Category Archives: Health

Mojo Monday ~ The Beauty In Making Mistakes

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If you are familiar with author Oriah Mountain Dreamer you might be surprised to learn that once upon a time she doubted if she would ever become a published writer.  This is the woman who wrote the piece called The Invitation, that later became a book by the same title.  Oriah shares in her book What We Ache For: Creativity and the Unfolding of Your Soul the story of attending a writing workshop, and how after having her writing torn to pieces over the course of several days, and hearing how few people will ever succeed at writing, left the workshop feeling deflated and almost convinced she should throw in the towel.  Yet writing called to her soul and she picked herself back up and continued to follow that calling.  

It was her determination and an internal pull to continue to write that propelled her forward.    She explains in her book What We Ache For how a writer will write, a dancer will dance, an artist will paint or sculpt, the musician will make compose, the photographer will take photos and so on.  They will do these things over and over again.  Here is how she expands on the subject:

“Sometimes we use the same stories and images, sounds and movements.  Sometimes we work on the same themes using different stories and images, sounds and movements.  Sometimes we create the unexpected and never repeated.  Sometimes we create between interviews and publicity tours.  More often we create between dental appointments and taking our children to hockey practice.  But we do our creative work.  It’s how we learn how to do the creative work.  And sometimes we become tired and discouraged. Sometimes we do not want to see the same image  emerge on the canvas, find the same theme surface in the story we are writing.  Sometimes we are afraid we will never be able to write or paint or compose or dance or film the wholeness or beauty or truth we ache to produce.  And in these moments we take ourselves out into the world and let our sexuality, our love of the sensual beauty of this physical life, and our spirituality, our experiences of the truth we ache for, find us and rekindle our passion to create.  We let the dance between the world and our imaginations move us.  And we begin again, painting or writing or composing moving or photographing or filming.  It’s how we dip down into that well of creative potential and weave a story or create an image or find just a single phrase of melody that takes the breath away. It’s how we pray, how we participate in in life.  Over and over again.”

Oriah also recounts a great story about John Cougar Mellencamp.  She shares how she heard him being interviewed on the radio and described what she heard this way:

“Mellencamp said that people generally fail in creative endeavors because they assume that great artists produce great works of art from the moment they begin.  He postulated that for every masterpiece Renoir produced he has painted dozens if not hundreds of paintings that were just not very good.  As a composer, Mellencamp had realized that he had to be willing to compose literally thousands of bad songs, songs that were hardly worth singing and certainly not worth recording, if he wanted to write one great song.  Mellencamp pointed out that when an artist puts his or her work out into the world it appears to emerge fully formed.  Those who received the completed work, the piece deemed worthy of sharing, hav eno idea how long a process was involved, how many previous incarnations hit the trash can or were painted or recorded over.”

Oriah shares that we have to be willing to keep at it, to learn from the doing.  If we want to learn how to write or paint or do any form of creative work, we have to be willing to do it over and over and over again, even if the results are not what we want.  Oriah shares how she was at first horrified when a respected writer advised her at workshop to lower her standards.  She shares that while for a perfectionist this is tough, it is necessary advice, because “Nothing stops the creative flow and obstructs the only path to learning to create – repeated trial and error – like being wedded to doing it perfectly…and nothing frees up the flow, opens the door to the learning that can come only with repeated experience, like lowering your standards, giving yourself permission to write the worst possible drivel that has ever hit the page.”

Lastly Oriah also shares this piece of wisdom that was told to her years ago in a dream.  An old man who she had seen in her dreams for many years smiled and said to her, “Do not confuse what you do with who you are, Oriah.  You are not a writer, although you may at times write.  You are life unfolding in human form, an awareness within which writing, along with many other things –eating, sleeping, making love, walking in the sun, feeling sad or glad –arise.  There is no writer, only writing.”  She says that this dream led her to this revelation:

“This idea frees us from the sometimes oppressive notion that we make the creative work happen.  The human neurological system and awareness is but one of the places where creative work arise and through which it happens.  Thinking of it this way, we can let the creative work be whatever it is.  We can arrive at our desks or studios, our journals or easels or keyboards or cameras, excited to see what might happen and content to let it be what it is, to repeat the process over and over.  This perspective can keep us from viewing creative work as a means to an end, as something with a hope-for outcome, and help us see it rather as an end in itself.”  


Here are some questions to consider:

Today I am will to do __________________________ badly.

Today I will lower my standards in how I….

