Grief, Life, Love, Pandemic – it is not linear

So something came to me today – an “aha” moment or light bulb moment where something clicks.

Sometimes this happens on the mat, sometimes when cleaning, sometimes totally random but when it happens I try to capture it and sit with it.  I try to expand the concept and ask why this came to me.  Why now? What for?

And today – it was that nothing in life is continuously linear – that all of our paths are sometimes smooth and sometimes rocky and for some of us – a lot of rocks.  So anything we realize that we have in common – actually unites us as humans to this human experience and helps form connection, compassion, and empathy.  If we know that our lives aren’t linear, than when we encounter some weird vibe, indifference, anger, hostility – maybe we can create that space to ask the tough questions – are you okay? can we talk about this? Or maybe simply giving space to both of us lovingly.  I can be in a house of joy and still be with your pain or unrest and vice versa when roles are shifted.

A couple weeks ago I took a nourish and unwind virtual retreat with Danni Pomplun and some other beautiful souls.  It was four hours on Sat and four hours on Sunday of restorative yoga, yoga nidra, self massage, and all around self love.  In the beginning meditation – he made this beautiful analogy of sitting with one’s self like exploring our inside home – each room, each window, each nook and cranny where there may be some dust, a need for paint touchup, or some trash to take out.  It was like my own version of HGTV Home Makeover.  And for those of us that clean our own abodes – we know how much work this involves.  We know how fast dust can accumulate or leaves can be brought in (esp if you have pups and/or kids!).  Anyways I realized that in this endeavor – I hadn’t been taking this time for a while and it was probably because there was something inside I needed to sit with but couldn’t bring myself to do so.  Grief and this underlying programming of “just push through”.    Last October when I had a miscarriage – I took a week off to cry, walk, cry some more and truly be there for myself.  But I also – then got myself back up and back to teaching and I think in my mind I said to myself “okay now you grieved and now its over”.  But in actuality – it wasn’t and it probably isn’t.    This is life long grief that comes up at the most random times and if I am not completely patient and self compassionate with myself to sit down and FEEL it – I stuff it deep inside in the closets of my heart, under the rocks of my hip points, and who knows where else.

So in those 8 hours and in that one weekend – I released a lot.  And I also came to this realization today that  -aha- this grief, this experience of life as we get older does get more full of “stuff” to process.  Those battle wounds, those stories, those deep regrets or coulda shouldas – they need time to be taken out each day.  In accepting that the process isn’t linear and that I only have so much control – I am actually able to live more freely in acceptance and alignment with the true beauty of life’s essence and of the human experience.  I am able to surrender.

This pandemic for sure hasn’t been linear either.  We have had to ride the waves.  We have had to have our hopes up and then not.  But what we do have throughout this is each other, time of reflection, introspection, and deep deep healing.  A major spring cleaning if you will.

I hope when the first blossoms of spring arise and some of the hustle and bustle resumes, that I still tend to my house each day.  Make the bed.  Fold some clothes.  Do a few things for my most precious house.  I hope I take time to put some fresh flowers in my heart, some new paint on my spine, maybe wash the breath down my legs, and fire up the furnace in my belly.  Because every time I encounter a human – I want to fully see them, hear them and feel them from a clean lens.  The constant journey inward is where peace, contentment, and love are truly held harvested and made.  And to be able to give that good stuff to your outer world when you step outside – that is special.

Metta Float – Metta WTF?!

So my good friend Joy – if I haven’t mentioned her before in a blog post – she is the Thelma to my Louise, my sister from another mother, someone who understands a piece of me that is unexplainable in words but deeply feels, anyways, she suggested for our Christmas girls day out that we do a float at this place in Bethlehem that she had been to before called Metta Float.

Now I have been to spas, I have floated, but never in a dark room in salt water all to myself for an entire hour.  And it sounded totally appealing.

The place is super duper cute and we had a coffee from one of my favorite coffee spots before.  The outside of it looks like a submarine and then when we walked inside it smelled amazing and I especially loved this christmas tree made out of a ladder with lights strung around it and then topped with a gorgeous angel.  Already, I was in the mood of Christmas.  Not the hustle and bustle but the spirit and love and stillness of it all.  The awe on a child’s face when they see the tree star light up and they just stand staring up at it for countless moments.  I highly doubt they are like us adults thinking about all we have to do, who we may have forgotten or the little children that have nothing and how to help or maybe the pecan pie they ate too much of.  No, they stare in awe and admiration and total stillness.

