Lessons from a 5 Month Old Baby

“Each of you is perfect the way you are ... and you can use a little improvement.” ― Shunryu Suzuki.png

Hugs are medicine.

Love is not earned. 

We are perfect because we are imperfect. 

Sometimes we just need to be left alone.

Sometimes we just need a good snuggle.

Eye gazing is really sweet.

Over stimulation = less restorative sleep at night.

Naps are necessary for everyone.

Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want clearly and unapologetically.

Love your belly, love your rolls, love your dimples. You are a miracle. Your body. Your mind. All of you.

It is OK to receive without giving something back. 

A smile goes a long way.

Crying is healing.

Everybody’s s%*t stinks.

Conversations with the Invisible

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A recent conversation with a friend reminded me of something quite significant from my childhood.  I remembered that I used to have conversations with ‘the invisible’.  I would make deals with the universe.  I didn’t realize it until now, but i was praying.

I wasn’t raised to pray.  I wasn’t raised not to pray.  It just wasn’t part of my every day life.  On holidays, we would go to temple or say a prayer over the bread and wine.  It was all very foreign to me.  It was in Hebrew.  They weren’t my words.  I couldn’t connect to it.  

I remember laying in my bed at night asking ‘the invisible’ to keep me, my family and my friends healthy and safe. I would promise to “not do this or that”.  I don’t even know what i could possibly have been doing so bad as a child (except for cheating in Monopoly!) to have to 'make a deal' but either way, i made promises and asked for my wishes to be answered in return.

As an adult, i don’t necessarily think we need to make deals with ‘the invisible’.  It doesn’t really work that way, as far as i believe.  I think we need to be honest with ourselves and in doing so, we move towards a state of ‘flow’ which in my opinion is when we are in good communication with the Universe.  When we hide, put on a mask, silence ourselves, stay in abusive relationships (with ourselves, other people, lousy jobs, toxic environments, etc…)— we lose the fluid connection with Source…. our communication gets fuzzy.

This conversation is forever ongoing.  It’s not a one time chat.  Due to our ever shifting, evolving and growing nature we must constantly check in with ourselves. Am I listening to what my spirit is saying now?  And now?  And now? 

Ask yourself this question today and see what comes up… “How are you, Heart?  Are you happy?”

Body, I'm Listening.

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I woke up on Thursday morning in agony- my neck was in spasm and I could barely lift or turn it. More than the pain was the frustration and fear. How will I teach my classes? How can this happen to me when I teach people how to care for their bodies? Has something really bad happened to me? What is going on?! I reached out to my amazing healers and landed on the massage table of Anne-Marie Duchene who practices Hellerwork Structural Integration.

I laid down and she touched my feet. I immediately softened. She intuitively worked on my feet first and the most amazing thing was feeling my shoulder begin to release as the facia in my feet began to unravel. She eventually was up at my upper back- her hands underneath me as she 'asked' my body to let go. It felt as if I turned into a honey like consistency.

Throughout the 75 minutes the tears were flowing. I didn't know I had so much stored up. With each tear I felt a little more of my tension release. What was I crying about? It doesn't even matter! Life is so beautiful, special and I am so blessed but even when things are all going 'right' there is still heaviness everywhere - politics, death, not speaking or living your truth, fear of future, lack of control, 'Jewish guilt', the list goes on... OH, but the beauty, the love, the sun, the magic all around. It's like polar opposites being experienced simultaneously.

I left about 85% better in body and 110% better in spirit. Anne-Marie, you are truly gifted. Body, im listening. I am 1000% certain that our emotions get tied up in our bodies. You cannot just heal one alone nor does a physical pain necessarily mean you 'slept wrong'. My spirit needed attention and it knocked on my door through muscle spasms. Ok, got it!

I cancelled my clients, subbed out my classes and spent the day resting, reading, heating, rolling on massage balls, taking care of Hedy. How easy it is to forget to take care of self! I have already learned so much from this experience, I'm quite grateful for it, to be honest. We are truly complex, amazing, beautiful beings!

No, I Won't Back Down.

