As I’m enjoying these last days of summer—taking last swims even though the weather is getting colder, celebrating Simone’s 13th (!) birthday, walking out to see the sunset—I’m thinking about how to go back into the routine of the school year with positive energy. And I find that the more clear I can be in what I’m doing—and why I’m doing it—the more positive I feel about entering back into a more regular work routine.
I often bring together writing and yoga and have written about that here. But why do I do this? You might think that if you were a really serious writer, you wouldn’t want to dilute that serious intellectual pursuit with something like a yoga practice. And vice versa: serious yogis wouldn’t want to interrupt their yoga flow and freedom from thought with writing.
But in fact, when we bring mind and body together, both mind and body practices grow deeper and stronger in all kinds of powerful and unexpected ways!
We live in a culture of fragmentation; from the cartesian mind-body split to the ways in which society itself is fragmented among different groups of people, our paradigms keep things separate. But this fragmentation hurts us.
One of the most powerful, healing things we can do—individually and as a society—is to come back into integration.
And bringing writing and yoga together is one of the most powerful way to do this! Because they both, rather than being fringe activities, remind us who we really are.
Here are three powerful benefits of bringing writing and yoga together:
1) Greater health—yes, really!
2) Greater and deeper creativity
3) Greater clarity of purpose
We live in a time in which so much is going on at once, and there is so much uncertainty, that it is easy to feel fragmented and torn in different directions. But when you invest in these practices and in yourself, you will be more available for your whole life and for others as well.
If you want to experience these benefits for yourself, I invite you to join me in my upcoming online course Align Your Story with yoga, meditation and writing, or in some of my in person upcoming workshops. Sign up for Align Your Story by September 8th for early bird pricing. And the first 20 people who sign up also get a free one-on-one call with me included in the price!
I also invite you to take a moment and get clear on your own intentions for the fall: what are you doing and why? How are you connecting to your own deep calling?
I’ll also want to invite you to join me for three powerful FREE online writing and meditation sessions on upcoming Fridays at noon. These meditations will bring our attention to our breath and body, and we’ll see how this can powerfully shift our energy when we write. Come for one or all of them. You can sign up here.
As always, please pass this on to any friends who might be interested! And reach out with questions or just to say hi. I love to hear from you.
It’s that time of year when the cicadas come out and the nights begin to get cooler.
It is good to be present with the warm days while knowing that fall is around the corner: another season, another cycle.
There are periods of transition that we may or may not be ready for (I’m never really ready for fall to come), and living in time means we’re constantly adjusting and re-adjusting, aligning and re-aligning. And sometimes we need to just jump onto the train of change without feeling 100% ready.
Last year around this time, I went to an energy healer because I wanted some help shifting some habit energy. I didn’t expect to talk about my kids, but the imagery the healer was seeing brought the conversation to them. Simone was about to start middle school and Gabriel was about to start his junior year. At the end of the session, the healer said, “I think Gabriel is ready to spread his wings. Is he about to go on a solo trip or a journey to another country?” I thought for a moment, but the answer was no.
That night we went to Vermont. Gabriel was going to take the bus and join us the next afternoon for the weekend, and then we were going to go home and fly out to Portland Oregon on Monday for a family vacation. The next day, when we were in VT, we got a text from Gabriel (we don’t have cell connection and only communicate from the general store, which has wi-fi): instead of taking a bus to meet you in Vermont, I’d like to take the train across country and meet you in Oregon.
I was unprepared for this (except of course for the conversation with the energy healer!!)—I’d only just gotten used to his spending a night home alone. Now, with some of the money he’d saved working over the summer, he wanted to take the train alone across the country.
After some backs and forth, Gabriel did end up taking the train alone to Oregon. He had a great time—met some people, got to walk around Chicago for a few hours, and enjoyed the views out the window, especially in the Dakotas.
