Healing Tool Kit

“There is no way out. The only the way is through.” Shambala teaching
Find a quiet spot. Take a few deep breaths. Ask yourself these questions below- jot them down in a journal or just reflect on the answers that arise.
How are you feeling? (no filter, no judgment)
Where do you feel this in your body? ( what specific areas of the body are these emotions arising?)
What does it feel like?  Be specific. ( Be detailed. Label and identify)
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Practice Sama Vritti for 10 rounds.
inhale 4 count. exhale 4 count. ( 1 round)

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What are 3 things/people/places  you adore in your life?
What are 3 things you can put in your “wellness tool kit, care kit” ?
What helps you return HOME in your body? Be specific- baths, hugs, yoga, meditation, oils, Pema books, etc) The clearer you are here- the better! This is a TOTALLY unique list for you to return to when you need to ground and center yourself.

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Lay down on your back, flat. Spread your arms and legs so they have space so you feel the breathe fully in all areas of your body. Breathe from souls of feet to top of head. Watch this for guidance. 

In closing,

What is something you can do TODAY from a generous heart, with no expectation, no outcome.
Go out in the world and DO THAT THING.
I also find this type of breathing, deeply healing and this type of meditation also helps me to  cultivate compassion for my self and for others.
What do you to to heal your heart, heal your soul?

Worth Sharing.

My friend Michelle sent this to me, from Elizabeth Gilbert’s FB page. I LOVE THIS.

I wanted to put it here on the blog so it would not get lost and so those who just wander over here time to time, would be able to find it , read it and contemplate.

Hope it stirs up some shit for you- helps you get clear- and let go of the crap you don’t need anymore.

it’s your life- set the intention. Who KNOWS where it will go- and what will happen between now and then..

11695963_865522170196566_1785908972700735732_nDear Ones —
So this little quote showed up on my Instagram feed the other day, and it hit me in the guts — like “OOF!”

I can’t stop thinking about this idea, so I thought maybe I should share it here and open up the conversation around this concept.

First of all — does everyone understand what the quote is saying?

Here’s the simpler translation:

“If you don’t have a plan for where you’re going to be in five years, then — after five years has passed — you will still be exactly where you are right now.”

Holy cow. That’s bracing.

A little scary. A little exciting.

Look — maybe you absolutely love your life, exactly where you are right now. Maybe you feel like, “If my life looks just like this in five years, then I will be the luckiest person in the world.” If so — awesome! Just keep going just as you are, you blessed soul, and count your lucky stars.

But maybe you can’t bear your life where it is right now. Or maybe you feel stuck and you want to shift things for yourself. Or maybe you like your life, but you dream of something new.

If you haven’t put some kind of concrete plan in place for how to change things, then it is very likely that five years will pass (more quickly than you can imagine) and you will “already be there” — which is to say, you will still be right here.

So let’s talk about making plans.

My wonderful husband always says that our past doesn’t matter nearly as much as our PERCEPTION of our future. So let’s carefully try to perceive our futures in the best possible light. If you can imagine that your future might hold some promise, some difference, some transformation…then happiness can start to grow, even in this present moment.

What might it take, to perceive a different future for yourself, five years down the line?

I’ve heard that the only way to make your dreams come true is to begin by writing them down. I do think this is the truth. Writing down your goals and dreams creates a disturbance in the universe — calls down the attention of your guiding spirits. Writing down your goals also causes a disturbance in your own soul — wakes you up, and makes you take notice of your own desires.

So this is my Friday challenge, everyone. Take a moment today and write down exactly where you want to be in five years. Be honest. Be brave. Be ambitious. Be aspirational.

Who do you want to be spending your time with (romantically, or otherwise) five years from now?

Where do you want to be living?

What do you want your health to look like?

What do you want your creativity to look like?

Where do you want to be working?

What do you want to have put behind you by then?

If you are dreaming of an escape plan, what might that escape plan look like?

How much money will it take to make that dream come true — REALLY?

What are you willing to give up, in order to have what you really want?

Do you honestly need all the things (and people) that you think you need, or might there be a smoother, simpler way?

And what steps can you imagine beginning to take right now…to transport you from HERE to THERE.

Because one way or another, five years is going to pass. In half a decade, you will either be standing exactly where you are right now, or you will be standing somewhere completely new. You might even have turned into SOMEBODY completely new. (Biological science teaches us, after all, that five years from now, every cell in your body will have been replaced, and thus you will be a completely different biological entity than you are right now. Talk about a resurrection story! Pretty cool, right? So how about becoming a completely different emotional entity, as well?)

