Yoga in School


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Image credit: Good Search

Yoga. It’s common now days, right? I mean, there aren’t many jokes anymore about it—getting blissed-out while connecting thumb and middle finger, saying “Om” or “Namaste” or bending bodies into pretzel shapes. There may not be jokes about it, but there are some who fear yoga—even in Southern California.

My mouth dropped when I heard the news for the first time. Not only in Southern California, but in a town next to mine, and at the same school district where I’ve taught some continuing adult education classes and workshops, and been a part-time teacher’s aide for special education in the middle school. The yoga classes are thirty minutes, twice a week.

Parents sued the district for having yoga classes? Wow. Why did they sue? Because the parents felt Ashtanga yoga infringed on their religious beliefs. “If you research yoga and Hinduism, most people would say Hinduism is yoga and yoga is Hinduism,” Dean Broyles, an attorney representing the family, told ABC News. “It’s a situation where the state is endorsing religious beliefs and practices, which is forbidden under California and federal law.” He goes on to say that the poses and positions are forms of worship and prayers to Hindu deities.

The school Superintendent, Timothy Baird, said the yoga classes are a “typical P.E. class” that have been a successful and positive component to the district’s health and wellness program without any religious implications. . . . Yoga is a physical activity that’s completely mainstream,” Baird told ABC News. “It’s done in universities and churches around the world. I understand it has a cultural heritage coming from India, and there are people that use yoga in their religious practices … We are creating lesson plans in kid-friendly language that is really redesigning the program. We are not using cultural references. We are not using Sanskrit. We’ve changed the names to gorilla pose, and mountain pose.”

The ruling came in last week, and The judge said that the opponents of the yoga class were relying on information culled from the Internet and other unreliable sources. The judge in this case said the school district stripped classes of all cultural references including the Sanskrit language. He noted that the lotus position was renamed the “crisscross applesauce” pose.

Related Article

abc news. Yoga lawsuit

Fear or Dreams. What Motivates You to Save Money?


find money image credit: Good Search

I had a statistics professor in college who brought out the state lottery in class. “I don’t even mess with it until it’s over ten million.” Let’s remove some of the zeros from that. . . . What if you found ten dollars—what would you do with the money? What if fifty dollars was automatically deposited into your bank account every month? What would you do with that money?

What motivates you to save money? Is it fear of being without? Or, is it your dreams of  “one day” and “what if”? Do these aspects of motivation help you set goals, or pass through you thoughts until the next time.

Find out what motivates you. Fear or Desire. Decide to take a stand. If it’s fear and you’re not saving, then some may say you’re fooling yourself.  If your fear is not having enough, begin by putting aside money every single paycheck. You say you don’t have enough to do that. Do it anyway. Put aside even one dollar every paycheck. Do not label it “rainy day”; label it “savings”. You may scoff that one dollar isn’t enough. Hmmm… Funny. A second ago you didn’t have “enough” to save anything. You’ve got to prove to yourself there IS enough. Change your thinking, and change your life. Yes, even one dollar at a time.

If it’s desire and you take no action, you’ll never draw it to you. Sure, you may be gifted a car, or marry someone in “that” neighborhood, but that only goes so far. If you take action (and action begets action) you’ll change your consciousness, and by doing so, you’ll prove to yourself you don’t need someone else to save you —which opens the door for that good to come without strings, and enables you to share your good with others, too.

The on-line bank ING Direct (now Capitol One) allows customers to set up several savings accounts, and customers can name them. (Car, Travel, Financial Freedom, Life…) Happy saving!

Arizona Hotshots Baptism of Fire


The Yarnell  fire is 100% contained now*. The nineteen firemen who recently lost their lives in the Yarnell, AZ have been in my thoughts. I’m not a news junkie. In the world of 24/7 news coverage—where we hear the same reports in various sensationalized ways, I manage to hear sound bites, and follow up if I choose to learn more. This story shocked me, as it has shocked so many others.

Some twenty plus years ago, my brother (now retired) was a hotshot wildland fireman in California. Like most hotshots, he loved his job. He continued to promote in job title, but his favorite days where as a hotshot. Like many hotshot crews, his crew was flown all over the US and sometimes other countries.

