Modern Day Confusions Around Productivity


I step outside at the end of the day to bring the laundry in when I catch my mind wondering how “productive” I’ve been on this supposed day of rest. The thought stops me cold.

And not because the thought is so off base given that I have hung laundry, made ghee, meatballs and sauce, planted garlic, closed the yurt for the winter, brought in wood for the week, and submitted an article for publication. But because it is such a modern day ailment/indulgence/obsession/anxiety to even be having a thought such as this.

At another time in history, or even now in another place on the planet, the idea of being productive enough would have been something real; an actual matter of life and death even. Needlessly making up ideas around whether or not I had done enough would not have been something I would have had the time, luxury or inclination to do.

I would have been far too involved in doing what I actually needed to do to keep myself and my family alive, warm, fed and protected. In other words, surviving. And maybe in some seasons, even thriving.

These days, we use the idea of productivity as proof of our worth, as something we judge ourselves by. As some kind of endless justification treadmill we get on to prove to others and ourselves that we are worthy of our existence. This as opposed to ensuring our existence.

And while there is only the difference of one word between these two phrases, they could not in reality be further apart.

At another time, we would have needed no proof that we were productive. We would just be doing what we needed to do. No prizes. No “likes.” No neurotic comparisons. No bragging rights. No fretting in some self-indulgent way. No “adulting.”

What am I saying here?

I guess I’m wondering if it is possible to live with all the conveniences of a modern day existence, while remaining simple and true to the reality of life on the planet in a human body. Grounded in what is actually necessary in the midst of all the pushing around what our “best lives” look like.

Detached enough to recognize when and where we are incessantly trying to live up to some standard that says we must prove and establish our worth by being recklessly and continuously busy.


Find Your Way Back


I’m out driving and I turn the radio on. This is something I rarely do, but I was in my husband’s truck and he has all these stations that carry the soundtrack of my childhood, so I decided to see what was there.

At the same moment I’m tuning to the station I want to listen to, I’m thinking about us as a people. What it is we make important, the fears we have, the ways we make the wrong things matter more than they should. All the thoughts and wonderings that are often on my mind, but that over the years, and especially of late, are taking on an accelerated position in my life, and an ever-growing clarity in my heart and mind.

At the exact moment all this is occurring, a song comes on that begins with how long the road has been, how heavy the load has felt, and how this person is just trying to get back home to their heart. At this point, I’m already crying. Moved by the synchronicity of the message coming through the lyrics; reflecting what was just on my mind and in my heart.

By the time the song is into the chorus, I am weeping as they sing “Find your way back. Find your way back. To your heart.”  The emotion is not sadness as much as it is more of a deep longing. An inherent yearning for me to live like this. For all of us to live like this. A kind of organic knowing, beyond all the wounding, that this is not only possible, but why we are here.

I believe this longing is one we all feel. Way down deep inside. A hunger to get back to who we really are. And a deep desire to return to the Truth of what we are meant to be for one another.

I know this runs contrary to either how we feel inside at times or what we see when it comes to other people’s words and behaviors. But I think that all the stuff we do to hurt ourselves and one another is an expression of soul sickness. I think we ache so bad to know who we are and how to be with one another, that when we can’t get there, for all of our reasons, we default to hurting. Either ourselves or one another.

But if we could take that hurting and see it as something that needs healing, instead of creating more armor, more blame, more separation, we would find our way back. To Our Heart. And in that place, we would know what the heart knows, and what the mind does not. That it was never personal, we were never abandoned, and we have always mattered.

It is from that knowing that we find our way back to our true home: The Heart.

Which Role Will You Play In The World?


This week I taught a yoga class based on the Sanskrit word “sama.” It translates into “same or equal,” and is experienced as the ability to emulate the Divine whose Presence is equal in all matters concerning the world. What it looks like for us is described in one of the central yogic texts that guides us to be “even” in our ways of dealing with life. To be the same through pleasure or pain, good fortune or misfortune, praise or blame.

There are no clearer, nor more liberating instructions, for the times we are living in, than this.