I made my list this morning: WHERE LIZ WANTS TO BE IN FIVE YEARS.

My list surprised me. My list involves getting rid of even more of my material belongings, giving more to charity, and living on a beach. My list involves a lot of travel with the people I love most. My list involves a trip to Japan. My trip involves driving across Greenland, and walking trip along the coast of New Zealand. My list involves writing for a TV show. (WHO KNEW?) Most of all, my list involves a radical emotional shift in the way I handle resentment, forgiveness, anxiety blame and shame — which might mean I need to be doing some serious work on my psyche over the next five years.

OK, then! I’m up for it!

I didn’t even know I wanted all these things…but apparently I really want these things.

Now that I have seen it all written down, it has become real. Now I must work toward getting there.

What about you?

Five years from now. Picture it.

WRITE IT DOWN.

Make it real.

I’ll meet you in five years, everyone — and we can compare notes!

ONWARD,

so beautiful

last week, I was gifted an incredible piece of art that will forever be in my memory as one of the most beautiful, touching and meaningful moments in my life. 
we gathered as a lilomm teaching community & Michelle Cohen ( a teacher and friend) gifted me with the most incredible book of notes, pictures & quotes from the past 5 years at lil omm yoga. 

I cannot begin to express to everyone who wrote to me how special this is. I am blow away….overwhelmed with love… and truly delighted to have so many special memories and people I care about all in one place.  thank you to all who wrote and to all who have come through our doors. 

I love the work I do- and you can see why.  I promised teachers and students that I would post pictures of some of the pages…. thank you for this gift, it has given me so much joy- so much to remember….here is to many more… 

                                                     

In service.

Part of our mission has always been to give back, to serve others. I know in DC there are so many events, non profits and charities pulling at us. But here are 3 local projects that I am in love with- that I hope you will learn more about and spread the word. WE NEED YOU. ( I’ve also added a personal note as to why I’m specifically interested in these projects)

“Seva” is a Sanskrit word meaning “selfless service” or work performed without any thought of reward or repayment. In ancient India seva was believed to help one’s spiritual growth and at the same time contribute to the improvement of a community. – Mind Body Green.

1. Iona Senior Center in Tenleytown.
There are so many wonderful ways to help out. Our family delivers food once a month on Saturday mornings to neighbors who are not able to get out and about for food. I bring the kids, we all help out and it’s a great way to start the weekend. We have also done the “artist in residence” assistant program where we help seniors with alzheimer’s do art projects. It was an incredible day and a privilege to spend the day with these beautiful people. They have a new program at St. Albans each week day that needs some extra hands regularly, as well. I have not had a chance to do this yet- but hoping to sign up in the next week or so.

As a young girl, I spent a lot of time volunteering in nursing homes. In high school, I would visit the local nursing home each week and sit with a beautiful woman who told me about her life. Now, more than ever I am aware of the cycles in our life, and as I grow and attend to our young family- I’m mindful to not leave out those who are on the other end of the cycle- and I want to give them attention and love as well.

Please contact Iona’s Volunteer Program Coordinator, Tania Sechriest, at volunteer@iona.org for more information.

2. Before I ran a yoga studio, my entire life was dedicated to teaching youth in SE DC. I was a teacher, an administrator, coach and a community organizer for children and families from low income families I was passionate about working the front lines in Urban Education to change the system. The last year I was in DCPS, I introduced my students to yoga & and also taught yoga classes to the staff at the schools I worked in. When I heard about Hawah and the work he was doing with youth in DC- I was SO inspired. I saw the trailer for this film and was so touched, and had so many memories flood my mind of all my students and my “old life” as an educator in DC. Join Me for this amazing night. http://www.onecommonunity.org/causes/fly-by-light-the-movie/

3. Another project that I recently fell in love with was started by a bunch of my mom friends and I am so proud of them. Room to Rebloom is a non profit with a “mission to empower low income women and families in the National Capital Area who have been victims of domestic violence by providing them with design services and other resources needed to create beautiful home environments and rebuild their lives.” They are having an event on May 14th that lil omm is going to be a sponsor of. I hope you will consider donating and/ or attending the event.