I also felt like I’d jumped on a new train: the train of being a mom to a young adult, of Gabriel’s own growing independence, of time, movement, change—the train of our ever-shifting journey and adventure.
Sometimes, we might be timid or cautious around change, not sure if we are ready to take the next step. And sometimes change and growth come with the force of a fast-moving train, and whether we are ready or not, we find ourselves on it—moving to a new and unfamiliar destination.
This year, whenever I’ve met obstacles, I’ve tried to remember that train and have tried to get on whatever new adventure or opportunity presented itself with excitement and without fear.
As Gabriel is starting his senior year, I definitely am in the process of my own ongoing transformation, in many ways mourning that time of mothering little kids, already anticipating what it will be like to with Gabriel at college. And at the same time I’m trying to step up to what new adventures and growth might be in store.
Align Your Story and my in person writing workshops and retreats invite you to re-align your story, to step into the adventure of your life, to put aside your fears and jump onto the train of your own growth and transformation.
This is a time of rapid change not only individually, but also socially, and I believe we can best keep up and respond appropriately if we have the tools to stay in our own center, to be comfortable with change, and to keep on reconnecting to our own vitality, voice and energy.
In this time right after the eclipse, a time auspicious for change, I invite you to take a moment with these questions: Are you more ready to step into new growth than you had perhaps imagined? What will that change look like, and how will you get the support you need to make it happen?
I hope you’re enjoying this beautiful day, wherever you are!
As always, please pass this on to any friends who might be interested, and reach out with questions or just to say hi. I love to hear from you.
I got in late last night from a week in France with Eric; it was the anniversary of our being together for 25 years, and we took some time to be together hiking and visiting the countryside.
Thinking about being together for 25 years (I hardly know how I’m old enough to have been with a partner for 25 years!), we reflected again on the story of our life together, and how to have a meaningful life—how to live in time, in change, in uncertainty, and also how to prioritize what matters.
(And periodically, we’d look at the news)
I felt very grateful that I've been able to prioritize my relationships, my writing and my social/spiritual engagement—that often comes through writing--in my life. And I've seen how things are at the same time always changing and also largely staying the same--Paris, for example, is both different and very similar to the way it was when we lived there in 1996!
I created Align Your Story to help others prioritize their creativity, voice and engagement and to help others live with more ease in their own stories.
I’ll be starting the weekly module-by-module conference calls again this fall on September 22nd. If you sign up by Labor Day (September 4th) you can sign up with an early bird special (a reduction of $100) and if friends sign up together you both get an additional 15 percent discount.
Sometimes, an online course can seem off-putting. But there are also great benefits that can come with an online course that you can’t get in an in person course. And I want to outline just a few of them today.
The benefits of an online course vs an in-person course:
You can get more content at your own convenience, in a more integrative way.
I find I’m able to give much more content in an online course than in an in person course. You don’t need to take in all the course material at once so I can give you more. And because most of the material of Align Your Story is not only in text format, but also in audio format, you can listen to the material of the course when you take a walk, or are doing the dishes. This is not only more convenient for busy lives, but also a better way to integrate your learning. We know that sitting still, as people do in traditional classrooms, is not the best way to take in new material, and being able to learn when you are ready to learn can make the learning process more integrated and deeper.
You can self pace yourself and come through the material again and again.
With Align Your Story, you can go into more depth with the material that is more suited to you and come back to other material later. Listen to something two times or three times. Choose to focus on one part of the course or another. Traditional courses ask all people to do the same kind of work with the same timeline. With a self-paced course, you can tailor your particular learning to your particular interests and needs—and come back again and again for deeper, and different experiences.
You have an ongoing community, not a community that ends with the end of the course.
When you sign up for a traditional course, you are part of a strong community for the hours you are in the course, and once the course ends that community almost always disbands. In Align Your Story, once you enroll you have lifetime access to a strong community of like minded writers. You can communicate with them whenever you want, and you can stay in an ever-growing authentic community of heart-centered writers around the world (we have students in Germany, England, South Korea, Washington State, Illinois, throughout the Northeast, Texas and more). If you want in person meet-ups, there are also in person meet ups in the Boston area and, I hope in the future, in other areas as well!
