do that so easily, we forget how big the Universe is…we don’t acknowledge the endless possibilities…we don’t grasp our limitless potential. Instead, we only feel the pebble in our shoe. (Or for me right now, the hammering that’s happening on my roof haha But I’m going to continue anyway!)

It is so easy to get fixated on a destination. But when I think the last two days spent riding around the island here, I lost track of where we were going. I was on the flat bed of a pickup truck, holding on tightly to a beautiful four year old boy with the wind blowing in my face. I was looking out at the majesty of nature in the trees covering the mountains. I smiled at the golden flowers blooming in trees and the red blossoms lining the road. I was in awe of the evergreen trees growing out of the side of the mountain. Looking down on lower mountains covered in clouds took my breath away. And eating a fresh guava fruit from a kind and beautiful woman living in the heart of the crater of a volcano while a puppy chased that same beautiful four year old boy made me laugh deeply as he ran in circles around me, almost pulling off my shorts before I swept him in my arms to protect him from the hyper puppy, so full of energy. My friends were happily lost in the moment either eating fruits or helping to collect more. Life was happening in those moments. I didn’t care about where we were going or when we were going to get there.  I was along for the ride. And what a beautiful ride it was.

And I know that no matter how much I may want it, it would be impossible to re-create that exact same day again. The people, the place, the weather, the moments were unique and special and beautiful. They undoubtedly touched all of our lives in different ways.

Life is like this. 

We hear this phrase, “Enjoy the journey!” but what does that really mean? Does that mean that every moment is going to be exactly as we want it? No. Even yesterday, there were times that I was hungry and tired and probably less than enthusiastic haha But then there were those times that I laughed heartily with friends, ran around after children, and felt so much love in my heart that my mouth was hurting from all of the smiling. My spirit only remembers the latter.

So with life, we have this impression that every minute of every day is going to be perfect. We want every season to be Spring or Summer…with new blooms and shining sun. But Fall is about letting go and Winter snows remind you to be like melting snow and wash yourself of yourself  (Rumi).

Every phase that we go through…every person that we meet…every moment that we have is meant to be appreciated for what it is. We are not meant to get stuck on any one moment. We are meant to flow through it…like water moving down a stream. But even if we get stuck, whatever we do to get un-stuck is also part of our path.

Oprah gives a good talk about how there are no mistakes…that everything that happens was meant to get us where we need to go. I believe this to be true. We are Creators, and through our choices and our way of interpreting everything that’s happening, we create our lives.

If you imagine riding in the back of a pickup truck as you drive through the moments of your life, there are some things (good or bad) that stand out as being pivotal. There are some moments that make you want to stop the truck to take a picture to try to capture the beauty. And there are others you’d rather speed through haha. But if you look at the trajectory of how those moments (and the feelings from those moments) led you to make different decisions, as you keep riding you will start to see how all of those moments led you to where you are now.

So all that’s left now is for you to park the truck for a minute and acknowledge everything you saw for what it was. Don’t get stuck on anything. Just think of it as a myriad of different things you would see when driving through nature. It is a collection of memories. Since it does not exist now, it only exists in your mind. So, it’s only your thoughts that make it real.

Now, get out of the truck and set about making decisions that your future self will look back on proudly during that next trip through old memories. Life is what you make. Through taking responsibility and ownership of your life, you move closer to realizing your potential. Take decisions out of the hands of others and start building the life you dream about. For you would not have been given those dreams if you could not make it a reality.

In Genesis 2:21, God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep. There is no mention in the Bible that he ever woke up. Life is but a dream…now go make it a good one ;)

October 2, 2016


It was September 30, 2016…two days ago…it was the day that the Atlantic ocean swallowed my iPhone6. The featured photo for this post was to be the last selfie sent from my phone. And the bit of ocean that claimed by phone can been seen in the photo…the white wave cresting down below was to be the site of ‘the incident’ haha

September 30th was a beautiful day here in Cape Verde. Clear skies with a little cloud cover insured that it wasn’t too hot. I decided to go on a bike ride. As I unplugged my iPhone from the charger, I noticed that it was still at 45% — the frayed wires on the end of the cord had finally fizzled out — but no matter, that was enough for a few hours of music. I was disappointed that my 10 foot charger cord had bitten the dust, but I had backups. I’d work it out.

