September 2018 | Quiet the Negative Voice


Have you ever had the thought, "If I expect the worst, I'll never be quite as disappointed" ?

Thinking negatively, expecting “the worst,” seeing the downside of positive situations, and even downright expecting failure, all convey a kind of backwards thinking, an emotional insurance policy.  It happens subconsciously and it goes something like, “If I expect a catastrophe, then I won’t be quite as disappointed when it takes place and won't have to feel badly."

A beautiful scene, a piece of art or person might be right in front of you.  It’s sophisticated, artistic, perhaps the result of deep love and devotion.  The colors, patterns and characteristics are like no other—they shine brightly and leap towards you.  And yet, maybe you choose to fixate your eyes on the tiny, dark bug that has landed on the edge of this masterpiece, or the one thing that annoys you about this person.


People who are habitually negative thinkers are often proud to describe themselves as “realists.”
The “being realistic” pronouncement is a favorite among cynics everywhere.  And, in a way, they are correct.  But only because negative thinking causes the human mind to give up on everything—to not even try, or to give a disorganized, half hearted effort—so the negativity itself influences the end result.  In this way, self-fulfilling predictions like this really do happen. 

What makes all of this even more alarming is that negative thoughts can plague us even when life is going relatively well.  For instance, have you ever had the thought “This is much too good to last!”?

This can quickly wreak havoc on a positive situation. It’s as if there’s a special mental block filtering out all the positives and only letting in data that confirms the negative biases we have. 

To change our thinking, it helps to have a better understanding of what we’re thinking in the first place.  When a troubling (negative) thought arises in your mind, instead of ignoring it, pay closer attention and then record it.  For example, if you’re sitting at your desk and you catch yourself ruminating about something negative, pause and write it down immediately.  Get that raw thought out of your head and down on paper—just a short sentence or two that honestly depicts the specific thought that’s presently troubling you:

“I’m not good enough for the job I’m applying for because I don’t have enough experience.”

Then, identify what triggered the thought.  Again, be brief and specific:

“I’m new to the company, and therefore I’m feeling out of my comfort zone.”

At the very least, this process of evaluating negative thoughts and their underlying triggers helps bring a healthy, objective awareness to the sources of negativity or anxiety, which ultimately allows you to shift your mindset and take the next positive step forward. Encourage yourself to see all the in-between places of a situation. Thinking in extremes, as I have learned over and over, is a fast way to misery, because it basically views any situation that’s less than perfect as being extremely bad. Most of life occurs in a grey area-- between the extremes of bliss and total devastation. Traffic that has slowed down the commute back home from work can turn into “it wasted my whole evening and ruined the night!”

What if we could remind ourselves that we just need more practice. We have to find a happy medium of accepting ourselves as we are, and then committing to personal growth.  If I think I am absolutely “perfect” already, I will not make any positive efforts to grow.  But, constantly criticizing myself is just as counterproductive as doing nothing, because I will never be able to build new positive changes into my life when I am obsessively focused on my flaws.

What if we changed our internal conversation from, “I have to be better,” to, “I will do my absolute best today.”  The second statement is far more effective, because it actually prompts us to take positive action at any given moment while simultaneously accepting the reality that every effort may not be perfect.

So, do your very best to catch yourself today and quiet the negative voice. :)

Love for the journey,

August 2018 | Loving or Judging?

In any given moment we can ask ourselves, "am I loving or judging?". Why? Becaise it can give us some insight in to what kind of energy we are putting out in to the world and where we are operating from. If we want positive outcomes we have to be willing to look inside and have awareness of which wolf we are feeding.

A Cherokee Legend
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – his is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and


inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed."

Have you ever met the kind of person who listens when you talk, who smiles often, and who says things that make the people around smile?  This person is incredibly intelligent, but in a way that makes others feel comfortable.  It’s the way they express themselves: in simple terms you can understand — almost like they have articulated the thoughts you already have in your head, but haven’t quite found the right words to say aloud.

And it doesn’t matter who you are, either.  This person always has a way of relating to you.  Because, in a way, this person has been there with you all along.  They can think like you, so they understand you.  It’s truly a special gift.  So many of us have limitations in our perceptions.  We understand the soldiers but not the politics governing the wars.  We understand the people who go to the movies but not the ones who attend rodeos.  But somehow, this person gets all of us.  It's their gift and one that is so admirable. And once you return home after spending a night with this person, you’ll catch yourself smiling and thinking about how there needs to be more people like that in the world.  Because if there were, there would be far less to worry about.