I wasn’t the best first floatee as I did not watch the demonstration video at home so I watched it in the waiting room as we prepared.  The video was informative and I am glad I listened because I especially seemed to listen to this part.  The video instructed me to tilt my head back into the water so that the water came to touch around my brow line – this would help find the natural curvature of the spine.  Now in my yoga teacher training we have been learning a lot about the natural curvature of the spine because well most of us go through life – jacking it up in some shape or form and I think this leads to a lot of alignment, stress, trauma/emotionally held issues.  We can’t let go easily.  Atleast I know I can’t – esp since having a child, moving twice, switching careers, and recently a miscarriage.  I know I am holding on to shit.  I know I haven’t slowed down enough to feel some shit.  I press on.  Because that is what I have been told all my life.  But yet from my own learnings – I know I have to keep going at a pace that allows me to feel, process, and digest life and sometimes life is hard, sometimes it throws you curves, knocks you down and returns you to rest.  And I know I sometimes stand in my own way of doing this. 

Anyways, so I also didn’t bring anything with me to take out my contacts so the lovely owner let me borrow a contact lens case and solution and I proceed to room number 1 downstairs.  Joy is right next to me.  We both go in.  I put on my swim cap which she was right did nothing but I thought it would protect my newly gotten highlights.  I thought my hair stylist did an amazing job last time and I was concerned.  It had been four months since I had gotten my hair did and I wanted to relish my new highlights.   Anyways I shower off and enter the tub as directed and find the knob to signal floating time begin and music cease.  It becomes pitch black.  I float for a bit – as I have stated before I love floating – had just done some in the ocean in aruba but this was me in a tub in a dark room.  So then my brain starts to think like what if I can’t find the knob, what if it gets deeper and someone comes and grabs me from beneath, what if I fall asleep and don’t hear the music come back on?  Crazy thoughts right?! But we are in crazy times.  So I thought them and then came back to my breath, how good it felt to be weightless and how much my physical body could reeeee-lax.  And then I started to think about my spine and the natural curvature that was being supported and the sympathetic curves that we experience – I felt them.  Then I started to play with turning my hands and arms one way and then the other and then I rested a bit more.  Then I started to notice some funky stuff – my spine wanted to go in all sorts of directions – swaying to the left and right, engaging fullest upright every muscle engaged type stuff, it was very interesting what my body wanted to do and how crazy my mind thought my body may be.  Then I started to get chilly. I had no idea how much time was left but it felt like it had been a while.  I kinda wished I had set my phone alarm so I knew if I could make it to the end and hold my full bladder that I know had become aware of and needed to release as well.   So I tried to relax but at some point I weighed the pros and cons of why I was trying to stay in the water if I was physically uncomfy (cold) and needed to pee.  I thought to myself what if I fully relax and do let go and urinate in the tub.  That isn’t good for anyone.  I kinda laughed at how silly I was being, that I wasn’t failing by not making it to the full time of my float and I found the knob, the lights came on and I got up.

Woah, I was woozy. Like not totally in my body yet.  And I couldn’t see as I had taken my contacts out.  I showered but apparently not enough to get all of the salt off because I think I wanted to exit the room too fast.  It was like I needed fresh air.  So I put my clothes on and exit my room to go to where the mirrors are so I can fix my face, put in my contacts and dry my hair.  I noticed there was caked on salt everywhere.  My ears, around my eyes, my neck.  Oops.  So I tried to get what I could and make myself presentable knowing that I couldn’t wait to shower again once I returned home.  Then this other guy comes out from his room and one of the workers asked him how it was and the guy simply says “I get the best sleep in there” and I am thinking to myself dude – I just had a bajillion things happen during my float and you slept?  wtf? He must be healed and I am a jacked up mess.  Wait a minute.  Calm that thought. I am a beautiful human being in the process of processing some super real shit.  I am strong, unique, child of God – really trying to harness this voice recently when the other one enters. 

We paid and then we walked outside and I let out what needed to come out but for whatever reason I couldn’t do it in there.  I cried.  I let what needed to come up – come up.  I had a release.  I am not saying I am fully healed as I think we are all in a constant state of healing -especially right now but what I am saying is that it worked! And that I would totes do it again.  It wasn’t easy.   I think the second time will get better now that I know the room, the layout, to bring my own contacts and to not drink coffee right before.

I think when times are changing as they are right now, when things in life get tough, to be held by the water and rocked as if you were a baby, to sit in stillness with your life, helps you take a step back from all that other stuff – the drive, the motivation, the press forward.  It balances me.  It grounds me.  It soothes me.  It revives me.  It lets even my spine return to its MOST natural curvatures and just float away for a while……

Thank you Joy! Sometimes it takes that one special friend to know exactly what ya need.


And I must say it’s 24 hours post float and my body feels incredibly open and I had an amazing workout this morn!!


I am thankful this Thanksgiving

All this month, in all of my classes, all of my quotes have been about gratitude.

