Life is not a straight line. It's a downpour of gifts, please – hold out your hand

Thank you for being here. I'm so glad you're here.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I Survived!

"Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." T. S. Eliot

*Here we are, all twelve of us on the Oregon coast finally (such an awesome group of people).  That's me in the front row, second one in on the right.  Click to enlarge

At some point (when it's not almost midnight and I've had a few more good nights of sleep and my legs learn how to walk again), I will come back and tell you about this wild experience (that I somehow managed to survive).  For now, I wanted to share a couple of photos.  

Partial Team Photo  (Notice the magenta hair--I loved it!  Click to get a close up)

More later.

My parents are arriving from Vermont tomorrow, so (once again)  it's going to be pretty quiet around here.  Eventually things might get a little more back to normal.

Sending love,

♥  Julia

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Listening to the Guru

"Pain is an invitation to surrender to this greater universal love. It’s a demand to breathe more deeply. It’s the guru that won’t leave you alone. It’s the master that forces you to let go of control so that you can release yourself from the future and the past-- and discover your True Self right now. Your True Self doesn’t need things to turn out a certain way for it to feel secure and alive. Your True Self has master tricks up its midnight blue sleeves, and stardust on its eyelashes.  It has more options than you know how to count."  Tama Kieves

Photo found here

I'm having one of those days when I don't really know what to write but I feel like I should write something.  There's this little irritating, bossy voice that is saying that today is Wednesday and you usually post on Wednesday, so, get on it.  

Fortunately I know better than to follow the voices of should (not that I always listen to the part of me who knows better)...but I know that when the shallow, constricted breathing, grippy, graspy, trying-to-grab-on-to-something feeling comes, I simply (and not so simply) need to let go--go for a run, step away, take some deep breaths...go out & play. I know that inspiration usually bubbles up when I'm in the midst of something, when I show up real & present & mindful--when I remember to give myself space to breathe.  When I grab on & try to control, I'm left frustrated and drained.

So, having said that, I think I'll go put on my running shoes and head out to my favorite trail.  My body is telling me to get outside and move and, on this 41st day of Learning to Love This Body of Mine, the least I can do is listen.

What are you listening to today?

P.S:  I will be taking a mini break from this space to go do my Hood to Coast run--see you back here next week!

  ♥  Julia

Monday, August 22, 2011

Hood to Coast and Day 39

"Poetry, music, forest, oceans, solitude--they were what developed enormous spiritual strength.  I came to realize that spirit, as much or more than physical conditioning, had to be stored up before a race." ~Herb Elliott (Olympic champion and world-record holder in the mile who trained in bare fee, wrote poetry, and retired undefeated)

When I came across the above quote in the book I'm reading, Born to Run, it totally stopped me in my tracks. I smiled and felt a release and then smiled again.  And then read it a second and third time.  

This Friday/Saturday, I will be amongst 15,000 runners running in the Hood to Coast relay.  There will be twelve of us on a team running the 200 miles from Mt. Hood all the way to the Oregon coast. See that photo above?  That's the seriously steep 5+ mile hill leading down from Mt Hood.  It's the very first leg and I'm the lucky one who gets to run down it! I have the honor of starting my team off on this epic little journey. Each of us will be running three legs (each leg is between about four and eight miles), it will take us 28-ish hours to relay our way to the coast. Just to make sure this is extra clear--I'm not running 200 miles--as a team of twelve (relay style) we're running 200 miles!  Not that I really thought you thought little old me could run that distance solo.  :)

And, here's the thing.  I'm not really feeling all that physically conditioned.  But I've been reading and writing a lot of poetry. And spending a lot of time outside and listening to a little music here and there. And doing yoga.  So I'm thinking I might just be in perfect shape.  Thank you quote for comforting me in my time of need.  I was feeling a little jittery that my little bit of running wasn't going to quite get me to the Oregon coast.