What if  you or I could be this special person for someone else? What if we could consciously and consistently feed the good wolf? Too often  people pass each other in a hurry without caring or thinking twice, or worse, judging them for not moving at a certain pace. What if we could pause or even stop more often, just to witness, listen with our whole body, and love? Because we forget, or perhaps never even learned, that every passing face has a story equally as captivating, complex and as worthy as our own. Each person has been through something that has forced them to struggle, adapt and grow, inadvertently changing them. They have fought hard, and continue to fight, just like us, and so their smiles, too, have been earned. The happiness and smiles we occasionally (and are lucky enough to) see is a beautiful thing. And even more beautiful is knowing that we are the reason behind it.

It is truly an experience to marvel and admire, teaching us more about love, witnessing and listening. If you have the power to make someone smile or be happier today, don't hold back. The world needs more of that. Take small chances on people, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Sometimes those little things occupy the biggest parts of our hearts.



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July 2018 | Nerdy Foraging in Great Nature


There is an ancient Chinese saying “To follow the Great Nature”.  This sentence guides us to learn from Great Nature, as it could be considered one of our most respected teachers. Why? My beloved teacher and Grand Qi Gong Master Ou Wen Wei spoke of this recently, elaborating on the qualities of Great Nature. Great Nature gives of its resources equally and completely, to all creatures. Sunshine, water, and air, are all resources that are given without discrimination. We can learn deeply from this kind of Love.

How do we learn how to give love equally and completely?

I believe it can begin first with presence, and then appreciation. One way we can connect to this Great Love is by appreciating, being curious about and respecting the plants and animals around us. This always seems easier to practice with plants and animals. In their simplicity, they are more receptive to what we offer them. Over time we can give that same quality of love and respect to other humans. I’ve been exploring native plants and herbs quite a bit this year and have developed a fascination with my immediate environment here in western NC. Through this process of learning, I've felt more connected to Great Nature, and through this connection and building of knowledge, I've grown my love and appreciation for it. I’ve become especially fond of finding fun uses for weeds and otherwise overlooked plants!

I recently discovered the wild and wondrous Elderflower on our land. I’d love to share what I’ve learned about this incredibly healing and useful plant: This flower has an abundance of pollen which has building blocks for balancing the endocrine system (hormonal system). It carries a natural yeast you can use to ferment all kinds of tasty treats including champagne, kombucha or jun! It's very gentle for children. If they have come down with a cold or fever, you can use it as a diaphoretic (makes you perspire) and diuretic (makes you urinate), so it helps to disperse any bacteria or viral infection that has a hold in the body. You can make a tea from fresh or dry flowers, or for a very small child you may create a sponge bath with the flowers that will help them sweat and bring down a fever. A study in a hospital in Ireland showed that elderflower tea was more effective in combating the flu and other bacterial infections than antibiotics. The flowers move lung stagnation and congestion. As a cooling herb, it can move heat in the body and any blood stagnation as well. The best part is that it grows in the entire northern hemisphere of the planet and is blooming right now!

Master Ou says that in order to seek truth, beauty and kindness in the world, one needs to be willing to learn all kinds of knowledge with humility. Only those who are truly humble, who are willing to reflect and evaluate themselves and their surroundings can discover higher truths.

I know for me, when I marvel at nature and all it’s mystery and glory, speculating curiously, the delight it brings to my soul is immeasurable, infinite, and leads me to nature's Great Love.

With Love,

Some of you who attended my Pangu Yoga class in Raleigh requested the poem I read honoring and thanking Great Nature. Here it is.

A prayer stemming from the Lakota in regards to "Aho Mitakuye Oyasin

To all my relations, I gave thanks.

To the Creator, for the ultimate gift of life, I thank you.

To the mineral nation that has built and maintained my bones and all foundations of life experience, I thank you.

To the plant nation that sustains my organs and body and gives me healing herbs for sickness, I thank you.

To the animal nation that feeds me from your own flesh and offers your loyal companionship in this walk of life, I thank you.

To the human nation that shares my path as a soul upon the sacred wheel of Earthly life, I thank you.

To the Spirit nation that guides me invisibly through the ups and downs of life and for carrying the torch of light through the Ages. I thank you.

To the Four Winds of Change and Growth, I thank you.

You are all my relations, my relatives, without whom I would not live. We are in the circle of life together, co-existing, co-dependent, co-creating our destiny. One, not more important than the other. One nation evolving from the other and yet each dependent upon the one above and the one below. All of us a part of the Great Mystery.

Thank you for this Life."



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