Maribeth Doerr

Shades of Healing ~ Creating a Wholehearted Life

Interview with Square-Peg Karen!

I know – it’s been forever since I’ve posted anything.  I AM alive, and it’s been an interesting 2013.  My health is slowly coming back after two surgeries in February, a week long retreat in March, and a new diagnosis of pancreatic insufficiency.  I’m working with that in several ways, and I plan to be back to work July 1.

In the meantime, here’s an interview I did with Karen Caterson of Square-Peg People.  Karen is a hoot and oh so wise.  Our interview was a gigglefest and I hope we get to do it again sometime (with me interviewing Karen!).  I’d be honored if you checked it out and feel free to post a question if you’re so moved.

And thanks Karen! ♥


In This Moment


It’s been nearly four months since I’ve gotten sick.  I am much better than I was two months ago but this is one of those days where the brain fog is thick and everything I eat makes me sick.  EVERYTHING.  I am tired and so frustrated.  Life would be easier if I never had to eat.

It’s so easy to fall into a pit of despair on days like this, when I wonder if I’ll ever be able to function normally again.  Is my brain forever compromised by the summer of medication, painkillers, and anesthesia?  I get cranky that my coping method of comfort food is gone (and it’s a blessing that that coping method is gone but it still makes me C R A N K Y !!!).

And then I wonder . . . can I get curious enough to figure out a plan for days like this?  I’m a creative grief coach; it’s time to get creative!  Can I don my lab coat and just notice without judgment (as Janice Lynne Lundy so wisely advises)?  Yes, well, let’s start with the fact I’m not a bad person for feeling frustrated and whiny over this situation.

I took my new J.K. Rowling novel out to my deck and sat in the sunshine – those last few rays of summer.  But my brain is too foggy to read.  It’s making me more nauseated and the construction noise is distracting.  What can I do in this moment that would make me feel better – another wonderful question Jennifer Louden suggests.

So I took a shower and rubbed lotion on my very dry legs.  That felt so nice.  I stepped onto my yoga mat, but I knew a lot of movement would not be good for the nausea.  I sat down on the mat and breathed deeply.  Eric Klein’s removing obstacles MantraWave flowed into my brain and I breathed . . . coughed (asthma seems to be cranky today too) . . . breathed . . . coughed . . . relaxed . . . breathed . . . breathed . . . breathed . . .

Meeting myself on the mat, right where I’m at, without judgment . . . that’s loving-kindness.  And I’m okay.  Right here in this moment.

I won’t think about the next moment or the one after that.  I won’t think about my filthy house which hasn’t been cleaned since I got sick.  I won’t think about the massive to-do list that is crushing me.  I won’t think about our shaky financial status.  I won’t think about how I’ve failed my business.  I. won’t. think.

Breathe . . .

I’m okay.


Friday Finds – MantraWave

MantraWave from Eric Klein

One of the things I want to do with my blog is share resources that I think are extraordinary.  There’s so much “stuff” to weed through on the internet and it’s hard to know what’s worth it and what’s best to skip.  I’m going to share some of my gold mine finds, and today’s priceless gem is MantraWave.

I have been a fan of Eric Klein’s site for the past year.  He produces products that speak to my soul, and his newest, MantraWave, is probably my favorite.  I’d like to share my experience with you.

In late July, Eric launched MantraWave, and I purchased it right away.  He has three programs:  Removing Obstacles, Love, and Wealth.  I was looking for one for health as I was, at the time, experiencing severe pain and illness.  I was in the hospital in June and was released without a diagnosis and with prescriptions for pain killers and anti-nausea medicine.  By mid-July, I was feeling desperate.  The medication wasn’t working, I was spending hours curled up in a ball in excruciating pain and unable to really function very well.  I decided to purchase all three of Eric’s programs because I needed to remove the obstacles to my health, I needed to cultivate love for myself and the doctor who misdiagnosed me, and I wanted a wealth of health.  It seemed to me all three programs were for me!