And what better way to celebrate the end of my 41 days--(I say the end but I know very well that this is a lifelong practice).   Today is day 39.   In a nutshell (it's time to go give my little ones some attention so this needs to be the nutshell version)...I've learned that my body knows exactly what it needs, I just need to listen to it.  It seems to be the answer for everything, forever---TUNE IN and listen  That's it.  All the wisdom is there, all the strength and courage that I'll need forever and always.

It's what I'll be relying on to take me down that steep mountain all the way to the Oregon coast--with a little help from my friends, of course. And poetry.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Photo by Serena Joyce

This morning 
as my eyes blink
it occurs to me
as if for the first time
what you, miracle body, have been up to

All night long, while I let go
you pumped blood through veins
to fingertips and toes
grew cells and eyelashes and nails
inhaled and exhaled
countless times

all this while the sun
birthed new

all this without a thought or a word
or a worry
without a drop of help
from me

I laugh when I remember
that just yesterday in a torrent
of heart-numbing

i seriously thought
needed to do something

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Answer

Whether you're feeling grumpy, lonely, thrilled, frustrated, afraid, confused, inspired, angry, depressed, connected, numb, guilty, irritated, full, cynical, empty, beautiful, needy, regretful, ugly, sad, happy, vulnerable, full of hope or empty of it, contracted or released

I believe 
the answer is 

Photo by Kevin Moul       Me in Taos, New Mexico

From brilliant poets to inspirational writers and the great sages of all time, each had espoused one and the same: love within yourself leads you to love for all. It is the secret to living fully. Through self-love, you lay the foundation to becoming your greatest potential.  Evelyn Lim

I believe that my capacity for loving others is directly dependent on my capacity to love myself first.  

I can't heal & love others until I heal & love myself.  Besides, it's all completely interconnected--what I do for myself, I do for others.  What I do for others, I do for myself. It's all the same.  The only separation is the one my mind creates.

So often we leave ourselves out of the equation.  We resist our feelings, we resist who we are.  We think we need to be more of this & less of that.  When we resist ourselves, we are not loving ourselves.  I believe if we all took the time to love/nurture/accept/embrace/pamper/understand/have compassion for ourselves, all would be healed.  

Your task is not to seek for Love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.- Rumi

*What are some ways you show yourself love?  Are you willing to commit  to taking time each day to do more of that?  I'm learning that it makes all the difference.

*And while you're at it, write yourself/body a love you can read over and over and over again--make it a mushy one!

Wouldn’t it be powerful if you fell in love with yourself so deeply that you would do just about anything if you knew it would make you happy? This is precisely how much life loves you and wants you to nurture yourself. The deeper you love yourself, the more the universe will affirm your worth. Then you can enjoy a lifelong love affair that brings you the richest fulfillment from inside out.  Alan Cohen 

P.S:  Speaking of love...if you haven't already, skip over to my friend Alia's beautiful new website.  If you have a desire to do deep work with an amazingly compassionate & wise woman, she's the one.

PPS:  Your support for my dream touched me deeply.  Each of you who left your words  here, thank you so so much.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sharing A Dream

When nothing is sure, everything is possible  ~Marge Drabble

Photo found here

I want to share one of my dreams with you.  It feels scary to put this out there. All kinds of vulnerable feelings rise to the surface.  But I truly believe in the power of declaring aloud, of sharing that which is closest to my heart.

So, here it is:

I want to create a book with my poetry & art.  I want it to be a beautiful little book you & I can hold in our hands, a book that will comfort, inspire, remind, offer insight and a feeling of connection.  My dear friend, Alia, said that she sees it being a soothing balm that every person's soul need.  To be a soothing balm for others is a deep, wholehearted desire of mine.

And, of course, with desire-especially deep desire- comes fear.  Lots of fear. And overwhelm.  And the question of where in the world do I begin with this?  

As I ask this question, this is what's coming through:

You just begin from where you are, with the first step, with whatever is nudging you forward in any given moment.  You don't need to know all the hows.  If you feel overwhelmed you are thinking too far ahead.  Get out of the way & simply begin.  Ask for guidance, open & listen--one moment at a time.

It feels good to put this out there.  Like maybe I'm giving it wings, like maybe now it will fly.  I'm thinking maybe sharing it is the beginning of it becoming real.