I do ______________ badly, but I do it because….


Prior to beginning this post I decided I would create a 2013 word art piece.  I committed to just whipping it out and then posting it, no matter what I thought of it when I finished.  I toast to us all trying new things, making mistakes, creating for the sake of creating, accepting imperfection, loving the process and the journey, rather than just the end products.

My words for 2013 are Wonder, Wow, Love, Health, Grace, Peace, Breath, Action, Courage and Mystery.

What words might you want to claim and hold close this year?

Mojo Monday ~ Kick Starts and New Eyes

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The cover of my PaPaYa! “Voyage” journal

The past month had felt funky with a capital “F.”  One daughter came down with a really bad flu that had her down for a week.  Then her twin sister came down with the same flu and was also sick for a week.  I ran out of sick time and had to start chipping away at vacation time which is near and dear to my heart.  Wah!  My hubby had a short out of town trip camping with his students.  My 6 year old daughters had their 6th birthday and there was the party to plan for and a house and yard to prepare for guests.  The day after their successful party was Mother’s Day, but my hubby pinched a nerve in his back and a build up of stress found my own neck tweaked with strain and pain and a severe lack of energy.  My day job that I have been with for 8 years has grown more boring and unfulfilling, and while I still love the purpose of the work, I am weary of working in a cavernous lobby with no windows.  In the midst of all of this I had bone weary days.  Days where I felt so completely physically exhausted.  I also found myself not interested in writing or painting and when I arrived home all I wanted to do was veg out.  Then there were the old photos of myself and friends through the years I found myself flipping through the evening before the solar solstice, and I became sad and wistful when I viewed them because they seemed like they were from another lifetime.  I have been blessed in this life with an inordinate amount of vitality and energy, so it was the feeling so tired though that truly led me to realize that something had to change.  It all began by writing these words in my journal:


Changes need to take place.

Too tired.
Out of shape.
Not often happy.
43 years old.
Looked through old photos last night and saw a version of myself that was smiling a lot more.  Saw a happier version of me.  
Hard truths.
Brainstorm – what do I really want?  What do I want to do?  

Three Columns for Dreams and Goals
Health/Vitality: Food cleanse, Yoga/Pilates, Walking, Swimming (when pool reopens), Sleep/Rest, Hiking, Lighter, Greater Mobility/Flexibility, Less Screen Time
Life Plan: Writing, Art, Family, Community, Friendship
Happiness: Quality Family Time, Quality Hubby Time, Quality Me Time, Gardening, Creating, Painting, Writing, Reading, Community, Friendship, Women circle time, Swimming, Relaxation, Peaceful, Photography, More Outdoor/Nature Time

On the day of the eclipse I kicked started a shift.  I have been eating a plant based (vegan) diet already for 4 years, yet it is easy to slip into patterns of eating too many bread and cracker type food products.  I also live with a thin vegan hubby, who can eat anything he wants, including nightly treats and maintain his same weight, and my 6 year old twin daughters, who also seem to be able to eat the way he does and are doing just great.  I have suspected that my body was needing more nutrition, more real and hearty food, and much less of the empty fillers like crackers and bread that have infiltrated my regular diet.  I searched for some new vegan salad and smoothie recipes, adding detox to some of the searches and went shopping.  I also cleaned out the pantry and labeled anything not already labeled.  The extra treat was to lay down some new contact paper too.  


The goal is more positive physical energy.  Basically more “get up and go!”  This piece of the puzzle became more clear as I wrote these words about my new goals:




Focus on feeding yourself.  Focus on giving your body every good thing.  Focus on knowing that you deserve it. 
When we approach eating with a mentality of deprivation it not only feels punitive, it actually becomes a form of punishment.  It sets you up for a situation where if you eat something you have deemed forbidden you feel bad and guilty.  We focus on what we shouldn’t be eating. We may also be focusing on how we aren’t exercising.  If you are instead coming from a mind set that you want your body, mind and spirit to feel good and you know feeding it healthy and nutrition packed meals is what makes it feel good, then it comes from a positive place.
What else can you do to make your mind, body and spirit feel good? Consider all the pleasure possibilities.  How about giving yourself pedicures?  What about lying in the sun and stretching?  What about listening to your favorite music and moving your body to the rhythms? 
This is about feeling good.  It is about how you feel, not how you look.  There is an important distinction, because I am here to tell you that it is too easy to be dissatisfied with appearance.  We have to find the other ways to love ourselves.  




