November 27, 2018


I often that I’ve been time traveling when I get back from one of my trips. While it is true that I go through some trippy time zone changes, I sometimes have moments of feeling like I’m in a different place and time…

This morning, as I was biking in Redondo Beach, CA next to the ocean, I had the clear feeling of biking in Kyoto next to the river…or in Santo Antao next to the ocean. Then at the gym, while I was rowing, I could have easily been at the gym in Cascais or Sarasota rowing. It sometimes feels like I’m shifting between times and places and spaces…



My perception of time, space and place has been altered. It feels, at times, like it is all overlapping. It causes me to question the concept of time…like perhaps it is not linear as we think it is. What would it mean if everything were happening at once?




November 17, 2018


During my short time in Japan, I feel like I rode half of the country’s trains. The process was made massively more complicated by all of the luggage I was carrying.

As I think back on those times, I am happy that I made it! I battled countless escalators, treacherous stairs, and was saved a few times by heavenly elevators. The process gave me perspective…and more than once, I thought about the plight of any alternately abled person who might be in need of support when utilizing this efficient form of transportation. (Our physicality is probably one of our most overlooked privileges!)

The process also made me reflect on the influence of momentum. I was traveling on holiday…without a need to be at a particular place at a certain time, but I found myself caught in the motion of the wave. In crowded subway stations, there is nowhere to stop. Like a molecule in a wave, you are hopelessly locked in step with the motion of everyone around you. To stop is to risk being trampled. I think the pressure to keep pace with everyone else (and the train! When the doors close, they close!) was a form of stress on my body…and it contributed greatly to my feelings of exhaustion after every trip. (I used the high speed, 300mph, bullet train Nozomi to get from Tokyo to Osaka, and then Osaka to Yokohama. Between those times, I traveled via subway and elevated trains.)

After every train trip, I found myself in need of rest and fresh air. Walks outside would rejuvenate me, and sleep would heal me. By the end of the trip, a warm soak in a deep tub was a welcome escape from my sore muscles. All of these activities helped me to breathe again, and to get back to my own pace.

Society can be like the train station experience. We take cues for the speed we should be traveling by the forces around us. Our jobs are often the train that sets the tempo (when to wake, when to sleep), and the people around us (friends, family, colleagues, social media network) set the speed of the wave. These influences give us our cues as to where we should be going, and the speed at which we should be moving to get there (e.g. child by 35!).

But this is exhausting. And it is meaningless.

Dare to disrupt this paradigm and set your own pace! Dare to rest (down with competitions regarding who worked the most hours!)…dare to have “unproductive” days…and date to take a walk in nature, at your own, to connect with Source.

Waves eventually crash. Take care of you and watch the Universe respond to support you. The leaf that rides the wave eventually makes it to shore, too ;)


November 16, 2018


When traveling to Kyoto, it just makes sense to visit Osaka (or vice versa). They are not that far apart (maybe an hour by train), but the cities feel worlds apart. I was staying in the business district in Osaka, so the energy definitely felt focused and determined. In Kyoto, the old city, the feeling of ancient tradition dominated.

I had planned to visit the Osaka Castle simply because I was attracted to the beauty of the site…but the walk around the castle, complete with a moat and stone walls for defense, was also lovely.

Even with the walk, I arrived before 8am (the golden time!), so I was able to take pictures…and later tour the castle (the interior has been turned into a museum)…without many people around. However, what I didn’t expect is that I would become a part of the attraction for others! While standing outside of the castle, I was asked no-less-than twenty times (by other Japanese tourists) if I’d pose for a photo! I happily accepted, and I’m sure there are a lot of photos of me floating around on social media haha

I’m particularly happy that my photos with this lovely lady were on my camera, because she motioned to the line and kindly whispered to me, “It is because the queen has returned to her castle,” and that was really lovely. Her kind words made my beautiful day even more lovely. :) And whenever I think of Osaka, I’ll remember her too. <3



November 16, 2018


Visiting Fushimi Inari in Kyoto was another surreal moment during my whirlwind visit to Japan (4 cities –Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Yokohama–in 5 days!).

