March 2019 | Grateful Beyond Measure


Grateful Beyond Measure

When I was growing up, I was regularly blamed for what didn’t go well or for things I never did. It developed within me a sensitivity to being scrutinized or judged, and an absence of self value or worth. No matter how much I tried to tell myself otherwise, I was overcome with the feeling that there was something fundamentally wrong with me, that I was the reason for someone else’s unhappiness. I cowered through much of life, turning to escape routes with substance abuse, self destruction, unhealthy relationships and little or no self care.

Maybe it was luck, maybe it was destiny, that I met my teacher Master Ou Wen Wei in 2004. He helped me, he saved my health, and taught me how to save my own heart. I found my strength, my dignity and my voice. I was not always good at the things I've worked hard to be good at today, like teaching or cooking, and I still think of myself as an average writer, speaker and singer. But the difference is that I’m OK with that and continue to strive for learning and growing to embody my full potential. Over the years I’ve worked hard to build my confidence, slowly growing into a stable foundation that grounds my life and my mission, thanks to my spiritual practice, my guide Master Ou Wen Wei, and my own efforts in overcoming this deep sadness.

Having developed more strength within me and transformed some weaknesses, I’m able to know deep in my heart when I have tried my best, and when I haven’t, when I have behaved well, and when I haven’t, and when someone else isn’t doing so or maybe even projecting on to me their own deficiencies and unhappiness. It’s easy to label these behaviors as narrow-minded, childish and somewhat crazy, and they are. However I must still take responsibility for my own reactions. Part of this process for me has involved discovering how to become emotionally steady and stable amid chaos, irrationality and unstable behavior; quite the challenge for someone who grew up with all of the above. However, this discernment requires the strength of the reasoning mind, a rational analysis, coming back to the virtues of being calm, open-minded, tolerant, diligent and hard working, and a desire to bring out my most beautiful self.

I remember Master Ou saying to me more than once, even when we try our absolute best, we will be misunderstood and we will not make everyone happy. This is part of the agony of our path as human beings as we evolve. Through this process we are able to contain more, to learn patience, and broaden our hearts to embody more true love. I’ve recently felt these “growing pains," the confusion, the desire to let go but having a heart that won’t, the injustice, and also the deep prostration of knowing the need for humility, trusting that high standards and confidence in my choices will lead me to my most beautiful self and most beautiful life. The wound is where the light enters if we are willing to face the wound.

After experiencing many struggles of this nature in various communities through my 20’s and 30’s, I am so very grateful to have found a community here in these beautiful mountains where I truly feel safe, supported, accepted and loved for who I am without any projection from what’s lacking in another. It’s a true gift that often brings me to tears because it requires such trust, honesty with oneself, and each other, many times overlooking individual interests to achieve a greater goal. My tribe at Black mountain Yoga is such an example of a group of people that can achieve a beautiful vision out of genuine service, from hearts able and willing to bond through common ground, because what we want deep down is to uplift, inspire, help and care for others from a depth of sincerity in our hearts. I often wonder if every community in the world could carry this sentiment, how beautiful and different the world could be. I believe it’s possible. I’m sure we aren’t the only ones. Thank you for being a part of this community with me, for allowing me to teach and learn from you. I hope you know I always do my best with the resources I have. You have my promise always, for quality, substance and beauty. I am grateful beyond measure.

I’m beyond delighted to have the opportunity to guide you in to a 3 week series of Pangu Yoga: A Journey of the Heart this March!

AND....SAVE THE DATE! We have invited Master Ou Wen Wei to Black Mountain Yoga! Say What? Yep, it’s true. SEPTEMBER 19-22. Details coming soon.

I leave you with this quote, one of my favorites of all time.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” _ Rumi

Love for the journey,

February 2019 | Inner Circle


I had picked the photo above for my blog a week ago but didn't know why.  Just yesterday I had a conversation with my sister who mentioned she had been feeling disconnected from her inner circle. Work was important, but it was more important for her to feel connected to those nearest and dearest. It really got me thinking. Am I making quality time to be with the people I love the most? The ones who inspire me, make me laugh until my belly hurts, love me no matter what? In other words, are my primary relationships well-tended?

Am I making enough space from the rest of the humans in my life so that my tank is actually full enough to share and offer myself fully with that inner circle? Yes, we all get depleted and feel like we are "overextended and busy" from the giving and working in the world that by day’s end, we've given the best of ourselves to things that certainly do matter, but do they matter the most?  This question requires consistent evaluation and re-evaluation. Connecting in a deep way to those we love is one of the primary fuels for well-being. I am reminded by the gentle nudging soul of my sister that it’s a must, not a maybe.

Even in the quiet of these mountains, there can be a surprising amount of noise coming at me, or quite possibly from within me. I'm radically self-driven and motivated by nature, and I also need an equal dose of radical self care.  However the real balance is about learning to both listen to and respond to the voices that come from within. The ones that tell you when to move and when to be still, when to find good company and when to be alone, when to push and work hard and when to rest and play.

Sometimes we choose to be busy and that's ok, and often necessary but it doesn't leave a whole lot of space for anything else. Our schedule easily can, and has many times been completely all-consuming- sometimes out of choice and others out of necessity. It takes discipline and dedication to make time to do other things, and I am sometimes successful, sometimes not so much in that effort.

Don’t get me wrong. I am fully aware that there are far worse things to be consumed with. I am so grateful and lucky to have a practice and work that connects and sustains me; I am in real community with people who are more interested in the project of cultivating a spiritual life than a material life; I have incredibly fulfilling work that I love with brilliant, dedicated, loving, compassionate teachers, staff and students. But though I’ve not always practiced what I preach I do absolutely believe that it’s never good to lean too far in any one direction – too much of a good thing is still too much. It’s out of balance and ultimately not healthy.

How much time do you carve out to explore, enjoy, learn, serve, share, study, play with the people, places and things that speak to your heart, that fill your very soul? What is missing or has been sidelined by your business or busyness or both?

It's an ever evolving and endless dance to listen to the voice of knowing that is the voice of the soul, with messages direct from the universe about the next best word or action to find harmony. What aspect of our life is asking for our attention a little more than the others so that our whole self and mission might be fed and realized? I ask you as I ask myself.

I've realized through my own reflection, which happened to coincide with this conversation, that expanding my creative artistic side deeply feeds my soul, so I've rekindled my passion and love for making jewelry again. It brings me a kind of happiness and fulfillment difficult to describe. Check out my shop below for some recent creations. These creations will soon be available at Black Mountain Yoga as well. Stay tuned..

Love for the journey,

January 2019 | For a New Beginning

For A New Beginning

by John O'Donogue

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,

Where your thoughts never think to wander,

This beginning has been quietly forming,

Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,

Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,

Noticing how you willed yourself on,

Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety,

And the gray promises that sameness whispered,

Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent, 

Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,

And out you stepped onto the new ground,

Your eyes young again with energy and dream,

A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear

You can trust the promise of this opening;

Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning

That is at one with your life's desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;

Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;

Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,

For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

Happy New Year! Yoga, Acupuncture and Qi Gong are all about finding ease in discomfort. It's about deliberately doing postures and exploring moments within that are new, unknown and restorative. Through the breath, the movement, and the constant shift and transformation of energy, these practices helps us to feel alive and involved. We learn to seek out silence and calm so we can hear the benevolent inner voice. And we begin to settle for nothing less than this: beauty, truth and kindness.

Cheers to a new beginning, to a new year, to committing yourself to always seeking the "out-of-the-way" places of the heart. 

Love for the journey,