I was nearly ready to send something out for this week’s blog when I ran into an image that feels far more pertinent to comment on regarding where we are at in this pivotal time as a culture. I won’t go into all of the details around how I came upon this image. Instead, let me share it with you.

It is a simple, line-drawing, black and white cartoon sketch of a Klansman decked out in the usual cloak; body and face covered head to toe in white, with only small slits cut out for eyes. He is righteously (aggressively?) holding towards you, with a kind of “in your face” stance, a picket sign. It reads: “I ain’t wearing no mask. Re-open ‘merica.”

Okay, okay, so this is what we are up against is what I think as I take in the full implications of what this means for us. To be direct, there are far more choices here than those wearing a mask being on the side of right, as the someones who cares about others, and that those not wearing a mask are on the side of hatred and lack of concern for anything but themselves and the economy. There is a more nuanced picture around why a person would choose to not wear a mask that has nothing to do with Klan leanings or disregard for others’ health and well-being

As someone who does not align with the mandatory policy of mask-wearing, and as someone who is simultaneously for the health and welfare of the greatest good of the people, and as someone who also holds the conviction that it is each of our rights to decide in this regard, I find the polarization around wearing or not wearing a mask to be misinformed, dangerous and divisive; whether it is openly stated, implied, insinuated or unconsciously driven.

For more than two decades I have been a student and a teacher of the breath. It is my ultimate go-to in all that I do. It has changed my life, and it has changed the lives of so many people that I have taught in more ways than I or them could ever enumerate on in this space. Not only does the breath play the most essential role in keeping us alive, it is a powerful agent in connecting heart to head, unconscious to conscious, and matter to Spirit. Not to mention its role in equilibrating the emotions and quieting the mind. I could go on and on and on. And when I am teaching about the breath, I do.

Bringing the breath to the current circumstances, here is what I know to be true. On the inhale, covering your face restricts the flow of oxygen; a nutrient every cell in your body needs a continuous supply of, and without which we go into a state of hypoxia. At the extreme, this state is dangerous enough to kill us. In its “milder” iterations it leaves us with just enough oxygen to survive but not thrive; reducing the health and well-being of body and mind on a subtle yet sweeping systemic level. Ultimately serving as an invisible foundation for dis-ease.

On the exhale you are releasing the waste product CO2. This eliminatory function is absolutely essential to your survival. Respiratory waste is not meant to be reabsorbed into your body. But when your face is covered that is exactly what is happening. It is curious to note that with all of the emphasis being placed on the necessity of well-ventilated public spaces, we would choose to mandate such an intense lack of personal ventilation.

Lastly, when your body does not receive the oxygen it needs, you put your system into a stress response where you release the hormone cortisol. Cortisol suppresses the immune system. So what we are left with are bodies not getting the most essential nutrient in healthy amounts, who are then reabsorbing metabolic waste products and all the while trying to be healthy in the midst of a suppressed immune response.

And to those who would say that the mask is not for me, it is for others, I would say that my compromised health is far more of a risk factor to you than whether or not I wear a mask. I would say that my personal health is the very foundation of collective health. I would say that the body’s most basic and truest needs are simple and that we would be well served to learn what those are and to adhere to them.

I would also say that when we find ways to divide against each other in fear, we lose the insulating capacity and immune health that is available through our social connections and well-wishing of others. I would say that if instead of boiling things down to un-useful, unhelpful and untrue dichotomies, we instead spent our precious life force coming together to look at what it is that makes for a healthy population, we would find our answers. I would say that shrouding any issue in mandates not based in real human needs has always served throughout history as the root cause of the wrong things taking hold in us and between us. Let us not be those people with each other.

P.S. Do not take my word for it. As a matter of fact, never, ever take my word for anything. Instead, learn about your own body. Learn to decide your own mind. For if you truly want to keep others “safe,” this and only this is what it will take.Do not be misled by quick fixes and guarantees of safety issued from outside of you.

P.P.S. Hypoxia is when not enough oxygen makes its way to the cells and tissues of the body, with the early signs being anxiety, confusion and restlessness. Isn’t that exactly how many of us would describe ourselves? To go one further, is not the inability of the body to take in the oxygen it needs exactly what the virus brings us to? How ironic that our fix is the problem.

Sanctuary Living


Not long ago, I was having a conversation with an astrologer I work with, and we were comparing notes about how we were doing in these times; what it was that was serving as a sacred and healthy foundation for staying steady in the midst of so much upheaval. So much fear. So much uncertainty.

He summed it all up in two words. Sanctuary Living. The phrase literally caught my breath. In the moment it felt like I had never heard anything so beautiful. So poignant. So hopeful. And so very, very needed. By all of us. Everywhere.

Sanctuary is defined as a consecrated place. As a place of refuge and protection. Living is defined as having life. Being full of vigor. True to life. When we put these two glorious words together they offer us us an image, a model, a possibility.

Can you imagine your life, your home, your schedule being imbued with the energy of consecration? A kind of refuge that honors what is true to the needs of your life. A protection placed on the value of your life, all of Life, that is filled with the vigor of respect.

On one level, it’s so basic. So obvious. On another level, it is so complicated and confusing. And yet, beneath it all, it is something we all yearn for. That being, a life where we feel valued. A life where our outer circumstances hold and nourish how sacred and precious we are.

What if we imagined ourselves and the lives we create as churches, temples, mosques, alters, sacred groves of trees, ancient hermitages? What things would we allow into our sacred space? What things would never be allowed in?