For to be at the mercy of the rise and fall of the ways of the world, is to suffer. It is to never know lasting peace because there will always be another tragedy, another horror, another injustice. And it is to play out one of the three big dominant roles we choose in our interactions with others. That of the victim, the persecutor and the savior.

The victim is the energy of being harmed, overpowered and without agency in the face of greater forces. The energy of the persecutor is that of dominance, aggression and oppression. And finally, the energy of the savior is that of the rescuer, the fixer, the one that everyone comes to to solve their problems.

Depending on the day and the circumstances, we can play any and all of the three depending on what’s being triggered in us. You are in victim whenever you are in the role of the overwhelmed and bullied child who needs saving. The perpetrator, when you are forcing and coercing another to your own will. And the savior when you are being the one who makes things better for others because it seems like they can’t do it for themselves.

But there is another way. That of the Sovereign: One who is free of external control and therefore the up and down nature of the world. The one who charts their own course, choosing to meet the world as it is. The one who decides how she will be moved by the world, and who consciously chooses to be grown and hewn by all the experiences of Life. No questions asked.

The Sovereign is the one who allows that everyone deserves the right to live out their life as they see fit, without being forced into something or rescued from something. And is the one who is even enough within herself to bear witness to the world, without choosing for or against. Instead, choosing to be with.

This can be felt and known by all those around her. For instance, there is growing research demonstrating that we can feel the electromagnetic energy of the heart’s field. And now Quantum Biology is demonstrating how our physiology is experienced by others. In other words, when we are at peace, when we are “even,” it is a palpable experience for all those around us. This is vastly different than being part of the big drama game of suffering we all like to play. One that activates a deadness or a hardening of the heart, while ramping up the physiology of stress that then emanates into the world.

If this resonates, practice where it is easy. Try being more neutral when it comes to the small things in your day like the weather, the seasons, or the traffic. Or how about practicing a kind of internal same-ness whether you get the recognition or not, win the lottery or not, have an argument go your way or not.

Your opportunities to work with this are endless as you go through your day, and are presented to you each time you feel yourself in a less than “even” emotional place.

How Are You Creating The World?


There is an old expression that I believe comes from the Talmud. It goes like this, “We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are.” Take a moment to really, really let that sink in.

If this is so, how committed are you to spending the time to recognize that who you are, impacts your perceptions of life?

We live in a very, very sick society. I know that on some level, we all know this. How could we not? It’s everywhere. But because it’s everywhere, it begins to take on a kind of background hum and a sense of fait accompli. But if you’re willing to see how things are, you can see it in the poisons sprayed on our foods that we give to our children. You can see it in the collective worship at the alter of the screens, and the ways we refuse to keep ourselves from what is devaluing our lives. You can see it in the ways that we have begun to mandate which medicine people must use in order to be part of society. And you can see it in all the ways that we have never been more ill in body, mind and soul.

There is more. Much more. More that we have come to accept as normal. Even as it visibly sickens us.

But it’s not true. This isn’t normal. And somewhere deep inside we all know this. I believe it comes down then to what someone recently said to me about “calling the ghost by name.” A willingness on our part to name what is messed up and broken.

Because here’s the truth, who you are is not separate from the sickness of the world. You are merely one aspect of the way things are. Because when you add it all up, what’s out there is based on the sum total of each and every one of us. Of all the messed up and broken aspects of ourselves that we will not be with.

This is not a New Age cliche. It is Truth. For as we change our inner perceptions, and change what it is that we ourselves are being, the world reflects that. How could it be otherwise?

For instance, how do you contribute to the harmful food supply out there in terms of what you consider food and feed yourself with? Where do you place a screen above all else and even engage in that which is less than what you actually need and deserve? Where do you hold that others should do as you do when it comes to how people live and take care of themselves? And where have you been less than willing to address what ails you?

When you recognize that you are out of alignment with your values, you shift the ethics that run the world. When you change the way you feed yourself, you shift what nurturance is available to all of us. When you decide to stop all the scrolling and make the people in your life a priority, the world begins to prioritize people over machines. And when you decide to finally commit to something you need to do for your own health, the world begins to heal.