For over a week now I have been feeding myself nutritious packed meals called The Detox Salad, The Lightened Up Protein Goddess Bowl, The Back On Track Wheat Berry and Bean Salad, The High Protein Quinoa Almond Berry Salad, The Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Warm Salad, The Spring Detox Smoothie and a few other smoothie concoctions that utilize frozen fruit, soy vanilla protein powder and kale or spinach.  We have an amazing library of vegan cookbooks yet I did find many of these new and fabulous recipes on a web site called Oh She Glows by Angela Liddon.

As my lists for increased vitality included kicking up the physical movement up a few notches I have successfully been doing more stretching and have added in simple weight lifting and then some pilates videos.  I’ll also be adding in some “turbo jam” workouts for fun.  For a number of years I was a serious gym rat and worked out six to seven days a week with my daily workouts sometimes lasting two to three hours doing a combo cardio/weight lifting regime.  I remember everything I learned from the various trainers who coached me over years.  I just haven’t been putting my knowledge into practice for a great while.  



After a week of increased activity and eating nutritionally packed meals I am feeling less tired.  I am feeling less anxiety and less stress.  My screen time has been cut back some as well.  My goal is to spend more time in nature and also more time enjoying in person connections.  Here is a sweet little slide show of our family enjoying a picnic outdoors and the creatures we met on our walk afterwards.




This food cleanse has somehow also inspired me to do a sweep through the house to get rid of other unnecessary fluff, so to speak.  Some closets have been purged and the give-away pile is growing. Kitchen items like food processors, blenders and juicers have been moved to more easily accessible locations.  Things just seem to be getting more organized over all.  Think it might also have to do with some increased energy.

Is there anything in your life that you would like to kick start?

Is there anything you would like to change right now?

What in your life might need you to just look at it with new eyes?

Mojo Monday ~ Age Is A State Of Mind…and Body

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Tao Porchon-Lynch as photographed by Robert Sturman

On Sunday, May 13, 2012 a woman by the name of Tao Porchon-Lynch was inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records as the Oldest Living Yoga Instructor.  Tao is currently 93 years old and will turn 94 in August.  She was born in 1918 in a French territory in India called Pondicherry.  Her mother died in childbirth and her heartbroken father immigrated to Canada and left her with his brother and sister-in-law.  Her uncle and aunt raised her and his work in helping to create railroad systems throughout Africa and Asia offered her early cultural experiences with meeting Masai tribesmen, Singapore merchants and even Mahatma Gandhi, who became a great friend of her uncles.
At age 8 Tao wanted to learn yoga. At that time in India girls did not study yoga and when she was told it was unladylike, her response was that if boys could do it she could too, and so she did. Writer Dr. Terry Kennedy shares this about Tao in an article entitled 7 Steps to Crafting An Amazing Life “She went on to study with Indra Devi, and became one of the first women to study under yoga masters B.K.S. Iyengar and Pattabhi Jois. She gave informal classes to friends and associates for free throughout the 1950s and early 60s. Her first paying job teaching yoga was in 1968 when fitness pioneer Jack LaLanne hired her to teach in his Hollywood studio. In 1982, Tao founded the Westchester Institute of Yoga, and has since trained and certified hundreds of yoga instructors. She has also made over 20 pilgrimages to India with her students because she believes that such visits offer enlightenment about the true spirit of yoga.”
Her life journey included marching with Gandhi, working in the French Resistance under Charles de Gaulle and even marching with Martin Luther King Jr.  She also did some modeling and acting in Europe and eventually moved to the United States where she also worked as a contracted actress with MGM in Hollywood during the 1940’s and 1950’s. 
In 1995, she was one of the invited teachers to participate in Yoga for Peace in Israel. In 2011, she shared the stage with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama at the Newark Peace Education Summit.  
In 2002 she took up ballroom dancing and has won more than 300 first-place trophies in national and international Fred Astaire competitions.
What does Tao share about living such a healthy and vibrant life into her 90’s?  According to Porchon-Lynch, the first step to harnessing one’s optimal energy is learning to breathe properly. “I show my students that breathing deeply is not just a physical act but a tuning into the power behind all things which can renew and recycle our bodies.  She also shares in various interviews that she does not procrastinate and that if there is something she wants to do she does it.  She stays positive and begins and ends each day with positive thoughts.  She recommends that we all rid ourselves of fear. She has been a vegetarian all her life, eats a very simple diet and credits her years of yoga practice at keeping her strong and healthy.