You can really listen to yourself, and not worry about “performance”
The community focus in traditional courses is so strong, that it’s harder to really listen to yourself and not to worry about performance, and what the teacher and other students might think. In Align Your Story, because the course is online, you have much more freedom to pay attention to what you want to say, to take risks, to experiment, and to come to trust your own voice and body.
You can integrate mind body and spirit because you have the time and space and support—and duration—to do so
It’s hard to imagine an in person class that would give you all the tools to create ongoing writing, yoga and meditation practices and to integrate the three. Would it be held in a yoga studio or in a room with desks? Because the course is online it can support all three practices equally with text, audio and video formats and the support of a facebook group and live conference calls to ask questions and get support.
Align Your Story is very user friendly, and because so much of it is audio, you can do most of the work away from your screen, connecting to your body or writing in a good old fashioned notebook. So I encourage you to think again if you believe an online course isn’t for you. Yes, we are living in a changing world--and some of that change is hard, but there can also be benefits to be gotten from the changes.
If an online course isn't for you, and if you're local, I also have a number of in person courses and workshops that I’m also offering this fall—see below. I'd love to see you at any of them!
And there are still a few spaces left in my retreat this weekend; if you’d like to treat yourself to a grounding, rejuvenating weekend of writing, yoga and meditation, I’d be delighted to see you!
As always, please pass this on to any friends who might be interested, and reach out with questions or just to say hi. I love to hear from you.
Today I’m very excited to share with you an interview I did with Tami Simon, the founder and CEO of the publishing company Sounds True, (which publishes many of my favorite authors and teachers). Tami is a great inspiration and model of someone who brings the wisdom of contemplative practice to her very successful business life, and I’m really delighted to share her wisdom and her vision of a more integrated world.
I’m writing this now from a friend’s house in Maine, looking out over a lake. This summer I’ve been very lucky to have restorative time in a number of beautiful places with friends and family, and I’ve been writing recently about the importance of inward reflection and attention to the self.
But how do we balance this inward attention and private life with our outer demands and aspirations?
Can we attend to our inner life and our deep knowing—of ourselves, of the value of nature, of the value of conscious communication and relationship—and still be in the “real” world of work?
Sounds True was one of the very first conscious companies—even before there was a name for such a thing. Tami founded the company with the self promise that she wouldn’t compromise her inner values for her company’s financial bottom line. Today, the great success of the company, a major publisher of spiritual wisdom with over 100 employees, shows that there need not be a dichotomy between our inner values and our outward success.
This is a deeply powerful and inspirational lesson.
I grew up thinking that there was an unsolvable dichotomy between the values of the private and public realms. From almost every side, I got the message, both explicitly and implicitly, that if you wanted to be successful in the public world, you’d need to compromise on the values of the private world.
But I didn’t want to live with a dichotomy. I wanted to bring the integrity and authenticity—and love—that I could access in my inner life to the public realm and to my work life. I wanted to bring my full authentic self to my work life. Because what kind of world are we living in if we need to compromise on our values to be successful? What kind of world are our children going to inherit?
Tami speaks eloquently about her own mission to bring her true self to the business world, and she is a wonderful example of the success that can come when people do that. I hope you’ll enjoy my interview with Tami as much as I enjoyed conducting it!
The tools that we develop to listen to ourselves and to come into our true self can make not only our private world richer, but also can lead to greater success in our work life, our public life, in all our relationships and in everything we build in the world.
As always, reach out to say hi or with any questions. And I’d love to see you at any of my upcoming events or in any of my classes—in person or online.
I blog about creativity, writing, yoga, meditation, justice, women, the environment and integrated well being for the individual and society