This is a bit more personal… when I was a young girl, before my mom & I moved to CT- we hit a rough patch with one of her boyfriends. We had to leave him and hid out for a bit at a local shelter for women & children. I was very little and don’t have a lot of clear memories of this time but I know that it gave her a sense of
safety during a pretty scary time. My memories of this place were not especially beautiful or cozy, most of these centers try to make them nice and cozy for the families- but let’s be honest- it’s hard to do with little money and little resources. This project is so close to my heart- if we can help other families have comfortable and beautiful spaces while they are going through such a hard and scary time-especially for the children.. I believe, this matters. There is so much fear & suffering for these families. Honestly, it’s the least we can do…maybe it will help the memories be a little less painful- maybe it will ease some of the anxiety and the stress that these families go through while in transition. I hope you will join me at the event on May 14, or by donating your services or your money. STAY TUNED for information on some donation yoga classes for the project.

spring is HERE.

this morning I gave Saylor my camera phone…. look at our beautiful mother nature♥️

   

                               

You are just love.

“May you be tired and afraid
overwhelmed and ready to quit.
Quit!
Start over, over
ten thousand times over
roll out, get up, fall down
break into tears
open in laughter
sing and dance
be silly, be glad.
May you forget most things,
remember everything,
come to know in your bones
with your blood
through your eyes
from your lips
out of earth
deep below, well beyond
you are love.
You are just love.
Amen.”
Karen Maezen Miller, Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood

crazy curls & moving forward

A few short years ago, I was in a bad place. a dark tunnel filled with so much stress. I was moving the studio to a new location (being asked to leave our original location), living with a very challenging pregnancy & pregnancy depression, watching my bff confront cancer and layer on top of that some marriage hiccups & financial stress.

I did a pretty good job of hiding it .. or so I thought.

A few months after Milo was born, we re- opened lil omm in Tenley, my bff was healthy again, I started communicating with my hubby better and I felt like things were really looking up.

And this is when I started losing my hair… in huge clumps, bald spots everywhere.I have written and spoken about this in the past.. ..it was weird bc I was trying to hide it from everyone ( I am not good at hiding or feeling like i cant express myself 100% authentically. all the time ) I could not stop thinking “how does a health and wellness teacher LOOSE her hair from stress?” I felt ashamed and scared. I would pause when people would ask how I was.. ” I’m okay. I would say.. just a lot going on.”

I was also a bit heartbroken. I thought we were “in the clear” that life had calmed down a bit .

Milo was born healthy, our vibrant community had a yoga home again and my best friend was healthy again! so much to be grateful for! and yet, my body was on a delay. I tried to meditate on this, to sit quietly offering myself peace and healing. I poured lavender on my scalp and slept with it on my pillow. I had good days where I counted my blessings and reminded myself it was only hair.. and I had TERRIBLE tearful screaming nights where I beat myself up mentally for not being strong and for hiding so much pain and I watched a lot of tv to pass time until it grew back. I said no to a bunch of social events and parties. I was scared to swim. When my hair was wet you could see all the bald spots. For an entire spring and summer I did not even get in the pool with the kids.

I believe my hair loss was related to the previous year’s stress in my life. I was so scared of falling apart when things were bad and even more terrified to break down when I thought I had gotten my shit together.

Fast forward to the 6 rounds of steroid shots in my head.. my hair SLOWLY started coming back. It has now been almost 2 years and all the new hair is CRAZY curly.

Its hilarious. I am learning how to take care of it, learning how quick it dreads if I don’t brush it- and I learned you are not supposed to brush it!

But I think what strikes me the most is that as the curly grows wild I can see that time in my life over my shoulder now.
that time has passed. that no matter what …. I keep changing. That I am still ALIVE & STRONG and that this might be the happiest I have ever been in my life.

scary to say aloud.

Its like when I look in the mirror and don’t recognize the curls I stop and think about how far I have come- emotionally-
personally and with my life. I say to myself- WOW- you have been through a lot. This has been a pretty vibrant and interesting 35 years- whats next??

I just want to be clear to the world that I don’t take 1 day for granted. I don’t ever forget all the work and tears and loneliness that dominated my life for plenty of years.. that now that I feel free I will always follow my heart. I will always keep creating new ideas- new ventures- new friends- new practices.

I am in love with life. even the sad parts. even the tough moments. even the heartbreak and the pain. and especially all the beautiful people who are in my life.

I want to spread the possibility of joy. I want to thank all the writers, yoga & meditation teachers, creators, artists and visionaries who inspire me to keep up my good work. I feel connected to them all for sharing stories, opening hearts and putting it all out on the table .

i don’t want to miss a thing.

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