For a week, I listened to them, selecting whichever one spoke the loudest.  I didn’t sit in meditation with them very often but I did lie on my bed with headphones, cradling myself in such gentle notes and chants.  Within that week, I started to experience a change.  My pain was still there and escalating but when an attack would hit, I could hear the mantras enter my consciousness and the result was a soothing I hadn’t been able to find before.  It was something for me to grab onto and gently flow with the wave of the mantra instead of grabbing onto the pain and collapsing onto myself.

On August 8, I was admitted to the hospital again.  The next day, I had surgery on my bile duct.  As they wheeled me in my hospital bed to the pre-op area, I was constantly vomiting, which from a laying down position does terrible things to stomach muscles and neck muscles; I pulled them all out!  The anesthesiologist met us in the pre-op area and was trying to come up with a cocktail of drugs to stop the vomiting long enough for him to knock me out without risking aspiration.  It was a tense time and then the mantra for removing obstacles started flowing through my brain.  It just came to me without any conscious thought whatsoever.  I focused on that sweet sound and my poor traumatized system calmed down on its own.  The anesthesiologist and nurses asked me what I had just done because the difference was night and day.

As I regained consciousness in the recovery room following surgery, I awoke to hearing the MantraWave for love.  I was bathed in such self-acceptance at that moment that I knew I would be okay.  I’ve had a long recovery but MantraWave made it faster than it would have been.  I am absolutely sure of this.  The way the mantras come into my consciousness without me calling it in, is amazing.  It’s always the MantraWave I need to hear most.  It is, in short, a blessing and such a gift.

So what is MantraWave?  It’s sacred sound meditation.   The mantras are set to beautiful relaxing music.  On Eric’s website, he says, “Each program is designed to awaken – within you – a specific quality, awareness, and capacity.”  This is why the mantra I most need at the time floats into my consciousness without me calling it.  You can sit in meditation and listen to them or you can play them wherever you are.  When I listen, my heart rate slows, and my heart just opens wide.  I often find myself saying or singing the mantras silently as I go about my day.  I might go a few days and not think about them, and then suddenly, always when I need them most, they’re there.

The programs come in 10 minute sessions, 10 minute guided sessions, 30 minute guided sessions and 60 minutes.   I think perhaps they should come with a warning . . . peace starts here.  🙂

Please visit and learn more about MantraWave.  These programs have had such an incredible impact on my life.  Thank you Eric and Devi!

P.S. – This is not a paid endorsement.  I receive no remuneration for my comments here.  I just want to share information about an extraordinary product that truly helped me.


Getting REALLY Personal – Cultivating a New Body Image

Mari at 15

Me at 15. I thought I had the fattest thighs on the planet.

Anyone who has known me since before I turned 50 knows I struggled dearly with my body image. It probably started when I was little, and my mom enjoyed telling me stories about the aunties coming to visit us when I was a baby just see the size of my thighs. I know lots of you have similar stories of growing up thinking you were the biggest/fattest kid on the planet. I was the first kid in my fifth grade class to hit 100 lbs (boy or girl!). I can’t remember how tall I was because nobody cared; I weighed 100 lbs that’s all that mattered! When I graduated from high school, I was 5’ 5” and 118 lbs. Yeah, real fat. But those old stories were so embedded in my psyche that my mirror told a different story.

When I was 23, I had an emergency c-section. They had lost the baby’s heartbeat while prepping me and all hell broke loose in the operating room. Suddenly I was being ripped open from navel to pubic bone (I felt it since they hadn’t had time to knock me out yet) and my 9lb 13oz son was born not breathing. He was resuscitated and taken to NICU where he died 5 ½ days later. The incision was long, the baby large and putting the skin back together was messy. Too much skin, not enough space to make a flat scar without the baby to hold it up. It healed, but it looked bad by anyone’s standards. Every time I looked at my body, I saw a scar that was a potent reminder of how I had failed to bring a healthy baby into the world. Losing Mark Adam was my second loss; Andrew was lost at 19+ weeks three years earlier. Not only did I think my body was ugly but I believed it had betrayed me in the worst possible way, twice.