I had seen pictures of the thousands of torii (Shinto gates that symbolize that everything on the other side of them is holy) at Fushimi Inari in Kyoto…and I’d dreamed of one day visiting. I don’t know why, but the beauty of the shrine always fascinated me. I wondered, what might it feel like to walk under these magical torii?

I had only the idea of one day visiting this moment, but I had no plan. Honestly, I also had no thought of making a plan! But somehow, the Universe took control of things and the visit happened far sooner than I could have imagined. It began with my decision to visit Thailand…

Even from California, the journey to Asia is long (at least 13 hours by flight). As a result, I always try to add on another Asian country to my visit. Historically, I’ve tacked on Bali…but this time, I was trying to figure out how to return to Japan, even for a day!

Fortunately, the American Airlines website was not working properly, so I had to call them. (At the time, it seemed like an annoyance.) I booked my trip to Thailand with the agent, and focused on having a long layover in Japan. The most she could find was 23 hours, and that seemed okay at the time…so we booked it. I had assumed that extended the trip more would cost a lot, and made a casual comment to that effect. She asked me if I wanted her to check, and I replied, “Sure, why not?!” To my surprise, extending the trip four more days only cost $100! I made the impulsive decision to do it!

Days later, I wondered if those five days in Japan would cost as much as my month in Thailand (haha), but I pushed those thoughts aside and remained excited about my trip.

During my last week in Thailand, I decided that I should take a crack at planning my time in Japan. I tried researching trains, hotels, and cities, but honestly, it all seemed like a blur. It was probably because of the heat in Thailand and my engagement in the training there…there’s also a chance that I was suffering from dehydration from the combination, too! In the end, I decided to just book my first hotel in Tokyo so I would have a destination from the airport. I knew that the only thing I really wanted to do in Tokyo was return to Ueno Park, so I selected a hotel in the Taito area (near the park).

When I arrived at my hotel in Tokyo, I can only remember being exhausted. I got there early in the morning (10am, after at 7:15am landing!), and I’d dealt with my luggage on three different trains, before finally decided to exit the subway and get a cab! (Fortunately, I also knew that my hotel was near the Tokyo Skytree, which is a major attraction. Therefore, it was a major subway stop…and an area where I knew I could find a taxi.)

Unfortunately, my room was not ready, so the front desk recommended that I got to a bath house to relax. I wasn’t keen on the idea, but I was staying at a business hotel without any real facilities…so unless I wanted to sit on a hard chair in the cafe for four house, the bath house was the best choice. They told me the bath house had hot springs (really hot tubs), restaurants, and resting rooms…and all of those things sounded good in my state of exhaustion. So, there I went!

The bath house was sorted by gender, and you’re not permitted to wear anything  in the pools. It ended up being an odd cultural experience as I walked around naked among Japanese women of all ages, and relaxed in hot tubs. Everyone was polite and pointed out where I should place my towels, etc. Soon after arriving, you stop caring, as you realize no one else does. There was a sense of freedom there that seemed missing in other parts of the culture in Japan. I understood the draw.

After a few hours there, I returned to my hotel and had thoughts of abandoning the thought of visiting other cities in Japan and just staying there. It would be cheaper, I reasoned, and I was so tired that I could rest there.

But fate had other plans as the hotel I was staying at was booked for the rest of my trip! I had to find other accommodations anyway…so why not just go to the other cities?  Following that thought, I went to sleep.When I woke up, I decided to go to the front desk to figure out the best way to get to Osaka.

The concierge gave me a website that greatly simplified all of my travel around Japan (, and solidified my decision to use my remaining days to visit new cities. I’m really thankful for that.

My biggest challenge was managing all of my luggage in the various train stations, and on-and-off all of the trains. Since I’d spent a month in Thailand, it was hard to avoid the size of the bags…and it was the reality I had to deal with. In hindsight, I probably wouldn’t have changed anything because storing my bags or sending them ahead would have been more expensive, and more of a headache. More days and less stuff were probably the only thing that would have helped.