Hotshots are recognized as an elite crew of firefighters mostly male, and extremely physically fit. While they are young, they have their heads on straight. Not only their lives, but their buddies’ lives depend on it. They basically live with their coworkers for half the year.

During breaks between fires, I remember my brother bringing home some new hotshot friends he’d met while jointly fighting a raging forest fire somewhere. It was after a fire in Idaho I’d learned about “shake and bake.” It looks like a “moon blanket”, a thin foil sleeping bag that is only used as an absolute last resort. The firemen shake it out—then bake it out while they wait for the fire to pass over them. As the fireman in the video say, “Everyone sees God when they’re in a shake and bake tent.” If the wind shifts, it can flip these tents open and the firefighter will burn to death.

For me, it is unfathomable that nineteen hotshots died on the same day in the same location. The only way I can make sense of it is to believe the wind shifted something fierce. I bless the families and the Prescott community, as well as the comradeship of hotshots worldwide. I believe these nineteen souls move on the wings of love.

If you pray, please do for this community feeling the loss. Lift them up with your thoughts. Hold them in the Light of healing consciousness. Trust that they will find peace in their own way with this fire’s legacy.

Knowing that Native American roots are deep in Arizona, I believe these individuals were escorted into their transition by Native American ancestors. The earth is sacred, and these individuals were caretakers of the earth, releasing their life face down to the earth. Hearing only the wind and fire. Now, they beat the drums their families hear as heartbeats of newly born children.

*P.S. Four days ago I heard the fire was 90 percent contained, and today people were allowed to return home. But I haven’t heard an update on the fire. If it isn’t fully contained, sorry for misinformation. Thanks to all who’ve worked  at fire containment, and saving lives.

Fill your plate!


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Photo Credit: Claudia Mulcahy

Are you tired of offering your holiday guests healthy choices, only to have a platter full of veggies to put away after the party? This Fourth of July, offer a veggie platter as a feast for the eyes. Skip the plate with segments that separate the vegetables. Offer a serving spoon or fork so if someone hates mushrooms, they can push them off to the side and get to the carrots. (Or, they may say, “honey, want my mushroom?” and it will get eaten, and not tossed out.)

By using a serving fork or spoon, you’re helping everyone’s immune system, especially those in, or recently out of cancer treatment. If you can, have serving utensils for everything, or give someone with a low immune system first dibs on things like peanuts, pretzels — things that others will touch with their hands.

Back to the veggie platter: Use a variety of color, shapes and textures. If you’re offering the vegetables raw, have a variety of dip tastes on the side. Go beyond ranch or hummus. Make some spicy kidney bean dip (the reddish color is a change from the same  ol’ white or brown dips), or make the oh so simple Greek tzatziki.

To make spicy bean dip:

Drat! I can’t find the recipe I grew up with, and don’t like the ones I see online. This is sort of close, try it out, get creative, or find one you like better: Red kidney beans (wash and drain them), chop an onion, mayonnaise or plain yogurt, dry mustard, worcestershire sauce, horseradish, salt, pepper. Blend in a blender. (The only part I remember is the kidney beans, worcestershire, and the blender.) Sorry.

To make tzatziki dip: Greek yogurt, cut fresh dill, squeeze fresh lemon. Taste. Adjust amounts of ingredients if needed.

Or, consider broiling or barbecuing your vegetables and leave them out for snacking. Yumm!

Now, what flavor ice cream?

Creative Gifting on a Budget


I recently traveled to a friend’s mid-summer wedding. The ceremony was in a gorgeous meadow that had a labyrinth. The path was as wide as a lawn mower. When we arrived to the meadow, I picked wild daisies to make the bride a wreath for her head. Then I took photos of the surrounding area. Next thing I knew, it was time to sage and bless each guest before their entering the labyrinth.