When we are dreaming alone it is only a dream. When we are dreaming with others, it is the beginning of reality. Dom Helder Camara

Do you have a dream?  Do you want to declare it here?  I would love it if you did.

On another note...

*Today is day 32 of my 41 days.  It doesn't seem possible that I'm already 32 days into this but it's true.  Where am I with all of this body stuff?  Well, over the last couple of days things have slowed way down in my world.  I've had a few moments to myself-to sit outside and and listen to the birds and myself. My mind has quieted down.  I've tuned back in to what my body is saying.  I'm saying thank you and please.  I'm realizing more and more that if I'm nurturing my spirit then I tend to nurture my body--they are completely interconnected.   I know that this is a lifelong practice and that each moment is an opportunity to begin anew.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Don't Go Back to Sleep

Photographer unknown

Don't Go Back to Sleep
~by Rumi

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep.

You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.

People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.

The door is round and open
Dont' go back to sleep.  

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The truth Is

"If you're interested in opening the door to the heavens, start with the door to your own secret self.  See what happens when you offer to another a glimpse of who you really are.  Start slowly.  Without getting dramatic, share the simple dignity of yourself in each moment--your triumphs and your failures, your satisfaction and your sorrow.  Face your embarrassment at being human, and you'll uncover a deep well of passion and compassion.  When your heart is undefended, you make it safe for whomever you meet to put down his burden of hiding, and then you both can walk through the open door."  Elizabeth Lesser

Photo found here

It's just me here outside on my back deck, a blank white screen in front of me, sunshine, a just-right breeze, not just a cup of tea but a whole pretty pot, wooden wind chimes making their music, chirping pretty birds, warmth on my arms--the rest of me shaded and cool.  Deep, cleansing breaths. Time.

I can't quite convey to you, you who is reading this, how very much I've needed this time of reconnecting with me.  It's long over-due and just the right time and deeply appreciated.

The truth is

I've been running at such a pace, packing and unpacking and packing again, mothering & mothering more, going and coming and going again, that I've forgotten to take deep breaths and tune in to Me.  

The truth is, over the last several days, I've forgotten to ask my body what it wants and needs.

The truth is that lately I've allowed my mind to have a field day with doubt and worry, expectations, lack...

The truth is I've been forgetting to say thank you for what I have and for all the good that is happening and have been focusing on what I don't yet have, what isn't happening

The truth is that often I get so completely overwhelmed with all the choices I could make that I stay stuck and stagnant and anxious

The truth is I've been forgetting to value what I need more than anything---which is time to breathe and listen to what my insides are saying, time to slow down and sit and connect with the part of me that knows real Truth

The truth is that I have such a deep longing to go back to Taos, New Mexico that I ache inside

The truth is that I have less and less patience for people who are unwilling to tell the truth

The truth is that, on this 28th day of Learning to Love This Body of Mine, I'm deeply frustrated with my body for not responding to healthy eating and exercise the way my mind thinks it should be responding. I feel a little betrayed and a lot frustrated...despite the fact that my body feels better

The truth is that lately I have felt more like hiding than coming here and telling the truth

The truth is my little girl's attachment/fear/mind issues have resulted in me feeling very attached & fearful & full of mind

The truth is, more than anything in the whole wide world, I want to be FREE and full of Truth so that I may inspire others to be the same & I want to touch and inspire people on a very wide-reaching scale, but sometimes, often, I have no idea of how to do this

The truth is I want to make money doing what I am absolutely passionate about but I don't know how to do that

The truth is sometimes I fear I will live my whole life and not do what I was put here to do and that scares me a lot

The truth is it's very hard to come here and speak the truth when it doesn't seem so pretty

The truth is sometimes I question the value of coming here and telling the truth


what I really know, now that I've had a few moments to release and breathe in all this fresh air, is that I can drop it all--all the worries and stories and fears, all the what ifs and I don't knows. I can drop it all and drop in to what IS right now.  I can allow myself to feel whatever I'm feeling, I can listen to the birds and feel the sunshine.  I can turn it all over and Trust that it's all exactly as it should be.  I can remember who I truly am.