Today I read something that feels like the antidote to all the sickness. An author was making the point that in certain traditions, beauty was less about the physical appearance of a person, and everything about how well you knew yourself. That’s the guide. How well you know yourself. How well you know the “are” of you.

I know it seems like a lot, and maybe you are even wondering how what’s out there is connected to what’s in here. But if you see this as a lifelong exploration of getting to know yourself and what it is that makes you tick, you are halfway there. And then, if you’re willing to simply consider that what you’re seeing out there, is in here, you will be all the way there.

The Broken Unicorns In All Of Us


When I was a kid and had accumulated a little pocket change of my own, I would walk down to a place called Cushing Square to visit a tiny store that sold glass figurines. I can’t remember the name of the store, but I can still recall the display window that faced out to the sidewalk and what it felt like for me to go inside.

It was absolutely magical to be in this space and to be in the company of all those glass animals. They felt so mysterious and powerful to me. I wanted them all. But because the figurines weren’t cheap for a kid, I would have to save up for what I wanted. In the meantime, I would go into the store to visit with all those little creatures I felt such a connection to.

At some point, I acquired a three-level tiered stand where I could arrange these little friends of mine into different scenarios and configurations. No matter what I did in this regard, there was always one that stood out for me: The Unicorn. I felt moved by her golden horn and the clear see-through nature of her body. I looked at her every day and every night. She was the one I loved most of all.

So you might imagine how I felt when I came home one day to find her horn broken off. It was devastating. But worse than the devastation of something so important to me being broken, was that no one would admit to doing it. And no one saw that justice prevailed.

That day, something precious and innocent broke in me. I stopped going to the store and I don’t remember what happened to all the other glass animals.

Heartbreak and innocence lost is something every one of us will pass through. Not one of us will come to the Earth and leave unscathed in this regard. We all have had our “broken Unicorn” experiences and for many of us it will follow us around for the rest of our lives. It will color how we see the world. What we believe is possible. How safe or dangerous the world feels to us. What we believe will happen to us if we love open-heartedly.

As that old song goes, “the first cut is the deepest.” Very understandable then to go through life making damn sure it doesn’t ever happen again.

This is one way to live and it makes sense given how devastating it can be to learn as children what a cruel place the world can be at times. Unfortunately, when we hold onto this through life, not only do you lose out, so does everyone around you.

There is another way. But it’s a big ask to the child inside of us who got so hurt when we didn’t even know that kind of pain or disillusionment was possible. What is that “big ask?” To reclaim your innocence. To take back your wonder and sense of possibility. The road to get there is certainly long and arduous. And it will require that you feel what you never wanted to feel again. Ever.

But in the feeling you get to heal, and then you get to decide how armored up you want to be. And when. Because to live for our entire lives waiting to be hurt again is to live as a victim. And to live as a victim is to live shut down to the magic, wonder and possibility that lives in the world.

Want to give it a try? Think back into the past. Do you have a sense of where the mentality of the broken Unicorn began for you? That place where you felt wronged, betrayed or violated. Then observe with great kindness how that plays out now for you. Where and when it shows up. You don’t have to do anything for a very long time other than to just begin to make that connection.

Holding a Vision for Your Life


“Hold the vision. Trust the process.” These words are inside a frame that sits on top of the table that I come to each morning to start my practice. Some days I don’t notice the message. Other days, like this one, I do. And it’s always exactly what I need to hear when my mind is teetering on the brink of believing in the wrong things. It’s always the antidote for me in a world that stands for so very little worth calling a vision. A real balm for my soul in a time where there is so little faith in trusting a process to unfold as too many of us opt for the quick and convenient fixes offered up to us like candy we can’t say no to.

Without a vision, we are subject to the whims and the noise of a world bent on selling us the wrong things. Agendas that care not for our truest human needs or the call of our own soul. Without vision, we are fated to live someone else’s life as we allow ourselves to be hemmed in by the rules and regulations of a culture too sick to know how it is limiting and hurting us.