I had a great ride around the city and stopped for lunch. The day was so lovely that I didn’t want to stay inside. There was a perfect breeze and cloud cover to shield a lot of the sun. So I braved the massive hill (mountain haha) up to my home and dropped my bike off. I grabbed some water and decided to should go for a hike down to the ocean. As I enjoyed the beautiful day, I happily listened to music and snapped photos during my hike. I was shocked by how much erosion the rains had caused and I was making mental notes that purchasing property too near the ocean here would probably not be a good idea.

One of my favorite areas to hike down to was also different. The smooth black rocks, normally clean, were covered in mud. I hiked all the way down to this area and took many photographs. The water was such a brilliant blue/green! I also took a few selfies that captured both the ocean and the mountains in the background. The way the sun was shining made these photographs spectacular to me. I was in the photography zone! haha

Then all of a sudden, the winds picked up and the waves were crashing beautifully against the rocks. I had to get pictures of this too! I was happily snapping away and then all of a sudden I noticed my headphone cord swaying freely…nothing was attached to it! (I still have no idea how this happened. In the beauty of the moment, perhaps I forgot that I was holding my phone! haha) In a split second, I looked down and saw that my phone was sliding down the rocks — a short stretch of rocks, maybe one foot from the cresting waves. I analyzed the situation quickly and came to the easy conclusion that my safety was more important than the iPhone. I knew that if I lunged for it, I could easily fall into the ocean. And this was not a beach area. The currents were strong and forcefully crashing against the rocks on the shoreline. I said a mental goodbye as I watched my phone bounce down the rocks twice and fly into the ocean with the third, prolonged, bounce. It happened in seconds. In that time my jaw dropped and I looked out into the ocean knowing my phone was gone. And then I started laughing. haha! Yes, really! I shook my head and I laughed. I laughed throughout my hike home and then to my neighbors as I told them why I was laughing haha

I laughed because there was nothing in the world I could do about it. I laughed because it was still a good day. And I laughed because it was just a phone.

Yes, I thought about the photos, videos, contacts, and memories on the phone. I thought about how the phone was my lifeline to the outside world through social media, messaging, and news. But then I realized it was replacable. I was safe and my phone was in the ocean…I was okay with that.

And then I thought about letting go. Letting go has been the biggest theme of 2016 for me. I think it started when I shaved my hair off in January, continued when I sold and gave away (practically) all of my possessions in February, and manifested in various ways as I have decided to end associations with toxic people. Of those three, I think the latter is the hardest to deal with. Hair grows back, you can buy more things, but we are wired to connect with others. Separation is difficult, but often it is the healthiest choice.

So, when I think of the list of things I’ve let go of so far this year, I can’t say I’m too surprised by the loss of the phone. But as with every other form of loss, your reaction determines your reality. I am thankful that I was able to laugh off the loss of the phone and not get too caught up in the moment of the loss and think of all of the things I could have done differently. I moved on quickly and got about the business of setting up my backup device.

I was reminded that life goes on…until it doesn’t. haha Things are forever out of our control, but our reactions belong to us. We get to decide whether we are going to allow a situation to break us or make us stronger. We decide if we are going to stay rooted in the moment or if we’re going to move on. We get to choose whether we see the humor in the situation or dwell in the loss. Choose wisely ;)

There is a beautiful poem by Hafiz that comes to mind:

The sky

Is a suspended blue ocean.

The stars are the fish

That swim.

The planets are the white whales

I sometimes hitch a ride on.

And the sun and all light

Have forever fused themselves

Into my heart and upon

My skin.

There is only one rule

On this Wild Playgound,

For every sign Hafiz has ever seen

Reads the same.

They all say,

“Have fun, my dear; my dear, have fun,

In the Beloved’s Divine


O, in the Beloved’s




red rose
September 27, 2016


They say, “Everything happens for a reason,” and I’m sure I’ve used this saying before too. But mostly I’m not a fan of it because it seems to justify every perceived bad thing. I don’t think the saying is necessarily wrong, but it just comes off as callous. It doesn’t express the full story.

Things happen in our lives that we register as pain. Whether it is emotional or physical, we tend to want to avoid pain at all costs. We don’t want to be hurt, let down, or disappointed. And most of the time we don’t know how to deal with the resulting emotions when one (or all) of those things happen. We can try to avoid thinking about it, but that’s usually just a signal to your brain to think about it more. Or we can pretend like it didn’t happen, which again keeps our mind constantly going back to reexamine. Or we can tell ourselves a different story about what happened.