I can tell you even sharing quotes on gratitude makes me happier.  Most of them set my heart at ease that we all have something, something to be thankful for – we can start with the air we breathe and our health.  And if I find an extra moment in my day to actually take a breath in whilst thinking about this full concept of abundance and gratitude coming from within, my shoulders automatically relax a little, my face softens, and my heart feels full.  I feel more whole and connected rather than weighted or bogged down.

So during my dog walk today, my thoughts started churning on writing a letter of gratitude for all that I am thankful for thus far this year.  There is a but.  I am challenging myself to include the struggles.  I am currently reading Jay Shetty’s Think like a Monk book and I was drawn to this part about how our lives are an interwoven tapestry of both highs and lows, goods and bads, wins and losses, challenges and periods of ease, etc etc.  And we can’t have that feeling of fullness without having had moments of empty.

So here goes:

I am thankful for having this extra time with my family.  I am thankful for the moments in which we struggled to enjoy the simpler moments and instead we overcomplicated things, because it often drew us back together.  I am thankful for the attention that has been drawn to the race issues in America as well as the time for internal reflection on what one defines as the character they want in a US President.  I am thankful for my neighbors with which we have exchanged food, smiles, check-ins, and waves.  I am thankful for my dogs that have provided numerous snuggles and been amazing walking companions, and the occasional annoyance (mostly the puppy when she chews something she shouldn’t).  I am thankful for the tradition of “take out Fridays” and the restaurants that have worked so hard to stay open and provide yummy food.  I am thankful to the schools and Kira’s teacher who have worked so hard to try to stay open and be of support to the parents.  I am thankful to my body’s ability to get pregnant, the small amount of time I had with this beautiful life inside of me,  and to the doctors and nurses who took care of me that night as Stan and I said goodbye to her in our own way.  They held my hand while I cried and treated me with such care and compassion.  I am thankful to her for giving me this poem that came through me after she left.  I am thankful for my mom’s daily mail to remind us how thankful our children will be for this extra time together and to arrange video chats now and again with drawing contests for the kids often holiday themed.  I am thankful for all the studios I teach and take yoga class at and for my online community.  I am thankful for the gymnastics center Kira goes to that has stayed open and provided a spot for Kira to jump around and be free. I am thankful for the emotions that have come up during this, even the periods of anxiety or tears for no reason because I KNOW that after it was felt, it was released, and I was thankful to no longer have to carry it. I am thankful for online church, to God, and to all the stars that light up that sky every night as well as the sun that rises every morning.

I am thankful.

Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Now you try?!



To Chant or not to Chant? That is the question…today

So I have decided to take my 300 hr teacher training online with Brett Larkin and I am super excited.

I have already received the manuals and am going through all of the bridge material.  I was signed up to go to Thailand this past May (pre Covid) for my 300 hr teacher training and that got cancelled for obvious travel restriction reasons.  I debated delaying a year out but something led me to instead go this route.  I knew Kira would be hybrid schooling for a while and I could study whilst she studies and maintain my current teaching schedule.

One of the first recorded calls I watched was Brett asking the teachers in training their views and feelings on chanting and I thought this would be a good thing to blog about because for me, it has been a process for me to really come to terms with my thoughts on and at times, sticking points in solidifying what my beliefs are and not allowing myself to be boxed in or caving to the fear of judgement.  Sort of like the previous blog post I wrote about getting rid of the lines in your sandbox.  When I first came to take yoga classes – the studio that I went to did do some om’ing and chanting.   My first exposure to this was that it sounded different and was “odd”.  This is my first reaction to anything different after 30 years of doing things maybe from generally one point of view.  But what I noticed was that using my voice, releasing the fear of how I sounded or how “cooky” some might think it is, I always had a relaxing or calming effect and I was able to stay more focused for longer afterwards.  So to learn the physical pluses to chanting or having a chanting practice just confirmed what I had already felt.  That I wasn’t “crazy”.  Can listening to music or singing provide the same? For sure! But this was something I could also do and it was empowering to use my voice and feel the vibration within as it was created and as the breath sustained it while I truly let go.

Also, different sounds resonate with different chakras or parts of the body so it makes sense that when we become stuck or stiff in life – the breath and the spine do as well and sound can help clear them out.  Different languages make different sounds.  I remember thinking German was very clear the throat and almost forceful to me whilst other languages I felt were a bit more poetic or rolled off the tongue.   Experiencing different sounds became a way for me to get curious about how they resonated with me…. in a deeper way just like trying different foods or exploring new places for the first time.