Since I had limited time, I decided to focus on visiting one site per city. That’s it. In Tokyo, Ueno Park was an easy choice. In Osaka, I decided that I only truly cared about seeing the Osaka Castle…and that turned into an awesome experience (I sort of became part of the attraction, as 20+ Japanese tourists wanted to take photos with me there! haha). And in Kyoto, Fushimi Inari was an easy choice. (I later added Yokohama simply because I found a great price on a 4.5 star hotel and decided that would be a good place to rest haha An added bonus is that there was a coach shuttle to the airport that did not require anymore train travel!)

I rented a bicycle and biked to Fushimi Inari just after daybreak (6:45am). After getting slightly turned around, and braving some steep uphill areas, I arrived around 7:45am. (I learned in Osaka that it is best to arrive at 8am or before to avoid massive numbers of tourists that usually flood major attractions between 9 and 10am.)

There were only a few tourists at that time, which was great because that meant that I could walk through the torii (mostly) alone…and have some people around if I wanted to take photos haha. But I think it felt most magical because it was empty and you could really feel the history. (When I left a few hours later, it was packed and devoid of a lot of that feeling.)

Still, the feeling I remember most was when I was overcome with emotion for simply being there. How I’d imagined one day being there…and, without any real plan, I’d made it.

As I stop to think about these words, I know that there was some action that was taken on my part…but I was really guided to make those actions when I needed to make them. As I flowed through the process of visiting Japan, everything worked out fine. I made decisions when I needed to make them…I was everywhere I was supposed to be.

But it is so easy to forget these lessons. It is easy to get caught up in the doing rather than the being. However, once decisions became essential, it was easy for me to get them done. I only did what I had to do when I needed to do it.

If we do only what we need to do, everything will get done.

The time at Fushimi Inari was beautiful…not just because of the magical torii and mountain hike, but also because of the reminder that we get where we want to go, even without really trying…and, usually, not when we imagined we would.

It was a reminder to me to flow more, and resist less.




November 16, 2018


ueno park 1

I have to say first that I don’t even love the picture above…haha! But it’s so perfect. While I was standing in Ueno Park in Tokyo, next to the cherry blossom tree (not in bloom, it was autumn) that inspired me to write my first published book (Meditative Questions), I was overcome with so many emotions. I was nervous returning to the site…emotional as I next to the tree and thought about how it changed my life…and blissful as I had the opportunity to bring my books back to the spot where it all started. But everyone around me was going about their day, not understanding the magnitude of the moment for me. I think that’s what I like about this photo :)

I was lucky to meet a kind American (Hi Glen, from Skywest!) who took so many pictures of me next to my beloved tree. This was one snap he captured that really stood out because I can look at this picture and feel my own joy. I mean, where’s the fun if you can’t see all of my teeth and tonsils?? haha

The moment was so precious because I reminded of how the spark that this one tree provided lit up my life in so many unexpectedly wonderful ways. As I think of this tree, I’m humbled and thankful of my bravery and courage for daring to continue with the dream of a book and make it real…and for daring to dream of a new life, and creating that too.

I will always love this tree. And I will always strive to be more like it. [Side note: Even during this visit, as I had to check myself for being unhappy that people were daring to smoke under my beloved tree! But then, I recognized that my tree gracefully provided shelter for smokers and non-smokers (I expanded that idea saints and sinners) alike, without judgement. I also laughed as I thought about how I came back looking like a tree myself! haha]



ueno park 2




November 16, 2018


When I traveled to Thailand, I had expected to stay at the Lamai Muay Thai Camp and train daily. I did that. I expected the become physically stronger. I did. And I expected to meet good people. Another check mark.

On the basic levels, my month-long stay in Thailand went exactly as I expected. But as I reflect back on my time there, I realize very quickly that nothing went the way I’d expected.