More losses, another baby in NICU (he survived!), a hysterectomy, constantly yo-yoing weight, and in 2004, I nearly died from pancreatitis and a gallbladder infection. More body betrayal. Was I broken or what? I started wearing baggy clothes and forgetting what I looked like naked. It’s not important if you have a guy who loves you, right? (Don’t buy into that, okay? We look good for ourselves, not others, and we also can look bad for ourselves. I was making myself look bad because I thought that’s how it should be.)

As I hit 50, I began to make peace with my body. I think that’s a common denominator for women over 50. Maybe it’s an I don’t give a rat’s ass mindset or maybe it’s just realizing that life is too short to worry about the size of our thighs! It was a VERY slow process for me but it was progress. In February 2012, I started the Creative Grief Coaching Studio’s certification program. One of our “tools” was to create a body image painting (on our body!) and video the process. It was optional but I felt it would be a wonderful opportunity to really make peace with my body. It was amazing! It was truly life-changing, and I don’t say that lightly. I had a huge aha moment at the end (and making the video was fraught with so many technical issues I nearly abandoned the project several times!). I shared my video with my classmates, and they were so incredibly supportive. I am taking a leap by sharing it here with you now which also shows how much I’ve progressed with my body image. Gulp.

This is the video and the password is markadam.  It is a HUGE leap for me to share this video publicly so please be kind. ♥

Since this video was made in March 2012, I have lost over 30 lbs, unintentionally. I posted about my illness here. I was hospitalized again in August, had a surgical procedure on my bile duct, and am doing much better. My intestines and liver were very traumatized by the illness and vomiting for over two months so it’s been a long road to recovery since the surgery. I’m getting there. I still battle nausea and some pain but it’s much better. I’m still detoxing and the medications really do a number on my head. Sometimes I feel like my brain has completely atrophied! I am starting to get some quality sleep finally, which helps immensely with my thinking abilities. I hope to get back to work full-time sometime next week or at least a solid part-time. It will depend on how many mistakes I make the first day 😉

Through this, I thought about body betrayal a little bit.  It used to be such a huge thing in my life and it’s not a surprise that it would pop up again.  With everything else going on, why did I have to lose my health as well?  However, most of the time, I think about how this experience has taught me many things . . .  good self-care, patience with myself and for those who are tired of a very slow me (sorry StorkNetters), that there are ways to comfort myself that don’t involve food . . . I have to eat a rather restrictive diet but I’m learning to accept what a gift that is. I can’t put preservatives or poisons or processed food into my body anymore. My allergies are amazingly better when I don’t consume grains! Who knew?! I’ve been on allergy medication for 30 years and now I don’t need it.  Maybe my asthma will go away in time as well.  I have to be honest though and say I did fight this HARD. I wanted to eat what I wanted when I wanted because food was a comfort and with everything else going on in my life, I felt entitled to that one thing and damned if it wasn’t taken away too!!!! Whine, snivel, moan and COMPLAIN.  When that feeling fires up inside, I’ve learned to sit quietly somewhere and just sit with it – no judgments – just leaning into it a bit (not falling into it mind you). It would seem that feeling just wants to be heard and when I acknowledge it without judgment, it quietly moves off into the sunset. It tends to come back, but I just wash, rinse, repeat . . .

In case you’re thinking I’m lucky to have lost 30 lbs quickly, please don’t. I made a very short video on that too . . . meant to be silly. I can be VERY silly. But, this is also a sign of how I’m learning to embrace my body, bitch-slapping arms and all!

Because I have lost so much muscle with this weight loss, my strength and energy have much to be desired. I started a weekly yoga class to start building back some of that muscle. I do my best to keep up but I also honor where my body is at so I don’t overdo – another exercise in listening to my body and good self-care.  I tend to sleep for two days after a class!  Yesterday while we were in a supported shoulder stand, I looked up at my legs and a few tears started to flow down my cheeks. I was struck by the feeling that I LOVED my body. I’ve NEVER said that to myself – EVER. It was such an overpowering feeling. Despite the losses, scars, illnesses . . . it’s MINE and it has served me well.  It’s a beautiful body, warts and all!