So, first there are anatomical reasons to chant or reasons the body benefits and likes it.   It creates vasopressin which stimulates the pituitary and release endorphins, triggers relaxation, and slows the breath and elongates the exhale which helps release tension and emotional baggage held within the body sometimes in effort to “be strong” or “push forward”.   Who doesn’t need some of that from time to time?  Energetically it brings people together, unites the class, helps students find their voice, and creates a space for you on your mat that is maybe different than your outside world – special, sacred.  Clear from the matrix.

Now, enter religious beliefs.  I once encountered a church that when I asked about teaching yoga at a “Women’s Bazaar” where women from the church were going to be sharing their services and goods – I was questioned on things I said during class.  I was shown a passage in the bible that basically said while God is not a jealous God, he doesn’t want us to turn away from him.  I felt the judgement specifically to what I was teaching and if I was “cheating” on “my” God.  And I prayed about this.  The conclusion I came to was that God had given me gifts and Yoga had come into my life and taught me a great deal about the person within.  The person without fear who was at peace and great health after practicing yoga, the person who believed in healing, the person who knew when she was full – she could help fill others and when she was empty – she needed to create space and to reconnect to her source.  A source that ultimately doesn’t want to divide.  A source rooted in love for all beings.  Once I was comfortable in my decision, albeit it was hard to be questioned on such a personal topic, I felt better about Om’ing in class.

Another example of this cultural appropriation in my life was living in Switzerland as an American.  There were many things I loved about living in Switzerland and habits or things that I picked up whilst living there.  Some have stuck with me and who knows if its a forever change or like an accent can get lost.  I also learned things from different cultures while there as it was quite a diverse population.  And sometimes I would meet people who I couldn’t even pinpoint where they were from as they had attributes of different places, different stops on their journey.  At the root of us or of religion is love.  Love for thyself, love for they neighbor, love for the environment etc.  Are things always harmonious…no!  But by chanting I learn to connect with the vocal vibration of a centered self so that when things get hard or challenging, I can communicate in a way to both be heard and to listen.  I have only become richer from studying other cultures, practices, food, and travel.  The perspective becomes broadened, the stories created, and the exploration of “new” ness never ending because there is always something to be learned, something to be gotten, something to be given, something to be taken away, and maybe some things that don’t fit or don’t fit right now and therefore forgotten for a little.  It’s a journey.  I firmly believe chanting and sound can help aid in an internal awareness that helps live an outwardly healthier life.



The Social Dilemna

My hubs and I recently watched the movie Social Dilemna which we had both heard of and seen talked about on none other than social media.

I have to say I was disturbed, concerned, intrigued, and felt like some of it confirmed a lot of what I had been feeling or thinking since returning back to the United States about a year and a half ago.

Something is different or off and I can’t help but think this loss of natural rhythm and humanity is at the hands of computers.  I don’t believe anyone involved had ill intentions when creating and I don’t discount the many positives that have come from it, I am writing a blog here….  I do think it is being used and abused though, just like an alcohol or drug addiction.  We have lost touched and this leads to feeling “unwell”.  It also leads to a future problem –  if parents are unwell and out of touch and connected to the matrix – how can they possibly parent the next generation?  I have been into yoga and mindfulness for the past 10 years and having my daughter has been the best teacher to remaining in the present moment and to approaching life with complete and utter attention to the thing you are doing or the person you are with.  She doesn’t allow herself to be distracted or attached but there is a draw to the computer/ipad/tv that if I left it in her hands for hours on ends, she would become reliant.  And if she becomes reliant on a clicking process that is quite fast – does this deduct from her critical thinking skills and her creativity?! By golly gee – I believe yes!  I noticed at a young age that often she would be most creative or play on her own after coming indoors.  It was like the fresh air and nature sparked something in her that was grounded, alive, and beautiful.  She also spoke her best German when she was engaged in outdoor play.  I have taught some of my best yoga classes outside.  I have had moments of epiphany on walks or hikes.  When we only exist inside the matrix – we become connected to something other than nature and the entire state of being becomes that much more unnatural.

Burnout, substance abuse, and mental health are all problems that we face today.  Why do we use?  Why do we search so bad to feel “good”?  Why do we lack energy?  Is it because it is being zapped by something we aren’t supposed to rely on so much.  Now some can say diet and exercise which I also believe holds true.  You eat too much processed food and don’t get enough exercise, water and nature you may start to feel just that – processed. 

So how do we turn back yet go forward?  The first step to overcoming any addiction is to ADMIT IT.   How do we turn away?  How do we reconnect and stay connected to something more spiritual than artificial intelligence.  And do we as a society value the monetary gains from AI OVER our HEALTH and WELLNESS??!!  Where are we heading and can we work to pivot a bit, back to FB and social media being like that of cake or chocolate, it’s for special occassions.  Is this dilemna a product of being a citizen of an affluent country?  Power and financial stability are definitely things to strive for but at WHAT COST?  I don’t know but if I look around…if I truly look at what people are posting, how regularly, and the amount of anger and negative emotion behind a lot of it – this doesn’t feel right or healthy or connected.  It feels like a place to get bought or sold, search for belonging, get a pat on the back but pretty void of actual human connection.   The feed is too saturated to even keep up or sustain a healthy relationship on.  It’s meant to be an extra, an entertainment.