I’d expected to return to my normal, hormone-balanced weight…nope, didn’t happen. (But it eventually will haha) I’d expected the weather to be cool…it was unbelievably hot (100 degrees in Oct/Nov!).  I’d expected that I wouldn’t get anything done…I somehow wrote three books in one week! I thought I’d meet new friends…but the new friends I met actually became new family.

Transformational Reiki

Also during my visit, I received a Reiki session from my new friend-turned-sister that completely rocked my world. I’ll be honest, I was completely skeptical of Reiki…I didn’t think gliding your hands above someone’s body could really do anything. But because I vibed with my sister Sheila, I wanted to support her. She explained that the process was all about energy flow and healing, similar to acupuncture–without the needles haha! I rolled with it all, without expectation.

As I think back on the session (Oct 28th, a special day for me because of my Heavenly Grams), I’m still amazed. When her hands were on my head, my thoughts went very quickly from useless (“did I remember to turn off my cell phone ringer?”) to transformational (visualization of myself as a being of light, moving into the galaxy). Everything was so real and it became like a waking dream. I saw Mooji laughing and encouraging me to drop my small self and merge with everything. It was a spiritual call for transcendence…and I witnessed myself resisting the call, instead choosing to stay in my small self to spread light, and potentially make new light. It was surreal.

As Sheila continued the Reiki, I felt other sensations…like feeling my heart race, as she moved her hands over my heart (omg!), and I had other scattered thoughts as different parts of my pysche were activated. But I kept returning to the universal vision and experience of that level of freedom. I experienced moments of light-headedness, but Sheila always seemed to know when to pull back to alleviate those feelings.

When we were done, I think I called her a magician haha I was floored by the experience, but to my surprise, so was she! During our talk, she expressed to me the crazy activity she felt in my mind (she said it felt magnetic), and she told me she wasn’t surprised about the deep thoughts I was having. She told me that she felt my heart was working overtime, but that there was some conflict.

In my solar plexus, my sense of self was rock solid…almost as it was pushing her away! She felt my independence and strength there, and helped to make a bridge between my self and my heart. Messages of “freedom” came through to her…and, most unbelievably (and believably), Sheila told me that one of my Native American ancestors joined that session and told her that “she is me.” By this point I’m floored, and in tears, as Sheila told me of her experience with this ancestor who cradled me and participated in the healing. She apparently told Sheila about how some of my dislikes and likes were hers. Even now, my heart races a bit thinking of it.

It was a magical experience, and nothing that I expected.

Even now, I don’t know what it all means…but on some level, I know that I’m not supposed to understand. I think I’m simply meant to have appreciation for the experience and an understanding that there are so many forces greater than us…that are a part of us…that we may never understand.

I was reminded that often times we go into situations with clear expectations about what the experience will be…and we are proven wrong.

I remain so thankful for the experience that I had in Lamai…and for the lifelong bonds that were created. I was transformed in ways that I never thought I would be…and those changes always carry unexpected ripples into the future. Here’s hoping that those ripples are as beautiful as this memory.


sage signature1




image source: by mmpninja

Thanks, Sheila <3 + xo ;)

November 16, 2018


While I was in Samui (Thailand), a friend mentioned a former Buddhist monk that he’d visited with…and later received a Sak Yant (sakyan) tattoo (made by using a bamboo rod with a needle tip that is tapped into the skin, and later filled in with ink). My friend mentioned that he’d received insightful wisdom from the former monk, and though I was not interested in getting a tattoo, I decided that I wanted to meet him. So, the next day, I did!

The Visit

Before meeting this monk, I thought of my other monk-friend…Dr Wu! For years, Dr Wu (a former Taoist monk) gave me wonderful acupuncture (ironically, needles) treatments in LA, and taught me Qi Gong and a little Tai Chi. We had deep conversations, and Dr Wu always provided me with insightful observations. I never took his word as law, but I had respect for his insights…and I have been inspired by some of the wisdom he has shared.