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Las Vegas, Puerto Rico, Tom Petty, Spain.  I woke up this morning, turned on the lights but everything still felt very dark. My heart felt broken. Images of the Las Vegas attack ran through my head and then i turned on my phone and watched more, read more which brought me into a pile of tears on my bedroom floor.  I didn’t know what else to do but shut the lights back off and cry.  My mind racing and my heart broken.

I thought: What is wrong with me? What is wrong with the world? With people? That monster who killed all those innocent people? Our government? Our president? He is the epitome of everything wrong with the world today.  Why do people care more about money than human lives?  Why is there no common sense about gun control? Why do i feel guilty? I should do something? What can i do? I feel helpless.

I have always felt that the world is a good place.  That people are innately good.  That we are all born as light and may just get a little muddy along the way.  I have always believed that the mud can wash away with love, friends, family, community, support, yoga, meditation... and wine and chocolate (of course).  But then, when things like mass shootings and terrorist attacks occur i start to question myself about the goodness of the world.  Maybe we are too deep in the mud that the light can’t be seen anymore?  

As i sat in the dark, crying and wondering what to do in this messed up world i get a phone call from my friend, Jerry- “Hedy, what health insurance do you have?”  I was like, “Huh? Oh, right… health insurance!” Strangely, I couldn’t have been happier to hear those words.  Seeing the light a bit.  Then I chat with my friend, T’ai-- “when we feel helpless, help someone” she said.  Seeing the light a bit more.  Then I show up to teach my Movement & Yoga class to the Seniors. The class was bigger than it had ever been. I looked around, went to the front of the room, tried to hold it together but it didn’t work. The tears were flowing.  The funny thing is, they were not flowing from the hopeless dark place anymore.  They were flowing because of all the light around me. I was reminded that in the dark moments, the light shines even brighter.   

In the words of Tom Petty, “No, I won’t back down”.  I won’t back down from believing we are innately good.  I won’t back down from believing there is hope for this country and for this world. I am heartbroken by the terrible things that have recently happened- mostly, for the things that could have been avoided with common sense laws.  I pray that something will change after this, that lessons will finally be learned and our government will start caring more about human lives than money, power and their right to bear arms.

My evening will be filled with teaching, healing, cooking, cuddling and researching what actions i can take to help the world be a better and brighter place. 

Peace, love and light. 

Look Around.

Im scared for humanity.  All of us, including myself.  You would think it has to do with our so called leader, but it doesn't.  It has to do with what i noticed today on the subway.  I looked around at all the people, but nobody else was looking around. Everyone was looking down. 

They weren't looking down in reverent gesture, they were looking down at their phones. I am totally guilty of this as well.  But it's when I looked up today, that I noticed how sad it really is.

After i took this picture, I made a very conscious effort, on my travels throughout the city today, to not take out my phone.  And what i noticed was... EVERYTHING. I noticed how hard some people's lives are and the deep sighs they take.  The strange looking food that the little asian man was eating.  The dark, deep, dusty creases in the elderly mans face.  The neon sneakers on the teens feet. The self proclaimed gospel singer who sang for us on the train, softly and completely out of tune.  A middle aged man looking at a younger woman, and the woman not liking it all.  Friends sitting next to each other, looking at their phones, not talking.  A women who looked like she had just cried for hours.  How nobody was making eye contact with me.  

I think on some level, we don't want to look up, in case we don't like what we see.  What if we see someone cry, or hurt or homeless- what it if makes us FEEL their pain?  What if we have compassion, empathy or pity for them and it hurts.  What if we make eye contact with a stranger and it's uncomfortable or scary?  

And on another level, we don't want to look up because we are afraid of what we may miss if we don't look down.  The email, the text, the Facebook post, the tweet.  I have noticed many people staring at their home screen on their phone, just waiting for something to pop up.  Waiting for their next fix.  The dopamine release that comes along with the little red notification "you have 1 new message".

Yes, indeed, we are an addicted world.  We are addicted to information and stimuli yet we are craving connection.  We find connection online safer and easier than personal human connection, because it is easier.  But easier hardly means better. 