So before we all spread ourselves too thin becoming part of a wide entangled web of chaotic messaging, please take time to disconnect.  Nourish your most important relationships first – yourself, your loved ones, your work, your food, and some good ole’ fashion fun.  I don’t know whether government will eventually regulate these companies but we each can do our part.  Everyone is on their own path to remaining WELL and creating a sustaining breath of life.




Ways to Fall in Love with Fall ……..yet again

Not sure about you but I feel like with this season change, I am reminded of the reunion of certain things that I associate with the fall. 

It’s a time of transition and a precursor to the winter which is a time of restoration and digestion of the year’s events.  And this year has been quite a doozy.  I do believe deep down that this corona experience has united a lot of us in a human way that wouldn’t have been possible without something this hard.  I know sometimes the glass looks like it’s being shattered and people are being torn apart – BUT I have faith that it is in a much bigger effort to lead us back together.

I have watched as people tear apart what has been done, what should have been done, what could have been done and am left with the reminder that I don’t have total control of life.  I never did and I never will.  The only thing I have control over is my body, my mind, my thoughts, my relationships, my communication, my faith, my family, my nourishment, my work.  So I chose to continue to work on me, knowing that that ME affects the WE.

So I know that what I ingest right now (food, media, exercise, entertainment) etc has to be those things that keep me fueled well.  One of the things a season change can bring is newness.  A happy reunion with pumpkin spices, Halloween decor, colorful leaves, slightly cooler temps, warm fires – things I didn’t get to see this summer but here they are again.  To light me.  To fuel me.  To keep me full and well.  To steady me during turbulent times.  To help me renew & recharge.

Here are a few ideas on ways to fall in love with fall again if you haven’t already planned some fun ways to flow with the transition. Don’t fight the change….invite the new.

  1. Bring some fall decor into your home – whether its a pillow or a fall scented candle – this does NOT have to be expensive.  It can even be hand made.
  2. Take 5 minutes to check out the falling leaves on the trees or maybe collect some leaves from nature.  Don’t let fall flow by without taking it in – watching leaves fall is super meditative! 3 minutes a day does wonders.
  3. Go apple picking – another invitation to connect to nature and create something in the kitchen afterwards.  I definitely remember the smell of fresh made apple pie in the oven from when I was young and if you are worried about your waistline – I posted some healthier apple crisp options
  4. Pumpkin Picking – find a new place to go this year and get your annual Halloween Pumpkin and have a carving event.  This is another chance to ignite the flow in you by maybe finding a new pattern to carve or a new place to put your pumpkin or a new way to decorate it.  Maybe even create a neighborhood contest – we are all in this together. 
  5. Purchase some fall boots – our footsies have been out all summer or at least mine have and nothing excites me more than when jeans and boots come back on the street.  My old boots were quite old so I ordered some new ones to keep my feet comfy, protected, warm, and cozy.
  6. Keep your body movin’ – The season change can mean colder weather so making sure you have muscle to keep you warm and that you are moving and circulating your blood flow is uber important.  If you are a yogi – now is a good time for grounding postures, balancing poses, and some digestive twists.
  7. Get your furry friend a Halloween costume – this was the best 12.99 I spent recently and can’t wait to show you what Matilda is going to be!   
  8. Fall Football – the football season does offer community and cheering which utilizes the vocal chords and can unite the peeps.  This year is different, less peeps in the crowds and lots of talk of testing but there are still games to be had and magic to watch on that field.
  9. Give BACK – listed last but totally not least – sometimes the year flies by and you reach the end and unless you have ongoing donations set up – sometimes I look back and maybe got “so busy” that I forgot to give.  Again, this doesn’t have to be in the form of money.  Reflect on those around that have supported you this year.  Send them a note.  Write them a letter.  Better yet – call them.  Or go through your summer clothes and maybe chose to give away a few things or make a donation to an organization that you think is doing some good work right now.

I hope these ideas find you well!


Family Fun at the Drive-in?

So even when times are rocky – it is still ever important to carve out time for F.U.N.  So whilst sitting in a movie theatre right up next to a bunch of people indoors is not an option – viewing movies from your car is!!