In short, my expectations for meeting the monk in Thailand were fairly high.

When I arrived at the monk’s house in Samui (on Oct 31st), a student of his (a woman) immediately began to ask me what I wished for (weird) and gave me a book with photographs of tattoos the monk had done before. I informed her that I was just there to talk, but she continued telling me about the magic of the tattoos and how it could change my life. It quickly began to feel like a sales pitch. Still, I listened patiently, and then she began asking me about my wishes again, as she wanted to tell her teacher (he was still in one of the back rooms). I told her I didn’t know and she peppered me with more questions, “Do you want good luck? Or more love? Or money?” I replied, “Obviously, none of those things would be bad, but I’m just here to talk.”

She nodded her head, seemingly resigned to the fact that I was going to be a tough case (not my intention!), and walked away to get her teacher. By this time, I’m feeling skeptical. But I still tried to maintain an open mind–maybe the student was not an accurate reflection of the teacher?

When the monk came in, it was easy to notice his kind smile, and he had a certain sparkle in his eyes. Maybe this would be good, after all. He asked me to write down my birthday (day and month), and then he took out a small book.

While he was reading, the woman asked me what I did for a living (“these days, a writer,” I said) and the monk nodded as he read. In English he said, “Many thoughts…many ideas. You can be very calm, but sometimes not,” he added with a mischievous grin. I just sat there, trying to simply nod at these general words. haha

Then he continued, “Four elements. Balance key. Step by step, day by day. Sakyan good for you. Improve luck, improve balance, improve life.”

I tried to maintain a neutral expression…I’m not sure if I succeeded. I felt like what I was hearing was so general that it could be applied to anyone. Then the woman spoke up and asked again, “What do you want?” I answered on impulse, “Freedom.”

She nodded and said, “Teacher said, you are like a bird.” (The monk had not said anything haha) But then, the monk began speaking again, “You are very strong…have a lot of fire.” Finally, I could agree with them on some things haha

He continued, “Life is good and bad.” (Losing me again haha) I nodded. The woman chimed in and said, “Yes, bad things in the world. Need protection. Sakyan good for you.” (I kind of checked out then) 

In an attempt to remain engaged and be polite, I asked him what tattoo he would recommend for me. He grabbed his book and said, “Many people come to get a tiger…but no, no…you don’t need that! For you, this.” He pointed to the picture of the phoenix (pictured above), and that finally gave me something to think about–I have always felt connected to the mythological character of the phoenix.

I asked to take a picture of the image, and he nodded. I told him I’d think about the tattoo, but we both knew I’d already reached a decision haha The woman started talking again, though, and explained how the tattoo came with a meditation and ceremony and would likely take four hours to complete. She prattled on about the prayers the monk would infuse into each tap, and the way the tattoo would protect me from everything. I kid you not, as she continued talking, the monk lit a cigarette and began smoking…right then and there! I wanted to laugh! But instead, I thanked them and started making my way to the door haha

I left shortly after. (And no, I did not go back for the tattoo.)


First, I think it’s important to say that my visit was meant to be the way it was for me. This re-telling of my experience was not meant to discredit the sacred art of sakyan, or the monk I visited. I’ve talked to people who found their visit with this monk, and their tattoos from this monk, to be transformational…and I believe them!

While I was not inspired to get a tattoo, I found that the visit gave me some things to think about, especially relating to birds. (Ironically, when I left the monk, the first thing I saw was a group of roosters walking around–pictured below.)

When I think of birds, these are simply facts: When Dr Wu read my chi, he told me that my original spirit was a bird…a stork. My constant travel could easily be compared to a bird. And I’m allergic to cats (it’s true! haha). I’ve always loved the phoenix.

The phoenix is the mythological symbol of rebirth. As legend goes, the phoenix dies, typically by fire, and is reborn in its own ashes. It represents the idea that the end is only a beginning (something I firmly believe). The magical phoenix has its origins in both Greek and Egyptian mythology…and it is typically depicted in red/orange/purple colors because of its connection to the sun and fire, and royalty.