The Truth is that hiding the Truth never feels good. The Truth is there is great value in sharing our Real. The Truth is, in each moment, I can choose to begin again.  The Truth is that I don't have to DO anything to feel ease & peace &'s right's right now.  It's always.  It's who I am without all the other junk in the way.  It's who you are too.  And the door is wide open.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Summer Goodness

A flowing river, big green trees, cold (quick) rejuvenating dips,camp fires, s'mores, a few moments breaking up fights with squabbling little ones, a little fishin', sunshine, crisp morning air, bald eagles, osprey, blue herons, bright stars, glowing half moon, deep breaths of  fresh outdoor air...


Below are a few photos from our canoe/camping trip.  I promise to come back soon-but first there's a very long list of things/people that/who need my attention, including my husband who is turning a brand new age today...Happy Birthday, sweet husband.

River rock

Bald eagle buddies

Little M fishin'

M & L

Evening Sun


Friday, August 5, 2011

Day 22

The key to transformation is to make friends with this moment.  What form it takes doesn't matter.  Say yes to it.  Allow it.  Be with it.  Eckhart Tolle

Oh where oh where have the days gone?  Is it really already August?  Could it already be day 22 of my 41 days?  

I'm coming up for a moment of air to check in and say hello!  Life this summer has just been so all over the place--in and out of town, packing and unpacking, lots and lots of time with my kiddos, pool time, beach time, Bikram yoga time, the many many tasks of domestic life with children, and very little time for whatever it was that I did pre-summer.

This evening I am busily getting ready for yet another family & I are leaving tomorrow morning for a canoe trip.  So, I'm really working on letting go, being with what is, knowing that when these wild days of summer come to a close, I will have time to come back to this space and reconnect with all of you lovely ones.  I apologize for being so absent on your lovely blogs these days...something tells me we're all pretty much in the same boat on this.

A quick update on my 41 days...

*Today is day 22!  I'm continuing to tune in and listen to my body and it feels like it's becoming habit...I'm amazed at how, when I take the time to pause before/while I eat, my body tells me just what it tells me what foods sound good, how much to have & when enough is enough.  I've really become conscious of the sensations in my body that tell me when I'm hungry and when I'm satisfied.

*Bikram yoga...I've done it five out of the last seven days and it's been seriously amazing.  I feel my body loosening/relaxing in places I don't think have ever relaxed.  My breathing feels less constricted, freer.  I'm wearing tiny little shorts and a tank top during yoga (it's too hot and there are too many crazy poses to wear much else) and this has been quite healing...having to expose so much of my body (to myself & others) is starting to have a healing effect.  I'm very grateful that I've taken up this practice.  Rebecca, my dear friend, thank you for the inspiration---your enthusiasm totally kicked my butt into gear.

*Though I can't say I've made peace with all of my curves, I feel some significant shifts happening...things are definitely moving in a more peaceful direction.

Thank you so much for being here, even when I've been absent.  Okay, onward!  Sending love and more love.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Instructions for a Body

photo by Sireless

I posted this poem several months ago but with my current focus on my body I thought it was very worth very powerful to read and to listen to.

Sending love to each of you,


Instructions for a body 

praise the miracle body: the odd
and undeniable mechanics of hand,
hundred-boned foot, perfect stretch
of tendon

tell me there are no gods then,
no master plans for this anatomy
with its mobile and evident spark

someone says "children of light"
and another, "goddessfragment" and
another, "chosen" / a dozen makers,
myriad paths, one goal:

some scalpel, some chisel, some crazed
sentimental engineer giving rib, giving
eyelash, giving gut and thumb --

all mattering. all set down
in a going world, vulnerable
and divine

in the beginning was the word.