And so is yours!

So please remind me of this post when I forget 😉  I would love to hear your body image stories and how you’ve cultivate love for your beautiful body.  ♥


A New Challenge and Gratitude Revisited

If you’ve followed my blog for the last year (or tried to – I know the postings have been sporadic), you’ve been aware of a very stressful period for my family along with my deep-seated need for gratitude. Now, 12 months since my mother’s death and 8 months since my father’s, I’m finding myself looking towards gratitude with almost a sense of desperation . . . It’s my light, here in the middle of the tunnel, where the end isn’t really in sight yet.

I am still working on closing my parents’ estate. It’s been complicated by many factors that I’ll share at another time. My husband hasn’t earned any commissions since August 2010, and my business income goes down every month. How can a business thrive with such a lack of attention? In short, my family has been caught up in a lot of STUFF that sounds rather like a bad country western song. We ALL have a lot of STUFF from time to time; I’m certainly not unique in that but it’s been a year I don’t care to repeat!

And then when I felt like I was about through that tunnel . . . I woke up one night in mid May feeling like I was having a gallbladder attack. My gallbladder had been removed 8 years ago so obviously that wasn’t the source of the problem. It was painful but I didn’t get sick and it didn’t escalate. I was that way for two weeks. Just as suddenly as it came on, I woke up one fine day with NO pain, NO bloating, and an amazing joyful attitude. I was thrilled because I had planned a little retreat for the upcoming weekend – 4 days and 3 nights on the beach at Lake Tahoe. I haven’t spent more than one night away from home in over 12 years!! Waking up that morning feeling great meant I could really jump into catching up my business work and home chores so I could go on my getaway without any guilt. Oh the cheap thrills that gave me! I started answering emails and updating content, feeling SO productive . . . and then I started to feel some pain. I ignored it and kept working. Within 30 minutes, I was in so much pain I couldn’t sit still. I asked my son to call my husband. By then, I was moaning and starting to cry. By the time my husband got home, I had one terrified son and I was screaming. It’s a good thing the hospital is only 10 minutes away from us when the lights are all green.

I had lots of tests, the doctors had lots of theories which were all disproved by the tests, the massive amounts of medication they gave me irritated my liver and made me sicker, and they sent me home three days later with no diagnosis and a prescription for heavy duty pain medication. It’s been two months, and I’m still having pain attacks followed by days of nausea and vomiting as my body works out the pain medication. It’s a vicious cycle. I haven’t been able to work very much, and that is ruining my little business of 16 years. I feel exhausted and nauseated much of the time while trying to cultivate patience with myself and those who keep nagging me to update this or do that. I’m sorry StorkNetters . . . I’m really doing the best I can and I am SO grateful to the many many of you that understand and tell me to take care of myself first! I’m a staff of one and I don’t have the funds to hire the work out so . . . it is what it is.

That’s a lot of whining and complaining, isn’t it?! And that is why, in the midst of this additional upheaval in my life that I have to remember what’s good. It would be so incredibly easy to get sucked into depression right now. I don’t need that on top of being sick.

To keep me reminded of my gratitude attitude, I decided to take this year’s November gratitude month and make it into a separate website. I had the domain name picked out and when I went back to register it two weeks later, it was taken. So what did I get? What I most need now – healing and gratitude. So sometime this fall, look for! Thinking about and working on this website will help me focus on what’s good in my life, and there are many things.

Truly, there are positive things arising from this challenge as well, and I’ll be talking about them soon. It’s an amazing learning opportunity but I won’t lie – I’d rather not go through this. The pain attacks suck the life out of me, I’ve lost 30 lbs, and not knowing when the next one is coming is scary. I’d rather be caught up with my StorkNet work, starting my creative grief coaching practice and spending time with my family this week enjoying Reno’s Hot August Nights classic car festival. But as I said before, it is what it is and I have a tentative plan as I take my health into my own hands. My business work will all get done at some point. The timing isn’t really up to me so as I cultivate patience for this, thank YOU for being patient with me.