I finally got to check out Becky’s Drive-in in Walnutport, PA and it combined a lot of elements that make for a nice night out.  First, fresh summer air.  You can sit in your car with the windows down and seats reclined or you can lay a blanket out in front of your car picnic style.  Either way you get to breathe in fresh air whilst you are entertained and get to chat with whomever you came with.  Second, “theatre like food” or the ability to bring from home.  So since childhood theatre outings, the food has not changed in my opinion.  Popcorn goes with movies and takes me back to that kid like feeling.  And I didn’t even have to consume it.  The smell alone catapulted me back.  I made myself dinner that I brought from home as I am on this Action Jacquelyn fit action plan and didn’t want to cheat.  But the smells and the sights filled me with happy memories.  They connected me to my inner kid who sometimes gets stuck deep down trying to spend too much time adulting.  Next, the big screen and old movies.  Whenever I decided to explore giving up something I love – the benefit is that eventual happy reunion and greater appreciation for what it brings.  That night Mean Girls & Clueless were showing – two movies that were popular almost 15+ years ago and I haven’t seen since.  And watching something on a big screen is different than watching at home.  Watching with people on that one large screen is like all taking a moment to stare at the sun as something we share and have in common.  It’s bonding at its best.  Another plus – seeing the family and the family friendly touches like kids rides and people dressed up as life-size soft serve.

Now, this particular weekend was even more special because it was their 74th anniversary and I love recognition of love.  74 is a big number.  Before the movie started – there was a short video showing the evolution of Becky’s, the family history, and the thought of what this place has been doing for years to help provide FUN to the community.  And after that – there were fireworks!  As the fireworks started – I said to Stan is it over already? And then little did I know – more and more and more boomers came to light up the sky, spark our ears, and direct everyone’s attention upward.  They were beautiful.

So if you are feeling some quarantine blues and have been working overtime whether at your job or parenting or a bit of both – make sure you are carving out some time to plan some nights o’ fun within the realms of what can be done right now.  The cars were all 6 feet apart and masks were required for the potty and the potty was being cleaned regularly.

Thank you Becky’s for making the weekend one to remember!



Part-ay your way to more confidence!

So last night I had the pleasure of attending a Confidence Cards Party hosted by the lovely Hannah Bennett and put on by Dr. Lyz from Visionistas by Design.

Dr Lyz is a Licensed Psychologist in Nazareth PA and Hannah is a senior at Bloomsburg College studying to be a Psychologist.  I also know Hannah on a personal level as I met her through her beautiful mother and good friend, Joy.  Dr Lyz created the Visionistas by Design series as a place for women to get together, share their experiences, connect, inspire, and increase awareness to psychological concepts that affect our well being, relationships, and energy.

I personally think that when people are mean to each other, verbally or physically (whether its woman to woman, child to child, adult to child,  man to man, or man to woman) – it typically stems from something inside that is “off” and maybe they haven’t found the desire to yet look within or the ability to handle their emotions first before approaching someone else and building healthy relationships and communication that ultimately  contain conflict, resolution, unity, growth and love.  To me, faith and confidence are an inner fight not an outer fix yet we live in a world that may sell us stuff to fix ourselves or boost our confidence ALL THE TIME.

Personally, I have struggled for years with body image and acceptance and have finally hit a turning point about 6 or 7 years ago (both cancer and having a baby helped me lean into this) – where my internal world matters a lot more than my external world.  And my inner gifts are there to share despite what my external world looks like.  Do I want to build a better body? Sure.  Do I sometimes see my greys – sure.  And I work on myself every day.  But I work on it from the inside out and from a place of love and nourishment not punishment.

I remember a priest once describing God’s love as this cloak he puts over you.  One of protection, of light, of acceptance, and of joy for who you are.  He went on to say that sometimes that is what a husband provides to his wife.  And as independent as I am, I found that when I moved to Switzerland leaving my job and old identity behind, I found comfort when he was there with me to meet new people and explore new places.  Was it empowering to do some of this alone – for sure! But was there also something very amazing and very human – that we could be that cloak at times for one another, if we let ourselves be vulnerable and let each other in to our dark.   However, I also realized that the more I strengthened the person under that cloak – the less I had to rely on him or others and the more I could provide that cloak to those in need.  This was pivotal.

And so strengthening I have worked on now for years and I can also say it has helped in my marriage.  I remember Stan and I watching Brene Brown on Netflix talk about her and her husband on vacation getting into a spat in the middle of a lake because they were both going through their own individual blame and shame game at the same time which is a recipe for an argument.  Yet they had the tools to address what they were feeling with one another after they calmed down and could see how off they were in their interpretation of the exchange.  That feels so much healthier than calling one another names, insulting each other, or saying things that may hurt.