The latter option sounds like we’d be lying to ourselves, but that wouldn’t really work — again, we’re too smart for that. Re-framing the situation is something else entirely. Instead of placing ourselves as victims of our own stories, we have to force ourselves to look at the bigger picture. If we believe that the Universe is for us, we understand that whatever happened was meant to wake us upAnd really, who doesn’t want to hit snooze when the alarm goes off? Staying in bed is comfortable. Getting up to face the workout or the workday takes effort.

If we want to adequately deal with what has happened to us, it’s going to take a little effort. Instead of continuing to play the victim in our story, we have to acknowledge simply that some things happened that were meant to move us to a different — and, I think, better — reality. We can stay in a rut thinking about what might have been or what we think should have been… OR we can bravely face the day waking up to a new reality where we are thankful for grace and lessons learned from a painful experience. Like an artist, we approach a new canvas and start painting a new picture of the life we want and live that.

If we accept that things could not have happened any other way…and we give up hope that the past could have been any different…we breathe in the flavor of forgiveness. We stop the cycle of the victim mentality and get to the business of building the life that we want — not staying trapped in a life we don’t want. By taking what we’ve learned from the experience and sharing it with others creatively, we ease our pain and unknowingly ease other’s pain.

Just think of the song that you played over and over again while going through a tough time that expressed all of your unspoken feelings and comforted you. Or a painting that transported you to another place and eased your spirit. Or a movie that inspired you to reach new heights. Or a photograph that captured your emotions and gave you a pathway to your next steps.

Yes we can say that everything happens for a reason. But more specifically, things happen as the Universe’s way of participating in your unfolding. The rose may not appreciate every rain drop, but the bloom is so beautiful. We don’t have to understand the reason why things occurred, we only have to decide what we’re going to do about it energetically. If you can find beautiful ways to transform negative energy into a positive for all, you win and we all win.

An illness experienced by you or a family member may lead you on the path to find or develop a cure. An accident may lead you to develop safety standards or preventive measures. A poor educational experience may inspire you to be a great teacher. An increase in crime may make you decide to run for office to change policies. Seeing the beauty and potential of the world may inspire you to write about it, paint it, or sing about it. For who can say what is right or wrong or good or bad? All of these energies flow together and we must dance a cosmic dance to prevent any chains from taking hold. (I envision the whirling dervishes of Sufism.)

Emotional freedom means reframing your story and determining how to transform energy into a loving state. As you love yourself, you love others. As you forgive yourself, you move forward. Regardless of what happens, my wish for you is that you stay free and release yourself from being the victim of your story. You have so much Art in you…and we need you to paint it ;)



Photo source: Red Rose

Burdened with the weight of the rain, the rose blooms anyway and allows the water to nourish her. ;) <3

September 18, 2016


We should make all spiritual talk simple today.

God is trying to sell you something that you don’t want to buy.

That is what your suffering is:
your fantastic haggling
your manic screaming


I originally posted this quote as a free standing post. I love Hafiz and I think his poetry holds its own. But I saw it again on the website today and really wanted to add commentary because I think what he’s saying is so important.

When I read this poem, I think of the things that we say we want. We say we want freedom, but we don’t want to give up the car. We say we want peace, but we keep the toxic person in our lives. We say we want love, but we don’t want to give it.

I believe that God makes a way for us to get exactly what we want. But it may not be in the form we want. We cannot except to have a new life when we continue to hold on to old things. The reality is that our attachment to things that cause suffering can feel comfortable. We become comfortable in our suffering. It is familiar and we imagine that life without those things or those people will be worse. We think we will be immobile without the car or lonely without the person.

Of course, with perspective, we can figure out other solutions. But in the moment of the decision, the price seems too high. We think the price will take our freedom and security. We’re not really ready to give up everything.

But an amazing thing happens when you let go. Freedom feels a million times better than leather seats, new clothes, and a broken heart. Suffering is a decision. 

Even in death, we have to realize that God didn’t promise eternal life in this form. In a way, the price of life is death. We cannot avoid it and we cannot negotiate our way out of it. If we recognize life as a gift meant to be enjoyed, we stop trying to hedge our bets. We stop delaying and postponing…and we start really living.

So, instead, recognize that the price to end your suffering will always involve letting go. Let go of your attachment to things, people, and even ideas. Let go of false beliefs that you will be able to get something for free. See the lesson in every experience and the gift in every day. Take the bold step to live your dreams in reality. What are you waiting for?

If we live life fully, death then becomes the final let go of our physical form. It becomes the final piece we strip away to achieve freedom in the spirit realm. And maybe we find that the peace there was worth letting go of everything we thought that made us who we are.