He who knows patience knows peace. ~ a Chinese proverb


#reverb10 – Body integration

December 12 – Body integration.
This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

In October, I did Marianne Elliott’s 30 Days of Yoga. It was an amazing experience for me, and it finally—after years of doing yoga—clicked that yoga is so much more than exercise. On the mat, my mind and body connect, merge, blend and freaking rejoice. It’s not always that way by any means, but when I do hit the mat even if it’s simply savasana, I feel better – and yes, alive and present.

My meditation practice is also becoming more consistent, especially when I follow davidji’s advice to rise, pee, meditate. Even if I spend 5 minutes sitting quietly on my bed before starting my day, the entire day feels better.

My yoga practice also flows better when I spend time in meditation or simply sitting quietly for five minutes before starting my yoga.

Hey – anything that calms the monkey mind chatter helps me integrate with my body. My body isn’t very demanding; unfortunately, that means I don’t listen to it until it yells at me. Yoga is the one thing I’ve found that helps me listen to my body.

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#reverb10 – 11 Things

December 11 – 11 Things.

What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

I have been working on each of these things for the last several months but I clearly need to continue with the effort.  Some of these things will be an ongoing battle for the rest of my life – it’s easy to say my life doesn’t need toxic energy from other people but some of those people can’t be cut out of my life so it’s a matter of learning to handle them in a better way.

So let’s cut to the chase and get on with it . . .

1.       Crappy Food
Since I wrote my blog post on My Journey Back to Health, I’ve come a long way in reducing my overeating.  It’s a rare day that I snack let alone binge on something.  Round of applause please!  I don’t spend my days thinking about food either which is both a blessing and a curse.  If I’m not thinking about food, I’m not in the kitchen looking for something when I’m not hungry.  However, it also means I’m not planning my meals.  Since I’m working full time and my husband isn’t right now, he’s doing most of the cooking and that entails something easy and usually without vegetables and other healthy foods.

I’m not beating myself up about this; it’s been baby steps and I continue to make forward progress.  Since my husband is having surgery December 30, I will have to resume the cooking which is the perfect opportunity to take the next step into 2011.  I’m spending the rest of the year preparing myself, planning simple but healthy meals and organizing myself for what I need to do so that it won’t wear me out (BTDT).  I’m hoping by the end of 2011, a 50% or greater vegetarian diet will be my staple rather than crappy junk food several times a week.  I can do this.

2.       Fear
I don’t think we can eliminate fear and it does have its usefulness.  What I plan to eliminate – and what I’ve been working on for the last three months –is living in constant fear and worry.  I think I’ve probably already done that.  I include it here because I still have moments where panic rears its ugly head and my tools for managing it are still so new that I need lots of practice and reminders.  METTA!!!  I will continue to practice Metta-fying my fear.

3.       Procrastination
As with fear, I’ve been working on this for the last three months and have make wonderful progress.  I still find myself being swallowed by it once in awhile, but I’m able to recognize it early and switch gears.  I include here for 2011 for the same reason fear is on the list; I need lots of practice to exercise my anti-procrastination muscles.

4.       Clutter
I don’t have a house that belongs on Hoarders but having lived in the same house for 20 years means a lot of stuff has taken root and settled in over the years.  I want to make a better effort to let go of this stuff.  I use my library for reading instead of buying books; now it’s time to let go of the massive library in my home as well as lots of items that are gathering dust.

5.       Toxic energy from other people
I tend to be the box of Arm & Hammer baking soda in the room; I absorb everyone’s negative energy.   Learning to be the air freshener instead of the baking soda is a big goal for 2011.  I can’t cut some of the toxic people out of my life but I can learn how to be around them without letting their negative energy get to me so much.  Still working out the details on this one!!

6.       Starbucks Addiction
The crazy thing about this is I’m not really fond of coffee.  I’d rather eat yellow snow than drink a cup of black coffee, especially something as strong as Starbucks.  I do enjoy a latte—heavy on the milk, light on the espresso or coffee.   Without my gallbladder, drinking a lot of milk makes me feel terrible so giving up the lattes would be a good idea.  I love the earl grey tea but the heartburn it gives me isn’t worth it.