Without a sense of trust in the process of our own lives unfolding as they do, we run the risk of comparing ourselves to the wrong things. Sub-standard versions of what our lives should look and feel like. Erroneous ideas about what it takes to really thrive and to actually and truly know ourselves from the inside out. All of this leaves us at odds with the fluctuations of our own inner rhythms and disconnects us from the Great Mystery as it is meant to move through us.

A yoga teacher I know recently summed up perfectly a life-giving alternative to this disconnection when she said, “Out of the space you create for yourself comes the clarity, and out of the clarity comes skillful action.” For me, this is the process you must learn to engage with to be able to hold a vision for your life that is actually yours. A course correction, if you will, that takes you from a less than or non-existent vision to the one your soul would have you know.

So stop. Sit down. Breathe. And wait. Wait until all the noise and the fears and the scattered thinking begins to clear out. And then teach yourself to trust the unfolding and the unwinding process you must go through in order to be able to fully claim that vision inside of you that is just waiting to be born.


Time & Timelessness


In practice this week, I had such a strong sense of having all the time in the world, while simultaneously knowing, there’s no time to waste. Such an interesting paradox to think about being trusting enough to know I have all the space I could ever need, while at the same time holding a strong boundary in my living around not wasting one bit of it.

Is it possible to hold both? 

I know for me that when I am in practice, in the woods, tending to the medicine garden, making food or medicinals, engaged in a meaningful conversation, creating content or writing, time expands, and I am gifted with all the space I need. It often feels like I have been at something for weeks or months because that is how endless it all feels. I think this kind of timelessness becomes available to us whenever we are engaged in truly heart-felt and meaningful activities. Times where we are so focused and absorbed in what we are doing, that we lose ourselves in a kind of uninterrupted, everlasting, Divine expanse that seems to go on and on and on.

The experience of time opening up in this way gets harder and harder to come by when we allow ourselves to be at the beck and call of the incessant ring tones and buzzing of the machines that never leave our side. Despite all that we have “gained” with the technologies, what has been lost is not easily apparent to us because of how hard it is to measure the value of something that can only be known and felt through intentionally creating the opportunity, distraction-free, of timelessness.

For those of us who have had that experience, perhaps we can see beyond the allure of the pinging. But what about those generations who have never experienced that feeling of open-ended time and what it has to offer. Will they even know something truly precious and life-giving has been lost to them?

Which brings me to boundaries. A clear line in the sand must be drawn so that we do not take our days and lives for granted. So that we do not forget for one moment that life is short, and that it will be over before we know it. This is a vastly different approach to life than the frenetic and stress-filled pace that many of us live by where we are cramming more into a day than can possibly fit there. This approach to time leaves us depleted, guilty and overwhelmed. It is based on scarcity on the one hand and on an over-consumptive attitude on the other; where we never have enough of the most important things and where we are mindlessly too full with too many of the wrong things.

But as the old saying goes, “There is no time like the present.” Meaning? If you sense time has gotten away from you, that you are approaching it in a profane way, it is only in this moment that you can decide to do something different. To choose to make time sacred. To make it worthy of the one life you have to live.



Recently, I heard a teacher say that to try and convince someone else of what you want for them, no matter how true or noble, is to take on their karma. Those words stopped me in my tracks, and left me feeling like I had stepped on a garden rake and gotten whacked in the face.

I began to think about all the times I had tried to get a person in my life to see something, or to want something. All the times I had tried to convince someone of something. Anything. All the times I had thought about how this person or that person, or the world in general, should do things differently. Do things the way I thought they should be done. And it didn’t matter one bit that I could justify to you that I only wanted what was best for them, when the truth is, I couldn’t bear what another was doing, for one reason or another.

Frankly, it was overwhelming to imagine taking on the karma of dozens, hundreds, even thousands or millions. Imagining myself weighing in on what all these people should or should not do. Want or not want. Believe or not believe. Sometimes having said it outright, while at other times thinking it.

This is something we all do. All the time. If you doubt this, watch how often you try and get someone to see things as you do, or try and get them to take your suggestion about how they should live their life. And it doesn’t even have to be about the big moments. It can be as “small” as what they “should” do about a difficult co-worker or whether or not they should buy something.

Watch how often you listen to the news or look out into the world and believe that you know better about what another person or group should or should not be doing.