So the party was about strengthening our cloaks by making this little book of inspiring quotes to remind us how wonderful we are, how beautiful life is, and how even though we have struggles – we are resilient.  Hannah went over some key tips on taking care of ourselves during COVID and as the world opens up because there WILL BE social anxiety experienced.  We haven’t hung out in a while in large groups.  We have had time to sit on our own or with our family and for some of us it has been life changing and strengthening and for some of us – it has been dark and weakening and maybe for some – a bit of both.

We shared quotes and played music and got our creative juices flowing TOGETHER.  Hannah used these adorable fruit coasters to put hers on and I used scrap book paper I found in my basement and tied them together with a curly ribbon.  Another woman clothes pinned her cards to a cute little string to hang in her art studio and pull down one when she needs to.  I even found this pic using lights!

And boy – do I love Christmas lights.  Since some of the quotes had to do with super hero’s that typically wear cloaks or capes – I had some extra time whilst on the call (I looked up my quotes previously) – I drew these two pics of Joy and I as our own super heroines.  This may sounds super cheezy to some but I love me some cheeze. 

Words of affirmation is my love language so finding quotes to talk to myself in this way – I find amazingly healing, empowering, human, a way to face my suffering and overall – right up my alley.  You can keep this “confidence card book” in your purse for anytime you need a boost.  It’s a bit different than a pill or soda or a piece of chocolate.   I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite quotes that I found.  Feel free to comment and share yours!


“Letting go is the hardest asana.”

“See the beauty and grace in the world around you.  Recognize it and appreciate it.  Then see the beauty in yourself.” – Kino MacGregor

“You alone are enough.  You have nothing to prove to anyone.” – Maya Angelou

“Be Yourself.  Everyone else is taken.” – Oscar Wilde


Please check out future virtual events sponsored by Visionistas by Design on Instagram @visionistasbydesign

and Hannah @ hannahbennett99


Interview with Karen Verbeeck, Owner of Steps4YouNutrition

Okay Wellness Warriors, Workers, and Advocates – besides the blog I also send out a monthly newsletter that features a yoga teacher, studio owner, or wellness peep that I have been blessed to have had our paths cross in some way shape or form and have learned something from.

Historically- I have not included the interviews as blog posts but this one is so informative and interesting I wanted to share here as well.   I met Karen when living in Zug, Switzerland and when I met her, heard what she did, and saw the passion & knowledge behind her starting Steps4You, I was immediately intrigued, moved, and wanted to know more.

For those who feel like they have been trying and trying to feel better but have no idea what direction to turn – she or someone like herself can help.  A lot of times people go to the doctor and know something is off but are told everything is “in line” so they proceed.  But for those of us that are a bit more sensitive, we know what it feels like to be well and to be a bit off and those markers are general guidelines but not a one all way to prevent and sustain optimal health.   With the rise of alternative medicine, “lifestyle” doctors, etc. – I think we can all recognize that our modern busy world can take a toll on our health if we don’t take care of ourselves well.  This often requires time, knowledge, education and a bit of dabbling to find what works for you and your system as well as the agility to know that it changes and shifts.

Karen stumbled into this as well in her own life. She saw when she had a family how important it was to make cooking and eating fresh meals part of their lifestyle.  The convenience food can be for when you are on the go – but it is not sustainable for the long term for most of us.  There is always the outlier right? The guy who lived to be 95 but ate pork belly fat his entire life.  Yes, I get it.  And just like with the COVID data, we see outliers – random children – stuff we don’t have total control over.  BUT, in my eyes, when it comes to my body and my health – I value it so much and want to take the utmost care of it.  I don’t want to ignore any of its cues esp after having had cancer.

So below is a snipit from our conversation.  I hope this finds you well and gives you some ideas on how if you are getting some cues of feeling a tad run down, especially with the recent shifts in schedule and for some increase to computer time and decrease to people – then maybe it’s time to take a closer look at how you are fueling your body during this time.  What I learned most from working with Karen is a reminder to eat the rainbow, check in with yourself periodically, and that is isn’t just what you eat, it is your relationships, how you breathe, how you connect to your community and how you live. They all have an impact to your health and to each other.


Q:  Can you give me your definition of wellness and if it has changed in recent years or over the years?

A:  It is a lifestyle where you feel you are healthy and can go forward in body/mind.  25 years ago –I believe it was seen as more of a diet but those are proving not sustainable.  Living well has to have some consistency and a want to nourish yourself from the inside out with healthy well balanced meals, relationships to food, our bodies, our planet, and each other.

Q:  For those that don’t know you (yet), can you tell me about your background and education in science/nutrition?

