The Doorway


“Everything is here,” the teacher repeats over and over again throughout class. It becomes my mantra as I move my body, feel my feelings and think my thoughts. As many minutes as there are in class, I come back to what is here. What is Now. And it becomes a doorway; a place where I can step through to see anything I need to see. Feel anything I need to feel. Understand anything I need to understand. Everything is here becomes the anchor, the truth and The Way. I am mesmerized. Through it I am made whole. Despite the thoughts that continue to ripple through. Despite the ache that just won’t go away. Despite the feelings and the judgments that rise and fall. It is all here. It is all me. And it is all that I need in this moment.

This is so not how it usually is. More often than is good for us, we are not here. We are not actually anywhere as we traverse between past and future, living as ghosts; neither here nor there. Through the past we solidify and maintain our stories, habits, worn out identities, and agendas of old. We smolder with the narratives of how we were wronged, what’s missing and how things should go. And when we are not in the past, we jump to later.Through our orientation to the future, we seek our release and plan our escape believing that down the road it will be different, better. We worry and fret our way into convincing ourselves that if we obsess enough about it all, we can bend the future to our will. In the meantime, we live lives where we are seldom where we are. We live lives never realizing that the peace that we all seek happens only when mind and body are as one; in one place at the same time.

It is the ordinary mind, the survival and fretting mind, the anywhere but here mind that leads this charge. But the body knows another way. This breath. This sensation. This sweep of the arm or turn of the head. It seems so outrageous and ridiculously foolish to suggest, given all of the cerebral information available everywhere and at any time, to reference the body as the source of wisdom. What could the body possibly have to offer us by way of politics or the news or the stock market? How will the body inform regarding climate change, the escalating costs of living or water problems? What does the body have to offer regarding what daily decisions to make regarding work, family and finances?

It cannot be told. Only experienced. It cannot be read. Only done. Given how we live and what we have been told this is no easy place to get to. We are so afraid. We are so distracted. We are so brain-washed. We are so not inhabiting the very ground of our existence.

When The Heart Leads


Through teaching yoga, dance and a college course on relaxation, I have the great opportunity every year of seeing how hundreds of bodies move, sit and carry themselves. Part of what I do in every class is to offer instruction and provide experiences that help us get in touch with the way we carry ourselves throughout our days. I return to this regularly because so many of us live hunched over a screen; head thrown forward of the body, chest collapsed in on itself, shoulders rounding in, and back over-stretched.

In class, we often talk about not only the physical and physiological problems this creates for us, but what this posture does to our minds, emotions and energies. We come to this topic from the knowing and the felt experience that the body and the mind are one; what you do to one, you do to the other. And while the list is long around the physical imbalances of a body bent forward for years on end, my personal and professional experience tells me that perhaps more detrimental than anything else is that when a human being spends prolonged amounts of time in this shape, a kind of dangerous imprint gets formed in both soma and psyche that travels through us, out of us and into the world.

Head first and heart collapsed is how I would describe it. A head too far ahead for its own good, and for the good of the body. And a heart shrouded, closed off and shut down. Try it yourself. Get in the position of being wrapped around a device and notice your heart and mind. Then, try the opposite: Pick up your gaze, lean back, draw your head in line with your body, settle the shoulders back and lengthen up. A whole new version of you gets created just by changing your physical shape; a version that is at ease, balanced and open in body, mind and heart.

Could we not use more of this in the world? Instead of the head taking the lead, leaning too far forward, leaving the body behind as if we were all sprinters trying to make it over the finish line first, what if we decided to lean back and look up? How might we feel? What might we see? Become aware of the two images in your mind. More importantly, feel the difference between the two throughout all of the layers of you. How we carry our bodies speaks volumes about how we think and feel and believe. And how we think and feel and believe translates into how we act in the world. What exactly are we shaping and positioning ourselves for?

“Everybody Changes”


My son was at a Super Bowl party on Sunday night with school friends. How great is that? Guy friends hanging out. All together. Or not. It seems that throughout the game, and especially during the historic comeback by the Patriots, many of the guys were busy “snapchatting” about their experience. For them, it was more exciting and hip,(not to mention emotionally “safer”) to be sending out messages via their phones about what a great night they were having then it was to actually be there and have a great night. These days, our children are learning to be more excited by, and interested in, orchestrating false and hyped-up versions of their lives. They are more enlivened at the prospect of playacting about how amazing it all is as soon as the cameras started rolling.The moments of our children’s lives are being drained away and reduced down to little more than times manufactured; as times captured by a screen, as opposed to actually living those times.

Afterwards, my son observed that “everybody changes” as soon as the phones come out and the videos start flowing. This so speaks to what we are all up against. We as people already struggle enough with all of the ways that we will shift ourselves when we feel observed or are trying to fit in. No age suffers this more than teenagers. Now, though, with the assistance of the technologies, our children can fabricate and spin themselves and their lives in ways unprecedented until now. They can build representations of themselves based on illusions, scripts, and made-up representations of what is happening or how they want it to look.They use the devices to try and get others to see them the way they want to be seen.

This taps into such a vulnerable place in all of us; that part of us that wants to control how others see us. The technologies are exploiting and magnifying the false notion that by presenting things a certain way, via the screens, we can manage and influence how others see us, and therefore, feel about us. In the meantime, the realities of the fears and insecurities we all experience around this, and that must get addressed if we are to feel secure in ourselves and in our relationships, gets paved over. So yes, the devices afford a momentary fix to the discomforts of how we are seen, but ultimately creates a dangerous false sense of security that some parts of us, way down deep, is absolutely aware of and uneasy with, despite how great we present ourselves to others.

It is exhausting our children for them to be living as if they need to be bigger than life. It is soul-sucking to have to smile broader and convey more excitement than you are actually feeling. They are growing up believing that life is supposed to be a reality TV show/rock video that they are starring in. And we all know far too well exactly what happens to those among us who lack the capacity for living the ordinary, unobserved, non-staged, hum-drum moments of life. How will they manage if they switch their feelings off and on based on whether or not they are being watched? How will they know the truth of their experience separate from the pretending, the mask, the camera ready face they so quickly take off and on?


“The only thing that Orwell failed to predict was that we would install the telescreens ourselves, and that our greatest fear would be that no one was watching.”

Poster In Louis’ Class at PVPA



The Way


“If I could show you the way” is the chorus that keeps repeating in the song that is playing in the background. The music is serving as the backdrop for an exercise in developing an intention. I am about to write mine out and then stop. I find myself drawn to write down the words, If I could show you the way, I would… Then, I go on to author my heart’s desire.

I have been mulling over this phrase ever since. If I could show you the way feels like a map for being in the world. It feels like instruction around the call to walk my talk, to show and not tell. It feels like clear and balanced guidance around how to be of service. It feels like a teaching around how it is that we can live standing for something in the midst of others doing and believing very differently than we do. And it feels humbling and respectful as in if I could do this.

Interestingly enough beginning with myself takes me to exactly what the world most needs. Every single time. And it does it in a true way. By that I mean it is never about starting outside of ourselves for a solution. It is never about doing anything to anyone. It is never about convincing, managing, forcing, coercing or cajoling. It is instead, about showing the way. Being The Way. Which will always be far more difficult than trying to get anyone to do anything.