Namaste ;)

Photo source: Death Valley

puzzle pieces
September 18, 2016


This morning I was contemplating the folly of asking why. Since I wrote a book of questions (Meditative Questions), I decided to check my book to see how many questions I had asking why. I found only two (both on page 41) asking why you want what you think you want. I can’t argue with those ;)

The reason I think asking why is frivolous is because it usually involves wondering why something has happened. Or why someone has done what they have done. It’s focused on the past. It relegates you to detective…trying to piece together a mystery.

But the reality is that the why usually doesn’t even matter. It’s a distraction that gets you trapped in a cycle of unproductive thought. And it usually doesn’t help you move forward. (A notable exception is if you use the lessons learned from the why to make different decisions in the future.)

So ok, how about an example? Let’s say you figure out why someone has wronged you. Does knowing why change the wrong that was done? Does it help you feel better about why the person wronged you? Doubtful. Does it give you real closure? Maybe (unless you see it for the excuse that it probably is; however, they probably don’t know why they did it either). But could you have gotten that closure on your own by deciding to move on for you?  Yes.

Every puzzle doesn’t need to be solved. And every past decision doesn’t need to be analyzed. Your peace and happiness are worth more. Trust your intuition and be brave enough to move on without the receipts that you think you need. By the time you get the proof that confirms what you felt, you’ve probably wasted more time and energy and allowed the situation (you don’t really want) to grow.

And you will get to a place where you find that nothing is worth your peace. Let it all go.


Photo source: At Piece


September 17, 2016


While out mountain biking today in Cabo Verde, it’s impossible not to think of ups and downs while powering up some incredibly steep inclines and coasting down some equally steep hills (the fun part!!).

Is it more fun to coast down the hill because of the work put in to climb up? I don’t know for sure. But I know that life is this way. Often we feel like we’ve been climbing forever. And then we hit the top of the hill and get to glide. Do you enjoy the glide or do you use that time to figure out how you are going to get up the next hill?

Sometimes it only requires a change of perception to realize we are already where we want to be. And that we already have all we need.

The ups and downs do make things interesting. They strengthen us and allow us to experience the feeling of freedom. But if you hold on to the feeling of struggle while coasting, the flavor of the experience will be entirely different.

How you choose to experience the journey is always up to you. I always say choose freedom…which always requires letting go. ;)


September 17, 2016


Before leaving for my month long trip to Thailand for Muay Thai training, I was inspired to do so by one picture (below). For you see, I was having a really bad day…followed by a sleepless night…and I knew I had to do some things differently. The discomfort was because I needed to let go, and that can be hard because sometimes we fight to hold on to what is familiar. I had to break the pattern of my life. I had to give myself new life.


When I saw this picture, I saw someone fighting through their circumstances…literally and figuratively. Though I’d trained a bit in Muay Thai while living in LA, it had been a while. I didn’t care though. I had a new mission and decided I’d go to Koh Samui…the island I didn’t have time to visit when I was in Thailand in 2010. Before giving it much thought, I was reserving a space at the Lamai Muay Thai Camp. A week later I was there!

Traveling to Thailand from Cape Verde is a much longer trip than from LA. I literally had to cross all of Africa and all of Europe. It took a couple of days to get there. Unfortunately I caved and ate some plane food on the long trip from Paris to Singapore and ended up sick for a couple of days when I got there. (I wish airlines would just sell snacks instead of the preservative filled meals.)

While at the Lamai Camp, I had an awesome trainer I worked with 1:1 (thanks Joe!). I was also fortunate enough to meet some really amazing people along the way. Most of us seemed to be in transition, and I think the camp represented a turning point for us. We were all getting closer to figuring out our next moves. But the beautiful part of the camp is that it made us all very present. Our daily lives were centered around the training.

Another incredible thing happened while I was away a camp…three of my closest friends had their children! I became Auntie three times over to Siham, Paheli, and Makoa! I was fortunate to see the mothers (and fathers) of these now beautiful children in June when they were all pregnant. How amazing that this new life should all arrive at this time.

As I write this by the side of the ocean in Cape Verde, I marvel at how quickly life can change. Though I was only away one month, I returned feeling like a new person in a familiar place. Everything was the same and nothing was the same.


Shaking up your life requires leaps of faith. You will have no idea how things are going to turn out, but you have to go for it. Whether inspiration hits you from a photo or a film, you have to go with it. Don’t think too much about it…just do it.  Your life will be richer for having done so ;)


Life is the journey. Live it up! ;)


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