IMG_5600This wedding got me thinking of gifts that can be given from the heart. First, there was the opportunity for every guest (17) to bring organic, non-GMO fruit, vegetable, or flower seeds for the couple to plant and act as a reminder for them to nurture their friendships. The couple also asked each guest to bring  something from nature. In addition to seeds and nature, guests were asked to write a poem or message about, or to the Summer Solstice and read it to the group.IMG_5589

Up until the point of finding an item of nature, I had confidence that as usual, I packed light, and smart. But then I found two rocks—each in the shape of a heart. Why couldn’t I be happy with a leaf or feather! Sticking to my original plan, I was also giving the couple a great chef knife. My friend loves to cook and entertain. So, this meant I had to plan ahead and ship off the knife, and pack the rocks along with wrapping paper (only to get scolded by the bride for using paper.) One guest gifted the couple with catering the simple but beautiful hors d’oeuvres. Another guest made a six foot wine bottle holder out of wood he’d found, adding shape and holes to the piece of wood.

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I’m on the good side of cancer—rebuilding strength. This was my first big trip, and I was determined to carry-on my bag rather than pay $25 for the same weight as some women’s purses. It wasn’t pretty and I ached from doing it, but I did it. It reminded me of a story I was told by a man years ago.

This man was staying in Africa for several months. He made friends with the locals. On his birthday, one of his new friends gifted him with a sea shell. This man knew his friend couldn’t have bought the shell, and they lived hundreds of miles from the coast. He said, “The ocean is far away. How did you get this shell?” His friend replied. “Long journey part of gift.” He’d walked a few days to honor his friend with a sea shell.

How can your journey gift someone? What can you do differently, or go out of your way to honor someone without a big expense on your part? I think my friend was more grateful for the head wreath, photography, and space clearing I did than the chef knife. For me, the big gift was the travel itself.IMG_5590

Be Present. . . Now.


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Image Credit: Good Serch

When you take in a breath—in that moment, you’re telling the Universe you’re trusting 100% that all your needs are met. In that moment, you’re not bargaining for a few more years of life, or refusing to breathe until you have all the money you want. It’s pretty amazing. A breath—something we don’t usually pay attention to, gives us all we need in that moment. It’s up to us to trust.

If we live in “the now” we give up worrying about the future, and regretting the past. We breathe in. . . . Pause. . . . Breathe out. . . . Pause. . . . Repeat. We focus on what’s in front of us: The person we’re talking with, the food we’re eating, the car we’re driving.

Pay attention to your breathing today. Is it fast or shallow? Do you sit slumped over, making breathing harder or less efficient than it could be? When you walk, stand tall! Know you deserve to be here just the same as the trees around you, and the stars above. You’re here by Divine appointment. By breathing, you’re saying, “Yes!” to that arrangement. When you think like this, you’re not just taking up oxygen, you’re taking it in. Becoming one with it—with life, with body, mind and soul. It’s not about “What more can I get.”

It’s about learning to trust that we are already proved for.

Building Confidence


I’ve been working with at a middle school with a boy who has special needs. Next year he’ll be in high school. Not just any high school, but a fast-pace one without the student support he’s used to. One day, during our five minute walk/break, I asked him if he was excited about going to high school. There was hesitation. Then I interjected, “—Or are you a bit nervous?” He answered, “Nervous.” After school, I went home and compiled a list of songs he could hear and watch on You Tube. The songs all have positive messages and are ones my mom would refer to at certain times in my life. On the day of promotion, I gave him the list.I hope you share these with anyone who may be facing some fear, big or small in your eyes. The videos I chose were geared toward what I thought this particular student would like. You may find the same song with different artists.

How to wake up early and cheerful.


singingsparrow Image Credit: Good Search

Are you excited about life when you wake up in the morning? Does hearing birds chirp outside your window while you’re still in bed, make you smile? It does me! Even if I sometimes wish the birds would hold off a bit longer, I always end up smiling, and sometimes laughing. The birds are so excited about the new day!

The birds sound like a bunch of kids waiting for a field trip to start, or friends getting together for a good chat over breakfast. “Oh I saw the most beautiful sunrise this morning!” “I had the best worm and bug for breakfast! —And did you see the new basil on that woman’s patio? I love basil!”