The truth is, I’m addicted to working at Starbucks rather than the drinks.  There is a store less than a mile away from me.  I enjoy going there with my laptop to work.  With my husband at home most of the day, this is where I can be focused and really crank out something.  However, with my husband not working, Starbucks is really out of our budget right now.  And I HATE coming home smelling like stale coffee.  My laptop bag reeks!

My library doesn’t have wifi so I’m at a loss of where else to go.  Yesterday, I closed my office door so I wouldn’t be interrupted over and over and whattaya know?  I didn’t die of claustrophobia–so maybe I’ll start there!

7.       Workaholic Days
As any self-employed person will tell you, there are days where you work and work and work – and you’re grateful for that because it means earning a living.  And as any work-at-home person will tell you, it’s hard to close the door to the office and forget about work for a few hours, especially in this age of laptops, netbooks, wifi and smartphones.  There is no 8 to 5 for self-employed work at home people!

The last time I was away from home overnight was in August 2006 – four years ago!  I don’t remember the last vacation.  Some of that is monetary, some is lack of a dog sitter, and some is feeling like my business will fall apart if I don’t monitor it constantly.

My goal for 2011 is to completely unplug on Sundays.  If the server crashes or something, OH WELL.  The world will not end.  I want to schedule regular time off as well.  In fact, I ought to just get the calendar out right now.  Taking breaks will amp up my enthusiasm for my business, and my health will thank me profusely.  Goodbye workaholic days!

8.       Worst Case Scenario Game
I come from a long line of worriers who imagine the worst case scenario in everything, no matter how mundane.  I’ve spent my life learning how to let go of worry, and I’ve done a good job most of the time.  However, I’ve learned how to catastrophize things from the master of the worst case scenario game.  (Mom, I love you but you’re not only an expert at this, I think you invented the game.)   If we’re struggling with something, I don’t imagine the worst.  My problem comes when we’re trying to plan something.  In that case, I tend to think of everything that could go wrong rather than the amazing adventures we could have.  My youngest son points this out to me and that helps me get out of that thinking.   So, I’m retiring the worst case scenario game in favor of positive thinking, angelic intervention, and amazing adventures!

9.       Working too hard to please other people
As a child of alcoholics, I fit the stereotype of trying to be the perfect child.  I still struggle with this, especially with my mom (and my parents have been dry for over 25 years).  I’m letting go of this in favor of pleasing ME.  It’s hard, but continuing to be a people pleaser does not serve me in any way.  Time to let go of it.

10.   Time sucks & shadow comforts
I’ll pat myself on the back and say I’ve cut down on a lot of time sucks and shadow comforts this year.  I used to read novels as a shadow comfort and was averaging over 100 novels a year plus several non-fiction books.  I’ve cut that in half for 2010.  What’s left in time sucks and shadow comforts is checking facebook, twitter, and email too often and spending too much time on them when I do check them.   I haven’t succumbed to the games on facebook but I do tend to check the new games on Sporcle and end up staying for an hour at a time.  At least it’s mentally stimulating!  I’m sure my eyes would like the digital rest by unplugging from the computer more often and that would cut down on the time sucks too.

11.   Eleven?  Eleven!
I think these ten are more than enough for me to focus on for a year!  Oh yeah – I’m letting go of following rules to the letter!  That’s my #11.

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Gratitude Month – Day 8 – 30 Days of Yoga

On October 7, I started the 30 Days of Yoga program, Karma edition, with Marianne Elliott (@zenpeacekeeper on twitter). When I first saw the promotion for it, I knew it was what I had been seeking for a long time. Not only is this an extraordinary program, Marianne donated every penny to Off the Mat, Into the World Global Seva Challenge for South Africa. She raised $15,000 for this project through this round 30 Days of Yoga and hopes to raise another $5000 (and you can donate directly to the program if you’d like!).