A:  Sure.  I started studying engineering at university but it didn’t feel very human so when I came in contact with a Masters of Nutrition I felt this combined the science with applicable human bodies and application.  I could learn about how the body works, what it needs and how the food industry affects general health population.  I noticed my children when they ate too much prepackaged food – they had health issues arise.  My family then moved to France and I had time to cook with seasonal fresh ingredients and we all noticed a positive difference.  This intrigued me to continue my study of the body’s cells and responses to certain foods.  I then started to study the digestive system and the microbiome down there and it’s affects on the brain and overall health of people.  An unhealthy gut can lead to allergies, asthma, depression, brain fog and all kinds of things we are seeing.

Q:  When I first came to you for an overall assessment, I was intrigued by the machine you used – can you tell me about it?

A:  Sure.  It is called an OligoScan and it measure minerals, vitamins, fatty acids, heavy metals, oxygen levels, and the overall health of the cells.  It is the basis I use to start and then give guidance from, reference at a later point.  It is a spectrophotometric measuring which helps tell what is actually going on and more stable than a blood samples( influence by what you have been eating the last days).  We see what is actually been the overall status quo for the past approx. 3 months of nutritional intake and behaviors of the body.  We can then make a plan and use this again to reference at a later point. It doesn’t take long for your body to really like and change if fed well and overall stress monitored.

 Q:  Have you seen any trends in your patients that related to geography?

A:  Yes, amongst the Swiss population a good percentage are deficient in vitamin D and lack iodine which makes sense because of the degree of the sun and soil with low salt (iodine levels)  In California – heavy metals were prevalent which linked to obesity and stems from plastic bottle consumption and microwave usage.  Lifestyle studies are so important to understanding how we take care of ourselves affects our communities. I love working with people to identify trends and set goals and small steps towards healthy changes.  And I get to see the changes with them!

Check out Karen’s Website for more info:




The Plus side of Crying

Last Friday during my Friday Nights Writes workshop – the prompt was about tears.

Tears are your body’s way of trying to help your body balance out it’s internal world.  Scientists have studied tears and different types of tears (happy, sad, angry) and found that they all have different chemical compositions and are your body’s way of literally trying to “wash” you a bit cleaner.  Yet I think we fight them.  I know that I do sometimes.  Maybe I feel like I am not in the right place to allow them to be seen or sometimes I don’t want to show them to my daughter.  Yet as I watched her grow – those first few years – children go through SOOOO many changes and yes – they cry a lot.  Good always came on the other side of these tears.  Almost like a rainbow after it rains.  And these tears both mine to her and her to mine helped our connection.  When you can support someone experiencing a deep emotion like this and not back away, get impatient, or angered by it – deep connection stems and love grows. So that night I wrote the below and wanted to share because at this time during all these changes and craziness that can consume us – just maybe – we are all being washed a bit cleaner?
When I see someone else cry – whether it’s a child, an elderly person, a teen, a stranger, a friend, someone on tv – there is a piece of me that can relate to this deep emotion and therefore draws me closer, there is a piece of me that wants nothing more than to hug and support them through their process as I know good comes on the other side.  Lightness – release, acceptance, resolution.  Yet for some reason, it has taken me years to have that reaction towards myself and my tears.
When they are happy tears, I am okay showing them but typically I hope they are more of a sprinkler flow than a faucet and that they don’t ruin my mascara. But when they are sad painful tears – I still try to toughen up , suck it up, wait til I am alone, or be strong.  Why?
Why do I expend so much energy hiding from being vulnerable?  Why do I hold on with such force and try to control my experiencing of a deep emotion?
I think it is because for years I have heard things like “she’s too nice” and it was often said as if this was a fault of mine.  So in an effort to not be weak – I held.
But in my heart, that kindness was always me being me.  Was it sometimes not advantageous to be as open and giving as I was?  Did it bring me hurt? Would I change it?  No.  In some moments I would have maybe wished I had found words to express how I felt but it has also brought me to a deeper level of acceptance and understanding of myself and others.  I have compassion towards those suffering and I know that sometimes it only takes a small spark and that when shared – that spark can light up another, or a room, or even for some the sky.  And I know this because I have explored my darkness.  It is like an opinion, we all have them.
It took me years to re phrase this kindness as a strength, sometimes my superpower, my relatability, and something I can hold dear. What I needed all along was to honor and accept it , cherish it, and drown out the noise.
Tears are a release of the armor that disconnects us and they form a flowing bridge destined to draw us closer to each other.
Humanity needs tears sometimes.
Humanity needs space to process tears.
They can be a catalyst for change,
a source of deep connection,
an inspiration to create
and a path to better understanding
So cry, cry the ugly tears that shake your soul
cry the happy ones that make your heart dance with joy
cry the angry ones that make your soul or voice shake with rage
Don’t numb out.  cry.  it may be part of your path to freedom