In the Spring, if you pay close attention, you’ll hear conversations between parent birds and their young. The young will mimic the sounds made by their parent—be corrected, and try again. A few days later, you won’t hear them. They’ve had their “it’s time to leave the nest” conversation, and are off.

Next time you get bent out of shape when your Saturday begins a bit earlier than you’d planed, shift your focus and listen to the birds. It just may make you smile.

Simplify Life. Get Rid of It!


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Image Credit: Good Search

When you hear, “A simple life is easy to achieve!” do you think, yeah, back up the POD and hire a team of guys to haul your stuff out?

Has the game of “S/He who dies with the most toys, wins” gotten old, and not fun anymore?

If you’ve climbed the ladder to high pay scale success, is the fast pace power-job worth sacrifice of family? Are the two cars mandatory? Will you only get your exercise by belonging to the tennis club or gym, or can you find free, or less expensive ways to stay fit? Do your kids each have their own room, or can they learn to share, while learning about money?

What does simplify mean? Does it mean hippyville, or frugal, monastic living? It can mean that, but it doesn’t have to. It can mean having less, but higher quality things. Maybe it means being seen all winter —or two in the same coat, rather than having a variety of coats you don’t like as much. Could you live in a smaller place—even an apartment, if you like the location? On what do you place value? Some save up to buy what they want (Hooray!), Others, can’t wait, and either go into debt, or buy lots of small, inexpensive things for immediate gratification. If you’re willing to entertain the idea of simplifying, take a look at what makes you happy. There may be some deal-breakers, like traffic, noise, living far from your family. On the other hand, some take public transportation, or don’t mind spending time in their car, practicing a new language or book on CD. They love the hum of a busy city and take George Burns’ at his word. “Happiness is having a large, close-knit family in a small town, far away.”

I have a friend in New Zealand who’s getting rid of everything. He’s going to rent out his house and move to Thailand. Over the years, like most of us, he’s accumulated lots of things. I left him a lot of those things when I returned to the states, and sent him many more things from over here. Now he’s getting rid of the bison piggy bank, Wellington-boot flower vase, pottery bowls, silk ties, books, cards, cards and more cards! When it gets tough weeding through some of the stuff, he tells himself, “This won’t be meaningful to anyone when I drop dead.” (A real sentimental bloke.) He’s doing it because he’s moving forward on a desire.

This simplify stuff isn’t for the chicken-hearted. (Although you can go at a slow pace, and you call the shots of how much is too much.) I’ve even gotten caught up in his flurry of activity. Last month I gave  away things still in good shape, but I was ready to release them for one reason or another: shoes, leather pants, a wool coat and lots of summer clothing. This month I’ve already found more—and I’m considered a minimalist by many!

Want to simplify? What can—and will you get rid of today that will make you feel lighter for doing so?

How to Live the Life You Want


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Image Credit: Good Search  (from movie, what the bleep do we know)

A woman is on a cruise, and sees a man she finds very attractive. He notices her looking at him and starts up a conversation with her. She tells him, “You look like my first husband.” He asks, “How many times have you been married?” She responds, “None so far.”

It’s possible to create wonderful experiences, but it takes held intention. We often just give up, or give in to negative talk or thoughts that are unconscious. Here are some tips for how to get started on the life you want to create.

Remove the Negative:

Worry = torment one’s self (dictionary definition)

  1. Go without TV, news paper, or any negative stories or opinion (even if it means you are not answering your phone with the weekly gloom update call from family, or friend.) Cut off the flow for 14 days, then be conscious when watching/reading/taking.
  2. If you listen to music, listen to that of higher consciousness. If the words are crude, or the song is from hurt or anger, that’s not higher consciousness.
  3. Avoid negative people for 14 days. Say to yourself: “I’m only receptive to receiving the positive energy of life.” Be part of the positive energy, too. What goes out, comes back.

Bring in the Positive:

  1. Get around the right people at least once a week- dinner, class, pals.
  2. Mental image a life without worry. What does it look like? See yourself with friends, laughing, having plenty of extra money, joy, love…
  3. Write the vision down, read it, read positive books, refresh your mindset with movies like The Secret, and What The Bleep Do We Know.