or before time there was a void
until a voice said "I" and was

or there was star and dust,
explosion and animal, mineral, us::

praise the veins that river these wrists
praise the prolapsed valve in a heart
praise the scars marking a gall bladder absent
praise the rasp and rattle of functioning lungs
praise the pre-arthritic ache of elbows
and ankles
praise the lifeline sectioning a palm
praise the photographic pads of fingertips
praise the vulnerable dip at the base of a throat
praise the muscles surfacing on an abdomen
praise these arms that carry babies
and anthologies
praise the leg hairs that sprout
and are shaved
praise the ass that refuses to shrink
or be hidden
praise the cunt that bleeds
and accepts, bleeds
and accepts
praise the prominent ridge
of nose
praise the strange convexity of ribcage
praise the single hair that insists on growing
from a right areola
praise the dent where the mole was clipped from the back
of a neck
praise these inner thighs brushing
praise these eyelashes that sometimes turn inward
praise these hips preparing to spread
into a grandmother’s skirt
praise the beauty of the freckle
on the first knuckle of a left little finger

we're gone / in a blizzard of seconds
love the body human
while we're here, a gift of minutes
on an evolving planet, a country
in flux / give thanks

what we take for granted, bone and dirt
and the million things that will kill us
someday, motion and the pursuit
of happiness / no guarantees / give thanks

for chaos theory, ecology, common sense that says
we are web. a planet in balance or out, the butterfly
in tokyo setting off thunderstorms in iowa,
tell me you don't matter to a universe that conspired
to give you such a tongue, such rhythm
or rhythmless hips, such opposable thumbs –
give thanks or go home a waste of spark

speak or let the maker take back your throat
march or let the creator rescind your feet
dream or let your god destroy your good and fertile mind

this is your warning / this
your birthright / do not let
this universe regret you.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Bikram Love

"Bikram Yoga is the 26 postures Sequence selected and developed by Bikram Choudhury from Hatha Yoga.

It has been proved and experienced by millions that these 26 postures systematically work every part of the body, to give all the internal organs, all the veins, all the ligaments, and all the muscles everything they need to maintain optimum health and maximum function.  Each component takes care of something different in the body, and yet they all work together synergistically, contributing to the success of every other one, and extending its benefits."  Quote found here

Yesterday and the day before yesterday, day seventeen and eighteen of Learning to Love This Body of Mine, I spent ninety minutes, in 105 degree heat, doing Bikram Yoga. And, whew, how do I describe this...I'm in love. 

It's not surprising that as I've gotten more and more in tune with my body that it has led me to Bikram.  For so long I've known that one of the best things I could do for myself is yoga, and, although I've done it on and off over the years, It hasn't quite stuck-I've never established a consistent/ongoing practice.  

One thing that has become clearer and clearer over the last eighteen days is that everything, every single thing, is interconnected--you cannot separate out any of it.  What I do for my spirit, I do for my body. What I do for my body, I do for my spirit.  What I do for myself, I do for others.  What I do for others, I do for myself.  When I breathe and tune in and become conscious of what my body is telling me, I tune into the whole of myself--I tune into Source/God/'s all the same, it's all one, it's all part of the whole.

Here's what yoga master Erich Schiffmann has to say about yoga:  

The word yoga means yoke, and yoke means union and joining. Through the practice of yoga, you ''join'' your specific mind with the Infinite Mind through the act of listening for guidance, and thereby experience your already-existing oneness with the Infinite.  

Yoga is a way of moving into stillness in order to experience the truth of who you are.  The practice of yoga is the practice of meditation--or inner listening--in the poses and meditations, as well as all day long.  It's a matter of listening inwardly for guidance all the time, and then daring enough and trusting enough to do as you are prompted to do.

So, seriously, I'm pretty amazed at what's been going on here.  I have never in my whole life tuned in and listened to my body in this way.  I am not kidding a bit (or trying in any way to make this all flowery & sweet)...when I say I've been craving fruits and vegetables (like crazy) and water and tea and's just what my body is wanting and it feels so so good to be giving it what it wants/needs.  

I can hardly wait to get back to that studio--to drip sweat/detoxify/breathe deeply/stretch the heck out of my body/mind/spirit again. I think I'm officially & forever hooked.  

I'm going to go out on a limb and say I'm on the road to learning to love this body of mine.  And it feels like it's loving me right back.