And then, imagine taking on all of that karma. All the baggage, known and unknown to you and them, that goes with why and how they act as they do. All the karma around how they got to where they are now. All of their hurts, disappointments and dysfunctions. All of their projections, anger, blindspots and expectations. All of their insanity, fears and sadness. Even all of their past lives. Everything they need to account for, now becomes yours. Whoa.

It is so incredibly tricky when it comes to how we relate to others. So challenging to be in relationship without making what others do or do not do be about us. About our need to have them act a certain way so we can feel safe, connected and valued.

If this resonates and you want to join me, start by watching yourself in conversation with others. Catch yourself trying to convince someone of something, anything. For this to work though, you will have to be very, very good to yourself; as in not judging or shaming yourself when you see what it is that you are up to.

And when you do notice what’s happening, ask yourself, Do I want to take on this person’s karma? Do I really want to be responsible for how things turn out for them? And when you find yourself in a dynamic where another gladly hands over their choices to you about what they should do, run.



I have been trained in and have practiced Yogic and Shamanic techniques and philosophies for many years. In ancient times, both were part of one root in India; sharing essential world views and spiritual sensibilities. While I love so much about both traditions, perhaps my favorite of all is the concept and practice of intentionality that I use to create a foundation for how I live.

Living with intention is a deep practice; resulting in the ultimate knowing that the “how” and the “why” of what we do is more important than anything. The “what” of how we live pales in comparison to what lives behind it.  Every single time. This is vastly different than the way modern living is obsessed with the “what.” What you look like. What you do. What you give. What your credentials are. What others see in you.

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve seen the ways that the “what” of something can be very deceiving. How it can be a false representation of someone’s true intentions. In other words, something can look very, very good in the what and be an absolute abomination when it comes to the intention behind it all. Easy examples are the marketing strategies that convince us that the companies care about us or the planet when all they are doing is trying to sell us something. Or how about the leaders in life, on all levels, who present as so caring when all they want is your vote. Or your silence. Or to remain in charge without challenge.

In a world that so rewards the “what,” even when it costs us all far too much than we should ever pay, it can feel like too much work to be fully intentional in your actions, your thoughts and in your exchanges with others. There may be no immediate reward, no external benefit or prize given. It may even cause you lots of extra effort or cost you in terms of something.


Because to live with more intention requires a kind of honesty and whole-heartedness that the world does not always recognize, or appreciate. And because this way of living demands an unwavering focus on getting to the bottom of why you do what you do, why what matters to you matters to you, and then cleaning up your act when you are out of alignment between the why and the what of how you live.

Motherhood was by far my greatest and most strenuous teacher in this regard. Interestingly enough, as the world grows more and more insane, I find myself at the threshold of another time of great teaching in terms of what it means to live with intention. No matter what. What this means for me is that I cannot use the outer circumstances of the world to dictate to me the why of my what.

Instead, I am working on building my muscle of intention ever stronger by being as focused and deliberate as I can be; even in the midst of destructive and unreasonable times that would say there is nothing I can do.

Maybe you’ve noticed it too. All the ways that there are more and more demands being placed on us to live a certain way, to believe a certain thing, to line up with a particular narrative or ideology. With the penalty being, if you do not express the what in the way it is mandated, you are a (fill in the blank with the latest of social media’s accusations du jour).

The antidote to this is to choose “for” something, and then to line your life up with that. Every thought, every action, every word. This is not easy to do in a world with so many damaging choices and so many harmful demands to slot into the what of someone else’s ideas of what your life should look like.

Being intentional is to be discerning. It is to be fearless in the face of your own fears around how others will feel about the why and the how of what you do. It is to stare down the voices within you that would say you do not have permission to choose your why and how you live. It is to know when you are crumbling in your attempts to live with more intention because you do not know whether or not you are worth such an elevated existence.

But the Truth is, it’s already there inside you. If you doubt it, just look at the ways you admire those in life who have really chosen to focus their attention to live more intentionally. Maybe it is an athlete. Or an artist. Or a great teacher. More likely, it is someone you know living a “regular” life. To see this in another is the experience of the seed recognizing the plant. So I would ask you, what is it that you admire about them and then look beyond “the what” to their why and how for clues as to how you might proceed.