All of this resonates with me.

Even now, the tips of my hair have become reddish in color–from the sun–and I think that it looks as if it has been licked by flames. I feel a transformation happening, and I know that I am on the cusp of another rebirth. As with the phoenix, it is both magical and a bit terrifying haha But it’s a feeling I’ve felt before, and I know that it will be good.

I did not feel the urge to get prayers tapped into my skin by a bamboo-rod needle, but I do feel prayers laced into the fabric of my being. I read once that your grandmother’s prayers are still protecting you and I feel that to be true in my spirit. I am thankful for this divine protection…I am thankful for the experiences that would not have been available to my ancestors (historically, these monks were not permitted to meet with women; and our technology has made the world small, as travel has become easier)…and I rest in the moment of now, imagining higher states of beauty. And transcendence.



samui roosters

Koh Samui
October 8, 2018


I’m writing this post from Thailand…at the Lamai Beach Muay Thai camp in Koh Samui. It is one of my favorite places to unwind and focus on physical well-being.

I’d been trying to keep up with all of my travels and impressions on this site, but after a few months—and twice as many cities—I have some catching up to do haha Hopefully I will get to that eventually, but, for now, I am reflecting on the nomadic life that I’ve had the great fortune to be living.

It is a great privilege to be able to travel the world so freely, and I am constantly humbled by the opportunities I’ve had to do so. I’ve learned that travel never really makes sense financially, but the gift of following your intuition and going on that adventure is a thrill beyond compare.

Though there are many places in the world left for me to see, I find that I am drawn back to places that have made strong impressions on me. This Muay Thai camp is a great example…I think of it when I feel that I am on the cusp of something new. It is almost like the physicality of the training helps me to focus and dig a little deeper. I am so grateful to be back here again!

As I’ve started in on my training, I’ve been reminded of another thing—I was more fit the last time I was here! Haha! Perhaps I have more muscle now, but I was more lean before so the kicks came easier. But despite that, I still train. I know that I will get better.

I share this because I think we all have a tendency to make arbitrary markers to determine when we should start something. We will do this when we get more fit…or that when we gain a little more information.

If life has taught me anything, it’s that it’s best to start where you are, use what you have, and learn as you go. Perceived failure is often the better teacher, even though the cost can be in the form of great discomfort.

So…wear that bikini! (Haha!) Invest a little in something you don’t fully understand! And plan that trip that’s been living in the back of your mind. I believe that life rewards the adventurous spirits, if only because we have the faith to believe in life. In the words of Mooji, Life takes care of life.

Namaste and love.

sage signature1

July 31, 2018


As I write this post, I’m looking out onto Redondo Beach and feeling at home again. The ocean breeze, blue waters, and muted sun that is so familiar to me from my years living here are all so welcoming after being away for a year.

I am so thankful and fortunate that I’m getting closer to “normal” after the whirlwind travel I’ve had over the past months. The experience in Monte Sahaja, and some allergies I experienced in Boston (from my dear friend’s cats!) are all behind me and I’m thankful. Now that I’ve had the chance to eat all of my favorite foods that I could get on the island, I’m more motivated to regain my fitness haha After finding a great new gym, I feel that I’m on the right track ;)

But the best part of Cali has always been the people! So great to be back among my tribe and grateful to be surrounded by the love of friends and chosen family :) My nephew constantly gives me new life!

As I think back on all of my travels and the nomadic life I’ve lead for the past few years, I’m simply thankful. That I’ve been able to (safely) travel so freely around the world is an enormous blessing and I’m so grateful. Though I feel like the same person, I know that I am not. My view on life has been expanded and all I endeavor to do now is to have more faith. I know that I have a tendency to try to create my own reality…but I’ve come to learn that reality always creates itself. All I have to focus on is allowing myself to be open and continue to participate in the unfolding…knowing that everything is going to be alright.



Photo: Redondo Beach from my mobile phone.

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