Writer Dr. Terry Kennedy shares what she has learned personally from Tao and breaks it down into these 7 Steps:
1) Play Your Cards Right ~ Tao is a living example of how to tap into our human potential. We each have the ability to craft an amazing life. As Tao says, “Smile. Don’t look down. Don’t look backwards. Don’t procrastinate. Do it today!”
2) Follow Your Heart ~ Follow your dreams as did Tao in learning yoga even if it was unladylike when she was 8 years old.
3) Find Someone Who Inspires You ~ The insuppressible spirit of Gandhi is felt in Tao’s own work. One of Tao’s favorite sayings is: “It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness of ignorance. If you light just one, you’re already on an enlightened path.”
4) Take Care of Your Body ~ Tao believes we all can overcome the effects of aging and control our bodies and minds through yoga and diet.
5) Stay Positive ~ Tao is very adamant about controlling her mental atmosphere. It is one of her secrets to staying young. She believes that whatever you put in your mind starts to decay in the body. She says, “Don’t let fear enter your mind. When someone starts to talk negative, I switch it right around.”
6) Be the Change ~ Tao cares deeply for others and the world. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, she gets involved.
7) Do it today! ~ Tao believes that time is a jewel for us to use and not waste.

Does reading about Tao inspire you?
Is there anything you might do differently in your own life?  Something you might adopt from what she shares about living a vibrant and healthy life?
Here is a wonderful video of Tao speaking about living a vibrant life:

Mojo Monday ~ Lissa Rankin on The Shocking Truth About Your Health

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“Promoting health without encouraging others to seek wholeness is an exercise in futility.  Not until we realize that our bodies are mirrors of our interpersonal, spiritual, professional, sexual, creative, financial, environmental, mental, and emotional health will we truly heal.”

– Lissa Rankin
I received an email from writer and artist Sark in which she excitedly shared the following:
So often what comes out of scientific studies can be confusing, conflicting, or downright scary.  Well, today I heard something FABULOUS – straight from science!

My dear friend, Dr. Lissa Rankin of OwningPink.com – a brilliant, creative and succulent Medical Doctor – has found scientific evidence to prove that creative health is every bit as important to your body as good nutrition, daily exercise, and regular check-ups.

It supports what I’ve taught for YEARS – expressing yourSELF creatively isn’t just some fun luxury pastime. It’s vital to living a healthy and joyful life!

Sark then went on to encourage other to watch Lissa Rankin present at a TED talk.  I had heard of Lissa Rankin and I think I had even visited her web site, but watching her talk on health was really powerful.  I also happened to love that she encourages people to live “authentic lives full of mojo.”  Gotta love that mojo!
Here is an introduction to Lissa Rankin as seen on the TED Talk web site ~ “Lissa Rankin, MD is an OB/GYN physician, author, keynote speaker, consultant to health care visionaries, professional artist, and founder of the women’s health and wellness community OwningPink.com. Discouraged by the broken, patriarchal health care system, she left her medical practice in 2007 only to realize that you can quit your job, but you can’t quit your calling. This epiphany launched her on a journey of discovery that led her to become a leader in the field of mind/body medicine, which she blogs about at OwningPink.com and is writing about in her third book Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (Hay House, 2013).

She teaches both patients and health care professionals how to make the body ripe for miracles by healing the mind and being healthy in all aspects of life, not just by promoting healthy behaviors like good nutrition, exercise, and adequate sleep, but by encouraging health and authenticity in relationships, work, creative expression, spirituality, sexuality, finances, and living environment. She is leading a revolution to feminize how health care is received and delivered by encouraging collaboration, fostering self-healing, reconnecting health care and spirituality, empowering patients to tap into the mind’s power to heal the body, and encouraging women not to settle for being merely well, but to strive for living vital, joyful, authentic lives full of “mojo.”

When not spreading the word, she chills out, paints, does yoga, and hikes in Marin County, CA with her husband and daughter.”

Learn more about Lissa Rankin on her web site called Owning Pink and without a doubt watch her Ted talk below regarding The Shocking Truth About Your Health.
“I believe that true healing lies in changing your beliefs and tapping into your inner healer.  I also believes that you can’t hand your power over to a doctor, therapist, coach, or other practitioner in order to live a truly vital life. As a patient, you are an equal partner in the seat of honor at the healing round table, where your voice must be heard.”  -Lissa Rankin, MD

Once you watch the video share your thoughts.