And what if more of us began to see ourselves and our lives through this lens?

Reality Testing

Reality Check: Something that clarifies or serves as a reminder of reality; often by correcting a misconception

Does worrying about others keep them safe?

Does worrying about getting sick keep you healthy?

Does fearing what you or another might be harboring keep us all safer?

Does fear and worry equal how much love and caring exists between us, or serve as proof that we are doing the right thing?

It really is as simple as that.

What’s difficult is letting go of the misconceptions that we individually and collectively harbor that distort Truth. What’s difficult is becoming aware of where we use the wrong things to keep us safe. What’s difficult is letting go of the fallacies that justify the wrong choices. What’s difficult is realizing what is within our control, and what is not.

What’s difficult is recognizing that when the worry and the obsessive fears arrive, it is never the time to give in to that “reality,” and always the time to ask a more penetrating question of the reality that begins with a capital “R.”



Everything. Absolutely everything is included. The stuff we want. The stuff we don’t want. What’s easy. What’s difficult. What’s known. What’s unknown. All of it.

Can you imagine it? Can you imagine claiming all of it? Giving space and recognition, voice and comfort to it all. That “All” being, everything that you experience in Life. Nothing omitted. Nothing to get past. Instead, a big, wild, effervescent, sometimes stinky, tapestry that you can call your own. Every single moment of every single day. All of what it is that makes up your Life.

Right from this moment on, right down to, and including, the last moment.

What if that actually was the choice (by the way, it is) that was before us at any given moment? The knowing that, as Tara Brach would say, “This too belongs.” This too belongs. As in, it all belongs. All of it. Every single bit of it. Nothing too ugly, shameful, painful, unwanted, difficult or disgusting to be here. And nothing too outrageous, wild, unkempt, fanciful or impossibly brilliant to be here.

But of course, this would take a commitment, and a kind of determination to no longer play the victim to your Life circumstances. To no longer believe and act as if you have no choice. To no longer leave your Life in the hands of something or someone else. To no longer abandon yourself because you do not like how you are feeling. Or what it is that is showing up.

Can you do it? Of course you can. Interestingly enough though, that is not the question. The question is, will you do it? Will you claim the totality of your Life? Beginning with, will you take ownership of, and responsibility for, what you are experiencing?

This is a tall order. This is something most of us have not been schooled in. Something most of us have not been given the skills to be with. Therefore, where to begin?

Begin at the beginning. Begin with one simple statement: “I commit to seeing everything I experience today as a necessary, loving and legitimate part of my life.” Knowing this then, the only sane response is to say “Yes” to what is here. Not to say I like it or want it, but instead to say out loud that I recognize this is, in fact, here. It is to say there must be a reason for whatever is here to be here, and I am open to knowing that reason.

Getting even more up close and personal: Instead of pushing you away, I am open to knowing why you are here for me. And I am committed to not succumbing to the belief that Life is against me, and you are opposed to me. That I am open to discovering what gifts you bring for my Life that I might not recognize as such unless I am willing to look differently. Gifts that I will never recognize when I am committed to being victimized by you. Gifts that I open to because that is what is here, and because there is a valid and good reason for it. Gifts I open to with no guarantees offered or expected.

Can we do it? Yes. Will we do it? Only you can say.



I am not sure who is credited with the “boiling frog” analogy, but it goes like this: It seems that if you take a beaker of water, bring it to a boil, and try to submerge a frog into it, the frog will fight with all of its might to get away. On the other hand, if you take a frog and place it in a beaker of water of comfortable temperature, and then ever so slowly increase the heat, the frog will make no attempt to escape.

It will remain where it is, without struggle, unto its very demise.

I have at times heard teachers refer to us humans as boiling frogs. The point being that because we are so very, very adaptable, we can and we will, literally adapt to anything. Even if it hurts. Even if it harms. Even if it is insane. Even if it falls short of filling real human needs. Even if it means distorting our experience to such an extent that we no longer even resemble a human being, and what it is that we actually need to live. Even if it is based in fear.

How are we capable of this? More to the point, why? Why would we let ourselves get to the point of boiling our lives away?

To understand this one is to recognize that there are as many answers to these questions as there are reasons to avoid reality. As there are reasons to deny truth. As there are reasons to continue on with what has been passed down to us. As many reasons as there are to maintain the habits and addictions we cling to. As many reasons as there are to belong at any cost. And as many reasons as there are to forgo personal responsibility and choice in the face of great upheaval.

Did you know that nothing in Nature intentionally harms or distorts itself? That nothing in Nature brings about its own demise due to alienation from its truest Nature? That nothing in Nature abdicates the edicts of its own Life, while bending to the demands of what is unnatural?

Be very, very careful around what you allow yourself to be boiled in regarding “The New Normal.” Be very, very careful around confusing what is normal, that which is “naturally occurring,” with what has become a norm, that which is “an authoritative standard.”

Instead of opting for yet another “New Abnormal,” could we use this time to get clear on what actually makes sense to each and every one of us? What it is that goes beyond fears, norms, external standards, and the need to belong at any cost.

If this makes any sense to you, try this: Get outside. Breathe the air in deeply. Connect to something in the Natural world. And then, check in with yourself asking: “If I were not so afraid right now, what would I know to be true? Listen way down deep for the answer. Then, “What would I need to act on this?”

Give this to yourself as often as you can.