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Chair Yoga: Breathe, Stretch, De-Stress

Take 15 minutes to let go of tension and re-ground yourself. I originally recorded this short practice for the Diocese of Albany’s virtual wellness day. I thought I’d share it here for anyone who needs a breather.

Only love can save the world

When I was leaving my gynecologist’s office recently, I exited the building with a younger couple leaving the same practice. I guessed that they likely were there for a pregnancy checkup and smiled at the memories of those days in my own life. As we all crossed the road, we arrived at the door to the parking garage simultaneous to a woman in a wheelchair who was being pushed by an aide. The woman, who had severe disabilities, was trying to communicate, or maybe she was in pain, and her cries were anguished and loud and continuous.

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Age & Expectations: a new Life Lines podcast is up

My new podcast is back on track. Finally! I went into hiatus immediately after my late July launch because too many other things were demanding my attention, namely the retreat I was preparing to lead, the concluding weekends of yoga teacher training, and, if I’m being perfectly honest, my inability to remember how I even managed to record and create that first episode via Garageband. (And no Olivia at home to give me pointers!)

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Becoming a yoga teacher, fulfilling a dream

Ever since I first stepped onto a mat in the late 1980s, I’ve been a full-fledged yoga believer. I loved the power of the physical poses and the way they reverberated strength and peace in my body and soul. Whenever I’d fall out of practice (and that would be often) and be away from the mat for a while, I’d inevitably come back only to find myself wondering why I ever stopped doing something that made me feel so centered, something that made me feel more like my true self than anything else I’d ever encountered.

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Seeing every day as an opportunity

When I arrived at Pyramid Life Center in the Adirondack Mountains last month to lead a retreat, I was excited but nervous. As is always the case when I lead a group, I want to be sure I give participants what they need, the spiritual nourishment they’re craving. Most times when I wrap up, I’m a bit depleted from putting out so much spiritual energy over the course of a few days, but this time I was energized and uplifted, riding a spiritual high that was fed by the 30+ people who engaged in the retreat so fully they left me awed and humbled and inspired.

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Always and everywhere…Angels

One of my favorite places in Rome is Ponte Sant’Angelo — the Bridge of Angels — where gorgeous winged creatures line the path as you make your way toward Castle Sant’Angelo and turn toward St. Peter’s Basilica. If you take the time to climb up Castle Sant’Angelo, which once served as an escape and fortress for popes under siege, you’ll find St. Michael the Archangel at the very top, looking out over the Eternal City with his sword at the ready should protection be necessary. This is a place where angels are everywhere — carved in marble, painted on ceilings, holding out holy water as you enter a church. Around every corner, there are visible reminders of the beings that exist unseen in our world and in our lives.

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You can change your mind, even about the big stuff

An upstate New York church recently asked me if I would do a Zoom talk for their parish book club, which had just finished reading “Walking Together,” my 2010 book on spiritual friendship. They sent me some questions in advance — challenging questions that forced me to sit in silent reflection and struggle with answers that would not be easy. I emailed the moderator and asked if the group was likely to be disappointed if my answers were very different from what they might expect. No, she said. Fire away.

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A mountain retreat: Find your stillpoint

After months of wondering whether my retreat would be on or off due to COVID-19, I am happy to report that it is ON, and Pyramid Life Center is ready to receive guests and offer us a safe and socially distanced atmosphere. We’ve got nine 20 people signed up for this retreat so far, which means there are very few slots left in order for us to keep this gathering small and in line with health protocols. Of course, small groups make for more intimate and powerful retreats anyway, so… win-win.

Stillpoint: Creating Calm amid the Chaos will be offered Friday, Sept. 11, through Sunday, Sept. 13. It will be a weekend to nourish body, mind, and soul as we enter into the beautiful fall season at Pyramid Life Center. Check-in is at 5 p.m. on Friday; the retreat concludes at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

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Manic Monday: Blossom where you are planted

It’s been a while since I did a Manic Monday post, so I thought I’d pop on and give you the rundown of what’s going on in my world. Actually, to be honest, I was inspired to write this post so I could post the photo of the flower bud on the left. I saw it, and it spoke to me on a very deep level, one of those visible, spiritual sparks that just made me sit in silent wonder. Whatever it takes to get me here, right?

So that beautiful blossom you see here? We all know what’s just on the other side of surrender. Blossoming, beauty, transformation. The same is true for us, if we trust the process. This week, can you loosen your grip and let go enough to begin the transformation. It doesn’t have to be all at once. Even just a small loosening will allow your petals to unfurl. Blossom today, right where you are planted.

And now, on to the rest of our show.

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Accept. Adapt. Surrender. Trust.

Chiara, 15, walked into our family room after a socially distanced bike ride with a friend and wisely observed that just a couple of months ago wearing a mask seemed like such a burden, an unusual discomfort, but now it’s completely normal and not really a big deal at all. That was perfect timing on her part because I, too, had been pondering the ways we humans are able to adapt to challenging or different circumstances with relative ease (unless we’re just stubborn), and isn’t that a marvelous and miraculous thing.

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