Finally, since you already possess within you the seed of living with greater intentionality, what is one small thing you could do today to tend to that seed? And then, what is one small thing you could do tomorrow? And then, the tomorrow after that, and after that…

For to live intentionally is a lifelong pursuit.



When the Wrong Things Are In Charge


Because I grew up in alcoholism, I am highly sensitive and keenly attuned to what I will call, “the wrong thing being in charge.” What I mean by this is that my internal radar picks up on people and circumstances in the world promoting, even mandating, that what is harmful be accepted as the norm. I know intimately the devastating and far-reaching impact the wrong thing can have on us individually and collectively; robbing us of satisfying relationships and a sense of ease, faith and security in the world.

The upside is, I carry this sensitivity with me everywhere I go. So it is very easy for me to spot other versions of the wrong thing being in charge. For instance, this capacity allowed me to see decades ago the interference screens would have on the health and well-being of our kids and our families; which is why my children were not given cell phones, why they were not allowed on social media and why their screen time exposure was kept to a minimum.

Spotting the wrong thing running the show is why I got out of conventional medicine, conventionally grown food and any other misaligned systems where I could figure out a way to opt out. Recently, when the University I taught at required that I, a student and teacher of the breath, wear a mask while I taught, I said no. These are my most obvious examples. There are more. Both large and small.

Whether you agree with my interpretation of what constitutes the wrong thing being in charge doesn’t matter. What matters is this: How often do you agree to something that in your gut, you know is wrong? It doesn’t even have to be some main stage world issue. It can be as simple as not saying something when someone near you is promoting the wrong ideas, or asking the wrong things of you.

When we allow the wrong things to be in charge in life, we play the role of the victim. The one who has no say. No power. Believe it or not, we derive benefit from this. How? By believing that because it is not up to us, that someone else is in charge, we can abdicate the responsibility of our lives and our actions to someone or something that is outside of us.

This disempowering abdication asks, Who am I to say something is off? Who am I to challenge the status quo?

Who you are is someone who can look around to see how all the wrong things we have let be in charge, have left us ill. Right down to our very souls. We are sick with the acceptance of what we know is not right.

Lest you believe this is far beyond you and your little life, it is not. We are sensing beings who know immediately when something is off. This is a built-in knowing that reveals itself to you every single day. And you don’t need to have grown up in alcoholism to come by it. Why? Because your capacity to know down deep the right and the wrong of something is within you. It is only a matter of whether or not you will tune into it.

Maybe it is that small tug in your gut. The feeling that something just doesn’t add up, or smell right. It is akin to the record skipping, or the moment in The Matrix when there is a visual glitch in the program.

To be clear, this is not about pointing the finger or shaking an angry fist at the news. Instead, it is choosing to see when something is off, and doing whatever is yours to do. Whatever is within the scope of your power to right that wrong. To stand as a beacon. Not as one who calls out another’s behavior for their own glory, but because it is so.

We deny this role in our lives for all kinds of reasons. We don’t want to be “that person.” We are afraid others will not like us. Maybe they will mock, leave or ridicule us. Maybe we will lose something. Whatever our reason, we have become complacent and lethargic after so many years of being enslaved to the wrong thing. It has become the new “normal” now to just go along.

To be mediocre, silent and compliant.

But if you want something else, begin to pay more attention to the radar that lives within you, and learn to act on it. Tap into that feeling that something is “off.” Even if you cannot articulate why. You will have to pay very close attention here because it is very easy to miss. Especially since so many of us have grown so accustomed to accepting the wrong things, and believing that this is just how it is now.

My advice? Be willing to be the one, in whatever way you can, to say “The Emperor has no clothes on.” Not as a way to elevate your status on social media, not as a way to lord something over others and certainly not as a way to put yourself in the position of deciding right and wrong for another. But as a bona fide acceptance and hard won capacity of growing into being an adult who lives by a solid personal code of right and wrong. And who carries that with them everywhere they go.

No matter what.