Marianne uses a questionnaire she created that helps participants select the best program for their needs. After the program is chosen, a video of Marianne doing the program is available for download. I chose Heart Earth Flow which is designed for writers and those who sit at computers all day. My poor hamstrings and quads ain’t what they used to be from sitting in the same position for years!

Along with the video, there is amazing support through these 30 days. Marianne regularly posts to the 30 Days of Yoga blog. Her posts are lengthy; full of support, information, compassion, and resources; and they helped me feel connected to the energy of the 300+ women participating in the program. She writes as if she’s talking directly with me. I had these blog posts emailed to me and every time I opened one, I would be blown away by how timely the topic was (particularly the one on body shame). I felt supported and encouraged every step of the way. Marianne is also available to answer questions, and the twitter group (#30dayyoga) was great. I can only imagine the countless hours Marianne spent on this particular round.

When I started back on October 7, my goals were simply to be consistent and finish the program. I wanted to feel I had followed through with something from start to end. Exercise had been lacking in my life this year following an illness in late winter, and I felt this would be a good way to get back to it. I’d taken several yoga classes over the years so it wasn’t something new to learn on top of my other goals. However, yoga had always been an “add on” activity to other forums of exercise. To me, yoga was “just” exercise because I’d never focused solely on it before. For these 30 days, it was to be my only focus, and I joyfully discovered that yoga is so much more than exercise! I’ve truly experienced yoga for the first time now! At this point in my 51 years, it’s what my body is craving; I don’t need to go nuts doing other types of exercise with it.

When I previewed the video, I admit I was intimidated. I was afraid I couldn’t do it, but Marianne was so encouraging and I realized that whatever I did do, was enough, whether it was simply 5 minutes of focused breathing or laying in savasana. As the days went by, I kept my commitment to myself, and my body has certainly changed. I have made significant strength gains in this short period of time. I can do Chatarunga Dandansana without flopping to the floor (I still do it from my knees rather than full plank position but I can lower myself and hold myself up now). My downward dog feels full of joy now, and my forehead rests comfortably on the floor in pigeon pose. My energy has picked up considerably and I feel calmer and more confident than I did 30 days ago. Yoga is grounding me and that is something I’ve badly needed for months.

I crave healthy foods now too, and I have lost some weight although the number of pounds isn’t important to me – it’s all in how I feel, and I feel so grateful for this experience. I met my goal – I was consistent and I finished the program. I made space in my daily routine for yoga, and my body knows when it gets to be that time of day to hit the mat. There were a few days when I only did a few twists to ease my IBS or I simply did savasana, but I made the space for yoga, and I’m learning how to listen to my body (which has always been so hard for me). Yoga provides the silence and stillness – the space, if you will – so that I can listen to what my body is telling me. Some days it whispered to push a little more, some days it told me to ease up. When my mind was resistant to hitting the mat, I’d do it anyway because I knew it was my mind putting forth the resistance and I’d let my body decide what it wanted once I hit the mat. More often than not, I’d go through the entire 39+ minutes and feel significantly energized and calm.

As we finished these 30 days, Marianne wrote: “The idea, and my experience, with yoga is that as you begin to make time every day to connect to your breath and your body and to use breath and movement to unblock contraction in your body, mind and spirit you will naturally find yourself being drawn to make other healthy choices. That’s the beauty of yoga, there is no need for ‘should’ (I should exercise, I should go to bed earlier, I should eat less meat) because the practice of yoga leads you naturally to a place where you want to make healthy choices.”

This has been my experience. I’m drawn to making healthier choice and there’s no pressure to do anything. I feel the flow in the doing, no matter how small that may be for that day. Yoga is helping me reconnect my body and mind and ultimately spirit. I’ve longed for this all year but couldn’t seem to find the motivation myself. Now I’ve reconnected, and I’m continuing on that path to health with a sense of adventure and curiosity as well as a grateful heart.

So on this 8th day of Gratitude Month, I’m grateful for Marianne and her 30 Days of Yoga program, as well as the #30dayyoga group on twitter. THANK YOU!!