Im frustrated because I do it too.  This frustration is good, because it is waking me up.  And what i realized, is that judging the disconnect won't help.  What will help is being conscious, being aware and recognizing that we are a digital world that still needs human connection--probably more than ever.  For me, I need to create boundaries with my phone, computer and social media world.  *No phone when walking on the street. *Mindful mornings of meditation, movement and gratitude.  *No emails after 8pm.  *Disconnect from social media for whole days at a time. * Leave phone at home when going out to dinner *Try not looking down in awkward situations- elevators, waiting on lines, shared car rides.  Instead try to chit chat or even find meaningful conversation. The other day, I had the most beautiful conversation about happiness with my Via driver- i wish my ride had been longer.

As always, it all comes back to balance- falling off and getting back on is part of it.  Being kind to yourself when you notice you have gone too deep into the world of disconnect and being grateful for the awareness to bring yourself back.

Be The Change.

Just hours prior to teaching the Healthy Spine for Life workshop on Nov 14th, I was watching the news and tears were welling up in my eyes seeing and hearing the coverage from the terrifying attacks happening around the world.  The one in Paris hit hard on this day because my first Franklin Method Teacher Training was actually in Paris in 2013 and I fell in love with the city.   I thought,  how could i even teach this class when there is so much pain,  suffering and sadness around the world right now?  I need to do something to help!!  It felt so close. My heart was breaking.

I decided to teach the workshop and not cancel it- what good would canceling it do, right?  That's when i realized that I am helping-- teaching these workshops, stepping onto a yoga mat, going for a walk, cooking, running, hiking, snowboarding, dancing, singing, reading, being with family and friends- whatever it is that feeds your soul--  these are the things that can change the world.  You cannot force others to change their beliefs.  All we can do is be the example of how we want to see the world.  When we learn to love our selves, look deep into our hearts and nurture our souls, that's when the world starts to become a better place.  If you have love for yourself it is almost impossible to not love others, to not feel connected, to not see that we are all one.

I had planned to acknowledge the Paris attacks in the workshop.  I planned to say a prayer, a moment of silence or a few words of healing. The students started entering the studio with huge smiles and hugs.  My spirit was lifted so high from their energy that I honestly forgot that I even wanted to bring up the news.  We spent 2 hours learning about the spine, imagery,  laughing, moving and left feeling better in our bodies and minds than we did walking in.   We took a look at what we are made of  (literally) and for that i feel like we are doing our small part in bringing more love onto this planet. 

As Mahatma Ghandi said, "be the change you want to see in the world".

Amen.

Don't Just Exercise. MOVE Your Body!

I used to go to the gym.  I wouldn't think about moving my body all day long (if it happened, it happened) and then i thought "well, ill just work it all out at the gym later."  I used to eat and think "well, if i eat too much, ill just work it out at the gym later".  I used to look in the mirror and not like what i see and say "ill fix this by going to the gym later".  Yes, that was me... the "ill fix it at the gym... later" kind of gal.

The physical and mental repercussions of this were detrimental to my health.  On a mental and emotional level this is living a life of "in the future".  I can be a lump now or hate myself now because "later" ill work it out.  And im sure we all know that "later" doesn't always come but strong patterns of self loathing and future living do get ingrained instead.

On a physical level, this is one of the ways that the body can be severely injured and worn out quickly.  Sitting at a desk job all day, taking the escalator, driving everywhere, using rolly carts instead of carrying a basket, etc... and then going to a CrossFit class?!  The body is in no shape or form to be going from doing nothing to doing something extreme!!

I speak from experience.  My body got injured many times this way.  Between over working an under moved body, over activating muscles thinking i was getting strong but instead just getting tense, not knowing how to functionally breathe or how my body is designed to move, thinking negatively about my body in the present with the hopes that my thoughts would change in the future (fat chance!!), not moving or eating mindfully throughout the day but instead thinking "ill fix that later"... I was a wreck!

Getting myself on a yoga mat was the first step to opening up my mind and learning Franklin Method completely changed my mentality about movement.  It's not about what you do in that 1 hour at the gym or yoga class... but rather what you are doing all day long.  How mindful are you when you breathe, walk, sit, stand, reach, eat?  And within that mindfulness do you know about your innate design and function?

The first step to getting out of the "ill fix it later" mentality is to start moving NOW. Walk to work, slow down your eating, breathe consciously throughout the day and take the stairs for christs sake! :)