Edited to add September 28, 2013:  I have just started yoga teacher training!  I finish next May, and I hope to teach yoga to the bereaved and those going through challenging experiences.   So a huge thank you to Marianne for sparking that desire in me, that I could, even at my age (I’m 54), take this path.

Edited to add October 26, 2012:  I am now working through Marianne’s 90 Days of Yoga and learning even more about myself, my body, and yoga.  I’ll write a review when I finish but I am LOVING it! ♥


My Journey to Health

As I mentioned in my 51 Things, I’ve been eating disordered for a good chunk of my life.  A few days ago, I had an amazing soul therapy session with Megan Gala from The Love More Project.  My questions for Megan revolved around my eating issues.  I likened it to a knot inside me that several other issues were tangled around.   We discussed several things during the session which were very helpful and healing.

At the end, Megan encouraged me to document my journey with healing my eating issues through blogging.  It’s a scary thing to do this because when it comes down to it, it’s bare naked writing.  That’s enough to scare most people, myself included.  But I want to heal, and I’m committed to healing, and so . . . here goes . . .

This is something I wrote in November 2009 but never finished.  It’s a good starting point:

Turning 50 isn’t the end of the world.  My 50th passed without skipping a beat, no big deal.  I didn’t sprout a bunch of chin hairs or wake up with silver streaks in my hair.  I didn’t look like the crypt keeper either.  My health issues aren’t a result of turning 50 but of 6 years of poor self-care.  I seem to have hit a mind body disconnect at a time in my life when my mind and body truly need to be in sync.  How does someone used to exercising six times a week and eating healthfully get to be 30 lbs overweight with frequent heart palpitations and fears of heart attack just by walking up the stairs?  Why had I fallen so far and could I get up again and feel healthy?

Sure, you betcha.  It’s not Mt. Everest I’m attempting to climb, and as my 20-year-old reminds me, I KNOW what to do.  I just need to do it, but that felt so hard.

When I was a fitness fanatic, it was all about how I looked.  And that was motivation enough.

When I began having stress injuries, chronic back pain, and wheezing, I had to slow down.  It should have been a time for quality self-care by eating healthfully, resting, and working on that mind body connection.  Instead, sick of the obsession (and it was truly an obsession), I threw in the towel, ate everything and anything burying the stress and pain.  My physical pain did decrease but the wheezing was worse.

I was eventually diagnosed with asthma and put on medication.  A month later, I was hospitalized with pancreatitis and a gallbladder infection.  I had a near death experience, my gallbladder was removed five days later, and the complications kept me nearly bedridden for a month.  I lost 20 lbs during this time, not intentionally.  It was not my finest hour.

Since then, I’ve put the weight back on and then some.  My exercise has been hit and miss but rarely consistent.  My body CRAVES movement but I sit in front of a computer all day for work, too mentally exhausted for exercise or planning healthy meals.  That’s the excuse anyway – and it’s truly just an excuse.  I have many of them!

That was written ten months ago and little has changed except that my stomach is bothering me nearly every day now—hence my session with Megan.  What I need to do is:

1)       Take baby steps

2)      Write new rules for myself – the old ones do not serve me well such as I’m too lazy to do this

3)      Ask for help and support

4)      Allow myself to be nourished both physically and emotionally

My goal is HEALTH.  If I never lose a pound but I reach a place of feeling energetic and healthy, I will be satisfied!  I will not be counting calories, fat grams or anything else including exercise sessions.  I must start from a place of compassion.  Instead of saying I’m too lazy to do this, my new rule (and intention) is:

I can and will nourish my body.  When I nourish my body, I nourish my soul,  mental health and whole life, and  I open myself up to abundance.

Each night when I go to bed, I will celebrate the ways I nourished myself.  Maybe the only thing I’ll have to celebrate on some days is drinking a glass of water.  Maybe I’ll have lots of baby steps to celebrate.  Either way, it’s a celebration, not a judgment.

I plan to document my journey in this blog.  If you’re in a similar place, I’d love to hear from you.  If you’d just like to celebrate my baby steps along the way, THANK YOU.  I will need your support.

Namaste ♥